February 27, 2005

It's the End of the World As We Know It

Last February 13, Sister Lucia died in her convent in Portugal. Sister Lucia was the last remaining survivor of the trio who were given the secrets of Fatime by Mother Mary. Here's the interesting part: It was written (3rd Secret of Fatima?) that before she will pass away, she will first see a sign that the end of times has begun. And before she died, she has been ill for three months and that puts us back to December. And it was in December that the terrible Tsunami disaster struck southeast Asia. Can the tsunami be the sign of more things to come?

Also, it was also written during the time of John XXIII that there will be three more popes who will reign before the end of times, and John Paul II is the last of the three. I don't know if it's true. Perhaps, more research into this is needed.

And so what if it's the end of the world, I feel that living here in Manila is already the end of the world. More like Sodom and Gomorrah to me.

Care to visit this site:

February 24, 2005

The Reign of John Paul the Great

"You and I suffer for the realization of a universal divine plan. I wish you a speedy recovery. Now you have to confirm the Divine Truth that we are at the end of the world. This is the last generation of humanity on planet Earth. Only like this will God give you health and miraculous strength for the coming years."
-Turkish Assassin Ali Agca to Pope John Paul II, (Feb. 2005)

There has been quiet talk circulating in the Internet about conferring the title "the Great" to our present pope, John Paul II. Out of the 263 popes, only three were given this title: Pope Leo I, Pope Gregory I and Pope Nicholas I. Not a long list, is it? And soon, when our beloved pope will pass away, he might just get that title.

Taking into account that more than a third of the world's population is under 26, Pope John Paul's papacy is the only papacy these people have experienced, and this means that such a person has stamped his face and identity to the hearts of each one of them. He is already frail yet unbowed thanks to the dynamism of his 26 years in the papal throne. You can actually hear the poet Dylan Thomas read his poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" to Pope John Paul II where you can hear him say, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light..." Truly, the burdens he faces add more weight to the physical cross he currently bears.

Controversies concerning dogmatic inflexibility particularly on topics such as female priests, same-sex unions, abortions and contraception have been perrenial thorns to his reign always pricking his infallibility with questions of doubt and skepticism. But he stood his ground which I myself am proud of. Notwithstanding, his parishes have been rocked by scandals concerning pedophile priests and the "blind-eye" routine of the hierarchy. This made him looked bad in the eyes of many. These harrassments deserve justice but because of the silent stance of the Church towards this issue, they have unwittingly compounded (instead of cushioning) the impact. At least, the priests today do not torture civilians (by tying their hands on the back and hanging the poor native midair), impregnate native women, sire mestizo half-breeds (that's why those children whose fathers were priests carry the surnames of De los Santos or Del Rosario), collect taxes, or censor books (like the anally ultraconservative Dominicans of UST) unlike the Spanish friars who corrupted themselves into sin two centuries ago. The caricature of Padre Damaso and Salvi by Rizal says it all. Padre Damaso might even had sexual designs for Basilio and Crispin that might partially explain why Crispin died.

But through it all, Pope John Paul became the beacon of hope in today's cynical world. He has cannonized more saints than all his predecessors combined. He may have even named one of them as Patron of Cyberspace and Patron of Texters. He broke the yoke of communism by being the fulcrum of change, as seen in Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement in Poland. He is the most widely traveled pope in history. He is the first pope to enter a synagogue in Rome and to visit a Mosque in Damascus. Even controversial world leaders like Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat and King George W. (Bush) were humbled by his presence. Even if the pope is the leader of the world's smallest state, his opinions and views affect more than a billion people around the globe. His current hospitalization has instant spawned prayer vigils all over the world. So if anything happens to him, you can be sure that the whole of humanity will mourn his death. The only question remains: When? I certainly hope not in this decade.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

February 16, 2005

The Good Life

I am in the process of "cleaning" and transferring files from my CPU to diskettes because the new CPU that my good sister sent home via a balikbayan box has arrived. Another person's trash is another person's treasure. So, if you want your relatives' used electronic goods sent to the Philippines, have them shipped in our patently Pinoy balikbayan box. Anyway, I was transferring files when I found this article. It was supposed to be sent to Young Blood but I wasn't sure if they were going to publish it. I sat on it, did not finish the entry and left it in the dustbins of my hard-disk. Since I don't have anything to post today, I thought this will suffice. Hehehehe... read on...

Bacolod. Such a word brings back nostalgic memories of the good and simple life
in this young city. Everything you need is within reach, everything is unhurried
and everything is carefree. It is not a bit like Manila- a decrepit decaying
morass of a black hole whose only existence is to justify suffering. It was only
when I transferred here to enter college that I learned to appreciate the charm
of my hometown and to be proud of its lifestyle.

Life in Negros is very laid back and unhurried. Schoolchildren go home during lunch breaks (either by commuting or being fetched by drivers) or eat at nearby eateries, and still be back inside the gates without even thinking of skipping classes. People don’t use street names, but rather, they use landmarks to define a location. For
instance, we would say that our rendezvous for a school project is at the back of this church, or two blocks after this restaurant, but never at so-and-so street unlike in Manila where everything can be located by street names like Sampaloc, Pedro Gil, EDSA, España, Ortigas, Buendia and Ayala.

Traffic in Bacolod is a joke- a far cry from the maddening race here in Manila. The wide roads, adequate sidewalks, good traffic coordination and concrete embankments make every joyride a pleasure. We have traffic lights but we decide to turn it off. On the commuting side, you shall neither see puffed-up sweating commuters packed like sardines in jeepneys nor queue at serpentine lines to buy MRT tickets. You won’t see distraught bus passengers being held up in the middle of EDSA in broad daylight or bus conductors barking for passengers while clogging the road. In Bacolod, traffic is defined by the three cars in front of you, and honking your horn to show impatience is rare. Jeeps are not that packed to the brim and airconditioned
taxis there never scrutinize your destination for everything in Bacolod is reachable within 30 minutes. No stress, no hassle. Less white hairs.

Many will testify that Bacolod is one of the safest cities in the country. There are virtually no muggings or street hold-ups, no high-chase bank robberies, no salvaging, no kidnappings or frat brawls, which can deter a tourist from venturing out. There, one can rarely find vagrants and infant-toting beggars knocking on your car’s windows. It’s fortunate that Bacoleños are spared from mulcting kotong cops unlike here where they are having a field day everyday. Every night past eight, the main street traffic thin out to a point that one can have a drag racing contest on the main artery. And sometimes they do.

One of the best memories any visitor can have in Bacolod is the food. Ilonggo food. Most are unreasonably cheap, delicious and worthy of an all-night pig-out. This brings to mind original Chicken House Inasal, Bailon’s piaya, Bongbong’s Barquillos & boat tarts, Sugarlandia’s squid rings galletas, El Ideal’s buko and guapple pies, Virgie’s mango tarts & butterscotch, Roli’s Napoleones, batchoy, Bob’s Sate Babe, Pala-pala seafood, Aboy’s Sinugba, and countless others too delicious to mention. Each restaurant has its own specialty, and when you’re accompanied by a Negrense, you’ll sure to have a tour of Bacolod’s food spots. And of course, what is Bacolod without the sweet goodies? They say, you will know if someone has arrived from Bacolod by the sheer number of pasalubong boxes he has brought.

Lastly, the thing that makes Bacolod worth the trip is the cleanliness of the city. The streets are free from hills of garbage or pools of urine, and there are lots of patches of green. The water does not have that metallic taste to it unlike in Cebu. And the air, that invigorating air! One can neither find the stench of fetid garbage there unlike Quiapo and Divisoria (well, carabao shit maybe) nor the heavy exhaust fumes like in the 5pm traffic along Taft. I can still remember years ago when the sugarmill operates at night where they churn all those sugar and molasses thus, perfuming the cool midnight air with the aroma of sugarcane. That really lulls you to sleep.
Now that I think about it, I sure miss Bacolod. Hmmmm... vacation, vacation, vacation.

February 13, 2005

The Japanese Holocaust

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Last week, a series of articles describing the barbarity of the Japanese in their vain attempt to keep Manila left me with a sense of hatred for those slit-eyed buck-toothed race. Not that I hate them or their culture, I hate what they did during the war. It was no excuse. Just like the Nazis, the Japanese marines became bestial monsters killing all those refugees and civilians.

To set an example, PDI columnist Ramon Farolan wrote,

In the afternoon of Feb. 10, my father was at his desk at the PNRC offices on Isaac Peral (now UN Avenue) when Japanese marines with fixed bayonets burst into the building. A volunteer surgeon, Dr. German de Venecia, who was preparing two patients for surgery, was shot twice and died instantly. The two patients were bayoneted to death. The attending nurses were also attacked, but they survived the bayonet thrusts. On hearing the first shots, my father dove under his desk. A marine fired two shots at him; fortunately both missed their target. The attacker then turned on Mrs. Juan P. Juan, her daughter and a 10-day-old granddaughter. All three died. Believing he had accounted for everyone in the room, the marine left. This procedure was repeated throughout the building, room by room. My father would later testify, "From where we were, we could hear the victims in their death agony, the shrill cries of children and the sobs of dying mothers and girls."
I can just imagine myself in that room helpless and scared shitless hearing the cries and moans of people being killed from room to room. (When I read the article, my chest became heavy and my heart began to beat so fast as if I was reliving that horrible scene.) I can't imagine what has happened inside the convents where nuns were decapitated or in hospitals wherein patients were bayonetted in their beds. It's a scary thought, but like the Holocaust, these things must never be forgotten. These should be our reminders that these barbaric acts should never be repeated again.

On another light, one must read Iris Chang's book "The Rape of Nanking" where every inconceivable act of inhumanity was inflicted by the Japanese soldiers on the civilian population of Nanking during a 6-week period in 1937. An estimated 300,000 civilians were brutally butchered compared to our 100,000 dead. This is to show that Japanese agression was not limited to the Battle of Manila, but is also common throughout their occupation in east Asia. Can I say that their acts are not a fluke but rather an inherent trait for slaughter, gore and bestial monstrosity? I don't think so. Perhaps it's a trait shared by all human beings. Take for example our army's treatment for suspected NPA guerilla, or the fate of desaparecidos. Even during the Vietnam War, Cambodian genocide and Bosnia genocide, such acts keep repeating themselves over and over. I still remember a segment in National Geographic wherein they retold the story of the massacres in Bosnia wherein Muslim girls and mothers were herded into an abandoned warehouse and were killed when Serbian soldiers threw grenades in their direction. These equally brutal and heartless executions were not made by yellow-skinned slit-eyed pygmys but Filipinos, Serbs, Cambodians, etc. So, the only difference with us and the Japanese is the level of creativity and barbarity that these acts of murder were done.

Let these events be our reminders that history must not repeat itself.

February 06, 2005

Quiapo Underground: A Repost

The hidden location of the pirate's lair. Just go into Arlegui Street.;Posted by Hello

In view of recent events concerning Edu's rampage towards hapless Muslims selling pirated dvds, I have decided to step up efforts in countering his measures by advocating and promoting piracy to Filipinos. The mecca for pirated vcds and dvds is obviously Quiapo. So, here's a repost for those who have not ventured in that surreal place:

Hmmm... And so the plot thickens. This is one of the entry points to the infamous Quiapo DVD market. From the Quiapo church, you have to cross the underpass to the other side of the avenue to Hidalgo street. Your landmarks are: Greenwich pizza along the boulevard, then head east until you see Jollibee on the next block, just go straight pass it until you see a MiniStop convenience store on the next block. It's situated on the fork of the road wherein if you go left, you'll see jeepneys from San Sebastian cathedral coming to your direction, and if you go RIGHT where you'll see an enormous crowd gathering in makeshift stalls. That my friend, is the jackpot. There, you can ask for directions or better yet just follow where most people are going.

Also, Arlegui street poses as one of the less crowded access to the fabled stuff. Just go straight. Do not panic if you see a cop because as far as anyone with an IQ higher than 90 knows, they are frequently batting a blind eye to this seemingly illegal trade. I think their philosophy is that as long no one is hurt, killed, maimed or kidnapped, then everything's well.

Caution: Do not bring lots of cash, or credit cards for that matter. Do not show off your cellphone in public, or use it in the streets. Do not wear expensive watches or jewelry for they can become targets for street pickpockets. Do not wear formal clothes because Muslim merchants are wary of giving discounts to coños. Furthermore, do not make any snide remarks ala GWBush about Muslims because you won't get any discount that way. (I was about to write "you won't be able to escape Quiapo alive if you do insult them.")

Inside one of the many alleys in DVD country;Posted by Hello

There are lots of places to start. And you have to be discriminating with your choice of DVDs. Just don't take it as it is because if something is wrong with it, it can be very difficult to return it back for exchange. There are rows and rows of DVDs and with luck, you can stumble on rare titles (like the works of Paolo Pasolini & Kurosawa), or better copies of unreleased films. The DVDs are stack on shelves upon shelves extending from the floor to the ceiling. When they say DVD copy, it means it was copied from the original, but when they say "Clear copy," it means it's not worth buying the disc yet.

My routine:
1. Check for the titles.
**Tip: To know if the DVD you're holding is copied from the already released original one, check the spine. If you can see a code along the spine like this (DTS-9004), then more or less, it's from the real stuff. If there's none, chances are, it's just a clear copy or a promotional one.

2. Check for scratches and defects on the shiny side of the DVD.
3. Have you choice be tested on their DVD player.
4. Haggle. Currently, it's P60-65 ($1.20) per disc. If bundled into three purchases, you can get them for cheaper.
5. Make sure they stamp/mark the DVD title insert, so if you return them, you can argue that it was from their store that you've bought the disk from because if not, they can play that Shylock argument that you "might have bought it from other stalls."

An otaku shopping for anime;Posted by Hello

There are lots of films to choose from. Just remember to have the presence of mind on what to buy and a limited budget for your trip, so that you won't indulge on impulse buying. It's difficult to control oneself once you're there, especially if you have been afflicted with the shopping bug.

Many of the films being peddled in Quiapo are:
1. Unreleased Hollywood films
a. copied from a promotional disc
b. copied inside a theater
2. Released Hollywood films (copied from the original DVD)
3. Classics (Hitchcock, Kurosawa, war movies, etc.)
4. Arthouse films (infrequent, scarce supply, rare titles) ex. Criterion collection
5. Asian foreign films (Korean, Japanese)

Raids are frequent in Quiapo. However, if Edu and his cohorts have a scheduled raid, more or less, the sellers have already been tipped off and are extremely vigilant during that particular day. You can see them talking about the impending raid, having boxes readied, and their supplies are not 100% displayed. Besides, if a raid ensues, the news spreads like wildfire and within a span of five minutes, all of the shops are closed. Should you encounter one such raid, then simply head to the nearest convenience store and take cover.

CAVEAT: Edu is itching to catch consumers (that's you and me) of pirated dvds and he threatened to imprison those who are caught buying stuff. He said they'll be charged with the anti-fencing law, which any lawyer will tell you will not hold up in court because the goods you're buying are not stolen goods (like cars) since they're made first hand albeit in violation of Intellectual Property Rights law ek-ek. So, go ahead and indulge.

So, be sure to send a postcard on your next trip to Quiapo.

February 04, 2005

In Want of a Phone

May the thief who stole it be infested by a thousand lice. I bought a second-hand phone today as a replacement for my stolen unit. Some people may cringe at how plebian that may sound, but in my current situation wherein I have yet to receive my first paycheck, any phone for that matter will do. Having no phone at first felt liberating, but as soon as the commitments and obligations pour in, one cannot stand idly by and watch his job and private life slip pass through him. And although I crave to have a MMS-supported celphone with the cameras, videos, MP3s and whatnots, I don't have the means to demand for it. Mom can procure one but at this age and time, demanding for such a unit is deemed ostentatious. It's like saying that the poor cannot eat three times a day, and yet they still have a budget for buying load.
So, no choice but to get a cheaper phone; at least my headache will not be as intense if this one gets stolen again.

And so I got a 2nd-hand 6210 that has neither been repaired, tinkered, nor reconditioned. I found out that older discontinued phones peddled by scam artists inside Greenhills, Robinson's malls, and tiangges have been opened and recondition to look like brand new. It is dangerous to buy one because, according to one of the stall owners, the signal becomes unpredictable. Perhaps that is the reason why its warranty covers for a year. These sellers are really devious, cunning and shrewd, just like Shylock the Jew in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. In the Philippines' the bad rap for shrewdness goes to our fellow Muslims from the south. My experiences in DVD buying in their lairs in Downtown Quiapo affirms that sentiment.

Speaking of MMS phones, I really have to congratulate Globe, Smart and Sun companies for brainwashing the whole population in making them crave for higher-end phones, spawning pickpockets and hold-ups everywhere. Thanks for the colored ads in the Star and Inquirer where you placed celebrities brandishing and enjoying your latest model, hence, making us feel that we have to change phones every year so to keep up with the latest Nokia. Thank you also for making us feel that our phones are never good enough (or never functional enough) where in fact the only use for it is texting and calling up people. Thank you also for not reminding us that our phone's market value will drop half-fold by the end of the year thereby making us unaware of the wasted money we invested in such a "depreciable" unit. Take for instance the Nokia 6600: at first, it was being sold at P24,000, then after a year, P18,000, now, P16,000, and if one gets it at Buy&Sell it's P12,000. This is sad, really sad.

Now, who's more shrewd? Cellphone companies or the muslim sellers? Take your pick.