Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Voice of the Philippine Conscience

Even if I normally get irritated just from looking at Kris Aquino on TV, for once, she had me glued onto the screen and I was taking in all she had to say. In between spurts of sobs that she was obviously trying to control, Kris announced to the Filipino nation that her mother, former president Corazon Aquino, has colon cancer.

I guess the only good side to this is that at least, she’s in good company. My favorite Roman Catholic icon, Pope John Paul II, also suffered from colon cancer before he moved on.

I read in one medical online journal that if diagnosed early, there’s a ninety percent chance that one can survive colon cancer – that is, if diagnosed early. Now this is the issue: Cory told her children not to divulge to media the stage of her cancer. Methinks that if she’s not willing to tell the people how far her cancer has progressed, then it must already be at its latter (and deadlier) stages already.

I’m still crossing my fingers that this isn’t so. Cory is among the last of a dying breed of Filipino statesmen. Another member of this elite circle is the honorable (in every sense of the word) Jovito Salonga. Alas, but this man is deaf and very old already, even if his mind is still sharp. Thus, the burden of becoming the vessel of morality in the dirty world of Philippine politics falls on Cory’s shoulders. If she moves on (God forbid), then what will we be left with?


I was in high school when Cory’s husband, former Senator Ninoy Aquino was killed by still-unidentified men on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport in 1983. With the original hope of the Filipino nation dead, our countrymen decided to turn to Ninoy’s widow for deliverance from the clutches of the Marcos dictatorship. Cory was not a political figure – she was schooled in Economics. Nevertheless, she eventually emerged from grieving widow to political flagship of the Opposition.

It was in 1987 when all political skirmishes in the Philippines finally came to a head with the first and the most monumental People Power Revolution. It was at this time when the former president Ferdinand Marcos was finally ousted, and an era spanning more than a decade of atrocities, excesses, and corruption under his dictatorship finally came to an end.

Of course, leading the triumphant Filipinos toward victory was Cory Aquino: the first woman president of the Philippines.


As a president, Cory Aquino was not one to use an iron hand – and this was probably so because she didn’t need to, except for those times when she was bombarded by coup attempts. Thank God she had then-Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos to quell these military adventurists.

Cory ruled in a transitional government, so at that time the main thrust of her administration was to reach out and tell the world that the Philippines is finally free and open to investments. She travelled to different countries where she was welcomed with open arms by her foreign counterparts. Her speech before the US Congress was even much-applauded. Economics and foreign relations seemed to be at the top of her to-do list, and she implemented these with fervor.

Unfortunately, Cory’s foreign relations policies, especially with the United States, created some strain between her and her former supporters. Much of the hullabaloo dealt with the existence of US bases in Clark and Subic in Pampanga. Some people believed that the existence of these bases only showed the United States’ vice-like grip on the neck of the Philippines. Their presence was somehow proof of an “I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine” understanding between the US and the Philippine government, thereby reinforcing the idea that the Philippines was still over-dependent on the US not only for products and services but also for recognition in the global community. This did not stand well among Filipinos who wanted true freedom without any strings attached – especially from America the Beautiful.

What began as a very triumphant installation to the highest seat in the land ended with nary a peep, as Cory Aquino quietly but gracefully concluded her leadership with an election for the next president. Despite her stand to let the US bases extend their already-extended stay in Philippine shores, she simply had to give in to the clamor by the Senate and in the streets to take the bases out.

Nevertheless, the positive long-term effects of Cory’s deeds in her term manifested themselves by the time Pres. Fidel Ramos took over after her. The Philippine economy soared to all-time highs, and we were highly respected in the global community. The Philippines was even considered as the “Sleeping Tiger of Asia.”

Alas, all of these are now just part of Philippine history…


Next to the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cory Aquino became the conscience of freedom- and truth-loving Filipinos. I have yet to name another individual who can step in her shoes. And no, it’s definitely not Kris Aquino. I’ll change citizenship the moment she tries to do a Cory.

We still need someone – a voice of conscience – like Cory Aquino, especially in these times when corruption in government is rearing its ugly head again.

Thus, I urge everyone who manages to read this blog entry to please pray that Cory gets through this new and more formidable challenge. No people power rallies can topple this one – not even a new coup attempt.

At this point, prayers for Cory’s recovery from her colon cancer are all we can do – not just for her but also for the Philippines.

Lord knows the Philippines is in dire need of a conscience right now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Daughter's Graduating! AAAAAGGGHHH!

Need I say more?

Where did all those years go? It feels like just yesterday when I was giving birth to my Ingrid Crystal. Now she'll be graduating from her elementary grades come March 27.

I'll have a high school teenager already!

I'm not even sure where I'll be sending Ingrid for high school. Bringing her to Cebu is out of the question: my finances still can't afford it. I originally wanted her to study in Leyte High, but I'm not sure if she'll manage going to school very early in the morning. Assumption Academy in Tanauan is out of the question: that school is a mere suction pump of money. TSCHI? GOD FORBID! That school has more holidays than school days -- I don't know what the students there are learning! Tanauan National High School? In fairness to this school, I think it has more graduates who managed to pass the UPCAT than TSCHI and Assumption combined. However, I don't feel too comfortable with this school. It just has too many vacant spaces and shady corners. These may just be the perfect spots for teenagers with jumping hormones. *shiver*

Oh well, I guess I just have to deal with the fact that I already have a high school teenager in my hands.

Next thing I know, she'll be getting married.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Marimar: a Comparative Analysis

Miss Lira Funda, be discombobulated! hehehe...

I actually watched Marimar! From start to finish, no less.

Yeah, I remember telling my former students that teledramas are a waste of time and brain cells.

So inspite of that, why did I watch Marimar?

Let me cite the following reasons:

  • What's a girl to do when she's got a TV and nothing else to do when she gets home from work?
  • The reception of ABS-CBN on my TV is crappy. Besides, any network that topbills Kris Aquino in their shows is nowhere near respectable, if I may say so.
  • I managed to start watching it, so I guess I got hooked.
  • Marian Rivera's quite a lovely kid who really managed to fit in the shoes of the original Marimar -- Thalia.
  • Marian Rivera's teamup with Dingdog Dantes is S-I-Z-Z-L-I-N-G. Those two really look good together.
  • I also watched the original Marimar with Thalia in it, and I wanted to see how Joyce Bernal would handle the Philippine version.

Now that Marimar is over, probably an assessment is due.

I recall that the Mexican Marimar took about three or four months of airing in local television. But in true Philippine fashion, our local Marimar lasted for a whopping seven months -- from August 2006 to March 2007.

From Ines Rodena's original story, local producers provided more twists and turns to the plot than Kennon Road. The local characterizations, meanwhile, were quite conformist in nature from the feisty Marimar Perez-cum-Bella Aldama to the sinister Angelica Santibañez/Aldama. But GMA 7 created an even bigger cast of characters to add to the original ones. To rationalize the addition of characters, more winding subplots were added to the already-knotted-up original plot, thereby creating what I'd like to refer to as "storyline indigestion."

The final episodes were also kinda frustrating to watch. It was obvious that GMA 7 was extending the story to unusual lengths just to keep up with the numerous commercials being aired with it. After all, Marimar was their best money-making machine to date.

If I remember right the circumstances on how the Mexican Marimar concluded, Angelica did die -- but in another way. In the Filipino version, Angelica died after Marimar gained the upper hand in a helicopter skirmish. The latter pushed Angelica out of the helicopter they were riding, and Sergio (who was dangling from one side of the heli) kicked her so she lost her grip and fell. Her head got bashed on a rock near a swamp full of crocs. She eventually ended as crocodile feed. The Mexican version had Marimar and Angelica battling it out inside a hut. The hut caught fire, and while Marimar managed to run away from the blaze unscathed (with Sergio's help, of course), Angelica met a fiery end. It was as simple as that.

Marimar was also Marian Rivera's debut to fame. She has suddenly skyrocketed from a nameless starlet to one of the most bankable stars in local television. If she keeps her funny-sometimes-naughty nature and continues to use her dancing talent, there's no telling how high she can go. Sorry na lang sa mga Angel Locsin fans, but I'll choose Marian over her anytime.

I never thought Dingdong Dantes would make a good Sergio Santibañez at first, but as the story went on, he definitely proved me wrong. I initially kept on comparing him kasi with the dreamy Eduardo Capetillo who played the Mexican Sergio. Capetillo was one certified hottie in his time, and his bare-chested scenes with Thalia were so steamy. Just check out his hairy chest that was just as furry as Fulgoso!

And speaking of Fulgoso, the local one may have been a breed better than the Mexican one, but the poor golden retriever with Michael V.'s voice was not given as much exposure as his Mexican counterpart. In one interview, Director Joyce Bernal admitted that the most difficult scenes in Marimar were the scenes with Fulgoso in them because it was hard to get the dog to display the "emotion" needed for the scenes. The Mexican Fulgoso, meanwhile, shared a lot of crucial scenes with the main cast of Marimar because the black terrier seemed to be a tad better-trained.

And speaking of better training, I kinda resent the inclusion of characters with totally foreign twangs in the story. Example No. 1: Bruno, the friend of Rodolfo San Jinez. Good Lord, that feller had no business getting some speaking lines there! Example No. 2: Atty. Adrian, Marimar's most-trusted lawyer who had a secret admiration for her. He plodded through each scene like a muscular robot with an American twang. I just found it too hard to believe that he was actually playing a lawyer. There are other better actors out there with no irritating accents, so what's the deal with these two?

The wedding of Sergio and Marimar proved to all that GMA considered the series its flagship program. I was very impressed with the well-prepared handling of the wedding -- as if it was the real thing, minus the real priest and the documents. It was held in the utterly-beautiful San Agustin Church in Intramuros, with Marian and her entourage wearing gowns made by top local designers. There were real "ninongs" and "ninangs," from the GMA 7 top executives to well-known personalities like German Moreno and Ricky Reyes. During the reception which was held live in the GMA Studios, there was even a fireworks display to conclude the series. Considering that Marimar toppled everyone else at the primetime ratings game, I guess that closing salvo was a fitting end to a monumental teleserye.

Now that Marian and Dingdong have a new series coming up, Marimar fans now have something to look forward to after the conclusion of their favorite teleserye. I hear that they're the lead stars in Mars Ravelo's classic story, Dyesebel. Since Marian's also a good swimmer, let's see how she fares as the new Filipina mermaid.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Allow Me to Gloat...

Yesterday, I surfed the Net looking for the whole name of the incumbent dean of UP Cebu. My search using the Almighty Google led me to the Wikipedia website (www.wiki.com) where I found his name under the page, "University of the Philippines, Visayas - Cebu College." When I scrolled down the said page, I found the name, "Tacloban" in very small fonts. Out of curiosity, I clicked on it. Lo and behold: Wiki.com also has a page dedicated to "University of the Philippines, Visayas - Tacloban College!" Click on this link and see it for yourself.

I explored the UPVTC page further and found the segment on student organizations. I think I almost cried from extreme joy when I read this:

"UPTC DebSoc is the most successful debating organization in Eastern Visayas, and the best in the Visayas."

Now, THIS really made my day!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

So much to Blog about, so little Time (again)

Good Lord, I've been quite busy with my life the past few weeks, I've been neglecting my blogs already.

By the way, busy in the Book of Dinky-isms, means washing clothes, buying groceries, caring for my three cats, and office work. Those are basically what take up my time. Okay, okay...it also means watching Marimar (Yes, this is what happens when there is no cable on my TV in Cebu. Kinda pathetic, actually...) and looking for the cheapest buys in Colon (Certified cheapskate -- that's me!).

So, let me begin with my newest bitch alerts...


Bwahaha...heard the news about DepEd banning Jun Lozada from conducting his campus tours in public elementary and high schools?

What in the world is DepEd so afraid of? That students in public schools will learn more from Jun Lozada than from their tired and obviously low-quality curriculum?

As a former educator, I always believe that learning doesn't only occur within the four walls of a classroom. It occurs everywhere, for as long as the student is trained to absorb and understand the world around him/her.

I also trained my students to ask questions because it is in asking well-formulated questions that one gets substantial answers to add to his/her treasure trove of knowledge.

All these things considered, the things Jun Lozada has to say can be of use to all students -- from those in the elementary grades to college.

Thus, I don't understand why DepEd is censoring this additional venue for our youth's learning.

Is it because the students may just learn too much?


Ever since this ZTE scandal has been blown out into the open, Gloria Arroyo has already been called or described in so many colorful terms.

CHED Commissioner Romulo Neri was alleged to have described GMA as "evil."

Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, smarting from the First Family's dropping him like a hot potato over his son's whistle-blowing, said that GMA is "ungrateful."

The most recent tag I heard given to the president was endowed on her -- albeit through a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease -- by none other than one of her most-trusted economic advisers, her former student, and now-Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

This was the situation. Salceda was recently invited to speak before a group of students and academicians about some economic chuvaloo. In that seminar of sorts, he mentioned something about GMA's economic policies. Let me quote verbatim how he summarized his discussion on that particular issue:

"President Arroyo may be a bitch, but she is one lucky bitch."

Only after he said what he had to say did he realize that there were some members of the media in the audience.

Salceda was so freakin' worried about his statement that he literally got sick that night. He texted the president, apologizing to the high heavens for his name-calling which he said was "uncalled for."

Hekhekhek...I got to know Salceda during his days as a topnotch stockbroker in the Tektite Stock Exchange, and he does have very flowery language. He wasn't liked much for it, but hey: at least he was downright honest with what he felt had to be said.

Knowing the kind of person Salceda is, I'm sure that there still is that part of him that isn't so apologetic about referring to GMA as a "lucky bitch."

And my take on that is -- my sentiments exactly!


So much for politics...

Guess what: I am now the proud mother of an elementary graduate!

My daughter, Ingrid Crystal, is finally graduating from Tanauan 1 Central School. Heck, who cares about honors? All I know is that she did her best, and that she's going to be in high school next school year already.

Time really does fly. One moment, I was giving birth to Ingrid. Now, she's an eleven-year old teenager.

I'm getting old...


And speaking of getting old, I remember what I said before that I'd like to die by the time I reach the age of 50. Considering that I'm already more than halfway there and I'm still as unstable (financially, that is) as ever, I think I can forego death at 50. Maybe 60 is a better age to bite the dust.

Besides, I'm going to be 38 this year already, but I don't feel my age.

I guess what they say about age being only a state of mind is true. You're only as old as you feel.

Well, I may be a little slower than I was when I competed in the 200-meter run in the 1983 Palarong Maynila (hahaha...bet you guys didn't know that!), but I'm still as strong as a horse. And my mind is still as sharp as ever -- with the few and far-between bouts of forgetfulness on the side.

Probably the only manifestation of my real age is seen in my hair. More white strands than ever before. But hey: some teenagers have whiter heads than me.

As I always say in my dialect: "Tagi hin chance."