Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What should I write about?

Terrible question. I guess that's what happens to bloggers when somehow something impedes the flow of thought.

Let me tell you what impedes my thoughts these days. I wish to write only about things that make a Pinoy proud. But I also want to be honest. The fact that sometimes I feel like these two seem to be opposed to each other bothers me a lot, such that it impedes my thoughts.

Look at my mobile right this very moment. It just made an alert and, my my my... the SMS is a joke about our President. Now, should I blog about it? The question alone already immobilizes my brain.

Recently typhoon "Frank" passed by. MV Philippine Princess capsized and around 800 people died, a lot of whom are still right there inside the ship's hull floating upside down in the seas of Romblon. Should I write about it?

Both stuff don't make me proud. But I do not want to be a whiner. A lot of Filipinos already are and look at where we are now? Will whining improve our lot? At home, we do not watch local news anymore, nor listen to AM radio. We think they're full of garbage these days.

Let me write instead about the words I found on page 217 of Jack Canfield's book entitled Success Principles, which I bought on impulse from the National Bookstore one day:

Jack Canfield on Forgiving

In the light of the Law of attract more of whatever feelings you are experiencing. Being negative, angry, and unforgiving about a past hurt only ensures that you'll attract more of the same into your life.

I know how hard it can be to forgive and let go. I've been kidnapped and assaulted by a stranger...been sued in some blatantly frivolous lawsuits, and been taken advantage of in a number of business dealings.

But after each experience, I did the work of processing it and forgiving the other party because I knew that if I didn't, those past hurts would eat away at me and prevent me from focusing my full attention on the future life I wanted to create.

Success Principles by Jack Canfield, page 217.

Thanks Jack. When my mood swings like this, words from people like you are indeed a great blessing.Writing the words of Jack Canfield lifts me up indeed.

Compatriots, let's count our blessings. Whining won't get us anywhere. Whining leads us to greed, incompetence, corruption, and many other things we don't want our country to be peppered with.

Gratitude counts. If we only know how and where to look, we will see that blessings indeed abound. Then, only then, can we really move forward.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Blessings of Technology

It is easy to think that being a so-called "third world country" everything is backward in this country. That is conventional thinking, which is, in fact, far from reality. The way I see it now, the Philippines is blessed because of technology.

Let me describe how the world was when I was a freshman in college in 1985 :

1. There were no cell phones. My parents sent me hand-written letters around once or twice a semester. (I enrolled in U.P. Diliman in Quezon City, while my parents were in Cagayan de Oro City, an hour and a half away by plane, airport-to-airport);
2. There were no computers. We submitted reports using the typewriter;
3. There were no beepers, no text messaging, no instant messaging, and things of that sort, which we almost take for granted these days. Nothing in those days were remotely comparable to these things.
4. There was no internet. You actually had to go to the library to research for information, not to a cafe beside the restaurant.

I have listed four, but you get the picture.

These days, events in first world country can be observed and even replicated in the Philippines, or any country with internet access in real time. The time lapse is very small. Take iPhone 3G for instance. We know it has been introduced in the USA last week. In just a few days, that thing will be here, or maybe it's already here and I'm the last one to know. Can't tell.

It is possible that most of the country isn't looking very closely. It is possible that most of the learned ones are taking things for granted. But the opportunities provided by technology are here, staring at us.

To those who see the opportunity and grab it, the whole world is in their hands. Thanks to technology.

My prayer is we as a country will notice sooner and not later.Technorati Tags: ,

Fast NBI Clearance

I must give credit where credit is due, and without delay.


I have always known that getting an NBI clearance is now one of the least things we have to worry in the Philippines these days. Thanks to technology.I can no longer recall when I got my own NBI clearance, because it’s in the range of eight to ten years ago. The processing per se was less than an hour, despite the terrifyingly long lines that time, then I was asked to return after two weeks to get my clearance. My salutes to NBI for that.

I went to the NBI again. But this time, I did not know what to do exactly, because unlike my previous experience, I was just an authorized representative. My brother brought his family to immigrate to another country, and his wife needed the NBI clearance. They sent me a parcel, and I was supposed to go the NBI with it.

What made me really appreciate NBI again is that in 44 minutes, I got the NBI clearance of my sister-in-law absolutely without the hassles we normally attribute to a government office! The NBI people were helpful and courteous.

At the NBI Clearance Center, I asked people what I should do and I was told to go to the 6th floor. Up there, I was attended to by a certain Dela Vega. I was not passed around. I liked that. I followed the steps Dela Vega specified and went back to him after around half an hour. No big deal! Then, he took the application form, held it up with his right hand, and said, “go to Step 6 at the 4th Floor, they will get this form from you”; then, he took the receipt, help it up with his his left hand, and said “go to Step 7 with this receipt and you’ll get the clearance.” The instruction was blindingly clear, wasn’t it?

Indeed I got the clearance at Step 7. All in all, it took 44 minutes. Someone called me right before I went in, and I called someone right after I finished. At the train, I couldn’t help but compare the time stamps in both calls: 1:14pm and 1:58pm, respectively.

Now all I have to do is mail this to my sister-in-law abroad.

Again, my salutes to you people at the NBI Clearance Center.

-Technorati Tags:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Three things they never taught me about Philippine History

I'm 39 years old. But have I grown wiser? If you rate me based on my knowledge about Philippine history, the history of my own beloved country, perhaps I have grown a measly three notches higher because of the three things I learned about Philippine history, which, strangely, I never learned in school! I plan to write about these lessons a long time ago, but I procrastinated. But after learning New Knowledge #3, I blew my top and here I am.

New Knowledge #1. Our first "President," Emilio Aguinaldo, ordered the killing of Andres Bonifacio.

I never knew that til I enrolled in the University of the Philippines and scoured its library. Did I sleep in my history classes, in all ten years I was in the elementary and high school? My God I could not believe it! I was Salutatorian in elementary and 5th Honorable Mention in high school and I didn't know this very important detail in Philippine history? Wow!

Andres Bonifacio was an "illiterate" while Aguinaldo was a well-educated man. Bonifacio was about 34 years old while Aguinaldo was about 28. When the Katipunan was at war with Spain, Aguinaldo's camp in the Katipunan succeeded in letting go of Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior, because he was illiterate. Bonifacio went berserk, and the quarrel between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo tore the Katipunan apart (hmmm, reminds me of CFC and FFL tsk tsk we have never learned?). So Aguinaldo ordered the execution of Bonifacio to keep the Katipunan together. It was war time, folks. Some hard decisions had to be made. I understood that.

But was there a chance this was never taught in any of my history classes? I do not want to point an accusing finger but I just feel betrayed. As a young boy I used to draw images of Philippine heroes. Wow, I simply loved them. At one point I asked my teachers, how did Lapu-Lapu die? How did Mabini die? Early in life I learned that a lot of our heroes actually died of old age! Emilio Aguinaldo included. The only heroes who died "in action" were Jose Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar and the three priests. But nobody told me Andres Bonifacio was executed by Aguinaldo! He may have ordered the execution of another one, and that's in the next section.

New Knowledge #2. General Antonio Luna was assassinated by Aguinaldo's men.

Nobody told me this!

Antonio Luna was a very strong commander, and it irritated a lot of Aguinaldo's men. Antonio Luna saw that many soldiers were lazy and he wanted tough discipline. Aguinaldo, on his part, was somewhat insecure of Luna and was afraid he would threaten the unity of the Katipunan. So he did he order the execution? Hmmm. I wouldn't say that yet. But it was Aguinaldo's men who killed Antonio Luna in a very treacherous manner.

New Knowledge #3. Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim.

Lapu-Lapu was the representative of the Sultanate of Sulu in the Visayas. No wonder he resisted Magellan to the teeth. I learned this only a week ago, when I read the speech Sen Dick Gordon made during the inauguration of the Lapu-Lapu statue in Luneta.

Why is this piece of information important to me? Because to not teach it in school is to desecrate the very hero that we proudly proclaim as the first Asian to repel foreigners! Why did no one ever tell me that Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim? Were we ashamed that we proudly bannered ourselves as a Christian nation, and yet we had a Muslim as our first hero? Come on! Whose pride did we feed there? Whose hypocrisy did we promote?

We know for a fact that Jose Rizal renounced his Catholic faith, and the Jesuits persuaded him not to. We know that many of our heroes are in fact Freemasons, who are excommunicated from the Catholic Church! The Katipunan was patterned after Freemasonry! Doesn't that teach us something?

Perhaps it is time to teach those important details about history in school. This is so we are forced to look inside ourselves and find out who we are and what we need to learn!

I'm a Filipino in heart and mind. History teaches me who I am and what I need to become. To not teach me the failings of my countrymen is to stunt my growth as a Filipino. We must appreciate what is good in our culture. But let us not forget the lessons of our history. If we don't teach history well, we lose the lessons and the growth that springs from it.

I am a Christian. I accepted Christ because of who He is in my life, and not because of the proud history of the Catholic Church. I am aware of the wrongdoings attributable to the Catholic Church, yet you see me profess Catholicism because of the ideals it stands for, which are enshrined in the Bible and the sacred traditions. So this I know, the manner by which Christianity was brought to this country was a shame, and Lapu-Lapu reminded us of that, and we ought to heed the lesson that gives us!

May the Department of Education, Culture and Sports heed my call. Amen.