Tuesday, November 27, 2007

QR Codes

First off, an apology for not blogging for quite a while. I had to go through a lot of personal turmoils dealing with life, liberty and death and eventual rebirth, details of which, I will not disclose here. Needless to say I had to go through a lot of mental purgation to clear my thoughts and be lucid in my writing. Enough of that and on with the show.

I have been seeing this perplexing symbol shown on top a lot lately. I have seen them on shirts, price tags, gift items, posters and what have you. I paid it no attention since: (1) I don't have no idea what the heck they are; (2) I have no interest in decrypting (nor asking) what they are for. I completely dismissed it entirely until...

I bought me a new cell phone, sort of a reward and to upgrade to the new technologies and capabilities offered by the newer models. As with a new phone, we always go back to the basics of what our older phones can offer in terms of software and capabilities and duplicate it in our newer models and then exploit the newer capabilities and learn to use it pronto for fear of being labeled technologically ancient.

After doing what must be done to make sure the new "toy" conformed to what I usually do with a communications device, like texting, calling, MMS, data storage, Internet capability, etc., I proceeded to research more on the new capabilities it has to offer. Then I came across a free program from my phone manufacturer and decided to upload it. It said it was a barcode reader. Well, having an almost bare "toy", might as well give it a try. That's where I found out that it is indeed a barcode reader. Well a lot of good that will do me, but I noticed its "twin" icon. The familiar symbol I see everywhere on almost everything. Upon further research, I found out they are called QR Codes or Quick Response Codes. Developed in Japan and has been in circulation for several years now. Virtually unknown in the west, these 2D codes store data in two dimensions. How they do that is beyond me. As of yet, I have limited knowledge of the subject. But I promise myself that I will research further on this fascinating modern hieroglyph.

What's fun is that you can make your own QR codes like the one I generated above which is the link to this blogsite. I even tried it with colors and it still works. As I said earlier it has been quite popular in Japan for sometime now. And almost all cell units are equipped in reading and writing this codes which they can send through MMS messages. Well, I for one find QR Codes more interesting than the flat barcodes of old.

Ah the beauty of technology. Now grab your QR code equipped phones and scan this.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Malu (Hu?) x 2

Well people, after all that has been said and done about Ms. Malu Fernandez and about her supposed submission of her resignation paper both from People Asia Magazine and The Manila Standard Today, surprise, surprise. Today, her column in The Manila Standard - Divalicious came out to talk about, well, “make-up.” Seems like her resignation was not accepted.

I will admit this is only the fourth article that she has written that I’ve read since the netizens shook her to her senses. The first being the People Asia Article - From Boracay to Greece, second, her Am I a Diva! Or do you lack common sense?, third, her apology and “resignation”, and today’s article in Divalicious entitled, Unseen evil on your dressing table.

Interestingly, her column which came out today, September 3, 2007, Monday did not include names of High Society personalities and Brand Names. And it was toned down. Way way down. Her article tackled on how to keep the ladies’ make-up space and equipment clean to prevent rashes, eye infections and other allergic reactions and the expiration of make-up. And also a big surprise, is she even talked about how TO SAVE on lipstick and to not be a “label whore” since the more EXPENSIVE brands and the CHEAPER ones contains the same ingredients and costs about $0.50 to $1.00 to make. The difference in pricing in the end product lies mainly in its packaging and marketing.

For me, I’d say, judging from this latest column of hers in the Manila Standard Today, I think she has learned her lesson and learned it well.

For other netizens out there, what do you think?

I for one have friends and family who work abroad for a living. And it is disheartening at times that it tugs on my heartstrings when I talk to them on the phone or even over the internet and they hear the television or the radio in the background and they would ask to put the receiver closer to the source of the sound so just they can “hear” a little bit of home. More so if they are having problems or sick and they have no one there to care for them except other OFW’s who are free from their work schedules.

In my case, I’m not totally excluding the Manila Standard Today (MST) from my reading list. I believe there are more intelligible, sensible and credible writers in MST.

As of today, I promise myself that “Unseen evil on your dressing table” will be the fourth and last article I will read of Malu Fernandez, even if she comes out with another article displaying her “acerbic wit” and her brand of humor.

I leave it saying: There will be no complete absolution nor total restitution, in the absence of an equal and just amount of retribution. So there.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Malu (Hu?)

Everybody is blogging about Malu Fernandez

Who is she? And what is the fuss all about that drove everybody to a frenzy like a disturbed hornets nest.

And here is my take on what she wrote:

To start with, I've never heard of nor read anything written by a "someone" who considers herself as a "somebody" and goes by the name of "Malu Fernandez". Oh yes I read newspapers everyday and The Manila Standard Today is one of them. Unless I was having mental diarrhea or my taste somewhat doesn't pang for her type of so called "humor and acerbic wit," she's probably insignificant or too shallow for me.

I laud the editors of the Manila Standard Today and People Asia for publishing her articles in their pages presumably unadulterated. I need not expound on the difference between a JOURNALIST and a COLUMNIST, but each has moral standards and obligations to their readers. If any. She is right though when she wrote that ..." if you don't like what you read and if what I write offends you, just stop reading." This maybe the reason why I NEVER got to read her until now.

Her observations of how Filipinos abroad treat and act towards each other is not uncommon to us FILIPINOS. It is a known fact that we FILIPINOS are a very sociable and hospitable bunch. And because of this inherent trait, we are more often than not, being misconstrued and taken advantaged of and ridiculed by other races. But that is beside the point. This kind of slam dished out by Ms. Fernandez against her "KABABAYANS" who are sacrificing being away from home and family to make a living is just too bitter a pill to swallow.

Oh yes I have rich friends. And yes I've heard them give remarks about other peoples fashion sense, intellectual ability, socio-economic standing, etc. BUT NOT TO THE POINT OF RIDICULE AND TOO DEROGATORY to make one squirm out of his/her own skin. How negatively nouveau. Yes I have underprivileged friends too. They also play the same game but more bare and freewheeling and not flourished with useless adjectives to hide their true intent. Her column was so direct and yet it makes one wonder where she's coming from doesn't it?

If she thinks she is funny, fine. If she thinks she has acerbic wit, fine. Her friends thought her article was hilarious, fine. I challenge her to write an article about her so called "friends" in the style she did with the OFW's. Let us see if they find it hilarious as well. She called herself a bitch, I couldn't agree more.

She said: "Many people often find my direct attitude to be rude or obnoxious. I really don’t mean to be anything but true to myself." Well, being true to ones' self is indeed admirable, so does having patience which she said she sorely lacks. Hasn't she stopped to consider that the OFW's she flew in coach with and was lambasted by her in her Fierce & Fabulous column, are just being true to themselves. Added to that, instead of a direct apology, she sprinkled salt on the cut she made with "Am I being a diva? Or do you lack common sense?" She's got more than her fair share of CRAB MENTALITY and total DISRESPECT. That is direct attitude for you. After her article, it wasn't a surprise that these same OFW's and those who share their sensibilities were obnoxiously rude to her as well. Tit for Tat.

I am tempted to give her more than a piece of my mind. But come to think of it, why would I STOOP DOWN to her level? Wait a minute, I already did. For good cause. And I am not ashamed of it either. I AM JUST BEING TRUE TO MYSELF and I have no PATIENCE with anyone who steps and defames his/her own race just to be noticed. Maybe, just maybe, if the politicians in her family are doing even half of their elected job, there won't be too many OFW's that she loathes so much, with her in coach, so she can be comfortable. Come to think of it. If you are a privileged person, why fly in coach? I am not done yet.

She states: "Most people don’t get the fact that they need bitches like me to shake up their world, otherwise their lives would be boring and mediocre."

I say: She may consider herself privileged but now she found out that OFW's are PEOPLE and not that dumb nor that stupid to just accept her fecal kind of inane writing. Congratulations to her for finally being taken noticed of.

Oh yes I need bitches alright. But not her kind. The kind of bitch I want is the one that can give me "PUPPIES." Puppies that will eventually grow up as loving companion dogs that will wag its tail with glee and show me and my kin unconditional affection no matter what. I have no need for a kind of self-serving bitch that waddles and shakes up my world literally with its every step and wag of its offensively insensitive and discriminatory tongue.

I admittedly have stooped down to her level to shake up her world and topple that imaginary pedestal she plops, not prop, herself onto. And I am proud to say that I AM A FILIPINO albeit using a foreign language for this comment.

In conclusion, I may have never been to Greece yet, but I am proud to say that I have been to the farthest North and farthest South of the Philippines. I enjoyed and continually enjoy what each and every province has to give. Wholeheartedly offered by the people who may have had family members on that Emirates flight in coach.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

State of the Nation 2007 (Philippines)

I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, Monday, July 23, 2007, due to so much heat, so I opted to stay home and sleep it out. I have mentioned in one of my blogs that I didn't like taking medicines, owing to the belief that I want my body to recover from the illness and reserve the use of artificial medication only when my body truly needs it. So I dozed on and off, only getting up to drink more liquid or go to the toilet. Around 4:00 PM, I turned on the TV, lo and behold, the president was on in a "recycled" red "terno" in front of the joint session of the Senate and Congress. What the....? Oh yes, she was about to deliver another state of the nation address. Her seventh.

As she began her opening spiel, I quickly scanned the channels for other broadcasts only to find the major networks are all glued on her. Why wouldn't they be? She "is" the President after all.

What surprised me was the presence of Congressman Jose de Venecia sitting as Speaker of the House along with Senator Manuel Villar as the Senate President. As it turned out Congressman de Venecia was still hot being voted only a few minutes before the SONA as the Speaker of the House. Interesting. Very interesting. I'm sure we will hear various oinking about this in the next few days.

Setting all pessimism aside, I listened to her speech taking note of the various points she raised about the year that was under her administration and the years about to come. I was impressed by her knowledge of Philippine geography and the development that are underway or have been done. You are right Honorable Senator Chiz Escudero, that was one hell of a geography lesson.

The more I listened, I can't help but feel a slight chill slowly creeping up my spine. Most of what she delivered are a rehash of what she has already delivered a few SONA's back much like the "terno" she was wearing for the occasion. Some are way incredible (but not impossible) one will wonder, where are we going to get the money to finance them?

During her speech she mentioned an airport down south, crediting its construction as financed by an "honorable" of that province. However, she failed to mention it came from the pedestrians taxes. She called it a "pork that gave good cholesterol." Whoa! Even the President acknowledges the use of or lack thereof of the majority of our "honorables pork barrel." Well, I just hope they all follow suit and finance the President's programs for all of our benefit both administration and opposition alike. If they all do this within the next three years, the President's vision will come to fruition, and we will all reap its rewards. After all, isn't the "pork barrel" called the "Countrywide Development Fund?" These funds are given to Senators and Congressmen which are discretionary in nature. Meaning to say, our "honorables" has the option which projects to fund for the "development" of their area of constituency. Each Senator gets P200 million a year (24 X P200,000,000 = P4,800,000,000) while each Congressman gets P70 million (224 X P70,000,000 = P15,680,000,000) or a grand total of P20,480,000,000 in pork alone. "Wala pa yung sweldo nila diyan" P35,000 per month plus P2,000,000 each a month operational expenses of their offices, P760,000 per month foreign travel allowance. Add to that another P1,000,000 per month for committee membership per committee. Goodness, that's a lot of pretty pennies. Just imagine, if all the honorables use this money for it's real purpose, the government will not have to penny pinch other priority projects, raise taxes, or heaven forbid, "borrow" from outside sources. Our soldiers fighting the insurgents in the plains of Luzon or the mountains and jungles of Mindanao will not have to pray that their equipment will not fail them in their time of need. Just think. But unfortunately, most of them just carry their pork and cry "wee wee wee all the way home."

All in all, kudos to the President who says that she is "...always as strong as she can be." Who says that now, based on her vision, ..."she would rather be right than popular." She continuous on saying that, "... Fine, I stand in no ones (political) ambition, but I ask no one to stand in the way of the people's well being." Lofty statements indeed but timely. I just hope that these statements will be heeded by all starting with the President herself and down to the Barangay level. Only then will I truly believe her last statement, "The State of the Nation is Strong."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Expectations and Aspirations

We all have aspirations and expectations in life no matter how minutely inane and insignificant that may be to our other fellow pedestrians. Most of the time, we inappropriately laugh, or plain outright ridicule at the simple dreams of some of us. If you ask your neighborhood "magbabalut" (duck egg vendor) on the spot while you are buying a "balut" or two what his aspiration at that moment is, he would readily say, "sana mabili lahat ng balut ko" (I hope I sell all my duck eggs). Simple, practical, concise. Then what? You may ask yourself. But before you can utter the words, your "magbabalut" would blurt out a litany of his own need why he has to sell as many eggs as he can. Needless to say he might have too many mouths to feed or one of them is sick and he needed the money to provide that very basic need. One will truly admire a pedestrian such as this one, his voice hoarse by shouting "balut" while lugging a basket filled with his precious duck eggs aspiring to sell and expecting that the return for his effort would be fruitful for the night or day. More admirable than those able bodied muggers and crooks who victimize hapless pedestrians. So much more than those men and women in power whose aspirations is make a quick buck and expecting they can get away with murder because of their privileged status in society.

I have been around with lots of different kinds of people in my life and there are still so much more that I have yet to meet. I have been with the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich in this country. Yes I have even broken bread with them in their houses and/or places of business. I have been to their parties or sorties. Socialized with owners of the largest malls and hotels and the scavengers that make a living out of the trash from their establishments. These encounters I will cherish for the rest of my life since I learned and still continue to learn than with all the books that I've read and seminars that I have participated in.

Much has been said about the inequalities of society, and the reason why people do what they do depending on which strata or level they belong to. Not all poor people will resort to illegal means to make a living. Not all rich people are on the moral compass just to preserve their social status. Most of us are indifferent on the goings on since each and every one of us have our troubles to attend to. No matter where you belong to, we are all part of society's machine and we all have our parts to play in this stage called life.

It is in our nature to choose to be either good or bad. That is what sets us apart from the lower species. All living beings has the power of choice. But only us humans can discern between good and evil. We unconsciously have the power within us that can change the aspirations and expectations of other pedestrians around us, no matter how rich or poor, depending on the choices we make.

On this note, it is not impossible to think that the lowly "magbabalut" can eventually influence where Henry Sy will put up his next mall or where that mugger will position himself to literally make a killing without being caught. I will discuss more about how this can be possible in my future blogs.

In the end, no matter how young or how old. No matter how rich or poor. No matter what level of educational attainment one may have, we all have aspirations and expectations in life.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We have 12 (FINALLY)

Last Friday, July 13, 2007, senatorial candidate Aquilino "KOKO" L. Pimentel III's petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was denied by the Supreme Court. So I was not surprised that the 12th Honorable Senator was finally proclaimed by the COMELEC yesterday, Saturday, July 14, 2007 or two months after the May 14, 2007 elections.

"Juan Miguel 'MIGZ" F. Zubiri"

garnered a total of 11,004,099
votes, besting Koko Pimentel
by only a margin of 19,242
votes. who got 10,984,807.

For both candidates, and the nation, it may well be the longest two months in their lives. Be as it may, the COMELEC's performance is dismal in my pedestrian point of view. Per COMELEC data, there are 43,094,640 registered voters in the Philippines. Out this number, only 29,491,488 actually voted or 68.434%. A good turnout actually but forgive me for asking, does this number include the number of dead who voted and the children in Mindanao who "actually voted" as was shown in various news broadcast and exposes?

As expected, the "victory" of Migz sent various waves towards "losing" candidate Koko for his reaction to this latest development. As of this writing, we still have to wait if Koko will finally concede and sing his swan song or are we up for a reprise. Let's wait and see.

For such a small country, this final re
sult is welcomed though not besmirched with a tinge of doubt in the capability of the electoral body. And I am paying taxes to finance this carnival? WOW!

Better luck next time Koko.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First Half

First off... I apologize for not posting a new entry during the last few weeks. As you may well know, I had massive colds followed by the flu. Along with the runny nose came what I consider a case of "Mental Diarrhea." I can't seem to find a topic worth sharing and discussing, everything was jumbled up and short circuited that my neurons were in a state of displacement. I was inclined to talk about the final results of the last elections or lack of credibility thereof, but decided against it since EVERYONE was already bombarded with incredulous excuses why up to now, the 12th "honorable" senator has not been proclaimed yet. I also thought about writing a short essay about the colds and the flu, but found it too technical and realized that illness is too broad a topic to generalize its symptoms and causes as they vary from individual to individual. Aside from these two, there were several topics that I mulled over but due to reasons beyond my control, was all put aside.

Then I suddenly realized that June 2007 is almost over. Seems only yesterday when we lit firecrackers welcoming the New Year. Time really flies... well... for me it was not all fun... but nevertheless, time did fly. So many things has happened during the last six months that it would be unjust to stick to only one topic. So for this post, I decided to let it flow free until I find a mental antidiuretic that will relieve me of this incapacitated state I'm in.

During the last six months, so many interesting things have cropped up from American Idol, Pinoy Big Brother, Tele-Seryes, Tele-Fantasyas, politics, local and foreign showbiz, to highlight a few. It's interesting to note that the general day to day activities of the average Filipino remains at the status quo. The poor remains poor amidst blatant announcements that the economy is improving. Yeah right. Can someone please ask these government people how those numbers announced on tri-media can be converted to food on the table for 80% of Filipino's living below the poverty line? But let me state that this 80% is a variable depending on how many jobs there are at a given time and how many are actually employed and when the survey was taken to spruce up the image of some self-serving "pontio pilato" in government. It's only in the Philippines can you find contractual jobs as a bagger in a supermarket that requires one to be at least college level. Jeesh. Well, there are jobs that doesn't require a college diploma that gives good pay. Being a call center agent is one of them. But don't bother applying if you do not know how to use computers and do not have a good command of the English language and have an impeccable twang that goes with it. You better make sure that the person on that far side of the globe won't be able to distinguish your accent as one coming from "Pidru". You better make sure you sound like "Peyd-Roh". One thing more, you also need to have the nocturnal ability of a vampire and the uncanny reflexes of a werewolf to make it in this line of work. Forget about family gatherings, legal holidays, social night outs. Never mind. You have all that money to spend, that is if you still have the energy to go to the malls after your shift, and pray that that ball of fire in the sky we daytime dwellers call the sun will not melt your skin for staying out of it's light for so long.

Only a handful of our untapped workforce can handle being a call center agent since most Filipinos nowadays can't even speak English fluently much more with "the proper accent." I, for one am guilty of this fact.... sometimes... especially if I am talking to a fellow Filipino pedestrian. I see no need to speak in a foreign language when we can fully understand each other perfectly by speaking in Tagalog. Unless that someone doesn't know how to speak in Tagalog. Yes people, the Philippines has so many dialects I find it frustrating that this might be one of the causes why this beautiful country cannot function towards one objective and without the need of interpreters and fear of violating certain ethnic customs and traditions as well as various religious affinities. "Ay sus, ginoo!"

It is sad to note that the strength of the Philippine Peso is pitted against the almighty US Greenback. Not discounting the fact that it's strength is mostly due to the remittances being made by our Overseas Filipino Workers, heralded as the "Bagong Bayani" (New Heroes). Not forgetting the fact that some are being beaten and molested, and suffering from a myriad of inhumane atrocities by citizens of the their employing countries, while government agencies turning a blind eye, notwithstanding, unless somehow exposed by the media in an exclusive to boost their rating against the "other channel." This is the sad plight of modern Filipino families being broken up by the need for survival. Having one or both parents leaving the country to work in a foreign land to be able to put up a house to live in, food on the table and clothing on our backs and to be able to send the kids to reputable schools so that they will have the fighting chance when their turn eventually comes to join the workforce. But how can our kids learn when most of our good educators are now working abroad as well. We cannot blame them for leaving because they too have families that need to live comfortably only few "de-buena familias" enjoy. Why would they stay if they are being paid only slave wages and being shot at, burned, and harassed during elections?

I could go on and on, but I'm afraid that I see no end to this dilemma as of yet. But I am still hopeful that one day we will overcome all these obstacles and have a Philippines truly worth dying for.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Down With The Cold

Last Sunday, June 2, 2007, around late afternoon, I started to feel heavy. My head is throbbing and my throat started to feel itchy. During the late evening, my eyes started to water. I said to myself this is not good. When I woke up the next day, I was already feeling lousy. But being a Monday and I have reports to submit, I decided to go to office anyway. By late afternoon that day, I was really feeling terrible. I told my boss right there and then that if my situation doesn't improve overnight, I won't report for work the next day.

So as it turned out I wasn't able to report for work for the next two days. I thought of writing my blog during those two days but my head was throbbing like mad. So I just decided to sleep it out. Friends keep telling me to drink this medicine and drink that liquid. Well I for one am not fond of drinking any medicine. My rationale behind it is, I want my body to combat the infection and take care of itself naturally. Thus, helping my body build up it's immunity. The only time I will take any form of medication is when my body truly needs it.

Oh well, it's been a week and now I only have a little sniffle. I just hope the weather stabilizes soon. I always fall under the weather, sort to speak, when the weather/climate changes. I need to take a break now in preparation for my next post.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Typhoon Season

The month of May is almost over. Time really flies when one is having fun. Rain comes almost everyday now in Manila, mostly in the late afternoon to early evening alleviating the heat we have during the day. But of course, these late afternoon rain is also a signal that the weather is changing from dry to wet. A college friend, now based in Canada, stated once in an e-mail that Canada has only three seasons: pre-winter, winter and post-winter. Coming from a tropical country, I could just imagine what it would be like to be in a climate like that. Here in the Philippines, cold weather always makes me sluggish and sleepy. If I were in Canada, I might experience perpetual hibernation if it were possible for humans. Kidding aside, I love the rainy season. The temperature drops to a comfortable level (at least for me), plants and trees start to sprout new leaves, everything begins to smell fresh and life begins anew. The only thing I don’t like about the rainy season is that it is also the typhoon season.

Typhoon season in the Philippines is from June to early November. Typhoon (Bagyo) is given four storm signal categories based on the strength of the winds they bring. Signal Number 1 carry winds from 30-60 kph. Signal Number 2 carry winds from 60-100 kph. Classes from the secondary level down are usually suspended. Work suspension announcements vary upon the affected areas. Signal Number 3 packs 100-185 kph, strong enough to blow down trees and houses made of light materials. Classes in all levels are suspended, and work suspension are announced depending on the severity in affected areas. Storm Signal Number 4 is commonly rare. But they blast winds above 185 kph. These super typhoons are called “super-bagyo.” With winds that strong, one will be foolish to venture out of a fortified house. The strongest recorded typhoon to hit Manila was Typhoon Yoling, international code name “Patsy” in November 17-20, 1970, packing winds of 200 kph and claiming 611. But so far, the worst storm to hit the Philippines was storm Uring, international code name “Thelma.” It only packed wind speeds 95 kph but claimed more than 8,000 lives in Tacloban in November 2-7, 1991. I pray storms of this magnitude don’t come this season.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In The Heat of the Moment

Ang init! These two words has been reverberating in my head at the start of the summer season. I noticed in the last several years, summers here in the Philippines have become somewhat hotter. I looked it up and indeed I was right. Compounding the problem is the high humidity we have in this country.

The heat was not a problem back then when Fort Bonifacio was a closed Fort. We had lots of trees literally peppered all over the place. My father's uncle happened to be the first Camp Commander of then Fort McKinley before it was renamed Fort Bonifacio in honor of Andres Bonifacio. It was hot during the summer months alright but once you step in the gates of the old Fort Bonifacio, one will feel the refreshing cool breeze brush up against your skin thanks to those wonderful acacias. Now they are all gone. No thanks to the BCDA which came into being by virtue of Republic Act No. 7227, or Bases Conversion Development Act of 1992, which was signed into law by President Corazon C. Aquino on March 13, 1992. Technically speaking, all military bases within the Luzon area are now up for sale. This started the development of the Subic Economic Zone some 15 years ago. But that didn't stop there. During the time of President Fidel V. Ramos, Sangley Point in Cavite was also put up for sale. Camp John Hay in Baguio, Villamor Air Base in Pasay, and then Fort Bonifacio through the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC). FBDC is a joint venture between Bonifacio Land Corporation (BLC) and the state-owned BCDA.

Incidentally, Fort Bonifacio (Makati) is now more popularly called the Bonifacio Global City (Taguig). What used to be my safe playground when I was young is now a rising city with first class amenities. Several condominium edifices rose like mushrooms after a lightning storm. To name a few, there rose Pacific Place, Essensa, One McKinley Place, The Fort, Market Market, Serendra, High Street, etc.

And because of these changes, the quiet Fort Bonifacio was reborn. And accompanied with this changes we lost the once moderate temperature we had back then. Oh well that's progress for you. More on this topic later on as Global City further develops.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Philippine Elections 2007 Part 2

On the eve of Election Day, May 13, 2007, my friends and I were discussing what time we will go to the polling place to cast our "boto" (vote). I told them that I will make sure that I will vote early so as to avoid the rush of voters like the one I experienced back in 2004. Although I made it a point to go early, lines were slow moving, it being the Presidential Elections. Everyone was anxious to exercise their right of suffrage. Naturally, there were a multitude of voters. And we all know how that election turned out notwithstanding "the mother of all tapes" and the "Hello Garci..." hoopla and subsequently leading to the "I am sorry" speech which left me and probably the nation and the world wondering what the speech was about since nothing was admitted other than incurring a "lapse in judgment" for talking to an unnamed COMELEC Commissioner.

(Photos courtesy of the web)

The "barkada" insisted that we all go together. I just shrugged it off knowing full well that they are late risers. "Basta maaga ako bukas" (I will go early) was all I said to them while sharing my stock of beer bought from our neighbors "sari-sari" store before the liquor ban. Hey, we knew it was illegal to drink that night and the day after that, but come to think of it, it was only a minor infraction as against those violating the gun ban. In any case, we were at the comfort of my own home and not doing it in the street like the other "tambays." Besides, we needed, nay, deserved, the break from the continuous bombardment of political advertisements in print, radio, television, walls, trees, shrubs, the neighbors "batalan" (outhouse), electric posts. Not even my neighbors dog house and dove house was spared. I whimsically thought, had these "politicos" decided instead to convert these voluminous posters to campaign toilet paper, their smiling faces, slogans and promises might have been put into better use after we use the best seat in our homes. Laughing silently to myself, wouldn't it be grand having one politicians' ad wiping our backside and instead of "itanim sa senado" (plant in the senate), "itatanim natin siya sa poso negro" (We will plant him in the septic tank). Just think how many trees were sacrificed just to produce the paper needed. And some of them even labeled themselves, "makakalikasan" (nature lover).

I was surprised the next morning upon hearing my mother calling out to my niece, "halika na" (come on). It was 7:30 AM. I immediately got out of bed and went out of my room as my mother was locking the front door. I told her that I will just catch up with them since I just got out of the delta state. I proceeded to the bathroom to use the toilet and take a quick shower. I smiled to myself when I saw the toilet paper... what if we had one of them as a human bidet instead? I know, I know that's sick, but after all they say that they are doing this for public service, di ba? They want OUR VOTE to put them IN SERVICE, to be called HONORABLE and to have access to the billions of OUR TAX PAYED PESOS for the next six years. Heck, if there's a payback for all of that, I guess my price is fair. I can't and won't be bought by a few hundred or even thousands they dish out during the campaign. Just a thought...
It's hard on my budget to rent a van to take the whole family to Laguna or even Baguio for a holiday and yet we have a candidate who rents planes at US$3,000 AN HOUR to make it to his campaign sorties and even had the audacity to announce on nationwide television that "sulit naman" (worth it). At US$3,000 an hour, it better be. As far as I am concerned, I needed only a P7.00 Jeepney ride to get to the polling center to elect 12 honorable senators, 1 congressman, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, and 1 party-list.

Being the mid of May, the heat was almost intolerable and it was only 8:30 AM. I was perspiring profusely when I got to the polling center and found out that I needed to climb four flights of stairs to reach my precinct. When I finally got there, I was literally drenched and parched. Thank God I still have the full normal use of my lungs and legs that I was able to make it despite the number of cigarettes I puffed the night before. Blessed be... No Lines. The number of voters was outnumbered by the number of watchers in and out of our precincts three to one. The process done by the teachers was precise thanks to the COMELEC'S computerized voting list. Score one point for COMELEC. I was in and out of there in less than five minutes. I saw my mother, niece and aunt waiting for me outside. It was that easy to locate each other using the lists posted on the hall outside the precincts.

With right index finger dripping of indelible ink, literally splashed on by "Ma'am" to ensure I won't be able to vote again. I approached them so we may go home together and back to our "normal" lives. Curiosity got the best of me and so I turned back to look at the list again. Right there in plain sight, written in dot matrix, were the names of some neighbors and relatives whom I know are already deceased several years back. In one page alone, there were two or three of them in my precinct alone. I wondered how many more there are in the other precincts? They announced earlier that they already "sanitized" the voter's list on a nationwide scale. Given this fact, one wonders just how "sanitized" is the COMELEC'S "sanitized voting list? It would be understandable to find the name of a recently deceased person on the list, say, one who passed on that very day to six months back or maybe even up to a year, the time they claim, they started to clean the list.
BIG OOOOPS! Deduct two points from COMELEC. If there is an average of two to three dead people still on the list, multiply that by the total number of voting precincts all over the Philippines, we would still have a million, give or take, dead people still eligible to vote. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that figure more than the actual number of registered "absentee" voters both local and abroad combined? Ay yay yay! Having satiated my curiosity, I no longer bothered to check all the pages since the heat was getting to me. Not to mention all the hi's and hello's from neighbors about to cast their own ballots and those who have already done so and the discussions about who they are voting/voted for. Best to get out fast lest we would still be there with the heat and all these people until the poll closes at 3:00 PM and be asked in a survey by Trends or Pulse Asia for the exit polls.

As I stepped out of the school building that served as our voting precincts, I can't help but wave at the camera of a leading network television stationed right outside it's lobby. It's my way of telling the nation, "Hey look! I have done my civic duty! See this indelible inked finger? Oops, wrong finger." Now that we have done our part. I just hope whoever wins in this circus keeps even half of their promises. As one candidate who wants to be planted said, in his accent, "Matotopad ang pangarap mu!" (Your dreams will come true) and another stating "Pag bad ka, lagot ka" (If you are bad, you're screwed), I just hope if they get elected they will not be the only one's whose dreams will come true and if they turn out bad, "malalagot sila talaga" (they will be skewered for being bad). I hope that there won't be a need to call on that old woman in another candidates' ad saying "...ipagdarasal kita" (...I will pray for you) . After all this, and nothing positive emerges for the country, I might decide to vote for Ogie Alcasid's character "TUKMOL" in the next elections come 2010. The nerve of one candidate declaring in the papers, now that the 2007 elections has passed, the race for 2010 has begun. Well he better start racing dupers now since as of last count, he still has to make it to the top twelve unlike his wife who has a commanding lead over her opponents for Governor of their province. "Ito ang korek" (this is correct)

As I looked at the sample ballot littered street and posters stuck to the walls, trees, posts and what have you, I still feel sorry about the amount of paper wasted in this elections. I still think they could have opted in using all that for toilet paper. Sayang (what a waste). Incidentally, now that it is finally over, who will clean up all the mess? Hmmmmm.... Probably we should call on those who said they are "malinis" (clean) and "walang bahid" (without a speck) to look after all that junk. They could make a killing if they sell all those paper by the kilo in the junk shops. A good way to start recouping loses during the campaign and help clean out the environment at the same time don't you think? People will definitely remember you being true to your word and maybe, just maybe, be elected and given the privilege to be called "honorable" should you decide to run for a seat next time around.

However, I am sorry to state the unique quality of Philippine Election, NOBODY LOSES GRACIOUSLY, expect the list of suits and counter-suits alleging massive "dagdag-bawas" (add-subtract), "pandaraya" (cheating) in the upcoming days ahead. Let me rectify my statement that nobody loses graciously. At least in this election, we have one candidate who has already conceded defeat and we are not even halfway in the counting process. Ironically, that candidate happens to be one of the principals of the
"the mother of all tapes" and the "Hello Garci..." hoopla which subsequently led to the "I am sorry" speech. Hay naku! I just hope that by this gesture alone, Bukidnon's sugar crops come harvest time, will be sweeter and plentiful.

The Philippine Elections 2007

First posted on the Coconuter Site of David Eric Poarch

Very well said.

I can say for a young man and young father, you have captured the general but silent sentiments of this coming Philippine Circus called National Elections.

Let me just add that most of these candidates, Administration and Opposition alike also call themselves the sole "pag-asa" (hope) of the people.

I am fond of watching old Filipino movies, those in black and white which they rarely show now in Philippine television. there were a lot of movies done about the Philippine Elections since the 50's whose titles escape my memory as of this writing. The gist is, the situation they had back then are what we see on the broadsheets and tabloids, radio, and on television today.

So what has changed? Back then, issues range from vote buying, massive cheating, killings, etc. The only positive change that we have as of now is the massive access of candidates of Tri-Media which candidates back then didn't have. But of course one has to have a vulgar amount of pretty pennies to spend to "SELL" oneself to be given the privilege to be called "HONORABLE", no matter how inappropriate, in this beautiful country of ours.

“I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans” — Manuel L. Quezon

Half of this statement of the first Philippine President of the Commonwealth still holds water today. The Philippines is being run by Filipinos who call themselves makabayan, makatao, maka-Diyos, Pag-asa. Indeed the country is being run like hell and I don't need to expound on that. You can see and feel the results today, thanks to the efforts of our "honorables" in the Philippine Senate. But of course, the second part of that statement was due to the fact that the Philippines was under the Americans back then.

It is just a big puzzle for me that some countries younger than the Philippines have risen above others with their limited resources. As a Filipino, I refuse to believe that we have no future other than what these candidates dish out on us. If that is the case, we should have risen for the benefit of the people a long long time ago. As a Filipino, it hurts me to be labeleled as one coming from a third world country. What does that mean? Have you ever heard of a second world country? Who are they? First World? Amuse me, name them.

All eyes of the world was on the Philippines when we had EDSA I. No one has accomplished a task like that except maybe for Mohandas Gandhi. The only difference is that all of society was in on it, the class barriers was not an issue. We had our chance for genuine change and we squandered it The spirit of what is EDSA is no more, that is a reality. Even EDSA was prostituted by unscrupulous people who have personal interest to protect their "interests" have labeled that what they are doing is for the people. And because of that, EDSA DOS came, then EDSA Tres? Geesh.

Positively speaking, we Filipinos are a very resilient people. The only thing disagreable with this fact is that, fellow Filipinos exploit this. Ouch! How callous can one get. Tama ka pare. Crab mentality is a culprit!

To sum it all up, the Philipiines has a future, and we are IT. We need to grow as a people and we need to grow now!

Whatever the coconuter is experiencing during his soul searching is part of it. Nothing is insignificant. Everything is connected. We just have to understand that we are all part of one grand design and we have to find our niche. And when we do, Let's make it worth it and function for the betterment of us all.

Moving Out & Moving On

Today, December 15, 2006, Friday, I went to work in a collarless shirt, denim shorts and sandals with an orange and gray Dunlop backpack borrowed from my sister. My borrowed backpack contained a change of shirt, cologne, a hand towel I found in my room cabinet (salvaged from last years Christmas presents), a pack of my Marlboro Lights and my digital camera. Not a proper attire for an Information Specialist, like yours truly, you might say, to wear at work, in the hustle and bustle of the elite Makati crowd. But I don’t care. This attire will do for the singular task I need to do today. Pack all my things, we are moving out.

It has only been several days when out of the blue, our boss announced to us that we are moving out of our office in Telecoms Plaza to move to Pacific Star located a few blocks away from our current base of operations. At first, I just brushed it off as nothing but another one of his impulsive remarks and ideas that we know him for. There have been occasions in the past wherein this same announcement was made only for him to backtrack and cancel everything. To paraphrase our beloved HR officer “hay naku, haste makes waste talaga…” Well what the heck! I've been working with this man for almost 11 years. If I don't know even his smallest whims and pet peeves by now, then I must have been abducted by aliens and deposited back only to this dreadful day, staring at the cardboard boxes left by the movers the day before, for us to fill with 11 years worth of papers and stuff. Almost eleven years worth of memories. Sheets and stuff, some well thought of to be produced perfectly, only to be disapproved upon presentation for review and approval. Some done in a haphazard manner without emphasis on efficiency but duly approved only to be held back for one reason or another.

The sudden realization of this reality flashed before my eyes as soon as the guard opened the door for me with his usual “Good morning sir…” Was it just my imagination that his usual greeting lacks the customary prompt and snappy manner? Or was it because he was just taken aback by the get up I’m wearing, or was it my waxed finger combed hair?

I need not dwell on that, but it maybe because something he had for breakfast didn’t agree with him and he needed to relieve himself, PRONTO! Eeeeeew! But here he was, opening that glass door for me! That door which accepted hoards of people over the years, from bill collectors, delivery men, government officials, politicians, lawyers, police, military, ex-military, our friends and family members, etcetera.

To some, it may just be one of those things that companies do especially the growing ones, for them to put up that facade of progress or any other reason one might be able to think of. I just wish it were the same for us. No, we are not in the red. The company is still okay in spite of all that’s been happening to us lately. But that is not my concern. Not this day. No, definitely not today.

I have very deep memories in this edifice. For me, it has really been more than 11 years. From the day the first stone was turned for the groundbreaking ceremonies to the very first time my father brought me in the building. There were days when I needed to use resources to finalize reports for school, days that I have no place better to go to but here. Never have I imagined that one day, I would be part of this building as one of its daily inhabitants. A member of its workforce. Friendships were made, old ones enhanced. Professional and personal turmoil were overcome within the confines of this chocolate brown building I consider my second home.


As I stare at the boxes now filled and secured with packing tape, I took to myself and thought of all the good and bad things I have had here on this very floor, this exact spot where I am at. I stare as the movers carefully stacked the sealed boxes and tables. I can’t help but feel a slight pinch somewhere within. It is really happening.

We are really leaving. There is no turning back now. I can’t help but feel that I am leaving a dear friend behind. A friend I saw rise from the ground while I was Cimg0122growing physically and mentally as well. A friend who has nurtured me and protected me from the elements all these years. The confines of its walls, ceiling and floors filled with memories both good and bad.


I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I sat and puffed on my third cigarette within the hour and between sips of instant coffee. I uttered a silent prayer in my head while snapping pictures for posterity of the controlled chaos we are in at the moment. Pictures that I will keep like my father did of all his memories within this building. I extinguished my cigarette butt and lapped up the last drop of my coffee. Enough with nostalgia for now. It’s time to move on.