Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Nation of Heroes

The last few days will serve as witnesses that the Philippines is a nation of heroes. Hearts gripped by pity and compassion mobilized brains and brawns into heroic action. Countless Filipino heroes rose to the occasion and selflessly braved murky floodwaters to rescue, deliver relief, and help in the cleaning up and rebuilding of flood-stricken homes and storm-ravaged lives. Kinetic monuments of heroism were erected across the nation and in other Filipino communities across the globe in the form of millions of monetary donations, relief goods, free or discounted services, equipment, vehicles and physical places, information drive, physical aid like packing and distribution of relief goods and clean up operations, and many more.

However, it is sad to say that with every glorious phenomenon the Filipino nation give rise to, the dark motives of a handful of black sheep would always painfully and exasperatingly catch the eye. It is a relief though that they are a mere minority. I hope they remain a minority come May 2010 elections.

Just a thought on Philippine-made glorious phenomena: I just thought that perhaps the death of President Cory Aquino which rekindled the flames of Filipino nationalism prefigured the heroism and voluntarism that mushroomed in answer to the Typhoon Ondoy deluge.

Anyways, speaking of Philippine heroism, please vote for Efren Penaflorida as your hero in CNN Heroes - Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact. Please check out CNN's widget above to learn and be inspired on how Efren makes a difference in nation-building, and vote for him. He is truly a modern day Filipino hero.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rain - for the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy

It was monstrous and it prematurely swallowed the last helping of light. It belched ungraciously a deafening rumble that sent ashen clouds behind the shadows, struggling to hold back terrified tears. Gloom blankets the heavens, a black velvet drapery drawn to signal an end.

Or perhaps a beginning.
Of what, the audience may not know.

Then comes the drum roll. Softly at first, then progresses loudly into deep trance. A rhythmic pounding against the roof, the ground, the windowpane, the heart, the mind, the soul… As a sort of backstage performer, this is my cue to start pounding the keyboard…


You invade my privacy. What is it in you that set me off to write? Is it the way you taunt me to fall into a mood swing the way you mock the sky and clouds to brood and display their childish tantrums across the skies? Well, I am in no mood to be moody right now. Or is it the way you license the sky to passionately express its fury in thunder and lightning? I am not furious about anything now. Or is it the way you allow the clouds, darkly masculine they may be, to shed tears, be it as little teary-eyed drizzles, or a weeping torrent of emotions? So you coax me to express myself…

You shield my privacy. What makes me seek your refuge? Is it in the way you drench and cool down a fiery angst or your means of soothing a parched broken spirit, tenderly caressing and blowing kisses in the wind? Perhaps it is in the way you hide my sobs and mask the tumbling sorrow streaming down the windows of my soul. Or is it your non-judgmental sympathy with the heavy-hearted, soaking the clouds in heavy emotional baggage? So you think you can mask and camouflage this wet sorrow called tears by drenching us in yours? But I do not need to conceal anything right now.I do not need a tantrum buddy or crying partner right now. So why this needless outburst?

A flash of fury!!!
An awkward pause…
Roaring and rumbling!

It’s you? It’s you! You need a shoulder to cry on because the shoulder of the mountains has turned cold and lifeless, stripped off of its dignity, shamed and molested by the shameless? The outstretched arms of the trees are no longer there to embrace you.

You have nowhere to go to because the streets and its intestines are stuck in their own personal rubbish? So you literally fill our empty lives, causing us health and sanitation problems.

My shoulders are small against the enormity of your grief. And my arms will not be able to wholly embrace you and console your cascading anguish. But I will share with you this outburst just as you had mine.

We weep for the molested Mountains, undressed Forests, orphaned diminishing Creatures and the massacred Trees. We wail for Air whose purity is stained by the filth of apathy. We sob for Ozone whose very essence is afflicted by cancerous careless consumerism. We whimper for Water whose generous abundance has been abused. We moan for Mother Earth whose children shamed and dishonoured Her. We cry for the future Children of the World who may not get to know the things we cry for.

And we cry for today’s Children of the World so that they may get to know the things we cry for, and that they may cry too. Or better, to recompense for our blunders that will stop us crying…

We sob, we cry, we weep, we wail, we whimper, we moan.

Yes, Rain. Let it rain.

This was my post last July 11, 2009, written for my more personal blog. Little did I know, this rain I was invoking would come in the form of Typhoon Ondoy. The Philippines really has to start taking seriously giving respect and consideration for the environment, for Mother Earth. It should start from each of us, Filipinos, in our own little ways like throwing garbage properly. But the Philippine government has the huge responsibility in taking the lead towards this pursuit by means of proper urban planning, correct waste disposal management, strict enforcement of the anti-smoke belching and anti-illegal logging laws, among other things. Or it could be too late. Meanwhile, let us help out and donate for the victims of typhoon Ondoy. As I have mentioned in my previous post, to help, please check Manuel Quezon III's blog on How to Help. Let your generosity rain down on them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

After Typhoon-Ondoy-Caused Flood, Another Phenomenon Floods the Country

The effects of the wrath of typhoon Ondoy have been strewn all over the capital of the Philippines especially the eastern part of GMA, and in some other provinces like Bulacan and Rizal. The grim picture has been mirrored in the news on TV, the radio, and online, and in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and in many blogs.

One of these very useful and informative blogs is that by Manuel L. Quezon III. If you need information and updates regarding hotlines, donations, how to help, or if you want to announce your need for help, or if you have some useful information to announce, etc., please check out his blog by clicking this link How to Help

After typhoon Ondoy submerged many parts of the GMA in flood, many kind-hearted Filipinos flooded the dreadful tableau with selfless voluntarism and generosity, some of whom even heroically died in the process of helping others.
While a handful of Filipinos (I think they should be disowned by the Filipino nation) had acted insensitively by posting insensitive comments about the disaster, and taking opportunity at the expense of the victims for their personal gains (politicking, over-pricing(some taxi drivers), and stealing from flooded houses), a great number of Filipinos and companies selflessly extended help for the flash flood victims. Many in the GMA volunteered to help in the rescue, distributing and organizing relief goods, sharing their resources, skills, etc, while many in other provinces who were not affected sent relief goods and donations.

Typhoon Ondoy invoked the Filipino Bayanihan spirit which seem to be a scarce commodity these days. I hope that we, Filipinos, learn from this devastating event. And I hope that the Filipino Bayanihan spirit is alive not only during extreme tragedies like this, but in our everyday Pinoy lives.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Politics Presidential Candidate Nick Perlas Suggests Better Noynoy Aquino Path to Presidency

I am enlightened by environmentalist Nicanor Perlas' assessment that a unity brought about by a common vision and strategic agenda for the Philippines is longer-lasting than a unity against a common enemy, which is what is actually happening now with the unification of some presidentiables giving up their candidacy to give way to Noynoy to bring down the Arroyo camp candidate.

His article also revealed to me why I am still apprehensive with Noynoy's candidacy. The questions which are at the back of my mind are: Is the Liberal Party trapo? Or, at least, are there LP members who are trapo? What is the assurance that if Noynoy would win as president, some LP members would not actually be "running" the Office of the President? What is Noynoy's vision and strategic agenda for the Philippines and how does he plan to lead the country to such goals?

Anyways, he had just recently made the decision to run for the presidency. Let us give him time to sort out his plans for the Philippines. One important thing with him is that he is the presidentiable with the purest of intentions.

Nonetheless, read Nick Perlas' sensible take on Noynoy Aquino's candidacy and the kind of unity the Philippines needs by clicking Filipino Voices...

Noynoy Finally Announces His Bid for the Presidency

As "The Son" rises, is there hope for a sunshiny brand new day for the Philippines?

Eversince Senator Mar Roxas vacated LP's seat for the presidential candidacy I have been in a dilemma, and I think many Filipinos share the same state of indecision with me, of whether or not Senator Noynoy Aquino fits the bill as the President of the Philippines in 2010. Given the choices in the presidential candidates buffet table, I had no appetite to feast on any of them.

But served with a new dish, relatively foreign, since he was out of the limelight prior to his good mother's death, I am considering waiting in the buffet line. But the question that keeps on nagging me is "Can he really do it?" Sans the favorable bias that he benefited from the deaths of his parents and listening to the apprehensions of his critics and other Filipino voters, I was in doubt.

The way I see it, his proven integrity (and that of his family) is what sets him apart from the other presidentiables. Is this integrity more important than the "proven track records" of the other candidates to redeem Juan dela Cruz from his misery? We can answer this by asking another question: What really ails Juan dela Cruz?

Without batting an eyelash my answer would be "moral decay", corruption in particular, gnawing at the moral fiber of the government and our society. You beg to disagree? Think: What really makes Juan dela Cruz poor? Is it really overpopulation? Or overpopulation of crooks and relatives in the government? Why is our educational system so flawed? What cracks our roads? The list continues... But the most interesting question is: Why do a lot of politicians scramble for low-paying positions in government, willingly paying millions, if not billions, of pesos just to become a lowly "public servant"?

Conrado De Quiros' Inquirer.net column today entitled "Yes He Can" seems to answer my quandary of Noynoy's capability to become the next Philippine President. The following paragraphs are snippets of his column that made me think:

What this country needs today is not someone to manage things, it is someone to clean up things. What we need today is not someone to make a business flourish, it is someone to make a dwelling place habitable, one whose previous tenant left it in a condition only cockroaches, rats, and real-estate speculators, in ascending order of predation, can appreciate. Who better to do this than Noynoy?

Or if you persist in using the CEO image, the job at hand is CEO, but only of a company that has been bankrupted by a bunch of crooks. Whom would you hire to revive it? An efficiency freak with a long résumé but who has business interests that compete with the company, who is a known tirador or beholden to people who are, and who therefore can only be trusted to efficiently pillage some more? Or someone you can trust?

...the question “Can Noynoy do it?” is a wrong one. The real question is, “Can we do it?” To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, what we need today is to ask not what the president can do for us but what we can do for the president.

The power of a democracy does not lie in a strong leader—or heaven forbid, strong republic—it lies in a strong people...

You have to read de Quiros' entire column though, and see for yourself if you can be convinced to believe that he can. No, we can! Here is the link to Yes, He Can.

Watch Blockbuster Movies for Free

Now's the best time to sit back and relax with your loved ones at the movies.

Use your Citi Card anywhere and enjoy these blockbuster treats:
Minimum single-receipt purchase of P1,500 anywhere
Get 1 Free Movie Pass worth P130
Minimum single-receipt purchase of P7,000 anywhere
Get 2 Free Movie Passes worth P260
Plus Popcorn & Softdrinks for 2

Minimum single-receipt PayLite purchase of 20,000 anywhere
Get 3 Free Movie Passes worth P390
Plus Popcorn & Softdrinks for 3

For every new approved Citi One Bill enrollment
Get 2 Free Movie Passes worth P260
Plus Popcorn & Softdrinks for 2

Catch the movies you've been waiting to see because the Free Movie Pass can be redeemed until November 30, 2009.

Simply present your Citi Card together with your valid charge slip at the following participating cinemas:

Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa
Glorietta 4, Makati City
Greenbelt 3, Makati City
TriNoma, Quezon City
Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City

Libis, Quezon City

Robinsons Ermita, Manila
Robinsons Galleria, Quezon City
Robinsons Metro East, Pasig City
Forum Robinsons Pioneer, Mandaluyong City
Robinsons Bacolod, Bacolod City
Robinsons Dasmarinas, Cavite
Robinsons Iloilo, Iloilo City
Robinsons Lipa, Batangas
Robinsons Starmills, Pampanga
Robinsons Tacloban, Leyte SHANG CINEPLEX
Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City

METRO MANILA: Bictuan, Fairview, Mall of Asia, Manila, Marikina, Megamall, Muntinlupa, North Eda/The Block, San Lazaro, South Mall, Sta. Mesa, Sucat, Taytay, The Podium, Valenzuela, plus IMAX Theaters in Mall of Asia and North Edsa

LUZON: Bacoor, Baguio, Baliwag, Batangas, Clark, Dasmarinas, Lipa, Lucena, Marilao, Molino, Naga, Pampanga, Rosales, Sta. Rosa

VISAYAS: Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo

MINDANAO: Cagayan De Oro, Davao

There's more! You can now buy your movie tickets and Pay with Points.4
Use your Citi Rewards Points to pay for 50% of your movie tickets. The rest will be charged to your Citi Card.

So, why pay cash when you can use Rewards Points?

To qualify for the promo, cardholder must use his/her Citi Card within the promo period, whether for a straight or PayLite transaction in the Philippines.
Citi One Bill lets a cardholder charge utility bills under his/her Citi Card. To qualify for the promo, the utility must be enrolled and approved within the promo period. Call 995 9999 to enroll in Citi One Bill.
The free movie pass must be used on the same day that it is redeemed. The free movie pass is worth P130 each and the cost of the difference versus the actual screening ticket shall be for the account of the Cardholder.
Pay with Points valid for Citi Classic/Gold VISA/MasterCard and Citi Platinum VISA only. Cardholder must use Citi Rewards points to pay for up to a maximum of 50% of the price of the movie ticket. Available at Ayala Malls Cinema, Eastwood Cinema, Robinsons Movieworld and Shang Cineplex.

Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 3705, Series of 2009

from Citibank Philippines website

To check out other Citibank promos, click here.
With today's economic downturn, a lot of Filipinos settle for pirated DVD's played in their own living rooms to watch movies. Many Filipinos are resisting to buy "want" items in favor of "need" items. So maybe, to increase consumer spending through credit card use, Citibank offered this promo. Partnering with Citibank, the above mentioned cinemas are also able to increase movie watcher traffic.

Credit card users can avail of about 8.7% "savings" with Citibank's free movie pass promo. But they must be careful, lest they might end up frequenting unnecesary P1,500 purchases.

GMA NewsTV recently reported an increase in unpaid credit card debts as of June this year in the Philippines showing that consumers may be having a hard time meeting financial obligations. Moreover, it could also be that Filipinos are increasing their credit card usage to augment insufficient income stream. But credit card users must always be concious of the daunting interest rates when they do not fully pay their credit card balances every due date.

When availed rationally, the Citibank free movie pass promo is a treat for Filipinos so that they can relax and see a movie after a hard day's or week's work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Which Man of God is Serving Which God?

One of today's top stories:

Panlilio, Padaca offer full support for Noynoy in 2010

Throwing their support behind Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and Isabela Governor Grace Padaca on Friday announced that they will no longer join the 2010 presidential race.

"Pagkatapos ng aming pagdarasal, pakikilahok sa mga kaganapan sa ating lipunan at pag-iisip at pagkonsulta sa aming mga taga-suporta, nagpasya kaming lahat na tugunan ang tawag ng pagmamahal sa bayan, sakripisyo at pagkakaisa na pinangunahan na ni Senator Mar Roxas noong...

To read the rest of the report by MARK D. MERUEÑAS and JOHANNA CAMILLE SISANTE, please click here GMANews.TV

Meanwhile, on one side of the multi-sided Philippine political fence, another "Ed of God" vying for the Philippine presidency made a differing announcement to that of the on-leave priest. The report by Dennis Carcamo of Philstar News Service follows:

Villanueva pushing through with presidential bid

MANILA, Philippines – Jesus Is Lord leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva said he will pursue his presidential candidacy and will not follow the move of Sen. Mar Roxas, who two days ago gave up his 2010 bid.

“The only way to achieve Bangon Pilipinas’ vision of a new Philippines and platform of righteous governance is to stay in the race,” Villanueva said in a statement.

Although he respects Roxas' decision, Villanueva -- also the head of the political party Bangon Pilipinas – said the Liberal Party head's move will not dissuade him from pushing through with his plans for the country.

"The Liberal Party’s move does not influence Bangon Pilipinas' own plans,” he added.

Roxas earlier withdrew from the presidential race to give way to partymate Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

In a radio interview, Villanueva said Bangon Pilipinas offers voters a “true alternative” in the 2010 polls.


In one of the previous front-page reports of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a comment to this effect was written: GMA must be so bad, several "Men of God" want to run for president. It is part funny, part exasperating, and perhaps partly true.

But another thing that is both funny but exasperating is the propensity for disunity of Filipinos, especially among different organizations, despite the commonality of their professed good intentions.

Take for example the several separate group or cause websites for Cory Aquino, or for the Philippines (not just Definitely Filipino), or for Cebu, popping up in Facebook. More or less they share similar objectives, why can they not volt in as one big ultra electromagnetic machine, like the five special earth defense agents of Voltes V, to effect a greater impact.

In like manner, the Philippines is in dire need of a consortium of opposition parties and candidates which carry the banner for reform for the restitution of the moral fiber of the now decadent Philippine political system and leadership.

While Noynoy discerns for a big decision, perhaps the biggest in his life, many Filipinos contemplate whether he is already The One, or not. But in the meantime, with the turn of events, we get a glimpse of who to cross out in our list of our presidential bets, thus, making the decision process less difficult. If we read between the lines quoted from the other opposition parties reacting to the foregoing of Mar Roxas' presidential bid in favor of Noynoy Aquino, there are hints of how their professed messianic intentions for the Philippines tilt toward the deliverance of their respective parties rather than for the entire damned nation.

I beg of you, always be on the lookout, Pinoys!