Thursday, March 31, 2005

Early Morning

One of the sights that I see on my way to work. Makati is actually quite peaceful early in the morning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Comic Book: Cargo

I once worked with my friend to produce a comic book for his undergrad thesis. Well here it is. The cover at least. Met my friend Jomar a week ago and we talked about doing it again. Who knows.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Monday

After leaving the internet cafe last saturday I suddenly realised that the article I posted entitled Black Saturday was actually about Good Friday. Blimey! Anyway today is Easter Monday. The day after yesterday. The day before yesterday I went to the grocery to replenish my stuff and then passed by the internet cafe to check my email and post some stuff. I had to do this because surfing the web through dial up is extremely and painfully slow. Also I had to check my email frequently since i had altered my profile in the egroups to receive posts via emai. One of the e-groups I belong to had been reclassified as an adult-only group causing it to be blocked by the office firewall. So here I am in the cafe typing away. After spending all day opposite a monitor at the office. Black Saturday afternoon my nephews and spent the later afternoon meandering in and out the UP sunken garden. There were a lot of people about: some were flying kites , some were having a picnic, and some were preparing a cart for the pasalubong and some like us were just rambling along. Easter Sunday ... Went to church and prepared for Monday. Monday! Workday! Half day!! YEAH! Go home early and stop by the cafe and write this down.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Black Saturday

Accomplished what I had to do last Maundy Thursday. Did my annual pilgrimage to more than one church. My nephews and my sister accompanied me. We went first to the UP Chapel; then the Ateneo chapel; then to a church in Kamuning that was once a girlie bar; then to Christ the King Church - which according to rumours has buried treasures left by the Japanese during World War II; To the Pink Sisters' convent and ending our pilgrimage by praying at the Mt Carmel Church in New Manila. Good Friday I was left alone in the house, my parents and my nephews went to Laguna to visit my other relatives and to check on the rice fields that my mother's family own. First thing I did was to rearrange my room. Second thing, was to find suitable food and other assorted products needed. Third was to view of couple of movies. Fourth was to read, I did not read a particular book that that day, rather I bit a little bit out of each book I wanted to read. Good Friday seemed to change each year and it would seem that every year that comes is more nosier than the next. I remember a few years when you would not hear a sound. A few days I ago while I was accomplishing my tasks one could distinctly hear the sound of children playing on the street. These were the children of my neighbour, some of which I grew up with. I can actually see the faces of my old neighbours on the faces of the children playing outside. Good Friday is also a nice day to drive around Metro Manila. As I said after my family left for the province I took the family car out to buy some stuff. Taking advantage of the situation I drove around Metro Manila for a bit. I find that driving in such conditions can be therapeutic. However, it should also be said that driving around this time can also be fatal. Drivers in general are more lax during this period. I had to stop several time for drivers who were shall we say less than careful with their driving and navigation. A friend visited me today and we catched up on old times. We spent the whole night talking. My friend and I once collaborated to produce a comic book for his thesis. He seems to be interested in doing another one.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maundy Thursday

The Thursday before Easter. This is the day the Church has set to remember and commemorate critical events that lead to the crucifixion and resurrection. Traditionally it is the day we remember the Last Supper, the washing of the apostles' feet, and the establishment of the Eucharist. This happens to be the night also of the Agony in the Garden and the Judas' betrayal of Jesus with a kiss. The word "maundy" comes from Latin word Mandatum. And this is the first word in the command given by Christ at the Last Supper, that we should love one another. “Mandatum novum do vobis” (“a new commandment I give to you”) In the UK, the English monarch used to wash the feet of selected poor persons as a sign of humility. They also used to give out money to deserving senior citizens, a female and male for each of the sovereign's age. The event was called the Ceremony of the Royal Maundy and the money were called Maundy coins. I do not know if they still do that today though. What I do know is that the Pedilavium or the washing of the feet is still practised by the Roman Catholic church. Also, during this day the anointing oil, used in ceremonies during the year, is consecrated during a special Chrism Mass. ***** I plan to push through with my plans today. Although, I will probably visit just a few Churches. The practice of visiting several churches equivalent to the number of Stations of the Cross is just that practice. The important thing is to pray, reflect and meditate on the station of the cross. If you are unable to visit the church today you can actually pray before a crucifix or in any secluded place.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Semana Santa

Holy Week - the Christian holiday of Easter. Mahal na Araw in the Tagolog language. It is the week that Metro Manila becomes a ghost metropolis. A great portion of Metro Manila's populace leave the city and proceed to their provinces - to rest, visit their families, celebrate the Holy Week and generally to enjoy a break from Metro Manila. One observes the gradual exodus each day as one commutes to and from work. Less traffic , despite the presence of those pink fences, and less people riding the MRT. You meet fewer people on the road. The building seems somewhat deserted and the food court sparce of life. And of course the cinemas extending the run of last week's movies or adding filler movies. Though as people go about celebrating and remembering the feast of Easter the ammeneties or creature comforts of our modern world is still prevalent. Restaurants will be open. In some places parties and concerts will be happening. And again the cinemas will be showcasing the normal Holy Week movies. Some TV channels will be open airing religious ceremonies like the seven last words, Bible-themed movies and some other fare. Cable channels will be airing their program as normal. And of course for those with video machines have set aside a compendium of movies for viewing. Back in the pre-cable tv and Internet age when one had only three to four television stations. And they did show movies and programs you would usually watch at EWTN. But they also showed the Robe and the 300 Spartans. This I never figured out. Why did they show the 300 Spartans during Holy Week? The 300 Spartans aside, I guess for all us Holy Week is a welcome break from things. Some rest, some break the monotony of everyday life, some go out with friends, some do holy obligations. To each his own. And what will I do? First, Accomplish the Visita Iglesia, make pilgrimage to different Churches around Metro Manila. Pray and meditate the station of the cross at each church. My take on prayers is that to pray is to commune with God, meaning to experience a deep emotional or spiritual relationship with God, and you do not do this by merely repeating phrases. The act of repeating prayers or sacred words is a means to commune with the Almighty. I use prayers like koans, instruments to focus the mind during meditation. My nephews usually go along with me when I make my church pilgrimage around Manila. Second, accomplish unfinished businesses - mostly mundane stuff. Third, welcome and meet friends. Fourth, read my books I have two or three books to finish. Fifth, watch a compendium of videos And what are you doing this Holy Week?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New blogs

Recently added two new blogs. PinoySnapshots and The Aquarium Keeper Just to organise my notes. The first one is for pictures or snapshots and the second one well will deal with things related to aquariums. hmm


I recently visited two bookstores in Metro Manila and chanced upon good buys. Popular Book Store used to be located (and probably still is for all I know) along Doroteo Jose street Manila. My friends and I used to go there to buy books you would not normally find in other bookshops. The first book I bought was about coup d' etats. My friend bought a compilation of classic erotic stories. Yes, it was always a treat to visit that book store. Then a few years back they moved to Quezon City (not quite sure though might be another branch) and a few days I ago I found myself in their new abode looking over their collection of books. The new store , well its actually new since it has been here for sometime predating the nearby Vicky Belo clinic, is more modern than its predecessor. I did not stay long enough to evaluate their collection but what interested me was their Filipiana collection. I was able to buy three Filipiniana books from them. The books were all hardbound editions and were reasonably priced. And nearly all books were an enjoyable read. These are the books I purchased:
  1. Frailocracy in the Philippines by Marcelo del Pilar
  2. Recollections of a Voyage to the Philippines by J de Man
  3. Journey to Majayjay by Paul P dela Gironiere
Yesterday, I went to the newly opened branch of A Different Book Store in Cubao. This is probably their most spacious book store. Good news, 25% discount for all books until the 31st of this month. Fortunately or unfortunately I had not yet received my salary so my purchasing power was diminshed. I ended up buying Orson Scott Card's book, "Ender's Game". I have learned of the book a few years ago from my friend, who was all praise for the book. Based on my talk with my friend Tonbe I had developed a pre-conceived notion of what the book would look like. In my mind I though it would have Frank Frazetta-like or Boris Vallejo-like cover. Assumptions can be deceiving. Nevertheless, I have started reading the book and it is an interesting read. As the Alan Bates character in the mini-series Arabian Nights said to Scheherezade when she asked him for advise to improve her storytelling, "You have to hook the audience in the first part of the story." I am hooked.

A trip to Zambales

Last Friday I went to Zambales. I accompanied my father to Iba, the provincial capital of Zambales, to submit all pertinent documents for the transfer of my Grandmother's land to Dad's name. My Grandmothers land, around six hectares, is located at the outskirts of the town of San Antonio. It is separated from the town and immediately the town's cemetery by a river. I think the river acts as a barrier that prevents people from squatting on the land. For the past years Dad has been making pilgrimages to Zambales to affect the transfer of my Grandmother's land. His efforts seems to have been blocked or laid to waste by the red tape and the problems brought about by disorganised file keeping. The process of getting a new land title seems to have taken on nature of a quest. You have to go a series of obstacles in order to attain your goal. Getting all the documents needed and dealing with a host of civil servants. Do not get me wrong most of them were helpful and amiable but rules are rules and one must get the proper form and papers. Without it you will be doomed to go back and forth the building till you get things right. Anyway, that particular Friday the signs seem to point to a favourable disposition of the case. We had complied with checklist given. We left early to avoid the traffic of Metro Manila. The North Luzon Expressway welcomed us with no long queues at the gateway and what seemed to be a total lack of accidents cluttering the road. And through out the trip smooth travel all the way to the register of deeds office inside the provincial capital building in Iba. No long queues of people at the office. Then it happened. "Sir you are still missing one document" The lady, who checked our documents the last time and gave us the checklist, said we needed to get this form and re-submit it again. According to her we could submit it now but would have to submit the documents within ten working days. So we left the provincial capital building and found our way back to Manila. Needless to say my dad was frustrated about the matter. The time and money spent going to and fro from Manila to Zambales was no joke. I just told him that once we get the particular necessary document we would just send one person to submit it in order to save on cost. My dad cooled down and became retrospective after he had a sandwich on the road and lunch at Subic. In such situations I find that having a meal can soothe an angry head and makes one more reflective about the situation. It worked after a meal of taosi spare ribs, curry squid, goto, fried rice, black gulaman and topped with cold soft drinks. Afterwards we proceeded home. The trip was blessedly uneventful and the traffic sublime. Along the way I bought a couple of plants that I had been searching for as of late. All in our entire trip was not a total loss. First, the trip was uneventful and traffic-free. Second, I got to take some snapshots. Third, all of the people we met were cordial and helpful. They cannot really change the way things work - in an Asterix cartoons, "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix", one task was to get a from the house that makes one mad. Fourth, enjoyed a good lunch at Golden Tea House in Subic. Fifth, I was able to find and buy the plants I was looking for a long time. Fifth, We arrived at our home safe and sound.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Pink Fences

I really hate the Pink fences at Edsa. Not because of its color but because of the traffic it is causing in that area. The pink metal fences were introduced by the Metro Manila Development Authority to ease traffic and prevent buses from dropping their passengers anywhere. Unfortunately, instead of solving the problem it seems to be aggravating it. Traffic jams now appear at and near intersections where the pink walls are installed. Just to get from Cubao to Edsa, around 200 meters, will take you such a long time that it would be faster if you walked slowly. The cause of this? Edsa and its adjacent roads are now clogged up with cars and buses. The pink fences separates the inner from the outer lanes of Edsa save for pre-designated portions . Because most buses and cars coming from adjacent areas are now forced to traverse the two outer lanes a build up of cars and buses occur. Each driver trying jostle the other to gain acccess to the exit point to the main lane, resulting in chaos and traffic. I just wished they, the MMDA, had given more thought to this scheme.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


My earliest recollection of a comic book was my Katzenjammer Kids collection. My mom and dad bought it for me at a second hand store in Bangkal, Makati. This comic book although a little bit worn out was nice and big. However, it was in Spanish! Kaya pala on sale ! At that time, Yo no habla espanol! Come think my knowledge of the Spanish language is still un poco, which means scanty or few. I did enjoy the drawings and eventually learned a little habla here and que horor there. Soon I got started with the other comic dailies and comic books. I began reading the daily comic strips of the Bulletin Today. Larry Alcala's Siopaw Man, Mutt and Jeff, Beetle Bailey, Nonoy Marcelo's Tisoy and Ikabod, The Phantom, Dennis the Menace, The Wizard of Id, Andy Capp and a host of others I know but cannot for the life of me remember their title. My cousin then introduced me to Marvel's Tomb of Dracula, the Hulk and the X-Men. I remember visiting or bothering him nearly every day just to read those comic books. We lived inside a family compound - in the Philippines it was and is not uncommon for families to live together in a plot of land although each family might live in separate houses (This of course is fertile ground for a study of family dynamics) - and this made daily trips to my cousins house easy, unfortunately for my cousin. Years went by and I began to progress to other reading materials. Once in a while I would buy comics from the grocery or the book store. And from time to time I would go back to reading the Hulk/X-men compilation of my cousin. It was not until I reached college that through my friends Gobbie, Joel , Gino and Raymond that I began to discover comics again. Gobbie was an avid collector of comics buying almost anything from Marvel and DC. Gino was into the Green Lantern series, although he was also into Star Wars mythos as well, Joel was into Batman and X-men, and Raymond was into everything as well. I accompanied the guys to Filbars, during that time it was a store along New York St Cubao, near New Manila. I first started with the Legend of the Dark Knight and soon gravitated towards comics that were a perfect balance of visual art and story telling. I did get into the whole Image comics craze during that period do not get me wrong but eventually I drifted further and further to the comics that had more meat in their stories. Comics like "The Sandman", "The Killing Joke", "The Dark Knight Returns", "The Watchmen", "Madman", "Nexus", "Groo" just to name a few. For me this was the flood of comics of this calibre heralded a second golden age of comics. However, like all good things it had to end. The departure of Neil Gaiman from the Sandman series diminished my interest in comics. For me the storylines became stale and predictable. It was not entertaining anymore. So I stopped buying comics. Fortunately, as it always is in all things created comics that are worth patronizing surface and when I do chance upon it I buy and read it.
Celebrate Yahoo!'s 10th Birthday! Yahoo! Netrospective: 100 Moments of the Web

Thesis defense

Last week, I was a member of a panel that reviewed the thesis of graduate student. The experience was revealing but a little bit surreal. Nearly eight months before I was the one defending my thesis. The thesis was an interesting one since it studied the quality of the abstracts of theses done by the graduate and undergraduate students. The main findings of the study was that there was a need to revise the style manual of the Institute and expand the exposure of students, both graduate and undergraduate, to content analysis and composition. This event also re-highlighted the need to set limits to your study and follow the limits you set.

Friday, March 04, 2005

On that note: Gossip


I recently read an article on Gossip. The article came about because of a study commissioned by the UK telecom company BT Cellnet. BT commissioned the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), an independent and non-profit organisation that studies social and lifestyle issues, to conduct a study on 'mobile gossip".

The article written by By Kate Fox and entitled "Evolution, Alienation and Gossip The role of mobile telecommunications in the 21st century" (URL: focuses on nature of gossip and the role of technology, in this case mobile phone technology.

The article is interesting in that using a social science research methodology called triangulation, the use of three or more research methods (Previous studies, focus group and research) to study a phenomenon, the study was able to describe credibly the nature of gossip and human society.

The Main point or finding of the study is that Gossip is not a trivial thing we do, it is important to human social, psychological and even physical well-being.

At this point one should note that this study was done in the UK and as such will more accurately described the phenomenon there. Although I am quite sure if we did the study here in the Philippines we would get the similar result. Also, I have selected points in the article that I find interesting and I would advise people interested in the article to click on the URL site. So, here are the points in the article that I found interesting:

One, Gossip came from the word God-sibb, meaning a close friend or companion - literally a person related to one in God.(actually a good term for a friend.)

Two,Past studies define gossip as a a form of evaluative talk about person not present (Eder & Enke , 1991) or as accurately said by Noon & Delbridge (1993), " The process of informally communicating value-laden information about members of a social setting".

However, these definitions does not say that all gossip involves negative evaluation of others. In fact another study revealed that only five percent of gossip time and another five for questions on how to deal with social situations, majority of the gossip time were on general social experiences. Opinions were also positive. And such opinions were conyed subtly rather than explicitely in the tone of the voice.

And in certain cases gossip can be about oneself rather than others provided that it is socially interesting.

Three, Gossip about celebrities real or fictional are often indistinguishable from our gossip about friends, neighbours and family.

Four, Studies on human conversations reveals that about two thirds of our conversation is gossip. We spend and keep on spending 2/3 of our talking time to social topics: conversations of personal relationships and experiences; the who, what, why, where and how of society; queries and advice on how to deal with difficult social situations; Our relationships and behaviour with family, friends and celebrities; Personal problems with lovers, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours; the specifics of daily social life.

Five, Human males gossip as much as women.However, men tend to talk more about themselves.

Six, Risk-therapy. Enjoyment of gossip is also about the thrill of taking risk, doing something a bit naughty, talking about the private life of people.

Seven, Benefits of negative gossip. Although only five percent of gossip time is spent on criticism one should remember that it does have some benefits -a. Criticisms teach members of a group what are unacceptable behaviours and on certain occasions allow them to discuss what should be acceptable or unacceptable. Listening to critical gossip will allow you to avoidthe unseen social boundaries.b.Also, negative gossip strengthens the opinions and values the gossipers share and cement their friendship.

Eight, According to some evolutionary psychologists, Gossip in humans is comparable with the practice of 'social grooming' among chimps. And futher studies in Chimp 'social grooming' indicate that it has high social and therapeutic value since the level of endorphins in the chimp brains increase after social grooming. And perhaps gossip might have the same effect, I think.

References: Title: Evolution, Alienation and Gossip The role of mobile telecommunications in the 21st centuryAuthor: Kate FoxURL: Information: The research was commissioned by BT Cellnet © 2001 References used by the article References:Baldwin, M.W. (1992) Relational schemas and the processing of social information. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 461-484 Baxter, L.A., Dun, T. & Sahlstein, E. (2001) Rules for relating communicated among social network members. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18(2), 173-199. Beach, W.A. (2000) Inviting collaborations in stories about a woman. Language in Society, 29(3), 379-407. Bergmann, J.R. (1993) Discreet Indiscretions: the Social Organisation of Gossip. Aldine de Gruyter. Dunbar, R. (1992) Why gossip is good for you. New Scientist, 28-31 Dunbar, R. (1996) Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. Faber and Faber. Eder, D., & Enke, J. L. (1991) The structure of gossip: Opportunities and constraints on collective expression among adolescents. American Sociological Review, 56, 494-508. Emler, N. (1994) Gossip, reputation, and social adaptation. In Goodman, B.F. & Ben-Ze'ev, A. (Eds.), Good Gossip, 117-138. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. Fulford, R. (2000) Gossip and the N.Y. intellectuals. National Post, Canada, July 18. Guendouzi, J. (2001) 'You'll think we're always bitching": the functions of cooperativity and competition in women's gossip. Discourse Studies, 3(1), 29-51. Jaeger, M.E., Skelder, A.A., Rind, B. & Rosnow, R.L. (1994) Gossip, gossipers, gossipees. In Goodman, B.F. & Ben-Ze'ev, A. (Eds.), Good Gossip, 154-168. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. Jaeger, M.E., Skelder, A.A. & Rosnow, R.L. (1998) Who's up on the low down: Gossip in interpersonal relations. In Spitzberg, B.H. & Cupach, W.R. (Eds.). The Dark Side of Close Relationships, 103-117. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Japenga, A. (2000) Gossip: the social tie that binds. Web MD Medical News, September 04. Jones, Charlotte M. (1999) Shifting sands: Women, men and communication. Journal of Communication 49: 148-55 Kurland, N.B. & Pelled, L.H. (2000) Passing the word: toward a model of gossip and power in the workplace. Academy of Management Review, 25(2), 428-438. Levin, J. (1987) Gossip: the Inside Scoop. Plenum. Miller, G. (2000) The Mating Mind. Heinemann. Myerson, G. (2001) Heidegger, Habermas and the Mobile Phone. Icon Nolley, K. (1997) Finding alternatives to gossip: reflexivity and the paradigm of traditional documentary. Visual Anthropology, 9(3-4), 267-284. Noon, M. & Delbridge, R. (1993) News from behind my hand: Gossip in organizations. Organization Studies, 14, 23-36. O'Reilly, C.A. & Chatman, J.A. (1996) Culture as social control: Corporations, cults, and commitment. In Staw, B.M. & Cummings, L.L. (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behaviour, vol. 18, 157-200. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Percival, J. (2000) Gossip in sheltered housing: its cultural importance and social implications. Ageing and Society, 20(3), 303-325. Rosnow, R.L. (1976) Rumour and Gossip: the Social Psychology of Hearsay. Elsevier. Sousa, R. (1994) In praise of gossip: Indiscretion as a saintly virtue. In Goodman, B.F. & Ben-Ze'ev, A. (Eds.), Good Gossip, 25-33. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. White, L. (1994) Between Gluckman and Foucault: historicizing rumour and gossip. Social Dynamics, 20(1), 75-92.

Dad's birthday

Yesterday was Dad's birthday. The family had a simple dinner of Pancit Ilocano (a noodle dish from the Northern Region of the Philippines), sweet & sour pork, steamed grouper, sisig (a pork dish popular in the country, especially among the drinking set) and of course rice. On second thought it was not really a simple meal at all. Yet it was simple in that it was only among the immediate family and the our companions in the house. We will be hosting a much bigger celebration this sunday. My Dad's friend and our relatives will be coming over for the dinner party. More food, family talk and more social discourse - politics and gossips, gossips & politics. Gossip……….

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A diary of sorts

Whenever I start to write an entry in my diary I am reminded of the Scottish poet and diarist William Soutar. At the age of 32, William - who was afflicted with the spine infection acute spondylitis - became bedridden and during this time and shortly before his death in 1943 he wrote one of the most exhaustive diaries in the history of English literature. Some believe that Soutar's medical affliction effectively imprisoned him with his diary, a defacto companion it would seem from 1930 to 1943. He describes the practice of diary keeping as something: "we tend to indulge in it over often: it becomes a habit which would ever seduce us to say more than we ought to say and more than we have the experimental qualifications to state." I do not envy the situation that seems to have brought about blossoming of Soutar's diary but I do admire the discipline and intellectual honesty of his work. In his entries he described the diary as an assassin’s cloak to be use to stab people in the back with a pen. And a month before Souter died he wrote in his dairy: "There is a quirkiness about a diary which cannot be assessed: something which may seem to the diarist himself to be of real importance may in later days prove to be a bore; and some little aside or comment which has just dropped from his pen, by the way, may prove to be the most penetrating glimpse of a situation, or a revolutionary flash lighting up some strange corner of the spirit. The true diary is one, therefore, in which the diarist is, in the main, communing with himself, conversing openly and without pose, so that trifles will not be absent, nor the intimate and little confessions and resolutions which, if voiced at all, must be voiced in such a private confessional as this." Thus, here I am again staring at blank paper on a computer monitor attempting to write a diary/journal of sorts.