My Nanay and the Eraserheads

It’s the time of the year when we salute the women whose womb brought us and whose breasts, we nursed. We have different and unique yabang stories about how great, cool, and loving our mothers are. I have already shared this to my old readers last year but let me share this again to you, my own yabang anecdote about my beloved Nanay:

The year was 2010. After months of being a bum after quitting my work as a researcher in UP Manila, I landed a job as an editor in a publishing company. And since I learned about the Eraserheads: The Head Set earlier that year (when rumors began to spread like wildfire on the internet), I made a vow to myself to allot a portion of my paycheck for the box set - no matter how expensive it would cost me.

The Box Set was released on September 9, 2010 - and I still haven’t received my paycheck. I was in panic. Since the box set is limited, I feared that I will not be able to buy myself a copy. I also feared that the box set will not be available here in the Southern Luzon area (you know, some music materials are just too Metro Manila-centered).

I received my paycheck by mid-September and the first thing that I did was to go to the nearest (and only) Greenwich here in Los Baños. I asked the crew if they have the Heads Set. And the rest was months of nostalgia, rockin’ with the Eraserheads.

As most of you who have the Heads Set, the box includes a coffee table book/ lyric sheet/ photo album (I don’t know how to exactly call it), complete albums, EPs, and a DVD, and the Heads Set Shirt.

Now, the Heads Shirt came in free-size-one-size-fits-all-that’s-a-fuckin’-fashion-discrimination!  And if you who know me personally, you know that that shirt will not fit me - and I rarely wear body fits (bakat ang man-boobs pare!). So I decided to just hang it in my room for art’s sake, for bragging, and for future self-centered consumption (I just love to use that word).

Months went by and the shirt still hangs in my room. One day, my Nanay entered the room and asked me: "Aanhin mo yan kung hindi mo isusuot? Sayang lang ang Pho 2, 500 mo."

Jokingly, I replied "Kapag pumayat ako, maisusuot ko na yan".

"Ipahiram mo na lang muna sa akin. Ako ang magsusuot.", she replied.

At first, I was taken aback. My Nanay will wear an Eraserheads shirt? Is she trying to be bagets or what? I can accept it if my father wears this shirt (because he is jeprox and young at heart) but my conservative Nanay? She got to be kidding.

I asked her, "Seryoso kayo?".

"Oo nga!", she replied.

And she removed the shirt from the hanger, went to the other room, and wore my shirt. And it fits her perfectly. Panalo!


This is the modern world where being fit and sexy is in and being fat with man-boobs is a big no. It’s just so unfair for us fatties. Come on self-proclaimed fashion experts! There are more of us who are not sexy, fit, and macho. The world is full of non-sexy and non-fit individuals. You should consider us whenever you make these shirts.

Okay, enough of the ranting. Alam ko namang olats ako diyan at kailangan ko na talagang magpapayat. Hindi na din kasi healthy.

I have cool parents. It’s good to see them having the same trip and vibes as ours. They borrow and listen to my CDs. They watch the same TV series as mine. And they both love the Eraserheads.

Nanay, you can wear that shirt forever if you want to. It’s all yours. I can buy you more Eraserheads shirt if you want to. Keep your cool. I love you po! :’)

__________

I don’t have a perfect mother - we all are. And sometimes, whenever I lose my temper or just under the weather, I treat my mother’s imperfections as a curse. It has always been my temptation (and I am struggling to fight it day after day) to look at my Nanay’s imperfection as something that the universe has conspired to punish me. And I hate myself for that.

But whenever I hear her story, I understand her. It’s inspiring to hear the stories of her youth. I almost cried when I heard that she has to stop going to school for a year because of her health conditions and how she struggled to be a working student and pay for her own school fees. I laugh whenever I hear her stories of youth, crazy office tales, and day-to-day experiences. Hearing her story made me understand my Nanay more. I guess I have to hear from her more in order for me to view her imperfections as a blessing. How about you? When was the last time that you had a heart-to-heart to your Nanay?

When I was young, I hated my mother for not letting me listen to the music of the Eraserheads. She always treat it as a noise and not a real music.

But now things have changed. She sings with me whenever I play Eraserheads (and Beatles) songs in the guitar and the piano. She even borrowed some of my CDs to listen in her computer in the office. And the last time I heard, she’s singing Super Bass, Bad Romance, and Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Yes, you have read that right.

I guess music, being the universal language, helped us to understand each other.

And the last time I checked, my Eraserheads shirt is still in her closet.

__________

Thank you, Nanay, for all the things that you have done for us. Thank you for being a good mother, a good wife, and a good friend. I am sorry for being a pain in the ass sometimes (or most of the time). that is how I show my tough love (Nuks!).

May the Good Lord bless you with good health and a happier life. Madaming rounds pa ng Scrabble ang lalaruin natin at madami pang bote ng alak ang patutumbahin natin.

To the womb that bore me, and the breasts at which I nursed, I love you. Happy Mother’s Day po, Nanay!

Rakenrol!

Source: juanrepublic

Yes, this is the Front Page of the Inquirer Today
Yesterday was no ordinary Sunday. It was a great day for sports fans. There was the much-anticipated fight between Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (with a dash of 50 Cent and Justin Bieber) and the do-or-die PBA Championship match between Tim Cone’s B-Meg and Chot Reyes’ Talk N’ Text. It was also a great day for geeks and astronomy enthusiasts with the ‘super moon’, where the moon is at its closest approach to the earth.
Just when most of us thought it would be a fun and action-filled Sunday, it turned out to be action-filled in a violent way. A brawl erupted at NAIA Terminal 3 when Raymart Santiago with six other men ganged up on Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist and one quarter of the balls-incarnated Tulfo Brothers, Ramon, for taking photos of the former’s wife, Claudine Barreto. According to Ramon, he noticed a woman giving a stewardess a dressing down over an off-loaded luggage. He also said that he did not recognized the woman, whom he described as matronly-looking with a pretty face, as actress Claudine Barreto.
Minutes after the incident, as expected, the internet through various forms of social media erupts with taunts and jeers. In a country where these fights are considered ‘entertainment’, especially if it involves known personalities, it is but expected to be the instant talk of the town. And to spice things up, the footage of the actual brawl spread on the internet and is considered far better than the defunct MTV show, Celebrity Deathmatch.
The fiasco is far from over as both parties are threatening to sue each other in court. And I expect this to be the content of tabloids and showbiz-oriented shows for weeks to come.
But I did not expect what I saw this morning.
In today’s issue my favorite broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, the banner story came to me as a shocker. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they put yesterday’s airport brouhaha in the front page as the main headline. At first, I was disgusted and I felt a little disrespect for the broadsheet but things eventually came down on me. 1. Ramon Tulfo is one of theirs. He is a columnist and and announcer for Radyo Inquirer. 2. Maybe because it was a slow news day yesterday? Over the past days, the headlines are all about the recently-concluded ADB Governor’s meeting (which, I believe, millions of Filipinos, including me, don’t know what that is all about). And the event was the biggest news yesterday? 3. Or is just an ice breaker for the bloody return of the impeachment trial. Or not. Whatever.
I have no idea why the editors chose this as their banner story, which, in my opinion, appears to be tabloid-ish. Well, in the country where there are no clear boundaries politics, showbiz, and whatnots, what would you expect?
And to add insult to the injury, here at Juan Republic, let us dig further into the issue. Screw the impeachment trial! This is more exciting. The following items are satirical and should be taken with a grain of salt:
Moonsanity. Let us blame the moon’s gravitational pull. Maybe, in yesterday’s super moon, the moon approached the earth too close and its gravity sucked the fluids and loosen a few sanity screws and temper bolts of these individuals. Yes, the moon is that powerful.
Camera Obscura. According to NAIA General Manager Angel Honrado, there were no CCTVs at the carousel area of the NAIA Terminal 3. Congratulations and good luck to your luggage. Now the criminal minds know where the airport’s vulnerability is. Wait, how much again is the terminal fee at our world-class airport? Is it worth the price?
Airport Security. Have you seen the video of the brawl? If you were keen enough to observe, you will see helpless airport security guards who were no match to break off the power of action star Raymart Santiago and former mermaid Claudine Barreto. Wow. It seems like security can be a factor to put NAIA at the list of the world’s worst airport again. Again, congratulations. 
Matrona+Hulk=Clash of the Titans. According to Mon Tulfo’s version of the story, he did not immediately recognized the woman as Claudine Barreto. He described her to members of the Press in an interview as "tumaba at mukhang matrona". What a deadly combo! I expect a monster worse than the Hulk in the days to come. (Speaking of which, I wonder if Hulk’s character is a woman, how worse could she get with all the stress and PMS. Damn. I cannot fathom. But that’s another story.)
Mythbusters. It has been a long-time tsismis that Claudine and Raymart’s marriage is on the rocks and the two are already separated. Well, here it is, the proof of their happy and action-filled bond as husband and wife. I’m sorry showbiz writers, the myth has been busted this time.
In Character. Aside from being an action star, I remember Raymart most with the TV shows Kool Ka Lang, Bantatay, and Futbolilit. Apparently, Raymart lost his Kool Ka Lang attitude when he saw his wife being being aggravated, that’s why he showed his Bantatay instinct and futbolilit-ed Mon Tulfo’s helpless face. Boom! And as for Claudine, I only remember her as Via from Mula sa Puso and as the mermaid Marina. Other than that, nada. Wait, what’s her latest known character anyway?
Band of Brothers. Most of us know that the Tulfo Brothers (Mon, Ben, Raffy, and Erwin) are known for being maangas, walang inuurungan, and being authoritative. In other words, bayag-incarnated. Now, it seems that one of them, the eldest, has met his match with the Mr. and Mrs. Santiago. what would be the next episode of this fiasco? Earlier this morning, Erwin Tulfo in his radio program, invited Raymart Santiago et al for a coffee. Yes, coffee. I just hope that there are no biscuits, sandwiches, candies, korniks, and a bangka ng sakla with this invitation. If you know what I mean.
After making sawsaw and dissecting some parts of this issue, let us look at the bigger picture: airline services, privacy, and respect.
The problem started with an off-loaded (missing) luggage of the Barreto’s by carrier Cebu Pacific. Barreto, in her anger, scolded and threw hurtful words to the helpless stewardess. Tulfo, being a journalist, seeing the helpless attendant, tried to document the whole incident.
The problem of Cebu Pacific’s handling of the passenger’s luggage has been repeatedly criticized by Mon Tulfo (in his column) and other passengers. Maybe, this incident will be an eye-opener and a lesson for the company to fix the mess of their services. Maybe, the Santiagos and Tulfo are the shameful sacrificial lambs (pardon me for those words) to fix the service of this carrier.
The second thing is respect. Just because you are well-known and may kaya, do you really have to put this helpless flight attendants into shame by throwing harsh words to them? Yes, it is a fact that there are lapses with their services but that doesn’t mean you have the right to treat these persons as shits. The customer is not always right.
And the last thing is privacy. In today’s age of digital cameras, smart phones, and internet, it seems that the notion of privacy is nothing but an abstract concept. Take this as an example: As long as you have a camera and a decent internet connection, you can easily shoot a video of a person (even without their consent) and upload it online. Let’s say that it is for the purpose of news and evidence but what are the parameters? What are the things that you can or cannot share online? Do we have the liberty, for the sake of freedom of information, to share these stuff online? This is still a subject to debate and legislation. Mahaba-habang inuman pa ‘to.
Some people would say that this is just nothing but a cheap fight between two prominent personalities. Some would enjoy this just as much as they enjoy watching Tiyang Amy’s Face to Face. But there is bigger picture here.
It just sucks to realize that while all the attention of the public is focused on this incident, some important issues are neglected - poverty, corruption, land reform, freedom of information, and impunity.
Welcome to the Philippines!

Yes, this is the Front Page of the Inquirer Today

Yesterday was no ordinary Sunday. It was a great day for sports fans. There was the much-anticipated fight between Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (with a dash of 50 Cent and Justin Bieber) and the do-or-die PBA Championship match between Tim Cone’s B-Meg and Chot Reyes’ Talk N’ Text. It was also a great day for geeks and astronomy enthusiasts with the ‘super moon’, where the moon is at its closest approach to the earth.

Just when most of us thought it would be a fun and action-filled Sunday, it turned out to be action-filled in a violent way. A brawl erupted at NAIA Terminal 3 when Raymart Santiago with six other men ganged up on Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist and one quarter of the balls-incarnated Tulfo Brothers, Ramon, for taking photos of the former’s wife, Claudine Barreto. According to Ramon, he noticed a woman giving a stewardess a dressing down over an off-loaded luggage. He also said that he did not recognized the woman, whom he described as matronly-looking with a pretty face, as actress Claudine Barreto.

Minutes after the incident, as expected, the internet through various forms of social media erupts with taunts and jeers. In a country where these fights are considered ‘entertainment’, especially if it involves known personalities, it is but expected to be the instant talk of the town. And to spice things up, the footage of the actual brawl spread on the internet and is considered far better than the defunct MTV show, Celebrity Deathmatch.

The fiasco is far from over as both parties are threatening to sue each other in court. And I expect this to be the content of tabloids and showbiz-oriented shows for weeks to come.

But I did not expect what I saw this morning.

In today’s issue my favorite broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, the banner story came to me as a shocker. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they put yesterday’s airport brouhaha in the front page as the main headline. At first, I was disgusted and I felt a little disrespect for the broadsheet but things eventually came down on me. 1. Ramon Tulfo is one of theirs. He is a columnist and and announcer for Radyo Inquirer. 2. Maybe because it was a slow news day yesterday? Over the past days, the headlines are all about the recently-concluded ADB Governor’s meeting (which, I believe, millions of Filipinos, including me, don’t know what that is all about). And the event was the biggest news yesterday? 3. Or is just an ice breaker for the bloody return of the impeachment trial. Or not. Whatever.

I have no idea why the editors chose this as their banner story, which, in my opinion, appears to be tabloid-ish. Well, in the country where there are no clear boundaries politics, showbiz, and whatnots, what would you expect?

And to add insult to the injury, here at Juan Republic, let us dig further into the issue. Screw the impeachment trial! This is more exciting. The following items are satirical and should be taken with a grain of salt:

  • Moonsanity. Let us blame the moon’s gravitational pull. Maybe, in yesterday’s super moon, the moon approached the earth too close and its gravity sucked the fluids and loosen a few sanity screws and temper bolts of these individuals. Yes, the moon is that powerful.
  • Camera Obscura. According to NAIA General Manager Angel Honrado, there were no CCTVs at the carousel area of the NAIA Terminal 3. Congratulations and good luck to your luggage. Now the criminal minds know where the airport’s vulnerability is. Wait, how much again is the terminal fee at our world-class airport? Is it worth the price?
  • Airport Security. Have you seen the video of the brawl? If you were keen enough to observe, you will see helpless airport security guards who were no match to break off the power of action star Raymart Santiago and former mermaid Claudine Barreto. Wow. It seems like security can be a factor to put NAIA at the list of the world’s worst airport again. Again, congratulations. 
  • Matrona+Hulk=Clash of the Titans. According to Mon Tulfo’s version of the story, he did not immediately recognized the woman as Claudine Barreto. He described her to members of the Press in an interview as "tumaba at mukhang matrona". What a deadly combo! I expect a monster worse than the Hulk in the days to come. (Speaking of which, I wonder if Hulk’s character is a woman, how worse could she get with all the stress and PMS. Damn. I cannot fathom. But that’s another story.)
  • Mythbusters. It has been a long-time tsismis that Claudine and Raymart’s marriage is on the rocks and the two are already separated. Well, here it is, the proof of their happy and action-filled bond as husband and wife. I’m sorry showbiz writers, the myth has been busted this time.
  • In Character. Aside from being an action star, I remember Raymart most with the TV shows Kool Ka Lang, Bantatay, and Futbolilit. Apparently, Raymart lost his Kool Ka Lang attitude when he saw his wife being being aggravated, that’s why he showed his Bantatay instinct and futbolilit-ed Mon Tulfo’s helpless face. Boom! And as for Claudine, I only remember her as Via from Mula sa Puso and as the mermaid Marina. Other than that, nada. Wait, what’s her latest known character anyway?
  • Band of Brothers. Most of us know that the Tulfo Brothers (Mon, Ben, Raffy, and Erwin) are known for being maangas, walang inuurungan, and being authoritative. In other words, bayag-incarnated. Now, it seems that one of them, the eldest, has met his match with the Mr. and Mrs. Santiago. what would be the next episode of this fiasco? Earlier this morning, Erwin Tulfo in his radio program, invited Raymart Santiago et al for a coffee. Yes, coffee. I just hope that there are no biscuits, sandwiches, candies, korniks, and a bangka ng sakla with this invitation. If you know what I mean.

After making sawsaw and dissecting some parts of this issue, let us look at the bigger picture: airline services, privacy, and respect.

The problem started with an off-loaded (missing) luggage of the Barreto’s by carrier Cebu Pacific. Barreto, in her anger, scolded and threw hurtful words to the helpless stewardess. Tulfo, being a journalist, seeing the helpless attendant, tried to document the whole incident.

The problem of Cebu Pacific’s handling of the passenger’s luggage has been repeatedly criticized by Mon Tulfo (in his column) and other passengers. Maybe, this incident will be an eye-opener and a lesson for the company to fix the mess of their services. Maybe, the Santiagos and Tulfo are the shameful sacrificial lambs (pardon me for those words) to fix the service of this carrier.

The second thing is respect. Just because you are well-known and may kaya, do you really have to put this helpless flight attendants into shame by throwing harsh words to them? Yes, it is a fact that there are lapses with their services but that doesn’t mean you have the right to treat these persons as shits. The customer is not always right.

And the last thing is privacy. In today’s age of digital cameras, smart phones, and internet, it seems that the notion of privacy is nothing but an abstract concept. Take this as an example: As long as you have a camera and a decent internet connection, you can easily shoot a video of a person (even without their consent) and upload it online. Let’s say that it is for the purpose of news and evidence but what are the parameters? What are the things that you can or cannot share online? Do we have the liberty, for the sake of freedom of information, to share these stuff online? This is still a subject to debate and legislation. Mahaba-habang inuman pa ‘to.

Some people would say that this is just nothing but a cheap fight between two prominent personalities. Some would enjoy this just as much as they enjoy watching Tiyang Amy’s Face to Face. But there is bigger picture here.

It just sucks to realize that while all the attention of the public is focused on this incident, some important issues are neglected - poverty, corruption, land reform, freedom of information, and impunity.

Welcome to the Philippines!

Source: juanrepublic

Driven by The Force

Every once in while, a great fictional saga is born and made. Classics such as James Bond, Indiana Jones, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Batman are just some of the well-loved series by different generations of fans, geeks, and movie buffs.

Among the above-mentioned series, there is one that always stands out for me among others - Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan. Call me a geek but seriously, I am a die-hard fan of the universe created by George Lucas. I am also a Harry Potter fan but my obsession with Star Wars started when I was young long before I discovered the magical world of Harry Potter.

But I am not into the story of a dramatic young lady who is obsessed with a sparkling vampire. I will just leave it there for kids to devour.

I blame my obsession with Star Wars to my father. Back when I was still a little kid, he introduced me to the epicness of Master Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader. I can still remember how he brought home cutouts and scanned pages from the magazine about Star Wars. He even gave me printout of all the characters - from the whole Jedi council to the Ewoks - pasted in an illustration board and covered with a plastic cover. The internet was a new technology then and the graphics were not as good as it is today so I consider those cut-outs as a priced gem.

That’s how my obsession for Star Wars started. I am thankful to have a geek and cool father (Sometimes I think he is a Jedi in disguise, seriously).

And today, May 4, as what most of the Star Wars fan knew, is Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day (also sometimes known as Luke Skywalker Day) because of the popularity of a common pun spoken on this day. Since the phrase "May the Force be with you" is a famous quote often spoken in the Star Wars films, fans commonly say “May the fourth be with you” (May 4th) on this day.

A few months back, I wrote about my obsession with covers and front pages of magazines and broadsheets. I decided to check the TIME Magazine cover archive and found this interesting covers on Star Wars and Science Fiction. What caught my attention was this favorite cover of mine which was released on 2002, when I was still in High School:

This was released prior to the showing of the second part (chronologically fifth) of the Star Wars saga. This issue contains a complete guide to the Attack of the Clones - from characters to space ships and other vehicles.

Due to my obsession for the series, I made something, uhm, dark back in the day. I nenok-ed this issue in our library and cut the pages dedicated to Star Wars. I think the dark side of The Force forced me to do so (insert evil grin here).

So much for my mission to destroy the Death Star.

This particular installment came as a surprise for the fans of Master Yoda - myself included - when he, for the first time, used his light saber to fight Count Dooku. and I tell you, that was one of the most memorable sword fights in movie history.

Browsing the archives of Time Magazine’s website and the web for Star Wars-related stuff brings back good memories of my childhood as a little Star Wars fan, sharing the story with my father. And I think this will last until I grow old, and probably, when I have children of my own.

I am still waiting and hopeful for George Lucas to create a 7th installment of this epic saga.

And just so you know, young ladies who know Order 66 have an edge to meShall we talk about Star Wars over a cup of coffee?

Happy Star Wars Day everyone! May The Force be with you!

Elsewhere:

  • John Williams is the ManIn celebration of Star Wars day, here’s an a capella tribute of cinematic themes dedicated to composer John Williams - composer of the themes of Star Wars, Jurrsic Park, E.T. among others. The lyrics of the song contains some of the parts from the Star Wars series.
  • I Sense a Disturbance in The Force - Something that I made and wrote back in 2010 - my favorite Philippine Senator meets the Sith Lord of the Galactic Empire.

Source: juanrepublic

What Pad?

Looking for a new place just in case I lose faith on this Cyber Empire, I came across Wattpad. It brags itself as the best place to discover and share stories. and I decided to browse some of the stories.

Damn.

Just when I thought I found an oasis in the middle of a barren cyber desert, it turned out to be just as cutie-patootsie as some tween-infested websites. The stories are those that will surely be loved by kids who are starting to grow and explore this mad world - cheesy, romantic, and kilig pepe. (A friend and a drinking buddy even described the stories as ‘inspired by Koreanoveloas.)

And seriously, the covers of the stories remind me of old Friendster layouts!

I thought of creating an account to give these kids a ‘new flavor’ but my registration always turned out as a failure (I think something is wrong with the website).

Or maybe I am not meant to be on that site? Maybe it is just for younglings who will not dare read my boring posts? I don’t know.

But for now, enjoy the stories. Enjoy your youth. And be responsible.

Because in the real, crazy world, your story will not be not as smooth and not as kilig as your favorite fictional stories.

May the Force be with you!

Source: juanrepublic

Padayon

Isang basong tubig galing sa poso inutang na kanin at malamig na ginamos
kaunting asin sa plastik na platito busog na bay, puwede nang magtrabaho 
Sa aking balikat ay papasanin tatlong-daang kilo ng asukal limandaang sako ng denorado sanlibong kaha ng delata sampung tonelada ng arina

Kalawanging bubong, pader na may butas posteng pilay at sahig na paduyan-duyan ang aking palasyo’y pagkatibay-tibay pero puwede na ‘pre - tuloy ang hanapbuhay Ngayong araw ay tatapusin ko isang subdibisyon, limampung hektarya tatlong dosenang mansyon na magara higanteng gusaling likha sa semento kilo-kilometro ng kalsada

Oo, kay tamis ng buhay oo, kay daling umasenso  hangarin ko’y makatikim ng kaunting hayahay subalit kailangang ipagpatuloy ang hanapbuhay Pagkat walang ibang makagagawa nito paandarin ang makinarya bigyan ng buhay ang industriya patakbuhin ang ekonomiya padayunon ang pagpangita

Padayon!

Isang awiting obrero, para sa mga obrero, sa araw ng mga obrero.

May isa akong tweet na nabasa noong panahong wala pang masyadong jologs sa Twitter, mula yata kay ginoong Ramon Bautista. Kung gusto mong magkaroon ng inspirasyon sa araw-araw, pagmasdan mo daw ang mga ordinaryong taong pumapasok sa kanilang mga trabaho tuwing umaga.

Oo nga naman. Madalas, puro reklamo tayo sa hassles ng buhay. Puro reklamo sa trabaho at pag-aaral. Puro hinaing sa kung ano ang mga bagay na meron tayo. Gayong marami sa ating mga kababayang obrero, halos mamatay na sa trabaho na magkaroon lamang ng marangal na pagkukunan ng ipangtutustos sa kanilang pamilya. Ganoon ba dapat ‘yun? Kailangang mamatay upang makabuhay? Isang napakalaking pag-uuyam.

Hanga ako sa mga obrero, lalo na yung mga (mababa pa sa) minumum at arawan lamang kung sumuweldo. Tapos, hindi pa mga permanente at puro kontraktwal. Sila yung mga taong pinaghuhugutan ko ng inspirasyon para hindi sumuko sa buhay. Nakakahiya nga sa kanila. Ako na nga itong nakatapos at nasabing mas may pinag-aralan, ako pa itong tatamad-tamad sa trabaho. Paano kaya kung nagbiro ang tadhana at iyong skill at knowledge ko ay nasa kanilang mga masisipag? Napakalayo na siguro ng narating nila.

Kung hindi lang sana kalakaran dito sa atin ang kontraktwalisasyon. Kung ang trabaho ng mga obrero ay permanente at hindi na mamomroblema makalipas ang limang buwan. Siguro nga, metaphysicaly speaking, sa mundo ng negosyo at Kapitalsmo, maituturing na ‘necessary evil’ (o kinakailangan talagang umiral dahil ito ay nasa kaniyang natura gaano man kasama ang epekto) ang kontraktwalisasyon. Pero naniniwala akong hindi dapat iyon ang kalakaran sa tunay na mundo.

Isa sa mga paborito kong kanta ay ang 'Padayon' na orihinal na inawit ni Joey Ayala at muling binigyang buhay ng Rivermaya. Napakaganda ng mensahe nitong nagbibigay buhay sa manggagawa na huwag susuko at ang kanilang importansya sa lipunan.

Ang ‘Padayon’ ay isang salitang Bisaya na ang ibig sabihin ay ‘magpatuloy’ o ‘tuloy lang’. Sa katunayan, ginawa ko na ito bilang aking personal na ‘mantra’ at motto sa buhay. At kung hindi ka kabilang sa 85% ng mga tagasubaybay sa blog ko na hindi naman talaga nagbabasa (at may attention span lang ng dalawang talata), malamang ay napansin mong madalas ko itong gamitin sa aking mga naunang akda.

Ngayon ay Kapistahan ni San Jose, ang manggagawa. Siya ang itinuturing ng Simbahang Katolika na Patron ng mga obrero, ng mga manggagagawa. Ngayong araw din ipinagdiriwang sa buong kapuluan ang Araw ng mga Manggagawa o ang Labor Day.

Noong bata ako, itinuturing ko lang ang ika-1 ng Mayo o Labor Day bilang araw ng protesta ng mga aktibista at iba’t-ibang mga unyon ng manggagawa.

Isa sa mga pangarap ko para sa ating Patria Adorada ay ang dumating ang araw na ang Araw ng Manggagawa ay maging isang araw na punong-puno lamang ng kasiyahan at pagdiriwang. Walang protesta. Walang sinusunog na effigy. Isang araw na pinapangaralan at pinasasalamatan ang lahat ng mga dakilang manggagagawa.

Sana, magkatotoo.

Mabuhay ang mga dakila at masisipag na obrerong Pinoy! Padayon!

Source: juanrepublic

Welcome to Matnog! (Part II)

I took another video upon reaching the port of Matnog, Sorsogon - with the sisid boys. At maraming salamat po Pangulong Gloria Arroyo para sa biyaya ng RoRo. Lulz!

23 April 2012, 6:00 AM, Matnog, Sorsogon

Welcome to Matnog!

After almost an hour and a half travel from Allen, Northern Samar, we reached the port of Matnog, Sorsogon. The view of the sun rising at the Pacific Ocean is more than enough to take all the stress and hassles of the long and tiring journey from Ormoc City.

This is an obligatory video from the RoRo’s deck. Welcome back to Luzon!

Source: juanrepublic

"Sigurista sa Life Jacket"

Last weekend, I joined the Neocatechumenal Way communities from Batangas and Sucat, Parañaque for their National Youth Pilgrimage at Ormoc, Leyte. We traveled from Lipa City, Batangas to Ormoc City via the nautical highway or the Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) ship from Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Northern Samar (with stopovers and celebrations with the Neo communities of Daraga and Legazpi City, Albay and Albuyog and Albuera, Leyte).

It was my first experience to ride the RoRo (and to visit that eastern part of our country) and I just had to document it for keepsake. 

But this video was taken on our way home from Ormoc City at Allen, Northern Samar on our way to Matnog, Sorsogon. This was at around 3 in the morning. We chose to sit beside the stash of life jackets just in case an unfortunate event happen during our trip.

By the way, this video was taken in jest and should not be taken seriously (Nuks!).

I will see you again soon, Allen, Northern Samar.

Source: juanrepublic

Collaboration of Filipino Freelancers - Creative Studio Philippines


I recently joined a group of Filipino Freelancers. This is a group of freelancers who focus on web development, graphic design, illustration, printads etc to offer a wide range of digital and web services.

We are not actually just another agency in the corner who wish to compete with the various digital, web agencies here in the Philippines. We simply work together, open opportunities to other freelancers, collaborate and share our skills and projects to offer better result to our clients.

Creative Studio Philippines

With different skills and experiences, we can work with individuals to small or big companies who need to widen their network through web presence, graphic advertising or Social Media integration and promotions.

Visit us at www.creativestudio.ph and let’s have fun working on your projects :)

Enveloped Ideas

  • Honestly, I don’t know who Chachi Gonzales is until now. I don’t know if I’m just living under a rock or if I’m busy with other craft that’s why her popularity never reached me. Is she super famous? On what level? Is she masa famous? Is she cutie famous? Or is she just famous among those who love to dance (which, unfortunately, is one thing I am not passionate about)? But I find her cute. And talented. That’s why I put her on my tracked tags.
  • I still don’t get this ’describe blogs’ and ’check blogs’ stuff via Tumblr ask. I mean, discovering a great blog requires an adventure. It requires the patience of digging from one page to another to look for the blogs that will fit your taste and preference. You do not force someone to ‘check’ or to ‘describe’ you. Who started this anyway?
  • According to one online article, ‘Tumblr’ is starting to overtake ‘blog’ on Google searches. That means it has gone mainstream. Gone are the days when Tumblr used to be a ‘private’ and ‘secured’ and ‘fun’ lair for your personal thoughts. Hardcore hipsters, are you ready for a diaspora?
  • I will be travelling to the eastern part of the country starting tomorrow. And I hate packing my things. I’m not the only one, am I?
Is Manny Pacquiao a Political Butterfly?
A butterfly flies from flower to flower, sipping the nectar from each flower. A politician transfers from one one political party to another to ensure his victory on the upcoming elections. He/she is also called a political butterfly.
And the latest addition to the roster of these butterflies is no other than the Pambansong Kamao, world-class boxing champion-turned-Saranggani Congressman, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao. He formally joined Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) when he took an oath to Senator Koko Pimentel last night at the Makati Shangri-La. Although Manny was a member of the Nacionalista party with Sen. Manny Villar, he was an ally of President Aquino and the ruling Liberal Party.
Here’s the thing: I admire Manny Pacquiao as a boxer but I cannot say the same with Manny Pacquiao as a politician. Or as a TV host. Or as an artista.
Welcome to Pinoy politics!
» Read More Here: “Butterfly Carnival”

Is Manny Pacquiao a Political Butterfly?

A butterfly flies from flower to flower, sipping the nectar from each flower. A politician transfers from one one political party to another to ensure his victory on the upcoming elections. He/she is also called a political butterfly.

And the latest addition to the roster of these butterflies is no other than the Pambansong Kamao, world-class boxing champion-turned-Saranggani Congressman, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao. He formally joined Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) when he took an oath to Senator Koko Pimentel last night at the Makati Shangri-La. Although Manny was a member of the Nacionalista party with Sen. Manny Villar, he was an ally of President Aquino and the ruling Liberal Party.

Here’s the thing: I admire Manny Pacquiao as a boxer but I cannot say the same with Manny Pacquiao as a politician. Or as a TV host. Or as an artista.

Welcome to Pinoy politics!

» Read More Here:Butterfly Carnival”

Source: juanrepublic

Butterfly Carnival

The signs are clear. Politicians are switching from one political party to another, forming new alliances. Others would merge their parties to form a powerhouse coalition. Losers from the previous elections are starting to resurface, flaunting their faces to the public on tarpaulins with their ‘seasonal greetings’. And reelectionists are starting to make noise, vying a media exposure and ‘presence’ to the memories of the voting public.

To put it in a Ned Stark way: “Brace yourselves. Elections are coming.”

Strictly speaking, there is no definite ‘election period’ here in in the Philippines. Though the Commission on Elections, by law, provide a particular period for the filing of certificate of candidacy and the campaign period, there are (aspiring) politicians who manage to apprise the people of their intention to run for public office (eg. subliminal greetings on tarpaulins, increased visibility to the public, and a sudden wave of medical missions and other forms of service) even before the alloted election period.

But ‘presence’ on the public’s eyes is not enough. In order to secure one’s victory, strong alliances and coalitions must be formed. If you have to turn down your allies and seek for a more potentially strong, winning group, then so be it. In the political parlance, this is called ‘butterfly politics’, and the politicians who do it are called  ’political butterflies’.  The term came from the butterfly’s act of flying from flower to flower, sipping nectar from each flower. These kinds of politicians are compared to the butterfly, who sip nectar from one flower to another. If a butterfly has had enough of nectar - or if a politician has no more interest on a particular group - it will transfer to another flower with nectar - or to the party who will assure his victory and secure his interest.

Philippine election history has shown countless politicians who switched from one political party to another, months and even weeks before the elections. And we have heard some of their excuse, the most popular was their belief of the party’s principles and tenets. And no, they do not admit that that move was to secure their victory on the upcoming elections.

And the latest addition to the roster of these butterflies is no other than the Pambansong Kamao, world-class boxing champion-turned-Saranggani Congressman, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao. He formally joined Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) when he took an oath to Senator Koko Pimentel last night at the Makati Shangri-La. Although Manny was a member of the Nacionalista party with Sen. Manny Villar, he was an ally of President Aquino and the ruling Liberal Party.

But this was not the first time Manny transferred into another political party. When he first ran for the House of Representatives in 2007, he joined the Lito Atienza faction of the Liberal Party. In 2008, he joined the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) formed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A year later, he formed his own political party People’s Champ Movement after declaring he would run for the lone Congressional district of Saranggani. Shortly before the 2010 presidential elections, Senator Manny Villar tapped him to join the Nacionalista Party. Barely a week after the elections, he was seen ‘flirting’ with the new Liberal Party under President Aquino.

Manny Pacquiao is said to be the PDP-Laban’s Gubernatorial candidate for Saranggani in the May 2013 local elections. PDP-Laban’s President Senator Koko Pimentel said that they took Manny not because he will ensure the party’s victory but because the latter believes in the tenets of the party.

Unlike other countries, our country has a multi-party system. We elect politicians running independently or under a political party and 20% of the total seats at the Camara de Representantes are reserved for party-list (multi-sectoral) representation. But in our multi-party system, there is no clearly depicted difference of ideology to distinguish one party to another. It only just turns out that one party is pro-administration and the other one is the opposition. And as what we’ve seen and observed over the past years, one’s membership in a party is not based on ideologies but on political power considerations.

Political butterflies. Turncoats. You name it. These are the elements that continue to have fun on this carnival called Philippine politics.

What can we do to stop this political culture? Writer Edwin Espejo suggests that “no one should be allowed to switch parties immediately preceding an election. Those who switch political party should be prohibited from running for any post in a scheduled election immediately prior to switching parties. In short, anyone who switches party should take a ‘leave of absence’ from at least one election.”. He added that this would not only discourage political turncoats but this would also strengthen the country’s multi-party system.

But I doubt this would be put into legislation. How can you expect our Legislators to file this ruling that would greatly affect their political career? The future of this culture is still at the mercy of these butterflies -not unless the people clamor for it. I think there’s still hope and the power is with the voting public - choose our leaders wisely.

A few weeks ago, my Twitter timeline was plagued by the hashtag #PacquiaoPositive. At first, I thought it has something to do with a medical test and substance overuse. But it turned out to be a marketing gimmick to introduce his latest endorsement, Sting Energy Drink with Malunggay.

I didn’t know that there is one kind of butterfly who loves ‘malunggay’.

Note: I got the title ‘Butterfly Carnival’ from one of my favorite Sandwich song of the same title. Though the song’s meaning is different from the point of this article, I used it to describe two elements - political butterflies and the carnival-like circus that is Pinoy politics.

Read more here:

Source: juanrepublic

Headline of the Day
After a tension-filled week worrying about the rocket launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and their young, new leader Kim Jong Un, the whole world (especially the Philippines) breathed a sigh of relief after learning that the rocket (suspected of being a ballistic missile) disintegrated on the atmosphere and fell on the Yellow Sea.
And laughed their asses off.
It appears that the massive launch of memes and heckling yesterday on the internet across the globe was more successful than the launch of the Unha-3 rocket.
And the meme-loving country like ours was not left behind on giving a good laugh about that failure. Various pictures spread yesterday, with some being creative and funny on giving the reason why the rocket disintegrated (It was stopped by our beloved Mars, Twitter’s Superstar Marian, the rocket was from CD-R King, etc.).
And one of our tabloids was not to be left behind on giving us a good laugh. On today’s issue of Abante, it has a funny headline ‘Supot’, describing the failure of the North Korean rocket.
Supot, for my non-Filipino readers, is a Filipino slang which literally means ‘uncircumcised’. It has an unfavorable and derogatory manner which means ‘not man enough’, or ‘not strong enough’. (Circumcision is a right of passage among young boys here. You will not be considered a true man or strong enough if you haven’t been ‘cut’.)
North Korea has been bragging about this rocket for some time now so why fail? Analysts are saying that  being a hermit nation, their technology was 50 years behind. I have this theory that this rocket was just a decoy, a planned failure, a part of the grand plan to showcase the young leader’s power.
Will the world be in danger against this little nation? We don’t know yet. But for now, just enjoy the good laugh.
Read more and view more memes here: Netizens laugh off failure of North Korean rocket launch

Headline of the Day

After a tension-filled week worrying about the rocket launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and their young, new leader Kim Jong Un, the whole world (especially the Philippines) breathed a sigh of relief after learning that the rocket (suspected of being a ballistic missile) disintegrated on the atmosphere and fell on the Yellow Sea.

And laughed their asses off.

It appears that the massive launch of memes and heckling yesterday on the internet across the globe was more successful than the launch of the Unha-3 rocket.

And the meme-loving country like ours was not left behind on giving a good laugh about that failure. Various pictures spread yesterday, with some being creative and funny on giving the reason why the rocket disintegrated (It was stopped by our beloved Mars, Twitter’s Superstar Marian, the rocket was from CD-R King, etc.).

And one of our tabloids was not to be left behind on giving us a good laugh. On today’s issue of Abante, it has a funny headline ‘Supot’, describing the failure of the North Korean rocket.

Supot, for my non-Filipino readers, is a Filipino slang which literally means ‘uncircumcised’. It has an unfavorable and derogatory manner which means ‘not man enough’, or ‘not strong enough’. (Circumcision is a right of passage among young boys here. You will not be considered a true man or strong enough if you haven’t been ‘cut’.)

North Korea has been bragging about this rocket for some time now so why fail? Analysts are saying that  being a hermit nation, their technology was 50 years behind. I have this theory that this rocket was just a decoy, a planned failure, a part of the grand plan to showcase the young leader’s power.

Will the world be in danger against this little nation? We don’t know yet. But for now, just enjoy the good laugh.

Read more and view more memes here: Netizens laugh off failure of North Korean rocket launch

Source: interaksyon.com

Now Showing: FAILURE TO LAUNCH (Kim Jong Un and Sarah Jessica Parker)
It seems that the massive launch of memes this day was more successful than the North Korean rocket. Boom!
Read more here: North Korea Rocket Launch Fails, South Kora, Japan Officials Say

Now Showing: FAILURE TO LAUNCH
(Kim Jong Un and Sarah Jessica Parker)

It seems that the massive launch of memes this day was more successful than the North Korean rocket. Boom!

Read more here: North Korea Rocket Launch Fails, South Kora, Japan Officials Say


Source: juanrepublic

Goyo’s Battle

It seems like the Pearl of the Orient has a tough time dealing with her neighbors.

Just a few weeks ago, the authorities gave us a warning about the possibility of danger from a falling debris from a North Korean rocket. As a precaution, the authorities have issued a no-fly and no-fishing zones at the concerned areas. They also warned the people to stay indoors on the possible time of the rocket launch and nnot to touch any suspected debris from the rocket.

Some analysts and critics said that North Korea chose us to be the rocket’s debris’ falling area because we don’t have the capacity to shoot down that rocket if anything goes wrong. And the rocket cannot fly over the air space of Japan and South Korea - the two countries which are not in good terms with North Korea.

And it looks like the bullying (if you may permit) against the Pearl of the Orient is not yet over.

Last April 8, a Philippine Navy surveillance plane caught eight Chinese fishing boats anchored at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which, according to the DFA, is part of the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, a territory of the Philippines. To protect the country’s marine environment and resources and to assert our sovereignty, the Philippine Navy deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), the Philippine Navy’s largest ship, from Palawan to Northern Luzon to conduct maritime patrol over the Shoal.


GOTCHA! Filipino soldiers board a Chinese fishing vessel loaded with giant clam shells, corals and live sharks. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM NOLCOM (via inquirer.net)

The PF-15 confirmed thee presence of eight Chinese vessels and in accordance to the established rules of engagement, dispatched a team to inspect the vessels and collect photos of the evidence of their catch. The team reported large amount of illegally collected corals, giant clams, and live sharks. And to add insult to the injury, the PF-15 reported that two Chinese maritime surveillance ships identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84 managed to sail to the mouth of the shoal, placing themselves between PF-15 and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the Chinese fishermen.

The Chinese embassy in Manila asserted that the disputed area, including the area nearer to the Philippines, as their territory. In a statement, it also “urged the Philippine side to stop immediately their illegal activities and leave this area”.

Our largest battleship, Gregorio del Pilar, was stopped by two Chinese maritime surveillance ships. As of writing, the Philippine Navy has dispatched a second ship to the Shoal and authorities are trying to resolve this in a peaceful and diplomatic manner.


A view of Chinese surveillance ships in a standoff with a Philippine warship on the Scarborough Shoal after eight Chinese fishing boats were caught poaching in the disputed territory. The photo was presented by Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, flag officer-in-command, during a press briefing Wednesday April 11, 2012, at the Department of Foreign Affairs. PHILIPPINE NAVY HANDOUT (via inquirer.net)

I have already written about BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the dispute at the West Philippine Sea in the past. I have always wished that things would end in a peaceful and diplomatic manner - without compromising our territory and sovereignty. I have always viewed this as a David and Goliath battle. Is our largest battleship enough to patrol and secure our waters? Is he enough to defend our country and her people? It may appear virtually impossible.

I have always wondered why they chose Gregorio del Pilar as the name of this warship. According to my research (AKA google-ing), there were three (3) choices for this former USCGC Hamilton - BRP Lapu-Lapu, BRP Jose Torres Bugalon, and BRP Gregorio del Pilar. The panel ultimately confirmed the name Gregorio del Pilar in honor of the young general.

But who is General Gregorio del Pilar or Goyo? I only remember two things about Goyo based on the Philippine history that was taught to me in school - 1. he’s a young general and 2. he’s the hero of the Battle of Tirad Pass. His name and his heroism was also immortalized by some of these memorials: The Philippine Military Academy, Ford del Pilar, was named after him; the Municipality of Concepcion, IlocosSur was named after him; his life was featured on a 1995 movie tirad Pass: The Last Stand of Gregorio del Pilar with Romnick Sarmienta; and our country’s biggest warship (to date) was named after him. He will be forever remembered as the defender of Tirad Pass, as someone who let General Miong escape from the Americans. A hero. Or was he?


Clipping from Pilipino Reporter Magazine dated June 21, 1996 (via pelikulaatbp.blogspot.com)

As what I have written above, I have a very limited knowledge about the life of General Goyo so I decided to dig deeper. I read a chapter from my book, A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin. The chapter is entitled Is the Hero of Tirad a Hatchetman? and it showcases the story of Goyo that most of us don’t know. It shows the young general’s ascend to rank and power, his relationship with General Emilio Aguinaldo, and what really transpired before and during the Battle of Tirad Pass - and how it turned out to be a disastrous failure.

As most of us know from school, the Battle of Tirad Pass was waged to help General Aguinaldo flee. But that was not the whole story. The “delaying action” of Tirad Pass was nonsense for it helped a man, General Aguinaldo, who didn’t know where he was going to. It was a failure. It was a waste. As Nick Joaquin put it, Gregorio del Pilar’s finest hour was, to use a current cliche, an “exercise in futility”.

I find the other details of Goyo’s life amusing, shocking, and annoying (you may have noticed it if you are following me on Twitter). I will not deal more (lest I spoil) with the other details from the chapter - it’s for you to read and discover. And if there is one thing I learned, it changed my view about the General and it helped me appreciate history more. History should be treated as a learning lesson for us. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar, our country’s largest and most powerful warship and the great men behind him may have a characteristic similar to General Goyo - brave, respected, and being look up to as a defender. But he can also be like Goyo, a bait, a warrior who may die in vain against the colossal foes at West Philippine Sea. As Manong Johnny Enrile once said, a single torpedo can sink our warship (although he was referring that time to BRP Rajah Humabon, our Navy’s former flagship).

The warship maybe considered as President Aquino’s greatest contribution to the Philippine Navy. But is the warship be just another ‘concealer’ of the alleged inaction of the President? Will it just be the last beacon of hope for our helplessness? Or will it be just a useless armada against the strong enemy? Will it be a Gregorio del Pilar to Emilio Aguinaldo? President Aquino has been criticized as just being a man of pure words with less or no action. As Rina Jimenez David pointed out, “Our President is all bluster and bluff when discussing reported incursions of Chinese vessels, especially those belonging to the Chinese navy. But after making the necessary noises, he usually steps back, calling for a diplomatic solution and more talks between our foreign affairs department and theirs.” But of course, we don’t want war and we want this to be resolved in the most peaceful and diplomatic way.

The tension at Scarborough Shoal has not yet ceased (as of writing. BRP Gregorio del Pilar has been puled out from the area to replenish its supplies and China deployed another ship on the area.) the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Navy are trying their very best to ease the tension and to resolve the problem.

If we firmly believe that that part of the sea is ours, I think it’s time for the Filipino people should stand their ground and express it in their own little way. It is our natural resources that they abuse. It is something that can be beneficial to the Filipino people. We don’t want to lose another territory (just like what happened in the 1960’s when we lose Sabah to Malaysia).

But how can it happen if, at the height of the tension at our territory, most of our countrymen (especially those with access to Twitter and other forms of social media) are glued to the boob tube, giving nitwitted commentaries about a particular show? How can we learn from the mistakes of the past if we ignore the lessons from our history or not care about history at all? How can we stand united to defend our sovereignty if we are too busy with other stuff?

I have always believed that the trending topics on Twitter of a country reflect its citizens’ priority. Based on what I have always seen, in my opinion, we are creating another Gregorio Del Pilars - people who will die in vain from a divided people.

Elsewhere:

Source: juanrepublic


This is a personal blog where rants, raves, and everything in between is written and posted.

About the Blogger: His name is Juan, a frustrated writer who hails from a sauna town at the foot of Mount Makiling. He spends his being an overworked and underpaid High School teacher and being a self-proclaimed superhero who is dreaming and trying to make a difference, one post at a time.

For correspondence, please email me at juanrepublica@gmail.com

You can also find me at these websites:



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