Monday, January 30, 2006

Er, One Big Fight?

Larry Fonacier set a career-high in points scored for the second time in two nights after scoring 22 in Game 3 two nights ago, and 25 last night, both Red Bull Barako wins.

Rookie Larry Fonacier again led Red Bull's offense with 25 points, his second straight career-high output in the series, but it was Villanueva who made noise in the down the stretch. The Barakos' star center scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and was actually responsible for the his team’s final 12 points in the game.

You can't help but be happy for Fonacier, who most people tought would never play the game again, after sustaining an ACL injury a couple of games into his last season for the Ateneo in the UAAP, two years ago. Now, he and fellow Ateneo alum Enrico Villanueva are carrying the load for the Red Bull Barako in the PBA (Paolo Bugia plays off the bench). Now, if they can only get Rich Alvarez and Wesley Gonzales...

He was probably the only recent Blue Eagle of note that did not earn as much ire from the other side, as some of his more colorful teammates, say, Villanueva or Gonzales. This is notable, considering the fact that his two successive blocks on Mac Cardona in the 2002 UAAP Finals not only sent DLRT packing in Game 1, but also sold a lot of newspapers along Katipunan the next day, as a perfect shot of one of the blocks made it to the front page of the Inquirer, no less.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


The Manila Standard has reported that DLRT will be filing for an LOA next season.

THE fate of La Salle, which has made public its intention of taking a leave of absence in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), will be known next month.

La Salle executive vice president Carmelita Quebengco said in her letter to the academic community last November that the planned leave of absence from the UAAP next season will help the school institute internal reforms.

Sources said top officials of the UAAP will start reviewing tomorrow the findings of a five-member fact-finding body formed two months ago.

Let me guess. One of the reforms that will most likely be instituted is the non-admission of high school dropouts and PEP test flunkers. Really. This means that all the posters and banners making a reference to stupidity and imbecility, not to mention falsification, fraud and all other criminal ventures, will have to wait another year.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ernie Baron, 65

As reported by the PDI:

POPULAR radio and television broadcaster Ernie Baron died Monday morning from a heart attack, GMA Network radio station dzBB reported. He was 65.

The report said Baron was declared dead on arrival at the Muntinlupa Medical Center where he was brought by family members.

Doctors at the hospital were quoted as saying that Baron's heart attack was caused by complications from his diabetes.

Indulge me for being sappy, for the man had made a rather indelible mark in our lives. Of course, this was before I realized that watching his shows is one of the greatest forms of entertainment ever - it was in fact so entertaining it was almost perverse. Well, it was the greatest, until Eli Soriano and the INC decided to put up a sorry war on national television and give perverse a whole new meaning altogether.

In what would eventually turn out as one of the more significant blunders of our high school lives, we initially proposed a research on Baron's brainchild - the ernyform - a pyramid contraption that supposedly harnesses the universe's "bio-cosmic energy." Our feeble high school minds had, at least, the sense to look it up in all the reference books we can get our hands on. The fact that we were not able to find any entry on such should have already given us half-wits a clue. Alas, we are but human.

Needless to say, we eventually submitted another proposal, which in my opinion, turned out to be the lamest science research project ever written by man. How we were able to get past that stage of our lives, and eventually finish college is still a mystery to me.

Requiescat In Pace, Ka Ernie.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pacquiao Wins

Somehow, the man manages to win a big one, just when the Filipino really needs it most.

God bless you, Mr. Pacquiao.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Filipino Musical

I am currently listening to Lean: A Filipino Musical. The rock opera, based on the life of martyred '80s youth activist Leandro Alejandro, was written and composed by Gary Granada ten years after Alejandro's death. In 1987, Alejandro died at the age of 27 when half of his face was blasted away by a gunman who pointed his weapon at Alejandro's face and shot him pointblank. The murder remains unsolved to this very day.

The narrative takes us through Lean's social awakening while a student at UP and continues on to his rise as campus activist, his growing prominence in national politics, his incarceration and his tragic death from the gun of an assassin. As his life unfolds we take our own trip back to the past. Marcos in MalacaƱang, Ninoy Aquino's death, the Snap Elections, People Power at EDSA, Cory Aquino, the massacre at Mendiola. And we hear those near forgotten words and names again. Aktibista, rally, demo, kapit-bisig, makibaka, huwag matakot, arbitrary detention, Ka Tanny, Pepe Diokno, Cory, Cory, Lando Olalia, Eman Lacaba, political detainees, mandaraya, sinungaling, manlilinlang, tuloy ang laban para sa sambayanan.

- Baby A. Gil, Sounds Familiar, The Philippine Star, 4 September 1998

You need no further proof than this that the Filipino is a rather forgetful people. It is no longer amusing to note how, almost 20 years after EDSA, the words mandaraya, sinungaling, manlilinlang still remain significant in our lives.

Hawak ng iilan ang ekonomiya
Hawak ng dayuhan ang ating pulitika
Ang ating kultura ay sa interes nila
Ang ating kaisipan ay nababaog pala!
- Iskolar ng Bayan

I will leave you with Granada's rather militant version of UP Naming Mahal, which even non-UP students would find very stirring.

UP Naming Mahal
Pamantasan ng bayan
Tinig ng masa
ang siyang lagi nang pakikinggan

Malayong lupain
Di kailangang marating
Dito maglilingkod sa bayan natin
Dito maglilingkod sa bayan natin

Silangang mapula
Sagisag magpakailanman
Ating ipaglaban
Laya ng diwa't kaisipan

Humayo't itanghal
Giting, tapang at dangal!
Mabuhay ang lingkod ng taongbayan
Mabuhay ang lingkod ng taongbayan

Friday, January 13, 2006

Relax. See a Movie.

The other day, I overheard two folks on board a UP-Pantranco jeepney talking (actually, one of them was politely trying to look interested, while the other one simply cannot shut up) about a class where the professor discussed the finer points of a proto-nobela. The rather boring and esoteric soliloquy got my attention when the yapping passenger mentioned the movie Mulawin. Apparently, UP professors patronize the Metro Manila Film Festival.

The ranting went thus: Urbana at Felisa is supposed to be a proto-nobela, because there is no plot. Characters come and go, say their lines in between, and never to appear again, for no apparent reason whatsoever. In other words, some elements of the literary work do not make sense. Which perfectly brings us to Mulawin.

In the film, or so the professor supposedly said in class, when Alwina (played by uber-babe Angel Locsin) was stabbed, they immediately brought her to Encantadia, where she can be healed. Yet, when the exact same thing happened to Aguiluz (Annabelle's kid, Ruffa's brod. Yeah, I pity the man, too), nobody thought of bringing the birdboy to fairy land.

It was also mentioned, that when the Mulawin (good birds) went to battle against the Ravena (dirty birds), they went to battle with an imposing troop count of, tada, twenty Mulawin (when was the last time anybody went to battle with twenty men? In the contrast, the folks at Masada were stacked - thay had at least a thousand). Also, while the two lovebirds were at Encantadia, they decided to get married right there and then, for no apparent reason other than the fact that they are at Encantadia. Oh, and meanwhile, the epic battle rages on.

All this, according to the professor, makes this film (which by the way got a rating of A from the Film Ratings Board) a proto-pelikula. I have no clue what it is, but that sounds just right.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Korean Bug

Weng has developed an addiction to Korean movies and miniseries (as have most Filipinos, I guess) after catching Lovers in Paris not so long ago. Her latest object of affection, is the TV miniseries Jewel in the Palace, supposedly a historical drama regarding a bunch of women from the Korean royal family's kitchen crew, whose entire lives are dedicated to, what else, the preparation of kimchi for the Korean royal family. That, and memorizing a bunch of stuff that would make Martha Stewart and any law student proud. Who could have imagined that cutthroat politics in Korea's kitchens, would be so damn interesting to millions of people, centuries down the line? It's amazing, I tell you.

My wife - your run-of-the-mill UPLB graduate and CPA - also spent her weekend watching a marathon of about six or seven Korean movies at home. (Which reminds me, I have to thank all those enterprising Filipinos in Quiapo for providing us with affordable - and region-free - media. Who said the Filipino is on the other side of the digital divide?) On Sunday, just before midnight, I was futilely trying not to divide my attention between People v. Cabrera, 43 Phil 64 and My Wife is a Gangster 2. On this note, I believe I can be excused. There is, after all, much gratuitous violence in that film - which, in my opinion, makes any film watchable more than anything else (see Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 and 2, or anything with the name Tarantino on it).

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just Say No

The question in the essay part of the 2005 LAE, was whether the presidential or the parliamentary system would be better for the country. I wrote that we are not fit to have a parliamentary system of government, given the level of political maturity (immaturity?) of the Filipino. The parliamentary system presumes the existence of a strong party system; our party system is to the word "strong" as the COMELEC is to the word "competent." Our legislators switch parties as often as they do underwear. On this count alone, one should already be impelled to vote NO to any proposed change in the Constitution.

But no, the so-called Consultative Commission had to give us folks more nightmares. They want to hoist upon the people a conditional bill of rights. Of course, they don't call it as such, but what do you make of a provision stating

"No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press...."

The rules of statutory construction mandate that every word must be given effect. So, what the ConCom is saying is that, you can speak freely, as long as it's exercised responsibly. WTF?

But wait, there's more. They are also proposing that term limits on elective officials be lifted altogether. They also want to do away with the provision banning political dynasties. If these folks would have their way, we better be prepared to see the same family names in the rolls of Congress for the next 100 years.

Or until they decide to change the Constitution again, which I assume will happen sooner than later.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Year That Was

IT was a year defined by all that was uttered and denied, the comments and cries both tragic and heroic. There were occurrences that escaped words: the aftermath from days of decimation, the passing of a saint among men. Throughout the modern world, it was a time of mourning and of remembrance, of testament and terror. Closer to home, turmoil trapped our thought balloons as we struggled to believe that such strangeness was real. There was a wiretapped conversation-balancing on the tightrope between the legal and the criminal-a televised apology that fostered neither forgiveness nor fancy, and a brightly-hued house that captured the imagination of voyeurs and televiewers.

It was a year of the ambiguous, of heroes and heels, a year redeemed by men and women who broke sports records and showed the world that we're also capable of greatness, given half a chance.

- Ruel S. De Vera, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 1 January 2006