Angelhouser | A Journal By Angelica Bautista Viloria

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Living Under a Rock

I apologize for being so silent for more than a month but the holiday season has left me so busy. Add to that the demands of family, work, and everything else, and so my newspaper reading habit has not been a habit for about a month now.

This is the first time this has happened in my lifetime. Typically, I only don't read the newspapers when I am on vacation. In my previous job, reading the newspapers was something that was required as we constantly had to be updated about industry and company developments.

Not to worry. There will be changes soon and I should be back to my newspaper-reading habit (and more frequent writing habit too!) in no time. I can't wait for that day to come. I will be happier and the world won't seem as dark. I guess that's how it is when you live under a rock.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Nation of Isolation

Recently, there have been a lot of "isolated cases." Mariannet Amper was said to be an isolated case. Just a few days ago, news reports on radio had the tourism secretary saying that the Batasang Pambansa bombing was an "isolated case" and that it was safe for tourists to visit the Philippines.

I agree that travel advisories about the Philippines and news reports in other countries about the Philippines tend to be exaggerated. I get a bit irritated though when I hear the words "isolated case." Just to push the argument, it may be true -- but does it make a difference to those who lost a loved one or a friend in that isolated incident?

Then again, there is some truth to such things being an "isolated case." Why do such things happen? They happen because people don't care enough about other people. Individuals are just concerned about their own objectives that it does not matter if someone gets hurt or killed. Philippine society or politics is the way it is because all of us do not care enough about things beyond our homes or families.

Until each lives his or her life, with the good of the greatest number of Filipinos in mind, we will continue to be confronted with "isolated cases" in a nation of isolation.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poverty Has A Name

Do you remember Mang Pandoy? Was that during the presidential campaign some years back? Whatever happened to him? Or what about those three boys who had those paper boats during one of the State of the Nation addresses of GMA?

Just a few days ago, we were all shocked by the suicide of a girl called Mariannet Amper. She was a 12-year old girl living in Davao City who felt helpless and hopeless about being poor. She did not even have transportation money to go to school regularly.

So, do you care to listen to statements about how strong our economy is? How we are doing much better in terms of GDP or inflation? They do not mean very much right when a citizen of the nation seems to have seen no other recourse but to end her life?

What were you thinking when you were 12 years old? Did you think of the big problems of this world? People that age are supposed to be in school, enjoying life, with not a care in the world. Sadly, it does not always work that way.

Sadder still is when others refer to it as an "isolated case." How many suicides do we want for us to take notice or take action? When we do not recognize that this is a real problem, then that's the real problem.

I also do not find comfort in the fact that there is an outpouring of generosity and of donations in the wake of Marrianet's death. Wouldn't it have benefited them better had they received the help when Marrianet was alive?

News reports mention that before Marrianet died, she had managed to write a letter to the show Wish Ko Lang. A few days ago, I heard over the radio that Vicky Morales had gone to Davao to condole with the family and to belatedly grant Marrianet's wishes. I can vouch for how many people rely on that show for their dreams and wishes. For some reason, I had referred to that show in some post of mine in another blog. Ever since that time, I have continuously received e-mail from readers I do not know, with some addressing me even as Ate Vicky. They do not care to even read what I wrote about the show. Or how I referred to it. All they know is that as soon as they read the words "Wish Ko Lang," it is the answer to getting closer to their hopes and aspirations.

What do I do with their e-mail? I forward them to Wish Ko Lang although I must say that I have never gotten a reply from them. I don't get any error message too so I guess the messages are getting through. If they catch me at a good time, I try to reply and wish them all the best with their problems and the things they need helping out with. There are numerous Marrianets out there. All with varying concerns, all with difficult problems.

What is my wish? My wish is that sometime, someday, every individual will have the chance to be what he or she would want to be. That every child will have access to food, good education, and opportunities to uplift himself or herself. That no one will be so troubled so as to think that there is no more hope nor help in the days to come.

What can you or I do? Find a good cause to support or to be involved in. Look beyond your family and your home. Do things for others in your own little way. Pray. You and I may not be able to make a difference to all the Marrianets of this world, but there may be one Marrianet in your community that you can help out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Beg Your Pardon

Erap is now a free man. Do you agree with his being pardoned? I don't know about you but I feel kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. There's the side that thinks about forgiveness and there's the side that is resigned to the fact that people can do almost about anything in our country, the Philippines, and get away with it.

You can never really believe anything that you hear or read in this country. Just a few months ago, Erap's camp was talking about never asking GMA for pardon. There was even a statement that Erap was ready to go over to Muntinlupa if necessary.

Just a few days ago though, we have Erap thanking GMA for pardoning him. I guess the fact that his mother is very sick had much to do with the way things went.

Expectedly, various groups in the country look at the pardon differently. The Erap supporters, of course, are happy. The militant groups, as always, are up in arms. Do you think GMA pardoned Erap so that when the time comes and if ever she is put in the same situation, the leader that comes after her will also be as forgiving?

Oh well. Life goes on. If Erap is free and he has not acknowledged that he has done anything wrong, what is there to pardon? If there is nothing to pardon then should GMA still be in Malacanang?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Show Me the Money Bags!

Ever since Secretary Neri testified about his "Sec, may 200 ka dito" experience, we have been bombarded by various news items about bribes, pay-offs, and lately, the cash, given out in bags, during an affair at Malacanang.

What must I do to get such a bag filled with P500 thousand in cash? I guess I'll have to be mayor or a governor from whom they really want nothing in return. (Really now.) Now, there's news that GMA had already ordered an investigation about the money in the bags right after it had been given away but news of the investigation only came out after Governor Panlilio (also known as Among Ed) talked about the cash he had received. Para naman yang ZTE. Na-investigate din but we always find out about the investigation after someone raises a fuss about some issue.

Oh my. I wonder how government will extricate itself from this news and/or development. Some people have again called for the resignation of GMA given this particular money bags issue. Have you not learned your lesson? She does not care about what you or I think. If she was even thinking of letting go of her present position, then she should have done it long ago.

Will we ever find out where the cash specifically came from? For what purpose will it be used? Things really smell fishy when no one accounts for the money that is being given out. If the money is given to support projects of or for the poor, where are the poor? And if this has been happening repeatedly over the years as other politicians say it has, then where did all the money go?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Of Lies and Half-Truths

Wala talaga akong masabi kay Tita Miriam. I listened intently to her this morning as she asked the all important question: "Who doublecrossed whom?"

As we listen to the Senate hearings on the NBN-ZTE deal, things just seem to get more convoluted. The picture isn't getting any clearer. What's clear is that someone is not telling the whole truth; that the process of awarding contracts is highly questionable; and that government officials need to be more careful in their words and actuations.

Where will all of this lead? I don't know. What's particularly interesting to me is when Secretary Neri said that he told GMA about the 200 bribe attempt by Abalos. He went on to say that GMA told him "not to accept it." Is that still something that has to be said or instructed?

And if that narration is true, why is Abalos still in Comelec? He is accused of offering a bribe and he can still continue as Comelec chair?

Some things don't make sense.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The New Alphabet

Philippine politics has a way of influencing every little detail of our lives. With the hearing at the Senate yesterday where Joey de Venecia was present, we now have a new alphabet, sung to the tune of your regular ABC...

"A B Z T E F G..."

That's the new joke I heard on AM radio this morning which reminded me of why I listen to AM radio (DZBB) in the first place.

The morning shows were talking about "mister ni ma'am," este mystery man pala -- given Joey de Venecia's statement that FG Mike Arroyo reportedly told him in a meeting to "back off" from the ZTE broadband deal.

Misery man (according to one radio show listener) or mystery man, am sure we all want to hear what FG has to say when he gets back from his trip to wherever.

I don't know. This looks like a "his word against mine" kind of thing -- maybe am not too trusting given that both parties in this case have political ties. Whether you are married to a powerful woman or whether you are the child of a powerful man, wouldn't it have been safer to stay away from deals that involve government? You have less headache that way. Different strokes for different folks. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Everyone was awaiting the Sandiganbayan's decision on Erap's case today. Guilty or not guilty, either way, there will be unhappy, disgruntled Filipinos. Actually, it was both not guilty and guilty. Not guilty on perjury, guilty for plunder.

Uncertainty is in the air and already, we see the peso slipping and the stock market? We'll see how it goes. This has been a long-drawn fight (six years?) and over that time, our views of the participants and involved people may have changed somewhat. A guilty verdict, will probably be easier for most people (although that is not the point and shouldn't be) while a not guilty decision would have been more complicated and troublesome.

We still await the next move of Erap's lawyers but this fight is closer to the end as I see it. Fights are never really meant to last. We have seen it happen in politics and in life -- sometimes the very person you fought with may be the same person you will need or thank tomorrow.

Which brings me to the Pinoy blogosphere which is beginning to look more like a microcosm of Philippine society as the days go by. It has started to have its share of fights due to differing views, semantics, the way a comment was worded, etc., etc. This much I know, bloggers are passionate people... and when you are passionate about anything...things start to heat up.

As in life and politics, in the blogosphere, it is tricky to know how and when to start a fight, how to sustain it, when to end it and when to move on to next fight or issue once your traffic starts to wane. =)

Personally, I never did like fights. It's too draining. So, since energy and resources are not unlimited, it is wise to pick your fights carefully. Not all battles are worth the effort. The person you despise or do battle with today may be the one who may help you tomorrow. After all, b(i)log ang mundo.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Are You Saying That...

Salbahe talaga ang Inquirer. Their headline today reads: "Surprise! 7.5% growth" And today, I realize even more why Inquirer is my favorite newspaper. It's not only because they have my favorite writer Conrado de Quiros but because they make reading the newspapers entertaining. In my forty years, I have realized that what gets communicated through media all depends on the "spin" that a certain story will take. Am sure GMA's head is spinning in anger as she reads the Inquirer today.

I caught the video footage yesterday on television when a reporter was asking GMA about the fantabulous economic results being reported. She responded by saying: "Are you saying that the NSCB people are liars?..." I personally got irritated right there and then and I thought that the remark was uncalled for. The reporter was asking a legitimate question and she did not deserve such an answer. The last time I looked, being in Malacanang does not give you the power to put words in other people's mouths.

Did we get the explanation? Well, in the newspapers today, the explanation is there. The evening newscasts only run for 30 minutes so right after that response, the video was cut. You could say that it was a bit unfair as people will now be focusing on what GMA said and will probably think that the answer never came but that is the risk that she took by coming up with that question rather than addressing the legitimate concern of the reporter (and probably numerous other Filipinos) directly.

Oh well. So what are we in fact saying? I will spell out what I want to say. We are saying that most people do not feel the 7.5% economic growth. We are saying that we need leaders who will think first before they open their mouths. We are saying that 2010 seems to be an awfully long time from today. What we didn't say was Hello Garci. =)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Is There No Parent at the DepEd?

As early as 5am this morning, my husband and I were already tuned in to AM radio. We were listening for any announcement about the suspension of classes in Metro Manila as it had been raining hard since 2am.

What we heard was some official from the DepEd or the Department of Education saying that he left it to the discretion of the parents and the schools on whether to suspend classes or not. The radio show host also repeatedly announced: "May pasok po." (There are classes today.)

While I am always looking out for the safety of my kids, I am also a parent who ensures that they do not miss a single day at school if it can be avoided. My son had his quarterly exams scheduled today so no amount of "discretion" on my part would have led me to stop him from going to school today.

So it was off to school for my 5-year old daughter and my 10-year old son, in the rain. Their school buses picked them up.

At 7am, now, the DepEd makes a late announcement that classes are suspended for grade school and high school. Text messages went back and forth in a flurry. My brother texted in reply to my text that classes had been suspended: "Great! Nasa katpunan flyover trfc jam na kami!" Another parent texted: "What a pity. My daughter is already in school." Upon arriving here at our house, my brother lamented: "Kanina pa akong umaga nagtatanong..." (I had been asking since this morning...)

Oh well. Can anyone tell us who will educate the DepEd? I don't know why the DepEd is so shy about suspending classes early enough when the rains are heavy (even when there is no typhoon signal) as all it takes is a little common sense. All they need is to ask themselves, "Would I feel safe letting my kids go to school in this rain?"

They ask themselves that important question and they can save us parents all this hassle and stress.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ang Gala ng Lola Mo!

Last Saturday, the Philippine newspapers featured Simeona Adamos, a 102-year old lola (grandmother) who was among the first recipients of the new machine-readable passports from the Department of Foreign Affairs. (DFA)

Bilib talaga ako kay lola! She had a nice photo, was elegantly dressed, and she was still traveling to visit her children and grandchildren in New Jersey -- all at the young age of 102! I actually dream to live to be a hundred and given my penchant for travel, Lola Simeona will be my inspiration through the years. I hope I will be as blessed as she is with good health and a long life.

Asked about the secret of her long life, Lola Simeona said that she has meals of cereal and milk, takes fruits for snacks, avoids hatred and focuses on beautiful things. Ang ganda-ganda talaga ni Lola.

I hope Lola Simeona continues to live long and be healthy. May she live to be a 110 years old.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Few Versatile Men

Angelo Reyes has been named as Energy Secretary while Lito Atienza, former Mayor of Manila, has been named as Environment Secretary. Angelo Reyes was previously at the following departments: defense, interior, and environment.

I wonder what skills you need to have to be able to shift so easily from one area to another. Should I learn that skill? I've been looking around for career opportunities in the last two months and so far, people treat me like I have a big sign that says CREDIT or RESEARCH on my forehead. Not that I want to stay away from these fields forever but sometimes, you just want to try something else like sales or marketing -- but then when they see my resume, they classify me right away into areas that involve the writing of reports.

Back to government. Why do we keep seeing the same old names being moved around? Are there no other men capable of leading these departments? And if such capable men exist, do they really not want to have anything to do with government? (That was a rhetorical question, I guess.) And why is it that every time an issue arises concerning the appointees of GMA, some spokesperson will always say that these people "serve at the pleasure of the president"? When will government officials serve at the pleasure of Filipinos in general?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Franc-ly Speaking

In the past few days, we've read about Francswiss in the newspapers and how this (among several others) internet-based investment scheme has fooled some of our countrymen to invest their money for abnormally high returns. I mean 4.8% daily? Not even our domestic credit card companies make that much money so where will the bright people behind Francswiss place your hard-earned USD 1,000?

Through the years, we have seen that if something sounds to good to be true, all of the time -- it is. Charles Ponzi, who also had scammy deals way back in the early 1900s, and those who came after him, know only too well that some people will be willing to risk what they have for a quick and high return. In a Ponzi-like investment scheme, early payments are made out of money invested by subsequent investors. It thus pays to get in early, take some early profits, and if you are lucky enough, get out before everything comes crumbling down.

Still, there is really no substitute for hard work and good ideas as a way to get ahead and earn just as there is no solution to greed that makes people think blindly of profits no matter what the cost. So, the next time these Ponzi Pilato come up with another scheme and offer you this rare investment opportunity which will earn you super-high returns, do what my favorite radio commentator on DZBB Jimmy Gil suggests: "Pitikin nyo sa ilong." (Hit him or her on the nose.)

Having done that, walk away (with your money intact) and call the Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat at 523-4421 or 536-7358 to report these individuals.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What Will You Be Doing Tomorrow: 7/7/07?

Did you notice that tomorrow, Saturday, July 7, 2007 will correspond to 7/7/07? I didn't. At least not until I read about it in the newspapers yesterday. Am not heavy on numerology, astrology, or that kind of stuff so I haven't been thinking of dates in that sort of way.

The only numbers I consider lucky are those that will win me millions of pesos (dollars also acceptable) in a raffle or lottery so I can travel to my heart's content and finally build me my own house. Other than that, a number's a number -- save for the ones you see on your payslip-- and we all agree that some numbers are luckier than others!

So, what will you be doing tomorrow? Are you going to make a life-changing decision like get married? Will you embark on a new business? If you haven't planned anything special for tomorrow, don't fret. You can start planning for August 8, 2008 or 8/8/08. How's that for advanced notice?

As for me, I will try to get 7 hours of sleep, be nice to at least 7 people, and help my son complete his homework in all 7 subjects. Anyway, it's a good thing I don't pay attention to dates or that sort of stuff because if I did, I'd be worried about next week -- when Friday the 13th comes along! Bwahaha...

Monday, June 25, 2007

On Saying Thank You

I don't particularly like Ralph G. Recto. I have never even voted for him. I don't know why but I have an aversion for politicians whose wives are in showbiz and are super popular.

I didn't like it when Noli de Castro said that Ralph Recto was a true statesman when he conceded defeat in the last Senatorial elections early enough. What does being a statesman have to do with admitting that you were defeated? Is it because no Filipino politician admits that he lost the election? All Filipino politicians are just cheated?

I found it ridiculous when one of the election lawyers blamed a staple wire for Recto's loss. According to the lawyer, Recto's name may not have been visible enough to voters given the way the list of official candidates was put together (and stapled) and this may have caused Recto's defeat.

Yesterday, though, Ralph Recto put out a one page ad in a major newspaper and I liked it. It was to say thank you -- to all those who had voted for him; to all those who did not vote for him; and for all those who served in the last elections, including those who risked and lost their lives. I will not ask how much the ad may have cost Recto (and where the money is coming from to pay for the ad) but I thought that the ad was a good lesson in learning to express gratitude.

Anything that life throws our way is an opportunity for learning. Good or bad -- positive or negative, it is up to the individual to make use of any experience to improve himself/herself. We must always learn to say thank you. We must try hard never to burn our bridges for we never know when we shall meet again.

So, as I have heard it said: "There is always good in the worst and bad in the best." No one is ever perfect. It is a challenge to every person then to try to see beyond what is obvious and find something meaningful and something worth being grateful for.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Taxman Leaveth

I read the following article title in today's Manila Bulletin: "Hefti takes over from Bunag at BIR." I found it kind of funny. What's in a name? Or what's in names?

First, let's talk about the actual news. Mario Bunag (pronounced as bunyag as it is actually spelled with an enye), BIR commissioner, has been replaced by Lilian Hefti as head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Bunag was said to have been let go of by the current administration due to the dismal collection performance of the agency.

News reports, however, also state that Bunag is being used as a scapegoat for the poor revenue performance of the government. It doesn't help his case too, that he is said not to see eye to eye with Teves who heads the Department of Finance.

And I thought the Philippine economy was on a roll. Back to the names though. Bunyag, which sounds like the ex-BIR chief's last name, is a Filipino word which means "to reveal" or "to squeal." Hefti, the incoming head's name, on the other hand sounds like an English word which means huge or substantial. Nakakatawa naman. Maybe the government hopes that with Hefti at the helm of BIR, tax collections will be heftier. As for the former commissioner, will he reveal more things in the coming days?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Unemployment Statistic

Just last weekend, it hit the papers that the Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.4% in April 2007, from 8.2% in April last year. The government's economic managers (of course) were quick to say that this reflects the improvement in the economy and that a lot of new jobs were created.

Who is considered "unemployed"? If I remember my economics correctly, a person is considered unemployed if he/she is not working but is actively looking for a job. Thus, if you are not working but are perfectly happy to be staying at home and are not taking any step to look for employment, then you are not unemployed. Given that definition, we could say, that I contribute to the unemployment statistic in this country today.

Every Sunday, I go over the classified ads in the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Philippine Star, only to be disappointed that most of the jobs out there are for call centers, telemarketers, and online English tutors. I have sent my resume to 5 or more headhunters since last year. I am subscribed to Jobstreet.

I retired at the age of 39 and took the opportunity to rest and spend more time with my family in late 2006. I took off for a vacation with the hubby and kids in April 2007 and since May, I have slowly been sending out my resumes to prospective employers. I am not yet close to joining any company to date and so I really doubt that the job market is improving and the economy is taking off. If you wish to find out what I do (or should it be, what I used to do) and what my credentials are, you can visit my other site

Even my resume is there.

Anyway, I was sort of complaining to a friend of mine some weeks ago that some of the companies I applied with did not even respond to my application. My friend goes: "Baka overqualified ka?" (Maybe you are overqualified?)

Then she reassures me: "Ok lang yan. Hindi pa siguro time. Pag tama na ang oras, magugulat ka na lang, ibibigay na sa iyo ng Diyos." (That's just fine. It's probably not yet time. When the time is right, God will surprise you with the right job.)

I then say: "Oo nga ano, magugulat na lang ako, nandyan na yung aking P1 million a month job?" (Yes, I'll be so surprised. Out of the blue, I'll get a job which will pay me P1 million a month.)

My friend quickly retorts: "Magsho-showbiz ka?" (Will you be joining showbiz?)

I smile knowing that I shall never join showbiz. =)

Not that I could. Then again, as I wait for that perfect job (I may wait forever), I really wonder if the people in government really believe what they are saying. If the economy is doing so well and jobs are aplenty, why are more people bent on leaving this country?

I am reminded of an old Economics joke I heard way back in college in UP Diliman and which I never forgot:

Person 1: When I grow up, I want to be an economist.

Person 2: Why? So you'll be rich and have lots of money?

Person 1: No, so I'll understand why I'm poor and unemployed.

Don't get me wrong though, I may be without work but I realize that I am truly rich. =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Teaching Kids to be Filipino

I read about Raya School in the June 10, 2007 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine and I was quite happy to hear that such a school existed. I have no personal knowledge of how happy the parents or students of the school are but I thought that having a pre-school that injects Filipino culture and a sense of country into its curriculum is truly worth lauding.

The Raya School, Inc. is located at 73-A Scout Limbaga St. Quezon City. At present, they accept kids aged 3-7 who attend Nursery to Grade 1 classes. Tuition fees are quite reasonable, shown in their website to be in the vicinity of P40,000 a year.

Raya School is run by Ani Almario (of Adarna House and daughter of Virgilio Almario), CP David, Basil Wuson, and Melvin Rillo. Kids attending Raya School will be exposed to Filipino culture by way of their daily lessons, songs, and field trips.

Do you attend or do you know of anyone attending Raya School? Please share your experience with us. It is easy to be born Filipino but with all the things going around us, it may be quite difficult to feel Filipino or be genuinely happy about being Filipino. I'm glad that there is a school that trains kids to look within and appreciate their Filipino-ness. For when we are secure with what we have and where we came from, true greatness blooms. Who knows, someday, someone from Raya School may yet be the ideal Filipino leader that we are looking for.

Too bad my kids are done with pre-school. I'm done with having more kids too. If you have pre-school age children though, it wouldn't hurt to check out the Raya School. I don't know them personally but am just a 40-year old mom who is just so glad to have been born Pinoy. Should Raya School put up a school for adult Filipinos too? Just a thought.

Here is their website:

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Did the Philippine Economy Really Grow by 6.9%?

Business headlines yesterday stated that the Philippine economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2007. This, they say, is the best performance of the economy in the last 17 years. Did you or your family feel that growth? I didn't.

I'll probably believe all these economic growth stories when I find myself not trying too hard to stick to my grocery list so I can save a few pesos. When I go back to my usual "watching a movie in the movie house" habit instead of staying home and watching out for it on VCD since watching a movie now costs too much (P131 per head, at the least?). When I go back to dining out in new restaurants any time I please instead of saving such for special occasions.

Those are just the little things which affect me. What about the bigger picture? There are so many homeless people out there that it takes a Gawad Kalinga to help them build suitable houses. There are countless hungry Filipino children that it takes a Pondo ng Pinoy to pool our 25 centavos together to feed them a few meals. True, the Bible says that "the poor will always be with you" but can we really say that the Philippine economy is on a roll when there are so many poor people around?

The elections had a lot to do with consumption spending and money going around in the last few months. The strong peso these days is probably due to OFWs sending their relatives money for school opening.

Philippine government officials can rejoice, if they wish, given these numbers. What about you? Did you feel the growth personally? Do you have more money in your pocket today compared to say, six months ago? Do you lead a better, more comfortable life?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What's Your Beauty Type?

The 2007 Miss Universe pageant has just finished and am sure everyone has his or her opinion as to who among the candidates should have gone home with the title. I thought Miss Philippines was beautiful and brainy but I guess she didn't appeal to the judges that much.

Anyway, she did win the Miss Photogenic award.

I was listening to AM radio this morning (Double A sa Double B, with Arnold Clavio, Ali Sotto, and Orly Trinidad) and I couldn't help but smile when they started discussing the different types of beauties (English translations provided by yours truly):

Photogenic: Maganda sa litrato (beautiful in photos)
Telegenic: Maganda sa TV (beautiful on television)
Layogenic: Maganda lang sa malayo (beautiful when seen from afar)
Talikogenic: Maganda lang pag nakatalikod (beautiful from behind)

and my favorite (please keep your sense of humor intact):

PPP beauty: Papalapit nang papalapit pumapangit (beautiful no more as she nears)

So, what beauty type are you? Don't be too focused on externals though. Everyone ages and physical beauty fades. Just smile, be happy and even if you ain't that pretty, you can still look like a queen.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What's the Best Legacy You Can Leave Your Kids?

Just last week, the newspapers carried stories about Mark Jimenez's family. His children and stepchildren came out with a one-page advertisement asking their father to release their mother/stepmother while news articles also stated that Mark Jimenez was suing some of his children for estafa.

What do you think of their family story? When that story came out, I was reminded of a homily that I heard at a wake recently where the priest talked about the "best legacy" you can leave your kids.

Most believe that the best legacy is education. Education is the best equalizer. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old -- if you are given access to good education, then you will most likely have the chance to prosper and make something of yourself. What you learned can never be taken away. Should you lose your wealth at some point, you can always start all over.

The priest I was talking about though said that he does not believe that education is the best legacy that you can leave your kids. Individuals can be educated but that does not mean that they will behave properly or will have good relationships. He then went on to say that the best legacy you can leave or give your kids is if you can teach them how to get along -- if in your old age, you see your kids helping each other and looking out for the other.

I guess what the priest said does not only hold for your children but for whole families as well. A harmonious family life where individual members get along is truly the mark of a "wealthy" family.

What about you? What would you want to leave to your kids? Will it be money, education, or harmony?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

The Philippine elections are over and now, we wait for the official results to come out. A few days, a few weeks, a few months? Who knows?

Even if it takes some time for the results to be official, I do see some glimmer of hope in the world that is Philippine politics. Garci did not win in Bukidnon. Darlene is beating Manny Pacquiao. Fr. Panlilio has a fighting chance in Pampanga. Tito Sotto, John Osmena, Tessie Aquino Oreta, and a handful of movie actors or actresses are not in the winning circle.

Sure, the Kapatiran candidates are a long way off too from the Magic 12 in the Senatorial race but that's fine. The mere fact that these non-politicians threw their hats into the electoral contest is enough reason to rejoice. They have forced us to look at ourselves (as regular people) and ask what good we can do for the nation. It does not matter that none of them will make it to the Senate. A process has been started and it is with anticipation that we look forward to more people in that mold, running in the 2010 elections. We hope that they will be more successful next time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just Give Me the P1.5 Million, Child!

It will be Mother's Day on Sunday, May 13, 2007, and just this morning, I read in the newspapers about the Peninsula Manila's "Mom's Ultimate Fantasy" package which costs a whopping P1.5 million. Yes, you read the figure right -- P1.5 million.

What will theP1.5 million get your mother? It will buy her champagne, flowers, chocolates, a 2-night stay at the USD 2,000++ Peninsula Suite, an 8-course dinner at Old Manila, breakfast for two, salon treats, and shopping sprees at jewelry and designer boutiques.

The Peninsula Suite is a 372 square meter room which has its own living room area, dining room, jacuzzi, and other facilities. As for the shopping sprees, your mother will get a P500 thousand gift voucher for Jul B. Dizon jewelry and a P200 thousand voucher at the Louis Vuitton boutique at Greenbelt 4.

Pardon my being a party pooper but I think the above package is much too extravagant even if your child happens to be lying down on tons of money. You can do a lot with P1.5 million, right -- like go on several trips, build a small house, or even donate the amount to several charities. I don't know about you but even if I were earning a lot, I don't think I could splurge that much. Besides, I do not think you need to spend that huge an amount just to prove to your mother that you love her.

So as I read the newspaper, I called my 10-year old son and read the news article to him. Then, I looked at him and said: "Adi, if you ever become really rich, please do not gift me with this Mother's Day package okay? Just give me the P1.5 million in cash."

I told my mother about the package and she said the same thing. What can I say? My mother raised me well. =)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Media and Voter Education

As I talk to Filipino voters these days, I somehow get the impression that voters don't care much about the upcoming elections. They don't think much about the candidates running for office or the political parties they can choose from. After voting in several elections, they are probably resigned to the fact that whoever among the candidates win, will not change the way their lives are.

Do you think media has done enough to help the lesser-known candidates and parties? I don't think so. I read the papers daily (well, at least on weekdays) and I can see that the same old candidates get featured and get the needed media mileage. So if you are well-known or popular, you get more popular as media will probably find stories about you more newsworthy or worth sharing.

I was watching TV some days ago and the newscast had a feature on how the internet is being used by candidates as a campaign tool. There was mention of how certain candidates have their own websites or are on Friendster, for example. Chiz Escudero, Francis Pangilinan -- were some of the more popular candidates mentioned. It made me wonder why the station, for example, chose to talk about these candidates when they were already well known to begin with. Being on the internet, shouldn't add much to their campaign anymore. It was good that they also mentioned Trillanes (who is unable to really campaign) but why was there no mention of the blogs of the Kapatiran candidates, for example?

I hope that in the coming days, media will be able to grant more space and air time to lesser known candidates who may not have as much money to spend as the more established politicians. Can't do anything about it. The way our system is, more popular names with funds to spend will really have an advantage.

I wonder when this scenario will change?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Should You Fill Up Your Ballot with 12 Names?

In the coming May 2007 Philippine elections, voters will need to choose 12 senatorial bets. I read a news item some days back that Mr. Bill Luz (of the Makati Business Club and NAMFREL) was urging voters to fill up all 12 spaces on their ballots. His statement, if he was quoted correctly was that "By abstaining, you're making it easier for other people to enter the Magic 12."

Why do people (like me) leave some spaces in their ballot blank or why do they just put a line across the blank spaces so that no one can write another name on it? There are not enough quality candidates, that's why. My vote is important and so I will not give it to someone just because I fear that a "lousy bet" will make it. It's not my fault that they won. It's the fault of the people who voted for them. That's why I don't think I will be forcing myself to fill up all the 12 spaces with the names of people I don't actually like. Why compromise?

So in the coming elections, vote for whom you like. I hope you like Dr. Martin Bautista, Sonia Roco, and Adrian Sison as I will be voting for them. Am still thinking if I will vote for Zosimo Paredes. If I do decide to vote for him, then I'll have four names on my ballot. As for the rest, am not particularly fond of politicians who have been around for so long and have shifted allegiances from here to there; who just seem to oppose anything and everything; who rely on "name recall;" and who have "super popular wives" to boost their political standing.

I am for people who are not typical politicians. For those who have not yet held any elective post but are not actors or actresses or sportspeople. I am for Kapatiran because they say they will work for the abolition of the pork barrel! Imagine that?

You still have more than a month to make up your mind. Please vote but please vote wisely.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Dr. Martin D. Bautista for Senator

So, have you decided on who will be in your list of 12 senators? I think I now have a list of 3 names.

I caught a show on ANC last night on Alternative Candidates. It featured Danton Remoto (didn't know he was running for Senator), Dr. Martin D. Bautista, and Zosimo Paredes. Dr. Bautista and Mr. Paredes are both with Kapatiran, a group committed to "put God in politics" by focusing on virtue, duty, transparency, public accountability, and good citizenship.

My favorite writer, Conrado de Quiros, has already come out strongly with two columns endorsing Dr. Martin D. Bautista. I am inclined to vote for him -- not because he is a Bautista (we are not related) and not because he is a U.P. graduate (well, that helps) but because he is a new name, a new face, with a good story.

Dr. Martin D. Bautista is a UP College of Medicine 1989 graduate and is a US-trained gastroenterologist. After years of living and working in the US, he came back to the Philippines with his wife, a US trained pulmonologist, and their four daughters.

At a time when most Filipinos would give anything to get out of the country, it is refreshing to see a doctor coming back and even trying to run for the Senate. Sure, you say, he's had his chance and is probably so comfortable financially that he can now afford to come back and live here in the Philippines again -- that is beside the point. I have had it with old names and the usual faces. It is time for non-politicians (and non showbiz and sports people too) to have a say in how this country is run.

Who are my candidates as of now? Dr. Martin Bautista, Danton Remoto (well his thrust is public education and his presence should make the Senate more interesting), and of course, Sonia Roco. Her thrust is also education and it is no secret that I voted for Raul Roco in the last election. She hasn't held any public position in the past and so that makes her a new face too.

So, will you let me know the candidates that you will be voting or not be voting for?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pacquiao for Congressman?

Looks like it's true that Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, the Pambansang Kamao, has finally decided to throw his gloves into the political ring. News reports have it that Manny Pacquiao will be running for Congress in the first district of South Cotabato against Darlene Antonino Custodio.

Will he win? I hope not. He may have our support in all his boxing matches but in this fight, I think the Philippine nation will be divided. All offense meant -- What does Manny Pacquiao know about legislation? I know it's a stupid question just looking at some people we have in Congress (and even in the Senate) but don't we want to move away from politics which is just anchored on popularity and name recall?

I don't know about Manny but I guess he can't see through the motives of people who have been egging him to run. I am sure they will just use him for their own political or economic ambitions. Am sure Darlene Custodio is likewise a target of the administration as she has been very vocal about her support for the impeachment of GMA.

Oh well, Manny Pacquiao is free to make his own choices just as the Filipino voter is also free to make his or her own choice. To Manny, you don't need to be a politician to help people out. I think you make more people happy by sticking to the thing that you do best which is boxing. Then again, that's just my opinion.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Same Old, Same Old

Plastered all over the newspapers today are the names and faces of candidates who intend to run for the Senate in the coming May 2007 elections. Why do I get the feeling that I am voting in an election that has already been concluded? That's probably the case since save for one or two new faces, these are the same old people who have been around and who have led us to today's political scene in the Philippines. Not very encouraging I tell you.

Why am I also not surprised that Francis Pangilinan has decided to run as an independent candidate? Well, with Sharon Cuneta for a wife and with kids Frankie and Miel all over our television sets, who needs the backing of a party? Such is the way of Philippine politics.

There's really not much to look forward to with the coming elections. When will we get to see new names? Names that will inspire and re-kindle hope? I guess those new names are busy doing their own bit of good in their respective fields and are probably allergic to the world of Philippine politics.

Monday, February 5, 2007

There's No Business Like Philippine Politics

Here in the Philippines, the word politics is probably spelled this way: S-H-O-W-B-I-Z. And why not? Those who win the elections in this country are not necessarily the most qualified but more often than not, those with name recall, have access to media, and are remotely related to the entertainment scene.

The political ads have already started bombarding us on television: We have "Ang Gara ng buhay;" Zubiri talking about the Biofuels Law (really now); and we have "Tol" Michael Defensor, among others. I don't have a very high regard for television and the programs the stations push but I didn't imagine it could get more terrible. Groan.

Am already starting to have a headache thinking of whom to vote for in May 2007. Seems like I don't really have much of a choice. I feel more like a casting director rather than a voter. What do you expect from a crop of candidates which includes one who would hire Boy Abunda to advise him on his campaign?

Oh well. We'll see how many "credible" people get elected this May. Where are the men of action? Those who do not think that everything in politics is just for show?

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Web as a Political Tool

In the coming days, we will see who among the politicians will be running for senator, congressman, the works. It will also be interesting to see how each candidate will use the web or internet for his/her campaign.

Gone are the days when politicians can just do a song-and-dance, go on a campaign sortie with well-known celebrities, and then hope to win an election. In addition to newspapers, television, radio, and cellphones, campaign strategists must now take a serious look at how the internet will figure in their over-all campaign approach.

In the United States, the presidential election will be held in 2008. This early, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, both senators, have already turned to the web to start their presidential campaign. I watched both Hillary and Barack's videos on their respective websites and although my opinion does not count as I am not a U.S. voter, I found Barack's video more natural and less scripted.

Will the local politicians in the Philippines also use the web to the same extent? Will they blog? Will they write their replies to all the issues that are sure to come up against them? Will they purchase "ad spots" in popular websites? Will the website owners allow politicians they don't believe in to put ads in their sites in exchange for money? Would you be willing to advertise a politician for free if you believed in him or her?

Interesting times ahead, folks. And I thought the Philippine elections couldn't get more exciting. =)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Carnival is Here (Eto Na Ang Perya ng Bayan)

It is only January 2007 but already, as is our country's habit, when you read the newspapers; when you listen to AM radio; when you watch television -- you will be bombarded daily by talk about the May 2007 national and local elections here in the Philippines. Groan.

Politicians are now in "election mode." That means either nothing will move (because everyone is busy thinking of the campaign) or everything will move quicker and faster (as they woo voters) but only until May 2007. Money will flow left and right so people are generally happy.

Will anything change with the coming elections? I've voted in too many elections to know that things will probably not change. Already, am hearing the same old names and seeing the same old faces. Sa iyo ang San Juan, Akin ang San Juan (San Juan is yours and it is mine too.) If news reports are to be believed, the mother of JV Ejercito will slug it out with the wife of Jinggoy Estrada in the mayoralty race in San Juan. Does an Ejercito or an Estrada always have to be at the helm of San Juan?

There are talks nowadays of Erap being freed from his Tanay resthouse. Why now, all of a sudden? If we release Erap now, let's return him to Malacanang. =) He was elected president anyway.

I don't know about you but this election thing is getting more tiring as the years go by. I've always voted in every election in the past and I'm still not getting the government that I think I deserve. Maybe it's time to do something different and skip the elections altogether? I wonder, shall I get better results?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Seventy Years is All We Have?

Did you read that recent article which said that the life expectancy of Filipinos has improved from 50 years old in the 1940s to 70 years old these days? The finding was based on a study made by the Department of Health (DOH), if am not mistaken, and it is also stated that females generally outlive males by 2 years (only!). Those who are not likely to reach 70 years old or the average life expectancy are those who have stressful jobs. Does that mean that I will live beyond 70 if I don't have a job now?

Kidding aside, the 70 years life expectancy even has some Biblical basis. In the book of Psalms, for example, there is a Psalm which goes: "Seventy years is all we have. Eighty if we are strong..." I guess, 80 (or even a hundred) should be the goal for me.

It is interesting to note though that the same study says that the reason for the longer life span is a "healthier lifestyle." I think I disagree. I refuse to believe that people nowadays are more conscious of their health than say, 50 years ago? In fact, I would daresay that people today live "more stressful" lifestyles. We are stuck in traffic more often, work harder, inhale more pollution, eat more greasy and processed food -- than our parents ever did. Sure, they probably didn't have gyms and South Beach diets in the olden days but I don't think they needed it much then.

So what changed? Advances in medical science most probably. We are diagnosing more illnesses now and are discovering more cures. In the early days, people most probably just dropped dead without knowing what was wrong with them or without even having the chance to do something about it.

Well, in life there is always good news and bad news. What's the bad news? Life is more stress-filled these days. What's the good news? You'll live longer despite the stresses.

Up to what age would you like to stay around? Personally -- I think living to 60 will be alright; up to 70, a blessing; up till 80, a bonus; until 90, a miracle; and up to 100? I don't think my brain could think much of it even if I wanted to. Whatever the length of our days, let us be thankful. May you and I live long and healthy. I wonder, will blogs still exist when I'm 60?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New 2007!

Happy New Year everybody! Manigong Bagong Taon as we would say in our native Filipino language. If you happen to be reading this, then there is already enough reason to rejoice. We're still alive at the start of 2007 and that is blessing enough.

I haven't been reading the newspapers at all in the last few days, in the busy-ness of the Christmas season. I should get back to my regular routine starting today. Still, I did get to glance at the news every now and then and heard about the hanging of Saddam, the earthquake in Taiwan (which has made the internet over here in the Philippines painfully slow), the turning over of custody of Smith to the Americans, and that 91% of Filipinos face the New Year with hope.

That is a comforting thought. That despite our difficulties here in our country, majority of the Filipinos still face 2007 with hope in their hearts. That's what keeps us alive and smiling, I guess. When hope is thrown out of the window, it must be time to stop breathing altogether. So, keep hoping and keep smiling. Look beyond GMA and Philippine politics. There is a God that sees order amid the chaos that we, mere mortals, do not understand.

God has great plans for you and I in 2007. Let His plan unfold. Have a blessed New Year everybody.