Monday, December 28, 2009

There are no menial tasks

It's the lull between Christmas and New Year again, and I'm playing superhero--that is, I'm doing superhero duties: cleaning out the closet, sweeping, washing dishes, fixing the bed... apart from my usual cleaning of the cat business. Done on a daily basis, tidying up could get really repetitive; it's not surprising that it's hard to pry oneself away from the computer or book or television just to get those plates out of the way.

But let's not end the year with a note of lethargy. House chores, though effectively tiresome and repetitive, are never a lowly occupation. It takes some know-how to get them done well, some patience to get them done at all, and a lot of love to get them done with ease.

And, whoever said that chores left the house looking duller than before? Completing all those little things brightens up the home considerably--and quietly. Nobody needs to be praised all the time for the good things he does... because people who really want to do good will continue doing what they do even without anybody taking notice. That's why they're superheroes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From A Christmas Carol

"Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone!"

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


May we always know how to "keep Christmas well" (this season and all year round) like this new Scrooge! Merry Christmas everyone! This is posted a day early because I don't normally go online on Christmas day. :P

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When shutting up is the more graceful option

Taking public transport has not only tested many a hot-head's patience to the limits, but also their self-control. How gratifying must it feel to let everyone know that "I'm not pleased! Isn't it obvious?"--and perhaps this is not the first time anyone has fantasized about putting noisy, pushy, slow-walking, or [insert peeve here] people in their place.

This reminds me of a woman in the Guadalupe Station at the MRT. She was waiting outside to squeeze in with the heaving mass of football playing women, but alas it was no use. In her frustration, she shouted at us--all those already inside the car when the train stopped there--saying, "Ang luwag-luwag pa kaya, ba't di kayo umusog!" [There's still a lot of space, why don't you cram yourselves in some more?"] But of course none of us could move, so the doors closed and she was left outside--to the great relief of all.

Another woman let me know of her ire when she was being indecisive about entering the elevator. There were a bunch of us inside already and she lingered by the door. Everybody didn't know what she planned to do; I, being by the buttons, was holding the "open" button for her, but let go because she wouldn't come in--I really thought she wasn't going up and she would wait for the elevator that would be going down. But, suddenly she decided to step in--and the doors closed on her. After the elevator hit her and opened again to let her in, she stomped inside in a huff, gave me a bad look and forcefully punched her floor (2nd). Though I am really sorry for not understanding her body language, I still think it's very childish behavior for a mature woman. Shame.

While it may seem gratifying to let people know that you're fuming and losing your patience over their, say, foolishness, there are times when keeping these feelings to yourself is the most graceful way out. Look at it this way: in the MRT, at rush hour, everyone is tired, everyone wants to go home, everyone is not in a very good mood. But among all those women, it is you who happens to lose it--you're the only one who makes a scene! Who's the fool then?

It may not be obvious, but there are good things that can come from holding that tongue, even if you think you're in the right. One, there is that exercise on patience--an opportunity to grow. Two, the people around you (or those with you) won't feel the need to pretend you don't exist. Three, overall, it's better for everyone to be saved from enduring your tirade-cum-entertainment showcase, and that includes you. Trust me, a person who displays such a violent show of ire hardly ever leaves a gathering or a place gracefully--she may have left with her head held highly and righteously, but because actions speak louder than words, she will only be remembered for losing her temper, and not for being right.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stairway to heaven

Okay, I must admit I have never watched an episode of this series, be it the Korean version or the Filipino version. But my mom likes it a lot and it's not the first time I had to listen to her tell me over again how some girl called Eunice could be so jealous of the bida girl called Jodi that she, the former, would run over the latter twice, which in effect, results in injuries that kill Jodi just after she finds happily ever after with Cholo at the end of the series.

The Filipino version was made by GMA7. (There are so many koreanovela remakes now it's easy to forget which station did what.) Anyhoo, my mom was just telling me last night how they changed the ending of the Pinoy version of Stairway to Heaven. She felt sad for Jodi not because she dies--she really dies in the original anyway--but because in our version she doesn't forgive Eunice. Isn't it funny that people in a non-Catholic country like Korea would see it fit for the character to forgive before she dies, but we wouldn't? After copying everything about the series (even the cold-weather clothing and Jodi's abominable bangs), we forget to add the important fact that Jodi dies having already forgiven her enemies.... My mom says, that's the main reason why Stairway is so nice, because Jodi was so good. Apparently she isn't as good in the Philippine setting.

Maybe we're just so smitten by the Cholo-Jodi love story that the series' (probably existent) finer points have been tossed aside for more cutesy scenes between the two. I heard before that stories for Korean television were written with family values and individual virtues in mind--perhaps that's why most of the koreanovelas have relatively big roles for parents and siblings--apart from the given bida guy and bida girl. (For the record, I have watched the korean Full House, Coffee Prince, and the first episodes of Princess Hours...and now that I think of it, all three aren't as "serious" as Stairway, in the sense that there is no character seeking some horrible revenge. For lack of a better word, they fall under the "pa-cute" genre.)

What is lacking in our TV culture? Besides the obvious disregard for dressing women well enough so that they are respected and not drooled over (gross, I know), there is a lack of teleserye storylines that really put nation-building values (be they individual or community values and virtues) to the fore. It really just looks like TV people have gotten so lazy that they simply recycle already-popular stories. And also like they're banking on the stars' "cuteness" to raise the ratings...

Good stories by themselves really do have the power to draw audiences. Before it got its Hollywood makeover, nobody read Harry Potter just because "Harry is cute"! It's the adventure that draws, not the "cuteness" of the character. If ever, people will admire Harry for his courage, not his good looks. (Besides, Rowling never wrote that Harry was good-looking.)

Frankly, Pinoy TV has become so focused on what characters look like that it has forgotten that, more important than the Ding-dong-Rhian, Piolo-KC, Richard-Heart cuteness oozing factor, it's how the characters face up to conflicts that makes a story come alive. What inherent qualities do they have that are admirable and worth emulating?

Maybe it's time we stop watching TV and read more books! At least through the books we choose, we're sure that nobody underestimates our intelligence. :P

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's the Season of Gifts again! But more than the gifts we receive, it's time to look at what we can give this season. And by giving, I don't simply mean giving material tokens to loved ones. A gift of time is just as pleasing; as gift of effort goes a long way. The first Christmas, after all, was not a lavish material celebration--at least, not the way it is celebrated now. As Sunnyday says in her post:

This Christmas is bound to be a very, very different one for the many who were directly affected by the destructive typhoons our country experienced in September; add to that the families and other loved ones of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao. So probably it will be a bit harder for some of them to appreciate the spirit of the season and the things that the birth of the Savior stands for: simplicity, poverty, self-giving. Hopefully, those of us around them will be the ones to help them see that there is much to be thankful for even amid times that challenge the human spirit.

Putting the meaning in Christmas really depends on us--and if we keep seeing it as a time to splurge on the latest gadgets "because we deserve it," then it's no surprise that the beauty and simplicity of the season itself eludes us. What is the meaning of Christmas? Take a few minutes in front of a belen and maybe you'll catch a glimpse of the immense Love behind it. Having a hard time? It only means you need to Stop! ...and listen.

Okay so I didn't talk about the newest issue of Baby, but do go out and buy a copy! We have many parenting tips and good reads.

On the cover is Maka Carpio waving hello to photographer Kristin Alfafara Rodriguez of Little People Lifestyle Photography. Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, SM baby department stores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A prude is...something to think about

The definition of prude is a person who is described as being obsessively concerned with decorum, modesty, and propriety. Even the definition sounds so...derogatory.

Bad connotations aside, I do wonder how people started thinking that keeping the standards high when it comes to fashion and pop culture is a bad thing. Is it because actually voicing out that some fashion brand's "illegally" low jeans look uncomfy instantly makes one uncool? Is it because if somebody smart had just cracked a green joke, correcting him would make one look dumb?

Who gives the labels anyway?

More on this some other time. :P

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Checklist: little acts...

Quick post. Here are 9 little things to do to be more charitable.

  1. Listen...and carefully. Look the person in the eye and don't keep looking at your watch or mobile phone. There's so much to learn; pay attention!
  2. Be affectionate. This depends on how close you are to a person. Of course, don't be too touchy with everybody--that would be creepy, hehe!
  3. Laugh. When something is really funny. But not at somebody else's expense.
  4. Write sincere messages and notes to friends. A well-written note will never be forgotten!
  5. Give sincere compliments. Sincere is the key word.
  6. Go out of your way to do something kind...every day. Do favors, and people will find it easier to go out of their way for you too; more importantly, happiness comes from helping others, not helping yourself.
  7. Get your "alone time." And give others theirs.
  8. Keep a cheerful disposition. When you're exhausted, get that hair out of your face and make an effort to look fresh and happy. It's not lying to yourself--it's just that not everyone needs to know of your woes. Maybe just your closest friends--even then, you can tell them without looking all torn and broken!
  9. Inspire. Don't think about this too much. Simply do what is just, admire awesome people, stay grounded, stick to the truth, and keep working hard. Hopefully by example, you'll get others to do the same (so you better be worth emulating!).
Happy start of Advent!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rise and shine!

Every day is a struggle of keeping to one's resolutions. Be more patient, check. Be more cheerful, check. Be more generous, less lazy, more goes the ordinary resolution list. The items on the list may seem insignificant, but who said the little things never helped a person much? In fact, it's the seemingly inconsequential challenges that slowly chip away at all those bad habits that people tend to keep coming back to.

Why am I talking about resolutions? It isn't 2010 yet! What most people forget about resolutions is that they can be made any time of the year, not just on New Year. (Anyone who has made many New Year's resolutions is probably aware of how they crack by March and dissolve by June--and that's being optimistic already.) Not choosing a special day for making resolutions (one definite resolution at a time is good) helps one continuously check whether or not the resolution is being kept; it gives a kind of outlook--one that takes every day as a battle, and every night as going through the spoils of war, thus strengthening the next day's battle plan.

What I notice about resolutions is they have to be examined and reexamined--in war, how does a warrior win by battle plan alone? The battle itself changes in many ways while it's happening; one has to keep up with these changes in order to end up winning the war.

For this post, I'd like to talk about the first battle of everyday: waking up on time. Think about this: how can you keep up the energy to pull through your resolutions if at the start of the day, FAIL is already stamped onto your forehead? That first skirmish of the day is crucial because it determines how well you will fight that day!

Victory at the first battle makes the following battles easier to face because of the undeniable boost in confidence ("Kaya ko pala ito!") it brings. And to taste this victory, you need a great awareness of what is important now. What's interesting about "the waking up battle" is that, pushing the "now" for "later" actually pushes everything you had planned the night before a step back. It's a whole day's schedule delayed and compromised, only because you didn't get up at the count of three.

So, on top of the day's resolution, try this:
I will wake up on time...and with a smile.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blue shoes and the element of surprise

After looking through the pictures from this show (Peter Som, Spring 2010), I can't help liking the blue shoes! They're like a pleasant surprise at the end of a really good novel, or finding an old photograph in the most unlikely place. (I once found a photo of my sisters and myself in a library book in Poveda. The book apparently hasn't been borrowed/taken out since my Ate returned it some years back.)

Anyhoo, short of gushing over these blue shoes and wasting everyone's time with shallow kikay girl observations (obsessions?), I would like to share some ideas on fashion's ability to turn heads. There are two ways for a woman to turn heads by the way she presents herself. She can either look polished and elegant or trashy and wild. Both are effective but only the former commands respect.

I suppose one can't be polished and elegant all the time--how out of place that would be in the MRT, for example. For women, gaining the respect of peers and strangers is a matter of high importance, but to be dressed in what is normally presumed elegant and polished all the time would be ridiculous.

I'm still looking for words that would stretch "elegance" to suit casual days--and I mean a word that doesn't bring up the "manang" or "old maid" connotation to which the word "modesty" has been unfairly attached. How do you make dressing tastefully (that is, with none of the "too short," "too low," "too exposed" pieces to effortlessly get the head-turning action going) appealing to the regular Jane?

Blue shoes are a good idea--actually, anything that adds that pleasant element of surprise in an ensemble instantly creates a head-turning buzz! It can be a colorful bag, a long necklace, a quirky bracelet, bright-colored glasses, or even a thin striped scarf.

And of course, there is the person behind the ensemble, which should be the most interesting bit of all. She is respected because she presents herself well, and she is liked because how she conducts herself, how she deals with others, and what comes out of her mouth continuously prove that she is as much a lady as she looks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Baby Magazine
's November 2009 issue is all about family budgeting. Read about how to rebuild anew after a calamity in this month's Family Finance column by Antonette Reyes. Save up on toys by making your own (the process of making your own playthings with the tot is actually helpful for his motor development!). Instill the value of saving in your preschooler. Having a baby? There are tips in the Preggy Days section about how to be financially ready to welcome a new member of the family.

Other interesting reads are a feature on the real solution to maternal mortality (look for "Pregnant pause" by Manny Amador on page 62), an article on how to pick a good pair of shoes for your baby, a feat on holistic medicine versus conventional medicine, and of course, the stories of this month's Working Mother (Denice Nillas-Price) and Involved Father (Mike Mapa).

By the way, the little charmer on the cover is Lauren Isabelle Lee Olalia photographed by Kristin Alfafara Rodriguez of Little People Lifestyle Photography.

Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, SM baby department stores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Friday, November 6, 2009


"The most important thing about beauty is to leave something to the imagination."
Kate Spade

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hello, what's this?

Guess what I found in my Watsons plastic bag yesterday? I didn't know they gave such leaflets to people looking for toothpaste and floss now. This just goes to show how much money some people are sinking in to get women to depend on oral contraceptives.

Quote from leaflet: "Oral Contraceptive Pills is the most popular contraceptive method because it is effective and convenient. It is an essential tool to women's reproductive health because it contains hormones to prevent unplanned pregnancy by preventing ovulation, thinning the uterus lining, and thickening the cervical mucus."

[Grammar error concerning S-V agreement is leaflet's.]

Oh the claims! "Essential tool to women's reproductive health"? It prevents ovulation! Why is that healthy? Isn't getting one's period every month healthy? Isn't ovulating healthy? And what's so reproductive about preventing ovulation?

And the last part just states exactly how the bitter pill is an abortifacient. A thinner uterine lining means a hostile environment for a fertilized egg--the new life (which starts at conception, not implantation) will not be able to implant, and so it is aborted.

Here are some links to:
how effective pills are
how healthy they make you

Explore the site too. Actually LifeSiteNews isn't the only source. If you want to read something scary, read the literature printed at the back of every contraceptive drug ad in those foreign women's magazines. Leaflets make things look easy and simple, because that's what leaflets are for!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hakuna Matata

The last storm blasted through Manila in a matter of hours. It rattled on the windows and everything vulnerable; my mom wasn't able to sleep a wink. She said storms made her so jittery, she could work in Pag-asa all night without needing a cup of coffee.

I, on the other hand, slept through it all.

Considering the winds didn't fell our building, this must be one of those rare days when sleeping too much like a rock for one's own good is actually, er, good. There was no energy wasted on worrying about something that didn't come to pass... etc etc.

If you know where the title of this post comes from, you know where this post is going. I'm constantly being reminded about that difference between caring and worrying... because times like these, one needs the skill to tell them apart. Why? We only have so little time to do everything we need to do that being able to tell apart the useless worrying from what we can actually do to make things better gives a person leverage.

Worrying is getting scared about something you think will happen, but not necessarily. A fear of the unknown, it makes you pace back and forth and expend energy without actually accomplishing anything. Caring, on the other hand, is knowing you're up against something and then preparing to face it, making a solution, doing all in your power to solve it--and then at the end of the rope, praying. One should care, or else it's just apathy in that noggin, which is as good as saying it's an empty noggin. (Methinks even worrying is more productive than being apathetic. At least worrying makes wrinkles.)

I don't know how to end this so here's a funny picture a friend found on the Net. It's something to look at if you want to lessen wrinkles at the brow and increase the ones by the mouth and eyes. But I guess it only works if you're a Lion King baby.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity

Been reading some stories of the youth who participated in the Silent Day. I found it so inspiring that many of those kids started out being the only ones with tape in their mouth, and then as the day progressed, more and more people joined in and gave up their voices also. A lot of them got made fun of, too; and I think it takes a lot of mettle to shake off bad comments and ridicule.

On silent day, I dug up a red shoe lace from my mom's trunk (I was really looking for a ribbon from her scrapbooking materials, but there was none) and decided to wear it in my wrist all day as a reminder to myself that there were a lot of intentions and people to pray for that day. And if anybody asked what I was wearing a shoelace in my wrist for, then wouldn't it be a good take off point to say something about silent day?

What I learned that day was that there's something really striking about losing one's voice forever, and losing it without one's consent at that. It was my telling of Silent Day to friends that made me realize it. I guess I've been thinking too much about how to explain the hard stuff (especially the gray area known as contraception) that I've forgotten the simple fact that abortion destroys a whole life full of possibilities, and that that life could have been YOU.

I remember when I was a kid (probably an old kid haha), I read a news story on China's one-child policy. The first thing I thought of when I finished it was, 'If they did that in the Philippines, I wouldn't be around, and neither would my younger sister.' Actually, I said, "E di wala pala ako." Ouch.

How I could have forgotten to think simply like that, I don't know. But yesterday was a good reminder of what one is truly fighting for when he wears the word "LIFE."

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to be a kind MRT passenger

Photo from My Manila.

Riding the MRT is an exercise in patience, especially during rush hour, when you don't even need legs to get in the'll get pushed in by the sheer power of--as my friend puts it--football-playing women (and it's a wonder why football never quite took off in this country). I speak from the point of view of somebody who only takes the women's car, a unique place in this world where the words "woman" and "lady" aren't synonymous at all.

Besides patience--a character trait that keeps you from bopping anybody in the head--it's kindness you have to practice (to avoid getting bopped in the head). Here are some tips on how to be a kind MRT passenger.

1. Do not push anyone in. Ok. So you're late. That doesn't entitle you to be a bully. You should have considered the time and the crowd when you left the office or house. It's not the fault of the person in front of you that you're running late; so it's kind to just let her use her own legs to get in the train. You'll have your turn. Relax.

2. Do hold your bag close to your body. Don't take up too much space because many people want to get in the train too. Besides, the more compact you are, the less chances of having to unearth your bag from the sea of human bodies if you're getting off at Shaw or some other "middle" station.

3. As much as possible, do not use your cellphone in the train. Not only is overhearing half a conversation quite annoying to other people, but also, in a crowded train, dipping your hand in your bag to get that gadget out and putting it in your ear (or texting with it) requires a lot of elbow space. You can constrict somebody's breathing with an elbow in the wrong place.

4. If you have a wet umbrella, please please please wrap it in plastic or put it in your bag. No one wants to get their feet dripped on or their pants soaked from somebody else's umbrella. Fellow passengers won't ever tell you that because it sounds whiny, so I'm saying it now.

5. If you are lucky enough to find a seat, do be ready to give it up for pregnant women, women with babies, or disabled people. Have a heart. (If people can't tell when you're feigning sleep, do remember that Someone up there can.)

6. Going out of the train requires excessive use of excuse-me's. When no one is moving out of your way, say it louder but don't push. Chances are, no one is moving yet because the doors are still shut. Don't start worming your way out when the train hasn't fully stopped yet. Maybe you don't, but many people understand the Law of Inertia. Wait a while and you'll see a way out when the crowd gets moving.

7. Like that obvious rule regarding elevators, don't rush in when people are coming out. Is it true that in a top 100 list of character traits of harried train passengers, common sense tallies in at 99? Prove it wrong.

8. If you're a dad accompanying your wife and kid(s) in the women's car, do not take a seat. Your wife can sit, and your kids can sit; but you should be a gentleman and let a woman or an elderly person sit. That's why it's called the female car. Oh, and be thankful no one is giving you the evil-eye.

9. Be a lady. And treat everyone else like a lady too. Even those addressed in number 8.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's October!

Baby Magazine's October issue is...

...a lot of hard work! Oh yeah.

Because it's our 13th year anniversary, we put in all the festive party stuff to help parents with party-planning, and of course, the ever-useful pregnancy and parenting articles to keep guiding new parents in their greatest adventure.

Recognize the baby on the cover? And the tot in the inset??

Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, SM baby department stores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Friday, October 2, 2009


If you haven't had the chance to bug me these last few days, you're probably not aware of what happened in my slice of land (or air, as the case may be). My friend Diana says what I experienced was only a taste of what's happening in the evacuation centers all over the region. I suppose a taste is all one needs to have a change in perspective.

Twenty-nine floors up is where I live, and for four days our family had no water and no elevator. (On Sunday there was no light in the stairwell. Which made Isis say that Resident Evil has finally come to us.) My mom had recently been diagnosed of osteoporosis so there was no convincing her to go down a dark stairwell. (Eventually succeeded getting her to come down by saying it was Sunday and people had to go to mass. Padded the reason with "We have to buy extra drinking/washing water or else," "There's water in the Eastwood mall ladies room; let's brush our teeth," and "We have to EAT.") Four days into the exercise, my mom has made friends with nearly everybody we bump into going up or coming down; she takes so much delight in shocking people about having to go all the way up to the 29th floor.

I learned to bathe using one tumbler of water, soap and a face towel. Knowing how hard it is to carry the water all the way up makes taking a bath with so little a less painful experience. My dad insists his discovery of freshening up with alcohol is the more antiseptic way to go about personal hygiene. I maintain that alcohol with water rubbed furiously on the skin is poisonous. Thank God the situation didn't last long enough to prove one of us right.

Because life goes on, I couldn't leave my work undone. So, I learned to squeeze everything in the morning (before going down for more water and other errands that we manage to remember to do). Can you imagine finding yourself, with your shins throbbing, on the first floor of the building, grinding your teeth to powder because you have gone down to get water but have just belatedly realized that you'd forgotten to bring the bottle? (Insert Luke Skywalker's response to Darth Vader's "Luke, I am your father.") I couldn't leave the house without putting my hand in all my pockets more than once. It's silly; but it's serious business.

Then there's the bringing up of two huge grocery bags filled with bottled water. I told a friend that if I had died carrying that load up 29 floors, I would've been the poster child for "Maraming namamatay sa maling akala." I really thought my parents left all that water in the lobby for me to carry (I was the only one left downstairs that day); so I flexed my muscles and carried them. When I got up, my mom said she had left the water there for a janitor to carry because my dad isn't young and sprightly enough to carry that weight all the way up. Now my mom calls me superwoman.

When the going gets tough, people learn that they're stronger than they first thought. There's even a lot more strength left over to think of other people. Come to think of it, I guess I wouldn't have survived that solo climb (I keep forgetting I had my laptop with me too!) had I not made all those stops every 2 or 3 floors. And in those stops, I thought about how little my exhaustion was compared to that big event at Calvary... how little it really is, compared!

The best weapons in tough times can only be prayer and a cheerful disposition. Energy, too, but most of that already comes with prayer. A rosary always does the trick... but when you don't have one at the moment, there's offering up one's muscle aches, blue fingers, waterfall sweat and heavy breathing as prayer. And, upon reaching the top, prayer doesn't really end... after that sweet drink of cold water (which by now you have every right to drink), one must not forget to say the famous magic words: "Thank you!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raise the roof

Lots of busy bees at Megatent (30 Meralco Ave.) this week! I'm hoping to drop by soon. Meantime, making use of time to blog, bring water up 29 floors (which is making me macho haha), pack clothes to give away, and of course, work for Baby Mag. Found this in my friend John-D's Facebook post. Might get you even more revved up to lend a hand!

As of yesterday, Megatent Relief has sent out 45,000 bags of relief goods to distressed areas in Pasig, Rizal, Pateros, and Marikina.

Last night, 800 hundred people volunteered to bring sunshine into our dreary lives and help those in need. These brave men and women are AWESOME!

On Thursday, Oct 1, join them for the RAISE THE ROOF benefit concert (from 1 pm to 9 pm) to raise more funds and donations!

You may send your donations to Megatent, 30 Meralco Avenue, beside Renaissance Towers and in front of Alexandria. It's a relief hub for those in need. We have trucks and ample space to sort any donations. Please join us! My mobile is +639176306154. God bless!

UP Sagip Isko (Repost)

Most urgent needs

Food items: Rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, iodized salt, cooking oil, monggo beans and portable water

Medicines: Paracetamol, antibiotics, analgesic, oral rehydration salts, multivitamins and medications to treat diarrheal diseases

Non-food items: Bath soaps, face towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, water purification tablets, plastic sheetings, and Laundry soap


(from )

1. We are accepting the following donations. You may drop off your contribution(s) at the Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman campus.

a. Food: canned goods, noodles, biscuits, bread, rice and potable water
b. Clothing – usable, wearable, clean, and dry clothes (any size), slippers
c. Beddings – blankets, sheets, pillows
d. Toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush
e. Medicines: Paracetamol, Mefenamic acid, band aids, iodine, alcohol, Doxycycline, etc.

2. Volunteers are encouraged to join the relief efforts. Please contact 0915-8666968 for more details, or drop by the operations center at Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman campus.

a. Communications – with computers/laptops, cellphones, wireless landlines, radios
b. Sorting and packaging
c. Transportation – drivers, big cars, etc

3. For assistance to flooded/missing UP Diliman students, you may send their name, college, location, contact details, and status (flooded, missing, stranded, sick) to any of the following:

a. Cellphone: 0917-8619022
b. Landline: 219-9848
c. E-mail:
d. Facebook:

You may also fill in the form at this link.

4. Student organizations are highly encouraged to join hands with the USC in making our relief operations more efficient and responsive. Org heads are invited to contact 0917-8114511.

5. UP Sagip Isko is now extending assistance to students who may have been displaced/have no homes to sleep in for the moment as flood waters in certain areas have not yet receded. If you are able and willing to offer your house as a foster home for the short term (this week at least), please fill in the information
at this form. UP Sagip Isko will facilitate matching of displaced students.

Thank you.

Please forward/repost this in all your UP egroups/etc. Thanks!

Donations most welcome!

For those who can't be here to help in the Ondoy relief efforts, here are the places where you can give monetary assistance:

Philippine Red Cross

METROBANK Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
Type of Acct. : SAVINGS
Swift Code: MBTC PH MM

Peso Acct.: 4991-0010-99
Type of Account: CURRENT

Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
Type of Account: SAVINGS
Swift Code: BOPI PH MM

ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya

Banco de Oro, Mother Ignacia branch
Acct name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.
Acct no.: 5630020111
Routing code for international cash donations: BNORPHMM ABS-CBN Branch

Corporate Network for Disaster Reponse
Bank account no. 0031 0654 02 BPI Ayala Paseo Branch for cash donations

GMA Kapuso Foundation
Accepts credit card donations here

Ondoy drop off points!

To say that last weekend's floods has displaced a lot of people would be an understatement. Who knew that dreary day had so much rain power packed in its punch? Rivers overflowed and submerged streets, and suddenly it wasn't unusual to hear the words "lagpas tao" to describe rain water + mud and muck.

The worst of it, of course, is waiting for news from relatives and friends--especially those who live where "lagpas tao" was often bestowed. I hope and pray this won't ever happen again, and that the other two storms they're saying are headed this way just somehow disappear flying over the Pacific.

Here's a list of places where you can drop off relief goods for those who have been most badly affected by the floods:

7-11 stores

Shell gas stations

Total gas stations

Petron gas stations

Caltex gas stations

Jollibee branches in Metro Manila

McDonalds branches in Metro Manila

Starbucks branches

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Fitness First gyms except Eastwood branch

Assumption College San Lorenzo
Please drop them off at the AC guardhouse.

Ateneo de Manila University
Donations can be dropped at Covered Courts. To all students who need help or know of people who need help. Please text the name, location, and contact number to 0908 887 7166. Ateneo, which is now an open shelter, accepts refugees. Call 0917-8952792

Banilad Church of Christ, Cebu
Building in front of Bright Academy near Sto. Nino Village), Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Donations drop off.

Caritas Manila Office at Jesus St., Pandacan Manila near Nagtahan Bridge +632-563 9298 +632 563 9308

CCF St Francis Mall
Ortigas is now accepting goods for donation.

CFC Center Ortigas
Now open for donations in cash or kind. Call +632-7270682 to 87 or SMS 0922 254 2819

Colegio San Agustin-Makati in Dasmarinas Village
Accept donations starting tomorrow (09/29) at 7:30 am at the GS Lobby. Donations can also be channeled thru students once they come back on Wednesday.

De La Salle University Manila
The Sagip Metro relief operation will start to accept donation for Ondoy victims starting Monday @ 8:30 am. Please bring goods to the South Gate of DLSU-Manila.

De La Salle Zobel
Accepts donations at Gym 5 near Gate 7 in Molave St.

DLSU Medical Center
Accepts canned goods, blankets, clothes, water. Location is at Congressional Avenue, Dasmarinas, Cavite. Telephone lines are at (02) 844-7832 and (046) 416-4531

Hillsborough Village Chapel
Water, blankets, shoes, and clothes may be sent to Hillsborough Village Chapel in Muntinlupa City.

La Salle Greenhills for Greenhills/Mandaluyong/San Juan Area, Drop off donations at LSGH Gate 2 or volunteer from 9am to receive, sort, repack the donations.

Our Lady of Pentecost Parish
+632 434 2397, +632-9290665 per Gabe Mercado, donations are very much welcome. The Parish is located at 12 F. Dela Rosa corner C. Salvador Sts., Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Playschool International in Better Living
Open to receive relief goods. Feel free to drop it there for your convenience. No Cash Pls.

Radio Veritas
Veritas Tower West Ave. Cor EDSA +632-9257931 to 40

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan Task Force Noah
A disaster response arm of the Jesuits, is accepting donations. Please drop it off sa Ateneo Cervini Dorm.

St. James Church
Multi-Purpose Hall – Drop off point

St. Pedro Poveda College
Now accepting relief goods. Call the Social Action Center 6318756 loc. 121

UA & P
Please contact Dae Lee [SEB EVP] @ 09178323533 needs donations and volunteers.

UP Diliman USC
Collecting food, clothing and/or cash. Drop Off Point: Church of Risen Lord 7am Contact Titus at 0917 800 1909, Jose at 0927 305 6607 and Tin at 0915 490 6106

University of Santo Tomas
Tulong Tomasino Donation Drive. Click the link for more updates.

Xavier School San Juan
Please bring to Multipurpose Center (MPC).

Aranaz Stores in Rockwell & Greenbelt
Accepts donations of any kind for Payatas communities affected by Ondoy

Aunt Genie’s Breadhouse in Cebu
1279 Talamban, Cebu City In front of the Talamban Sports Complex

Binalot at Greenbelt 1
Call Tetchie Bundalian at (+632922-8573277)

Bizroute Solutions
Mon – Sat 11PM to 4PM Unit 302 Keppel Bldg. Ayala, Cebu
Call at 416-0495 if you need directions to the drop-off area.
Accepting: Canned Goods, Old Clothes, Blankets, Diapers for babies, Noodles, Rice, Medicine, Soap, Toothpaste, Water Container, Iodized Salt

Brainbeam Events, Inc
2/F MB Aguirre Cornerhs Bldg,15 Pres Ave cor Elizalde Sts, BF Homes Pque across the old Caltex in BF. Will accept relief goods.

Cebu Musicians & Outpost Restobar
SMS or Call 09082368999 or 09322117111.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Branches will be accepting canned goods, water, clothes, blankets, towels, medicine, and emergency supplies (no cash) on behalf of the victims of Typhoon Ondoy starting today until Friday. Your generosity will be much appreciated during this difficult time for our brothers and sisters in need.

Every Nation, FORT
Accepts donations for Red Cross esp. purified water, canned goods, and infant formula. Location @ 32nd St cor University Pkwy across Market Market.

Junior Chamber International Manila
Baypark Tent, Roxas Blvd. will accept goods starting Monday.

Stores at Rockwell, Shang-rila, Eastwood, or GA towers accept your old clothes & donations (no cash pls).

Manor Superclub, Eastwood City
Accept goods and other emergency items starting Sunday at 10 am.

Ministop IBARRA (Espana cor. Blumentritt, Sampaloc Manila)
Also accepts relief goods, Food (non-perishable goods only) Clothing, Medicines, Beds, Pillows, Blankets, Emergency Supplies to help Typhoon Ondoy victims.

Boutique in Rockwell is also accepting relief good to help Ondoy victims in Marikina and Cainta.

Myron’s Greenbelt

Papemelroti stores
They accept relief goods like canned goods, milk, bottled water, clothes (no cash).
91 Roces Ave. | Ali Mall Cubao | SM City North EDSA | SM Fairview | SM Megamall | Glorietta 3 in Makati | SM Centerpoint | SM Southmall

PowerPlant Mall
Accepts donations for ABS-CBN foundation. Dropoff at admin office, P1 level.

R.O.X. Recreational Outdoor eXchange
Accepts donation for relief good for Typhoon Ondoy victims. You can bring it in the store located in B1 building Bonifacio High St., Tel. No. (+632-8564638/39)

Sunburst Fried Chicken, Cebu
Tabunok branch will accept donations from 10am to 9:30pm

Team Manila
Stores in Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Jupiter Bel-Air and Rockwell shall be accepting relief goods (Canned Goods, Ready-to-drink Milk,Bottled Water and Clothes) for distribution by Veritas.

Whitespace 2314 Chino Roces Ave Ext
White Space, 2314 Pasong Tamo Extension beside Makati Hope Christian School. For inquiries call Margarita Fores (710-8804). Activities consist mostly of packing of relief goods.

Red Kimono restaurants
Has branches in Pasig, Pampanga, Quezon City and Taguig City. Will accept canned goods, bottled water, clothing for all ages, basic household items.

Christian San Jose
CSJ89’s Design For A Cause
Send him a good photograph that depicts Typhoon Ondoy. You’ll make something out of it, a design with a cause. He’ll send the finished design over to Adobe and will be distributed along with the next release of Adobe Creative Suite.
Proceeds go to the Red Cross
View this plurk for more details.

Karen Ang of Bury Me In This Dress
3 Kagandahan corner Kabutihan Streets, Kawilihan Village, Pasig
Call or SMS 0920 9520900
She will forward donated relief goods to Red Cross

Bundukeros (BAC)
Rappel For A Cause for the victims of typhoon Ondoy.
More info here

Philippine Embassy
Please take note of the guidelines for donations to the Philippines here.

As per Jonas Delos Reyes’ plurk:
To those in Singapore, drop off point for Ondoy relief goods is Afreight Cargo, #03-09 Lucky Plaza, Orchard Road. 6235-1011/91117855

There is also donation drive headed by UP Alumni Association Singapore. Contact Joni (97898553), Guen (93694058) or Roman (81393242).

Sydney, Australia
Visit this blog for the details such as drop points.

Visit this site on how to donate.

ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya
Hotline: (02) 413 2667, (02) 416 03-87
Center: No. 13 Examiner St., Quezon City

Call 433-69-33/433-68-31 to donate or volunteer.

Ako Mismo
Visit Ako Mismo page for Typhoon Ondoy here.

Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC)
Relief goods for typhoon victims being accepted at 72-A Times St., West Triangle, QC. Tel (+632-9299820/22)
Corporate Network for Disaster Reponse bank account no. 0031 0654 02 BPI Ayala Paseo Branch for cash donations

Department of Social Welfare and Development
Donation drop off points: National Resource Operations Center, Chapel Road, Pasay City (Contact: Mrs. Francon Favian)
Quezon City Area Disaster Resource Operations Monitoring and Info Center (DROMIC) (Contact Rey Martija or Imee Rose Castillo, Tel Nos. 951-7119, 951-2435 or Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera Tel No. 0918-934-5625)
San Rafael corner Legarda Streets, Quiapo, Manila (Contact: Dir. Thelsa P. Biolna, Dir. Delia Bauan Tel Nos. 734-8622, 734-8642)

Kabataan Partylist
Drop off donations or volunteer at 118-B Sct. Rallos QC.
SMS or Call 09266677163 or Email

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan
is accepting donations @ AGS Bldg Annex, 446 EDSA Guadalupe Viejo. Contact Vina Vargas at (+632917-8081247)

Luzon Relief
Donations can be brought to Renaissance Fitness Center, 2nd Floor, Bramante Building, Renaissance Towers Ortigas, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City starting MONDAY (Sept.28) / 9am – 7pm Contact Person: Warren Habaluyas (+632929-8713488) or email at

Megatent Relief
Megatant, Meralco Ave, Ortigas beside Renaissance: need more volunteers and donations! Very big space! Open 24 hrs til Friday!

Move for Chiz
Asking for volunteers and donations at Bay Park Tent, along Roxas Blvd., beside Max Restaurant and Diamond Hotel in Manila, or at Gilas Minipark at Unang Hakbang St., Gilas Q.C.

NoyMar Relief Operations
Clare Amador (+639285205508) or Jana Vicente at +639285205499).
Drop off for relief donations is at Balay Expo Center across Farmers Market Cubao.

Operation Rainbow (Zac Faelnar Camara)
Ayala Alabang Village needs Canned Goods, Ready-To-Eat Food, Bottled Water, Ready-To-Drink Milk/ Juice, Clothing, Blankets, contact (+632-4687991)

Philippine Army Gym
Inside Fort Bonifacio or GHQ Gym in Camp Aguinaldo are now distributing donations for Ondoy Victims.

Rotary of Paranaque South
is accepting any kind of help/ donations for the victims of Ondoy.
Drop off point is in Seagulls Flight Foundation’s headquarters, Alabang. Call us at 8094847 or 8098776.
We are in 504 Park Trade Center, 1716 Investment Drive Madrigal Business Park Ayala Alabang Muntinlupa City. We’re near Daang Hari and Ayala Alabang Village.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Captain Harding's battle

I heard today they're speeding up debates on the RH Bill, which is supposed to save the country from poverty by cutting away at the population employing what GK Chesterton calls Birth Prevention. They're making a vote tomorrow; I hope they see that enforcing contraceptives on the population is not the answer, but strengthening family values and trashing that over-sexualized media culture that can't get enough of itself.

(Besides, contraceptives are bad for the health; just look at the literature behind every birth-control advertisement published in random women's magazines to see what I mean.)

While the forces clash in congress, here's an excerpt from a Jules Verne adventure to help remind us that, in the end, there's Someone up there who makes many great and good things spring from all our silly human mistakes. Maybe also to remind us that no battle is too big when what you fight for is honest-to-the-bones, good for humanity.

This excerpt is from Verne's little-known novel called The Mysterious Island. In this scene, six castaways under the leadership of Captain Cyrus Harding, an American engineer, prepare for battle against fifty pirates who threaten their colony, Lincoln Island:

The pirates had been alarmed. They knew that Lincoln Island was inhabited. They would land upon it in numbers and well armed. They would respect nothing. Should the settlers fall into their hands, they must expect no mercy!

"Well, we shall know how to die!" said the reporter.

"Let us go in and watch," answered the engineer.
"Have we any chance of escape, captain?" asked the sailor.

"Yes, Pencroft."
"Hum! six against fifty!"

"Yes! six! without counting--"
"Who?" asked Pencroft.

Cyrus did not reply, but pointed upwards.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Unusually, it works

A friend shared this book with me some weeks back and I almost found it in the Manila International Book Fair (almost, because I found its sister called Poetry Speaks to Children in A Different Bookstore). I think rhythm and rhyme (or not rhyme) makes any reading material for kids much more interesting. Not surprisingly, little reader me devoured a lot of poetry too: Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Laura Richards.... Obviously I liked the funny ones!

Perhaps the hiphop in this book isn't the humorous type, but it intrigues me a lot to see something so mainstream make it in literary circles and the classroom. What an interesting combination! Here's an excerpt from a review by Tarie of Into the Wardrobe:

"For most of my life I had a blind spot when it came to poetry, because nobody, not even a teacher or a librarian, introduced me to good poetry. If I had been introduced to poetry through Hip Hop Speaks to Children as a child, I know I would have been made a poetry lover much earlier in life."

Speaking of getting kids to love poetry, it's not really that hard to do. Poetry sounds really good aloud, and kids feel great having succeeded reading the lines right. One of the most important factors of successfully integrating a love for reading in the child is a high rate of success. Sounds very technical; but I remember that I would have never picked up a book that had too many words in it.

As an ender let me share a poem I read over and over again without ever getting tired. It's not hiphop, though, but it did use a lot of weird words. Now that I read it again, why do I feel like it's shorter than I remember?

~Laura Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant-
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone-
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)

Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee-
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Write and write

Quick post, since this is a long and busy week and I can't leave my blog stagnant.

Read this in one of those forewords before. It's Stephen King talking about writing. I still think his writing about writing is better than anything else he's ever written. Or maybe because I haven't read Carrie, or whatever best ever thing he's written. (For the record, I have read The Shining, a short story collection called Everything's Eventual, and The Gunslinger.) Peace, Stephen King, you're still cool.


I am often given the big smiling handshake at parties (which I avoid attending whenever possible) by someone who then, with an air of gleeful conspiracy, will say, 'You know I've always wanted to write.' I used to try to be polite. These days I reply with the same jubilant excitement: 'You know I've always wanted to be a brain surgeon.' They look puzzled. It doesn't matter. There are a lot of puzzled people lately. If you want to write, you write. The only way to learn to write is by writing.
--Stephen King


Now, back to work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I sometimes amuse myself by adopting new terms for things; I have renamed my cat countless of times (he answers to most of them), used different words to signify "cramming" to make deadline days sound more, er, colorful, and borrowed other people's new terms when I find them amusing enough (hello, superhero duties).

The latest addition to the word bank is what I call 'autopilot,' that is, the state in which one is so tired that all the movements and tasks are done robotically. Now before you think anyone can actually write on autopilot (quite impossible, actually), let me say that I thought up this term while I was walking to the Ayala MRT station from the bus stop at Paseo-Ayala through the pedestrian-friendly walkway-cum-maze in Makati. I was walking methodically, only half-aware of where I was. I was so tired I just let my feet lead the way. I knew I was so out of it when I actually thought I had already passed Glorietta while I was still in Landmark; I got all the malls jumbled up in my head, but I was still walking the right way.

Autopilot can be a dangerous state, especially when crossing the road (best not to let it happen in Cubao, too). And now that I think about it, it's a state you can't ever be in while at work--what slipshod results you'll have to your name!

That day, I was already in SM Makati when my brain sent a signal to the autopilot that maybe I could drop by the Homeworld to check out the list for a wedding I am attending. I took the detour and looked for the desk; but, I had to ask so many sales people where the desk was. I finally ended up on the other side of the mall where a pair of salesladies at a cashier answered me with a harsh "Ano bang registry yan?" and, after I said "Bridal," told me to go to a small empty desk at the corner of Homeworld and get my list there.

Now, I understand it if there are many different desks for other kinds of registries, but shouldn't there be somebody manning them all? What was I to do, talk to the empty chair? They could clearly see from where they were that the desk was empty. I snapped out of autopilot right then. I thought: maybe there's something about my tiredness that showed; no one was taking me seriously! So, I decided to get the list another day, when I'm more bibo.

When you're on autopilot, people can respond to you rudely because they see (or feel?) you're running low and are obviously not in any mood to get indignant or to complain. It's a kind of indifference that makes you vulnerable to getting shortchanged; sometimes, I think it isn't only an individual state because, collectively, people can be functioning on autopilot too (hello, fellow youth).

One can't afford to be on autopilot--as I said, it's a dangerous state. Sure, people get tired, but won't it do you so much good to stop dwelling on how tired you are and forget yourself for a while? There are so many things to be done that there is no time to be apathetic, indifferent and lukewarm...

How will you change the world if you're a zombie?


Photo above is a poster of The Mechanical Man, an Italian silent (epic, horror) film, which showed here a few months ago. Interesting how the robot enters a party a la Phantom of the Opera, and nobody notices that he's the killer mechanical man...and then he attacks, as expected. That's an example of collective autopilot. Poor people, they didn't know any better.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I found a copy of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe in the last Fully Booked sale at 80 off. Of course, I bought it; it was one of my favorite story books back when I was that little squirt who thought Nancy Drew was a ghost hunter.

I liked this book a lot because the pictures looked so different from what I was used to; this is a fairy tale--not a Grimm Brothers', but it had the same elements: a good sister, a wicked sister, magic, adventure...handsome prince--the works! What made it so interesting was the fact that it was different.

Growing up reading western books, I was used to seeing beautiful princesses who had long blonde hair and fair skin, blue eyes and red lips. You can just imagine how a book with the word 'beautiful' in the title and a brown face on the cover would have stuck out like a sore thumb among the many typical illustrated fairy tale books on the shelf to a western-beauty-brainwashed kid like me.

I picked up the story and enjoyed it very much--it was mesmerizing to look at the African images; I especially remember how the beggar boy's ear curled at the tip. The story was about two daughters, both beautiful. One wanted to be queen and the other just wanted to serve her father. One day, the king gave a summons to all the unmarried ladies in the land to come and meet him--he was looking for a wife. On the way to the palace (the sisters did not travel together), there were "tests" and the wicked sister failed them while the good sister passed. It's a story about beauty within: kindness, sincerity, charity.

It's interesting also to note that, having a "realistic" art style, the book is not really the type I would have instantly picked off the shelf--I would prefer to get the ones with the cute cartoon-y illustrations because, by experience, they tend to be funnier. But this book I got intrigued with because, besides it being African, I wanted to see if there was an image in it where the daughters really did look beautiful. (You have to excuse this kid.) They weren't conventionally (biased word) pretty but by the time I finished reading, I agreed that they were beautiful. Perhaps that was why the illustrations were more on the realistic side?

In any case, this is a book about real beauty, overlooking skin color, eye color, nose shape, lip thickness, hair texture and lash length. Nowadays, pop culture insists that beauty has only one face--preferably one that went "under the knife." But even kids would know that isn't true, if you gave them the opportunity to think it over. Because no matter how hard a brainwashing the media gives a person, every one, deep down, knows that what makes a person truly beautiful is the virtues that dwell in the heart.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fraid of change?

When I discovered GK Chesterton, the biggest question in my mind was "Where have you been all my life?" Funny how he was practically invisible all this time; I have never gotten my hands on a copy of any of his books, and perhaps the only glimpse I had of the man before graduating college (!) was when I stumbled upon a quote of his in a Neil Gaiman book, and even then I didn't notice enough to remember the name.

What is really puzzling is I graduated with degree in BA-Creative Writing, which means I'm a specimen most people call an English major, supposedly an expert on anything and everything written in the English language. And here I am all ignorant of the works of one of the greatest English writers (thinkers) of the 20th century.

But wait! Here's an interesting article my friend Ditas came across. (She is primary person I complained to about the lack of Chesterton in the CW curriculum.) Read, read!


Author calls for end of 'academic embargo' on GK Chesterton
Paul Nowak

Despite having a profound influence on the 20th century, English author G.K. Chesterton has remained virtually unknown to modern readers. This discrepancy may be due to an unwillingness for universities and colleges to include him in literary and history curriculum.

“The academic embargo against recognition of Chesterton’s stature remains in place, for reasons which remain a matter of speculation,” states William Oddie in the introduction to his biography published earlier this year, Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC.

Perhaps it is the effect Chesterton has on college students. In 1909, Mohandas Gandhi read one of Chesterton’s regular columns for the Illustrated London News, and was, according to his biographers, “thunderstruck” by the idea of truly Indian independence. He translated the article, and it became the basis for his book Hind Swaraj.

C.S. Lewis, who read Chesterton while serving in the army, has said that it was Chesterton who first showed him that the Christian world view made sense. J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as other Inklings, were also greatly influenced by Chesterton.

His friends, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, though they did not agree with him upheld him as an important literary figure, both in their own time and for future generations. T.H White, author of The Once and Future King, remarked upon G.K.C.’s death that he had been the greatest living master of the English language.


Why then has G.K. Chesterton been left out of academia? Perhaps, after seeing what Chesterton’s influence has done to shape the literary and political reality the 20th Century, colleges and universities are wary of that degree of change in the 21st Century.


Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Un-balanced views

I read Arrogance some weeks ago, but haven't gotten round to talking about it until now. This book by Bernard Goldberg talks about the liberal bias in the media and how it is constantly overlooked by the big guns because somehow the liberal ideas are never contested where the news is written. Goldberg talks about journalism in the USA, but I think the liberal bias also happens here in the Philippines. WillyJ points this out in this entry, and I think I've already pointed out a few instances in the past.

People will always have their own opinions--let's give it that. And people will always air them. Opinion pages are full of "what I think is right" and that's ok because it is the opinion page. What is wrong is that these opinions seep out of the opinion pages and go into general news masquerading as balanced views. How? By use of subtle language cues (like using the word "conservative" to label the Church and then forgetting to use "liberal" to label pro-RH bill advocates), or in the medium of radio, acting indignant about anything that isn't liberal--how many times have I heard somebody crack "Make love, not babies" on the radio? Or "We're so overpopulated already!" delivered in a complaining voice and without facts to back it up? Lots. And these words are always spewed from the same two mouths. (Supposedly, this AM station is reputable, but I've been wary of it for a long time now.)

It's like they're imposing that the liberal opinion is the balanced view and the conservative is far out extreme right. It gets really sickening when you're stuck in traffic on a Monday morning and that's all you hear about. How grand to start off your week to that! Sometimes it's best to just listen to a CD and assume there's no news for the day.

Then there is the non-coverage of not-so-liberal events like pro-life marches. Ever read about them? Only in blogs, I suppose! You won't see anything in the media, whether print, TV or radio. And no coverage makes it look like there is no action on that side of the opinion spectrum. And no action = no existence.

And why is it that when it's a conservative opinion, it must always come from a priest or bishop? Aren't ordinary people also part of the Church? Get them to talk too! It's unfair to make it look like all ordinary citizens are for reproductive health and only bishops, priests, and nuns, who have a vow to celibacy, are against contraceptives. There are young moms and dads who say no to being not open to life. Isn't it only fair to go ask them why they think so?

As a reader (listener, watcher) of news, I am, like everybody, prey to these tricks. What I think helps is to keep talking to different people about things that come out in the news. (Or perhaps the big guns in media can do us all a favor and also start talking to more different minded people and considering their opinions as valid arguments too?)

Because truly, it's exposure to different ideas (and knowing where they come from and then discussing them with a level head) that make us open-minded, not the attitude of permissiveness of culture corruption because "it's their life, they can do what they want with it." The latter, obviously, is just plain old apathy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Even fashion designers notice

...and are turned off by overexposure.

Karl Lagerfeld: "We've seen too much sexually aggressive fashion. Too much is too much. And too much for a long time is worse."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sunny-ness is contagious

Last Saturday, I had to make my own way to my alma mater because my dad took the car out of town and I had to attend a forum. I decided the fastest way to go was by cab, though I would always have misgivings about taking a taxi alone. Partly it was because I used to have a hard time hearing what the cabbies tell me, and it really creeps me out if they're chatty (the former isn't a problem anymore, but the latter still happens). What really makes me think twice is that taxi drivers often refuse passengers going to UP (or Makati) for reasons such as "traffic," as if traffic isn't already part of the job.

That Saturday morning, I was hoping not many cabbies would reject my proposal to go to UP. The first taxi rejected me after I said, "Sa UP lang." I let it go with mounting panic (yes, it was getting late).

Waiting for another cab, I had a funny idea--I could try to be sunny and see how the driver would react. The next cab stopped for me and I put on a big smile and said, "Good morning! Sa UP lang po ako!" The driver smiled back and said, "Opo, ma'am!" And off to UP I went.

True, not all taxi drivers have the same disposition, and perhaps I just got lucky my sunny-ness turned out to be contagious for this one. But isn't that a lesson! Even when it's someone's job to drive you around (or sweep the floors, clean the toilets, do the laundry, cook the food for you and/or the public), it's no reason to treat them like they don't feel. They're not robots--they need a dose of sunshine too.

In other words, you just aren't pleasant to clients or interviewees or bosses (besides people you're really close to, because, obviously you're pleasant to them already--and if you aren't they'll understand), but to everyone. I may find this a bit hard to do--because I'm not the blatantly cheery type of person--but with random people one meets daily, usually a "Good morning" suffices... you never know how much your two little words can change how someone's day is going!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stay safe!

This month's Baby Magazine is all about safety! See that adorable tot on the cover? His name is Mark Angelo Pardilla--and he had lots of fun in our shoot (as you can see) because we let him rule the play area of Tumble Tots in Libis, QC! That "no paparazzi" sign on his shirt was happily disobeyed by photographer Ralph Alejandrino, who said, "Sana lahat ng baby ganyan!" after the shoot. Gelo is such a sociable lil'un!

In this issue we did stories on being safe with kids at the mall, a family's struggle with losing a child to rabies, preggy-safety when walking on heels, bathroom safety, among other pertinent topics. Get to know members of the school community who help make schools safer for kids.

I had the chance to interview Rex and Nina Tomen, advocates for rabies awareness in the Philippines. They lost their 5-year-old son Gian Carlo, whom they fondly call Poypoy, to the disease. And he got it only via scratch! Parents must be informed about what to do when their kids come in contact (get bitten, licked or scratched) by unknown and unvaccinated dogs or cats. You can visit the website for rabies awareness put up by Rex and Nina with Sangkap here.

Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.