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Categories: philosophy

Gibo,No Lame Duck

February 26, 2010 2 comments

Categories: philosophy

N O T I C E

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

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Categories: philosophy

Not now for wordpress

September 30, 2009 1 comment

I am leaving this blog temporarily. I don’t if this is the right thing to do after getting one good year of blogging in wordpress. This blog was conceived out of curiosity without definite plan what to write to or what should be the best format to use. Then I realized that wordpress is so limited unless you keep a semi-hosted site. WordPress is good in design (the free themes) but not really in applications such as accessibility in javascript, etc. So, I opted to explore other sites such as blogger.com which is friendly and can be easily manipulated. Bye for now. I will still be writing here for sure.

So please be directed to this site: www.totomel.blogspot.com.  I will be very happy to link all of you there.

Categories: philosophy

Ushering the Green Path

September 4, 2009 8 comments

The short repose from blogging was an utter blessing on my part to ponder on the things that needed much attention. My officemate told me that I should focus on something relevant rather than speculate on unnecessary subjects such as faith and politics which seem like rigmaroles to her ears. Somehow, I thought that she doesn’t understand my endeavor. But after reflecting on what she said, I was impelled by an idea of defining where I should immerse my self with.

In the vast arena of knowledge, I know I have to choose a subject to embrace, to live and to contribute to its growth.  And in this case I opted to pry on environmental studies which is I deem far alarming than Mar giving up his political aspiration to pave way for the Cory Magic.

Of course, I don’t want to be a member of a stringent environmental cult that would die for death of a fly slapped by President Obama but just a simple advocate that would help the environment in my own simple ways. I would still write about other things that interest me for sure. It is just that environmental problem is prevalent and the obligation to save it confronts us in many ways. And in a wider sense, I cannot really separate myself from the things around me.Celebrate the World

Looking back to a past decade, one would see the abject deterioration of the environment. In my personal experience, I once enjoyed sight of the dragon flies lingering in the field and catching the harmful pest feasting on the rice stalks. Then all of a sudden-Poof! These little creatures were nowhere to be found and most have been eradicated by pesticides. Even the crickets and cicadas were obliterated in rice fields. Just exactly as what Rachel Carlson had claimed, man is so desperate to re-engineer the scheme of nature all for the glory of monoculture and high harvest yields. She added that men have become self-centered that they forgot to acknowledge the biodiversity co-existing with them.

Meanwhile, climate change is starting to wreak havoc in our planet. Heat became unbearable and would likely to soar rapidly in the coming days if carbon emission is not curtailed. And if ever we became altruistic of these things, the effect would only be felt in the long future. Dr. Jessica Salas, an advocate against climate change, said the collective effort of people around the world to cut carbon produce can only be felt by 2040. By that time the aqua alta have already submerged some part of the Philippines including the City of Iloilo. So here is the point: Let’s save the planet, in whatever way we can, by not letting it reach 2040 when the rising sea level could possibly destroy most of our coastal communities.

Moreover, the population would never recede in time but would perpetually grow in years. This has a critical effect to the environment as the law of demand and supply ascends with it. Taking the example of water supply versus the water consumption per person, one could logically deduct that water will become scarce by 2015. You do the math based on population projection and you’ll get a horrible picture of the situation of our planet. And if you still need more proof, I urge you to check on the remaining watershed around the country and you will be shocked of its improbability to manage the demand of the booming population by 2020.

So with all these formidable insights, one can never shoo the condition of our environment today as done by pact scientists who claimed that global warming is absolutely hearsay. I know that this have been bugging us all along yet we continue to be unmindful to do something about it. We know that saving this planet lies not in the mercy of God but on the commitment of the people to rebuild it.

Lastly, we are the cause that this planet is dying and this is the right moment that we should also be the cause for its living. Saving this planet is everybody’s concern simply because we owe our lives to its graces.

Losing Letters

August 12, 2009 15 comments

loveletters2I have this undying fascination for reading old documented letters compiled in books especially when it speaks of human affinities that usually begins in courting. Elegant scribbles of blotters, which are mostly portrayed in sepia, create a portal of the past of how men addressed their inamoratas with clandestine penmanship and poetic embellishments. Their age was very different then when SMS was not yet available for use. They only had the paper, inkwell and the blotter to send messages to their beloved (disregarding the case of distance), which are in turn carried by messengers, usually friends or relatives, who most of the time were intrigued and tempted to sneak into the content of letters. I haven’t really been a good letter writer, but I have a vivid memory, and making some that paved well while also being nosy of their outcomes.

Back in highschool when I was much enamored to the classic writings like that of Shakespeare’s addressing a sonnet to a beautiful lady of May, I also took the chances of conversing them through love letters. However I was not writing for my sake but for the bully classmates that sought my assistance to furnish them a beautiful rendition to some lady they met on the street. Thinking of crushes is a part of teenage years where one’s face is invaded with zits only to add a more challenging world in courting. What can be more interesting is the fact that there is always a way to compensate for somebody’s shortcomings – and no other act can compete with writing a good letter; and the bully boys had figured that out well. It even made me more convinced of the power of words, how it can blur any imperfection and create an alluring persona to adore. Apparently, it is the words that transform man – too good to be a tool for inveigling.

Now, letter writing is becoming extinct as the Gen-X succumbed to practically new adventures that technology is offering. The age of text and twitter may all be good at one point creating an avenue for social networking yet miss the point of “sentimentality.” Its social cohesion shapes not just how the people behave but also fashions an easy way to start off with relationships. And unlike letters which are done laboriously and are mostly consulted before venturing into the receiver’s hand, this savvy age lost the very essence of proximity as perfect ingredients to pursue a long working relationship. The danger is even greater now that emotions are becoming unruly and are hardly validated like a water vapor that exists in reality but not tangible to human touch.

Although I have not been raised in the days of letters, I know then that the words they expressed, regardless of its authenticity, can all be validated by the receiver. After all letters are easily tracked back to where it comes from. I admit that it will never be gone for our age given the existence of cyber mails or emails (mostly are too formal or plain notifications), yet the question of content’s intention will all be at stake. I am not saying that this technology doesn’t work for relationships, what I am trying to point out is the danger that lurks behind. Can you imagine how many broken hymens SMS have caused by deceit? Those are all possible in texting. Yet, unlike text messages that easily forgotten once the SIM is blocked or the phone is lost, letters, which are fashioned delicately by human hands, may be kept under the pillow, lovingly regarded and truly felt by the lover. Alas, that day is fading.

Photo Credit: Sara Remington

Categories: education, letters, philosophy

Re-defining Our Fight

August 7, 2009 15 comments

The death of Cory Aquino spurred an emotion of solidarity among the Filipinos especially those who have witnessed the downfall of the Philippine Republic under the dictatorship of Marcos. The yellow flowers, ribbons and scattered confetti reminded us of the glorious day when the dictator was finally subjected to the undying thirst for justice, peace and clean governance, and we started to redefine our stand in more solid ground. Then we found ourselves looking at the bright aspect delineated to the changes in socio-political affair.  We have become a proud nation to achieve much in the global scene by crowding the streets armed with sentiments like that of the First Quarter Storm and the huge thirst quenching the EDSA revolution. We won the fight like eager mice trudging the dangerous path packed with hungry cats and successfully grabbed a piece of cheese that is worth our nation’s pride: exactly what Prometheus did among the sleeping gods.

Yes, we have won the fight. The question is what kind of fight? I do not claim to know more than anyone else about the ordeal of our country, but since the problem is apparent and could easily be pondered over a cup of coffee or a simple mind break in carenderia, it is my wish to say something  of what I percieve about it. After all, things are seen in various epistemological angles and one has the right to say what he thinks of the current situation in our country that escalates between the believers and the incredulous. Mind you, the danger may all be depending on what we believe. Sometimes, it takes more than courage and pure whim to unravel what should be done to re-define our common ground in order to prosper as a nation. And yes, we are constantly struggling to find our way to fight the foes that hurdle us to this redefinition of ourselves. Again – What kind of fight?

When you look back to our history, we could see that the Filipino people are fighting all their lives. First we showed our valor by toppling the Spanish colonizers only to realize it was just a coy for the entrance of Americans after we had been sold for more than a million dollars. After realizing that we are like turn-tables that have been passed from one hand to another, we plotted skirmishes to highlight our willingness to stand for what is right even if  it meant sacrificing lives against the super-power nation. It was a kind of fight where we repelled invasion just to preserve our natural identity as Filipinos. And after each success we tend to drown into oblivion the essence of such revolutions as an initial ladder to realizing our long-search for true identity.

The second phase of revolution has taken a different form. Unlike the first one which can be regarded as an external fight to defend our sovereignty, the latter is a kind of introspection: Our fight is not against external forces but individuals amongst us. Examples of this are the EDSA 1 and 2 Revolutions where we ousted individuals who have been traitors to their own kind. Because of our nescience on which ground to stand on, we allowed the budding evil to morph with us that in the end caught us off-guard. People have suffered more than they have during colonization because the adversary knew the nook and crook of how to play the devil’s game.  Thus, we have to fight harder to reverse the damage they brought.

Then the pattern continues. This time revolution moves deeper. How many times have we rallied in the street to shout that the government step out and leave their seats? How many times did we condemn cheating and malevolence in the administration because they have not been stealing from the national treasury? If you still consider this a good fight, then you are merely stranded in the second phase of revolution. What I am trying to say is that there are wicked individuals we see apart from ourselves. If you come to think of it, the worst enemy is ourselves which we are collectively unmindful of. We can all attest to this from the simple instance of throwing our garbage on the street to preserving corrupt officials by being loyal to them because of utang ng loob. We may laugh at this at times because this is so trivial to take into account, but when you look at its effect, there is no sheer difference between you and the one you are loathing. You cannot simply wipe out the dirt by dirt. Thus, by reflecting on it, it all boils to one ultimate premise: The Self. This self is not just the battle of some or of groups of political factions but of every Filipino who are tired of the maelstrom of history where a single mistake in the past is revived back to the concurrent political arena.

Hence, it is when we have waged war against ourselves that we become infectious and worthy in re-defining our ground. Just imagine how a good self can transform other lives like what Mother Teresa and of John Paul II did. If you replicate it a hundred times, then this country may already be a happy nation. Yet no matter how ideal this may sound, it could be achieved when we will it to happen. With what’s happening to our country, amidst turmoil, I guess, the greatest message of the death of Ninoy and Cory is just one: Beware, we are our greatest enemy. And by taking this message by heart, only then shall we authentically define the real fight for our nation.ninoy

Augustly August

August 3, 2009 9 comments

In Memory of the Yellow Bell

People huddle on the streets and the heaven weeps at your last breath. At least, you have rested back to the soil in this gloomy weather of August where our Creator welcomes you to His door. You know the time never ends when you leave an earthly branch to die, only to proceed to a more promising life. Thus you died peacefully amidst the prayers of your people. Your separation from the mortal life may signify a great pain especially for those who are left to behold your integrity to restore what is due to them, but your legacy will unite them in joy to continue what you have started. Yes, you have restored democracy back to where it should reside and made honesty your ladder to governance. And you know in your heart that these things are what people deserve. So in your last day, people remember you in your piety and honesty amidst the mundane world stained by immorality. And just like a yellow bell that falls naturally to the ground to die in beauty, you too shall be welcomed back by the soil which will unite us in a single element; just like a yellow bell that grows back when it marries the earth, so shall you live in our memories forever.

aquino

Let the Augusts stand August

Although I am forlorn because of the death of our great leader, my emotions were balanced on this day with my mom’s birthday. She is now 48 and made remarkable accomplishments in rearing us all. Up at 5:30 am, I knocked at her room and kissed her. But instead of usual greeting, I thanked her for all she has done for me and for my siblings. I know my gratefulness will never equal what she had done for us, but I know that she deserves a big “Thank You” rather than a greeting of “Happy Birthday.” Of course, I also greeted her a happy birthday. For what is happier than the day you know you are born – either to suffer or to rejoice depending on how one should take life. In her case, she loves her life and loves every life that emanates from her womb. And how I love her so much not because of normative functions but by how she taught us to love. How I wish that one day I could repay the life she nourished within me especially now that she is getting older and wizened. For i know, it is when you know you are reared in love that you will look back to serve in love.

***

St_Alphonsus_LiguoriToday is also the feast day of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church. Had I not read the page of Dfish which reminded me of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, I would have also forgotten St. Alphonsus, founder of Redemptorists Congregation.

Back in the seminary days, I and my batchmates (we were 24 in number but nobody made it to priesthood) merrily organized reach-out programs to badjaos, lepers, scavengers, pier laborers, and the people of Carbon, Pasil and Ermita, Cebu City. As our apostolate, we would talk, listen and even live with them every weekend to experience their lives and their way of surviving the world amidst marginalization and social injustices inflicted on them not just by the private sectors and the government but by their fellow individuals as well. By delving into their lives, I know that there are so many things that need to be changed in this world. These people need to be heard but don’t have the voice to use; these people need to be noticed but nobody pays heed to them. And when one chooses to take the yoke to fight for them, one has to be cleansed inside out. It doesn’t have to be a remarkable effort though. Instead, a simple change that starts within us will suffice – a change that would create a difference. Life, as Saint Alphonsus put it, is a life never lived unless it is changed for the glory of Jesus Christ. By that, he meant changing the lives of others as well. Only in that way, we bring salvation known to others. That is what it means to be a “Redemptorist.”

Although I did not proceed to become a priest, I still cling on to his teaching and serve the church in my own simple ways.

***

P.S. This is supposed to be posted on August 1. Unfortunately, Iloilo had 2-day blackout.

Traveling: My Mental Escapade

July 27, 2009 14 comments

drivingLiving 30 kms. outside the city of Iloilo, I have to get used to traveling everyday. That means if I want to be in the office at 8, I have to get ready before the sun rises to catch a transport bus to Tagbak Terminal at 6:30. Since it usually takes an hour of bus ride from our place to Tagbak Terminal, I usually disembark the bus at 7:30 and have to board a jeepney right away for the office. Sometimes it takes more than 30 minutes before I reach my destination depending on the speed of a jeepney. Presumptuously, my travel is far longer than the SONA that President Arroyo will be delivering this afternoon – for if you sum it all up, you will notice that I travel one and a half hours for just going to the office. Actually I really don’t mind because this seems to me a natural routine and I have been used to transporting myself to at least 76 kms (to the city and back) daily excluding the distance traveled during my field works. In short, I am a traveler by my own rights.

But the distance doesn’t matter to me.  As you might notice, I even enjoy it. The farthest my destination is, the better it becomes. Let alone the problem of fares for I have the way to abate it by showing my UP ID which will expire on 2012 pa (hehehe). Anyway, traveling is such a leisure for me despite trudging the same route everyday. Why? Because when I travel, my mind travels with me and I couldn’t help but to think deeply on some things that crosses my attention. Let me share some of the most apparent things that I noticed today:

UNO: While looking outside the bus, you could see that the election is steaming up. This might be the same with other places around the country where electric posts and school façades are awfully ornamented by smiles of the prospective presidentiables. In particular, have you noticed Villar’s visage is becoming ubiquitous? From congratulating the graduates to welcoming the freshmen, from greetings of Mother’s day to that of Father’s day, from simple punch lines of Sipag at Tiyaga to Murang Pabahay, from Iloilo, Banwa Ko to Villards-tulong sa pagsulong ng Philippine sports, you could see his smiling face  in every corner through tarpaulins and streamers. Quack! If you notice, he is actually standing for his motto Sipag at Tiyaga – that is why he is campaigning as early as now. But if you think deeply, it’s about Pera at Tiyaga. Remember that politics connotes a big-shot money game, and whoever has the biggest pocket coupled by publicity and Tiyaga will definitely triumph; and Villar knows that very well. Don’t be fooled brethren! I just hope when you look at his picture, you would also think of the price of his smile or what’s at stake behind his smile. It is only by that that we come to think of other prospects who possess characters like integrity, intelligence, managerial skills, etc; or try to turn our gaze to other candidates that doesn’t speak but has engraved remarkable accomplishments like Bayani and Gibo Teodoro. Just think wise.

DOS: Who cannot notice of garbage in our surroundings? It flies, it rolls, and it happily crosses the street when blown by the wind. Although it provides opportunities for the poor to make money out of it, it nevertheless remains an eyesore. Let’s accept it: there is no such thing as waste. When man creates something, I am sure he creates it out of necessity. Whatever man created surely has use and possesses potentiality for other uses. Take the example of a plastic bag: aside from using it as a basket, it could also serve several uses such as container for other things at home. What is more interesting about a plastic bag is the fact that it can be recycled. And this is not just about plastic: all non-living things especially non-biodegradable are all recyclable.  And when you come to think of it, cleaning our planet is always in our reach and all you have to do is to think that “there is no such thing as waste”. So, when necessity is the mother of all inventions, waste is the most foolish invention a man has ever had – and it is not created out of necessity but lavishness and lethargy.

TRES: From 2008-2009, Real Estate developments in Iloilo increased by more than 50%.  This is quite amazing in so far as real property tax is concerned but may endanger the agricultural production over the year. At about 30% of some agricultural lands are converted if not declared as idle lands for further residential developments. The result is the appearance of streamers and ads on “House for Sale” or “Lots for Sale” that competes with the face of Manny Villar. Because the market in Iloilo is big, streamers doubled up in a matter of just one month. Tsk tsk tsk….Oh, Lord what happened? You gave us the land for free but were subjected into the enterprising elements of some. First, the land was divided into continent (Fine). Then by country (still fine). Then by administrative areas (ok, still fine). But this was divided again into small pieces down to a basic square meter which costs more than an average annual income of the poor (very bad!). Please have pity, oh God.

CUATRO: From Tagbak Terminal to office, I had a funny time counting the many Purified Water and Refill stations. In a matter of 7 kms.interval between the bus terminal and my office, I counted 13 stations. The number is believed to be unlucky by popular culture. Of course, it is unlucky since it will be doubled in a year because the demand for mineral water is constantly increasing. And surely there will come a time that when you speak of water, it automatically entails money. It is just amusing that big cities as New York, calls for the residents to take underground water because it’s clean and free. But that’s not the case in the Philippines. Whew!

CINCO: Last but not the least: When you are riding a jeepney, who wouldn’t notice a sexy lady sitting in front of you? In my case, she wore a green spaghetti dress with a very short skirt that will make you wonder if there is a shortage of textile in global market.

You know, it’s a big irony that amidst the global warming, clothes are becoming shorter and skimpier when in fact they should be made to hide our skin against UV rays. I guess the trend had turned a total opposite now. Today, nakedness becomes a trend where minimal clothing will suffice (hahaha). However, it could also be seen in a different way. Since we are sweating like hell due to extreme heat, I guess the picture below has a very good point.

global-warming-underwear

Anyway, that’s all for my travel amusement. Got to watch GMA SONA pa…hope something good will come out of it.

***

P.S. 1. President’s SONA is done. Superb! If there is one thing that can attest to her accomplishments – it is the statistics. Numbers just dont lie.

2. How would you imagine our country being managed by Estrada and Villar, or by rhetorical Legarda and Escudero amidst the global crisis?  I just couldn’t imagine. What we definitely need is a managerial president who knows every nook and crook of governance and have strategies to keep it working. With all conviction, backed by my experience economic research and urban planning job, GMA has provided that well.

3. “Too much for  Cory’s matter. Let’s shift our attention to her hacienda,” says an uring anakpawis.

Payo’ng Kuya

July 24, 2009 10 comments

warning-sign-thumb4385840‘Cuz, after a very busy week in the office, I feel happy now to get back to my computer and write things that caught my attention during my entire field work. I have noticed that while traveling, my mind soars high to think why the sun has to be yellow or why water has to be wet. And as exactly what I had feared, I have now turned out to be very speculative. Grrrr!

By the way, forgive me if I have been damn serious about some things with the tendency of attaching peculiar thoughts on them. This blog has been colored by some as a philosophy page simply because I was thinking weird. Sorry, I cannot help it. If there is anything or somebody whom you could trace back as to why I have been behaving like this, please turn your gaze to my course and my teachers for inculcating oddly ideas in my hollow cranium. Even when I have been speaking with ideas, deep inside I hate philosophy that I was eager to unlearn everything to get myself back to the ground.  But much to my gusto to keep away from it, I know it is now too late. Once philosophy takes hold of your brain, you no longer have the power to pull it out.  It is like the HIV virus – once you get infected, you have to bear with it for a lifetime. It will flow in you like blood and will grow like budding Parkinson’s, too capable to distort your cognitive skills. Once philosophy lures you, be sure to stand on guard or else you’ll be washed away with delectable baits of intelligence which serves like narcotics to drown you in elation. And you will be the biggest fool if you succumb to it. Why?  Because, in the end, after having been subjected to thorough indoctrination, you’ll realize that the simplest principles in life are what we learned from the children, from the farmers, from the priest, from your friends, and not the airy ideas of Santayana, Marx, Wittgenstein; and other boring names such Kierkegaard, Sartre, Bergson, Jasper; not to mention of course the hard to stomach lines of Mills, Hobbes, Spinoza and Descartes.

You see, there is a terrible risk in taking philosophy. My advice is simple: do not drink it nor eat it.  It might send you to a pedestal where you will be transformed into an oracle of Plato or a mooter of Aristotle and would be very busy cogitating about fascinating topics all for the sake of discussion. But I assure you in the long run, you will be too pre-occupied with ideas and you will start to get forget to put on your slippers or bakya in ascending to the pedestal – the more you progress, the bigger the gap grows between your feet and the ground.  Anyway, I just hope that I made myself clear. The risk of philosophy is high and I suggest do not take it as your course in college. Aside from the danger of losing your ground, you will find it hard to earn money to feed your stomach; and not just that, if you ostentatiously prove your mind, you will be mistaken to be crazy. So save your best for something worthy and while you still have time, SHIFT! After all, there is so much beauty in natural sciences than liberal arts. But if you really want to know about philosophy, all you have to do is read. It doesn’t need 4 to 5 years of finishing the course, either AB or PhB, to know it by heart. A little brain will suffice.

***

P. S. Joke! Hehehe.

Will vs. Nature: My Aesopian Revival

July 10, 2009 11 comments

scorpion and frogThere was a scorpion who wanted to cross the river after the rain had waned. “How can I cross this torrent when I don’t even know how to swim,” the scorpion said to himself as if he had another self who would reply to his question. He stared at the deep water whose current had grown very violent because of the storm. He pitied himself for his incapability to conquer such problem, so he forlornly waited for the water to ebb.

Eventually, during the rainy season, frogs by their amphibic nature came leaping from the thick pickets of leaves and swam to the ponds down to the river. They were the creatures who hailed their vespers on rainy season better than on summer; they were the ones who received rain with earnest gratitude, for water sustained their lives: too perennial for the perpetuity of their kind. These joyful species danced and sung in chorus now that the rainy season had finally begun. However, from the large group of amphibians, a green frog got lost in the crowd and preferred to find a good shade to rest. Then he chose to rest on the bank where he could look at the water to calm his mind. When he reached the bank, he noticed the scorpion atop a dry dead bark looking sadly at the gushing river.

“What’s wrong brother scorpion?” he asked jovially. “I want to cross this river and be at home before night fall to avoid the danger of being eaten by rats and nocturnal birds,” answered the scorpion. “Should you have the heart to carry me on your back, I will be able to cross to the other end by mid-day.” The frog suddenly felt compassion for the scorpion but remained reluctant to carry him.  “How will I know, by the way, that you would not sting me when we get to the middle,” he asked the scorpion. “Because  that would be my own death as well, we will both drown,” replied the scorpion.  “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!” stressed the frog as he began to look suspicious of what might be the outcome. ” Brother frog, I don’t really know how to swim. I could not dare do that,” said the scorpion. But the frog became incredulous over such matter and asked a wise question. “Brother, i know that the moment we successfully cross to other side, you could still kill me. How would I know then if I can still go back safe to the other side?”  “This is true brother, ” agreed the scorpion. “Yet, by that time, I will be filled with gratitude that I could no longer think of anything aside from thanking you.”

After giving a thought  and driven by so much compassion towards the scorpion,   the frog lowered his back and helped the scorpion up. They jumped into the water and started to cruise their way to the other side. Not far from the point of their departure, the frog felt the weight of the scorpion getting heavier. Then he felt a pang of pain and his body became numb – the scorpion stung him! And as they were drowning in the middle of the river, he furiously asked the scorpion. “Why did you do that, you fool?  Traitor!” The scorpion replied. “Brother frog, it is my nature to do that. You should have thought of it before agreeing with me. ”

***

P.S. 1. Let me  borrow the line of Giancarlo Livraghi in his essay, The Power of Stupidity:

The concept is applied in all sorts of ways to the analysis of history, or of recent events, on the “dark” side of human behavior.
There are countless variations. In a Lebanese version, the scorpion’s final words are «My dear, this is the Middle East». And, of course, this could apply to several other places.
There are infinite ways in which someone can be placed in the role of the scorpion – or the frog. In this irritating tale there is a disturbing truth: it really happens that people behave in incomprehensible manners with no excuse other than, “that is my nature”.
There is no aesopian “moral” of this fable. Its strongest meaning is that it can’t be explained. It’s the essence of stupidity (harming others at one’s own disadvantage) taken to its extreme consequences. A disease that lies deep in human nature. There are many examples, practically every day. We can laugh when they are just funny. But some are dismally tragic.

2. Are you acting out of your nature or by will?

We are All Weird

July 7, 2009 43 comments

weird_eyesWell, some things are normal; others are too bizarre by relative standards. Some things are good; others are evil. Yet, also, there are things that hit the point of normalcy. While others step towards the bi-polar (extreme), others are too comfortable to stay in the middle. Isn’t that weird? The varieties, the multitudes, and the differences of things are like jigsaw puzzles where a single amorphous slice is mustered with the rest to form a single picture.  So with much oddity, we claim this jigsaw puzzle as the world we live in.

You might  wonder what suddenly prompted me to write about this. Let me tell you what has dawned on me yesterday while doing my survey in the northern municipalities of Iloilo.  In the long range of the national highway, I saw a motorcycle running on its own towards us.  I wonder how a ghoul could hold such speed when his body is much lighter than a feather to possibly resist the strength of the wind and the law of momentum. Unless he had the power to turn himself as a solid bulwark, or he had been sent by God along with the city of angles, then that would be acceptable. When our marks  cross in paradoxical points of the Zeno principle, I was perplexed to see a man lying prostrate on the seat while driving his motorcycle. Wow, cool! Was this man practicing for a race or just mastering how to sleep comfortably while driving accordingly to aero-dynamic theory? Even our driver was greatly amused that he doubted whether what we saw was truly a man or an alien showcasing his valor.

Well, it is just strange how human behavior, by means of folly, can sometimes turn someone into a bozo.  All the while, I thought that there were people who are created to be like that and we often call them “the weirdos” simply because we do not know them personally. On the other hand, most of our acquaintances are considered normal, except for a few, since we have accepted their idiosyncrasies: their uniqueness has turned homogenous with our perception. What do I mean by that?

Imagine, a new employee could look horribly at first glance, only to realize that she isn’t that bad looking after a week of being with her. This is due to the changing of perception in time. The “uniqueness of man” is what makes him weird to others. But that would potentially fade when we get to know him better. Now if we try to cleanse our common perception and be a little keen over these things, we discover that all, including man, were created by means of oddity. And there is no way we could avoid such ordeals because, whether we like it or not, we meet them everyday in various forms and in various ways. For instance:  I remember how my fiancée danced awkwardly over Yoyo Ma’s Obrigado Brazil and  personally believed she was the best dancer in the world. Ngeek!  She even called me “weird” when I suggested to make her kimbot-kimbot a little graceful given that she was dancing in latin rhythm. What is weirder is when she repeatedly apologizes for her weirdness which I find hilarious at times. OMG, if she just realizes that she performs better by playing music than in interpretative dancing.

You and I and everybody we know are weird. On the contrary to the claim that weirdos are people we just noticed recently,  which might be true in some instances, and if we draw our perception deeper, even the persons we get accustomed to are weird in their own “unique” behaviors.  It is just that we couldn’t notice them because we have accepted all their crookedness .

Now with this conjecture, we inevitably start to ask: Is there someone we could find as perfectly normal? The answer may either be complex or too simple depending on our judgment: That someone is still we have yet to know and we still have yet to encounter.

***

P. S. 1. Sometimes, weirdness tacitly implies negativity which, in fact, is very wrong. On the contrary, it is this weirdness that colors this world beautifully.

Categories: philosophy Tags: ,

In the Land of Praying Mantis

July 4, 2009 18 comments

war_prayerThe first day of April begins. The once lush nara trees are stripped of its green canopies as the wind blows warm against the thick picket of the jungle. The new sprout will come out soon in a month where the praying mantises will be feeding on the soft saps of the trees that offer them a juicy delight after a long sleepless night of prayers. They remember that the past few days were like living hell where machines and humans with gritting teeth were hungry for living blood that it was such an honor to see their own kind fall to the ground as cadavers. All of these are happening just for the thirst of fulfilling their man’s belief. How terrible! In the tribe of the faithful, where prayer is the arche of existence, it is such a horrible sight, especially for the young, to continue praying with all this crackling and strafing in the jungle that result to mats of lifeless bodies and dissected guts, laid un-honored by men who blindly believe in the pragmatic sense of killing. Their machines, which a long time ago had never intruded the mantises in their night of prayers, have now morphed into indestructible and ferocious monsters that end all life that cross its way. Yes, all mantises witnessed these and how they loathed every sight of it. What is more horrible is to see men, who were once the herald of protection and the steward of nature have become the slaves of machines and as a result, killing his own kind without qualms. Such a blunder for human race to make machines and turn them into deities! Yet their belief has paved off well – to think of fighting to achieve a greater good in bid of a few lives that do not adhere by means of these machines. Not just that, even the young ones, the mothers, the elders, the natives, pay the price for all of these. Woe!

These mantises had been praying night and day asking nothing in vast cycles of life but a nourishment of soul where all creatures would live in harmony to praise heaven for its gifts. Yet no matter how they shout their lauds, nothing happens for it is impossible now for fools’ souls who have been devoured by the devil of warfare to change. Isn’t it an irony that amidst the cross constellation and the bright crescent moon, a herd of praying mantises are flinching to pray for peace yet given a raining bullet of destruction in return? Trapped in between two camps of fools, they feel abandoned, oppressed, and doomed. Such a pity that even yesterday, another young mantis was shut to death while reciting his morning matins…and how many more mantises will be knocked off in the coming days all for the sake of ideal peace? Woe!

***

P.S. South, what has become of you?

Categories: education, philosophy Tags: ,

Dreams

June 30, 2009 71 comments

Lost-in-DreamsLet the story proceed when the reader is hooked by its content, otherwise it would be a trite shamble of lines where one has to pick the best and muster the rest in a tedious way to decipher the idea of an author. So with all human affairs where platforms are laid for implementation once they gain approval from the beneficiaries. What about you? Aren’t you too deserved to continue once you woo the mind and buoy the heart of man so desperate to cross a different reality? But why are you elusive – too elusive even compared to human behavior? With how you feast on the futile mind of men, so others are foolish to easily believe in different realities molded by you. You are a selfish god that feeds the soul with flavors yet fails to quench its thirst; you are tricky devil that flaunts in men with so much delight; you are like a burner that singes the stove and suddenly gets bored and puts off your heat leaving the spices on top of you uncooked. Woe to you great magician who plays the mind with follies and keeps it form there with illusions!

Such a powerful dictator you have become. When ideas are slaves of the mind, you sneak like a burglar, so mischievous to leave a trace and escape like a bullet while paining other beings on your way out. Yet all of these happen in the same mind where the seat of ideas is controlled by human will. Are you really there or not? But even if you are there, you remain an enigma laughing on your tasks of creating characters in human sleep. If ideas are structured by the mind, you, on the other hand, work independently apart from it the way parasites feed on their host yet maintain a different identity of their own. But despite that, I exalt you for you alone are the biggest story maker, the best scene director, the most wicked script writer, and the admirable bohemian producer of all. Only you have the power to dominate the subconscious state – either to inspire and or lead it to its doom and insanity. You are a wicked genius. Has your intelligence prompted your creativity to toy my mind, let it be in exchange of a favor: do not leave me too soon.  Please, I just hate it when you do that because you will take a different form when you come back; and just for this moment, do not shut me out again. Not in the bookstore where between the piles of books, I see my heart’s desire: the beauty that has taunted me for years. And as I see her walking towards me, I beg you not to leave as darkness says goodbye at day-break.  Not in the bookstore where a blue floral skirt sways gracefully to capture my heart. After all, this is your creation…and I wish you continue it beyond the end of June.

Reading and Poverty: A Re-post

June 25, 2009 9 comments

SalvaRobertoBy Roberto S. Salva

I began to read prodigiously when I was around 17 years old. I was trying to make it on my own in the big city and found myself diving into abject poverty. If one of the priest-speechwriters of Jaime Cardinal Sin had not hired me as his research assistant, I would have been a janitor.

I applied as a janitor. I already had a plan. I would mop floors and clean rooms, and at the end of the day, I would come home, turn my lamp on and read. I could not have wished for a more comfortable arrangement.

I did research, instead, and read for work until late in the evening. But I still found time to come home and read for myself.

I had not probed into the reasons why I read and why reading seemed to iron out all the wrinkles at the end of my everyday life then. It is only now that I am able to ponder on reading after seeing the results of the Reading Surveys done by the Social Weather Stations in early 2003 and late 2007.

According to the surveys, around 91 percent of Filipinos in 2003 and 85 percent in 2007 read non-school books to gain knowledge and more information. As a statistician, I feel that something is amiss in the crafting of that category. Or, many of the readers may not have captured perfectly the reason why they read. (The next consistent reason given is “enjoyment.”)

It is hard to nail down the one reason why we read, much like falling in love. If we do give reasons, they do not give justice at all to the act. Yet, we continue to read, just as we continue to love.

The reasons given also seem inconsistent with the books read by most. The list is topped by the Bible (67 percent in 2007), followed by romance or love novels (33 percent), cookbooks (28 percent), comic books (26 percent), and religious or inspirational books (20 percent).

Except for cookbooks, the books on the list are not the best books to read if we want to gain knowledge or more information. We do attain certain knowledge and get information from these books but if we are reading toward these ends, we are being inefficient. Enjoyment as the primary objective for reading would have made more sense, given that list.

But it would have been awkward for the survey respondents to give more emphasis on “enjoyment” rather than the more ideal reason of gaining knowledge as the reason for reading. We are a predominantly Catholic country after all, and we abhor any trace of pleasure in our bones.

Given also our education and our country’s poverty, reading for pleasure seems to be an impractical reason. And this is not the time to be impractical.

readerPerhaps reading is really not practical, especially if we are living in poverty. When I was 17 and poor, I did not read for some pragmatic results that reading would have in my life. But with my every reading, I was able to struggle with the imagination, rationality and ideas of Dickens, Chesterton, Camus, Kafka, Buber, Augustine, Marcel, Levinas, Chaim Potok, Fr. Roque J. Ferriols—some of the authors on my reading list then. (And yes, I am bragging a little.)

I found compassion and camaraderie in these authors. My own imagination and my own ideas surfaced and they were strengthened by being rubbed against their works. I had no illusions whatsoever that I was in their league. (But that is another one good thing about reading books: we rub elbows with the authors, even the big ones.)

Reading made me acknowledge the existence of my own imagination, my own ideas, and my own visions. My own mind. These were strengthened with every reading.

If you are poor and marginalized, you need to have your own mind for important discourses are taking place with every step you take toward development—every single step.

Being poor and marginalized—as I have observed in myself, in the urban poor I worked with before and among the people I am working with now—is like being stuck as a teenager. You do not seem to have control over your life. You don’t have your own money. Nobody seems to understand you. You hear a lot of voices telling you that you do not belong, how you should be, how you should live your life, how far you can go and what your limits are. The loudest voices come from within.

It is easy to be defeated by these voices when you do not have your own mind. It is easy to accept that you are poor because you are supposed to be lazy. You are a criminal because you live in the squatters’ area. You deserve to be ridiculed and treated badly because you are deaf or poor. You do not have to go to college because higher education is only for those who are “normal.” You do not have a future because you were born to a hopeless situation. You do not read because reading is only for the educated and the well-placed.

Most of the development initiatives do not touch upon the discourses going on in the mind of the poor and the sidelined. There may be livelihood projects, but do you know that many urban poor are paralyzed when they are asked to fill up a bio-data form or to take a personality test? Gawad Kalinga may build you a house, the microfinance institute may give you access to credit, and your community organization may give you a voice, but what happens when you have your house, money or voice?

Read.

[From the Philippine Daily Inquirer]

***

P.S. 1. In regard to learning, poverty is seen as the tallest bulwark to conquer. But hey, this boy proved that wrong by falling in love with books.  You know, it always saddens me to realize that we have a novelist as a national hero and yet we lack the love for books – books that are piling in the libraries that mingle with the dust of disinterest.  If books could  walk and speak, surely they’ll come knocking at our doorstep and urge us to make use of them. Alas, that will never happen.

2. My special thanks again to Mira for sharing this. Still, nobody beats her better with books. Should you like to take a peek, here’s a link to her blog : ஐ Les Fleurs d’un Livre ஐ.

Looking Back to the Ground

June 12, 2009 10 comments

PILIPINAS_by_luigi09 I watched the celebration of 111th Independence Day Celebration at Koronadal, South Cotabato at the local channel this morning. It was unusual for GMA to hold such celebrations outside Luzon when all memories lurk around the 8 provinces that fought the Spaniards during the 1896 Revolution. Though quite peculiar, I found the celebration very significant since independence is ought to be celebrated all throughout the country; not to mention, of course, the job packages that GMA had given the people of Koronadal.

Perhaps a lot of bloggers have posted the same topic over the net and my entry might seem a mere replica, if not, an elaboration of other posts. But I swear I haven’t read any of those yet and the thing that most intrigued me about our Independence Day may either be accepted or refuted. It is of the reader’s opinion which side he decides to camp with.

Does June 12 serve as authentic date of our independence? You may have encountered this query as often as the debate between Rizal and Bonifacio during college days; there is always the dispute between the June 12 and July 4 as to which should be the prime date to mark. Even the Philippine Historical Institute had found this very compromising and left the case to the national government to declare which date should be marked as the national holiday, and after a thorough consultation with historians and experts, June 12 was formally declared. And as far as my memory doesn’t betray me,  it was President Diosdado Macapagal (father of the current President) signed Republic Act No. 4166 into law, returning the Independence Day observance to June 12.Pilipinas kong mahal

The declaration was all based on one premise: June 12 was fought by Filipinos while July 4 was granted by Amboys. But we all know that the Aguinaldo’s declared republic in Kawit, Cavite didn’t last long when Americans took over our country. In fact, his government was never recognized outside the revolutionaries’ domain. One irony about it is the existence of a prior government that even Aguinaldo himself knew, and that could not be other than that of Bonifacio’s.

Andres (the Great Plebian), who existed in the other pact of KKK, had founded a government which he called “Katagalogan” far before Aguinaldo declared his own. Sad to say, only few know about this. I guess that Aguinaldo’s declaration became popular because of no complex reason except that the historians who wrote the first account of revolution were all Aguinaldo’s men. If ever there were independent chroniclers, they were too lazy to excavate the whole truth regarding the plight of the revolutionaries. So which is which? Should we not also consider the declaration of Bonifacio valid? If yes, then should we also consider Bonifacio as our 1st president?

Then came the Amboys. After the WW II, our country was finally given independence to start with the Philippine Second Republic which was eventually headed by Manuel Roxas. Unlike the 1st Republic, it wasn’t curtailed by colonization and this was the time Filipinos drafted a new constitution, though tinged with an American prototype. Although this was just granted and not fought for, it gave rise to what we have right now and that somehow shaped us as a country. I am not against June 12 so to say, but rather how it is implemented and how history should be “re-written” to make everybody critically understand about our past. Only then shall we redefine what constitute us as a nation with a profound past to start with. And lastly, if this conjecture is accepted, wouldn’t July 4 (Filipino-American Friendship Day) deserve to be marked red in our calendars too?

***
P.S. If Bonifacio’s presidency is accepted, then GMA is our 15th president. And if July 4 is marked as our Independence Day, then GMA falls as our 10th president.

The Unseen Geniuses

June 10, 2009 18 comments

unseen genius

1. The Scavengers: Nobody knows how to make a living out of human waste more adeptly. Why shouldn’t we learn solid waste management by simply watching them?

2. The Children: Nobody in this world posts such unsolvable questions than children. Why shouldn’t we learn to be inquisitive from these little angels?

3. The Aetas: Nobody knows the importance of walking to conserve energy and reduce carbon emission better. Why should not we appreciate the beauty of walking  to  save our pockets and our natural resources from running dry?

4. The Insane: Nobody knows freedom in a more advantageous way. They are even  more cultivated than Sartre in knowing what freedom is. Why shouldn’t we learn that joy can be found even in the most trivial things?

***

P.S. Are not they part of this beautiful world, too?

Memory of May: The Case of Mary

June 8, 2009 20 comments

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It has been an annual tradition in the Parish of St. Antonio de Padua to celebrate Santa Cruzan and the culmination of Flores de Mayo on May 31. This was the time when the streets were lined by beautiful floral canopies to beautify the yearly procession for the Lady of Flowers. Reyna Helena (some calls her Elena) led the procession along with pretty muses and adorable tykes that acted as little angels in the jam packed street of Barotac Nuevo. Despite the drizzle and the strong wind that occasionally blew the skirts of these charming ladies, the procession proceeded with solemnity. And as parcaticed, people obligingly gathered around to either take a glimpse of the passing beautiful ladies or say their intercessions to the Blessed Virgin. This religious activity was very relevant to the faithful especially the devotees of various Marian organizations. This was the time when Mary was adorned and venerated by Barotacnons. Yet, regardless how this created impact to the followers, the question of faith was always present. This was one of the particular times when our belief for Blessed Mother was most vulnerable to various attacks from other denominations.  And yes, this was also the time that being catholic, you were confronted to defend your faith much more the practices that supported it.

I chose to take shelter in a small carinderia instead of following the pacts of faithful. I was taken aback when a lady sitting near the window spat outside and uttered a ribald remark on certain catholic practices. I faced to look at her furiously but calmed down instantly as I was taught to respect other beliefs. Yet her cursing grew violent making her remarks very annoying. I confronted the lady amiably and asked what was wrong with this practice. The lady mockingly replied that it was such a blunder to believe in the “virginity of Mary.”  She challenged me to explain, with biblical text supports as assumed, the virginity of Mary. Honestly, I am not adept in Bible as our brothers and sisters of different faith are very particular to. What I am after is the meaning of the scriptures that have impact in my life.  So I ignored her for the last time and focused back to the fading procession.

All the while, I was sure that Catholics were not crazy to come up with such dogma regarding Mary as Virgin. It was after all about honoring the Mother of God. Will Jesus get angry if we love His mother?  Or will He feel jealous when we venerate His mother? I guess not. If you ponder on how a human father wants a best house or even a best job for his son how much more our Father in Heaven wants His only Son to be reared by the purest of human race. I guess doubting Blessed Virgin Mary is like believing that Jesus married Magdalene. But whoever was right, the respect to one’s faith stood as the most important thing. Hence, I chose to remain silent.

***

P. S. 1. I am aware that some of our brothers and sisters really hate Mama Mary to the point of smashing and breaking her innocuous images and statues. I am just curious what would Jesus feel to see His mother being ridiculed and humiliated all for the sake of one’s belief.

2. I believe that faith is private. It means that something might have meaning to me but might appear completely ridiculous to you. The best way to settle it is to have respect for the variety of faiths. And if there is way of correcting the mistakes, it should be done by peaceful confrontation.

On Creativity and Education

June 4, 2009 16 comments

School days have finally commenced. Students and teachers are once again lining up the gates and swarming like ants to catch the 7:30 flag ceremony. I could draw from their faces the excitement for another school-year adventure and the longing for further learning among the few. Others were pouting because the comfortable summer vacation is over and the teacher looked threatened for their comfort zones may be wrecked once again by the opening of classes. The contrast – which I find very amusing – is very apparent in their faces but the question of “education” which revolves around the teacher-student affinity seemed like a ghost hanging around intangibly. Do they really think of “education” upon stepping on the school premises? Do students and teachers alike think of essential education apart from the daily ordeal in school? Or do they simply want to go to school because education is a pre-requisite to a better future? And are teachers really chaste in their vocation to provide quality instructions as mandated by decree, or are they merely after a stable salary that the government is giving them without minding the thirsty souls of children that confront them five days a week? I really don’t know the answer. All I know is both student and teacher have the responsibility to make education a way of life and not just a ladder for achievement. Yet the heavier part lies much on the mentors whose purpose is to establish concrete learning among young minds and to orchestrate the students to understand the importance of education. As of now, let’s hope for the better days when we can answer these questions with certainty and conviction.

The other day, my officemate was complaining that her daughter was enrolled back to the regular class after a couple years in the special science program of Leon Elementary School. I didn’t give much attention to that. What really shocked me was when she mentioned the effacement of special science classes on all public schools. I really don’t know the reason why DepEd would eradicate such useful programs among public institutions now that it’s started to pick up some fruitful academic results and provided a huge progress on the demarcation of Philippine education. If ever there is a flaw in the current program, total effacement is not the answer but a simple modification on some of the basic management. But whatever their reason I hope that they have a better alternative that would not end up as another white elephant. Again let’s hope for the better.

This morning one of my most beloved brilliant bloggers, Meewa, shared a very brilliant video clip from Youtube. It speaks of education and creativity which I really find very educational and hilarious. Since knowledge is meant to be shared, I posted this video for interested pals. Since it took us more than a decade to finish proper schooling, we should be able to spare a moment for a 20-minute video clip on education and creativity. I promise you will love it.  Please bear with the British accent though.

***

P. S. 1. Mir, thanks for this educational and entertaining lecture. Had he been my professor, I would have turned out to be a lecturer too. Hahaha! We’re free to dream, di ba? I think my little super kulit tots, S____ Paz and Christian, will be home schooled too. I also wish them to be part of TED too.

2. Another admired brilliant blogger, Gabi, posted this question: “What does it mean to be educated?” I finally picked an answer: It means creatively imparting your education to others.

Categories: arts, education

Amor, Mi Amor

May 26, 2009 21 comments

l o v e

It was 5:00 am and the clock was ringing, competing with the crowing outside in reminding me of another laborious day to earn a meager living for my family. I opened my eyes and looked for a little glinting of light from the window; it was indeed another good day to thank the Lord for giving me another chance to correct my past mistakes. I skimmed the bed trying to look for a particular softness that mended my heart in times of uneasiness; a tenderness that soothed my temperament to slow down and think of the right decisions in life. Yet, all I saw were folded quilt and pillows piled beside the headboard. It was natural to wake up without her by my side for I was always in a rush, hence leaving what was supposed to be the most important part of my life. Time could really be playful as it might potentially lead you to self-development or self-destruction. Good thing that I was providentially reminded how important it is to diligently see the essential things in life. Thank you Lord.

It was 5:00 am and it was this time that the crowing became louder as roosters alternately rejoiced to another day-break. I got up from the bed and searched for my slippers which were regularly hidden beneath the piano. I was amazed to see my books neatly arranged in the shelf which I left scattered above the table the other night. My shoes were polished and my things were systematically kept on my desk. I sat back in bed, closed my eyes and uttered my simple prayers of thanksgiving, forgiveness and guidance. Words were so natural that it flowed placidly from my mind; and I had never felt more intimate with God than that particular hour. I took a deep savoring the lightness of the morning air and imbibing the energy that flows to my sinews. The fragrance that envelops my breath was enticing as the air became more sweet and tempting. “Ah! What a beautiful morning!,” I told myself. I could not be happier than to love and loved back. I opened the door and lingered in the doorway. She was there busily preparing the meal for her husband.  Her smooth hair cascaded naturally on her back, the fairness of her skin exuded a lovely brilliance and the supple figure attracted my manliness all at once… She was beautiful and I loved her so much! I turned my gaze at my finger which was adorned by this gold ring – a ring that bound me to her forever even after eternity ends if there is such.  And sensing my presence she turned around and with her charming white face filled with love and commitment, lovingly smiled at me.

Ahhh…

***

I couldn’t ask for more than to love and be loved in return. Very Simple.

Categories: of love Tags: , , ,

Rejoicing in Despair

May 19, 2009 22 comments

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I am always fascinated in the way  physics shows how things function in various paradoxes. With string theories rounding up the fluctuation in the motion of particles in the universe and the theory of relativity shedding a new dimension on the wrinkle in time, I believe that science gradually moves up to another vicious cycle recurring what have been missed out by former minds and developing a more definite explanation of the universe. Physical science is always an interesting subject as it scopes everything within the reach of our knowledge. Yet what really impresses me is what I came across about Newton’s discussion on human affair and how it functions along with universal laws. It is true that human emotion is very puzzling that it constantly escapes human knowledge, but with regards to how someone behaves in time, it could easily be predicted as easy as an apple is expected to fall  to the ground. Negative is usually followed by positive or the other way around. When you are crying right now, you will eventually laugh in the coming days; when you are alone, you will definitely find company; and when there is sunrise, it will be followed by sunset. Why? In life we are following a path and whether we try to diverge from it, universal laws will always keep us back to the track… just like what Newton said, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

So why despair when you know you will be happy?

***

P.S. In every law there is an exemption and this young lady is one. Mikaela Irene Fudolig started to be very brilliant and will always be brilliant all throughout. 🙂 I wonder if studying physics makes us trancend its laws. Correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

Mr. A Outwits Devil Genie

May 11, 2009 15 comments
the defeated genie

the defeated genie

The genie ascended from the lamp in form of thick smoke and filled the room with terror, and his overwhelming presence shook the earth. Aladdin held his ground while gripping the lamp and sweating from the horror that the evil might overpower him. The fear he experienced was like nothing he ever felt during the thousands of war-stricken Arabian nights in the desert, where men were cut with hatred and left as carcasses for vultures to feed on. And yes he was afraid, more afraid than a man whose perished soul awaits the eternal damnation in hell. He thought this would be the last of his life where the only person that mattered in his life would be taken away from him forever.  The genie was very fierce in his stance that any violation in the contract would mean an endless plague to his tribe. So he prayed hard that his last wish would be right as the smoke enveloped his torso spiralling up to his head and wringing every single nerve of his body. He never felt heat like it before, not even when the desert sun’s heat was duplicated ten times, thus draining his energy. Yet Aladdin never gave out for he knew he had to finish the last wish. “Allah,” he said in silence, “let the coolness of your embrace protect me and blow your breath on my face to refresh my drooping spirit to overcome my bravado”. He knew his last wish was crucial as this would be the very end of his dream. The pact had been agreed – Aladdin would have his wish granted in exchange for Jasmine. He turned his gaze to the smoke that filled with various souls from the underworld. How horrifying the sight was for a man who wished nothing but the happiness for his people.  First, he had wished for the abundance of the crop in the sand; secondly, for the effacement of poverty along the street; and now, the end had come…a single mistake would mean an onerous consequence for him and his people. He closed his eyes and fervently prayed as the resounding voice thundered in the dark room calling his name: “Aladdin, utter your last wish that I may have my taste of your lover’s blood.” Aladdin with all his courage trudged the darkness and raised his head. “I have nothing left in this world but legacy – legacy that would create a harmonious world where people share the blessings of Allah and partake in eternal jubilation in his name. There is no nobler wish than to see people walking hand in hand in peace  and transcending the differences in the world. And you can never take that dream from me for my heart does not succumbed to human greed as you expected. Therefore, I wish that I will have a million more wishes to be granted, lest my village’s death be served. That alone devil, is my wish and never will it violate the agreement.”

***

P. S. My youngest sister, Trisha, always asks me to tell her stories… did I invent an acceptable one?

Salamat Nanay

May 10, 2009 12 comments

mag-ina sa banig by nestor leynes,1960

Mag-ina sa Banig by Nestor Leynes,1960

“Madamo gid nga salamat Nanay.”

***

P.S. 1. Happy Mothers Day to the three brilliant mothers in my blogroll: Mommy Grace , Mommy Xena and Mommy Fracesca.

2. To Sr. Rose Amacanin, SPC who has been a spiritual mother to me, Happy Mothers Day.

3. To all the mothers to be…my greetings for you as well.

4. To all women in the world, you have been mothers in your unique ways…Happy Mothers too.

Categories: of love Tags: , ,

Question and Answer Portion

May 7, 2009 13 comments

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When I was a child I kept asking my folks  about many things even though I had not grasped all of it.  That was because my fetal mind had not yet evolved into a digital processor which digests  and rationalizes information and transforms them into knowledge. My brain was a mere bucket that catches all the data including nonsensical remarks and different versions of truth from the older people even though they themselves were convinced of their fictitious contents; the worst, they would just shoo me by telling that my time would eventually come to understand these things. Thus, I hanged like a monkey deprived of one more step in the vast room of natural selection and shunned into developing confidence to search for answers. As a child, confusion was a question unresolved. I did believe in that.

Not anymore. Even now that I am past twenty and answers are available in all corners in the world, you tend to lose the inquisitive nature of a child in you. The childlike characters simmered down to oblivion as answers can be achieved in just a mere click of a keyboard. Just press the enter key and charan! All answers are yours. Yet, with this wide array of theories and laws, I still couldn’t convince myself of a single truth. The shambles of thoughts have created confusion in the current learning process and in turn reduced everything to ambiguity. Which is; which isn’t?  This is the best latte!  No I think it isn’t because this hip is better. And how in the world will one know that we definitely evolved from monkeys well in fact my family looks more of a wildcats? Oh yes! Wildcats are lovers of coffee compared to monkeys and therefore Starbucks lovers ascended from wildcats. Meoww you! This might be ridiculous in one sense but it  bears some point. As what I have learned in elementary science, we all come from a unicellular creature evolved to adapt to the changing world; mitosis moved in rapid pace along with the rotation of our mother earth resulting to diversions between a monkey and wildcats.  Even the neo-Darwinist discovered that humans have 120,000 similar genes with rodents. Hail you scientists! But can’t you see we all evolved in amoeba and it is not a remarkable discovery after all.  It is not surprising that our behavior may resemble like rodents populating the street and not minding the dreams and hopes of our progeny in confine with global economic recession.  Do you think Adam then was an amoeba formed into a rat? Maybe yes, maybe no. We never know.

I am not to speculate about things here. What I am trying to derive is:  in this world, there is a great danger in confusion. And this is really bad as the A(H1N1) that is highly contagious. It will drive you away from truth and cunningly enough to lead you to no certainty. Hence, cease walking my friend and start to examine life. Look at knowledge with contempt by probing it. Question it, I say.  However, I do not claim to know life nor claim as notable intellectual who roams the greatest café of Paris drinking and indulging in talks concerning the  existent paradoxes for I am just a lowly man, plain and trivial. I just want you to know that it is better to be childlike than to be lost as intellectual. In life, sometimes questions are far essential than answers.

***

P.S. Questions are ubiquitous and sometimes very irritating, but only through responding to these questions shall we leave our imprints, either good or evil.

I have nothing against my nature coming from wildcats, as long as my soul emanated from God.

Categories: philosophy Tags: , ,

Hooray!

April 30, 2009 20 comments

April and May are glorious months for my loved ones as two of my siblings graduated this year. After all the hardships and brain-straining academic requirements, they finally made it to the end – to march in the hall with pride and jubilation. Nothing can compare the rewards one gets in school as he is reminded of the beautiful stage in which he could repay with pride the hardships of his folks. One can only appreciate the summit when he has laboriously clambered the boulders and the precipice with diligence and patience. It is in this way that one can say, “I have conquered it, and that I deserve this.” These two young fellows have made it…and as a brother who supported them in various ways, I too have felt the same happiness as they ascended to the stage to get their last clearance in school. Bravo! I say, Bravo!

my family during my brother's graduation
my family during my brother’s graduation

Let me start with this boy. I know your body has been bruised and your heart and mind, tortured, but still with faith in God and perseverance, you were able to surpass all the hurdles in your way. And now, look at you! You have changed into a man of honor wrought by big dreams. A military school is not an ordinary learning institution. This is a place where you will be hammered for survival and will be proselytized to think differently. But I tell you – as I know you will be very brilliant to understand this – success is nothing unless you relate it to genuine service. The best thing in life is not to make a ladder for your job but to make the job as your ladder to fulfill your dreams. It is through this that you will understand the people who need your service. Military lessons may have made you strong but bear in mind that you will always be human with a fragile emotional side. In a place where there will be war and chaos stands as a formidable adversary, you have to keep your health and emotions steady.  Keep your head low and plant your feet in the ground and serve the people as best as you can with integrity. After all, your call is in public service. So keep it up. Congratulations and may God guide you always.

from left:  Mae, Me, Danica, and Kit
from left: Mae, Me, Danica, and Kit

And to you young lady… I have known your intelligence as quite remarkable the moment you open up things with bizarre ideas. Surely UP had made you into a weirdo. Not a weirdo patched with thick spectacles and dressed like a geek that sometimes could be mistaken for a bozo, but a strange lady who prefers the company of older people and sensible fellows which the majority of your batch has failed to replicate. Because I know, deep in your heart, that in all stages in life, you put learning as your priority. Now that your course is done, I wish you all the best. Just remember that graduation is not the end but the beginning of a more challenging life ahead. Your highschool (when you were crowned as one of the top Ilonggo students) and college years in UP were the happiest in life, keep the memories with you but move on to the road of your expertise. I hope you will always stand up to the call of UP to contribute to the “National Pride.” Keep that as well along with your noble dreams in life. Congratulations! I’m very proud of you.

My congratulations also to Eva Marie and to Diana (Cum Laude). Remember the valedictory speech : “We are what we repeatedly do…Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” You too have the responsibility to contribute to our National Pride. God bless you.

***

P.S. Moyx, Zamboanga is a very treacherous place and bullets are unstoppable monsters that shatter dreams and curtail life, so please take care.

Din, basketball always makes you happy, but don’t you think it’s time that you shift to football? By the way UP Fighting Maroons is the champion in UAAP Football-Men against FEU, 1-0.

Remembering Nietzsche

April 27, 2009 10 comments

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Light the world, I say, Zarathustra and tell them what human innards mean? Is it a mass made of human linings, soaked by mortal blood and run by the breath of the land? Or is it the inner condition, nourished by the physical world to go out like a voice that constantly trenches even when forced to keep silent? Draw near to the crowd, madman, and preach that one has to get insane to refresh his soul in the fountain of conversion. Tell them that one has to struggle for ascent, not just by the external body but by innards as well, hence one has to get insane. Yes insane, not by losing one’s mind but by courageously breaking away from the crowd. But both have to move across the beauty of inanity like a beast patiently waiting for the coming of spring, dreaming and preempting the great rapture of feasting with prey again. Preach to them that it is through that that the man breathes like the freest creature on earth. And tell them, madman that you are that beast peeling your skin then cloth yourself like a king among the crowd with innards blooms like flowers that move out of your throat and grow towards the sun. Oh please speak Zarathustra!

Light your lamp once again, so the crowd may see you like a flash of lighting, so subtle but fierce enough to break the ground. Explain to them, that God is really dead! but not the way they understood. When human mind fussed with traditional values and it no longer think apart from these, remind your people to break away like a married couple escaping the domain of their parents to burrow their own nest. And it isn’t your word that brought distraction but the shallow conception of their brain. Yes God is dead in ephemeral ways, but he is there beyond human concepts. When the church and religion formed deities, either out of pragmatism or representation, does God lives within their confines? Frame God and he is dead, explain God and he is dead! Tell them madman, that deep in your heart you want them to believe that He is there all along, ever existent, yet constantly escapes human logic.

So light your lamp even brighter, like the moon illumines the night, and usher the truthful way with valor. Let the world remember that the madman, who was judged and stoned to death, remained constant in his preaching: “break away from the crowd, make a difference and follow the path to overman.”

Zarathustra, through your death, your mind becomes the pillar; your tears becomes the calming ground; and your body the solid foundation of the progress of philosophy that neither me nor others can be worthy of thanking of…and even your breath ceased to reverberate, your text shall be remembered throughout the ages.

When the Wind Blows

April 21, 2009 16 comments
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When the wind blows and the world feels its invisible energy, the spirit dances in rhythm like an infant who takes his first step, occasionally losing his balance yet remains persistent to go on. When the wind blows and the dry leaves say goodbye to the branches, the child is mesmerized by such wonder despite his unawareness of the laws of the universe. When the wind blows, the child heart is singed with delight the way a new born rejoices to the taste of his mother’s breast. When the wind blows and the heat is swept aside, filling the thirst for coolness of physical countenance, the wizened and gaunt body leaps for joy like the mother who awaits her child’s arrival filling her heart with youthful gladness. And when the wind blows and his thin hair magically sways in its whistle, the inner sensation of a child glides along its tune – how beautiful! Oh, how wonderful is the child to dream big embodied by his wriggling kite in the clear blue sky, when the wind blows.

When the wind blows, and the sunlight burst to illuminate her milieu, how she likes to hold him in her arms and claim him hers forever. When the wind blows, she dances like a butterfly that has been liberated from the darkness of its cocoon; and how she wishes that she would constantly enjoy the moment forever. When the wind blows and her skirt frenetically flies, how she longs for freedom with her child in her bosom to take the ride of life. Oh, how eager for an Eve to pray for her child to grow upright, when the wind blows.

When the wind blows, no matter how poverty takes reign, the mother and the child feel like they own the world. When the wind blows, they experience the world is being fair to all hungry souls who either long for the fruit of nature or thirst for nourishment of the spirit. When the wind blows and the water ripples like mighty laces that animate the sea, how their hearts find consolation in hope for paradise. When the wind blows, and the leaves chatter like huddling prophets, how they both know that God never leaves them desperate. So when the wind blows and the leaves speak, the mother and child are reminded of the wide gate that awaits to welcome them to heaven. And oh, how Jesus regains its pallet and paints the world anew, when the wind blows.

***

P.S. I hope it’s not too late to greet everyone: Happy Easter!

Categories: philosophy Tags:

Paradiso in Iloilo

April 7, 2009 26 comments

pic2 The temperature hit 33 degrees in North Iloilo and people were hiding from the obnoxious sun rays that could curtail the dreams of  Americans in attaining a fair complexion. Yet no matter how hot the day was, the fact that summer is meant for escapades, my family decided to try island hopping in what I deem the most beautiful place at the world’s end- Isla Higante. It is even more beautiful and virgin than Boracay which I think is not worthwhile for an urban getaway.

The place was a couple of hours from mainland Carles in the northern tip of Iloilo, where you would be welcomed by white sand beaches and boobies perching on huge boulders.  The view of Sicogon Island alone could make you jump from the motor boat and savor the grandiosity where it had once been known as the haven of God.  As we neared the place of Higante Norte, we disembarked and immersed in cool crystalline waters that either refreshed my soul or healed my longing to be in union with nature. The sand was fine as silk which was fascinating for a mortal like me to experience. The place was indeed holy for the natives for most of them owe their lives to the abundance of the sea. And upon docking at the island, one would be mesmerized by gigantic sea walls engineered by divine hands themselves. You wouldn’t believe that this place exists in a parochial and bucolic place in Iloilo. Ahhh!, I say, “there is nothing more beautiful in life than to experience beauty itself! And this place is divine beauty!”

pic3edited

The place was extraordinary and the experience would not have been complete unless you explored its rocky mountains. My brother and my cousins trekked the rock mountain of barangay Granada for two and a half hours. And when we reached the top, Lo! The UP flag was there signifying that UP students had conquered this place before. Had I brought my marker, I would write “Uno ka? 100 Ako.” The beauty became more exhilarating when we started to sing the “Top of the World.”

But as a curious man, I didn’t limit myself in mere experience for I always wanted to know. And so I roamed the community and asked the people about the place, its origin and myth. The place was indeed fascinating as every island has its story to tell, yet people were more enamored by the tale of Higantes.

Higantes Islands are two big islands endowed with rich natural beauty. On the north, lies the panoramic barangay Granada and barangay Asluman as the fishing drop point of the island. In Asluman, you would find the most satisfying shells like scallops, diwal, oysters, budyong¸ and tuklap-tuklap which are gathered for exportation. On the south, barangay Gabi stands majestically with its wide span of white sand beach (Antonea) and barangay Lantangan on the other end which is very mysterious because of its rock formations that exactly looks like Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings. Some folks claimed that this was once a fortress or a castle of engkantados where they have sporadically seen a golden boat docking. It had a multitude of caves and a blue lagoon inside known as Tangke. Also, there are said to be sea portals in the place where you will be transported to Masbate and Aklan. According to the natives, the caves and portals were beautiful window drapes and Turkish doors long time ago. But as time progresses and human civilization advances, the beauty of a place regresses. This only means that the ascent of human knowledge is also the death of myths.

But why Higante? When you look at the two islands from a distance, you would see forms of two sleeping giants The one is called Babayi, which is located in the south (Sur) and the other Lalaki in the north (Norte). In the between the two islands were two big boulders which were called Higantuna and Higantillo, also known as children of the giants. In short this is a family group of islands, exactly suitable for families who like worthwhile adventures. In this life, we only have a lifetime to spend, and it is just beautiful to experience a paradise right here, right now way ahead our own deaths. If Dante’s Paradiso exists, it can be found in Higantes.

***

P.S. If you like to evade this boisterous world, come to Higante Islands and not to Boracay. You’ll be surprised how Boracay can be more urban compared to some cities in the Philippines. Higante is completely opposite because instead of hanging with people and wasting your pocket to zero you will be partying with nature itself – crows, boobies and hawks; crabs, lobsters, shrimps; scallops, oysters and other shells; monkeys and wild cats; sea snakes and eels; rays and tunas; corals and urchins. And believe it, we only spent a quarter of our total expense in Boracay!

The Cry of Lemo-Ulan Batur

March 18, 2009 7 comments

Every race and every age gives God its own mask. But behind all masks...is always the same never-changing God - Nikos Kazantzakis

Every race and every age gives God its own mask. But behind all masks...is always the same never-changing God - Nikos Kazantzakis

Holding the staff in his hand, he sat on the ground and palmed the sand, feeling its smoothness wringing gently on his hand down to his wrist. The grains were like living creatures that struggled to escape the frame of human bars the way water spontaneously evades the bedrocks that block its way; that is because everything in this world is free yet moves accordingly to universal norms. The sand will always have its way in the ground as the smoke always tends to ascend in the sky. And in this blackness of the night, no matter how apparent the contrast among things, the intensity of darkness engulfed all colors and the only thing that illuminated the world was the terrestrial flicker way above its sphere. He knelt on the sand and ardently prayed that life for humanity would progress in perfection in the multitude of human civilizations. Feeling the pricks of the sand and the sweetness of the night he knew that in the desert would man find the greatest harmony in the world. It is the only place where heaven copulates with earth like intimate lovers that constantly desire each others beauty. This desert with its enormous space provided is an ineffable source of heavenly wisdom that transforms the self into a prophet of peace. Yet, even when he tried to convince himself of the peaceful atmosphere, his mind asserted that what he had witnessed signified that violence originated in this very sand. How ironical that the world ‘s greatest moralist was reared and nourished in this place yet unable to make any changes to abate human conflict.  It had even gone worse in consequent years. Yes! He knew that it all started with the Word; and things were all beautiful that God called it his greatest masterpiece. But the Word became  a sword; and the only difference between them is the letter “s”. Its “S” for Satan or for serpent which creeps on the sand tempting Christ to denounce his obedience and sneaking its way to human weaknesses and atrocities. What happened to the world was nothing but mere transgression of human desires that consequently distorted man. And this grotesque serpent seemed to enjoy his legacy- the wars and the dying of million lives. The sword as opposed to the Word  blinded man of its own place; and that even God’s writ has been interpreted in various ways which proved onerous to the hope of unity.

In this vast desert, its not human cry that can be heard but also the lamentation of the land which has been soaked not with water but with human blood that either torments its spirit or curtail its hope; and how sad that it began with the idea of God whose name resulted to horrific wars in the world tinted by what we deemed religion.  This is totally reciprocal to what the Red Crescent speaks, or the blood-laden Cross preaches, or the Magein David symbolizes. This is a fiasco of human follies and hidebounds in comprehending the universal essence of peace.  With this terrible angst that overwhelmed him, he turned his gaze up to the sky and searched for immanent constellations that have been witness to the rise and fall of religion and the devil behind it.  He beat his breast and shouted his song: “Lord, when will this world see your face that lurks behind the cross or the crescent or the mark of David; when will your people know that unity can only be achieved in embracing the differences in this world.” He then stood up to his feet removed his black robe and shouted, “I am a priest in Muslim faith, and I am Muslim with a Christian God, and I am a Jew living in both ways. Will this meager soul quench its thirst when I embrace You, Oh God, unbounded by human constructs and ephemeral symbols? Tell me Lord, when will your kingdom come? Or shall we fight the serpent on our own? Help us God for the sand has now turned red.”

***

P.S. Sr. Rose, you take care always in Israel.

Categories: philosophy Tags: ,

Marching in March

March 16, 2009 6 comments

happy ako nagayon

happy ako ngayon

I wished to think, the moment I woke up this morning, that the world is changing for the better. The heavy rain last night was a good indicator that the summer may not be a long drought but that it will also experience sporadic rain showers. This is unusual for the month of March especially since it is considered as the peak of the summer season where  a hundred percent sun visibility can haul the earth on 30 degrees and more on regular days – a temperature that can trigger a Filipino’s inanity for a cold country.

March is extremely a hostile month. Its name, which derives from Mars (God of War), connotes difficulty or a struggle especially to the people whose lives are greatly entwined with crops. For the farmers, drought is the most feared phenomenon which usually starts on the month of March and lasts on who-knows-what-month. Since its name connotes war, it also presupposes death – not just for impotent crops but also the death of hopes when despair take hold of the lives of the people. Ten years ago, El Niño hit Philippines and left a devastating mark on agricultural productions and shortage on water supply. Malnutrition and heat-borne diseases shot up by half above the annual record. This lasted more than a year and farmers could hardly compensate for their loss. But tonight, up to  this morning, the rain poured heavily like a terrestrial blessing that delighted not just the farmers but also the people who hated mercury rising. This might be because of the prayer of the farmers; maybe, the story about St. Heribert, patron of rain, was true whose feast day is celebrated today (March 16).

War is always associated with March not because most cadet trainings are conducted in this month but because this month signifies another worldwide struggle. This month, the International Women’s Month is celebrated by Eves all over the world by highlighting the significance of womens’ roles and asserting their rights in the global arena. In the Philippines, the Gender and Development or GAD has taken significance on the grass-root understanding of the Filipina rights against abuse and violence. Last week the GAD team of Iloilo in coordination with UP Ugsad held a forum on Pasidungog sa Kababaihan. The forum was conducted to empower women rights in the present society.

On exactly the same date, the Philippines was known to the world because of Magallanes whose landing has been very controversial among pact of historians. However, may it in Butuan, Mactan or Leyte, the important thing is “it happened” and paved way to the Christianitization of Filipinos. Although I despise the way it was implemented in the Philippines, I am still thankful that I knew Jesus Christ the moment I developed a consciousness on religion because of them. Surely, religion has its good and bad sides.

But with all of these, I find March as the most beautiful and wonderful month in my life. Not because of St. Urhos” celebration in Finland today or of  the commemoration of  the famous political philosopher, James Madison who became the 4th president of US, but because I feel more loved on this month far better than hearts day in February. I feel that the world is more cheerful than before with all the greetings and the texts that I received from my family and friends. Yes! It’s my birthday! And I thank those who remembers this boy from the parochial world in Visayas especially:

1. My Family – my mother, my sister and my brother; my aunts, uncles and cousins; my loved ones; my friends; my office mates – thank you very much. You are well treasured in my heart.

2. My most beloved teacher, Sr. Rose Amacanin, whose influence has made me enter the seminary even though I didn’t stay long. To you sister: Thank you for the greetings despite the expensive call rate in Israel. I continuously use the rosary you gave me.

I hope I could avail of a scholarship in the University you are working in  at Betlehem. Don’t worry, I promise to ace all of my grades. Hehehe. I love you so much.

3. The girl who stayed late prowling on the clock at exactly 12 midnight just to be the first to greet me. hehehe

4. My sister Danica. Thank you for being there for me always. UP would have been very trite without you.

5. Eva – one of the fairest faces in the UP campus. Thanks for the advance greetings!

6. I thank myself for greeting myself. Happy birthday to me!

***

P.S. If we are doomed to this world to suffer, why do we celebrate our birthdays?

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags:

Tidbits on Language

March 11, 2009 4 comments

fuzzy_conversation

A sudden silence in the middle of a conversation suddenly brings us back to essentials: it reveals how dearly we must pay for the invention of speech.
Emile M. Cioran

Is it my right brain or the left brain that’s functioning within my skull? I don’t know exactly because I must admit that my mind is not as sharp as others’ for I still have an inadequacy of mastering any language. So much more with my style, simply because I am not adept in constructing right phrases or choosing appropriate words for my sentences; and with all of these errors and poor English usage, I usually get a bad remark from my girlfriend. Naks!

In the current situation, it is a formidable fact that one is adjudged by the predilection of correct sentence constructions. With vicissitudes and inconsistencies, one may flunk from the standard of languages and be scorned publicly regardless of one’s effort to muster his thought into writing; all the more with the English language. And now that call centers and English schools are sprouting and populating like rodents, the English language is given more emphasis than anything in this world. Sure to say that one thing that Filipinos should be proud of is their eloquent English skills. But lo! Speaking is far different from writing and most of the time writing skills become a ground for criticisms. Your tongue may perfect all the tongue twisters but your hand will always tremble to hold your pen right. Take note that the most dangerous thing is to write because it doesn’t hide your flaws rather highlight your mediocrity in language. I am not exempted!

Three years ago, I was working on my research paper and came across a research from one of the UP publications. The research was about the aptitude test on the English efficiency of the students in UP Cebu. The result: UP freshmen were all above average in terms of verbal skills but flunked below average in writing. It was a sad realization especially that Filipinos are expected to be a prime exemplary of the English Language in both fields. The worst thing about it was how I coincidentally read that publication while taking a subject in one of the most charismatic speakers/professors in UP Iloilo yet deemed to be one of the lousiest writers among the academe. That was long ago, and how I regret labeling him on that.

But! To all the lousy like me, don’t despair for there are still ways to prove our worth. It is not the language alone that serves as the measure of intelligence. In market paradigm, Filipinos with a knack for the English language are in demand and we have to face it because that’s the reality. Yet don’t forget that your skills in mathematics, your keenness in science, your prowess in visual arts are all very important. It is only through your excellence in a certain field that makes you a true model. As what the Japanese proverb states, “It is better to master in one art than mediocre in a hundred.” So let alone if they pin you down because you are an awful English speaker; never mind them if they think that English is the gauge of Intelligence for that is already mere ignorance in their part. Yet, regardless of their demeaning remarks, strive to improve your skill and harness your capability by reading and writing. It is only through this that you will imbibe the language even to the point of owning it. And at a given point in time, you will have the best of both worlds…then, like me, you will not give a fuss of which side of the brain is functioning within you.

***

A man’s feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.
George Santayana

Conrado de Quiros once retold a story of Rizal boarding a ship to Europe. He was boarding on upper deck because he could afford to be with the mestizos and the leche colored Spanish (hidalgos and intellectuals). In one moment, the Spanish approached him and they conversed articulately in Spanish. Then a French joined them in their in their conversation, and Rizal occasionally spoke to him in French. The French was very impressed for how could a young brown man of small stature be a word-class polyglot. Then the German joined them in their coterie and Rizal greeted him in German. Impressive! The German was very delighted by this small man for he not only spoke Spanish, but French and German as well which he couldn’t even do himself. So Rizal made an impact on all of them: that Filipinos had all the fair share of intelligence in the world.

But! Rizal went to the lower deck, where the stench of poverty could be smelled. Most of the Filipinos were there and all of them seemed to be pressed in a floating coffin. Then Rizal, with his love for his race, never minded this and went to sit with them. He asked the old woman squatting on her piles in Tagalog where she came from. The old woman not sensing any word from Rizal’s mouth answered him in native Cebuano language that Rizal didn’t understand. So she asked the man in ragged clothes the same question, and the man answered him in plain Hiligaynon and Rizal didn’t understand. Still, our National Hero didn’t stop and approached a lady standing in a corner and asked her the same question. The lady answered him in Bolo-anon and Rizal gave up hope and went back to the upper deck.

I don’t know how the story ended but surely Rizal must have wept to understand the world yet failed to comprehend his own feet on the ground.

***

Short words are words of might

Gellet Burgess

When thesaurus is the sole long word….

Let me ring a bell to you: that when you speak, speak with one straight word. Do not make it hard for some to know the sense of your thoughts. Please be clear with your point. It is through clear words, not blurred by fog of blahs, that you are well grasped. So stay with one word… but not till the time you need it most that you start to look at THESAURUS for long ones.

***

P.S. I admit, it’s very hard to maintain a 1 syllable word all through out…hehehe

Categories: philosophy

The Artist and the World in Time

March 3, 2009 8 comments
"Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature's monotony. The sublime idea men have of the universe would collapse with dizzying speed. The order which we find in nature, and which is only an effect of art, would at once vanish. Everything would break up in chaos. There would be no seasons, no civilization, no thought, no humanity; even life would give way, and the impotent void would reign everywhere."   --  Guillaume Apollinaire

"Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature's monotony. The sublime idea men have of the universe would collapse with dizzying speed. The order which we find in nature, and which is only an effect of art, would at once vanish. Everything would break up in chaos. There would be no seasons, no civilization, no thought, no humanity; even life would give way, and the impotent void would reign everywhere." -- Guillaume Apollinaire

What makes an artist? Some claim that the artist is a product of an external-objective inspiration; others say that it is wrought by a Freudian projection of ego that needs to be channeled through brush strokes or the inkblots in poetry. Although these might be valid answers, I still hold one single notion of a true artist: the one formed by pain – either caused by obscurity, or by the complexity of political systems that either oppress or prevent one from realizing herself – but reciprocally finds beauty in it. Remember that an artist life is deeply wedded with pain yet exalts it with jubilation. It is through this pain that an artist has able to understand the world better.

To add more, an artist speaks with experience and understands the way of life. She is like a saint in the middle of the street stressing her isolation from the crowd; yet, despite being ridiculed and misunderstood, never departs from what is real and continues to nourish life with joy and holiness amidst the majority. She knows the way of the world yet humbly abides in the will of God. Yes, God, because she knows that life is temporary and that our mortal being is nothing but a mere manifestation of a higher being. Although she finds overwhelming wonders in this world, she perpetually seeks the permanence of beauty in a higher degree that can only be achieved by relating herself to the higher being. So she makes use of her life as instrument to make others realize of the passing world; and, despite the relative notions of practicality of having faith, she perpetually believes on a heavenly covenant that awaits man. In this unstable world, a flower may bloom for days but will never stay forever, for soon the wind will blow and fill the heavenly basin with torrent, then will clear out the view for a grandiose sun and the flower will die wilted under its heat. But unlike a flower, an artist will remain constant in her endeavor despite the changing winds and the hurdles of time. She knows her place in the plurality of the world, like a heart is deemed to be for one purpose – love. She is forever steadfast in her faith no matter how tempting the tides are, and even grows stronger with it the way sand solidifies into rock  in time. Her goal is one: to recreate the soul to bring it back to where it really belong by means of literature, of music, and of encompassing colors of love.

But an artist lives like a normal man does. What distinguishes her from the rest of the pact is her demeanor in dealing with the world. She loves the world bound in time but better loves the world that awaits permanence for all of us. An ordinary man will cling to time for direction while an artist try to ride with time with great control of herself. Thus, an artist always keeps her ground in order to read the signs of time and transposes her knowledge through her art.

When some become slaves of time, an artist, on the contrary, struggles to transcend it. By transcending it, she understands the world better and the mechanisms that cause man to act. But transcending it is already an explicable “pain embraced” because time, by its illusive nature, creates perdition that draws man away from the truth (from self and from the world). Yet, through this pain, an artist is wrought and that her soul is fulfilled. With how the world transpires now, the complexity of life increases and human systems are but pell-mell hindrances to the true realization of one’s self. It is then the role of an artist to stand out from this demeaning ordeal and to be saints in all accord. After all, an artist is known to be a re-creator of beauty, a true philosopher, and a herald of change.; and that an artist, against all odds, has be a Miracle to humanity, that even when her limbs become lifeless, her lips will never cease to praise: Ah! What a Wonderful World!

***

P.S. 1. Thoughts for two great artists in my bloglist: Mira and Gabi. If time is eternal, so the hope of an artist prevail because her aspirations transcends it…when others look at the world at a pace length, an artist eyes looks at the way beyond.

2. When science scuttles for development and understanding, art beautifies and exalts everything.

Categories: arts, philosophy Tags: , ,

Stability in Gray

February 27, 2009 7 comments

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love" - Anonymous
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love” – Anonymous

Looking at the blossoming nara trees and watching the passing clouds beyond it, one could only wistfully accept that these passing beauties would be off in a few days. The flowers would drift from the branches and the clouds would grow darker to obliterate the royal azure of heaven. Nothing would be the same again in this world. Heraclitus said you cannot step on the same river twice; even man is confined with free will to stay as he is, other things in this world will move him eventually. The fact that we are all connected in one single universe, a mere flip of a butterfly’s wing can create a great impact in global disposition. This was what I thought of looking through the bus casement as I passed the length of the Barotac Nuevo highway that had been beautified by local officials with mesmerizing nara trees.

Sitting beside me was a couple who must have been in their late 70’s. The woman tugged the man’s sleeve and laid her head on his shoulder. She must have been exhausted during the trip and wanted to rest her heavy head on the man’s arm. The man obligingly drew her closer to him and lovingly kissed her on the forehead, assuring her of his protection. All the while I thought that the most beautiful thing of the day could be seen through the lovely yellow flowers of nara, but after spotting the old couple affectionately comforting each other, nothing can really contest the true beauty of our own kind. A long time ago, I used to like the sight of young lovers walking aimlessly at the street while clasping hands because their images made me think of passion, of romantic love, of the blossoming emotions so natural and innocent… but I now realize that authentic love requires “stability” which these young lovers missed out. That stability can only be experienced in God and our family and not to the trial-and-error affinity of the young blood. Even though the moment was brief I could sense that the old couple’s love for each other was steadfast and had that stability. It was simply fascinating!

In this secular world, it is quite comforting that even when the trends are rapidly morphing in seasons, love never loses it sfumato. It constantly moves us together, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, and in sorrows and in happiness. By this, I think that that there are exceptions in general rule. The notion that there is no stability in this world may seem a bad generalization after all. Reflecting on this beautiful sight of a wonderful couple, I am sure that there is in fact one indispensable argument to counter this gross generalization – love binds. This alone is constant because love by nature never separates nor destroys but instead unifies and solidifies.

When we disembarked the bus, I asked the couple where they would be going. The old woman replied, “We will be visiting our dying brother in the hospital. I and my brother are the only family he has.” I expressed my hope for their brother as I helped them settled in the jeepney. They smiled at me in return and said, “God bless you noy.”

God Bless you too, Lolo and Lola.

***

P.S. To neutralize the tone of this blog, please turn to the picture and tell me what you see.

Categories: philosophy Tags: , , ,

The Worm Chronicle

February 18, 2009 11 comments
lemo-the-worm
lemo-the-worm

Blog Awards Winner

Whether man dies and new species are born, the thread of earth will still remain a fertile breast to nourish the life that feeds on it. The worm, which is deemed gross by lovely ladies, filthy and disgusting by aristocrats has the profoundest wisdom to claim earth as the most wonderful habitat that sustains life even when other environmental cycles stop. This is the very claim of Lemo the worm, who thinks that even in death the food web under the earth continues like an endless feast of ambrosia for his own kind. The cadavers that are buried under it give them the wisdom that even humans are not capable of grasping. If birth and development belongs to the human mind, death and decomposition belong to the abysmal worms that either make use of the flesh to satisfy their carnal drive or to perpetuate their own role to nourish the earth. They alone tasted all sexes; they alone slept with heroes and traitors alike; they alone savoured the difference of a saint and a sinner or a billionaire and the lowliest man  that they have become human themselves by morphing with their lifeless bodies. And when humans hold them in their arms, they assume that these creatures are nothing but mere fish baits and they use them to feed themselves. Yet even nature functions in a samsaric scheme, that when human thinks profoundly, he and the worms are never different. They both belong to the earth and their bodies share the same compounds. So when human eats water creatures, is he not also savoring a part of the death eaters?

***

Afterthought: 1. It always feels good to think that we all share the same compound with the rest of the nature, thus we should never think that we have far dominion over anybody.

2. Philippines, what is your place in nature? Isn’t it ironical that your ground has been emptied by your people in thinking that life in other lands is far better than yours, yet foreign people come to crown you a laureate for beauty? Better are worms then for they continue to nourish the land without being demanded.

Categories: being pinoy, philosophy Tags:

The Ascent of Mind, the Perfection of Man

February 16, 2009 6 comments
synthesis
synthesis

“Is this possible?” asked my friend.

If you look back in time, man was nothing but a small speck in the world, and made his way through water and progressed through the land. The world rotates and man changes along with it. Human mind is also progressing, not just through the stimulus that cause behavioral reaction but also through learning by looking back to the past. Since then man becomes one with nature as he sees himself part of the grander scheme of the universe. There was no logic then. Only acceptance existed.

The world experienced clashes of meteors and asteroids along with galactic debris hitting the earth’s surface and changing the course of time;  and the apparent phenomenon of animals killing each other for survival, and plants struggling to keep its production stable has imprinted a new consciousness among humans. The impact created a new dimension of understanding things, and man with its capability for adaptation saw that the world moved in conflict and that the need for a supreme unifier was summoned. Ideas and images started to surface in the consciousness of man that eventually gave birth to cultural systems such as religion, language and art.  This was also the time that speculation started and eventually gave birth to human logic. Yet the thought remained very simple as the communal belief rested on one matrix: “In conflict there is harmony as there will be birth in every death.” But no matter how they called on their deities, conflict remained and unity left like a tide.

Darwin speculated on this change after roaming the world to prove his theory that man will always find its way through conflict and will eventually adapt through evolution. There was a clamor however of whether man was designed to exist naturally without the intervention of a super-natural being as supreme architect. However scientifically validated, the idea of the holy can never be disputed as far as logic is used by religious utilitarians;  thus leaving the Theory of Natural Selection  a smidgen of science and not a law for universal acceptance. If the body belongs to science, human faith on the other limb, which is attributed by a compound of human emotions and self projections, belongs to religion. The two human aspects (physical substance or body and spirit or the soul) can be hardly reconciled and will always be in constant enmity as there will always be boundary between Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes.

The notion “Faith seeking understanding” may be acceptable momentarily as far as human logic is concerned, but logic is not science for it always settles in relative position as tool for justification. Science is different from logic yet science cannot exist apart from it. This is also true with religion as the justification of it needs the aid of logic.

“But how can you say that there will be a complete synthesis of these bi-polar notions? Can there be such faith seeking science or science seeking faith?” he continued asking.

If humanity moves in history, it surely progresses in time.

In a Hegelian philosophy, man progresses through the scheme of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. This scheme moves along in time as number increases when you add 1 to the previous prime, and so on… ad infinitum. This may sound very abstract but when you look back to history you will see the great changes humans have undergone in years. Long time ago there was no computer and man used to do things manually, but since it is the tendency of mind to move forward, computers were created and that  gave great significance in human progress. However the inevitability of deviants like Hitler and the inhumane system of the communist government will always hinder the progress.  Deviants like them will always discredit this claim; but, I dare say that it is the system – along with its underlying principles, beliefs, and philosophy – that determines destruction and not the natural tendency of the mind to transcend any system. Remember that Hitler and the communist ideologues are nothing but a product of the existing grotesque system, a concocted belief to perfection; and so with their receptacles, all of them were gradually destroyed by a greater mind, that holds nothing but the authentic harmony in society. You must take note then that it is a natural course that the mind will seek harmony and so, sooner or later, any system that creates chaos will be naturally eradicated someday. One mind may hinder progress, the other will efface it to clear the way.

Things move in a dialectic process and it’s always like that. It is always between good and evil. Yet, we have no choice but to progress in history because that is how human mind is devised – to move ahead and to choose harmony among other things.

If this is possible, can it also be possible that human beings will in time see faith in science and vice-versa?

We all started as brutes but through history we have become sophisticated beings to roam this world. This simple premise makes me believe that human perfection will be achieved in time. We are progressing, not regressing, as far as human mind is assessed; and with all hope, humans will achieve this undoubtedly. It may happen in the next gazillion years…but eventually it will. By that time man will acknowledge that with the mind, perfection  is possible and only the mind can eliminate conflicts . Acceptance will come back in. Only harmony will exist.

“What will happen then if humans achieved its perfection?”

Well, we definitely can confront God and challenge his army. However I don’t want to talk about it. Maybe our future children can give us the answer.

******

P.S.

1. (Just a thought.) Can there also be a perfect evil? That’s the biggest problem.

Categories: philosophy Tags: , , ,

Tagging Iloilo

February 10, 2009 4 comments

road bumpers
road bumpers

I have been traveling every part of Iloilo for 2 months to check on the existing data in all municipalities along with the problems   in gathering, storing and analyzing them. It wasn’t easy to locate the problems in their data system unless you sit down with the department heads and excavate each process starting from the barangay up to the municipal offices. I felt that I have lost weight and that I have to compensate for the sleepless night of analyzing data and making reports. I sometimes skipped regular meals because of my erratic travel schedule s. Working as researcher for a very strict boss from ADB (former official of the WorldBank that used to handle cases like the rigged $33M project of DPWH), you have to get all the result in time or else you would have the entire malediction in life. I haven’t really regret working with him because I have learned a lot from him as well except that I forgot to think of myself and that I hardly noticed the people I love especially my girlfriend who luckily was very understanding of my job. Sorry sweetheart.

The data actually are all present within the locality however there is no system to consolidate and process these information in a centralized databank. The result is a messy setting that leaves even the investors and researchers perplexed over the data. But leave that for the moment. I would not talk about it because that would fill this whole page talking about myself and the problems that clothed me during my encounters with various MPDCs. I want to talk something I learned along the whole span of my research period. I know this may subject to some validation and that the whole panorama of the result may sound absurd, but as far as the data is concerned, numbers will never lie unless fabricated.

1.       In the entire Iloilo, Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shrunk down at 20 % leaving all the municipalities with the difficulties in managing finance and expenditures. This is due to the contesting figures between the actual barangay demographic survey and the 2007 Census result by NSO. The disparity of statistics surmount to the loss of 8-10% of the whole population of Iloilo.  It has been noted that the smaller the IRA for the LGU, the bigger the saving of the National Government especially that the 2010 election is nearing in which the saving will be undoubtedly spent .

2.       The Municipality of the Estancia ranks as the second smallest municipality next to Pavia. Since their IRA is reduced to almost 5 million that rotted to the shrinking of demographic figures due to the unreliable survey of NSO, the municipality has to find other means to let the municipality going. The presence of the feeder port in the locality boosted their income to 50-60M annually making the locality as one of the most promising municipalities in the Province of Iloilo. However this could have been boosted more if the RO-RO operation will be transferred to Estancia instead of Caticlan which is 4 hours faster going to Batangas. If it takes a cargo to transport goods to Batangas via Caticlan in 18 hrs, in Estancia it will only take 13-14 hrs of travel. This simply means that the goods will arrive fresher and marketable. If this will be initiated and implemented, the whole province will enjoy a boost up of 9% in the local economy.

3.       In local economy, one primary driver is transportation. Since Iloilo is known to be an old city with old-engineered roads for one-way flow, traffic is very immanent. No matter how the city government constructs road networks and fly-overs to pave way to the drastic shift to urbanization, the traffic will remain a problem. Why? Every month there is an increase of more than a hundred motorcycles in the entire province which adds up to the inconvenience of the flow of traffic. The greater the number of motorcycles, the greater the number of accidents.  About more than 30% of the total accidents are all motorcycle accidents. Another factor is the increase of about 1% of the total jeepneys is put into the road every month thus contributing also to the problems of traffic system. And going to private cars, about 70 car loans are approved every month by the entire banks in Iloilo thus also causing logjams.  Naks! Late na lg ako palagi!

4.       In economic capitalization, in the entire banks in Iloilo have a total 95B deposits. About 30% of it is owned by the Chinese businessman. Another 30% is owned by the local conglomerates. The next slice which amounts to 20% of the 95B is owned by educational institutions and the last 20% is owned by OFWs. This amount is not utilized or invested in the locality thus making Iloilo as only depositing site and not and investment prospect. In order for Iloilo to make it to the level of competitiveness with Cebu, Ilonggos have to invest locally.

5.       The Province’s biggest income comes Real Property Tax. It said that more than 60% of the whole income comes from RPT. However, the survey shows only 24% of the whole RPT are collected annually. If the collection is met at 100%, how happy Iloilo should be! Yayaman tayong talaga!!!

6.   In environmental aspect, Iloilo is assumed to have water shortage by 2012. the Maasin water shed will no longer hold the ditribution of water in the increasing number of households in the MIGEDC area excluding Guimaras. About 30% of the entire supply goes to illegal connections that are most rampant in the slum areas in the city. This a big problem and the government has to track all the channel of distributions before the problem gets worst.

These and more are just preliminary results of the research. I wish to discuss a lot more but that will already be illegal in some sense as far as research is concerned. I just hope that by these realizations, Ilonggos will be prompted to help improve Iloilo.  I still believe that the biggest change starts with the individual because it is this basic unit that makes up the system. Let us then move for a change and make Iloilo “The Next Big Thing!”

*****

P.S. I promise to write more of my realizations next time and probably will be discussing more of the beautiful side about Iloilo.

 

The Life’s Paradox

January 10, 2009 12 comments

93fantasy-3d-03-m343He took the pen with bright hope that life, with its complexities, moves the self to progress and urges the mind to desire for improvement. He wrote his first amendment then pondered on it. Yet no matter how he configures his life, along with the things that should be done correctly, would eventually revolve back to the axis of its past ; and he could never escape the angst of breaching his new promises, that,  with its tendencies, may lead to his doom – a state of despondency and self expatriation. But still, he thought life must go on, not for attaining perfection, but for denying the mistakes of the past by creating resolutions to believe that the phantom of the past can be resolved by the angel of the present who eradicates the scars of  mortal heart and bathes life anew. And while looking at what he wrote, his body shivered in terror and he shed the tears of bitterness in believing in ideas that betray the genuine concept of human agony along with the cognizance of the ego that perpetually stirs in the pit of human composition; and to which with all ambiguity, constantly reminds him that sooner or later, life with its new temporal form, by principle or by common consciousness, would be revived back again to its evil arche. Realizing that he could no longer go on writing, he gathered what he wrote, crumpled the paper in his hand, wringing the pain which he felt in his palm. The text he started to scribble were just mere ink dots now, staining the clean paper sheet and proving no less than a sheer shadow of false hope that everyone deemed to salvage life from wickedness to sainthood. He broke down with regrets for living another year because it means another year of anguish: that his life is another step closer to the end. And yes, did he think how his life was infested with malaise as parasites enjoy the glory of eternal elixir of blood. He felt suffocated by his abject mind that drowns him stupor, yet he fought back and clutched to his senses as he stood up laughing with no other sensible reason but oblivion from any hope. Then his breathing was no longer that that sustains life but that the gasping of desperation for death. Even when his heart told him to go on to find the brightness of the day, his brain on the other limb, simulated an impact to paint his logic a tinge of darkness thus proving there is no sense of finding the sun for the world revolves in perfect bi-polarity; anything that has light would coherently succumb to the emerging darkness. So he stepped down to the abyss of his room, now clutching the devil’s blade; and with no clear vision of his steps, alas, he told himself as he continuously descended down to the darkness: “We are all going to die anyway.”

Categories: philosophy Tags: ,

Pax

December 24, 2008 4 comments
The Buddy Christ

The Buddy Christ

In this holiday season … “Jesus is the Man!”

Merry Christmas everyone.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/desi/9455/

Categories: being pinoy

Jingle Bells

December 19, 2008 12 comments

oblationI happened to pass Gen. Luna St. last Tuesday because my boss wanted me to schedule a meeting with the researchers and planners who happened to convene in Iloilo. Working in ADB is no easy job and arranging the schedules made me exceptionally busy especially that we were on a given study for LGUs. I was supposed to meet them early but I was unfortunately trapped for 30 minutes in a traffic jam along the parallel lanes of UP. When I inquired what it was that caused the delay, the driver said, “Oblation run sir.”

“It’s APO day,” I presumed, looking at the members who gathered in the street to watch their bold brethren run. Amused at the sight, I thought that APO indeed was a metaphoric version of the Jingle Bells. With their genitalia dangling from to left to right, it surely was a merry show more than any Christmas carol could offer.  Girls and faggots alike swarmed the street to take a glimpse, not of the essence of the activity, but of the display of “birdies”. “Ang cute,” one exclaimed. Another said, “Ang dumi naman ewww. Ba’t maitim-itim?” The funniest I heard was a voice from a group of gays shouting, “He is so tiny!!!” Most of the spectators were giddy, while others were even too conservative to glance at the spectacle.

But I will not dwell there, otherwise that would mean endless funny remarks. What I am wondering about is the reason why APO sustains this tradition. They say streaking is their way of shouting their sentiments of freedom. In short it stands as a symbol of freedom. But why cover their faces? What’s the difference between a fully clothed man with an exposed face and a naked man but with his face covered? Nothing, I dare say.

With this “streaking”, I suppose APO is just publicizing their fraternity; “Hey join us, we’re cool!” while missing out on the action to actually promulgate something for the realization of freedom.

In Britain, for example, there was one time where people ran stark naked for a cause despite the cold weather. The nice thing about it was that they posed in front of the camera with no qualms. I am just wondering if the British did it with no  clothing facade, why can’t you run in the same way when you uphold in fact  a nobler cause – freedom?  This perplexes me to unravel the logic of this annual activity thus, whatever the cause, it is inevitable for me to stand as arbiter of its verity. It is not my wish to criticize APO, but I really cannot find any significance in what they are doing. If they call for freedom, let them have it in different ways and not like this ribald event which I deem facile wrought by maudlin sentiments. How in the earth could one claim freedom by running in the street naked and holding roses like bozos? Remember that a symbol for freedom will never match an action towards it. If you are really after freedom, gather your members and organize a fruitful and sensible event that would lead to something useful that the country would be grateful of. Imagine if you could gather 10,000 of your members for a tree-planting activity, you will also have 10,000, new trees to help curtail carbon emission in the air- a fair response to the effect of global warming  to give us a cleaner breath for our quest of environmental freedom. This might not be known to everybody, but you will be proud to know that you acted beyond the symbol of freedom.

But if they still wanted to continue, at least have the guts to follow St. Francis of Assisi who took off his clothes in the middle of the crowd and gave his garment to the poor man beside him. He simply wanted freedom from the hedonistic world. He was not shy of what he did even though society was run by a stringent moral standard in his time. Hence, I suggest that next time they do this, they shouldn’t cover their faces. And bring books instead of wilted flowers, and instead of posing in front of women to offer them flowers, to which with your keen consciousness will never suffice the claim of letting your sentiment known, run to the nearest palaboy and give him a book. By doing this, your efforts might be appreciated, or they might become a source of inspiration for street children to seek education (which I always believe to be an effective phase in achieving freedom). You might be laughed at and everybody would deem you crazy, but deep inside, you know you are doing a better goodness. At least your “Jingle Bells” will have a better errand.

True Blue Journalism?

December 16, 2008 7 comments
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.

When a question is expressed, it presupposes an answer. For what is a question but a profound insinuation of an answer. The world is moving forward either for betterment or for the disgrace of humanity. Everybody can attest to that, not just by the senses but through the innate understanding that life is changing; it goes with time and we see it as it is.

It was 6 in the morning and the breeze was seemingly cold. The sky remained incarnadine, painting gory nuances on the clouds thus presaging another day of misfortune. The sun wasn’t fully awake but the street started to get boisterous as vehicles and humans alike swarmed the place to catch or run after time. A brown dog settled on the pavement beside an old acacia tree and howled to send a signal for the other mongrels that lurked in other corners of this prosaic place. Upon hearing the call, they assembled their group and headed to the acacia tree that served as their rendezvous – a place of their dominance and brutality. Some settled beside the brown dog, other roamed the vicinity but not far from the rest of the pact. Upon observing their institution, the brown dog that remained calm proved to be the leader of the pact because no one among them could equal his contemplative demeanour and his valour was apparent in his fangs and bodily feat. He was also the biggest and there was no doubt why he claimed dominance over these filthy mongrels; there were sheer differences among them for some had scabies while others were filthy and stinky. Only the brown dog looked clean and his economy in movement had a charisma that affected the rest of them. The only thing that bound them was the sole fact that they were all askals and that they all lived and survived the harsh conditions of the street.  They had experienced the demeaning and industrialized ways of urbanization and had become masters of the streets – except for the brown dog who had not just mastered his ways but had claimed apotheosis of himself.  They had also been witnesses to the ups and downs of economy and the infiltration of immorality in the fast expanding Sin-City; all of them used this knowledge for the advantage that these would fit their designed scenario of survival. They held a single notion about the world – that the world is so wicked that even God couldn’t do anything to change it. This idea has prompted them to live brutally, to prowl for the next victim.

The name of the brown dog was Chiz. He had no tinge of whatsoever expression in his face and his eyes were blank and eluding. It made you think that he was a holy dog of St. Roque but if you looked beyond it, his diabolical aura exuded a contagious virus – a perfect virus that infected the mongrels around him. This was his game and those around him had no power but to succumb to his order, absolutely precarious of his commands. When the time had come, a perfect cameo for his concupiscence, he let a loud howl for everybody to follow. They rushed across the street where a female dog was fortuitously passing and started to surround the stray female dog. Frightened by the sudden twist of events, she gathered her guts coherent to her instinct and ran as fast as she could. Unfortunately, her legs failed her and all at once she was surrounded by these blood-thirsty mongrels. They attacked her, biting her legs and tearing her flesh. She let out a loud cry of pain as she struggled to free herself from them by biting and slashing whenever she could but the mishap had proven that these devils were far stronger than her. When she could no longer move, the brown brute moved from behind and raised his forelegs to thrust his penis to the female dog. She wept and cried as pain enveloped her and she couldn’t do anything but be docile until they were done ravaging her body. She was a helpless bitch uttering an anathema while gasping for her breath. In her agony she prayed hard even though she knew that nobody would come to her aid. One after another, they shifted turns and everybody had his slice of gratification. Their explicit display of brutality had left a stigma on her body beyond reparation. She stood up, her body was torn, swathed in blood, and tried her best to move away from them. In her urge to at least salvage a little shard of her dignity, she wanted to evade this evil in the world specifically from these devils…from their wickedness. She crawled near the gutter and positioned her lacerated and molested body to the iron bar. Resting her stomach gave a temporary recess from the pain but had not totally obliterated the pangs of wretchedness that she went through. Chiz moved close to her grinning. He let a loud howl of jubilation and stamped his feet to her head. The female dog with her remaining strength tried to shove his feet and raised her head to face the lenses. She let out a loud cry of sorrow, remorse, bitterness, and helplessness…”Are we done? Do they have to know?”

Think Pacquiao

December 8, 2008 9 comments

your blood is worth the nation's pride

your blood is worth the nation's pride

When was the last time I reviewed a book? I cannot even recall anymore. I’ve been long disinclined to that endeavor and have shifted my interest in writing stuff to my own fashion. It is not my forte anyway and I better leave that stuff to my Dabubu who has the magic to turn queer content into a sublime tribute. I believe that the value of books are subjective and that their application may all depend on one’s social orientation (or whatever orientation) in life. I simply love reading but never mention the kinds of books I am devouring – except to few who share my own line of interest. I just read and read and read… But I am not going to talk about reading here, rather, reflect on what happened yesterday.

When determination fraught with “will to power”, victory is very much possible. Not to mention the rapture of people who rally behind you with prayers and litanies to make you win. This was proven by Manny Pacquiao after pounding De la Hoya’s face to submission in the 8th round stoppage. Whether the fight was controversial or not, the fact that it was tested inside the ring, Pacqiuao undeniably won by TKO; a victory which everyone deemed dark before the fight – even among the pacts of Filipino sport scientists, due to the obvious disparity of statistics between two boxers. It was a great success not only for Manny’s camp but also to the Filipinos who believed in him and idolized him, much more to those whose dreams were audaciously embodied in the boxer’s life.

However, I am not about to give a sports canon on his spectacular victory which has already been subjected to press such as The Ring Magazine and all brands of print media. I am more interested on how this pandesal vendor transformed into the world’s best pound for pound boxer. Surely he had not achieved this if he didn’t dream and try; dreaming is a grace – a psychological driver that turns a road strewn with difficulties into a humongous arena of possibilities. What I really like about him is his undying desire to survive and to conquer poverty through a noble dream – boxing. Because he considers boxing as the only medium to achieve his dreams, he attentively utilized this for his fulfillment. The result: we never have imagined this lowly man rising to the top to be called the Pambansang Kamao (but with much appreciation to this person, I call him the Pambansang Kamay because of his charisma that in turn “gathers” all Filipinos to unite, at least for a very brief moment of his fights). Time in the Philippines stops whenever he goes inside the ring, it creates a temporary recess on political shenanigans and skirmishes in Mindanao, and it’s as if the people transcend the boundaries of differences among themselves . That is because he fights with ardent feeling of pleasing his kababayans. And every time he wins, all Filipinos share a little slice of his success. This is the beauty of Pacquiao.

Yet despite the fame he enjoys, he never thought his life would just end in boxing so he enrolled in school. He believes that education is still the effective way to uplift one’s status in a society where academic achievement is the basis for recognition. So with his eagerness to learn, he spent money for his studies no matter how awkward it is for his late age. His aptitude for learning is remarkable that when one observes his interviews, it is evident that his grammar has improved a lot. You know.

He is never shy to speak before the crowd even he becomes a subject of demeaning jokes among his fellow as if the only thing they prowled about is the obtuseness of Pacquiao.  No matter how exemplary his attitude, he remains a subject of ridicule not just to the common people but for the intellectual as well who in their sense of learning should be the ones to understand. Just because he couldn’t pronounce the word right or make his grammar straight justifies a reason to pin him down as laughing stock. But always remember that this gibberish man has wrought a national pride for the Philippines which few of us can equal. And what have some of us done to make our country proud as compared with his? This only entails that we have no prerogative to make him look like bozo. Think that some are very rich and have the liberty to go to school yet contribute nothing to their own locality. Some never even acknowledge God in their successes that Pacquiao on the other hand has been very faithful in doing. If only Manny could have been fortunate enough to go to school (bereaved of financial problem and boosted by determination) he would have been one of the respective intellectuals in the country. We never know.

When we pin him down, we also pin ourselves (so to say) because in doing so, we are only proving our own smattering. With our teetering for national advancement, it should be with respect to our fellow Filipinos who are trying their best to improve. Pacquiao is working hard not just to improve himself but to inspire many to strive for betterment. Pacquiao’s struggle is as effective as his fist and proving that being an underdog doesn’t mean defeat but a noble inspiration to bring the best in us. We must think on these things. You know.

Categories: being pinoy Tags: ,

Pamalandong on Iloilo History

November 28, 2008 10 comments

aerial view of iloilo river

aerial view of iloilo river

Lack of knowledge can be daunting especially in a situation when you are caught off-guard. This is what happened to me the other day when my younger cousin asked why our place was called Iloilo. Sensing that she might have been devouring topics on the history of places such as the origin of Manila or Cebu, I asked her why she was interested. She gave me a shrug, “I was just asking.” She continued to say that nobody speaks much of Iloilo’s origins except for the accounts of Tomas Confesor, Gen. Martin Delgado and Gen. Quintin Salas and not a great deal about the history of our place per se. It was difficult for me to answer except for the few facts that have been embedded in me by my boring highschool teachers. And what I know of Iloilo is very limited to the simple information that native Ilonggos named it after the shape of the Iloilo River whose meanders resemble the shape of the “nose” or ilong. Since Iloilo is predominantly Karay-a speaking people where “L” is substituted with “R” it was first called Irong-irong. Due to the changing formation of the local lexicon which has been tainted with the incorporation of Spanish terms, the name Irong-irong was changed to Iloilo.

“Why is it called Iloilo?” is no ordinary query because a little distortion may create a big error in the future learning, thus a deep pamalandong is needed. Pamalandong here means a very deep reflection which does not limit knowledge to learning but experiencing as well. In the English language, it means “altruism” yet it connotes more “reflection.” Pa in Hiligaynon is a prefix which means “going to” or “to indulge” while landong means “shadow” or “under the guidance of.” Thus, pamalandong literally means “going into the shadow of.” Another beauty of this term is the notion that it goes with silence therefore signifying a critical analysis of the past. In delving into history, it is not just the hard facts that matter but the hues that surround the events that make it more important. One has to know the ways and the emotions to inject alacrity among the readers.

To make my point sturdy and credible, I explored the Provincial Library and the UP – Western Visayas Center for Culture and the Arts Studies. I was amazed to find good sources that could point out to this historical conjecture. However good, there is a dearth for such books which only proves that Ilonggos are not particular in their quest of history. They say that Ilonggos have lost their passion in excavating their past and trying to muster a concrete panorama of the odyssey of Ilonggo people. History then becomes esoteric stuff where it only applies to few who have chosen this line of discipline thus limiting the spread of knowledge among the people. I guess we all need a good pamalandong on this.

I realized that a simple historical research will lead to an insatiable drive for the past. In the case of Iloilo, I not only discovered that because the Spanish could not utter the “ng” well, and the “R” of the natives irked them, they dropped the former name and changed it to Iloilo but much more. But why of all things, the river became the basis of the name and not the vast plain of Iloilo that during the 16th century was blessed with booming sugarcane and rice production compared with other provinces in the entire Visayan Region? The thirst for an answer prompted me to dig more in the library. However, I couldn’t find exact answers to this except the little information I’ve gathered from few academic books. This lot led me to use my own logic in the way of pamalandong. I guess the reason behind was that the Iloilo River was no ordinary river. Unlike other rivers which root from great mountains then flow down to create a river delta, Iloilo river begins from the sea and ends in the sea. You get the picture? It is not actually a river but a sea estuary (which logically means that it has brackish water) that makes it a unique body of water. Although geologists don’t agree in calling this as Iloilo River, we could not blame our folks for their lack of terminologies. What they perceived as a long body of water with narrow borders was automatically termed a river. Estuary for the academic regards will be acceptable but will remain excusable to be called a river by the common people.

Aside from that, Iloilo was well known of its major river systems that traversed the whole province. It was through these rivers that agricultural crops became abundant and effectually put the name of Iloilo as the rice granary of Visayas. Since this land was populated by heathens, they gave the river a special praise for serving as the life-blood of crop production. That might also be one reason why they chose to name this place based on the mightiest and strangest river they knew – the Irong-irong River. Alas, there are no documents that would support my postulate because the first thing that Spaniards did when they first arrived in Iloilo was to proselytize the natives into Christianity and obliterate all practices that reciprocate the dogmas of the church. Sayang!

Despite the knowledge gap, simply because there are no adequate sources or that I have not been eager enough to look for more reference, I can never help but to give conjecture on the notion of the river in relation to the name Iloilo. According to Fr. Policarpio Hernandez OSA in his records of the past, the Iloilo River served to be a channel of trade in 1855 from Villa Rica de Oton-Arevalo to what is now called Iloilo City. During those times, Iloilo stood to have the biggest international commercial port complex outside Manila. The active relation on commerce and trade with other countries made Iloilo the host of galleon trade from Visayas to Mollucas; this put Iloilo as the Queen City of the South before Cebu took hold of the title.

These accounts only show why the river is very important to the Ilonggos and there is no wonder why they named the place in lieu of the most prominent Iloilo River. I just hope that next time somebody will asks me about Iloilo, I have a little dose of knowledge to arm myself.

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags: ,

epistola

November 20, 2008 5 comments

Dear Dabubu:

When words are not enough to address you, let me greet your art nonetheless.

I had the chance lately to read your notes and they were all wonderfully written. Based on your exceptional prowess, I can adjudge that hardly anyone could imitate your style. Sometimes I question myself why I continue to write despite of my incapability to capture my subject with adequate adjectives and to animate my character with lithe verbs. My compositions are obviously far inferior than yours- a carrion in the state of literary writing. Yet you never wanted me to speak of this because you believe that I could do it well like everybody else. But with humility, I admit that there will never be another you and never will have the chance to acquire your skill; your style is not of Filipino but of European litterateurs. I know that you labored much to perfect  your this and to my own assessment, nobody could ever do it better than you. So with your books-oh particularly your collections-have never ceased to give you the edge of intelligence.

Oh Colette of the new age, your dexterity constantly impresses me. I wish to cry because I could never be like you nor just even rest on your shadow for you are holy and I am profane . If its really true that you got some blessedness in your being, please sprinkle me with graces  that I may also hold my pen with  artistry; but let it not be out of pity that you address me but with altruism instead. I only wish nothing but to have the patina, at least a tinge of your blessedness, to write not just by memory but by heart as well. With so much reverence for your existence, let you be praised by a lowly admirer who got nothing but a dying pen.

When this letter is inadequate, let this be just a pure laurel.

totomel

===============


My Pen’s Anguish

Shame on me, who writes from the pit and not from the clouds,
When your words are ethereal mine still lies in the cocoon of maturing
And why do I write when I have nothing but humiliation
That rather me nor the pen I’m using that is wrong;
You speak of Paris, I my barrio-
I have no doubt that I will never hold on to you.
The respite to think may not suffice the struggle,
But your beauty of hand will serve to revere
That I may praise behind  but never the chance to touch you
For you speak of Paris and I my barrio.
Categories: letters Tags:

knowledge center

November 18, 2008 4 comments

 

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The best place to be? I’ll answer with conviction that it is the library. Nothing equals the free knowledge that the library could offer. Aside from its sacred silence, the aura of the piles of books that invite readers is pervading. All you need is curiosity and you will realize how the library can be a great source of wonder.

When given ample time, I always see to it that I visit the Provincial Public Library to browse through interesting books that pique my attention – especially at the Filipiniana Section. It has been my ritual now to praise Filipino writers especially if their masterpieces depict a cogent aspect of Filipino culture and history. The librarian, who became my friend a week after I applied for a borrower’s card, asked me why I am so enamoured by Filipiniana. I couldn’t give her the best answer except that famous Aristotelian line: “I want to know more.” But after a month of personal research, I told her that Filipino literature is also a good source of entertainment. In bolder terms, more like “showbiz”.

Let me put it clearly by giving examples. The scholarly yet imaginative works of Teodoro Agoncillo creates a great shift of how history could be presented. His Revolt of the Masses revolutionized the imagination’s role in retelling the alacrity of the past by making it contemporary for the reader. It is not just dates or hard facts but the creation of atmosphere that draws the reader to a certain event in history that enables reading to become worthwhile. Now, let’s shift our attention to his student, Ambeth Ocampo (although I only read 3 of his books: Mabini’s Ghost, Looking Back, and Luna’s Mustache), he made history a sort of textual sitcom. I don’t want to elaborate more about his work of how Mabini jocularly danced with his rocking chair because he could not walk for a polka or how Francisco Balagtas could be so jingoist but fairly loved sex; it’s up to the reader to read the books themselves. So it is no wonder that he was awarded the National Fellow for Essay by the University of the Philippines for two consecutive years.

However the ones who are creating stories have also personal stories to tell. I wish to state some of my discoveries here and I hope will not be charged libelous by some of my conjectures. Did you know that Agoncillo and Ocampo were/are numero uno chikadoros? They both criticized the faculty of history in UP of having been mediocre in their quest for local and national history. Agoncillo never wanted to teach in UP had it not for his wife convincing him. “Nang hindi pa ako nakalikha ng libro, bakit hindi nila ako nilapitan para magturo sa kanila?” And then when he started teaching in Diliman, his colleagues, who all held doctorate degrees in philosophy, asked him, “Sir Agoncillo, why did you not take a doctorate degree?” He stood up and walked up to them, “Who will teach me? Ikaw?” Ang yabang! Although that was meant to be a joke, it bore the truth of his pride. This incident led UP to endow him the Honoris Causa. While Ambeth laughing to hear this, he admitted to Agoncillo something that seems blasphemously creepy, “Sir, the reason I entered the Benedictine Monastery… it was not a vocation but the desire to access their library which is not open to the public.”

In the case of litterateurs, there are actually eternal disputes among their pacts. When Nick Joaquin was on his peak, he looked down on the two groups of young writers from Sto. Tomas and University of the Philippines. He pinned down particularly Francisco Sionil Jose as blabbering young writer who used to quarrel with his boss. When Jose had etched his name as a professional writer, he avenged his pride, labeling Joaquin as a writer who lived luxuriously under the Marcos wings.

In one of the coteries of social gatherings the two writers met. Having them praising each other’s prowess, they came to the point of bickering whether Jose Garcia Villa was the best Filipino writer. Nick Joaquin argued he was, Sionil Jose refuted the claim because Villa never wrote based on the Filipino setting but in western paradigm. When Villa who was staying in the US heard this, he signified aid to Nick Joaquin’s camp pronouncing Jose as an insecure pen-ass. When Isagani Cruz, a good friend of Jose became conscious of this feud, series of critics had been published against them, thus the start of endless bickering and shenanigans. However, regardless of endless hurling of criticisms, they were right on the affirmation that each of them writes very well. But I doubt if the review of Joaquin on Jose’s work was authentic.  And now that  Nick Joaquin  has  finally passed for his eternal repose, I just hope that they are  in peace with each other especially that Christmas is nearing.

This discovery proved the wide array that the library could offer us. No matter how dearth the resources are, it always serves as the sanctuary of learning. If people only realize that this is one of the essential structures in the society that needs constant visitation and support from concerned people, then our library could truly be a great place to be. Although I could spot regular visitors, which I could make a mental note of their faces, they were nonetheless students who came to study and not to read. They were the same students who always occupy the same table. When I inquired the librarian (to confirm my conjecture) if they were researching, the librarian replied they were not. “What can you expect from nursing students but money? I hope you could make tsismis out of that,” she chuckled.

 

Categories: being pinoy Tags: ,

HISTORY 123: treasure hunting

November 3, 2008 7 comments

1. November is primarily about remembering the past. This is the time when we commemorate our dearly departed. The memories of places and times you experienced the beauty of love together creates a dimension where life and death meet. Then you always feel time never goes old….it instead swings us back to where we’ll always see the life of the people who touched us, and their souls will always be with us, not in some corner that would depict separation but within the confinse of memories and hearts. As long as they occupy a portion in our lives, they will always be present among us…and this is one of the best treasures in life.

************

2. We always drool over foreign stories… such is the example of El Dorado.

If there is someone who could tell us what and where El Dorado (Spanish for “The Golden One”) was, Voltaire’s famous character, Candide, could. Even Spanish conquistadores and British pirates who have searched the trails of Peruvian forests have not found the place. Neither a place in Columbia nor Argentina had proven to have a resemblance of the Indian tale which in turn became a subject of kibitzing among artists like Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Milton to explicate how human desire could be so ninny during the moments when potential richness is known to the world. Obsessed by the idea of abundant treasure, the place became a dream for hunters that even locals of South America were eager to search for it. The dream of getting rich in a flash is always a treat for the greedy, thus creating a lethargic sense of life. You probably think why crime rates in urban regions keep on rising especially when national economy plunges – it is not because of poverty alone but the formidable yearning of man for “instant-money”.

In 1911, when an American historian by the name of Hiram Bingham fortuitously discovered the long lost kingdom of Machu Picchu thousands of feet above sea level where nobody thought it would exist. After the clamor spread in pace, people thought that the world had finally found El Dorado and the myth after all had a point of verity. Of course, there was no treasure found in that place except for another tinge of information about the spectacular Incan civilization. Although some argued that place really existed, the myth of El Dorado will remain a story until hard facts of pure gold will be unfolded before the world.

Nevertheless, this myth will serve as a mirror of how men are fascinated by treasure and discovery.

*************

3. Stop, look and listen… El Dorado is here.

You don’t need to look far ahead to find gold in foreign land. Right here, the treasure is buried and it only takes education and much reading to excavate it. When speaking of potential economy, the Philippines is not just abundant in natural resources but in “yamang tao” as well. It has been noted by historians that far back in our history, our country was once a prominent icon of possibilities – in trade, cultural wealth, and government. Chinese chroniclers who traveled to the Philippines in lieu of trade addressed our land as “Ma-yi” or Mountain of Gold. If Latin America has the Golden One, we have a far better Mountain of Gold; and that’s a total mismatch of ratio and proportion.

And what did Spain speak of us? We were not branded as Indios all the time. Some of the Spanish writers called us “Islas del Romero Feliz” and “Crown Jewel of Spain’s Overseas Possession.” However, it was only recently that this research has been made; and after all our loathing for the maltreatment of Spain, we come to realize that not all Español are cruel. Some of them appreciated our land in history but was only hidden during centuries of Spain’s subjugation of the Philippines – to strip us of the knowledge of their political mayhem.

With regards to the people, we almost permeated every country in the world. This put us as the ultimate competitor of Chinese in vying for world domination. This has a funny connotation but it speaks well of the true treasure of our country. When confronted with questions of how our economy survived, we always look at the remittances we get from our OFWs – the core that sustains our national economy. It is the people, the yamang tao, that is the primary drive of our economic foundation. Yet we are labelled lethargic or tamad. We are never sloth as far as Philippine main export, LABOR, is concerned. Our life is divulged by extreme poverty, but it is this destitution, that drives us to work hard. Then going to that misconception, I dare say that Filipino is never tamad and we know ourselves better than those foreigners.

Our country deserves a name that goes beyond many treasures… and Rizal has known this for so long that he addressed the Philippines as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”

Categories: being pinoy

oblation, exposed

October 28, 2008 14 comments
you have chosen UP as the right institution, but i am not sure if UP has chosen the right you

you have chosen UP as the right institution, but i am not sure if UP has chosen the right you

Recently, I had the chance to visit UP to meet my friend Miguel. It was then that I was able to breathe the same intellectual ambiance of the campus. I’ve missed everything about it. I even miss the avenue of activism in the campus where students blindly thought that the government was the sole cause of maelstrom of poverty and injustices. Though I never joined any rallies in Iloilo, I was once an active member of the student activist group in Cebu. I used to join my “comrades” march the length of Mango Avenue to Jones Street whenever a big stir happened in congress or if a scam erupted in the national government. It was a good feeling to voice out what we thought was the sentiments of the masses, and the feeling of solidarity was overwhelming that you could no longer distinguish whether your actions were genuine or mere aping. Fr. Bulatao called this a common consciousness stirred by one definite emotion like in the case of EDSA Revolution. It was a nice feeling but I was fooled, I knew. It was only when I left the group that I began to realize the blunders of activism and the maneuvering of the opposition. My friends were eager to hold me back and brainwashed me to look at the brighter side by insisting that we were doing what others are afraid of – to fight for a change. However the opposite happened. Instead of believing them, I started to loathe them, for it was easy to follow one’s principles than live up to them exactly as stated. And when you have not lived up to it, that would only mean hypocrisy; and I just couldn’t take it. Later on, I discovered what I was fighting for was not the plea of the masses but the perpetuation of some ideologues which I dare not mention.

…and back to UP. The government is pouring bigger funds this time for R&D compared to last year’s. This is good news because UP will be one of the recipients of the billions of pesos (pardon me, if I forgot the exact amount). The good thing about this is the potential of the institution to boost academic pressure among the students to delve more in R&D and to set aside the principle of activism for a while. At least, the government will have the reason to curb the growth of foolish belief among students and establish a steadfast cooperation starting from the academe. As you know, when other countries in Asia are scuttling for Science Development, the Philippines still lags in their cause for cultural change and the idea of science as a stratified phase for national development has not been considered seriously but rather regarded as a maudlin fanaticism. Maybe its time that the state university should be careful in selecting students who are willing to commit themselves to national development by studying well and by fostering the importance of research and development as the primary drive for progress. I can say this because I’ve witnessed that many of what we call “iskolar ng bayan” squander the government budget indirectly by cutting and skipping their classes for a shallow reason that passing grade isn’t earned by attendance alone. How many bright students enjoy receiving government subsidy, and instead of returning back what the government has invested for them, they themselves become the forefront of activism and criticize the government for not living up to its promises to alleviate poverty? Are they not part of this huge malfeasance by not attending classes? The government is spending much for them hence they must contribute to what they are supposed to deliver.

Ruminating on this, it is sad that some of these students who made it to UP are themselves the best examples of lousiness. No questions with their intellect, but reaping for investment is another story and we always know that there is always the time of reckoning. The government should think twice of the next batch of “iskolar ng bayan” to come in. It may not be the same, but the label “the breeding ground of activism (communism to the extent)” will linger on.

As the UP centennial celebration will end soon, many things have been discussed including its century academic excellence that prides its students and its faculties. I have no qualms to say that those bright students chose the right institution, but I am not pretty sure if UP has chosen the right students to nourish. Maybe, it will for the next hundred years. I hope.

Categories: yupi kong mahal Tags: , ,

On Filipino Identity

October 10, 2008 4 comments
delotavo's diaspora

delotavo's diaspora

I read a column on the Star about urging we Filipinos to understand our culture and make use of anything good from it for national development.  The point was actually simple: learn where your stance, look at the rest of the world and move out to prove your worth. This has  triggered me to post what I had written before in UP. Though this is just an excerpt of the whole article , it nevertheless bears the core content of my idea.

The Filipinos have become a legend the world over. So they say. They are known to be the happiest people in the world; the primary factor being their knack of finding something to be cheerful about in the midst of adversity, crisis, even in suffering. Pop psychology, culled from the various religious schemes from cultures around the world, have often pointed out that happiness is either: an acceptance of one’s present lot, shared in comity with the rest of human kind or the Aristotlean notion of happiness being the perfection of one’s capabilities by its practice and fulfillment. Which of these is the Filipino’s?

Analyzing recent pop icons of Filipino ascent [Manny Pacquiao, Filipino OFW’s, Pinay internet hetairas], it is clear that the cheerfulness that Filipinos have been famous for is intricately connected with roots of extreme poverty. Destitution is the motivation; the dream: a better life somewhere. There are necessary elements for a typical Filipino success story: A penniless childhood, devoted but poor parents working to make ends meet, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity propelled by heroic self sacrifice and fervent prayers to the Divine, leading to sweet happy endings of riches and infamy and becoming a household name that in turn will inspire thousands to reach for the stars. Filipinos have to work harder, one lifetime at a time, to achieve a state of existence that people at the other end of the world have only to work for in two hours stops, only to waste it away on boredom and marital, middle-life crises. But then, the same is true with every third world country. That Filipinos seem to have a good time through is beyond logic. That Filipinos could make jokes as they row through seven-feet high monsoon floods or still be the texting capital of the world despite an oceans-wide gap between the rich and the poor baffle, amaze and annoy most foreigners. What is their secret? they ask. How do Filipinos do it?

When other countries have become so well off that even Chinese toddlers already have laptops and a teenager from Notting Hill, London can buy a cappuccino that costs as much as two days’ wages for an average Filipino worker, why is it that Filipinos can still laugh so heartily as they lose their homes to monsoon floods or even make jokes about their own situations or feel almost nothing at the way their politicians have, time and time again, not only worsened the economic situation of the Philippines but have almost criminally debunked the hopes and dreams of those who have voted them because they precisely promised the opposite, even invoking the power of the Divine? It could not be that Filipinos are stupid: the country has had its fair share of intellectuals and history glitters with the achievements of these admirable men and women who have brought enlightenment and progress to the country. A very priceless commodity in the Philippine market today is manpower: individuals who have been schooled into skills and knowledge necessary to keep the cogs of the national economy from breaking down. It could also not be a political immaturity, for there was a time when the Filipinos, in one glorious exhibition of bravery and unity, brought down a dictator and ushered in a future pregnant with possibilities for a better society. The problem was, and it exists to this very day, nobody ever knew how to make those dreams of prosperity a reality. The country had to open its doors to the outside world and seek its answers there.

With the tsunami of foreign capitalism and its inevitable cultural ramifications, the Filipino barely had a chance to recover its breath, look around, analyze what has just happened, formulate answers derived from his own experiences of what had gone wrong with the system in which he was placed. Nay, the world was simply too fast for him. It could be that the cultural enslavement that has crippled the Filipino from the earliest stages of colonial rule up to now, more than a hundred years after its end, has not yet been overcome. We are enslaved by a poverty of identity. It is a hard reality that many Filipinos have less in life and suffer for it: no amount of policy or law can ever conceal that. It is also true that this has been the situation for hundreds of years, and many more. It is time to break from the prototype of how a Filipino is perceived by the international community.

Yes, they are happy, but it shouldn’t be because they accept their lot on life and suffer cheerfully. It shouldn’t be that the happiness Filipinos are known for should come from the fulfillment they feel from having sacrificed so much working abroad and in God-knows-where-else just to provide a better life for their loved ones. This is not how a Filipino should end up. Precisely, this cultural mechanism is being used to educate future generations of what progress should be, when what they need is a Cultural renaissance where the worth of the Filipino is not in how much he is willing to sacrifice in a foreign shore, but in how he can give so much of himself in his own land, for his own country, within the reach of his loved ones, and within the bosom of his own native home. The State should provide more opportunities for progress by utilizing its own resources, by feeding its own people, by fostering its own opportunities for growth not from foreign gold, but from what the people themselves can give: through a decreased export of manpower, through a better system of managing local assets and turning them into capital for the profit of its own native users. These, in the long run, lay the foundations of basic material stability and constant economic growth needed for a cultural system closer to the experiences and values of Filipino life. These are necessary for the establishment of a Filipino’s sense of being. These are the foundations of a true Filipino identity. By localizing Filipino pride with opportunities for economic prosperity closer to home and more grounded on native comity, the State will pave a way for a stronger, happier nation.

Categories: being pinoy Tags:

order in the table.

October 3, 2008 8 comments
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:O

Books here, papers and folders there and crumpled wrappers of candies everywhere. Hoy!

I need to get things in order for my table has remained messy for two days now. My boss, noticing this, since I’m situated as vanguard of the battalion of sloth from my rear, scolded me for having a garbage trash rather than an office table. She stared with her laser beams while murmuring of something ribald but I knew for sure that it wasn’t me per se but the loony look of my slab. If she gets easily catatonic over smidgen of dirt on the floor how much more would she feel toward piles of paper that look like garbage dump on my table? I was sure that when she got back and my table was still on its anti-cosmos state, a middle finger would surely be lifted on my face. I had no choice but to obey or else…well you don’t want to get your boss angry nor you want to draw all suspicion in you, will you? I have one piece of advice then:  never imitate me by not keeping your table clean and tidying the little things on top of it because for sure you don’t want to get someone squeamish over your topsy-turvy demeanor especially your boss. Even if you are an artist- who always justifies your being unsystematic with abstraction of brushes and hues of colors-you still must secure things in order and must be scientific in dealing with such. We are placed into this void for a purpose -that is to maintain order and not to reciprocate it. You just can’t let the God of the Old Testament come down and raise that middle finger on you or turn you into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife in Sodom and Gomorrah by leaving your table cluttered. You know what I mean-but in any case you don’t, just keep your things in order. Simple and clear.

One of the nicest things about keeping my table clean is that I can think straight without external interference. I have to keep this regularly not to impress my boss but to keep myself in good placement to avoid wimping over my assignments. Organized things means systematic mind. Better think of Mr. Einstein- had he become a little more concerned of his table, maybe he already solved the problem of the universe and that there was no need for the establishment of Hadron Collider blah blah …that 90 fold worth of the Iloilo Provincial budget built to qualify the theories of the universe; and the money financed for that project could have been much appreciated if it is allocated for Africa as aid for the victims in Darfur. However, open-mindedly, I also think that chaos- which separates things, put up wars and creating boundaries- is equally necessary to find order but not much as beautiful as with all potential gearing towards actuality of order. Chaos is just a by-product of anti-order choices of man and not a natural phenomenon that falls like rain. I am wondering if all the people in the world have the same regard for order, probably the best possible world that Voltaire is ruminating will finally be given flesh.

When world is created with such, wouldn’t it be proper for us to behave with saliency to order? Perhaps our world will be a better place when all behave in accordance with order. When there is order, there will be:

1. No more traffic signs which means that I wouldn’t get late even if I wake up at 630 in the morning.

2. No more war in Mindanao and the rest of the world and there will be dismissal of media industry simply because “news isn’t news if it isn’t bad”

3. No more crimes and no more proceedings in the court. There will never be lawyers too…grrr.

4. No more black and white or brown and yellow, only the color of the rainbow is noticed

5. No more broken families, but one united humanity

6. No more distinction, only beauty

7. No more religion, only one common concept of God

8. No more pollution for everybody thinks about the world

9. No more corruption because there are better concerns to be addressed

10. No more politics, no more boundaries, no more conflicting systems…because the world is in order.

 This is very ideal, I know, as the road to it is strewn with humongous chaos that is very hard to change. I know it’s hard. Everything is hard because even order had become a subject of perversion to fit everybody’s idea -to the point of causing arbitration among people. But isn’t it more hard to keep this chaos working? After all, we could never embrace order unless we try. Let me stress again my piece of advice before this ends: if you want to embrace order, start arranging your table. My boss had a very good point and I shouldn’t ignore it. Better keep going now, my table needs a good make-over.

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags: ,

take philosophy out of the church

September 30, 2008 6 comments

Sarte please let mee see you smile.hehehe

de Beauvoir: Sartre please let mee see you smile.hehehe

I have been dead serious with my past entries and I am thinking of making an experiment that would spice my content better. Humor oh yes! I have to add traces of that and inject a little language of inarticulateness. As student of philosophy I seldom encountered humor in our class because most of the lectures were trite and heady and lacked of freshness. College philosophy, as some deem it, is an ultimate pain in the butt, so ideal that you couldn’t flout it in any means. The problem I guess are with words, the constructions and the terms that sound like alien blabs frantically uttering their paean such as geist, dasein, cognito apriori..atbp. These are absolutely foreign terms that I also abhorred during my college years but I had to swallow them obediently just to get my scholarship going. But can we relay philosophy without sigh of drowsiness? Maybe. Ask Bob Ong.

Here are some complex philosophical ideas that can be subject to humor. These are some of my favorite thinkers with their famous clichés:

1. Life is absurd.-Albert Camus

Dabubu: Imagine yourself looking at two ducks copulating. Because you hate their natural boldness for simple reason that you get squeamish to witness it, take your gun and shoot those boobies. Then you cook them and eat them with delight because you’ll never get to spot their “I don’t care if you see us, so what” again.

Totomel: Uhuh? Then What?

Dabubu: Now, the boobies turn. You start to feel excruciating pain possessing you that you want to call all the idadalmons, angeles, santos kag martires. You rush to the hospital and find out that the fowls were actually carriers of bird flu.

Totomel: That is improbable.

Dabubu: Yeah. Yet the more  experience becomes absurd, the better Camus idea is proven.

2. Hell with other people-Jean Paul Sartre

“We have to get married darling,” de Beauvoir said.

“No way. There’s a problem with absolute freedom that I’m working on. It’s like writing using my pen’s butt,” countered Sartre.

“Mind you,” de Beauvoir retorted. “Your shortness will apparently speak of your performance. Would you mind me writing about it in my Second Sex? After all, feminism means audacity.”

“ No please! Let’s get it done, come to my house and we’ll get married on our own.”

HELL WITH OTHER PEOPLE KA DYAN!!!

3. Art is the spearhead of the society-Susanne Langer

Abulad: We can only change Philippine society if we are able to develop an original Filipino Philosophy.

Paul Medina: Hindi naman siguro. Du-drawing na lang ako to make our society change into my society. Drawing lang yan bro.

4. The ultimate arche of the universe is water; ergo everything is made up of water.-Thales

Propesor: De facto, our body is 70 % made up of water.

Estudent: Sir, I think that’s erroneous.

Propesor: Who are you to question me? TUBIG KA LANG!!!

Estudent: Aba, nagsalita ang bato!

I hope that philosophy will never stay boring all the time. Maybe its time to get some innovation: take philosophy outside the church and start drawing it in comics. Besides, philosophy should be better understood in the light of our cultural humor. Kay ang filosofiya indi gid man dapat boring borj. Di ba?

D end.

Categories: Ilong-Ilonganon Tags:

iloilo in change

September 24, 2008 11 comments
iloilo capitol

iloilo capitol

It’s not often that I clamber up to 6th floor of the Iloilo Capitol, but for the sake of organizing my thoughts, I opt to breathe fresh air atop Iloilo’s prime edifice, utter my mantra, and focus. Instead of jotting the first line for my press release, I turn my attention to the old Iloilo port that stood the test of time. I am not exactly sure of its antiquity but I think it is aged a century and has been witness to the rise and fall of Ilonggo civilization. On my right side facing north is the historical range of Gen. Luna Street spanning up to the University of the Philippines, an institution that is dear to me. In facing east, the old Iznart Street, which has been a subject place of Stevan Javellana, remains jam packed with vehicles and rabbles that have became slaves of time. The Bonifacio Drive and the Iloilo River remain tranquil below the six bridges that were erected for the benefit of accessibility and road network. Facing up, I notice the same sky that is unclear of any expression, but I surmise is frowning because there is so much demand of sun block in the market—that we forget to think that we can never solve the issue of blackening unless we look up and think how to resolve the problem of mercury rising.

There is no doubt that Iloilo is ascending in terms of development and economic gains. It has made its name in economic promontory as one of the most promising sites in the Philippines; investment keeps rolling in and available spaces are procured for real estate developments and business infrastructures. The laggard years are gone, and Iloilo has made a drastic change beginning with the election of technocrats and officials that can stand in the side of development than just pure politicking.

If you could look back at Iloilo ten years ago, a myriad of change has taken place – with the establishment of malls and business centers; the transfer of business locales from the old Calle Real to the spacious and trendy site of Benigno Aquino Drive (Diversion Road as it is commonly called now) in Manduriao; the market driven entrance of BPOs and call centers, Iloilo is once again on the track to prove itself of the potential which was once hailed as Queen City of the South before Cebu held that label. The imminent presence of competitive universities coupled with the rising demand of man power has symbiotically made a great impact in economic thrust. This might be the reason why Iloilo is the fragrance of investment in Central Philippines.

Major public infrastructures started to move up in Iloilo. One of the grandiose projects is the bridging of Panay Island via Guimaras and Negros which is estimated to cost billions from the government treasury. As part of the National Plan for Economic Corridor, the bridging of these islands will bring more investment in La Muy Leal Noble Ciudad de Iloilo. The project is speculated to commence in Leganes, Iloilo, crossing Taminla, Guimaras and from Cabano, Guimaras, the bridge is engineered to cross Pulupandan, Negros.

However, the development in Iloilo was not wrought as easy as ABC. Political parties along with undying activism of the Catholic Church, created a block to hinder some of the projects. Had it not been for the persistence of the local executives, Iloilo would remain as wretched as a decade past.

Indeed, so much has changed and it is not just about the geo-physical transformation but the behavioral and mental transmutation of the people as well.

Life in Iloilo is very different now, although development is inevitable, it nevertheless has a cost to pay. Some clamor has dominated the limelight saying that they rarely see people chatting down the road, holding hands and enjoying the time with each other anymore. Iznart Street along with the plazas has once been known for serving as a socializing place for the people – that might have been the reason why Iloilo was known as “The City of Love.” But it’s all gone now. The dawning of skycrapers and global trending has brought this gradual change among Ilonggos. I am not anti-progress as to say, but a pro-progress as much as somebody yearns for it. Only those who look at the progress of time can see the drama of life and maybe I am one of them because I feel nostalgic of whatever beauty  of the past that has remained in the memory of only a few. The bridging of archipelagos may bring structural and economic development in Iloilo, but I am afraid it will curtail the long sublimeness of Ilonggo behavior. We have to adapt… that’s the bitter part of it. Nevertheless, no one can hide the excitement with where Iloilo is heading and what it is going to be – The Next Big Thing.

uyok, the rain and the dream of hope

September 18, 2008 3 comments

Last night, the rain was heavy and I had to find a roof after I stepped out of the jeepney. Barotac Nuevo was tranquil when I managed to find my pasilungan in a small carenderia along the main road. It was not usual for the town to be so quiet especially with the premature closing of raucous videoke-bars at 9. There was something eerie about the place because there were no tricycles parked on the sidewalks waiting for the passengers to transport them to their barangay destinations. Tricycle used to swarm the streets but not this time. The rain owned the road, claiming its rightful place in the town; even the drive to earn was defeated by the heavy pouring of the sky.

traysikol
traysikol

I prayed the rain would stop and the almighty sky to take pity on the people stranded, itching enough to hurry home, to cuddle their children or to indulge in another natural copulation with their other halves. The office girls were cursing the weather because their stockings were dripping when they paced the floor. I glanced at the other side and saw Julius my elementary friend who was sullen in waiting for the rain to cease. I walked towards him and asked how he was doing. He had a tricycle park a couple of blocks away and would have been fortunate to take all those people to their homes because it would mean a lot more earning for the night. However, he was not happy to tell me how his uncle, a trisikad driver was hit by a van the other day and was left wounded in the road. He was confined in the local hospital without anything else but a strong faith to get well. He told me about this because he cared a lot for him and that he needed to do something.

The rain continued to pour in the same amount of precipitation. We continued talking until we reached the point of reminiscing the old days. I knew he was hurt by the incident because nobody had seen the van, and the mishap, and the van could not be traced. But as a friend, I ought to understand his sorrows and had to sway the conversation to more cheerful elementary memories where we spent half of the day under the sun playing pitiw and tumba–patis or pulis-makawat. I did this to thwart the emotion and bring about transition from his melancholic situation.

Those were simple joys because we did not think much of our lives; that was how we behaved due to our young minds, but it changes along the ripening of time. We were not even attending to comply with our assignments for we were always in a hurry to go home and play with the children in our neighborhood – some of them never went to school and spent most of their times in the field helping their parents to get through poverty. We were poor ourselves but my mother has persevered much to send us to school even if it cost her, her own life; and that what made us very fortunate among other children. She understood well enough the value of education as a social ladder even though she didn’t have formal education herself. But those were the days. We have grown into different entities now and Julius, I know, has grown to be much matured, full of religious hope for his life.

Unlike my other classmates, Uyok (that’s what everybody calls him) did not get married. Belonging to a very poor family of 7, he could hardly think of anything but to earn and make his way to college. Fortunately he finished his college with the drive of salvaging his family from poverty. He did this because he dreamt and his dream paved way but only to the extent of finishing his college. And he realized he could not shake off the poverty for the moment; so he rented his uncle’s motorcycle just to earn something while waiting for chance to get hold of him.

He was an education graduate in a local community college here in Barotac Nuevo and he hoped to get the board in the next slated date. He was bereft of any luxury and had to borrow money from his aunt to finance himself.  He just wished to get this done and I could sense that the dream of passing the board lurked behind his hopes. This I saluted him for, because I had never seen a man as dedicated as he was.

Listening to him brought certain remorse in my heart because I had to do something, at least to help in encouragement. But miserable as any other person who gropes for success in life, I could offer him nothing. In the society that is full of materialistic demands, I could not help but cope; and in my quest to fulfill this desire, I shrank back in frustration because it required too much determination and capital to clamber the sybaritic market. This I loathed, because as philosophy graduate, I could not land a suitable job. I couldn’t even pursue my dream of going to law school because I only earn enough to feed my stomach’s wants and not to finance the academic honor I desire. I love my degree, but I have to empty my cranium of what I knew in order to go down to the level of society just to suit the qualification of the technical world. It pinged my heart with such demeaning realization  and I just condescended with apology to Uyok because I couldn’t help him in any specific way.

I told him how life has changed from simple to worst, that our generation suffered the brunt of excessive oppression by the current system which has been eating up our dreams. I didn’t like to bring up this topic to some extent of blaming the system, and the government, the society for all I know I have indirectly benefited from these somehow. But knowing that somebody’s life is caught between the crossroad of ultimate need and a romantic hope for himself, I could not help but to mention these things. I was glad he understood like the way he did way back when he ranked 2nd to me in class. I wonder what my life would be in ten years and if I ever continue wandering this impoverish state. I knew it was all about choice and it is only through a choice that we can carve our future. However, being in a very poor state, your choice is being limited and you sometimes behave with the “what must and what must not” standard.

I fell short with words to go on talking and he rescued me by saying that he would never stop dreaming – as if hope is the only gore to keep him speeding. That was the best thing I heard from him: to never stop hoping. I too, shouldn’t stop hoping because there is more that awaits tomorrow. I know deep inside, despite his struggles, he will succeed in his life. I pray for that.

The rain stopped at 10 pm, and we rushed to his motor cycle. I gave him 50 pesos for fare but he was reluctant to receive it until I insisted. It was never enough, I knew but I hope that our conversation will shed some initiative from him to move on and to dream big and live that dream.

I walked the dark alley towards home and wondering how much I learned from him because he talked not with theories and ideologies – which I sometimes despised being so bloated and airy – but with the simplicity of experiential language. I don’t know when I will ever see him again; maybe tomorrow, or maybe in the next ten years. I only hope that with this misery that shrouded our lives, we will one day find a knife to cut these twigs and experience the euphoric success.

The rain had surely swept the people out of the town main street, but it somehow providentially arranged a meeting with my long time friend. Despite the tragic sense that he embedded in my mind, I never could have been happier that day as I scribbled my thoughts in my journal…and it started ….Once there was Uyok …there was the rain… there was the dream of hope…

*Photo Credit: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/59/159096120_c406f5ee2d.jpg?v=1149339684

englishing pinoy

September 16, 2008 5 comments

I have never been more apprehensive about anything in my life than finding courage to write something for blogs. I already have a lot of compositions  but I guess that would seem mediocre compared to the rest who write with fashion and unique artistry that either influences or  becomes the germ for change.  There is what you call a strict line between sacred and profane, or a master and a neophyte – and I believe I belong to the latter. The obvious difference of an amateur and the prolific is the mastery of language (english) and maneuvering it to portray out their minds. However, the sole consolation I get through writing is the fact that I would be sharing my mind no matter how profane  or how shallow my ideas are (hell with the skeptics, we all have to have a share of them anyway) and regardless of this, each has each own role to fill up, because even the mundane has something to say about the world.

Francisco Sionil Jose
Francisco Sionil Jose

Last night, I was reading an essay on Fiction and National Identity by Francisco Sionil Jose-the Filipino bid for Nobel Prize laureate – and it prides me to know someone who can write prolifically about the culture of the Filipino from the ground up rather than being engrossed with politics and the popular trends within the confine of self vanity.   Reading his works, gives me sense of obligation that each has a role to write – not of the distant land but the very basic which constitutes our own being. Although we have been alienated by the growing culture of west, and that we use their language (English in particular), we can never exempt ourselves from the ground that nursed us till we get conscious of the complexities of life.  A proper account of our lives must be etched for perpetuity of our Filipino ways since there is a shift of literary scheme from oral to visual as Nick Joaquin put it.  Yet,  some among us despised our land, our own color, even our own race, to arrogantly believe that there is something far better in other grounds . and we started  to write about Tolkien or Rowling  rather than about Deriada, Arguilla, Javellana and even to the point of forgetting Rizal; that is because we always see  west as a fairyland and fantasize more about it. We think that economic security abroad means good culture because it promises us grands that we could send back home. This is an ominous misconception; this is what we call dreaming the mundane because if one may contemplate on the exact end of man, one may conceive that men may act differently in various shades of skin, but we have the same color of blood and we all think alike; we are all human beings. The only sheer difference that divides us are the boundaries within the multi-colored world we live in.

We in the east  have a bizarre culture where there is harmony between spirit and flesh as opposed to the western speculation that reason dominates the physical; we can never evade this culture. Since the growing impact of the western trend is obviously undeniable, hence must be understood in proper illumination .

When I was in college, a professor of mine told us that the dominant culture is dubious enough to seep into the human psyche and lure people into uniformity. If we try to break down the word, we will have two root words – uni and form. Uni always mean one while form means idea or perception. In coining the word, we buy the notion of “one idea” or simply to become one in style-and this is what this system is doing right now particularly the idea of globalization and, speculatively, the subtle influence of the English language. Actually, there is nothing wrong neither with globalization nor the use of the English language as long as we know where to draw the line, and audaciously stand on our culture. But if we succumbed to the ideologues that work behind it, to the point of being homogeneous with them, the future of preserving our own will be reduced to mere oblivion. If this happens, whose gain will it be?

We are created uniquely, with culture and ways of our own, and this is the only distinctive subject that divides us. If we lose it, where do you think the Filipino would credibly stand for?

The universality of man is not meant to divide but to unite, but sad to say that individualistic philosophy of western paradigm has created a trend that entices (inventing a need) the taste of our generation-the Generation-X that puts up feud rather than unity and respect fro diversity. Because of this influence, we forget where we are and what we are because of this influence. We may be good in English, but we can never be American or British. That is the fact. However, being good in English doesn’t mean we are no longer Filipinos.

English language has become an integral part of our culture to the brink of owning it as our third language. Admit it to say, from the moment we began to develop an acoustic ability in our early days, English language was already there walking along until we took the first step in our classrooms; it has become the main medium of instruction in all levels. So who said that English is not our own? It is ours; we have come to embrace it. Thus, there is nothing wrong to put the context of the English language and use it to make our own culture understood better. Nobody after all owns the English language in Asia better than the Filipinos and I stand to that claim. Some said that the proper way to explain Filipino is to use Filipino. What is wrong in using English anyway? Why not? As long as we stand to be Filipino, using English is absolutely fine. Our tongue may take different forms in the changes of time and the drive to assert the place of our race in the globe, but we can never lift our feet from the ground where we have bloomed; just change your tongue but keep your feet still.

There are various spectacles on how to address the multitude of language as propaganda or the herald of cultural influence, but I will not dwell with this further more because I am just highlighting the core of being what and being where- the being and theplace to be of Filipinos. And with regards to lEnglish anguage, what is important is that we gear it to discover our very selves and the place that nurtured us.  As what Gandhi said , he would welcome the four winds of the earth in his house but that he would see to it that his house is not blown down by any of them. Even Rizal understood this, and by far history , has used Spanish to portray the lives of the Filipinos- a species existing in the orient world that the western world and even America has been once nescient of.

Summing up all accounts, I commend that F. Sionil Jose deserves to be read by every Filipino for he has shown better the use of language either in English or not; and he firmly stands on his culture and on being a Filipino, despite being a polyglot by nature.

 

P.S. For thorough details read F. Sionil Jose, In Search of the Word: Selected Essays, De La Salle University Press, 1998.

Hello world!

September 15, 2008 3 comments

Welcome.This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Categories: being pinoy