Friday, September 30, 2005

Heaven and Hell

hll01 Something you do not see often in Catholic Churches today. At least the news and if ever you one its not as detailed or probably as creepy as this one. Its not that clear but on the upper part of the painting is heaven in all its majesty and its victory of the angels over the devils. At the center is the Holy Trinity personified by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. At the bottom part encircled by events from the Bible (Old and New Testament) is a vision of Hell and the torments that await sinners. When I saw this one it sort of reminded Haw Par Villas' Ten Courts of Hell. The Villa was in Singapore. I was told the Villa is gone now along with the ten courts of Hell. Oh well... Back, to the Pakil's paiting vision of Hell. Each scene circles until it reaches the center with Satan seemingly enjoying the warmth of Hell. Seems to be a far departure from Dante Alighieri's take on Inferno or Hell in his epic poem La Divina Commedia or the Divine Comedy. In Dante's poem Satan was in the harshest spot in Hell the central zone called Judecca. Satan is condemened to perpetually consuming the bodies of Brutus and Cassius the betrayers of Julius Ceasar; and Satan is also condemned to perpetually eat the head of Judas Iscariot. Judecca is the central zone in the ninth circle of Hell and its reserved for traitors to their Lords and Benefactors. An additional post for today Pakil Church, the passage, heaven & hell

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A blessing for our Filipino Politicians

The Filipino Politicians are at it again. Times like this several things come to mind. But, the most poignant line I can remember is a dialogue from the movie Fiddler on the Roof. This is for all the politicians in the Philippines. The scene is a short one, a break in one of the songs of the movie. It is a nice movie, borrow and watch it if you can. Tevye the main character in the Broadway/Hollywood musical asks his Rabbi what was the proper blessing for the Czar, which is the Russian name for their Emperor similar to the German term Kaiser and based on the Roman name Ceasar. Again this is for all politicians in the Philippines.
A proper blessing for the Czar? May God Bless the Czar and keep him far away from us!
To paraphrase it -
May God Bless the Filipino Politicians and keep them far away from us!
On a different note, My friend Allan started to write reviews of fantasy and science fiction books. If you are into SF & Fantasy books check his reviews. Book reviews might save you from buying a bum book. Additional posts for today UK Bound Pakil Church - the interior

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Panciteria, movie & Pakil

Yesterday, I discovered I failed to mention another old Chinese restaurant in Cubao. Chopstick House a panciteria its not as old as Ma Mon Luk and Hong Ning but it seems to have been there for a long time. Panciteria seems to be the old name for a Chinese restaurant, I know Rizal used the term often in his books and when he cooked bihon in Europe with Alejandrino. Panciteria translated to English means noodle house; pancit is a noodle dish - more specifically a noodle dish without soup. And Chopstick House still cooks terrific pancit. I wonder if its new competitor, a jazzed up Chinese restaurant will beat it. Judging by the prices of Chopstick House I guess...not. Additional posts BlOG: Cine67 Title:Ganito Kami Noon...Paano Kayo Ngayon? I first saw this movie when I was in grade school. Our school scheduled a fieldtrip to Magallanes theatre. This was way before the shoot-out at the same place or demolition of the theatre. It even had love seats. You could raise the armrest and convert chair into a sofa. Read BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: Pakil Parochial Office view

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Churches and crosses

Continuing today with photos taken from Pakil Church. I know Pakil Church is known for its image of the Virgin Mary, otherwise known as the Lady of Turumba but I purposely refrained from taking pictures of it. I decided to concentrate on the other bits and pieces around the church. pklcrss03 We went to the church after lunch. There were a few people inside the church. Although, there were a group of children playing at church garden. Its different experience when you enter an almost empty church. It really seems to be a place one can contemplate. I remember having the same feeling when I went to the UP Chapel, the UFO-shaped church in Diliman. The silence was reassuring. An additional post BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: Pakil Cross View

Pakil Church

A few weekends ago I found myself between the mountains ranges of the Sierra Madre and the shores of Laguna Lake or Laguna de Bai. There was a family celebration in the hometown of my mother Pangil, Laguna. To reach the town of Pangil it was easier to travel by the province of Rizal and pass through the mountain pass of the Sierra Madre. The pass was a meandering stretch of road up and down the mountain. It was a zigzag asphalt road was completed during Marcos time and it provided an alternative route into Laguna. A few years ago they completed another road and this time it went around the base of Sierra Madre along the lake. Suffice to say the route, devoid of the hustle and bustle of an expressway, was panoramic. Towns around the lake, fields of rice, hills of grass and at certain point valleys of jungle trees, complete with a giant balete tree – which seem to guard the entrance to the forest. The air was of course invigorating. Unless, you passed by a duck farm and get smell of avian odor. Moreover, the trip itself was unhampered, save on the occasion if one of the passengers wanted to buy something, duhat, lanzones and even fried chicken, on the road. Then there were the occasional stops caused by a carabao oblivious to the traffic, the road being used to dry the harvest or the occasional checkpoints. Yes, it was relatively carefree. However, Pangil despite its inherent attraction, a clean and attractive river called Piit, was not the only town we visited. After lunch we sneaked of to visit the Church of Pakil. This was the home of the miraculous statue of the Lady of Turamba. According to legend, a fisherman found the statue floating along the river and the fisherman, sensing perhaps he could sell the statue, go it and stashed it inside his banca. Later, the fisherman left his banca and proceeded to sell his catch. A woman passing by, allegedly the fisherman’s wife saw the statue and started dancing. Soon a group of people gathered around the statue and they were dancing. Who knows why they danced? Perhaps something supernatural happened and this prompted the people to dance or perhaps this was an old anito long-lost but found again and the people started to worship by dancing. Did a miracle happen after the people started dancing? Whatever the reason for the dancing this would not be the last time people danced around the statue. Up to the present devotees of the Lady Turumba would join the dancing procession escorting the figurine and inside the church, while chanting the word “Turumba”, again and again. I first witnessed the event as a child. We had accompanied a friend to the event. She was quite keen on participating in the event. Even back then there were many people about. They came from all over the place, the local town folks, people from other towns, people from Manila and even people from other lands. It was not as voluminous as the crowd of the Black Nazarene at Quiapo, but it was lively. The statue of the Lady was carried and then chanting and the dancing around it began. One need not move the mass of people behind you would make sure you moved forward. And at the same time chattering and shouting Turumba. End of the day we rested. It was tiring but worth it. A few years, I found myself with my cousin and nephew in front of the church. And it was not even the time for the Turumba, The church seemed to have been refurbished, a sure sign of progress or maybe the financial rewards brought about by the devotees. Whatever it was the church had indeed change. Although it had not been modernized. Unfortunately a lot of old churches today are being renovated, I am still taken aback whenever I see a new façade on the altar of the church I frequent, can you imagine a tacky baroque façade covering a minimalist-inspired altar. Anyway, the church still looks nice. pklfrnt02 I was able to take a couple of snapshots before we left. I will be posting those pictures on my photoblog at Pinoy Snapshots. An additional post BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: Pakil Church View

Friday, September 23, 2005

Photos and a film retrospective

kybrd Mostly posted photos today. And learned about the Filipino Classic Film Retrospective at Gateway. BLOG: Cine67 Title: A Filipino Film Restrospective If you are interested in the classic Filipino films the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc (DGPI) is holding a film retrospective at the Gateway Cinemas this week. I saw the announcement on my way home the other day. The films to be shown includes the work Gerry De Leon, Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, and Eddie Romero. Read BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: Rainshower at Ayala Avenue The result of taking the shot from an unstable position. Coke & Iced Tea Probably the most ordered drinks in any restaurant in the Philippines. At the new Max Restaurant This is the new Max restaurant. A rainy day along Paseo Another unstable shot.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mambo Magsaysay

Here is another political song from the past. The campaign song of Ramon Magsaysay. It was written by Raul Manglapus and originally sung by Ms. Rosita De La Vega-Da Roza. It was used against Marcos prior to his exile to Hawaii. This is probably one of the best Filipino political campaign songs. Everywhere that you would look was a bandit or a crook Peace and order was a joke 'til Magsaysay pumasok That is why, that is why you will hear the people cry Our democracy will die kung wala si Magsaysay. Mambo, mambo Magsaysay Mabu-mabu mabuhay Our democracy will die Kung wala si Magsaysay Birds they voted in Lanao At pati Aswang pa daw Ang election lutong macaw Till Magsaysay showed them how Mambo, mambo Magsaysay Mabu-mabu mabuhay Our democracy will die Kung wala si Magsaysay Despite the distance between the years the issues seem to be same. An additional post (This is actually my main post for today.) BlOG: Library7 Title: Reading Chinese detective stories This weekend I finally finished reading the last Judge Dee detective story I was able to get my hands on. Several weeks ago I was at the Cubao branch of a Different Bookstore; As usual I was checking their collection before proceeding home. If you want to save money do not enter any kind of store just go home. I was fairly confident that I would just be killing time looking at their titles. However, just as I was about to leave I came across a table full of books that had a big red sale beside it. Curious, I looked at the books confident that I would not find anything that would rouse my interest. A couple of Umberto Eco's book , hmm...I said to myself I have read the Name of the Rose and his other works - no rush. Then my eyes scanned down to four books that were designed with several Chinese motifs and flourishes. All were written by one author, the Dutch Diplomat Robert Van Gulik. All were mystery stories. Read

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bagong Lipunan and Bayan Ko

I had to do a double-take this morning while watching the morning show on TV. One of the show's presenter was talking to one of the field reporters and they were talking about the rallies for today, the 21st of September - The anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos' declaration and imposition of Martial Law. According to the reporter the people would be converging on the corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas starting at two in the afternoon to celebrate the anniversary of Martial Law. Say again? Celebrate the imposition of Martial Law? OK, it must have been an error on the reporter's part. Such things happen in live broadcasts. But he may not be so far off the mark. Not all Filipinos were unhappy during Martial Law. I was witness to an argument between a Manilena visitor and my grandfather over Marcos. This was some time after Martial Law. They were heatedly discussing the achievements and crimes of the New Republic of Marcos. My grandfather cited the stabilizing effect of Martial Law and the improvements done by the Marcoses; the Manilena visitor pointed out the political oppression and the corruption. It was the case of the irresistable object meeting an unstopable force. It was a deadlock, neitheir side budge from their position. In the end they had to agree to disagree. During the Presidential Snap Elections between Marcos and Aquino, my grand uncle while heatedly discussing the elections with this nephews stood up and raise his fist and said, "You will never split the Solid North". Marcos was of course the favourite son of Ilocos, Anak ti Batac. My grand uncle like my father was FBI, Full Blooded Ilocano. It is not surprising Marcos did many things for the country and he did many things to the country as well. I guess with Marcos you hate him or love him. Marcos though was a cunning politician and brilliant propagandist. During the early days of Martial Law he used a lot of devices to whip up support for his causes. Stereotyping, waxing dreams and made full use of the devices. One of the things I do remember from the Marcos Era was the song composed by Felipe Padilla De Leon - Bagong Lipunan. A National Artist for music he is best known for his translation of Philippine National Anthem from the original Spanish to Tagalog, during 1900s.

Bagong Lipunan May bagong silang, May bago nang buhay, Bagong bansa, Bagong galaw, Sa Bagong Lipunan. Magbabago ang lahat, Tungo sa pag-unlad, at ating itanghal, Bagong lipunan!

- Felipe Padilla de Leon (1912-1992)

A rough English translation:

New Society A new path, A new life, A new country A new movement In the New Society !

All of us need to change Towards progress And let us proclaim, Our New Society!

It sounds better in Filipino . Most of us Martial Law babies know this song by heart or at least familiar to the tune. We were required to sing this every morning just after singing the National Anthem and saying the pledge of alliegance. Skills and talent though diminish in the end. Marcos reign became increasingly fragile as he aged. The Opposition also became more vocal. Ninoy's assasination became the catalyst the unleashed a series of protest actions that lead to a snap election. And the opposition too had a song. They adapted the song Bayan Ko - the lyrics in Tagalog was written by Jose Corazon de Jesus while the melody was composed by Constancio de Guzman. Bayan Ko was a the favourite songs of Filipino Nationalists struggling against the Colonial powers. I remember some Japanese tourists admiring the song during one of the rallies and their surprise in finding out it was the song of the guerilla and Japanese resistance movement. I have read some sources that state it was even sung during the American colonial period. While the Bagong Lipunan march had an almost Fascistic and Animal Farmesque quality to it while Bayan Ko seems a sad lament of a struggling people.
Bayan Ko Ang bayan kong Pilipinas Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag. At sa kanyang yumi at ganda Dayuhan ay nahalina Bayan ko, binihag ka Nasadlak sa dusa. Ibon mang may layang lumipad Kulungin mo at umiiyak Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag Ang di magnasang makaalpas! Pilipinas kong minumutya Pugad ng luha ko't dalita Aking adhika, Makita kang sakdal laya!
And from the Corrigidor website:
MY COUNTRY My country the Philippines Land of gold and flowers With love in her palms She offers beauty and virtue. And of her modesty and beauty The foreigner was attracted O, my country, you were enslaved Mired in hardship. Even birds that are free to fly Cage them and they cry, Much more a beautiful country Shall long to be free. Philippines my beloved, Cradle of my tears and poverty I'll aspire,To see you truly free
Again, I think the Tagalog version is much better. Bayan Ko eventually won and Bagong Lipunan descended and disappeared into the quick sand of time. Only Martial Law Babies will probably remember the song. Bagong Lipunan was probably pure propaganda but it was catchy march. Today the crowd at the rally will probably sing Bayan Ko again. But the reasons for singing it such events seem to diminish with time. The lines dividing black and whites seem less distinct now... maybe they never were. I see only grey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Devil Boy

Thirdee Not much to post today. It has been a busy day. Anyway, here is a picture I took a long time ago. This is my nephew Thirdee. I was doing some tinkering with the camera and I asked him to pose for a portrait shot. He took the horns of a devil, a trinket from Halloween;the red nose of a clown, a trinket from our group's presentation of Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer and then smiled. I was checking the proverbial jpg directory in search of pictures and I saw this one. This is one of my favourite shots. I think its a nice blend of the different elements and the subject was very cooperative. Two words come to mind when ever I see this shot - mischief and comedy. Additional posts for today BLOG: Cine 67 Title: Incredible dvd sale Read BlOG: Pinoy Snapshot Title: Devil boy with a red nose Bigger shot of the same picture View

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Balete Tree

When I was a child nearly every summer was spent with my maternal Grandparents. Their place was in a barrio called Balian, which prided itself as one of the few towns that the Japanese did not enter.How could this be possible. The old people attributed it to the protection of San Isidro the patron saint of the barrio. Well, it might be because the barrio was insignificant militarily and the trops were stationed at the town proper, Pangil. Unfortunately, this did not stop a few my maternal relatives to be picked up and executed by the Japanese. Jumping forward several decades later sans the Japanese, except for tourists looking for rare orchids and the American film crew of Francis Ford Coppola shooting scenes for Apocalypse Now, Laguna had become an idyllic retreat for us and probably a respite from our parents who were still busy at the city. It was our version of summer camp. Anyway, our Grandparents were accomating and seemed to be doting us. Those were the summers of cheerful plays, clean air from Laguna de Bai, afternoons sleeping on a hammock while reading a book, playing freesbee or playing baseball in the nearest dried rice field. These activities were interrupted by meals prepared by our grandparents. The specially made puto with keso, suman, the tsokolate. If that was not enough there were days that we would trek to the river of Piit. Spring water from Sierra Madre descended to the slope and formed a river. The water was cool and clear. And you could just relax under the cascade of the small waterfall. Going to our Grandparent's place though scared the hell out of us. We did not take the usual Laguna route of passing through South Superhighway and passing the different towns. We followed the route through Sierra Madre from Rizal. The trip was shorter following this route. It was an interesting route the road was rarely used then and several times we actually saw an eagle almost fly at car level. The road through the mountain was meandering, zig-zag. And at times the road seem to cut into a forest. At two points along the road you can actually encounter two big balete trees. The driver would always press the car's horn when we passed the tree. He and a lot of other drivers believe that this was his way of saying "Patabi Po" (excuse me) to the inhabitant of the Balete tree. In Filipino culture, trees like the Balete (Ficus indicus) are believed to be the house of dwarves, fairys, and other supernatural creatures. It would not be surprising that a carpenter or handyman would refuse to cut down or remove a balete tree, unless he conducts a ceremony where he asks permission from the true owner of the tree. Sometimes this would involve cooked but unsalted chicken or a bottle of gin. An official of a campus outside of Luzon was said to be victim of vengeful supernatural being. During the construction of the campus they removed several trees, among them those believed to be the house of engkantos. Thereafter, the official allegedly suffered high fever and was said to be hallucinating, he saw several black figures surrounding his bed. They had to hire arbularyos (local medicine man) to appease the vengeful spirits. I was told the ceremony involved incense and chicken sacrifice. The official recovered but he never did stay a night at campus. One look at the balete tree, especially, if it is quite old will give a child the heebeejeebies. Its expanding trunk and prop roots, above ground, give it a domicile feel. It would not be hard to imagine somebody or something living in there. It was especially scary when you pass by it at night the sheer mass of it seems to block out the light. And I would guess bioluminiscense from the animals or a shady figure brought about by imagination would be enough to startle anyone. In those days, nothing from Peter Jackson's movie can compare with a Balete tree. Baletes would have been perfect Ents. Well, now that I am older I looked differently at the Balete tree. One can just admire the strength and age of this tree. And yet seeing it brings back memories of Kafres, Tikbalangs, Dwuendes, Lamang Lupas, Pugots, Diwatas and other denizens of other Philippines, the world of Engkantos. The tales of fear and astonishment that were told and re-told for generations. I recall those summer when we met the old ermitano of Sierra Madre or our Grandparent's right hand man Jose, who told tales of the supernatural, the denizens of the fantastic and terror inhabiting Sierra Madre, some of who lived in the Balete trees. And I guess, in a way these tales and the phenomena of the Balete is a form of teaching us amazement, awe, respect and care of things around us. The value of "Patabi Po" (Excuse me) when one is about to do something, you might not be sure of the consequences of one's action. As the we drove past the Balete tree on the road, the driver slowed down and honked three times. I looked at tree and said a mental "Patabi Po". An additional post BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: More sea-side pictures View

Friday, September 16, 2005


The power was cut last night. Probably due to the continuous descent of water from the heavens. Some people call them the tears of the gods. Two things though made the blackout bearable or at least comfortable for me: first, it happened late at night most of us were asleep or halfway to it and second; the gentle rain provided a somnolent atmosphere. I just had to open the window to let the rain breeze. Across the street not a sound was a heard, save for rhythmic pittar-patter of the raindrops. There were times when the sound of the rain was interrupted by voices, passer-by's in the quite night, probably on their way home. It probably was the most relaxing brownout I have ever encountered. Unfortunately not all my brushes with blackouts and brownouts were as sublime as last night. By the way according to Wikepedia If the power outage (loss of the supply of electricity supply to an area) is a blackout if power is lost completely. It is a brownout if there is still some power, but it is below the minimum required. During Cory Aquino's run as president blackouts came on a daily basis. At least eight hours long every day. People were no longer surprised, there even was a fixed schedule. It was part of life. Still, it was no walk in the park. I remember in the old building where I work we would hear screams near lunchtime, the elevator was stuck between floors and people were to crawl or climb to the next available floor in order to get out of lift. Suffice to say the said people were not that happy and often times expletives were uttered with the wish that the mothballed nuclear power plant be opened, damn the safety concerns. And then there was the heat, or more accurately the humidity. Blackouts meant no power to run the electric fans and air conditioners. And this situation lasted for a long time. Those who could afford it bought generators, unfortunately these gensets were noisy and spewed black smoke that resemebled black cotton candy,. Blackouts and humming sound of generators were part of everyday life. A lot of us bought those light-radio-blinker rechargeable units. I remember people also started buying battery operated personal fans and TV sets that ran on car batteries; the more inventive ones used car batteries with inverters for electricity. Then there was of course the solar-powered flashlight; I am not even getting into that. People also went to motels a lot, for once to enjoy the air-con.
Question: What did Filipinos used before gas lamps and candles? Answer: The light bulb.
During the Ramos administration, the President was given emergency powers to solve the power crisis. Deals were signed and power plants were built. I think the government even bought power barges from Russia. Eventually, the problem subsided. There were still black outs from time to time. The power grid going of line because a tree or something hit a vital electric post or a renegade tractor hitting a crucial power line, causing the system to trip, or what they beautifully term a cascade failure. The oddest cause of a blackout happened just before the beginning of the millennium year. It was a few days before Christmas when the whole of Luzon was plunged suddenly into darkness. I was at Mega Mall at the time and people panicked, not because they were not used to it, but because they thought the millennium bug brought it about. A few days before Christmas? It was still several days before the dreaded thing was supposed to happen. And most companies prepared, and spent a lot of money in the process, for any problems that would be caused by Millenium Bug. The next morning it was reported that jellyfish caused the power grid to breakdown. According to newspaper reports millions of jellyfish swam inside the cooling system of a power plant. Why they decided to go into the cooling no one can tell? Maybe they were just sucked in or the water in the cooling system enticed them to come in. Whatever the explanation is they were there and they did their damage. The jellyfishes clogged the system and caused the power plant to shut down, causing a cascading failure. Hazy pictures of power plant employees shovelling out the now-cooked jellyfishes accompanied the report. There are times when the truth becomes stranger than fiction. We Filipinos eat blackouts for breakfast. ADDITIONAL POSTS BlOG: LIBRARY7 Title: Book Curses and Anathemas When I was starting blogging one of the topics that caught my interest were book curses. The use of book curses, threat of excommunication and anathema were used extensively during the Middle Ages as a way of controlling book theft, the other method was to chain the book to the table or to the shelf. Read BlOG: PINOY SNAPSHOTS Title: Catch of the Day. View

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A song meme

I picked this up the other day from Dean Alfar's article entitled ,"Tarzan boy and other musical closet skeletons". A musical meme. Dean got this from Snurri's post. In order to get the music list, just follow the instructions below: 1. Go to the music outfitters site 2. On left side of page you will go to the top search box that has the label SEARCH. 3. Inside the search box type in the year you graduated from highschool and then click on the GO button. 4. This will produce a list of the top 100 songs from that year 5. Copy and paste the list to your post, or next post or next next post, it all depends on you. 6. Commence commenting. The manner or style is at your discretion. You may opt to put in bold songs that you like and put in italics songs you do not like. 7. If you cannot recall the song, there is no point in commenting, is there? So there I was starting to select and comment on the top 100 music from 1984 and then it hit like a new wave hit song. I only really liked a few. I ended up listing eleven of the top one hundred songs. Its not that I hate them, although I have never taken a shine to any of Lionel Ritchie's song, I like the other songs better. I ended up with the following songs: 1. When Doves Cry, Prince Nice song, but I liked Bahz Luhrman's take on it in the film "Romeo & Juliet". 2. What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina Turner Perfect song for Ms Turner. Also perfect song when in an argument with the ex or present significant other when discussing money, taste in clothes or the great debate on what movie to watch. 4. Footloose, Kenny Loggins Movie about the dancing and social control. Everytime I hear this tune I am reminded of several parties where there was the eventual show down. 10. Karma Chameleon, Culture Club The first manifestation of Boy George. Memories of the Boy George look-alike contest at Eat Bulaga crystalizes in my mind. At least its not the Lolo Jackson or the Lola Madonna contest, oops too late. 14. Dancing In The Dark, Bruce Springsteen The Boss singing his most famous tune with a young Coutrney Cox as the dancing fan. What is not to like? 15. Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper The song is likeable and the video quirky. And it has Lou Albano as Lauper's dad. She even puts him in place with an arm-lock. Sorry, I have been a pro-wrestling fan since the time Hulk Hogan was managed by Freddie Blassie. Bob Buckland was the good guy and Vince McMahon played the straight commentator in WWF, his partner then Bruno Samartino. 28. 99 Luftballons, Nena The first version was in German, it had social commentary and it had Captain Kirk, What is not to like. A perfect example of a Cold War angst pop song. 38. Here Comes The Rain Again, Eurythmics One of my favourite songs during the rainy season. Although, I like Sweet Dreams better. 57. Love Is A Battlefield, Pat Benatar Used to be signature song of Pops Fernandez. She even copied Pat Benatar's look. Nice video and the whistle at end is almost impossible to purge from the mind. 76. I'm So Excited, Pointer Sisters This was probably the anthem of our Prom Night. People were jumping and dancing on the second floor of the Celebrity Plaza. The dancing got to strong that the floor started to oscillate. Luckily, the floor was strong enough to withstand the force of dancing teens. 88. Head Over Heels, Go-Go's What is not to like about the Go-Go's. This one of the songs I do not tire of hearing over and over again. Another song I like but is not on the top 100 for 1984. Puff the Magic Dragon, Peter, Paul & Mary One of the first songs I listened to as a baby. I can still sing this song and during a bout magicsing with friends last Christmas got a perfect score. There is an on-goin debate on what Puff is by the way, although the song's writer Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow claim that the song was not about marijuana but about innocence lost.
["Puff" is about] loss of innocence, and having to face an adult world. It's surely not about drugs. I can tell you that at Cornell in 1959, no one smoked grass. I find the fact that people interpret it as a drug song annoying. It would be insidious to propagandize about drugs in a song for little kids. - Leonard Lipton
As the principal writer of the song, I can assure you it's a song about innocence lost. It's easier to interpret "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a drug song than "Puff, the Magic Dragon." This is just a funny rumor that was promulgated by Newsweek magazine [who ran a cover story about covert drug messages in pop music]. There is no basis for it. It's inane at this point and really unfortunate, because even in Hong Kong it's not played because of the allegation it's about drugs. But I assure you it's not. When 'Puff' was written, I was too innocent to know about drugs. What kind of a meanspirited SOB would write a children's song with a covert drug message? - Peter Yarrow
The Beatle's song, "Let It Be", maybe another story altogether. Other post/posts for today: Scribble: Espionage and politics Here is the url of the charge sheet against FBI intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo and police Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino. Read Pinoy Snapshots: Selling seaweed

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fish market

I dug up this shot of a fish market from the olde photo bin. This picture was shot in the Visayas: Wet market ADDITIONAL POST/POSTS: BlOG - PINOY SNAPSHOTS Title - Alimasag View Post

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Haydee Yorac would have been a good magistrate

Haydee Yorac has left the cares of this world. I saw her once or twice at the house. She was a friend of my Mom. I did not personally know her. But what I know of her is that she is one of the few honest and effective government official I have seen in years. She was quite effective as the Comelec Commissioner in charge of Mindanao, she impressed Ali Dimaporo that he wooed her. And for me she seems to be the only effective Chairman of the PCGG. She would have made a good magistrate. Why do I say this? As of late I have been reading a series of novels by Robert Van Gulik. His novels are mystery novels based on Chinese records and details the adventures of Judg Dee or Magistrate Dee. In Imperial China, a Judge or a Magistrate was an all important post. Entrusted to the judge was a city. And he was in charge of over-all administration of the city and its countryside for around fifty miles. His duties included: Collection of taxes; registration of births, deaths and marriage; updating the land registration; keeping the peace; and act as presiding judge over the tribunal. Anyone could be a judge in Imperial China the only thing needed was to pass the literary exam. Yes, Haydee Yorac would have been a fine magistrate. She was an effective government official. I will light a candle and offer a prayer for her tonight. Additional posts for today: A spot of BBC in your telly? One alternative station I have been watching is the BBC channel. Their news coverage is as extensive as CNN and offers a fresh perspective from the other side of the Atlantic pond. However, what I find interesting with several of BBC programmes are more interesting than those produced by National Geographic and Discovery Channel. Read Ways to get a book When one is a bibliophile. And is eternally in search of books to read one will learn eventually that there five ways to get a book. Read

Monday, September 12, 2005

Isaw & Binagis

Isaw: Intestine & the Omentum In our barkada's egroup the exchanges happen fast and furious. The egroup could be called the egroup of flying daggers. To an outsider it would seem like a tempest in a teacup but that is the nature of our friendship, it thrives on the free exchange of ideas. And even if things get somewhat lively, at the end of the day or days ( depending on the fall-out) things get settled. As you might guess talk sometimes center on politics, gossip, entertainment, personal affairs (or lack of it) and of course food. The latest productive thread was about the favourite merienda of future athritis sufferers and people with high cholesterol levels, the one and only ISAW. A normal food thread about a chinese restaurant in Greenhills led to the discussion of food dearly missed. It turned out that the isaw or barbecue intestine or isaw was sorely missed. Isaw a common street food in the Philippines comes in three forms depending on source chicken, pig and cow. Chicken intestine is commonly called IUD, due to its shape. Pig and cow intestine when barbecued is just called isaw. The dish is quite tasty and unhealthy, its a rich source of cholesterol and uric acid. And improperly cleaned and cooked will probably send the eater to the hospital. Over the years, I have been warned of the health risks of eating isaw. Isaw is eaten as merienda or snacks by students and teetolers and for those inclined to drink of Bacchus it is eaten as pulutan, or food that acompanies alcoholic beverages. Isaw is tasty - I guess its the fat, it is said to be a flavour enhancer much like msg. Isaw or intestine is also the main ingredient in chihcaron or cracklings. The whole intestine can be turned into chicharon. As my friend Jay explained "Ang omentum or mesentery is the fatty membrane that anchors the intestines to the body wall dorsally and ventrally. This is separated from the intestines so both can be turned into chicharon bulaklak and chicharon bituka." Imagine eating cripsy omentum. Actually if you roast the omentum its actually quite tasty. Binagis or Binagkis One of the other food that was brought up was a dish called Binagis or Binagkis. I first tasted the dish when my uncle cooked it for us after coming back from Zambales, it was specialty in those parts. The dish was made up of the diced heart, liver and kidney of a pig. The ingredients are parboiled and sauted in broth, garlic, capsicum and onion. And then seasoned with salt and black pepper. I mentioned Binagis in the exchange we were diverting from isaw to betamax (another type of street food) to other dishes. Punay asked me what binagis was. I had an idea about it but I needed more data. So I checked the internet and it yielded two variants of the recipe: Binagis Del Monte version Binagis (Sautéed Variety Meats) Wow Sarap version Not quite sure if this the same recipe my uncle used. I must ask him when he drops by the house. We Filipinos & Eating Filipinos like to eat and that is no exageration. Our focus on masarap na ulam would make Apicius grin from ear to ear. And we in general like rich foods. But this does not seem to have been the case before. At least according to Rizal. In Noli Me Tangere, I remember passages referring to meal that were to be eaten only sundays, meat and special meals. The ill-fated Sisa was preparing a special meal of fish(?) and pako salad for her sons Crispin and Basilio. For those who have read the book, you know that this was not meant to be and a greater tragedy awaited Sisa, Basilio and Crispin. One can also remember the special meal prepared by Kapitan Tiago for Crisostomo Ibarra, tinola. And of course during the dinner the contravida Padre Damaso, much to his irritation, was served the neck part of the chicken. So much memories stirred from the our virtual talk of isaw. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Additional post for today: Books from the book fair I waited till the last day to go to the book fair. Despite the change in venue a lot of people went to the event. And I probably know now why they switched venue from a mall to the World Trade Center along Roxas. After several years, NBS and Powerbooks participated in the event. Read

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What is Philippine democracy?

It is an oligarchy window dressed as a democracy that suffers from brief periods of anarchy brought about by the struggle between oligarchs, theocrats, plutocrats and demagogues, who are supported by satraps, romantics, useful fools, idealists, opportunists and occasionally geopolitically sensitive sovereign powers. And the truth is variable depending on the side. Justice is always the cause. Revenge sometimes the motive and power the ultimate goal.

Maling Akala

The last few days at the office I found myself listening to a couple of old OPM (Original Pilipino Music). What prompted this? Well , the past Monday I chanced upon a video of a new group of musicians reinterpreting an old favourite. The group was Brownman Revival and they were singing the old Eraserhead song "Maling Akala", not a bad rendition. I liked the new version. Their MTV was a little bit different, but I do not really recall the Eraserhead's mtv of "Maling Akala". What I do remember is listening to the music while waiting for my Dad when I fetched him. I was taking up my graduate studies at that time and my Dad was on his last leg as a professor at UP. My old car, 1965 VW beetle, did not have tape player and its radio was kaput. So I had to rely on my trusty Aiwa walkman and a the tape "Ultramagnetic Pop" and other songs. Today, the walkman is gone and its replacement a panasonic VCD/CD player was sold. I do not even have the Beetle anymore, it was sold to partly finance my petshop business. I now work for a data company in Makati. And my work involves me using the computer for nearly the whole day. I once thought of buying a new DVD/VCD/CD/MP3 player, but it is far from my thought. I have my music dumped into my computer. Nearly whole gamut from Mozart's "ine Kleine Nacht Musik", Bizet's "Habanera", Duran Duran's "Dont Say A Prayer for Me Now", "Imperial March" by John Williams, Kenny Roger's "The Gambler", Dean Martin's "Volare", Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes", and the "Curly Shuffle". I use the different songs to keep me awake. And I did buy a set of earphones so that mys colleagues are not punished by music. It is quite plain that taste in music is not the same. I even have a OPM section. I have a few of Francis Magallona's song. I had his CD of greatest hits but a friend of mine borrowed and never returned it. So I am left with his latest compilation, which does not include "Mga Kababyan Ko". I also have Apo Hiking Society's best hits and a group of Filipino songs. What I do like and cherish is the Eraserheads' "Ultramagnetic Pop" songs. Its quite interesting how different and the same the new and the old version of "Maling Akala" are. Although somewhat same in style from the old version, the new one has a more definite reggae twist, the a refreshing twist in the old song. Although upon listening to the old song you see one main difference , the new one is more reggae like but the old seems to be imparting more practical advise. Especially in the last lines of the song. May mga kumakalat na balita Na ang kaligtasa'y madaling makuha Bago maniwala mag-isip-isip ka muna Marami ang namatay sa maling akala I remember a gag in Mad magazine once that started "You know your old when..." and in one caption it read " Your favorite music becomes elevator music". Now I think one of the heralds of advancing age is when your favourite song is reinterpreted. Well, at least its not on Stars on 45 and the reinterpretation is good. Then again there were times when Stars on 45 looks...let me rephrase that sounds good.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Horror & the Public Aquarium

Posts for today.

The New Philippine Aquarium is a Go! Read

Horror My first encounter with horror fiction was a radio play during the 1970s called Gabi Ng Lagim (Night of Terror). The show would start with howl from a dog and a creepy voice over stating the shows title and episode. The show was about the local supernatural monsters and ghosts in the Philippines and their encounter with the people. I used to listen a lot to that show, but the funny thing is for the life of me I cannot remember a single storyline. Read Kolchak Do you remember this series? It starred Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak - wisecracking, abrasive reporter who has the luck and the nose to get the lead in supernatural news stories. Much to the chagrin of his editor Tony Vincenzo and the local authorities. Read

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A couple of comic books: Y & Alec

An additional post for today A few weeks ago, I was able to read a couple of comic book: a contemporary American comic book from Vertigo and a comic book about a graphic novel.
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  • Memories of Chinese Restaurants Past

    At present I am currently enjoying a book a Chines Murder Mystery book. One of the poignant aspects of the book is that some of the scenes occur in Chinese Restaurants with names like Heavenly Palace or the Eight Happy Gods. The book was detailed even in the description of the food , in one scene the characters discovered an important witness while eating stuffed crabs in one of the local restaurants. Reading the book got me so hungry that I had to order a bowl of congee from Chowking, one of the local Chinese fastfood outlets near the house. It may not be as sumptuous as the cooked crabs in the book it was filling. One of the descriptions of a Filipino is that nearly all of us Spanish surnames, speak in English and prefer to eat Chinese food. Even our national hero Rizal when he celebrated his graduations and victories celebrated at the local Panciteria. And while in Europe hit by nostalgia for home, Rizal conspired with his friend Alejandrino to cook pancit. They had to ration the pancit for a week or so. Unfortunately, Alejandrino was unable to control his appetite and finished his part before the alloted time. Rizal of course was able to discipline himself and eat his portion , rationed part at the alloted time. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a string of Chinese restaurants have opened around Cubao. Not counting Chowking outlets and Gloria Maris there are at least three new restaurants that opened - Fat Choi, DuckDuck and Big Bowl of China (well something similar to that name). The gradual discoveries of these restaurants gradually brought back to mind the old Chinese restaurants or panciterias I encountered growing up in Cubao and in Manila. As far as I remember there were only three main Chinese restaurants in Cubao when I was growing up. The Aurora boulevard-based Ma Mon Luk restaurant served mami (noodle soup), siopao (bun) and siomai . And there were many waiters in that restaurant all wearing big red bow ties. I am not quite sure now if there were other food items sold ala carte but the main staple was always the mami, siopao and siomai. Ma Mon Luk even expanded to a nearby branch along Edsa. I even remember an article in a book featuring the success story of Ma Mon Luk, the founder Ma Mon Luk started out the business hawking his three basic food items. The article even had a picture of him doing some Tai Chi stuff with the sword. Nearby Ma Mon Luk was another Chinese restaurant, Hong Ning. The restaurant was similar in atmosphere to Ma Mon Luk - same type of waiters, wooden chairs, marbled top tables, huge electric fans and the menu - a one or two page piece laminated in plastic, Hong Ning had a special section that was air-conditioned on the second floor for patrons willing to pay extra. Hong Ning's specialty was hototay, pancit canton and hong ning chicken, my grandfather used to get one chicken free every christmas. They even had lechon macua and assorted meat dishes, including a delectable intestine dish and tabaron. Whenever we had surprise guests I remember being given money and going to Hong Ning to buy a number of dishes. Hong Ning's chicken of course had stiff competition from the nearby Robina chicken house. This was of course the boom of lechon manok all over Metro Manila. Then there was the restaurant along Edsa near the compound of the Aranetas (the whole commercial district of Cubao could be called the compound of the Aranetas but this compound refers to their residential land), The Golden Peking a more high class restaurant that served eels. I remember the family going here to celebrate. Unfortunately, these restaurants are all gone now. Hong Ning transferred to another location and slowly died. Ma Mon Luk closed its branches, except for the one along Quezon Boulevard near Banawe. Whenever I visit my friend Jimmy we somehow still find a reason to pass by. And they still serve their mami, siopao and siomai the same way. Golden Peking became a firing range or a gun reseller. You can still see its old build just before you reach P Tuazon, of course the long queue of buses into Farmer's Market will obstruct the your view. And as for Robina chicken, I learned that last remaining outlet is the one near Munoz Market. These are of course the Chinese Restaurants and tea houses in Cubao. There are of course others outside that still exsist. In Greenhills Le Ching, Le Ching Too and Luk Yuen are still there. Mrs Ho is gone, There used to be Chinese canteen at UP at the back of AS and they used a lot of plates from Mrs Ho, the owner or manager was a guy so we eventually called the canteen Mr Ho. Sun Moon Garden,with its lazy susan tables, is still there. Ling Nam along with Joe Kuan, West Villa and a host other establishments seems to have been swallowed by fate. San Jacinto an old Chinese restaurant has a branch at Quezon avenue and along Libis. A friend of mine ate their with the family and he was feeling bit tipsy, he was allergic to monosodium glutamate or MSG - it makes him drunk. He warned his sister and his sister just smiled at him and said not to worry but go on eating (since the food was deliciouse), anyway if it became critical they can take him to the nearest hospital. Fortunately my friend found a cure for his illness in China, according to a doctor (supposedly Deng Xiao Ping's doctor) all he had to do was drink a lot of tea. Near the Quezon avenue - based San Jacinto are a few Chinese restaurants worth a visit, Spring Deer,Shagri-La,Kowloon are a few I can think of. In Binondo, I remember going to Green Lake with my mother and grandfather, a restaurant near the welcome arch just before the Church, and eating with friends along the Estero-based eateries. And somewhere along Rizal ave eating probably one of the most savoury chicken dih in Manila with a friend at Ramon Lee's. And another restaurant in Ermita whose specialty was cua pao, and these were really nice cua paos! Perhaps that is the reason why I never took a liking to a lot of these instant food or quick-cooking food chinese (or not). Nothing is like a dish authentically cooked. New ones of course replaced those that have disappeared but I guess the craving for chinese food will not disappear. Rule of thumb though when selecting a Chinese restaurant choose one that is most frequented by the Chinese and Chinoys. Same rule of thumb I follow when selecting Japanese mini-restaurants, but that is another story.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Storyeller, Bookfair & a view

    Talk, Moral Icon and Rally

    Talk Talk Legislators on TV Talking and talking Each vote a speech in the making The session goes on and on Talking and breaking wind in one Tedium and Ad Nauseum Time to get the TV remote Only chance to smote Some really stupid blokes Moral Icon The Moral icon on tv calling for people power The Moral icon who caused the powerplants to expire And plunged Pilipinas into darkness inspired The Moral icon who did not win a single court case Nor solve the murder mystery of her late mate The Moral icon who failed to free the peasants from their land Is this the Moral icon of our land? Rally! Rally! Rally! Rally! on the Street Against all alleged cheats A call to arms! A call to arms! Is this right or is it wrong? Honestly I cannot say We tried We tried Yes We tried it twice But twice our hopes were sliced Betrayed by leaders who were not contrite So what is the point of doing it again and again Rightist reasons and leftist cause all the same The high purpose may vary but goal is one Power to a few chosen Deals to be made Pawns again and again Cannon fodder again and again To be used again and again To be abused again and again To be fooled again and again

    Picture Essay: the travelling physics demo

    Outside the hall housing the book fair was a small exhibit area. In it was a group of people showing the "magic" of physics. The exhibit made physics interactive and interesting. I think my nephew enjoyed this exhibit more than the book fair. Science Exhibit Science Exhibit Science Exhibit Science Exhibit

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    State of things in ....

    I was reading the newspaper, The Philippine Star, after breakfast today and flipping through the pages I came upon two full page ads. Both although differently written said the same message: Congratulations to the Justice Committee for ending the impeachment process and espousing the political opposition to return to the normal running of things. And yesterday On the news the La celluloid Brothers, maybe a more accurate term would be the La sallied educators, had hosted multi-faith gathering called Bukluran para sa Katotohanan, a gathering of Anti-Arroyo people. And the day before that the Supreme Court approved the VAT. Normalcy, Truth and Taxes. Normalcy - The call for a return to normalcy to the Anti-Arroyo forces seems to be falling on deaf ears. Why so? Probably because it is normal for them to stir things up. Being the minority in power and opposition it is their bread and butter to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the system. The purpose for this? To gain power. It may be immediate gain, an abrupt grab for power, or a punctuated stroke by a political painter adding bits and pieces to his masterpiece, the group or his own assumption to power. Such causes are of course sugar coated with appealing terms as justice, sense of fair play or for the common good. Ambition is not evil if it is for the common good. Once and when in power the liberators often became clones or better versions of the people they have replaced. Except now they use the techniques they use to stay in power, similar to what the present Arroyo administration is doing now. Both forces are two sides of the same pot. So it really is not normal for them to not live normally. For them its normal for life to be in a total flux. Who should then go back to live the normal life? Not the politicians and the political groups , whose faith is ascent and descent depends much on the un-normalcy of things. But it is for the normal people, me and you ... us to return to normal life. Politics is a part of life but it is not the whole of life, no life is much more. And the sooner people realise this the better. Plus putting hopes in a group of people or an individual is a futile investment in faith. Changing people in power is like the game musical chairs, you do not change anything only the person sitting on the chair. Truth - Truth, what is truth? Is truth to be found solely on one side of the debate or on both sides. Thus a group of persons hold monopoly on truth, morality and goodness. The greatest danger of idealists and idealism is that it can often be abused by people hungry for power and people who are so idealistic that they cannot see the truth even if it were in front of their face or they would prepare to destroy the house they live in order to satisfy their sense of decency and in the process codemn the other people living in the house to misery. Taxes - It is said there are two things certain in life death and taxes. The rise in oil prices and the imposition of taxes will make life harder for us. Corporate and company drones like me have been carrying the burden of taxes for years. Each year the amount we pay government increases yet see little or no improvement. Tax collection must be improved, VAT is probably one way but increasing collection effort and curbing expenses is another. How much money is spent for the government executives and legislators. How much pesos do we spend for each hearing in the Philippines Congress and Senate that ends with nothing gained? How much is given as pork barrels that will be used for political gain? In conclusion - I must admit I started out as a political supporter of Arroyo. Right now I am not quite sure. One thing I am quite sure of all the allegations her are full of holes - relying on testimony and not citing enough concrete evidences. I am not also convinced that the opposition and their supporter can even replace her. They cannot even mount a proper case against her. The opposition and anti-Arroyo forces have succeeded only in lowering her approval rating but they have been more effective in destroying the image of the country, although in this they had an unlikely ally - the Arroyo administration. nether do I believe in street protests, aided by a militarists, as the sole vehicle in pushing for change. As part of the middle class, I have seen the three EDSA upheavals and several coups. Two political clans were removed from power and none have been convicted. The first EDSA brought back the pre-martial law politicos and soon you could not distinguish between them and the Marcos politicos. IF Edsa I had RAM, then Edsa II had Civil Society, both groups have also become indistinguishable in purpose and guise. I still believe in change, but I believe true change can only come from the individual and this can only be facilitated by discourse.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    The Book Fair and Herr Konrad Lorenz

    Today is the start of the book fair. Bibliophiles all over Metro Manila and parts beyond will be converging to the World Trade Center near Roxas boulevard to be part of this annual event. Me, I am still at the office working. I am still deciding whether to troop to the center or not.At present I have all the books I need or want and my cash flow has dried up temporarily, due to expenses. Maybe, this weekend. My friend who just came from there texted me that he is now at Greenbelt. He liked to spend some down-time in Makati before heading home. And after coming in from the book fair where does he decide to spend his down time? At Powerbooks, a bookstore. My other posts for today: Book fair and cheap Filipiniana Books Konrad Lorenz a forgotten Aquarist