Sunday, December 6, 2009

Homo Sapiens? or Did Something Else Fire the Guns in Maguindanao?

More than 50 dead in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009. Was it a human encounter? or an encounter with the undead? Worse, was it an encounter with Satan himself?
As bodies from the worst political massacre in the nation’s history were being uncovered from freshly dug mass graves, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat and in Cotabato City. (Source:
I have the feeling the President should have called Sector 7 instead. Too bad that Sector in the US government was disbanded in Transformer 2.

I think our Catholic President should perhaps ask the assistance of the Vatican in exorcising Maguindanao and cast Satan himself out of those lands.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lack of Volunteeers in DSWD Warehouses? Let's revisit the NSTP

Relief goods in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) allegedly gathered dust in four warehouses, one month after typhoon Ondoy. There was indignation about this in blogosphere lately.

The October 29, 2009 post entitled "Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo" at lambasted DSWD for alleged hoarding of relief goods in DSWD warehouses. Overzealous people in Facebook and eGroups circulated the link to this post.

But earlier, on October 26, 2009, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral has already made a statement on these relief goods, admitting that the DSWD "warehouses are indeed full" but that this was . . .
"inspite of the fact that we have distributed 500,000 food packs and 200,000 clothing packs as well as thousands of sacks of rice, blankets, beddings, and items of personal hygiene in the past almost 4 weeks."
Let me say my piece.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mayors Who Damned San Roque Dam Were Joking, Right?

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Angry mayors Monday called for the decommissioning of the San Roque Dam, fearing its location near a fault line raised the possibility that it could collapse during an earthquake and wipe out Pangasinan province. (Source: Inquirer.Net)
Mayors of Pangasinan actually thought it was cool to damn the San Roque dam. As an ordinary citizen who studied land and water resources engineering in college, I could not help but wonder how the San Roque dam was built in the first place . . .  if the mayors' claim was correct: that the dam was built on a fault line!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Morning Prayer of a Metrorail Transit Rider from Cubao, Quezon City

I have much more respect now for Metrorail Transit riders from Quezon City to Makati City. After several rides myself at 8 or 9 in the morning, I have experienced for myself the ordeal each one goes through. Take this trip that I made for example . . .
  • 7:30am - left home to Cubao station on a jeepney
  • 7:50am - arrived at the Cubao Metrorail Transit station, saw that the south-bound platform was jampacked, saw that after two or three trains there was no obvious dent on the number of people on the platform
  • 8:00am - decided to come down the platform and run to the other side to take the train going to the opposite direction; that is, to North EDSA Metrorail Transit station

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Metro Manila City Train Blues

Getting a south-bound Metrorail Transit (MRT) ride at 8am in the morning in Cubao seems to require both brains and brawns, doesn't it?

The crows of humanity at the MRT platform in Cubao. I risked my life to take this photo.

I reminisce the time when the MRT was so new. At that time almost everyone resisted it one way or the other. Riding the MRT then was as easy as drinking a cup of coffee. All you had to do was walk (and climb, which was the only hard part) to the station, buy a ticket, wait for the train and walk in!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Tale of Heroism During Typhoon Ondoy

Heroism thrives in the country. That's what Typhoon Ondoy taught me. Yes they say that in the newspapers, TV and Facebook.

But I also heard it from first hand stories of people whom I know personally.

 One of them is from an lady army sergeant, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Corps of the Philippine Army, who wishes that I don't mention her name.

Let's call her Wilma, the woman in the army. She's single and the only daughter of a widow. In short, she only has her mother for her family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buses and Tricycles Don't Make A Good Mix in Metro Manila Traffic

Traffic jam in Metro Manila on a Sunday? This happened around 11am on October 18, 2009 at E. Rodriguez Avenue, approximate in front of Saint Joseph.

It turned out that a provincial bus was stuck with a tricycle that hit its rear.

Whew! Was it fair for a bus full of passengers to stop in the middle of E. Rodriguez Ave., a major highway in Metro Manila, because the bus driver had to deal with a tricycle driver which hit the rear of his bus?

I have difficulty looking at this situation as reasonable. In fact I found it absurd! Forgive the word. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rantings of a Desperate Taxi Rider in Makati

Flagging a taxi in Makati on a rainy night is a nightmare. I think it is every taxi rider's nightmare. Be forewarned.

On the evening of Sept 28, 2009 (the one before Ondoy struck the country), we flagged six or seven taxis in a row. It was a rainy night then. They all refused to let us in. One said he was "on his way to Cavite." Another said he was "on his way to Pasay." Still another was "on his way to ParaƱaque," etc.

Taxis were public utility vehicles without fixed routes, but they sounded like they had routes that night. And Quezon City, to them, was like a place on the far side of the moon, way out of their routes. Gosh, I thought and felt that was absurd.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Was the Impact of Typhoon Ondoy an "Act of God" too?

Ondoy came and went, with catastrophy in its wake. Clearly the typhoon itself was an "act of God." But were the damages unpreventable? Not so, says Urban planner and architect Felino Palafox Jr.
Palafox said a 1977 World Bank-funded study identified Marikina Valley, the western shores of Laguna de Bay, and the Manila Bay coastal area as among development areas that should prepare for flooding, earthquakes and possible changes in topography. (Source: Yahoo! News Philippines)
Such remark was hard to swallow, given the magnitude of heroism displayed by people to save lives of loved ones and to deliver relief goods to those whose lives were ravaged by the flood. In the light of what could have been done in the last 50 years, were those damages, sufferings, and heroisms totally unnecessary then?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Typhoon Ondoy: A "Thief in the Night" in Broad Daylight

The fury of typhoon Ondoy came like a "thief in the night" in broad daylight. How else can I describe the emotion that goes with what "Ondoy" means to Filipinos these days?

The video above was taken at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay (UERM) Medical Center during typhoon Ondoy. This is the first time in my life to see such number of cars floating on the water, swept from where they were parked.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homily of Father Arevalo at the Requiem Mass for Cory Aquino

I remember watching Father Catalino Arevalo that morning in August 5, 2009 on TV as he delivered the homily for the Requiem Mass of the late President Corazon Aquino. Fortunately for all of us, we can revisit the video of Father Arevalo's homily again, thanks to GMA7.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

I am fortunate to have received a copy of the full text of Father Arevalo's homily. The full text came from the Jesuits themselves, through the daily mails I receive as an alumni of Xavier University High School (formerly Ateneo de Cagayan).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Let's Honor Madam President Cory Aquino through the 500 Peso Bill

[Jan 19, 2017 ... I had a change of heart about the Aquinos ever since I wrote this article in 2009. But I'm retaining this here as evidence that, once upon a time, yes, I was a Yellow. Of course, not anymore. I'll paste the link here to an article I'll write about why that is.]

It was a pleasant surprise to see from an artist's website a proposed P500 Bill featuring the face of Cory Aquino side by side with Ninoy Aquino. I thought, TERRIFIC IDEA!

Proposed P500 Bill, from
Proposed P500 Bill, from

I am excited all the more because the authorities are now taking a serious look at this idea. Check out for the collection of news items regarding this.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Farewell Madam President Corazon "Cory" Aquino

Today I say Farewell to President Corazon "Cory" Aquino.

I remember Cory Aquino well in the struggle to oust former President Ferdinand Marcos and restore democracy in the Philippines. I was a freshman in U.P. Diliman when an important page in the history of the Philippines unfolded.