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

Ang Pagpaparaos ni Eros

" 'Miss, mayroon na ba kayong kopya ng Wag Lang Di Makaraos?’, tanong ko sa isang assistant ng book store. 'Saglit lang po Sir', magalang niyang tugon. Sa tabi ko ay may isang matandang babae na malamang ay nasa sisenta anyos, salubong ang kilay at nakatingin sa akin. 'Ang bastos naman ng librong hinahanap ng batang 'to', ang na-imagine kong malamang ay naglalaro sa kanyang isipan noon.” 

________

Ika-18 ng Nobyembre ng nakaraang taon, sa tulong ng Facebook, nang una kong malaman na may bagong librong ilalabas ang isa sa pinakamahusay na manunulat ng ating panahon - si Ginoong Eros Atalia.

Halos isang buwan akong nagpabalik-balik sa bookstore sa isang mall sa bayang sinilangan ni Gat Jose Rizal (Clue: Paboritong puno ng may-ari ng mall ang pine tree.) upang maka-iskor ng pinakabagong obra ni Ginoong Atalia. Dumating pa nga sa punto na iniwanan ko na ang aking mobile number sa logbook nila at ite-text na lang daw ako kung may dumating ng libro.

Pero mailap ang libro. Kung hindi sold-out, palagi namang out-of-stock. Pero kailangan kong magkaroon ng libro. Kailangang mairaos ang pagnanasang gahasain muli ang mga letra, pangungusap, at pamatay na mga kuwento ni Ginoong Atalia.

At nakaraos nga. Ika-29 ng Disyembre ng nakaraang taon nang sa wakas ay makabili ako ng libro. Kaisa-isa na lamang kopya sa book store. Suwerte.

Ang Wag Lang Di Makaraos ay naglalaman ng isandaang (100) dagli at nahahati sa sampung (10) kabanata o tema. May tungkol sa kamatayan, mga kababalaghan at mga nakakatakot na nilalang, trahedya, mga kuwentong bata na hindi talaga pambata, at iba pang mga kuwentong ng pang-araw-araw na buhay.

Hindi ito ang unang libro kung saan nagsulat ng mga dagli si Ginoong Atalia. Matatandaang may ilang mga dagli sa kaniyang ikalawang librong Peksman [mamatay ka man] Nagsisinungaling Ako [at iba pang kuwentong kasinungalingang di pa dapat paniwalaan].

Ngunit ano nga ba ang dagli? Ito ay isang anyong pampanitikan na maihahalintulad sa maikling kuwento. Walang nakatitiyak sa angkop na haba ng isang dagli ngunit sinasabing hindi ito aabot sa haba ng maikling kuwento. Tinatawag ito sa wikang Ingles na flash fiction o sudden fiction. Naihahambing din ito sa proto-fictionmicro-fiction.

Sa katunayan, ang mga dagli na nakapaloob sa Wag Lang Di Makaraos ay umaabot lamang ng isang pahina - mahaba na ang dalawa’t kalahati - ngunit nandoon ang kabuuan ng istorya at ang dating at emosyon na iiwanan nito sa mga mambabasa. Dahil magaang basahin ang libro, natapos ko ito sa isang upuan lamang. Ngunit patuloy akong binabagabag ng ilang kuwento matapos ko itong basahin at kahit makailang ulit ko pa ulit itong basahin.

Ika nga ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Panitikan na si Ginoong Bienvenido Lumbera sa kanyang blurb, “Magaang basahin, kung matinik ay malalim”. May kaniya-kaniyang sundot, kurot, at kiliti ang bawat dagli.

Simple ang pagkakalahad ng mga kuwento ngunit nandoon ang lakas ng dating na iiwanan nito sa mga mababasa. Ilan sa mga istoryang nakapagbaon sa akin ng ‘tinik’ ay ang mga kuwentong Si Ma’am Kasi, Sabi Ko na nga Ba (at ang wasak na ‘Pokpok Material’ na t-shirt), Superhero, Petition, at Manghuhula. 

Isa pa sa mga aspektong hinangaan ko sa libro maliban sa husay ng pagkakalikha ng mga istorya ay ang lawak ng pag-iisip ng may-akda upang makalikha ng isandaang dagli na may iba’t-ibang tema at istorya. Hindi madali ang gumawa ng isandaang istorya na may kaniyang sariling ‘buhay’.

May isa lamang akong puna sa naturang libro. May isang istorya doon - ang A, Ganon Pala ‘Yon - ang matagal ko nang naririnig bilang isa sa mga ’kuwentong barbero’ bago pa man ito mailathala sa libro. (Hindi ko lang alam kung si Eros din ang may akda nito. Isa din kasing manunulat sa tabloid si Ginoong Atalia.)

Sa kabuuan, bagamat bitin ang isandaang dagli, nakiliti, nasundot, at nakalikot ni Eros ang aking imahinasyon bilang isang mambabasa. Sa kaniyang mahusay na paglalahad ng mga istoryang may gulat sa huling mga bahagi, masasabi kong ayos na. Nakaraos na. Napagbigyan na ako bilang isang masugid na mambabasa ng mga kuwentong nakatago sa kasuluk-sulukan ng kanyang malikot na utak. Isang pagpaparaos bilang paghahanda sa mga bitin niyang kuwento sa mga una niyang librong nabasa ko.

At napag-uusapan na din lamang, narito ang susunod niyang librong harinawa’y makapagbigay-linaw sa mga bitin na istorya ng mga karakter na nauna nating nakilala sa mga naunang aklat ni Ginoong Atalia - It’s Not that Complicated: Bakit Hindi Pa Sasakupin ng mga Alien ang Daigdig sa 2012.

Pamagat pa lang, pamatay na. Pamatay na sa haba. Ano kayang nilalaman nito? Ayon sa ilang excerpts na nababasa ko (mula sa Facebook account ni Ginoong Atalia at ilang mga posts mula sa mga kapuwa ko tagahanga), malamang ay sequel ito ng drama ni Intoy at ang pangungulila niya kay Jenn. At kritisismo sa mga babaeng nagpapadala ng bag nila sa mga lalake.

Walang katiyakan kung kailan ito lalabas (balita ko ay ngayong Abril daw) pero habang wala pa, halika, samahan mo muna akong magparaos…kasama ang mga naunang obra ni Ginoong Eros Atalia.

Maraming salamat sa mga kuwento. Maraming salamat sa pagpaparaos ni Eros.

Iba pang mga Bagay:

Source: juanrepublic

Diyos Ko! Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan?

"Nang mag-aalas tres na ng hapon, sumigaw si Hesus, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?' na ang ibig sabihin ay, 'Diyos ko, bakit mo ako pinabayaan?' - Mateo 27: 46

Marahil, karamihan sa atin ay nakapagtanong na minsan sa ating buhay ng mga katagang “Diyos ko? Diyos ko? Bakit mo ako pinabayaan?”

Sa mga puntong iyon ng ating buhay ay para bang nararamdaman nating wala ng Diyos o kung meron man, siya ay natutulog at nagpapabaya sa atin. O isang sadistang hinahayaan na lang ang kanyang mga nilikha na maghirap, magkagulo, at lamunin ng problema.

Totoo nga bang may Diyos? Totoo nga bang hindi natutulog ang diyos? Pero kung totoong nandiyan siya, bakit niya tayo pinababayaan?

Hindi kaila sa atin na sadyang mapagbiro ang tadhana. Dumadating ang mga pagkakataong para bang tayo na ang pinaka-abang tao sa mukha ng lupa. Na kahit ano mang bagay ang ating gawin para ito ay masolusyonan ay tila baga wala pa ring kahihinatnang malinaw na solusyon sa ating mga problema.

Dito pumapasok ang buhay at kaisipan ng kawalang pag-asa. Naiisip nating “Diyos nga ay walang pakialam sa akin at hindi ako tinutulungan, ako pa kayang hamak na tao ang makagawa?” Dito pumapasok ang buhay sa kadiliman. Ang buhay pagpapabaya. Ang buhay na malayo sa Diyos. Ilang beses na nating inakusahan ang diyos ng pagpapabaya sa atin? Kawawa naman si Lord, kahit walang sawang nagmamahal, lagi na lamang sinisisi sa mga hindi magagandang nangyayari sa buhay ng tao.

Ito ang isang klasikong halimbawa. May mga taong nasa banig ng karamdaman na halos isumpa na ang langit at lupa at ang Manlilikha. “Diyos ko! Bakit niyo naman ako binigyan ng ganitong sakit?”, marahil ang ilan sa mga linyang kanyang bibitawan. Ngunit naitanong na ba niya sa kanyang sarili, ano ang aking ginawa kaya ako nagkasakit? Ano ang aking naging lifestyle kaya ako nagkakaganito ngayon? May mga taong sinisisi ang Diyos sa lung cancer, chain smoker naman ng halos 40 taon; may mga sinisisi ang Diyos sa sakit sa puso, walang preno naman kung kumain at hindi nag-eehersisyo; sinisisi ang Diyos dahil sa karamdamang kung minsan - o madalas - bunga din naman ng sariling pagpapabaya.

Dahil sa mentalidad na “wala namang diyos” (kahit meron naman talaga) ay nabubuhay tayo sa isang buhay na walang direksyon at walang kaliwanagan. Sa pagtahak natin sa ganoong klase ng “trip” sa buhay, hindi maiiwasang may mga tao tayong isasama at hahatakin doon sa “kakaibang trip” na iyon. Imbes na maging tagapagdala ng liwanag at pag-asa, dahil nga tayo ay nabubuhay ng malayo sa Diyos, tayo ay nagiging instrumento pa upang mapariwara ng landas ng iba. Imbes na tayo lang ang nakakaramdam ng “pagpapabaya ng diyos” (kahit hindi naman talaga), ipinaparamdam pa natin ito sa iba. Ilang beses na ba tayong naging instrumento para ang ating kapwa ay “mabuhay sa kadiliman?”

Bakit nga ba kapag tayo ay malayo sa Diyos, tayo ay nabubuhay sa kadiliman? Ito ay sa kadahilanang Diyos ang siyang nagbibigay ng liwanag. Diyos ang talagang nagbibigay ng ilaw dahil ang Diyos ang ilaw, ang Diyos ang liwanag (1 Juan 1:5). Mas maliwanag pa ang diyos kumpara sa ilaw na ibinibigay ng Meralco. Mas Masaya, mas maganda, kapag may liwanag ang buhay. At ang liwanag ng buhay ay atin lamang makakamit sa diyos. Walang ibang nilalang ang makakapagbigay ng ganap na kaliwanagan bukod sa diyos (katunayan nga, ang Diyos ay hindi isang nilalang dahil wala naming lumalang sa kanya). Kung kaliwanagan ng buhay ang kailangan mo para sa madilim mong buhay, Diyos ang kailangan mo.

Sa katunayan, kapag dumadating ang mga “kadiliman” sa ating buhay, hindi naman ito talagang ganap na kadiliman. Sabihin na nating, isa lamang itong “kulimlim” ng buhay. Kung atin itong ikukumpara sa ating buhay at Diyos ang “araw”, hindi naman talaga nawawala o nagpapabaya ang Diyos, “nakakubli” lamang siya sa likod ng mga ulap ngunit hindi siya nawawala. Kung inaakala nating nawawala ang araw, o nawawala ang Diyos sa ating buhay, iyon ay isang pagkakamali. Tayo ang nawawala, hindi ang araw. Tayo ang lumalayo sa Diyos, hindi Diyos ang lumalayo sa atin.

Hindi naman kaila sa atin na may mga taong hindi naniniwala sa Diyos. At may mga taong walang pakialam kung may Diyos ba o wala, basta’t mabubuhay sila ayon sa kanilang kagustuha at kaginhawahan.

Minsan ay naitanong ko sa isang kakilala kung bakit hindi siya naniniwala sa Diyos. Sinagot niya akong, kung may Diyos, bakit may paghihirap? Bakit may nagugutom? Bakit may sakit? Bakit may namamatay nang hindi ma lang nakatikim ng hustisya at kaginhawahan sa buhay.

Kasama sa pag-aaral ko sa Pilosopiya noong Kolehiyo ang pag-aaral tungkol sa katotohanang may Diyos at ang problema ng imperpeksyon at kasamaan sa mundo. Madali sa aking intindihin kung bakit nangyayari ang mga ganoong bagay. Hindi naman kasi kayang ‘kontrolin’ ng Diyos ang kalayaan ng tao. Binigyan niya tayo ng kalayaan - o free will - bilang mga nilalang. Malaya ang tao na gawin ang gusto niya. Ika nga, maituturing na free will ang ‘kahinaan’ ng Diyos.

Ang mga paghihirap, pagkakasakit, at mga trahedya ay hindi dahil ito ay ginusto ng Diyos. O dahil walang pakialam ang Diyos. O dahil wala naman talagang Diyos. Ito ay dahil tayo ay may kalayaan ang tao. Maaaaring ang paghihirap ng isang tao ay bunga na din ng kapabayaan at pagsasamantala ng kapwa niya tao. 

E bakit pa kinakailangang magkaroon ng mga “kulimlim” na parte ng ating buhay?

Ang buhay ng tao ay hindi palaging puno ng kasiyahan. Natural sa buhay ng tao na dumadating ang mga problema at pagsubok ng buhay. Ang mga pagsubok na ito ang nagdadagdag ng “kulay” at ganda ng buhay. Masyadong “patay” ang isang buhay kung pare-pareho na lamang ang kulay at lasa nito.

Paano nating masasabing masaya ang ating buhay kung wala tayong punto ng pagkukumparahan nito (point of comparison)? Nakakasawa ang isang buhay na punong-puno ng kasiyahan at walang halong kalungkutan. Perfection is boring. Masasabi kasi nating mas nagiging ganap ang kasiyahan ng buhay kung ang kasiyahang iyon ay ang pakiramdam ng tagumpay ng paglampas sa pagsubok ng buhay. Nakakaumay ang palaging matamis na buhay. Paminsan-minsan, kailangan din nating makatikim ng maalat, mapakla, at mapait na lasa ng buhay.

Ang buhay ay parang tiklada ng piano. Hindi lamang puro puting tiklada ang ating pinipindot, kinakailangan din nating daanan ang mga itim na tiklada. At alam ng mga musikero na ang kombinasyon ng mga itim at putting tiklada – na parang kombinasyon ng kaligayahan at kalungkutan ng buhay – ang siyang mas nakagagawa ng kaaya-aya at de kalidad na tunog.

Bukod sa pagbibigay ng lasa at kulay ng buhay, bakit kinakailangan pa nating maghirap? Bakit pa kinakailangang magbigay ni Lord ng mga pagsubok ng buhay?

Ang diyos ay diyos na kahit wala ang mga nilalang. Hindi dagdag o kabawasan sa pagiging Diyos niya ang mga nilalang. Kung tutuusin nga, hindi na niya kinakailangan pang lumikha dahil diyos na siya. Ngunit dahil sa kanyang pagmamahal ay nilikha niya tayo. Nilikha tayo ng Diyos dahil sa pagmamahal niya sa sanilibutan. Bilang mga nlalang, natural lamang na ibalik natin ang pagmamahal na iyon sa diyos na siyang unang nagmahal at lumikha sa atin.

May mga pagkakataon kasi na sa kadahilanang masyado na tayong nagiging makasarili bunga ng ating tagumpay, nakakalimutan na nating magpasalamat sa diyos. Paminsan-minsan, kinakailangan tayong “kalugin” ng diyos upang magising tayo sa katotohanang mayroong diyos na pinagmumulan ng lahat ng tagumpay at ganap na kaligayahan.

Gayundin naman, ang Diyos ay umaakto bilang mga “traffic signs” sa “highway ng paglalakbay natin sa buhay.” Huwag natin itong ituring bilang mga balakid sa paglalakbay sa buhay, bagkus, ituring natin ang diyos bilang isang gabay upang makarating tayo sa ating paroroonan ng ligtas. Dahil sa bandang huli, Diyos din naman ang patutunguhan nating lahat. Ang diyos ang simula at katapusan ng lahat ng mga bagay. Siya ang Alpha at Omega ng sanlibutan at ng ating mga buhay.

Ang plano ng diyos para sa kanyang mga nilalang ay palaging “happy ending.” Kung sa istorya ng buhay natin ay para bang gusto na nating sumuko dahil sa mga pagsubok at problema nating hinaharap, alalahanin na nating hindi pa iyon ang “happy ending” na itinakda ng Diyos para sa atin. Iyong mga iyon ay ituring nating “pampagana at pampaganda” ng istorya ng ating buhay.

Sa bandang huli, nais kong sabihing hindi naman talaga nagpapabaya ang Diyos. Kung sa tingin nating parang “nilalayasan” tayo ng diyos sa ating buhay, sana ay sumagi sa ating isipan na “nagtatago” lamang ang Diyos ngunit palagi pa rin siyang nagmamasid at gumagabay sa atin.

Nawa, ang ating isigaw sa buhay ay hindi ang “pagpapabaya ng diyos” kundi “DIYOS KO! DIYOS KO! SALAMAT AT HINDI MO AKO PINABAYAAN!”

Ano pa mang mga pagsubok ang dumating sa atin, kakayanin natin ito dahil alam nating may plano ang Diyos sa atin.

Pag-ibig, pagkakaisa, at pagmamahalan ang nawa’y sumaating lahat. Padayon!

This was originally written in 2009 but I tweaked it this year to tackle the issues of today. I decided to repost this one to reach wider audience. Have a blessed Good Friday everyone!

Guilty Pleasures
After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.
I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:
The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)
I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)
I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.
Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.
A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)
I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.
History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 
I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).
Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.
Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)
Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.
But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.
Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.
________
I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.
I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.
Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.
So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.
Nah, I’m just kidding.
But you can take it seriously.
Vaya con Dios!

Guilty Pleasures

After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.

I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:

The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)

I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)

I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.

Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.

A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)

I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.

History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 

I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).

Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.

Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)

Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.

But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.

Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.

________

I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.

I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.

Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.

So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.

Nah, I’m just kidding.

But you can take it seriously.

Vaya con Dios!

Source: juanrepublic

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary

"Sila lang ang bandang hindi Hari ng Sablay"
-
Robert Javier, Musician, Producer, and Sound Engineer

It was January 7 of last year when I first heard the sad news. It came from a tweet from Sugarfree’s frontman, Ebe Dancel. He will leave his band. During that time, it was still unclear if the band is breaking up or its two remaining members, Kaka Quisumbing and Jal Tuguibao, will continue being a Sugarfree minus Ebe.

It was later confirmed in the succeeding days that Ebe Dancel would pursue a solo career and Kaka and Jal would do their own stuff. Sugarfree’s last weeks as a band were spent by doing farewell gigs on different bars and schools.

I was fortunate to watch one of their farewell gigs (which, unfortunately, my first time to watch them live) when they performed at the UPLB Feb Fair last February 17. 2011 (Technically, it was already February 18 when they performed). It was a ‘going back home’ performance for Ebe who was an alumnus of UP Rural High School. Together with hundreds of fans, I jumped to their opening song Kung Ayaw Mo na Sa AkinI joined the crowd in singing Mariposa, and I screamed when they played the crowd-favorite Hari ng Sablay. It was a beautiful night of celebrating the music of Sugarfree. I went home that night with a smile, thankful for having watched Sugarfree live before they part ways; but with a heavy heart because the gentlemen who made the anthems of my College years, would play together for the last time in a few weeks’ time.

And so the inevitable happened. On March 1, 2011, at the Eastwood Central Plaza, Sugarfree bade goodbye to their fans with the farewell concert, Paalam Pilipinas. I was not able to attend the concert but thanks to Jam 88.3 (who played an important role to stage this one) who aired the concert live, I felt that I was also there, drenched in the ran, singing, and shedding a tear for my heroes. 

During the entire concert, I stayed in my room, headset plugged to my ears, shutting the world. I also have a small piece of paper and a pen, scribbling the title of the songs from their set list. I did not let the other members of the household see me on the verge of tears. I sang. I cried. I smiled. After singing their last song Burnout, I told myself that’s it, we have lost another legend. Maybe because the members are too burned out and they need to rest. We never knew the exact reason of their breakup. It just happened. But at least, unlike others, they formally said goodbye. But as in all ending, there is a new beginning. Life must go on.

On August 1, 2011, five months after the farewell concert, Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist entitled Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig. And as for the two (2) remaining members, Jal Tuguibao continued his studies while Kaka Quisumbing did his own stuff. I am hoping that the remaining two would resurface on the music scene but that thing is yet to happen.

From time to time, whenever I feel reminiscing the good old days, I still listen to Sugarfree. I have almost forgotten the farewell concert but not their music. I have almost forgotten the pain of my heroes’ breakup. It has been almost a year and Ebe is achieving great heights as a solo artist.

Earlier yesterday, while browsing the news feed of Facebook, I saw a post from AtTheWomb.com. the music hub of pelicola.tv, about the premiere of a documentary about Sugarfree’s farewell concert. And to add to my excitement, the premiere was yesterday (though they didn’t put the exact time). During the past months, I have resorted to the videos on YouTube to watch Paalam Pilipinas. But I told myself, there must be someone who documented the whole event. It must be shown for the benefit of thousands (or millions) of Sugarfree fans out there. I patiently waited (to the point of repeatedly refreshing the website) until they finally put up the videos at around 10:20 in the evening. And it was worth the wait.

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary, tells about the final moments of Sugarfree as a band - from the band members’ respective houses, to the soundcheck, to the events backstage before the concert, and up to the emotional final song Burnout. This is a documentary featuring how the band broke up and not why the band broke up.

The documentary is divided into four parts. The first part shows Ebe Dancel and Kaka Quisumbing at the start of the day. Kaka shares his experience on the band’s farewell tour while Ebe shows his preparations for the final show. The second part shows the soundcheck and Jal Tuguibao giving his thoughts on the band’s breakup. The third part shows Jal at his home and what his parents have to say about Sugarfree. It also shows the what was really happening backstage while the crowd was waiting for the concert. The fourth, and probably the most emotional part, shows Quark Henares giving introduction before the start of the concert (and the emotional happenings backstage) and the band’s final performance, Burnout.

I watched the documentary twice last night and the emotions I felt during the first time that I watched it was the same, if not more intense, than the first. It’s as if watching over a beloved on his deathbed. It’s as if seeing the love of your life for the last time. It’s as if losing a member of your family.

What moved me most, as what I have written above, was the last part. Though not the whole concert was shown in the film, it captured the emotional performance of the group. It also showed an emotional Ebe Dancel when he left the stage after the concert. But what broke my heart most (Spoiler alert!) were the lines ‘The band was immediately escorted out of the venue right after the show. They parted ways as soon as they were brought to their separate exit points. There was no after party’. With that, I broke into tears.

I am no film nor movie expert but I can say that the cinematography was good. It captured (almost candidly, which was good, in my opinion) the emotion of the members and the music fans very well. I also have a problem with the audio on some parts but to sum it up, the documentary captured the essential - how Sugarfree said their goodbye to the fans and how the fans were affected - and influenced - by their legacy.

This documentary is a must-watch not only for the die-hard Sugarfree fans but also to those who are affected, in a way, by their songs. Even Ebe Dancel jokingly offered this concert to those who illegally downloaded their songs. It shows us how to properly say thank you and goodbye to the people who supported us and help us be put at the top.

I was lucky to grow up with the songs of Sugarfree. I was lucky to be influenced by their music. Their songs were my anthem of my college years - the period of my life when I was discovering my passion for music. Their songs were simple and honest. They touch the lives of their fans. and in my opinion, that is what a music or a song is all about.

Sugarfree may have gone but their music is what keeps them immortal. Listening to their music will help us bring to the happy memories of being a Hari ng Sablay, having a good time at Mariposa, reminiscing our Prom, singing the lullaby Tulog Na, and telling to someone, Huwag Ka nang Umiyak.

Maraming salamat Direk King Palisoc at sa bumubuo ng AtTheWomb.com sa dokumentaryong ito.

Maraming salamat Ebe Dancel, Jal Tuguibao, Kaka Quisumbing, at Mitch Singson sa musika at alaala.

Maraming salamat Sugarfree.

_________

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary - I know that you did not read this lengthy post so here’s the link of the documentary. Enjoy. Reminisce. And spread the word.

Elsewhere:

Source: atthewomb.com

Remembering The Final Set

It has been three years since The Eraserheads gave us their final set. Three years after their record breaking concert. Three years since they formally bid us goodbye. Three years after their last bow. Three years after their last concert, and probably indeed their last.

Perhaps, this is one of my biggest regrets as an Eraserheads fan. I was not able to watch their two (2) post-breakup concerts.

During their first concert at The Fort in August 2008, there were doubts if the concert would push through or not. One of the major sponsors backed out a few days before the concert due to a threat of a criminal case from the Health Department. There were no formal announcement of the selling of tickets. There were no formal promotion on the tri-media - just a press release from one of the major broadsheets. I could have made it to the concert. If only I were not drunk somewhere in Calamba that night.

My first attempt to watch them turned out to be a failure.

But as we all know, the first concert was cut short due to Ely Buendia’s health condition. After that, there were speculations if the concert would still push through for a second installment. And the fans got what they wanted. The band will work on their ‘unfinished business’.

The second concert, The Final Set, happened on March 7, 2009, a day after the Master Rapper died, at the SM Mall of Asia concert Grounds. Compared to the first one, this has a bigger venue, a formal promotion, and more or less a hundred thousand tickets available to accommodate more fans. It is said that this is one of the biggest concerts in our history.

Did I make it to the concert? Obviously no. I was then stuck at the Seminary’s confines, punishing myself by studying for our comprehensive examinations. My College Diploma depends on the result of that exam. Bitter as I was, I just resorted to listening to the songs of the Eraserheads on the radio. (I think it was the now-defunct station NU 107 who played Eraserheads songs the whole day in anticipation of The Final Set.)

It was just a consuelo for those who were not able to attend the concert to watch  The Final Set on GMA-7. The network aired it a few weeks after the concert. And I did not waste that opportunity. I watched it with the whole family. But there is still something lacking, something missing within me. Regrets. I could have watched them live. 

And so it happened. March 7, 2009, Saturday, was an unforgettable event in Philippine music history. The Eraserheads, the music hero and inspiration of a generation, performed and bowed for the last time in front of their fans.

It was also during this date that Ely Buendia set flame to the famous “Sticker Happy piano.” You know, the one with the naked Joey Mead from the cover of their album “Sticker Happy”.

And for those who are asking the whereabouts of the sticker piano, the last time that I checked, it was at 70’s Bistro (46 Anonas Street Project 2 , Quezon City).

Photo courtesy of Sir Chris Linag. For additional information, please read the article by Aldus Santos here.

Thank you Eraserheads for being a part of our childhood. Thank you for being the soundtrack of our growing up. Thank you for the good music. Thank you for being our heroes. Thank you for the memories.

Maraming salamat Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro, at Buddy Zabala! The Eraserheads will never be erased from our heads. That is influence at its finest.

Source: juanrepublic

Francis Magalona, Filipino

It was Friday, March 6, 2009.  I was still drained from a week-long written revalida/ comprehensive examinations in Philosophy. Our superiors allowed us to unwind outside the Seminary’s confines, take a breath of fresh air, and forget the hardships of the week. We still have an oral revalida on the Monday to come, but that would be easy. I can ace it, I told myself.

I went to Robinsons Place Lipa with some of my classmates. We dined out, ate like a pig, and laughed off the hardships of studying Philosophy. After that, I excused myself and went to Netopia to surf the net and to relax. It was the heydays of Multiply, Friendster, and Yahoo! Messenger. Just like a warrior who survived the hardships of battle, I updated my friends and contacts that I surpassed the first, and the harder part of the Revalida (I could have just tweeted it then but Twitter was not yet known that time). When I logged out my Yahoo! account, I immediately saw an image of the Master Rapper, Francis Magalona, on the news box. (Believe it or not) I just saw the photo, but I did not dare read the headline because I was in a hurry to go back to the Seminary on time. I thought that Francis is going well on his battle against the Big C.

I went back to the Seminary later that afternoon, did my usual stuff, and followed the usual Seminary schedule. After dinner, we went straight to the TV Room for our scheduled TV Viewing and recreation. We tuned in to 24 Oras and were all shocked to learn the news that Francis Magalona passed away. Almost of all of us fell silent, stunned by his sudden demise.

After our compline, I went to my room and turn my radio transistor on. Almost all the radio stations are playing Francis Magalona’s songs as a tribute to the beloved Man from Manila.  In silence, I said my prayer for the eternal repose of his soul, and expressed my regret for losing another Filipino legend.

I first met Francis when I was about four years old. My kuya, an artist, was busy then painting a portrait of Francis Magalona in a one-eighth illustration board at our old kubo. The face was familiar. He’s the man behind the infectious patriotic song Mga Kababayan Ko. And I have watched him on the movie Mama’s Boys with Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., and Anjo Yllana.

I saw Francis as a revolutionary young face that will achieve great heights. He challenged the conventional music style of his age. His music paved way for the unification of the then-opposing sides of Pinoy hip-hop and rock by experimenting on the merging of rap with rock music. After all, music is the language that should unite us, not divide us.

But more importantly, I saw Francis as a young man, whose heart is united with his beloved land. He redefined patriotism. He made it easier for the youth of this generation to appreciate and understand. And he showed us how great a race and nation we are.

Pride. Identity. Meaning. Perhaps, he saw that before we can shout to the world that we love our country, we must first know what it really means to be a Filipino.

I saw Mga Kababayan Ko then as an anthem which promotes Pinoy pride and identity along with the songs Ako’y Isang Pinoy by Florante and Tayo’y mga Pinoy by Heber Bartolome (and later recorded and reinvented by the Man from Manila himself). These three songs, together with our regular Monday school anthem Ako ay Pilipino, were my first inspirations to love my country, to appreciate my Pinoy identity, and to be proud of my ancestry. And this was long before Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons.

But he was gone too soon. Had he not died on that fateful Friday noon of March 6, 2009, he may have personally done greater things for our country and to our countrymen. 

But as in all war and tragedy, life continues. He may have gone too soon but his spirit, music, and legacy still continue. Thanks to her wife Pia and the rest of the Magalonas, the Francis Magalona Foundation was born.

The Francis Magalona Foundation was established to realize in each Filipino a true sense of Filipino pride, personal integrity and a commitment to positive change through awareness campaigns and personal development and skills building programs. Its tagline, Finding a Meaning in every Filipino, is an invitation to every Filipino to ask themselves the significance of their identities as a Filipino. How is it to be a Filipino? How do I promote my pride and identity to the whole world?

Up to this day, I still shed a tear whenever I see the videos of Francis Magalona’s death on YouTube. I may not know him personally but his patriotism was one of my influences. He is somehow responsible for what I am right now.

He may have gone at a young age but what is more important is that he had lived his life with meaning. He has influenced a whole generation. He has inspired many with his music. And with that, he is already immortal.

On the third anniversary of his death, let us remember The Man from Manila who have inspired many by his great music, who have been a good father to his children, who have been a good husband to his wife, and who have been a modern example of Filipino Patriotism.

You may have gone Francis but your legacy of music and patriotism will remain in our minds and hearts forever.

Mabuhay ka at maraming salamat Kiko!

Kickass photo courtesy of scarypet.deviantart.com 

Source: juanrepublic

Woman

Tempus fugit. It seems like it was just yesterday when we celebrated Christmas and Single Awareness Day. And now, we are entering the last month of this year’s first quarter. For some, it is just an ordinary month. For the graduating students, it is something to look forward to. And for the beach bums, uhm, the time to get rid of those love handles. (I refuse to do it though. I love my six-pack abs and I cover them with a thick layer of fats for protection.)

"Woman I can hardly express, My mixed emotion at my thoughtlessness, After all I’m forever in your debt, And woman I will try express, My inner feelings and thankfullness, For showing me the meaning of succsess.." 

Today, March 1, we officially start the Women’s Month and the Fire Prevention Month.

Fire. It creates and destroys. A very powerful element.

During the time of ancient Greece, a philosopher named Heraclitus considered fire as the most fundamental element (urstoff) of the universe. He considered fire as gave rise to the other elements and thus to all things. He saw fire as the element that transforms everything through its flames.

We’ve seen fire’s benefit to mankind. It gives us light and heat. It cooks our raw food. It transforms the most obscure ore into precious gold. But we’ve also seen its wrath and menace. It’s vital and at the same time, dangerous.

"Woman I know you understand The little child inside the man, Please remember my life is in your hands, And woman hold me close to your heart, However, distant don’t keep us apart, After all it is written in the stars..

Woman. Without her, we are nothing. She is the instrument of God’s creating hands to create us human beings by carrying us in her womb for nine months. She’s vital for the survival of the human race.

And just like a fire, she’s dangerous. Her charm and beauty may appear to be frail and enchanting but her real power rests on the inside. And history has seen women with legacy balls more powerful and more influential than men. And up to this day, we still do.

"Woman please let me explain, I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain, So let me tell you again and again and again, I love you. now and forever, I love you.."

I would like to dedicate this lovely anthem from my favorite Beatle, John Lennon, to all the women out there. Our mothers, sisters, friends, fiancees, and to the great women in history who helped shape mankind. Let it be known that although we are (still) living in the society created by men with balls and discrimination against you are still rampant in some parts of the world, your contribution to society and history is priceless. Thank you. And please forgive us.

I may not be the most gentle of all the gentlemen out there (or I maybe not a gentleman at all). I may not be a Knight who will save a damsel in distress. I may not be some cutie patootsie young man idolized by the kids and the tweens with a big banner ‘I Respect Women’ on his blog. but all I have is this simple song, just for you. again, thank you.

Happy women’s month to all the women out there. Grazie mille!

Note: The word art above was originally posted during my first year on Tumblr. It was inspired by a friend when I asked him why women’s month and fire prevention month are both celebrated on March. And he gave me that answer. For my non-Filipino readers, it is (loosely) translated as: ‘Perhaps, women’s month and fire prevention month are both celebrated during the month of March because they are both dangerous and vital for survival’.

Source: juanrepublic

Blue Moon (Unreleased Original Take) - Orange and Lemons/Clementine

When I first heard the Orange and Lemons’ song Just Like a Splendid Love Song on Jam 88.3 sometime during my early years in College, I thought it was song from a British group. I immediately fell in love with it and I thought of searching the group online and digging their other music. I was surprised to learn that the song was already two years old and it was from the Filipino group Orange and Lemons which was then rapidly climbing the steps of mainstream popularity with their infectious hit Hanggang Kailan dominating the airwaves.

And just like any other music lovers during the so-called Golden Age of OPM after the nineties, I immediately became a fan of the group. They continue to release other hits such as Heaven Knows (This Angel has Flown), Lihim, Pinoy Ako, and Blue Moon which was used as the soundtrack of the movie of the same title. But all things, even the good ones, must come to an end. Shortly after the release of their third album Moonlane Gardens (which, in my opinion, the best Orange and Lemons album among the three), the group disbanded and formed other bands. Mcoy Fundales and the Del Mundo brothers formed Kenyo while Clementine Castro formed The Camerawalls with the original OnL bassist Law Santiago. 

I have always idolized Clementine since the Orange and Lemons days, especially on the album Moonlane Gardens where he penned most of the songs. He’s a musical prodigy and he’s got good taste on music. Actually, music-wise, he influenced me more than any other musicians. I owe my love for Indie and British Pop to him.

I tried to give the other three OnL members a chance on my eardrums but they have failed me on their Radiosurfing and Maharlika albums. Those albums, in my opinion, are no match against The Camerawalls’ Pocket Guide to the Otherworld and Bread and Circuses.

Last night, while waiting for Kara David’s i-Witness documentary, I stumbled upon Clementine’s Facebook post (A link of his blog, Musings of a Commoner) about the original recording of one of the famous OnL hits, Blue Moon. Alongside with an excerpt of the song, he wrote a brief description of the song and how the client (the film outfit) removed him from the vocals and preferred the version that we know today. 

Most of us have heard the Mcoy Fundales-voiced Blue Moon and his version was good, catchy, dance-able, and the typical Orange and Lemons style that the general public loved. But as much as I respect Mcoy as a musician, I find Clementine’s version better. Though I am a big fan of the combination of Mcoy and Clem (they got one of the perfect vocal blending among the local bands), I find the latter’s voice more soothing, subtle, and good for my ears. (If you have heard the Clementine-voiced OnL songs such as Armageddon is Coming to Town, Pabango ng ‘yong Mata, Hey Please, and Let Me, then you know what I mean.) It has also a catchy Beatle-ish beat which was lacking on the popular version.

I hate doing comparisons among artists but I choose which music is more suitable to my ear and my taste. And Clementine obviously has got it. After hearing the version above, which do you prefer? the popular version or this one? You may choose what you want but the bottom line is, let us keep the music alive. Let us keep the OPM flame burning. Support our local artists.

A great artist may only appear once in a blue moon. But just like looking at the blue moon, listening to their works will be worth the wait. Padayon!

Photo Courtesy of Clementine Castro’s Facebook page.

Elsewhere:

SoundCloud / Dragonfly Collector

Ampatuan Massacre: Never Forget. Never Again.

This day marks the 27th month of the infamous Ampatuan Massacre, a horrible event in our history where 58 people were killed, 34 of whom were journalists or working for the broadcast industry. But do you still care?

It seems like the attention of the public on this issue is slowly going to the depths of the abyss of the forgotten. It’s in one of the infamous characteristics of the Filipinos. We have a short attention span. We tend to forget our past easily. Mabilis makalimot. Mabilis magpatawad.

Our attention may have been taken by the on-going impeachment trial of the Chief Justice. Or how some of us continuously rant about the trending topics on Twitter. Lady Justice and the men and women behind her must have been too focused on the impeachment trial.

But by letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, it will appear that we are condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or killing the fifty-eight victims repeatedly. Or allowing the culture of impunity in our country. 

Impunity. Kawalang pakundangan. It’s like saying "Go ahead, kill everyone who are against your plans! Shoot the story tellers! We allow murder in our country! No one is punished by the way."

And we don’t want it that way, right? So what can we do as an ordinary citizen?

Never forget. Let us always put the Ampatuan massacre into consciousness. One way of doing it is to post something about it every 23rd of the month for everyone to see (on Facebook, Twitter, and in your blogs). This will help those who have forgotten to remember.

Be an educated and wise voter. The Ampatuan massacre is an election-related violence which involves (an alleged) private army. Choose your leaders wisely. Do not be swayed by their goods during the campaign season.

Be vigilant. Stay on guard, be watchful. Let us be our brother’s keeper. And let us keep an eye on the proceedings of the trial (even if it takes 55,000 years, according to Atty. Harry Roque).

Let us offer a minute of silence to remember the victims of the massacre. And ask God - or the Cosmos or some Force, depending on your belief - that this would never happen again.

Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Never Forget. Never again.  

Source: juanrepublic

#AshTag Wednesday

"It’s Ash Wednesday. Let us spread the #ashtag"

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates Ash Wednesday. This day marks the beginning of the Lenten season, or the 40-day period of fasting to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection (Paschal Mystery). It is the season where we are reminded to repent from our sins, to fast and abstain, and to do charity works for the poor and needy.

It is an open secret here on Tumblr and in my blog that I am a former seminarian (or more appropriately, a seminarian on regency or break). I studied in the Seminary for eight years - from high school to college, and I have been writing reflections about Lent and being of service to the poor and the needy since I was twelve (I entered the seminary at a young age, so there goes the explanation).

But there is something that I have to confess to you. Something that whenever I remember those events, I have a mix feelings of being ashamed and laughing at it. During my first years in the high school seminary, I look at Ash Wednesday as a punishment. You see, even the required age for fasting and abstinence is 14, there are no exemptions in the Seminary (for obvious reasons, of course). I treat Ash Wednesday then as a ‘hunger strike day’ for we are only served one full meal during the day without merienda. And if you personally know my eating capacity, you will know why I despise a meal-less day.

As I grow up and as I learn more in the Seminary, my perspective has changed. And I should, because Seminary is a place of formation - spiritually, academically, socially, and formation as a mature, young man with the direction to the Priesthood. And even after I left the institution last March 2009 after graduating in Philosophy, even now that I am living in the real world away from the comforts of her confines, I continuously live (and share) most, if not all, the things that I have learned inside. There are no clear indications yet if I would return and pursue my Theological studies but the important thing is, I should and I must strive not to forget those good things. 

Last night, I planned to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass at our Parish (outside the UPLB Campus). But when my mother told me that there will be a mass in their office (which is inside the campus), I decided to go there since it would be more convenient for me.

The Mass celebrant is Father Thor (Yes, Thor. He may not look like Chris Hemsworth but he is one of the nicest, and funniest priests that I know), the Parish Priest of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish (the church inside UPLB). And I did not regret attending his mass. His homily moved me.

He started his homily sharing a stuff that he found on the internet. He said that a particular Christian denomination put up in their website that a mixture of ash and water burns the skin. As most of us know, the ashes being placed on our foreheads is a mixture of ashes (from the palms used on the previous year’s Palm Sunday) and (Holy) water. He consulted the Chemistry Professors of the University and they told him that yes, it is possible to burn one’s skin by a mixture of ash and water (he told us the name of the chemical compound but I forgot it) but the ashes used on Ash Wednesday have a very minimal effect to cause burning. So are they bluffing? Or scaring the faithful? We don’t know.

Why put ashes on our forehead? It is a reminder for us that we came from dust/earth and we would return to it after our death. Faher Thor told us that the mixture of ashes and water is very symbolic since ashes represents a lifeless man and water, the breath of God that created us (if you read the book of Genesis, this will be quite familiar to you). When God breathed to the earth, there was life.

So what is the challenge for us? Father told us that when the Priest (or the Minister) put ashes on our foreheads, this is a invitation for us to ‘return to the earth’. It is an invitation for us to be stoop down from our level, be ‘dirty’, and to be humble. After all, humility came from the Latin word humus which means earth or soil.

But how could we do that in these modern times where everything is fast and everyone is busy? That is where fasting and abstinence would enter. Fasting and abstinence is not just eating less and abstaining from meat. It is also doing less the things that we find addictive - television, alcohol, cigarettes, internet, and everything considered as ‘excess’ and not an essential. And when we have a free time after abstaining (and fasting) from these, then it would be the time to go back to the earth and be dirty.

And after all of these, during the celebration of the Easter Vigil (or the end of the 40-day preparation) and the blessing of fire and water, it is there when we would burn ourselves and walk to God, our savior. So basically, those who posted that a mixture of ashes and water will burn us, is in a way, correct.

Seminarians are known to Priests as omniscient creatures (it is a inside joke actually). I am guilty of this when I was in college since there are Priests and speakers who give us something that we already know and I (together with most of my brothers) would just fake our attention, pretending to be listening. I know, it is a sign of being proud and not being humble.

But I have learned my lesson today. Though I cannot say that I am totally doing it, I chose to listen and digest what Father has given us. I have learned that yes, we know things and sometimes, it is our expertise, but we should always be reminded. And we should see things from other people’s perspective.

The Season of Lent is about preparing ourselves. It is the period to give up something and be of service to the needy. Actually, as I have mentioned above, some of the things that we have saved during this season should go to helping the poor and the needy. Some would say that this is hypocrisy on our part, but should it be? I think doing something good at least during a particular period of a year is better than having done nothing at all. And as long as you know what you believe in, as long as you are steadfast on your faith, no hecklers, trolls, haters, and non-believers can shake you.

This is a period of giving up our excess. What would you give up? for me, I think it wold be extra rice. Aside from helping me lose wight, it will help those who are in need by giving them what I should have eaten for my excess consumption. (Lent, as they say, is the best way to lose weight and be of shape.)

In these modern times, is the celebration of Ash Wednesday still relevant? Yes. We need it more during these times when we seem to just think of ourselves and our personal gains.

Today is the beginning of the Lenten Season. Let us spread the #AshTag. Vaya con Dios!

Photo Above: A nun uses ash to mark a cross on the forehead of a believer outside the Baclaran church in Paranaque on the occasion of Ash Wednesday. The occasion marks the beginning of the season of Lent in the largely Roman Catholic country. (via ABS-CBNnews.com)

Elsewhere:

  • The Word Exposed: Ashes - Manila Archbishop Chito Tagle’s catechism and reflection about Ash Wednesday. This is very informative.

Source: juanrepublic

Bob Marley: The Life, Music, and Legacy
"It is mentioned in the Bible, that there should be one music that all people shall sing, and play, and dance. What music could that be? Reggae."
If there is one thing informative and fruitful about leaving your Facebook account idle on the news feed, it would be receiving updates from your favorite artists and filmmakers. Let us admit it. Though Facebook has drastically changed over the years, it is still one of the most useful tool to spread information and news.
It’s a blessing from some mysterious cyber force that when I refreshed my news feed, I saw this trailer from the upcoming movie/documentary about the revered God of Reggae, Bob Marley. 

I’ve seen other documentaries from other renowned artists like The Beatles (The Beatles Anthology and their movies) but I haven’t seen any about Bob Marley. Well, at least, thanks to my cousins’ VCDs, I was able to watch some of his live performances during my early teenage years.
Finally! There is something that will help us know him more. Let me share with you the gist of the documentary through their official website:

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.
 From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive. 
MARLEY will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month followed by its North American premiere at SXSW. Magnolia Pictures will release theatrically and on VOD on Friday, April 20th.

I think it’s about time for this generation and era of uhm, not-so-good music to know the life, music, and legacy of the famous man on dreadlocks. It’s about time to educate those who wear Bob Marley shirts without knowing the story behind him (I hope they do a Che Guevarra documentary next time. Thank you very much.)
I hope this documentary will be shown here in our country. But if all else fails, there is always Plan B. I cannot wait to see this monumental and historical work.
Show some respect. Long live Bob Marley! Irie!
Elsewhere:
The official Facebook page/website of Bob Marley Movie.
Bob Marley’s official website.

Bob Marley: The Life, Music, and Legacy

"It is mentioned in the Bible, that there should be one music that all people shall sing, and play, and dance. What music could that be? Reggae."

If there is one thing informative and fruitful about leaving your Facebook account idle on the news feed, it would be receiving updates from your favorite artists and filmmakers. Let us admit it. Though Facebook has drastically changed over the years, it is still one of the most useful tool to spread information and news.

It’s a blessing from some mysterious cyber force that when I refreshed my news feed, I saw this trailer from the upcoming movie/documentary about the revered God of Reggae, Bob Marley. 

I’ve seen other documentaries from other renowned artists like The Beatles (The Beatles Anthology and their movies) but I haven’t seen any about Bob Marley. Well, at least, thanks to my cousins’ VCDs, I was able to watch some of his live performances during my early teenage years.

Finally! There is something that will help us know him more. Let me share with you the gist of the documentary through their official website:

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

 From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive. 

MARLEY will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month followed by its North American premiere at SXSW. Magnolia Pictures will release theatrically and on VOD on Friday, April 20th.

I think it’s about time for this generation and era of uhm, not-so-good music to know the life, music, and legacy of the famous man on dreadlocks. It’s about time to educate those who wear Bob Marley shirts without knowing the story behind him (I hope they do a Che Guevarra documentary next time. Thank you very much.)

I hope this documentary will be shown here in our country. But if all else fails, there is always Plan B. I cannot wait to see this monumental and historical work.

Show some respect. Long live Bob Marley! Irie!

Elsewhere:

Source: facebook.com

Prom

"Nanginginig na mga kamay. Ang puso kong hindi mapalagay. Puwede ba kitang tabihan? Kahit na may iba ka nang kasama.."

It’s prom season once again. They say that this is the most anticipated event in one’s high school life. A night of fun, glamour, good memories, and an unforgettable moment for teenage first love.

This is not a story for me to tell. I never had a chance to attend a Junior-Senior Promenade. I studied in an exclusive school for boys in High School.  And during my senior year, when we cross-enrolled at a nearby coed Catholic school, I was not able to attend the graduation ball (the nuns replaced the JS Prom with it for some reasons) because I was busy preparing for college then (nuks).

"Ito na ang gabing di malilimutan.."

Last Friday was a busy day for the parloristas here in Los Baños. Almost all high schools inside the UPLB Campus were having their JS Prom. And for my younger sister who is a junior in high school, that night was surely a memorable one.

She’s the family’s unica hija and the first among the siblings who will attend the JS Prom (My brother and I studied at the same high school.). So you can imagine how my parents, especially my Nanay, prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Days before the Prom, I ask her if she has already a date/partner for that night. She said yes but she won’t give us his name. My Nanay, with her awesome cyber espionage skills, managed to look for the guy and we found out that he’s nice. I jokingly told my sister that I’m gonna bring my zombie apocalypse kit on the night of her Prom just in case the guy mess up.

My sister was fetched in our house and went to the Prom with her barkada (not her date. Good for the guy, haha!). We basically let her do what she wanted on that special day. She went to the Prom while my Parents and I went to the muddy UPLB Feb Fair.

"Parang atin ang gabi. Para bang wala tayong katabi. Nang tayo’y sumayaw na parang di na tayo bibitaw.."

They say that high school is the happiest stage of one’s life (though there are some who would beg to differ). Even Sharon Cuneta immortalized the tears and laughter of high school with the song High School Life. This is the stage of one’s formation, transformation, and self-discovery.

I may have not experienced Prom but let me share with you some of my a priori thoughts on it. Enjoy every single moment of it. It only happens once or twice in one’s life time. It is also training ground for a bigger world after school. It is where you learn etiquette, decorum, and where you test your self-esteem ad self-confidence (by asking someone to be her date and not being a wallflower during the dance).

I know that there are more knowledgeable and credible persons out there to talk about this but what I only have here is a small story and a good music to share.

When I first heard this song by Sugarfree (with the Manila Syphony Orchestra), I was instantly amused by the David Pomeranz-penned King and Queen of Hearts introduction (a classic Prom song) before hitting the first drum beats and notes of one of the group’s famous anthems.

How was your prom? Is it nostalgic or a horror? And for the younglings reading my blog, are you excited to have one? I hope this song by Sugarfree help you reminisce on this cold, rainy weather.

Maraming salamat Ebe Dancel, Sugarfree, at Manila Symphony Orchestra sa napakahusay na awiting ito.

Photo Above: My sister and I minutes before she went to the Prom. And please excuse my ‘beer barrel belly’. Thank you very much.

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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