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Bisaya Bloggers » 2006 » January

Jan 30 2006

No Small Pleasure


A LITTLE GOES a long, long way. So attests a song, though getting the knockout break is often as farfetched as fists raised at the moon. Talk about the ongoing euphoria over Pacman’s punches—to the tune of more than two million dollars— and abject is the obvious about us: We are suckers for sharks. Who wants to be a small fry forever, anyway, and runs against the tide where the jackpot—dangled in the glut of game shows and talent searches— looms like a hook for our fish-mouths?Tragic but true: the worth of one’s hard work and dedication to duty can scarcely keep one’s neck above water. In this country, deliverance from dire straits comes more often and only when one slaves it out overseas. Or wins the lotto. Where good fortune is synonymous to a gamble, small wonder why many go with the flow of corruption and pyramid schemes.
Nobody, indeed, wants to be stuck in the shallows when the rest are breezing through the crests in the ocean. That, in a nutshell, is what Big Time, a small-budgeted Filipino film (having its last day today at SM Cinema), brings to the fore. With astonishing insights into the Pinoy soul, edgy does it as it packs a tidal wave of a wallop into our Third World theatre of the absurd.

Where Peque Gallaga’s Pinoy Blonde sank under the unwieldy cargo of Quentin Tarantino’s influence, Big Time plumbs the depths of the Filipino experience, at once grim and graceful with humor, and dares to be ingenious in unfurling its sails for international ports of call. In the tradition of heist-centered capers like Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, this indie production earns its own howls by the originality of its own outrage.

Rated A by the Film Ratings Board, Big Time also boasts of a cornucopia of fine performances by Michael de Mesa, Nor Domingo, Winston Elizalde, Jamie Wilson, and Joanne Miller. But what makes this little magic of a movie smells of a Sundance hit is its storytelling audacity (it already won Best Screenplay, aside from Best Sound in last year’s Cinemanila festival of independent films).

Raring to raise the bar of their petty felony, two hustler-friends found themselves caught, along with a megastar-wannabe, in the web of a crime lord’s son who brews up a scheme out of his father’s shadow by staging his own kidnapping. Pretty simple plot, that. But it’s a testament to the kick-ass sense and sensibility of the film’s creative tandem (director Mark Cornejo and co-writer Coreen “Monster” Jimenez) that the film is buoyant with a crosscurrent of characters stirring up a sea of pop-culture references— from showbiz to mulcter’s monkey business to prayer rallies— with the ease of a ripple. It’s like seeing Lino Brocka’s claustrophobic world once again, but this time through the amused eyes of Ishmael Bernal that could have winked at the film’s in-your-face vibe worthy of an MTV.

Brace for a headshake and a chuckle out of this dark comedy where the crux of the narrative takes place in a safe house where discarded mannequins share space with a cabal of dreamers. Where the joke of a wish or prayer denied resounds with a thud softened only by the sound of Apo Hiking Society crooning, “Pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay”. Where ghosts of the hopeful speak, wryly so, of what could have been from their lives no more substantial than a puddle of rain.

(From my column So To Speak in Sun.Star Cebu)

Jan 26 2006

Paggunita II

Paggunita II

Ginugunita ko ngayon ang panahong iyon. Panahon ng pamumulaklak ng mga dapdap. Tuwing gabi iniilawan ng di ko mabilang na mga alitaptap ang puno ng dapdap. Panahong ayon sa mga haka ay nagsasaya ang mga nilalang na nananahan sa dapdap. Sa malaking puno ng dapdap. Malaking-malaki sapagkat hindi ito kayang yapusin ng apat katao.

Panahon iyon na malakas ang kapangyarihan ng mga tagbaya sa aking isip. Nararamdaman ko sila sa mga galaw ng paligid. Sa pag-ihip ng hangin. Sa Kaluskos ng kogonan. Sa alingayngay ng mga langkay. Sa lagaslas ng dalisay na kailugang minsang naging tahanan ng aking mga pangarap.

Ginugunita ko ang panahong iyon. Panahong pinili kong maglagalag sa nakakubling daigdig ng mga nilalang na hindi nakikita ng paningin kundi ng pang-unawa. Naririnig ko ang kanilang mga bulong sa hangin. Ang paanas nilang kwentuhan sa tuwing ako’y dumaraan sa kanilang mga tarangkahang bato. Ginugunita ko ang panahong iyon. Sapagkat iyon ang panahong isinilang ang maraming ako na tinatawag ko ngayong ako.Panahon iyon ng mga paligsahan kung sino ang unang makakuha sa puting bato na inihahagis sa pinakamalalim na bahagi ng ilog. Kung sino ang pinakamagaling sa pagsisid ng kailaliman ng ilog. Kung sino ang pinakamagaling tumalon mula sa punong nakadungaw sa ilog. Panahon iyong ang lahat ay pakikipaglaro sa mga batang tagbayang umaapaw sa sigla ng kabataan. Ginugunita ko ang panahong iyon. Doon nagsimula ang serye ng maraming gunita. Ng mga alaala. Ng mga pangarap. Sapagkat sa bawat pagtampisaw sa dalisay na ilog, humuhugis sa mga labi ang galak na damang-dama. Simpleng kaligayahan na tumatagos sa ubod ng pagkanilalang. Iyon ay nangyayari sa iba’t ibang pagkakataon habang umuusad ang sukat ng tangkad at timbang. Iyon ay nangyayari sa iba’t ibang pagkakataong iba’t ibang kababatang babae ang pinagmamasdang nagtatampisaw sa ilog. Sa ilog na nananatiling dalisay sa isip. Sa ilog na walang kamatayan sa aking isip. Sa ilog na humuhugot ng lakas sa sinapupunan ng kabundukang tahanan ng mga ihalas. Ng mga nilalang sa ilang. Ng hindi mabilang na mga tagbayang nabubuhay sa salimbibig na mga nanangen mula pa noong nagpasyang galugarin ito ng lipi ni buuy Agyu.Habang lumilipas ang panahong iyon, unti-unting nagbabanyuhay ang lahat tungo sa pagiging alaala. Sa pagiging gunita. Habang lumilipas ang panahong iyon, lumilipas din silang lahat sa aking buhay. Silang mga naisama sa pangarap habang dinarama ang hiwaga ng ilog. Ang hindi maisalarawang ligayang hatid ng ilog.Habang lumilipas ang panahon, isa-isa silang naglaho sa tanawin ng daigdig na iyon. Nawala na ang kanilang mga ngiti. Ang umaapaw na sigla habang naghaharutan sa ilog. Isa-isa, sunud-sunod silang naglaho sa daigdig na iyon. Silang mga pinagmamasdan ko noon habang masayang naglulunoy sa ilog. Sa dalisay na ilog. Sa ilog na hanggang ngayon ay mahiwaga pa rin sa aking isipan.Ginugunita ko ang lahat na iyon. Ginugunita ko upang kahit sa alaala’y madamang muli ang hiwagang ilang taon na ring nais kong madama. Ang hiwagang unang nagmulat sa akin sa mga pangarap. Mga pangarap habang ang pinagmamasdan kong mga babae’y masayang-masayang nagtatampisaw sa hiwagang iyon.Dumating sa panahong iyon ang yugtong unang nagmulat kung ano ang kawalan. Sapagkat dumating ang yugtong lahat sila’y naglaho sa daigdig na iyon. Sa yugto ng panahong iyon, ang lahat ay nagbabanyuhay sa katahimikan. Ang lagaslas ng ilog, ang galaw ng simoy, ang gaspang at kinis ng mga bato, luntiang pagyabong at ginintuang pangangalirang ng mga kogon, ang pagtayog at paglago ng mga puno, ang bughaw ng langit, ang puti at itim ng mga ulap, at mga wika sa sarili’y sumasanib lahat sa katahimikan. Sa katahimikang buhay na buhay sa aking isip.Ginugunita ko ang lahat sa panahong iyon. Ang lahat na yugto sa panahong iyon. Iyon ang panahong malakas ang kapangyarihan ng mga tagbaya sa aking isip. Panahong binabalot ng hiwaga ang gabi. Hiwaga ng mga nanangen ni Nanay Siling. Hiwaga ng mga limbay ni Nanay Siling. Hiwaga ng mismong katauhan ni Nanay Siling. Oo, si Nanay Siling na hanggang ngayon ay hindi ko nalubos ang pagkilala. Sapagkat sa panahong iyon, walang puwang ang pag-alam sa mga hiwaga. Sapagkat sa panahong iyon sapat nang madama ang hiwaga. Sapagkat hindi iyon ang panahon ng pagtuklas. Sapagkat hindi natutuklasan ang hiwagang bumabalot sa gabi. Hindi natutuklasan ang hiwaga ng mga nanangen at mga limbay. Sapat nang marinig. Sapat nang marinig. Sapat nang marinig sa bawat gabing pabilog kaming nakikinig sa mga nanangen at mga limbay habang paandap-andap ang gasera.Ginugunita ko ang lahat ngayon. Ngayong nararamdaman kong muli ang silig ng ilog sa aking dibdib. Dalisay na dalisay sa alaala. Sariwa. Malinaw na malinaw. Kitang-kita ang mga makukulay na mga tambilolo at mga angang palipat-lipat sa batuhan sa ilalim ng pusod ng ilog. Ang ilog na nalalasahan ko pa hanggang ngayon. Sapagkat walang kasintamis ang sabaw ng kaybad mula sa bagangbangan. Walang kasintamis. Walang kasingsarap ang kaybad. Ah! Nalalasahan ko ngayon ang ilog. Nararamdaman ko ang agos. Nararamdaman ko ang silig. Ang lakas. Ang dalisay na ilog. Sariwang-sariwa sa alaala. Buhay na buhay sa gunita. Mahiwaga. Hindi kailangang tuklasin ang hiwaga. sapagkat mas masarap itong namnamin sa bawat dapithapong tuluy-tuloy ang pagsaklang ng kape habang nagkukwentuhan. Mas masarap itong namnamin sa bawat bukang-liwayway na sinasalubong ng tuluy-tuloy na pagsaklang ng kape habang nagkukwentuhan. Sapagkat iyon ang mahalaga sa buhay. Ang madama ang hiwaga nito. Ang malasap ang bawat sandali.Iyon ang panahong nagising ang libu-libong ako sa aking sarili. Sapagkat sa mga panahon ng pag-iisa, natutuklasan kong hindi ako nag-iisa. Ginugunita ko ang lahat na ito sapagkat matagal na panahong nakatulog ako. Nakatulog ang mga ako. At sa mga gunitang ito, nagigising silang lahat. Silang mga hitik ang isip sa pangarap. Silang mga sagana sa pangitain ang pananaw. Silang mga nakakarinig sa anasan ng mga tagbaya. Silang mga nakikipaghabulan sa mga batang tagbaya. Silang mga umaakyat-panaog sa mga puno. Silang mga hindi maubusan ng ngiti. Silang mga malalakas. Silang mga naghahangad ng lakas. Silang mga ako na nakatulog sa proseso ng domestikasyong ipinagkamaling edukasyon noon. Silang mga nakatulog sa nakakaantok na «siyensiyang» inilalako sa kuwadradong mga sulok na salat sa hiwaga’t pang-unawa sa buhay.Ah! Ginugunita ko ngayon ang panahong iyon. Sapagkat ngayon ang panahon ng paggising. Ito ang panahon ng pagbangon. Ngayon ang panahong kailangan ang hiwaga ng mga ilog. Ngayon ang panahong kailangan ang hiwaga ng kabundukan. Ngayon ang panahong kailangan ang kalinga ng mga dampa sa kanayunan. Ngayon ang panahong Kailangan ang hiwaga ng mga daang-kalabaw. Ngayon ang panahong kailangan ang lakas ng mga ilog, ang kalinga ng lupa, ang hiwaga ng dalisdis at gulod, ang daang inihahapag ng mga pilapil, ang pula ng mga dapithapon, ang hiwaga, ang hiwaga, ang hiwaga ng kalikasan, ng tao, ng daigdig, ng buhay! Ah! Ginugunita ko ang lahat ngayon.Ang lahat ay nagbabanyuhay sa alaala, sa gunita, sa hiwaga. Habang umuusad ang sukat ng tangkad at timbang. Habang umaatras ang sukat ng tangkad at timbang. Hanggang sa mawalan ng panimbang. Hanggang sa kukunin ang sukat ng tangkad. At magbabanyuhay ang lahat sa alaala, sa gunita, sa hiwaga.Ginugunita ko ngayon ang panahong iyon. Dinadama ang bawat hiwaga. Habang ang lahat ay nagbabanyuhay sa katahimikan. Sa katahimikang buhay na buhay sa aking alaala. Ginugunita ko ang panahong iyon. Ang panahong maraming panahon upang maggising ang libu-libong ako. Ginugunita ko ang panahong iyon. Ngayong ang panahon ay panahon ng paggising. Ngayong ang panahon ay panahon ng pagbangon.Hadi ta aglipati sa kagpamatbat. Ta bul-og su mahius makalipat na hadi tagkatigayun. Bul-og su hura din hanaw ku inu sa kaula-ula hu mga laas su anay, na hura daan gayud maayad ha abin.Hala, dasang kaw mga dadatuen! Dasang kaw mga apo hi Agyu! Dasang! Dasang! Dasang!

Dalisay ang ilog sa aking gunita. Sariwa ang hangin sa aking alaala. Sagana ang lupa sa aking isip.Panahon ngayon ng pagbangon. ###

Jan 24 2006

At the Crossroads of Creation


EVERY WRITER worth the ground under his feet knows losing one’s head in the ether of imagination is a risk too real for comfort. It’s a tightrope act no less of a daze than keeping one’s toehold on truth between the devil and the deep blue sea: escapism from and engagement with the world. Indeed, to find a room of one’s own is also to run the peril of shutting one’s self off till the walls crumble on creativity’s reason for being— awareness, empathy, discovery.

«A retreat from the world can be a perilous journey.» So asserts the title of Jonathan Rosen’s essay printed in The New York Times:
THE JEWISH MYSTICS believed that God, in order to create the world, had to make himself smaller. I consoled myself with this notion when my daughter was born and I had to move my office out of the large spare bedroom and into the maid’s room.

Long before my move, I’d been keenly aware of the weird expansions and contractions necessitated by creative life, particularly the painful paradox that to write about the world, you have to retreat from it. Not completely, of course. I like the way Walt Whitman described himself: «Both in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.»Even with that credo in mind, writing is lonely work. For Virginia Woolf it wasn’t glorious travels or vast experience but a room of one’s own that the writer needs most. She knew you can only advance by retreating. Of course her maid’s room probably had a maid in it, which no doubt took the edge off the solitude.But all writers wind up metaphorically in the servants’ quarters. When you write, you’re taking orders from somewhere — a higher (or at least a lower) power — and the work isn’t always pretty. I was appalled to discover that my first novel, «Eve’s Apple,» was about a woman starving herself and a man madly in love with her and morbidly fascinated by her illness. It is not the novel I thought I would write, not how I wished to enter the world. But I was forced to say, like Prospero pointing at Caliban, «This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.»

The inner journey is often a perilous one. Even the divine contraction was fraught with danger. The mystics concluded that because God had to shrink in order to make room for the world, he was no longer all-powerful. The vessels intended to receive his glory broke, scattering divine sparks all over the place and introducing imperfection into the world, presumably explaining why the world is full of flawed characters and horrific plot twists. All I had to do was install a second phone line.

But even if I do not have to worry about my superabundant energy overflowing inadequate containers (if only I did!), stepping out of life can be disorienting. It can even seem a little humiliating, especially in New York City, with the busy world streaming past my windows. I became keenly aware of this when, along with our daughter, my household acquired a nanny. She only works three days a week, but her presence has made me awkwardly aware of just what my writing day looks like.
Our nanny’s husband is a welder and works outdoors in all kinds of weather. What does she think when she sees me, a grown man who goes to work in his bedroom slippers? Or when I wander out of my little room at midday, while my daughter is taking a nap, to lie on the couch with a book? Or if I sit by the window staring out for a while? Or if the need to figure out a certain scene or a certain sentence — or the need to escape from a certain scene or a certain sentence — drives me from my desk over to, say, a box of cereal for a late-morning snack.Keats referred to the poet’s “diligent Indolence,” a state of suspended activity necessary for creativity. On days when I’m really diligent, I might even take a nap, not unlike my daughter who, after 12 hours at night, still needs a little supplementary sleep to feel refreshed. Play, after all, is hard work; Anna Freud called play the work of children. And perhaps of writers, too.Play is work; inside is outside; indolence is activity. One might add that the imaginary is real, and introspection is actually a form of social research. No wonder I have to take a nap from time to time. Eventually one must put aside the paradoxes and the explanations and simply write.But even then I find that the paradoxes make their way into the writing. «The Talmud and the Internet,» my most recent book, despite its title and subject, wound up having at its core a description of my two grandmothers. In a book about harmonizing unlikely elements, nothing challenged me more than my own contradictory inheritance: one of my grandmothers lived a long and prosperous American life; my other grandmother was murdered by Nazis.

Each life and death pointed to radically different conclusions about the nature of the world, of human conduct. The best I could do was put them side by side and, in the manner of the Talmud, let them each stand as point and counterpoint, neither dissolving into the other. I let my grandmothers take their place alongside all the famous figures in my book, Talmud sages and great writers and historical figures, because without that personal element my public speculations seemed weirdly abstract. There’s always a piece of writing that for me must be close to home, the string that binds the balloon to the earth.

I was at some level as embarrassed to find myself writing about my grandmothers as I was to find myself writing about a self-starving woman. Where was the grand picaresque American adventure I had always imagined I would create? What were my grandmothers doing in the middle of everything, calling me home? The wonderful thing about writing is that it forces you to confront yourself in a way you don’t usually have to. That is, needless to say, also the terrible thing.I used to waste my energy envying an earlier generation of Jewish writers, children of immigrants who seemed umbilically linked to authentic experience I was born too late for. They were fueled by a world-conquering hunger that made their protagonists born-again Don Quixotes. Well, as Jorge Luis Borges wrote, «The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.» This is a universal problem, not a literary one. Everybody has to find his own voice, whether or not he is a writer.This is why all the arcane things a writer discovers about his craft aren’t really arcane. Everybody has to make the inner descent into himself, everybody needs metaphors to live by, and everybody has to order the chaos of experience into some kind of narrative, if only in the depths of dream-fashioning sleep. In that regard, the writer who stays home is really a kind of everyman. There should be more novels about him.He is also something of an immigrant himself, exploring the world and groping for the words that will help him master it. And staying at home has taught me something else: my daughter is a kind of immigrant, too. I hear her as I write this; she is in her highchair in the kitchen, just outside my door, being fed her lunch. She is learning to say brief truncated words: «nana» for banana; «mih» for milk. Soon enough she will know my language so well that the physical world she is on such intimate terms with may seem abstract, reaching her through a muffling amnion of mediating words.Inevitably my home is becoming a sort of melting pot for my daughter. She cannot go through life yanking the phone off the hook, pointing at things and screaming if she doesn’t get them. She cannot (very important) push open the door of my maid’s room whenever she wants.And though this process of assimilation is necessary, it has a small element of sadness in it for me. Because I so love her untutored, marveling attitude to the world. I love her deep attach-ment to sunlight, the way she pokes the water in her bathtub to test its properties, the way she gapes at the mystery of a face, laughing in amazement.

«Not in entire forgetfulness and not in utter nakedness but trailing clouds of glory do we come,» Wordsworth wrote. For him God himself was «our home,» the Old Country where we all once lived and for which we all secretly pine. On earth we learn a new language. But if we manage to keep the trace of an accent from the mysterious place we once inhabited, so much the better for us.

Certainly all my favorite writers have retained their attitude of wonder. And I think this matters to me most about writing, beyond history and politics, plot and structure, the literal and symbolic. Of course one wants all those things, too. But there is something much more primitive and simple and elusive that lies at the core of writing that has to do with the sheer mystery of the created world. For me it is what links a cave painting to a page of «Ulysses.”

Perhaps it is the need to approach this mystery that explains why I am a grown man who stays home with the nanny when other people are going to work. And why, as I sit in the maid’s room proudly overhearing my daughter speak her first words in my language, I find myself hoping I will capture a few forgotten elements of hers.

Jan 23 2006

Daghang Salamat

In behalf of SineBuano and Handuraw Events Cafe, we’d like to thank all those who took time to be part of SALIDA IV. The band, the sponsors, filmmakers and of course the audience. Thank you everyone for making SALIDA a success!Watch out for the next SALIDA event in a few months!

Daghang Salamat! Padayon!

Jan 20 2006

RUTKOFF-AMORES NUPTIALS


January 14th 2006 (a “Saturday the 14th”) marks a special day for the Rutkoff’s of the USA and the Amores’ of Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines. On this memorable day, Mr. Joshua Rutkoff and Dr. Lynn Amores were married in a unique and solemn garden-wedding ceremony at the Vano Beach Resort.“Unique”. The ceremony was a well meshed hybrid of a traditional Filipino Catholic wedding and a Jewish wedding.“Solemn”. The affair was attended by a small crowd from all corners of the world bound by a common thread. Josh and Lynn know them all – relatives distant and close, personal friends and acquaintances. The principal sponsors (below), are all Lynn’s uncles and aunties from both hemispheres.

The groom’s family from the USA: (left to right) Cousin Adam, Mom Jane, Sister Rebekah, Cousin Reshel, Dad Peter

The bride’s family from Mactan Island: (left to right) Sister Karen, Mom Luz, Dad Doc, Brother Algin

The Principal Sponsors: Auntie Tita Escario (Danville, Virginia), Auntie Inday Amores-Robison (San Antonio, Texas), Auntie Aida Tablante (Cebu City, Philippines), Auntie Joy Cinco (Charleston, West Virginia), Auntie Elsie Zabala (California), Auntie Bea (Dr. Auditor, Charleston, West Virginia), Auntie Ging-Ging (Dr. Sadorra, Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Ling-Ling (Dr. Cinco, Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Tino (Dr. Amores, Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Spanky (Dr. Tablante, Cebu City, Philippines), Uncle Udo (Dr. Auditor, Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Virgil Sadorra (Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Mar (Dr. Escario, Danville, Virginia), Perry (Dr. Lee, Charleston, West Virginia), Uncle Mario (Dr. Amores, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines). Not in photo, Auntie Vangie Feliciano (New Jersey) The Oberlin Gang: Josh and Lynn are graduates of Oberlin College, a small, exclusive private college in the Ohio heartland.

The traditional cutting of the cake.

Jan 20 2006

In Praise of Spiders


SOME SQUIRM at the sight of spiders. Creepy, they say. Never mind if those crawlies are nowhere near the tarantula’s level.Then again, I’d stick my neck out to vouch for one of the world’s most overlooked natural wonders, a perfect model for order and harmony, wrought out of such silken concentration worthy of a Zen master, with such craftmanship packed at once with lethal potency and fagility enough to give monks a run for their meditation, an ode to solitude: the spider’s web.

No wonder, a character in Bergman’s film Through a Glass Darkly had visions of God as a giant spider.

Caught in his own fantasy, my eldest son Golli (short for Gabriel Ollivan) thinks he is Spider-Man. God bless the power of imagination. Stuck myself in the web of my own flights of fancy, I hope he’d grow up to understand and empathize in due time his father’s own thread of longing for fortitude and grace.

Here’s my first published poem (which I have recently revised since it was printed in the Philippines Free Press, 4 June 1994 issue) shortly after my creative writing fellowship at the 1994 National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete:

SPIDER SENSE

He thinks of how a spider makes its web, how the web is torn/ by people with brooms, insects, rapacious birds; how the spider/ rebuilds and rebuilds, until the wind takes the web and breaks it and flicks it into heaven’s blue and innocent immensity..Stephen Dobyns Windowingthe whitenessof the wind,the blind’s incandescencestraight from the storm’s eye as I

see a web, unspidered.

dead, I hear
the mourners in the living room chanting my name.My shadow looms in a corner,reaching for cobwebs whilea whorl of gossamerwhirls in my head, darkly,lest they’d see me, skull-shavenor with hairs graying inthe wee hoursof awareness.

Jan 19 2006

Weddings!

These days, I feel like I am besieged by wedding talk. Wherever I go, there’s some wedding planning going on. Whether it’s in the blog world or in the «real» world, wedding talk is just everywhere. I have friends who have gotten married recently and many more who are actually getting married soon. The first one for this year will be held this Saturday. Unfortunately, I can’t make it as I

Jan 19 2006

anong meron ang taong happy?

while watching tv one night, a new commercial caught my attention. the ad asks, «anong meron ang taong happy?» it was some sort of a teaser. i don’t have any idea on what the commercial is all about, or what kind of product are they trying to sell.

ano nga bang meron sa taong happy? i was thinking of different products such as shampoo, laundry soap, drinks, food, something that would involve the family. i don’t know why i was thinking of these things. days after, the question was answered. it turned out that they are endorsing a particular multivitamin brand that gives you the energy that you need to do the things that will make you happy.

i was not satisfied with the advertisement, maybe because i was not able to absorb the message yet. since i was registered with the unlimited text promo, i tried sending my friends with this question: «R U HAPI? IF YES, WAT MAKES U HAPI & Y?» i wanted to know their answers and prove that we do not need to buy that vitamins to be happy.

only 4 out of almost 20 recipients answered my question. these are their answers:

violet: God’s presence in my life, rain, 4 in d morning, family, friends, byfriend(?)! buks! buks! fud! movies! beach! travel! old hauses! crushes! being free! 🙂

irene: im hapi…y? coz im alive…:)

tricia: hapi? yap, im hapi kc im enjoyingmy new job kc khit pressured eh ok p din kc challenging un job. im hapi dn kc satisfied me sa sahod ko. im 80% hapi. f mgkalovlyf me adtl 20% para complete hapines. pro khit la lovlyf im hapi. d me 2lad ni irene depres…hahaha!

amor: most of d times, yes im happy bec. i am freeto do what i wana do. sometimes im not coz i think too much of whats gonna happen to me in d future. tnx! 🙂

none of them answered vitamins. i was happy because based on their answers, i was able to prove that we don’t need vitamins to be happy. if you were to ask me that text question, my answer would be…

yes, im happy because…

1. i have friends who are willing to answer my text messages even if some of the questions are somewhat weird;
2. all 4 of them are happy;
3. i can still smell my favorite cologne;
4. i can still taste the delicious breakfast every morning;
5. i can still feel the warmth of the sun;
6. i can still listen to my favorite songs;
7. i was able to see a dragonfly just recently (i rarely see dragonflies these days);
8. i can still find enough reasons to smile everyday;
9. i still believe in love; and
the list goes on, and on, and on…

with all these answers, i think the vitamin ad is partly right in saying that a happy person has lots of energy. we need energy to do all the things that makes us happy. but true happiness comes from the simple things that make our world a happier place to live in.

— — — — — — — — — — —

*sa apat na sumagot sa tanong ko, salamat! alam ko unlimited din kayo kaya kayo nagreply…hehehe! 🙂

*sa mga hindi sumagot, salamat din! alam ko hindi kayo unlimited kaya hindi kayo nagreply, hahaha! 🙂

Jan 18 2006

My Other Inbox

Lunchtime at work today, I heard my cellphone beep. Just a little tweek only me can hear though. I received an SMS from a cousin-confirming her new number, a cousin-in-law-thanking for the christmas gift she got from us and from dear old friend Balot answering an inquiry. Because I have a few minutes left before the obligatory «washroom routine» after lunch, I tinkered with my cellphone’s inbox and scrolled through a number of messages. Amazing how I wasn’t able to erase 76 messages sent to me since March last year. I decided then to clean my inbox by deleting the messages and of course, the task also involves reading each message. One of the messages informed me of Pope John Paul’s death, next came the announcement that a German Cardinal was elected to head the Roman Catholic Church. There were Easter messages, Mother’s Day greetings, anniversary hello, birthday wishes, Christmas and New Year’s messages all stored in my inbox, too. I was even having fun re-reading all those news from friends but as soon as I realized that my alloted lunch break is almost over, I put my phone back in my bag pocket without even deleting a single message.

Tonight, I will go over those messages again but I wonder, will I be able to accomplished emptying my inbox with those golden messages stored in it? I just wonder… but then again, I need to and I have to give room for incoming messages. If only I could print those messages……

Jan 18 2006

Looking Back: The Best Filipino Film of 2005


INDIE PAVES THE WAY. As big studios continue to raise a stinker, squirting puss at the eyes of Filipino filmbuffs, upcoming independent artists are thumbing down their noses at the dinosaurs in the movie industry. Look how the past three years saw independent films raising the stakes for the world to see. Digital fares like Lav Diaz’s 10-hour epic Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino, Mario O’Hara’s Babae sa Breakwater, Maryo de los Reyes’ Magnifico, Cesar Montano’s Panaghoy sa Suba, Rico Ilarde’s Sa Ilalim ng Cogon, Mark Reyes’ Last Full Show, Khavn de la Cruz’ Lata at Tsinelas, and Brillante Mendoza’s Masahista drew critical raves abroad. And then came one gem titled Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. Hands down, it’s the best Filipino film of 2005, the banner year of indie filmmaking.Here’s a reprint of my review titled «A miracle called Maximo» in my opinion column for Sun.Star Cebu (6 December 2005):

CUTTING THROUGH a slum colony, a hearse adorned with wreaths passes along a mound of garbage near a bridge. The camera, panning along the sludgy river below, zooms in on its surface with its surfeit of the city’s trash. A hint of purple ripples across: a flower floating among the flotsam.

This is how Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros begins. Gritty, yes, but gracefully does it cut into a scene of an assured hand, that of the limpwristed protagonist, picking a discarded orchid from the rubbish. With flair, the pubescent Maximo puts the flower at his ear and sashays through the squalor of his squatter’s neighborhood. Aptly, it might as well be a metaphor for this movie: how it rises or blooms above the country’s rotting celluloid industry.

That independent filmmaking is blossoming hereabouts is nowhere more patent in the fierceness of panache and originality so striking about this cinematic gem directed by Auraeus Solito. A coming-of-age tale, it focuses on the gay Maximo caught in the crossroads between his fascination for an idealistic greenhorn cop in his neigborhood and his filial love for a family, the sort you’d like to spray insecticide at (the widower father is a small-time criminal like Maximo’s two elder brothers). But extra-ordinary is the way Solito’s deft hand transforms Maximo’s home out of its horrid circumstance with scenes iridescent with understated tenderness and humor, crackling under the family’s tough surface like stone flickering, as if its tough skin were made for spontaneous combustion.

Not a spark of melodrama here, nothing overstretched. Not here are the run-of-the-mill grists for movies where the gay character providing the narrative ballast wallows in the banality of gender issues and all that hohum.

As written by Michiko Yamamoto (she who penned the simply magical film Magnifico), Ang Pagdadalaga… is a triumph in sidestepping the stereotypes even as it nimbly dances around and kicks headlong into the viewers’ hearts. “Passionate, fascinating and extraordinary,” so raves New York-based critic Godfrey Cheshire in his reviews for the New York Times and Village Voice. Small wonder why the Cinema Evaluation Board has thumbed it up and regarded it as “Rated A.”

More than well-deserved, indeed, is the film’s cache of international accomplishments so far. Aside from being hailed as Best Film at the festivals in Montreal and Singapore, it also has the distinction of being the first Filipino masterpiece to be included for competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

To watch this film is to see how Filipino filmmakers— despite the dross long after the likes of Gerardo de Leon, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal are gone— continue to do wonders.

Jan 17 2006

The Arrogance of Poetry

VERY BASIC. Or so Dr. Resil Mojares echoes, at the 2005 Cornelio Faigao Memorial Writers Workshop in Cebu, the smart-alecky point of a fellow writer who simplifies the complex world of a difference between prose and poetry. «Prose is planned parenthood,» he grins, «while poetry is accidental pregnancy.»

About that distinctive fissure or face-off in literature, Mark Halliday explains more in this reprint from The Georgia Review:

«SOMETIMES Sometimes fatigue or a journal stuffed with bad poems throws us into poetry-dismay, even poetry-disgust, but poetry soon wins us back. A good poem comes along that is damned appealing; it has charisma, it has a peculiar panache, it cuts a new path through experience, it expresses — or it is — a new truth, or new edge of truth. Life is suddenly undreary. And this poem is so strangely sure of itself! Where did it get such nerve? It has a quality I will call arrogance.

A poem, just by being a poem, says ‘I am more significant than all your chatter, all your information, all your reports and articles, more significant even than all your stories, more important than any page of Crime and Punishment or Women in Love or Middlemarch — even, in a mysterious way, more important than each of these novels as a whole. You must gaze down into the well of me. You may never see to the bottom.’

The essential sign of poetry’s arrogance is white space. Poetry takes unto itself the luxurious, ostentatiously high-class option of not reaching the right hand margin. Prose must pack itself into the common area, the second-class accommodations, filling the page all the way to the margin regardless of whether it’s referring to the principles of Baroque architecture or the Meaning of Meaning or what some Hollywood star wore to a premiere. The unfilled part of a poem’s page is the ornamental garden surrounding the castle of superior meaning. A poem says, ‘I can drape myself in white space like a mink coat. I stand apart from the mundane tide of utilitarian utterance. I create and require a respectful silence around me.’

The arrogance of poetry is titanically oppressive in the silence immediately after a poem’s last line. That silence stares at you. It says, ‘Do you or do you not get it.’ It says, ‘Do you love me? You should. If you don’t, you’ve missed something. The problem is yours — some blindness, some crudeness, some insensitivity to nuance.’

If a person said that to you, or if a person’s way of falling silent implied that, you would respond energetically — you would walk out of the room, or laugh in the person’s arrogant face, or ask intense questions, or express remorse. Like such a person, a poem refuses to be taken casually. If you do take a poem casually, you feel slothful, shallow, flippant — a feeling that is very different from thinking hard about a poem and deciding it is itself slothful, shallow, flippant. Fortunately, persons don’t often have the gall to say, ‘If you don’t love me, the problem is yours.’ Poems say this every time.

Poems keep stroking their own hair. A poem is like the person at the table who won’t speak unless everyone else hushes to listen. A poem is like the person whose tone announces: Enough of your jabber. Now I shall speak words worth remembering. You should want to chisel these words in marble.

Poetry’s demand for special attention is one aspect of its essential arrogance. Another is its pride in implication. A poem always knows — or carries — something it doesn’t spell out. A poem is like someone who conveys crucial meanings with subtle changes of gaze and gesture, with eyebrows rather than words; a poem suddenly stares at you to see if you can meet its challenge. This gaze is charismatic — when it is not absurdly portentous. We are beguiled and enthralled by the poem’s sublime implicitness — when we are not irritated and repulsed.

Confronting a poem, we often have to work hard to decide whether its oddity or difficulty comes from a wonderfully forgivable, or from a repulsive arrogance. The arrogance of all poetry is tiring — like both good sex and bad sex.

Poems are mostly read by people already hooked on poetry. How does a novelist feel, reading a book of poems? The novelist may feel a puzzled respect for someone who doggedly writes a kind of literature unlikely to bring wealth or fame. At the same time, the novelist may feel annoyed when the poet offers such small things — coy, anemic perceptions and teasing metaphorical connections — as if each one were terrifically unusual — a day’ s work! — enshrined by costly whiteness on all sides, commanding a hushed and riveted attention. The novelist has produced countless equally sharp images and insightful connections and richly evoked moments — hundreds in each novel! And the novelist has given these gifts to the reader without poetry’s preening insistence that each morsel is a sublime Godiva truffle. The novelist may think the poetry is ‘good’ but that her own work by comparison is admirably unpompous and generous.

But Thomas Hardy, one of the few writers great as both poet and novelist, felt that greatness in poetry mattered more than greatness in prose. Isn’t this an unreasonable bias?

To be calmly sensitive and thoughtful each time a poem is in front of your eyes, but to turn away for rest and refreshment before either exhaustion or cynicism sets in. This nearly angelic response is humanly possible, but it is amazingly hard to sustain.

Poems crowd toward you like the shades of the underworld when Odysseus visits; they crave the hot blood of attention.

Or they crowd toward you like refugees mobbing a United Nations worker who dispenses far too few bags of grain from the back of a truck.

Notice the inconsistency of that simile with the analogy of a poem’s being like a proud high-chinned person requiring a respectful hush around his or her augustness. On the level of self-presentation, each poem is that dignitary; meanwhile, on the practical level, seen from outside, each poem is more like a famine victim in danger of being trampled beneath the feet of its fellow poems, all famished for the reader’s ration of attention.

The poem seems not to have noticed its actual social situation. Picture a crowded, deafening cocktail party; in the middle of the room stands the poem, addressing itself to anyone and everyone, not even shouting, regardless of whether anyone listens. In real life this is a kind of madness. In art, it is the arrogance of art…

Jan 17 2006

A Cache of Cheap Blessings

JACKPOTS happen like this: Just when boredom starts to kick in while you’re idling through the mall, you spot a book sale. See what I got, scoured from the shelves in one of the stores at Robinson’s Cebu. A handful of second-hand gems priced at 10 pesos each—whoa!—here are my first four book acquisitions in 2006:

Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Upon its publication in 1968, this book of essays confirmed Joan Didion as one of the most prominent writers on the literary scene. Her unblinking vision and deadpan tone have influenced subsequent generations of reporters and essayists, changing our expectations of style, voice, and the artistic possibilities of nonfiction. «In her portraits of people,» The New York Times Book Review wrote, «Didion is not out to expose but to understand, and she shows us actors and millionaires, doomed brides and naïve acid-trippers, left-wing ideologues and snobs of the Hawaiian aristocracy in a way that makes them neither villainous nor glamorous, but alive and botched and often mournfully beautiful….A rare display of some of the best prose written today in this country.»

Herzog. Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow’s «Herzog» received the International Literary Prize in 1965; the story of Moses E. Herzog, a confused intellectual suffering from the breakup of his second marriage, the failure of his life and the specter of growing up Jewish in the middle part of the 20th century.

All God’s Dangers. This triumphant National Book Award recipient assembled from the 84-year-old sharecropper’s oral reminiscences is the plain-spoken story of an «over-average» man who witnessed wrenching changes in the lives of Southern black people – and whose unassuming courage helped bring those changes about. «There are only a few American autobiographies of surpassing greatness….Now there is another one, Nate Shaw’s,» raves The New York Times. «When, finally, this big book is put down, one feels exhilarated,» agrees Studs Terkel. «This is an anthem to human endurance.»

The Soul of a New Machine. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and selected by the Modern Library as one of the100 best nonfiction books of the 20th century. Computers have changed since 1981, when Tracy Kidder indelibly recorded the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company’s efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. What has changed little, however, is computer culture: the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the mystique of programmers, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. By tracing computer culture to its roots, by exploring the «soul» of the «machine» that has revolutionized the world, Kidder succeeds as no other writer has done in capturing the essential spirit of the computer age.

Jan 17 2006

SIDE TRIP 32: Ati-ati sa Akean

Trust the Church to attach something religious to an otherwise pagan celebration. The original mardi gras-type festival in the Philippines was in fact an event to celebrate the sale of Panay Island to the Borneans. The original inhabitants of the island, the dark-skinned and kinky-haired Ati, bartered the island sometime in the 13th century in exchange for a golden salakot.

To celebrate the sale, the fair-skinned Borneans smeared black soot all over their body so they will look like an Ati. Thus the Ati-atihan — meaning “to make like an Ati” – was born. Every year thereafter, the ritual of painting their bodies with black soot is repeated, along with the frenzy of uninhibited drinking and merrymaking. The Borneans eventually settled in the lowlands (of whom I am a descendant) while the naturally nomadic Atis retreated further inland, into the mountains where most of them remain to this day. (Sadly, now-called indigenous peoples, they are the object of shameless discrimination. But that is another story.)

When the Spaniards came, they very cleverly attached the feast of the Child Jesus into the Ati-ati (Akeanons refer to the revelry as Ati-ati, not Ati-atihan) and so today, you hear the lusty cheer of the more pagan “Hala bira! Puera pasma!” along with the more fervent “Viva el Senor Santo Nino! Viva!”

When I was younger, the Ati-ati was the only festival of its kind in the Philippines. Shiploads of tourists (mostly rich Negrenses) and Europeans flocked to Kalibo every third week of January. Pretty soon, every province it seemed has its own version. Iloilo came up with Dinagyang. Cebu followed suit with Sinulog. Capiz had Halaran while Antique had Binirayan. Negros went for Masskara. Baguio had Panagbenga. These days, streetdancing and festivals are a dime a dozen, with many more being born almost every year. The Filipino sure knows how to have fun.

Hala bira!

Jan 17 2006

HAPPY TRIP 3: I Not Stupid

Over the last two Saturday nights, I’d chanced upon great viewing fare that was quite a relief from the usual landscape of formulaic and irritating shows on free TV. The long-standing network war between ABS-CBN and GMA has led to a kind of programming that verge on the ridiculous. Same formats, same lazy productions, same convoluted melodrama, same tired plots (or lack of it). Makes me want to bang their skulls and holler “Hello? Anybody home?” I not stupid!

Lately, I “discovered” ABC5 as a good viewing alternative. And that was only because I wanted at first to see how the Pinoy contestants are faring in the hit American reality TV shows Rockstar INXS (MiG Ayesa) and So You Think You Can Dance (Melody Lacayanga and Ryan Conferido). It gives me a nice feeling to see Pinoys showing the world what kind of terrific stuff we are made of. Last year, I also watched American Idol only because there were Pinoys competing.

Then two Saturdays ago, I accidentally caught a gem of a movie late at night. Surprise, surprise! It was a Singaporean film! Horrors, I thought. Not another bunch of buhaghag-free ladies fighting to be chief cook in the palace! Thankfully it was not! The little film was called “Chicken Rice War”, about two feuding families engaged in one-upmanship about who makes the best Chicken Rice dish. It had a lot to say about relationships and being our own man (or woman). Along the way, small everyday, ordinary things are tackled with great humor and care.

Last Saturday they showed another comedy, “I Not Stupid”, a well-crafted allegory for the social realities of modern-day Singapore. It poked fun on Singapore’s much-maligned “obedience” and how the push for over-achievement is affecting children negatively, including contemplating suicide in the face of “failure” in school.

These kinds of “small” films illustrate that shows need not be expensive and outlandish to be entertaining. Good scripts and dead-on acting carry them through. And they say a lot about the status quo without moralizing and resorting to a hard-sell approach.

My only complaint with the latter was a reference to “Filipino maids” in one of the dialogues. Then again, I guess being politically-correct is far from the Singaporean’s concept of what is correct behavior in their context.

CHICKEN RICE WAR and I NOT STUPID

Jan 16 2006

Hello New Year

The «ningas kugon tendency» got me by surprise. Although I am not so surprise that I suddenly became a lurker and a hopper for almost a month in this blog-world o’ mine. I’m into a new work assignment, an entirely different field but nonetheless caught my attention that I suddenly became aware that I can still weave career-oriented goals while being domesticated at the same time.  I have a lot of things to write about but haven’t find the time to do it. As soon as I hit the «home» button in my system, all I do is round around the house with the kids (nah! let’s not interpret this in its literal sense) and be mom again for the remainder of the day. The commute is not as stressful as before because I now work closer to home. The seven minutes walk to and from the bus stop to the office building became an almost-everyday work-out and for almost two months, the result says it all — a few pounds off my weight.

It’s a brand new year. I think I need to de-clutter and de-stress my cabinet choke-full of «what-ifs, I-should-haves, I-never-thought» phrases. These really weighed me down a lot last year and my excess baggages should be thrown off the freezing river. So much about trying to squeeze a positive attitude but still carrying a heavy load. So now i’ll throw it all away and may the wind carries it to far away land…..

I have countless of blessings to thank for last year: from new-found friends to old friends at heart, good health for the whole family, everyday jobs that helped us meet our daily needs, families that didn’t forget to ask how we are, the long-distance phone calls and text messaging from family and friends, the chance to enjoy summer to the fullest and the mild-december weather and for my new computer — giving me the chance to get connected once again to the web and to the blog-o’sphere at the same time making new blogger-friends.

Indeed, I should be looking forward to a more bountiful New Year.

Jan 15 2006

SALIDA IV

On January 21, 2006 at 8PM in Handuraw Events Cafe, SineBuano will have another SALIDA. Films to be screened are:

The Witness by Jurly Maloloy-on Jr.

Sila by Jurly Maloloy-on Jr., Denis Judilla and Benjie Ordoñez
Kada Uwan by Benjie Ordoñez
Bitin Na Pagmamahal by Victor Villanueva
Mata by Cheryl Baldicantos
Pusod by Cheryl Baldicantos
Zwangtta by Michael Barrientos
Miko by Paolo Dy
Night Shift by J.K. Go
The Haunted by Jerrold Tarog

Guest Performers:Jimmy CycleAggressive AudioPringolsSpecial Appearance:
Dice & K9
Konigs

Tickets will be available at the gate for P 75.00 with free 1 bottle of beer or slice of pizza.

Jan 15 2006

A COMMENT FROM ZIGMUNDO OF LEBANON, ILLINOIS, USA

whats this all about anyway … I lived in LapuLapu at the Palalay Compound in 1968-1969 and dont remember anything about brownouts — I do remember when the center of town/market went up in flames.

[Thank you for the comments. Times have changed! Since I came back to Mactan in 1999, we have been having brownouts, mostly on weekends. My Cosmetic Surgery Center is in Pusok area where all the big companies and businesses are. So, thank God for small favors, I think we are getting preferential treatment. But still, I have a portable backup generator that I use for my residence in Poblacion and for the clinic — just in case. A few months ago, the electricity went out on us in the middle of a facelift procedure! — Mactanman]

Jan 13 2006

drama nga adunay pagtolonan

halo mga higala ug mga amigo! ania nasad ako nga magsugilon sa inyo sa akong kaagi aron inyong makat-unan ang mga nagkalain-laing mga pagtolonan sa akong mga kahibulongan nga mga kaagi. dugay-dugay nasad ako nga wala makadu-aw niining websayta, ug gimingaw na gayud ako kaninyo mga higala! haayy, entawon kining inyong higala, nagsigi na lang man gud ug trabaho busa wala makahigayon sa pagdu-aw. undangon ta na ang drama kay aduna ako’y isugilon kaninyo nga istorya, usa kani ka drama sa radyo nga akong nadunggan samtang ako nagsakay sa usa ka taxi dinhi sa dakbayan. kuyawa gayud nako atong dramaha, sa titulo pa lang gani, makabugto na ug mga underwear: «HULBUTA! AYAW!» di ba labing ngilngiga? ug dinhi nagsugod ang atong istorya…adunay duha ka managtrato nga ginganlan ug Lasyo ug Magda nga grabe kaayo ka kusog ug mga sekswal drayb labi na gayud kining si Lasyo nga grabe ka hilig. nakadesisyon sila nga ipagawas ilang gibati didto sa likod sa sementeryo paghuman nila sa ilang klase. sa dihang nanggawas na sila sa eskwelahan, midalikyat gyud sila dayon sa ilalum sa usa ka gamay nga payag ilalom sa usa ka dakong kahoy sa kalibonan sa likod sa sementeryo, dira ba sa may Hayes…hehehe, sa nakabalo lang…ug miingon si Lasyo, «day Magda, diri nako ipatagamtam kanimo ang kalami nga wala dinhi, wala ngadto…makit-an mo gayud kung unsaon ko pagbali sa imong baticolon!» ug mitubag si Magda, «Oy, Las sige, ahhh» gikaliguan ni Lasyo si Magda ug mga halok nga naga-basabasa tungod sa laway, nagpanilap ang gago sa katam-is sa panit ni Magda ug si Magda pud nga labing igatan sa tanang igat nag-ihid-ihid sad sa tumang kalami. Ug si Lasyo mipaubos ug miandam sa iyang powermoves na three hit combo, kun sa akong higala pa nga si Vanmark, mao daw kini ang «Tornadoe Tongue». samtang nagapadayon si Lasyo sa pagsisid ug pagsuyop-suyop sa kaunuran ni Magda, nagreklamo kini, «pirting pagkaparat ba sad niini Magda!» ug natandog sad ang garbo ni Magda nga mitubag, «saba dira Las, ayaw pag-undang, sige pa, sige…» ug iyang gipsulod ug maayo ang ulo ni Lasyo sa iyang katunga-tunga. makit-an nato nga samtang si Lasyo nagantos sa ka-aslom ug kaparat sa timpla ni Magda, ug samtang ang mata ni Magda nagsulirap na tungod sa kalami, miabot ang usa ka gamay nga tao nga bako ug nagkalisod ug lakaw. gi-abrihan niya ang purtahan sa payag nga gamay nga wala masayod kung unsa’y nangahitabo sa sulod. Ug sa dihang gi-abrihan na niya ang purtahan nakita niya ang usa ka talan-awon nga dugay na niyang wala nakit-an: ang ulo ni Lasyo nga naa sa tunga-tunga sa kaunuran ni Magda nga nanghiwid na tungod sa iyang natagamtaman. Nagkaguliyang ang mga tao, unya gi-insertan dayon nila ug komersyal sa usa ka «Tiktik Ice Pop!»…bilanggutiman, wala ako makabantay nga kaming duha diay sa drayber pirting paminaw sa maong programa ug maayo gani nga wala kami nabangga, kadtong drayber sad nga manyakis, gihimas-himas man sab ang manubila busa diay nagliko-liko ang among gisakyan…whoo…murag taas-taas na gani kadto, sa sunod ko na ipadayon ang maong sugilanon kay murag kapoy na ug type…

p.s.: wa ba kamo’y namatikdan sa sugilanon, unsa ma’y buot ipasabot ug buot ipa-abot sa nag-gama aning maong sugilanon. panglantaw kamo mga igsoon. daghang salamat.

Jan 12 2006

Welcome 2006!

Hay, 2006! May this year be a good one!:) I read somewhere that it really depends on the person how s/he wants the year to be. If one thinks and believes that the year will be a good one, then it will surely be a good one. So, this is what I’m going to do. I am going to make this year a really good one by being positive! I guess it’s all in the attitude and how we take things, right?:)

Jan 11 2006

Lolo Ed

This is a simple greeting I managed to make for my Lolo’s 86th birthday. That is still tomorrow but being a day early wouldn’t hurt I guess. I want to grow old just like him. The picture on the lower right hand corner is my sister and my brother and me. My Lolo Ed is the best grandpa in the world. Of course, that is to me. Since I was a kid, he was always there for me. Mentoring me and teaching

Jan 11 2006

COMMENTS FROM A NORWEGIAN REGARDING BROWNOUT! (POSTED 12/19/2005)

Don’t have to big hope my friend, — we are only a minority group here.Things are obviously not so important here, especially since the airport andmost of Mepz has generators anyway. The city of Cebu needed us back in the60’s when they had to move the airport. I guess they felt it like it wasthem that gave US something and not the other way around. The fact is thatthe Island of Mactan is the largest tax source around, but of course wedon’t need electricity on Sundays. And if they DO come on a Sunday, — theywill go back over one of the bridges as soon as one of the light bulbsstarts to blink. It’s so easy to just close your eyes for a problem. Ihaven’t really been here long enough to have a strong opinion, but I havenoticed the same as you.

Jan 10 2006

You don’t know me

You give your hand to meAnd then you say helloAnd I can hardly speakMy heart is beating soAnd anyone can tellYou think you know me wellBut you don’t know me No, you don’t know the oneWho dreams of you at nightAnd longs to kiss your lipsAnd longs to hold you tightTo you I’m just a friendThat’s all I’ve ever beenNo, you don’t know me I never knew the art of making loveThough my heart aches with love for youAfraid and shy, I let my chance go byA chance that you might love me too You give your hand to methen you say goodbyeI watch you walk awayBeside the lucky guyI know you’ll never knowThe one who loves you soWell, you don’t know me But I never knew the art of making loveThough my heart aches with love for youAfraid and shy, and I let your chance go byThe chance that you might love me too You give your hand to meAnd then you say goodbyeAnd then I watch you walk awayBeside the lucky guyOh you’ll never, ever knowThe one who loves you soNo, you don’t know meI said, you’ll never, ever knowThe one who loves you soCause you don’t know meNo, you don’t know me…

I haven’t seen him for 4 years… then a friend of mine informed me that he’s back in town. Dedma lang ang lola mo! but then while hanging out with my friends I SAW HIM!!! OMG!!! it all came back… =)

Jan 07 2006

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Hours and precious hours of debate are spent in the media regarding the works of the ConComm (Consultative Commission on Charter Change) and Cha-cha (Charter Change). Lest you politicians forget, here is the basic sequence of problems:

  • The general population is immature. They cannot decide for themselves during elections. The “leaders” come in. He/she distributes the money to the voters in exchange for their votes (some entrepreneurial voters sell their votes twice. Some entrepreneurial leaders deep most of the money to themselves and shortchange the voters).
  • The leaders in turn allegedly get the big lump some from the candidates for executive office.
  • The candidates for executive office has four sources of funds:
  • 1) Personal funds, legal or illegal
  • 2) A higher-level executive candidate who got the huge some of money from being an incumbent and therefore has amassed huge sums of money allegedly through graft and corruption (heaven knows these riches cannot be explained by the salary of the executives).
  • 3) Allegedly, diverted funds from government agencies
  • 4) Private sources who allegedly accept in return such favors as control of smuggling in major ports of entry resulting in massive loss of revenues.
  • Money bribed to the voters and money lost from unrealized revenues (Customs and BIR) result in drained funds of the government treasury.
  • The total amount of money minus the public service expenditures for 1 year leaves a net that barely covers the interest on foreign debt.
  • There is no more money for social programs such as public welfare, charities, food programs, school programs, health programs, etc. Poverty level goes up to 50%. Seventy per cent (70%) of elementary school graduates are not ready for high school. One out of 6 people goes to bed hungry.
  • The elected executives could care less because they paid for your votes anyway (plus they have to amass money for the next elections, so sorry na lang).
  • Worse, obvious corrupt practices in the higher up encourages corruption in the lower downs (provincial, city/municipal, barangay) where you cannot get anything done without kicking back 35% on such things as government contracts.
  • The kickback schemes discourage investment at all levels.
  • Most people from developed countries find these practices abhorring and nauseating. So, entry of foreign investments, big and small, is heavily curtailed.
  • More and more we rely on OFW remittances for the nation’s survival. (The people in government gloat on the amount of money the OFW’s are sending back to the Philippines. Warning: Reliance on people who had to go abroad to earn money because there is none available here is the #1 symptom of a sick society).

Now, how is amending the constitution going to change this cascade of events? If you, government people, think that you can fool the people, think again. We see how foolish you are!

Jan 07 2006

Dihang Nahayagan, sa Unang Higayon, ang Akong Dagang

BAG-ONG TUIG NA, ug isip akong unang tampo dinhi sa BESO BISDAK karong 2006, tugoti nga molingi ko’g balik pinaagi ‘ning lakbit-saysay kabahin sa akong panuwat sa pinulongang Bisaya. Pwera buyag, ania’y lindog ni Jose R. Reyes nga napatik sa Sun.Star Weekend Magazine (Pebrero 7, 1999):

At 30, Michael U. Obenieta has received more accolades (13 Cebuano and English citations) than any young literary writer of his generation. Recently, the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos (and the Cornelio Faigao Foundation) cited him as the first recipient of the “Best New Cebuano Writer” award.

The award required the four nominees (Adonis Durado, Cora Almerino, Ulysses Aparece, and Obenieta) to pass 12 poems in Cebuano each. A grueling test that would determine the range and maturity, «the fire and performance of their work,» as Dr. Resil Mojares affirmed when he served as one of the judges along with Prof. Merlie Alunan and Rene Amper. For Obenieta, this was judgment day for a body of work that took him one and a half year to finish. In spite of the numerous feathers on his cap, the challenge for Obenieta to reawaken interest in Cebuano literature is far from over.

His story begins in 1994 with a teacher, Dr. Romola Savellon, (his Literature professor in the erstwhile Cebu State College) who inspired him to discard the trappings of writing poetry for the sake of “himo-himo lang,” and to take it seriously. Savellon became his mentor and guide in the rudiments of poetry.

At first, he was hesitant, wondering if he could write in his native tongue at all. “Prior to 1994, all my works were in English,” recalls Obenieta. “And they were not what you call poetry, yet.” Another one who encouraged Obenieta to write was his friend Rolando Rosell. A novelist in Cebuano, Rosell, then Obenieta’s editor at the college publication “Ang Suga,” would not live to see Obenieta write in Cebuano. “Writing poetry in Cebuano became a tribute of sorts to my late friend.” Writing in Cebuano proved to be easier than he initially thought.

When he started writing, he found the process interesting and enlightening. It also proved to be a link to his own Cebuano heritage. “I remember that my parents kept some Cebuano literature (Bisaya and Lungsoranon, particularly) in the house, and I recall reading a lot of these. It made me realize, kahibaw sad dai’y ko mosulat og Binisaya.”

At the third Bangga sa Panulat Sugbuanon (co-sponsored by the Doña Modesta Gaisano Foundation and Sun.Star Cebu), Obenieta became the youngest finalist (in a field that included his writing idol at that time, Mel Baclay). The recognition was a boost for Obenieta. “To be honored as a finalist among people who were veterans in writing poetry… made me want to write more.”

It was during the awarding ceremony when Obenieta was introduced to the Bathalad (Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang), a group of creative writers who regularly come together to write and discuss Cebuano literature. It was Baclay, a Bathalad member, who introduced Obenieta to the group’s president then, Ernesto Lariosa. Through discussions and interactions with Bathalad and his own group of young writers from the University of Cebu and the University of San Carlos, he came to know more about the craft.

He was accepted to the country’s writing workshops (Dumaguete, Baguio, Iligan, among others.) These workshops helped him hone his craft, giving him a sense of direction for his writing. In beginning to write seriously, he saw that writing from within is a noble process but one has to balance this with the realities that the readers can identify with. It is also the writer’s responsibility to bring back a “metaphoric consciousness” to the readers.

He says that we live in a prosaic, un-poetic times. The poet has the responsibility to bring back this poetic consciousness and raise the level of writing that would lead the reader to wonder and self-examination. The Cebuano literary scene today is witnessing an explosion of talents. A new breed of writers are taking part in reliving the Cebuano tradition and extending it to new horizons in writing. “There are new perspectives, new voices voices and points of views, like the emerging feminist and gay poetry.” There are also more people appreciating Cebuano literature, observes Obenieta. Each writer has begun making his own creative space and taking inspiration from everyday experiences, as Obenieta does. He has nothing but praise for his fellow young writers-nominees. Cora Almerino is known for her caustic voice, daring and discipline. Adonis Durado, says Obenieta, plays with all the conceivable possibilities in poetry. Ulysses Aparece is steeped in tradition.

A poet possesses an antennae, Obenieta says. A poet is conscious of the world around him. With this antennae, he sees the human spirit surviving against this mechanical, high-tech world. By writing and reading poetry, he says, maybe some might obtain sort of a state of grace.

Jan 07 2006

Dihang Nahayagan, sa Unang Higayon, ang Akong Dagang

BAG-ONG TUIG NA, ug isip akong unang tampo dinhi sa BESO BISDAK karong 2006, tugoti nga molingi ko’g balik pinaagi ‘ning lakbit-saysay kabahin sa akong panuwat sa pinulongang Bisaya. Pwera buyag, ania’y lindog ni Jose R. Reyes nga napatik sa Sun.Star Weekend Magazine (Pebrero 7, 1999):

At 30, Michael U. Obenieta has received more accolades (13 Cebuano and English citations) than any young literary writer of his generation. Recently, the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos (and the Cornelio Faigao Foundation) cited him as the first recipient of the “Best New Cebuano Writer” award.

The award required the four nominees (Adonis Durado, Cora Almerino, Ulysses Aparece, and Obenieta) to pass 12 poems in Cebuano each. A grueling test that would determine the range and maturity, «the fire and performance of their work,» as Dr. Resil Mojares affirmed when he served as one of the judges along with Prof. Merlie Alunan and Rene Amper. For Obenieta, this was judgment day for a body of work that took him one and a half year to finish. In spite of the numerous feathers on his cap, the challenge for Obenieta to reawaken interest in Cebuano literature is far from over.

His story begins in 1994 with a teacher, Dr. Romola Savellon, (his Literature professor in the erstwhile Cebu State College) who inspired him to discard the trappings of writing poetry for the sake of “himo-himo lang,” and to take it seriously. Savellon became his mentor and guide in the rudiments of poetry.

At first, he was hesitant, wondering if he could write in his native tongue at all. “Prior to 1994, all my works were in English,” recalls Obenieta. “And they were not what you call poetry, yet.” Another one who encouraged Obenieta to write was his friend Rolando Rosell. A novelist in Cebuano, Rosell, then Obenieta’s editor at the college publication “Ang Suga,” would not live to see Obenieta write in Cebuano. “Writing poetry in Cebuano became a tribute of sorts to my late friend.” Writing in Cebuano proved to be easier than he initially thought.

When he started writing, he found the process interesting and enlightening. It also proved to be a link to his own Cebuano heritage. “I remember that my parents kept some Cebuano literature (Bisaya and Lungsoranon, particularly) in the house, and I recall reading a lot of these. It made me realize, kahibaw sad dai’y ko mosulat og Binisaya.”

At the third Bangga sa Panulat Sugbuanon (co-sponsored by the Doña Modesta Gaisano Foundation and Sun.Star Cebu), Obenieta became the youngest finalist (in a field that included his writing idol at that time, Mel Baclay). The recognition was a boost for Obenieta. “To be honored as a finalist among people who were veterans in writing poetry… made me want to write more.”

It was during the awarding ceremony when Obenieta was introduced to the Bathalad (Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang), a group of creative writers who regularly come together to write and discuss Cebuano literature. It was Baclay, a Bathalad member, who introduced Obenieta to the group’s president then, Ernesto Lariosa. Through discussions and interactions with Bathalad and his own group of young writers from the University of Cebu and the University of San Carlos, he came to know more about the craft.

He was accepted to the country’s writing workshops (Dumaguete, Baguio, Iligan, among others.) These workshops helped him hone his craft, giving him a sense of direction for his writing. In beginning to write seriously, he saw that writing from within is a noble process but one has to balance this with the realities that the readers can identify with. It is also the writer’s responsibility to bring back a “metaphoric consciousness” to the readers.

He says that we live in a prosaic, un-poetic times. The poet has the responsibility to bring back this poetic consciousness and raise the level of writing that would lead the reader to wonder and self-examination. The Cebuano literary scene today is witnessing an explosion of talents. A new breed of writers are taking part in reliving the Cebuano tradition and extending it to new horizons in writing. “There are new perspectives, new voices voices and points of views, like the emerging feminist and gay poetry.” There are also more people appreciating Cebuano literature, observes Obenieta. Each writer has begun making his own creative space and taking inspiration from everyday experiences, as Obenieta does. He has nothing but praise for his fellow young writers-nominees. Cora Almerino is known for her caustic voice, daring and discipline. Adonis Durado, says Obenieta, plays with all the conceivable possibilities in poetry. Ulysses Aparece is steeped in tradition.

A poet possesses an antennae, Obenieta says. A poet is conscious of the world around him. With this antennae, he sees the human spirit surviving against this mechanical, high-tech world. By writing and reading poetry, he says, maybe some might obtain sort of a state of grace.

Jan 07 2006

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF WEST VIRGINIA MEDICAL MISSION TO LAPU-LAPU CITY — 2006: SCREENING DAY#2

Today is screening day #2. A very busy day indeed! In a half day, we were able to fill up the quota for surgical patients for the 3-day mission…and more.The SACSAA local mission committee wishes to thank our Alumnus physician Dr. Ramon Javellana and guest physician Dr. Lynn Amores (of California) for a screening job well done.We apologize for those patients that we have to turn away. We will accommodate them on the next SACSAA medical mission in April 2006, this time with the medical team from the Virginia Medical Alliance.

Fig. 1. Dr. Lynn Amores working up a patient while mom, Luz Amores RN, interprets

Fig. 2. A well-earned lunch — SACSAA medical mission committee and guests

Jan 05 2006

New Year…New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone!

Yes, I’m a little late but what the hey.

This year will definitely be a year of new beginnings. First off, SineBuano has decided to take another step by creating «longer» short films and hopefully, a feature length. Let me explain, since I became a member of SineBuano all our short films were 10 mins in length. It became a unanimous decision that for 2006, we will do our best to create short films of at least 15 mins. Not much but it will definitely be a challenge for the group.

Secondly, I will go though a lot of personal changes, I can’t get into details but it will greatly affect my family and my business.

Speaking of SineBuano, the next SALIDA will be on January 21, 2005. My film KADAUWAN will be shown along with other Cebuano independent films. I’ll post the final details of SALIDA soon.

Here’s to more films and more photographs! PADAYON!

Jan 02 2006

AN EMAIL FROM JGO

Hello Doc,

Explored your i-net spot and found it a great improvement. One can explore one subject or Issue and track it down to its roots. Its a very informative site specially for the stakeholders of this island which we call home. Congratulations on this endeavor and more power to you….

Jan 02 2006

I Love Sushi!


sushi set from my favorite sushi bar in tokyo

If there is one thing I miss about Japan, it should be sushi. Everytime I have the chance to go back, I always get excited because going there would mean an abundance of authentic, succulent, mouth-watering sushi.

When I was staying in Japan as a graduate student, it was inevitable that I would succumb to blue periods when life just hits me with really hurtful blows. Days would be spent holed up in my room, doing nothing but sleep, sleep, and sleep. Getting up gets too painful at those times. But after days of eating nothing but what I have laid out near my bed, hunger pangs take over and the first thing that comes to my mind is always SUSHI!

visions of this can snap me off any depressionTrembling because of hunger, I would take a bath and dress up, fly out of the room and into the nearest sushi bar and gorge on sushi until satiated! Miraculously, my blues would go away, a smile starts to wash over my face and I am a new girl again. Yes, sushi is my Prozac.

sushi and sashimi from the breakfast buffet of circles cafe, makati shangri-la hotel

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