Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gay and Out

I don't know what the hoopla was all about with Ricky Martin finally deciding to announce to the world that he is "a fortunate homosexual man".

Ricky Martin, for those that do not know him, is the sexy singer of the hit "La Vida Loca" and "She Bangs".

Martin started off from a bunch of gyrating cum singing Puerto Rican boy band called "Menudo" in the mid to late 70s. The Menudo was quite popular in the Philippines. Martin was not part of the original boy band. Much of the "boys" eventually grew older and the boy band needed to maintain the teeny bopper image. In 1984, Ricky joined the group when its last and oldest singer Ricky Melendez had left Menudo, at age 16.

And Ricky Martin would be the most famous among the male singers "Menudo" would ever churn out.

Menudo was so popular that they performed in various worldwide concert tours and endorsed several commercials including Pepsi, McDonalds, and Scope mouthwash, to name a few.

After many hit songs, albums, and internal conflicts, drug charges legal issues on exploitation of minors with Menudo, Martin left the group sometime in 1989.

And while it was not a secret, the stories of sex, drugs and orgies that hounded the Menudos was a virtual breeding ground for what would eventually be the sexual preference of Martin. At 12 years old, Ricky Martin was allegedly sexually molested by RCA Records Vice-President Jose Menendez. Menendez was eventually murdered in Beverly Hills by his own sons Lyle and Erik who said that their father had molested them and it drove them to kill him.

Over the years that Martin blossomed (to choose the right words) was the never ending rumor that he loved men more than women. What the women wooed and screamed at during his hip hugging, crotch-grinding concerts, was what the gay men also longed for. And the adulation of the women who literally threw themselves at his pelvic cavity seemed to create more problems in Martin's search for his true sexual identity.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in being gay.

Ironically, there are a lot of men that still live behind the cloak of a having to preserve a "male" image. Men who want to be in constant company with other men but are not willing to divulge their sexual orientation.

Now there is the shame. These are the "pretenders". These are those who cannot come to terms with his or her own sexuality.

Admittedly, one is never born "gay". The orientation to "realization" takes quite some time.

Believe me when I say that it is not easy to admit being gay.

It is an internal battle in oneself. It is not so much the teasing or cajoling of your friends, peers and next of kin. It is who you look at in the mirror every day that makes it difficult to come to terms with oneself. How will your parents accept you? What would your friends say? Whom did you let down? Yourself? Others?

Coming out of the "closet" is a "risk" gay people take. It's not a statement someone outrightly makes. It's not a phase and neither is it a fad. One needs to weigh the risks of coming out, his or her position in society and how people will accept him or her.

That's right.

I used the word "accept".

Society will always be tolerant of gay people - their sexual preferences and orientation. To each his own, some will say. But bigots will always frown upon a gay relationship.

Even among my friends and family who will read this blog, it's a DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL attitude. How many of you would accept without reservation their son or daughter coming "out" of the closet?

I know many friends who have come out and have regretted it because they were ostracized or ridiculed. Families and friends will always look the other way, hoping that change will happen.

I am not saying it is one's right to be gay.

But it is one's right to be happy and to be a productive citizen in society.

Acceptance will never come easy because religion will always play a role in influencing people's mind.

And we need to let go, in order to make gay men and women live lives that are not judged by society based on what they think are norms for all.

In Ricky Martin's words, "Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment."

Coming out is the liberation from hate, pain and conflict in oneself. Each of us share the basic right to be happy. To have this moment. To live life, loving ourselves first.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kapatid and Lili

People think that I had an easy life. On the contrary, the growing-up years of me and my sister were "challenging".

I blog about my sister today as it is her turn to celebrate her half decade in this world.

Last March 26, she turned 50.

My sister and I are a little less than 2 years apart. When we were kids, some people thought that we were non-identical twins because we looked alike, and were both scrawny kids.

We had our dreams and as we were growing up, we had each other to lean on, in both good times and bad.

Every family has its own stories of trials and triumphs. And ours was no exception to the rule. The lessons we learned in life eventually molded us to who and what we are today.

Kapatid (sister) as I would call her, took the road most traveled. She fell in love and followed her dreams. After their first child, she would lose her husband during the first trimester of her second pregnancy. She practically raised her children alone. Of course, there was always us and her in-laws.

Believe me when I say that all through the years after her husband passed away, I had not seen anyone as strong as Kapatid. I rarely saw her shed tears after she buried her husband. I know that her heart was torn apart after being devastated and I secretly wept for her as well.

Rebuilding lives after a tragedy is never easy. It is from her story that has made me a firm believer of hope, journeys, and miracles.

And while I saw her rebuild her life in the aftermath of tragedy, all I could do was be there for her and my niece and nephew.

Standing from the sideline, I watched my "adopted" family grow up. I would be there for graduation of the kids, and she would be there for the parent-teacher meetings. My presence was a mere shadow as Kapatid performed the Herculean task of being the ultimate single parent.

Kapatid never remarried. Raising her kids was her commitment. And while she may have never gotten romantically involved again, perhaps numbed from the early demise of her husband and the traumatic events surrounding it, she has always been the pillar of strength to all of us.

On a quite evening in her home, Inang, I and her kids spent dinner with her. My nephew, pretend-to-be chef Charles, cooked for his mom. My niece, taray-queen Carla, sent a dozen roses to amp the birthday. Inang and I were guests to the quiet dinner that would celebrate 50 years of a meaningful life of Kapatid!

Last Sunday, we had a more formal lunch at Lili's.

Lili's is the Chinese Restaurant at Hyatt Hotel in Malate.

Like all of us of Chinese heritage, we celebrate our birthdays and special occasions, in our traditional way. Lili's serves sumptuous lunch Dimsum buffet at P1300++ (less 15% if you pass with American Express).

Value for money, the Dimsum buffet at Lili serves the best Chinese food in the country. Its Dimsum buffet serves not only an array of Dimsum baskets on weekends, but steamed and Wok fried dishes from their kitchen as well. And there is overflowing drinks and a buffet of chinese desserts (if you still had the space for it after).

What a way to cap 50 Kapatid. I blog about this so that someday, your kids will remember their mom who gave up everything in her life to raise them to be better people. It wasn't about the money or the fame or the glory. It was all about love and life and a better future for them. And this is the greatest gift she has given all of you.

My hats off to you! Happy birthday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Changing Lives and Justin Timberlake

MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan's) group of companies - PLDT, SmartBro and QT5 staged a one night benefit concert at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds last night. Entitled Changing Lives, the concert starred Timbaland with guests Jojo and of course, Justin Timberlake.

Alright, so nothing is perfect!

Upside of the concert first.

1. Justine Timberlake was there. And as I thought the guests at the concert were going to sing just 2 songs, JT brought the house down with a 45 minutes performance together with Timbaland and solo, some of the coolest rap and pop that I've ever heard. Mind you, I have heard of JT, but last night I became an instant fan. (I loved his profanity as well. They came at the most unexpected parts of the concert.)

2. The fireworks at the last song of JT and Timbaland was a show stopper. People could not figure out which to watch - the concert or the fireworks! But good job!

3. This was for a charitable cause. For the victims of Ondoy and Pepeng. For a school displaced because of the storm. For lives that were lost and needed to be rebuilt. The drop in the bucket from the concert goers and organizers would indeed go a long way.

And now the downside.

1. It was a long wait. Which is why I can't stand concerts that make people pay and make you stand up the whole time. Of course, this minimizes the cost and ups the allowable number of people, to which I don't mind. What I do mind is that when you say the concert begins at 8PM, it begins at 8PM and not at 930PM. Especially when you pay a hefty sum, but stand up.

No matter what Timbaland did to keep the crowd upbeat, many in the audience couldn't keep up in the standing position up to way past midnight. Sure, while many of them still help their hands up high and screamed to JT during the last minutes of the show, you could tell that even if the "spirit was willing, the body was not".

No excuses. When you put the time for a concert, you follow the time. The prima donnas, can just roll over and die.

2. All concerts in the future should have NO DRINKING and NO SMOKING!!! The little crowd in front of us (which included some beer guzzling boys and chain smoking bitches) were polluting the crowded area with their smokes. While I have nothing against people with vices, they should do this in the confines of their privacy.

There were prepubescent teenage boys on the left side that were puffing cigarillos as well. Darn, they still didn't have pubic hair but seemed to have vices. And the fat girl to my right, was just a handful. She kept laughing and flirting and twirling her head that her ponytail kept hitting my face. I just wanted to slap someone that night.

I don't know, but even in concerts, their ought to be some decent boundaries, no matter how indecent the show is. After all, we all bought the same tickets and most of us wanted to watch the show, rather than to show off.

3. Finally, Jojo was such a disappointment. While I may not be familiar with her songs, she was out of tune and desperately needed to get pulled out of the stage! After two songs, she was gone. Good riddance! You didn't even hear the crowd ask for her again.

While there were a few glitches in the show, particularly on how late it really started, overall, it was a great concert. While I'm not particularly a fan of hiphop and JT, this was one concert I was glad I was dragged into watching. The heart thumping, crowd popping, dancing performances in spite of the LCD setbacks, was a thrilla to remember!

And, after standing for more than 4 hours in the Changing Lives concert, I will need that massage from Mandarin Spa.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Family affair and the backdoor

So what's wrong with all the politicians looking for a job in the government?

The more well entrenched they are, the harder it will be to get rid of them in the long run.

And that is the reality of Philippine Politics.

In the upcoming elections, there is a joke circulating that the Lower House (Congress) will be the House of Arroyos as Ate Glue makes a comeback, this time as congresswoman in the 2nd district of Pampanga. Her son, MIkey, will give up his current position for his mother (talk about mama's boy) and will run under a party list called Ang Galing Pinoy. Ironically this latter party list, represents the marginalized sector of security guards in the Philippines. Watdfuk is happening to this country?!?!!? Sanamagan banana republic!?!?!!?

The Comelec declined Ladlad, a party list that supposedly would represent the marginalized gay and lesbian sector of Philippine society. Fine! Whatever! The Comelec said they are not marginalized. Fine! Whatever! But to decline Ladlad and approve security guards as a marginalized sector, dang! Toink! Gadzooks! It makes me wanna puke big time! Will somebody please shoot the politicians? As in NOW?

I will not want to discuss this any further. I guess you can figure it out for yourself. Anyone to the defense can roll over and please, just die!

And so the party list system is the new backdoor for the exiting congressmen or administration candidates who still want to steal the thunder in the political gymnasium of the Philippines.

So presuming Ang Galing Pinoy wins in the upcoming election, then their nominee for congressman, Mikey A will become their representative. And that means that there will be more Arroyos in congress. Not counting her in-laws who are running for specific posts in their respective provinces as well.

But is Ate Glue all to blame?

In this banana republic, the political scenario is actually a family affair. It's a family business. Most of the luminaries in politics stay in politics. You can actually draw a family tree and mark those in the family tree who have political backgrounds! Children and grandchildren grow up wanting to become politicians - not to improve the plight of the Filipino people - but to make sure that the financial coffers in their generation continues to grow. And grow it does.

Marcos, Yulo, Binay, Chongbian, Lapid, Recto, Aguilar, Cayetano, Estrada, Biazon, Aquino...and the list just grows longer each election period.

Among the crafters of our constitution were lawmakers. And had vested interests as well. They all took the vested interest into consideration. These slimy scum of the earth people were not serious about their view on nepotism. Nepotism is just another word. And because it is used so loosely and not clearly defined, because some people seem to not want to define this term, is the reason for its being abused in the political arena.

Mind you, it's not only nepotism that was forgotten in the constitution. Creating this so-called Party List was actually a safety guard for the lawmakers whose terms were ending or who would have been displaced after their terms in office. It became a reason for wanting to stay in public office.

It is not so much that in the banana republic, there is no decent job for the Pinoys. It's just that there seem to be vacancies in government that the Pinoys seem to want to hold on to. And never let go. So the list of families in government service has ballooned disproportionately.

Out of curiosity, if there is no money in traditional politics, why does everyone want to seem to fight and die just to be a public servant? Hogwash! There is money from greed and corruption. And the more seasoned the politician is, the easier it seems for him to be able to get away with so much graft.

And you should see how much their wealth has grown each year and even the BIR (Bureau of Internal Robbers) do not seem to be running after them or their families. How can you explain such ostentatious display of wealth? Please, don't make us look really stupid. Darn!

The irony is, even with the violence in elections, the sheer number of family members makes it practically impossible to wipe out the "enemy". As you can see, the Ampatuans tried doing that against the Mangundadatus. But it was impossible to wipe every Mangundadatu from the face of the Republic of Mindanao.

It will not only take a political will to break down the barriers in the political system in the Philippines. The families that form various stakeholders in the dynasty game plan are the most resistant to change.

Even if someone like Noynoy would win, there will still be the majority who will be resistant to tearing down their dynasties and clans or use the backdoor, to remain in power.

God save us!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bitching 101 - Of politics, celebrities and some nuts and bolts in between

Another week in the life of Juan de la Cruz.

1. An upbeat Philippine economy during election fever? It seems so. The peso is at an all time high - USD1.00 = P45.50. The bank and money changers are buying your dollars at P44.80. They sell at P46.00. For my balikbayan friends, this is not a good time to come over and think that your moolah is worth much. Which goes to show also that families of OFWs seem to be scrimping a lot these days. They need to pay for the final exams, tuition fees, graduation fees, house and lot, electricity, gas, etc. that the dollars their relatives are remitting seem to be at an all time low. In order to push the Philippines to increase spending, the Central Bank of the Philippines has also issued to all banks that all savings and checking dollar accounts will no longer earn interest. Nada, zip, 0%! What the f*#!@*#?!?!?! And the interest rates for all peso current and savings accounts will earn 0.5-1% less depending on your balance.

Analysts say that the dollar will probably drop to the 44 mark before the elections. And at the rate it seems to be dropping in the world market, it will not be surprising to see the dollar at an all time low.

Sad to say, the dollar is useless already. Some banks have opened Yuan deposits and are encouraging investors on this financial promo. Tsk tsk tsk. Obama must be reeling at how badly the American economy is doing.

2. A congressman has filed for impeachment of the 9 justices of the supreme court that voted for Ate Glue to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice before her term ends. This has caused so much uproar among constitutionalists, lawyers and academicians. As you very well know, except for the current chief justice of the supreme court, all the other associate justices were appointed by Ate Glue in the last 9 years span of her reign as president. As to whether this impeachment will prosper or not, there are two thoughts on that.

On a positive note, politicians can use this for their political mileage. We know that Ate Glue has lost her popularity among the Filipinos. Except for the people of Pampanga, being linked to Lakas-Kampi has seemed to be a curse for the politicians. It is evident in their presidential bet, Gibo Teodoro who seems to be lagging in the polls.

On a negative note, because it is already the campaign period, the politicians may be engrossed in campaigning and saving their balls. So this may not be a priority for them. Why waste time in session when they can gain more ground on the streets.

3. Edu Manzano, the running mate of Gibo Teodoro, who is running for Vice-President under the Lakas-Kampi banner is complaining that he is not getting enough funds or exposure.

Duhhhh!?!?! I thought he was famous. In the first place, I do not understand why he was chosen as the running mate for Gibo. He is the albatross of the Lakas-Kampi group. He has NO achievement at all. Darn. I would have probably been happier if Ate Glue were able to convince Boy Abunda to run as the vice of Gibo. As I said in the past, even Vice Ganda would have been a better choice. As to choosing Edu, uhmm..who he?

There is no use infusing money for his campaign. It's better to donate it to a better cause. Whether Edu stayed on or not in the campaign trail, it wouldn't matter.

4. Entertainment columnist Dolly Carvajal bumped into Anabelle Rama and Ruffa Gutierrez. When she pressed Ruffa to comment on the "walk out" incident on "The Buzz" a few weeks ago, Ruffa retortedly refused and commented that "I'm moving on and moving up. I'm happy in my new home TV5 and with my new endorsement of Nokia N97mini. Imagine ka-level ko na si Rihanna who also is a Nokia Girl (giggles)" . Ang kapal talaga ng mukha ng mga yan, is all I can say. Ruffa will never be on the level of Rihanna. On the contrary I take back my words. She is in Rihanna's level. Remember Chris Brown, Rihanna's ex who used to beat her up (and her seeming to luveet!!!). Well that's the level of Ruffa with her ex husband. Aside from that, there is no other similarity, this aging queen is going to get.

On a lighter note, Mark Bautista, has jumped the ABS-CBN bandwagon to join GMA 7. Rumor has it that it's not because he's not being given better breaks in Kapamilya. It's because he has to heal a broken heart. It seems that the rumor has it that he's leaving Kapamilya to forget a romantic liaison with the all-start hunkaloid (who's rumored to be closeted up to now) of this network. Hence, his transfer to Kapuso will be a new beginning. Perhaps he will find his dream partner in his new home.

And so life goes on in the world of Juan de la Cruz. Till next bitching....

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I heard that line from Simon Cowell in various elimination rounds of American Idol. Oprah calls it our Ahah! days. Whatever term you coin for it, it's what it is - a stupendously thrilling event that makes our day.

Each time we step up to a task, we have our moments. I recently gave a lecture at the Renal Transplant Convention held at the Crowne Plaza and I received an excellent review. Some of my previous professors and colleagues were in the audience. To have them come up to me after the talk and provide positive feedback was a moment that impressed on me. Mind you, this was not a large a crowd as in my previous lectures. There were just about 60 or so subspecialists in the audience. My largest crowds have been bigger plenaries and conventions and my last performance prior to this talk was the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians where I gave a short lecture to 1,800 doctors at the World Trade Center.

Which goes to the point of this short blog.

"Moments" do not come to us on a silver platter. We make those moments and those Ahah scenarios. Every time we step up to the plate in anything we do - big or small, menial or gargantuan - we need to give our best.

In anything we do, there is that "moment" that we can showcase our best. It's why it is called our shining moment. It must not only be when we need to show off to a larger crowd what we can do. It is when we give our all, our best, even in the smallest group or task we do that makes that moment glitter and is well remembered.

Then there are those forgetful or forgotten events - either intentionally or because of the aging process. We call it our "senior moments". I, however, believe that there are no senior moments.

I am what you would call someone who multitasks. I am spread so thin with all my social, business and family commitments that I require a balancing act with them. In all my years, I have learned that part of making those moments meaningful is making sure that these commitments are kept.

It is a process called maturity which refines the very core of every individual.

And defines us as a person who earns respect from our colleagues.

Several years back, I was invited by Dr. Tony Dans to give a plenary talk on the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians. Having to deliver a lecture on this controversial topic to captains of the industry and foreign delegates was one of the most nerve-wracking moment in my life.

At the end of the talk, I received a standing ovation and I was so moved that I could never forget this defining moment in my life.

What struck me was that it was not only a life-turning event for me, but for the many more in the audience whose views I changed, whose paradigm has shifted, because of my shining moment.

It's moments like these that make me proud that in spite of all the temptations to gain more ground and popularity and financial remuneration, there is no tag price at maintaining my dignity in exchange for being "politically correct".

And it's not only lecture circuits that amps my moments. Even in the kids that I see in my clinic or the day-to-day relations with friends and colleagues, or the difficult referrals that I need to co-manage with colleagues and how to deal with their families, these are moments in my life that I will always treasure. The satisfaction you get out of these is the ultimate high.

Each day, each action, each decision - should be a decisive yet memorable moment for everyone. It is, after all, our final performance each time we step up to these opportune times.

At the end of my life, I would have said to myself that I ran the race and reached the finished line. And I will be remembered for all these moments I have shared with all who mattered most to me.

Have you had your defining Ahah moments too?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lupang Hinirang

There is so much brouhaha over Arnel Pineda and other artists' version of Lupang Hinirang, which, has received so much flak. It goes without saying that Pineda, like some other artists in the past are about to be crucified, stoned to death, or left hanging out to dry this Lent.

Let's make a short review of the artistic versions and or performances of the Philippine National Anthem in Pacman's bouts.

The most interesting random post on Facebook as a blogger wonders is "Maybe Manny Pacquiao should ask someone from the National Historical Institute to sing 'Lupang Hinirang' in his next title bout. If it's still no good, then the pound-for-pound king should pound the offending singer to bits right there."

In the last bout of Pacquiao vs Clottey, it was Arnel Pineda's turn to sing with pride the Philippine National Anthem. But like his predecessors, Pineda, a Pinoy of the hit American rock band Journey had his own version.

Interestingly all of Pacquiao's fights had singers that wanted a shot at the national anthem as well. They had their own, ahem....artistic version so to put it.

1. Lani Misalucha (Pacquiao vs Morales I, March 19, 2005) one of the country's greatest divas migrated to the US a few years back. I bumped into her at the NAIA II airport, sans sunglasses and all that heavy make-up. I nearly did not recognize her as she was in jeans, a light jacket, and kids in tow. They were pushing some carts which looked like they were not going on vacation, but leaving the Philippines for good. And so her story as an immigrant to the land of plenty or milk and honey began. The only time I ever heard of hear again was that she was in LaLa land. Crooning in bars in Vegas. And yup, you said it - singing the national anthem for Pacquiao's greatest fight with Morales. It was the only fight that Pacman would lose before his successive fights of winning all other fights. After this bout, he would never turn back to losing a fight again. Sad to say, this was the last time Misalucha, Asia's nightingale songbird, would ever sing in the ring again. Her rendition of the anthem wherein she sang it too slow was such a bore that it would be a prelude to her career as well. And she would be soon forgotten...going...going...going...

2. Jennifer Bautista (Pacquiao vs Morales II, January 22, 2006) is (or was) an upcoming singer whom I cannot even recall. The last words of the song was given "vocal liberty" and she sang off key! Talk about hitting the high notes and her career hitting rock bottom after that!

3. Bituin Escalante (Pacquiao vs Larios, July 2, 2006) has the voice to belt out a song and her rendition of the song was akin to Jen Bautista. While Escalante did not sing off key, her rendition provided the problem of "artistic liberty" like her predecessors. And the road to a call for proper singing of the national anthem was being paved. Until the next Pacquiao fight.

4. Sarah Geronimo (Pacquiao vs. Morales III, November 18, 2006) sang the national anthem for the penultimate fight of Morales. Talk about masochism, Morales is one guy who needed the adrenaline rush of getting beaten up by Pacquiao twice in a year. And what better way to go down in history that have pop princess Sarah sing the anthem Kundiman (love-song) style!

Right after her performance, Davao City councilor Nilo Abellera went on a frenzy to file a resolution that the national anthem should be sung in accordance with the composition and arrangement of Julian Felipe, the anthem's original composer. Should the singer violate this rule would be fined P50,000.00 per performance.

5. Geneva Cruz (Pacquiao vs. Solis, April 14, 2007) erstwhile wife to Paco Arespacochaga, whom they have son Heaven, separated from him and shacked up eventually with KC Montero, gave a boring rendition of a slow and boring tune to the national anthem. Most of the critics thought that she was singing to the tune of a funeral march. This time, the National Historical Institute came out with their own statement that the anthem should sound like a "brisk march" and sung "with vigorous singing, a full-throated song that begins and closes in one minute."

6. Kyla (Pacquiao vs. Barrera II, October 6, 2007) is Melanie Calumpiad in real life. After hearing all the flak of her predecessors, the R & B princess vowed to sing the anthem the traditional way. She did not falter on her promise.

7. Ciara Sotto (Pacquiao vs Marquez II, March 15, 2008) comes from the Sotto showbiz clan. Parents Tito Sotto and Helen Gamboa must have been proud of her performance as she received great raves on her national anthem performance at Pacquiao's fight.

8. Nicole Angela Judalena (Pacquiao vs Diaz, June 28, 2008) is the youngest singer (and most unknown) at 17 years old who sang for a Pacquaio boxing match. She came in recommended by a friend of Manny P. Her rendition was one of the most heartfelt and genuine as it was as authentic as a national anthem could be.

9. Karylle (Pacquiao vs de la Hoya, December 6 2008) is the daughter of Zsa Zsa Padilla. Her thespian singing style was probably one of the reasons why she was handpicked for this performance. And while she may have the experience, she definitely showed her nervousness in the ring when she gave her rendition of the anthem. Nevertheless, she sung it the way it was supposed to be sung.

10. Martin Nievera (Pacquiao vs Hatton, May 2, 2009) is the ever popular recording artist husband of Pops Fernandez. A Fil-Am in reality, Nievera broke into the limelight of the Philippine media industry after being discovered in a singing stint in the US. His rendition of the national anthem received one of the worst reviews. Aside from being the only male artist in the stable of Pacquiao's pick of the lot to sing the national anthem, Nievera carries gazillion recording hits to his name - only to be maligned for giving one of the worst renditions under the guise of "artistic freedom". He sang the anthem like a ballad and then some - repeated the lines again and again. The last lines were worst! He changed the notes, only to show off to the crowd that he could hit the higher notes! He thought he was still a contestant to a singing contest giving his own rendition of the anthem. This was in stark contrast to Tom Jones singing the national anthem of England. This was not a Nievera-Jones singing match.

While Pacman and many other Filipino artists came to his defense, it was a losing bout for Martin. This is one round Pacman lost.

11. La Diva (Pacquiao vs Cotto, November 16, 2009) is a pop R & B all Pinay girl group composed of Jonalyn Viray, Aicelle Santos and Maricris Garcia. Of course, they come from the GMA Artist center where Pacman is also a mainstay in the stable of wannabe actors and actresses. And because the three girls have different ranges (alto, soprano and mezzo-soprano), there was premonition that they would show off each of their vocal abilities. Voila ! They changed the melody. And this stirred the hornet's nest after the Nievera fiasco. The National Historical Institute, however, was not as angry or bitter over their rendition as they were over Nievera.

Last but not the least is Pinoy superstar Arnel Pineda. The 42 year old Pineda was a surprise last pick over Charice Pempengco, both of whom were featured and discovered by Oprah and Ellen Degeneres. Charice was rumored to be the opening salvo of the Pacquiao-Clottey match held last March 14, 2010 in Texas. When Pineda opened his mouth to sing, the song was headed for a disaster. Pineda said he couldn't hear himself singing because there was too much noise around, and according to him, he was singing from the heart. Pineda's version had stirred the angry mob at the National Historical Institute and the politicos at home, including erstwhile DENR secretary and Pacman buddy Lito Atienza had scathing remarks ala Simon Cowell over Pineda's rendition of the national anthem. "It was not a rock concert nor a final song contest for American Idol".

What gets me is that while our artists claim "vocal liberties" at song renditions, the national anthem IS NOT some hot number that needs a vocal rendition or a make-over. It is a song that talks about the nation's pride. It is to be sung in a manner befit that of respect and dignity. Which is also why I can't get over the fact that these tone deaf fans are there to defend the artists rather than the song! It is not how melodramatic the song is sung, or how much heart is put into it, or how well we showcase the Filipino talent, but how the song should be sung because it is, after all, the Philippine National Anthem.

Once in a blue moon, we showcase to the world the Philippine National Anthem.

And sing with pride we must, even if it is a rowdy boxing match of a national boxing icon in the likes of Manny Pacquiao. Every time we raise that flag, we must rise to the occasion of respecting it, even if our government officials do not.

As a nation, we owe it to ourselves to make the statement that we are Filipinos.

And that we intend to make the world realize that there is one version, and one voice, and one tune to singing the Philippine National Anthem.

And this is our pride. It's all we have left.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This is not about deadly vices - alcohol, smoking, drugs, gambling, sex.

It's about the once upon a time, presidential wannabes, who through some stroke of fate, have settled to run as vice-president of the republic.

There are simply four to contend with - Mar Roxas (runnning with Noynoy Aquino), Loren Legarda (running with Manny Villar), Jojo Binay (running with Erap Estrada), and Bayani Fernando (running with Dick Gordon). If there is anyone else running for this position, he or she is as inconsequential as a cockroach.

Not really much to choose from, considering that they all at one time or another wanted to become president but had to settle for something of a lesser position, yet a greater chance for winning.

Mar Roxas looks like the boy wonder and superhero among the four. Of course, his penultimate sacrifice of scooting over the side for and on behalf of Noynoy Aquino, did wonders for his survey. He now leads commandingly over the others, as others see "Mr Palengke" as the champion of good. Practicality came into the picture. Why throw away millions of pesos to a losing position? After all, what is important is that he wins in the upcoming election a governmental position and what better strategy that to be the consummate martyr at this point? Whether Noynoy wins or loses this election, Mar seems to have his fate sealed for him already. This is what great strategy is all about.

Loren Legarda has been called all names after her switching from camp to camp. Well, let's just quote some other people that have said that she is akin to a prostitute who moves from one man to another. In 2004, she was the running mate of erstwhile President, Joseph Estrada. The Estrada camp found a more loyal ally in Jojo Binay and she was in much need of a party to belong to. And after hanging on the ledge for months, she ends up with a nod from the Villar camp. She trails a distant second in the polls to Mar Roxas.

Jojo Binay once wanted to be called the Philippine version of Barack Obama. Fine. Whatever! But no Obama is he. This is a guy who has the people of Makati at the palm of his hands. His family's dynasty has ruled Makati City since the late Cory Aquino made him Mayor after the EDSA Revolution. Since then, his life has never been the same again. He ran for mayor for 3 terms, then gave up the position for his wife (because of a political ban on running for 3 consecutive terms), and after his wife's term, ran again for Mayor. A position he has held to this very day. His potential votes come from the Erap and Aquino group. While Erap is his running mate in the upcoming May 10 elections, he is very close to the family of the late Cory Aquino. At this point, you can judge that not all the people that Cory kept close company with, were actually trustworthy.

Bayani Fernando also wanted to be President. Aside from Metro Manila, however, no one else visibly knew him. He was not popular in other provinces except for Metro Manila in general, and Marikina in particular. Like Binay, the family of Fernando has ruled Marikina for the longest time as well. Unlike Binay, however, Fernando ruled with a golden fist and insisted on discipline in Marikina and in the Metro Manila Development Authority. While Fernando may not be liked by the majority of the Filipino poor, the middle class and elite seem to support him.

Of all the four that are potential vice-presidentiables, Bayani Fernando is actually the most practical person that should be the successor to the throne of Noli de Castro. He is an action man. He practices what he preaches and his policies actually make sense. He is not interested in doing work so that he can get media mileage. He does his work because he is a civil servant.

Oh yeah, there is this guy called Edu Manzano who's supposed to be running with Gibo Teodoro. I don't know why he was even picked by the Lakas Kampi party, but duh?!?!?!?!?!? Why him? What in God's name did he ever do to even deserve the nomination to be Vice President of the Philippines? What are we - a big game show? Gibo would have been more assured of a vice-presidential candidate had Vice Ganda been his running mate. With the latter, win or lose - Vice pa din siya!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The tax payer and the tax collector

The Bible has stories of the tax collector. Either as a lowly man who recognizes he is sinful or as the proud man who believes that he gives God more than any other man from what he collects from the people. Either ways, even in the Bible, the tax collector is projected to be a sinner.

And no where in the Bible is the poor tax payer mentioned. It does not acknowledge the common worker in order to pay for taxes that Augustus Caesar has decreed on his people. It only recognizes the greater sinner - the tax collector.

In modern day life, the tax collector's image has not changed. They have not changed their values and live up to the true image of what the tax collector was.

Together with the modern day tax collectors are the devils that surround the tax collection system in the country.

I cannot understand why the minimum wage earners should be exempted from paying taxes. The illogical reasoning that because of inflation and high cost of living they have difficulty in making ends meet is a pathetic excuse. The only logic here is when you work, you must pay taxes corresponding to this. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. I thought even the Bible made that very clear! Services rendered, services paid for, require taxes that should be paid to Caesar.

Imagine if you have 10Million people who work on minimum wage, that's a lot of moolah to collect.

And then of course the politicians who make the law do not want to stir the hornet's nest. Never mind bleeding dry the white collar workers, but spare the blue collar workers - masons, public utility drivers, barkers, street vendors, farmers, etc. Our Philippine taxation system sucks! And sucks big time. My accountant tells me that to pass accounting and be a certified public accountant in the Philippines, you have to be a genius!

With so many laws and a complicated taxation scheme, this country is headed for doggie land, where all you see around you are the pool of shit made by the lawmakers and financial gurus of the government.

I am not an economist. I am a mathematician. Simple arithmetic recognizes that in order to balance the sheets, what comes in goes out in the same proportion and vice versa.

Which comes down to basic mathematics.

If the budget deficit is large, it can only mean one of two things - there is little coming in OR there is more going out. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) claims that the collections are low or off target. Which means that their forecasted collection is either unreasonably high or is an imaginary number that is unachievable except in dreams. Let me give them the benefit of the doubt. Which means that there may be many who have not paid their taxes correctly. We should encourage the BIR to fill up all the remaining jail cells and the courts with cases against everyone who are not paying taxes correctly.

But this does not seem to be a problem that the government can handle sufficiently because if it is, there will be so much backlog in the courts and there will be so many people in jail that no one will be working for the economy anymore. Besides, it sounds illogical to put the very people who somehow or the other pay taxes (through one way or another) in prison, while the lackeys do nothing but stand in the street each day, hoping that their protruding bellies will somehow make the economic problems of this country go away. Or to see big names like Tan, Sy, Zobel, Madrigal, Gokongwei, Pangilinan, et al. in jail?!?! Never mind Juday and Goma, but not those big wigs rubbing elbows with La Presidente!

Then there is the problem about the taxes we pay. If the government tried to tighten its belt (to the point of self-sacrifice), then we probably wouldn't be in such deep shit today. The reason for increasing the budget each year for government agencies according to Ate Glue is so that more spent for public service, is a lot of hogwash.

I actually DARE the BIR to show all the receipts of what government officials spend. Make them public and I believe the Filipino people will then either pay their taxes correctly OR not pay taxes at all!

Politicians should not even be allowed to fly on business or first class seats on airlines at taxpayers expense. Politicians should not be entitled to luxury cars. Their should be a ceiling limit for what kind of car and how many service vehicles each politician entitled to. They cannot have a service car above the lowest end Chery QQ. Politicians should not be allowed to stay in 5 star hotels anywhere locally or internationally. There should be a ceiling on their allowed reimbursements. The public deserves to know what perks are provided for each politician in each possible position in government.

How can a Congressman afford to buy 4 Lacoste Shirts each week? How can a Senator afford to go out of the country with his entourage and spend millions of pesos on one dinner or lunch alone? How much do military officials get in both salaries and perks? How can they carry hundreds of thousands of Euros for a field trip out of the country? How are our foreign affairs diplomats compensated? What kind of living standards are they entitled to?

In short, there's too much going out as well. It is shameful that our government officials go on a spending spree with hard earned taxpayers money while every Juan de la Cruz is begging to live a more dignified life - a roof over their head, three meals a day, educational opportunities, health name a few.

The problem with public officials is that they love to show off. And they use our money to show off what they perceive they have but in actuality don't have. Sanamagan these Pinoys!

There needs to be a redefining of the concept of taxation in this country. Transparency and accountability seem to be two of the most needed things in government today. It is, unfortunately, wanting.

Until this is achieved, there will always be a budget deficit.

And we will always be third world.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bitching 101 - Showbiz Pinoy (Part I)

Kung meron man pinagkakaabalahan ang Pinoy, mas matindi pa sa pulitika, eh showbiz yon. Maniwala man kayo o hindi, ito ang puno't dulo ng patayan at pantasya ng bawat Pinoy.

Pustahan tayo na yung mga kababayan natin na taga ibang bansa eh talagang nakadikit pa din sa TFC (The Filipino Channel). Masugid silang sumusubaybay sa bawat kilos at tsismis na nangyayari dito sa ating bansa.

Mantakin mo, kahit na pumunta ang mga jologs na artista na yan sa Amerika, eh talagang dinudumog ng mga kababayan natin. Parang mga asong ulol na hayok na hayok sa balita, makita lamang ang mga artista na hindi man lang marunong kumanta, sumayaw o kumain ng bubog.

Kaya chikahan na tayo ngayon!

1. Away ni Ruffa at Kris. Nag-walkout si Ruffa sa set ng The Buzz nung isang linggo. Paiyak iyak pa ang hitad. Tumawag ang nanay ni Ruffa at pinaalis siya sa set ng The Buzz. Nanggigilait sa galit at kung ano anong sumpa at salita ang lumabas sa bunganga ni Anabelle. Eh ano pa nga ba ang inaasahan ninyo sa isang palengkera? Ika nga, kahit na anong gawin mo sa yagit, bihisan mo man ng ginto at pilak, eh yagit pa din. At ang mga bading na paparazzi eh sugod mga kapatid sa restorant na pinagiiyakan ni Ruffa. Mga bading na ang nagharapan. Ang humarap sa mga reporters ay si Tabatsinang bading na naka pamewang pa. "Iwanan ninyo ang aking kaibigan." Pwe!! Ngayon lang yata na spotlight ang mantika ni taba. Grabe! Kaya nga pangit ang mga nakapaligid kay Ruffa eh baka matalbugan siya. Sa totoo lang, agaw pansin lang yang si Ruffa. Kung tutuusin, pa-laos na yan. Wala ng kukuha sa kanya. Laspag na. Matanda na. In short, a HAS BEEN. Eh tandain ninyo, yan ang palabigasan ni Anabelle nuon sariwa pa siya.

Eto naman si Kris eh talagang taklesa (tactless) queen! Kunwari maawa effect, at paiyak iyak. Sa totoo lang, di yan magpapatalbog. Kahit na sinong guest ilagay ninyo diyan, pagkatabi ni Kris, eh malamang talbog sa kanya. Silang dalawa lang ni Boy Abunda ang nagkakaunawaan. Sa totoo lang, mahilig talagang mang-okray si Kris. Magaling siya diyan. Kung meron lang gagawang talk show na walang ginawa ang host kundi mang-okray, puwes para kay Kris yon. Kahit na yung Deal or No Deal ni Kris nuon -- hanggang sa damit, sapatos, kuko, buhok ng contestant...ay naku...kung manlait yang babaeng yan, eh parang siya lang ang may karapatan mabuhay sa mundo!

Ewan ko ba. Napanuod ko naman yung segment na pinagawayan (DAW) nila. Eh napakababaw. Kailangan lang talagang gumawa ng grand exit itong si Ruffa. At siempre, may eksena si Anabelle. Di ko lang alam kung bakit nasama ang baklang tabatsina na nagdadabog habang humahagulgol si Ruffa.

Sa totoo lang, yung pinagsasabi ni Anabelle sa GMA7 nung ininterview ng isa pang chikadora na intrigera si Pia Guano eh talaga naman nakaka-high blood! Asal palengke, asal walang pinagaralan, at asal bugaw talaga!

All's well that ends well ika nga. Kaya etong linggo, abangan si Greta (Gretchen Barretto) na papalit kay Ruffa sa The Buzz! Ang tanong, kaya ba ni La Greta taubin si Kris?

At sa takbo nga ng showbiz talk show na eto, eh baka naman magaway away na naman ang mga matrona ng showbiz!

2. Hunks galore? - Dios mio! Yan lang ang masasabi ko.

Ngayon ay nagpapatalbugan na ng katawan, hindi ang mga girls, kundi ang mga boys (kuno) sa showbiz. Pakitaan na ng bukol ng brip. Pakitaan na ng abs at konting bulbol. Pakitaan ng puwet at konting sinag ng ari! Aray ko! At ang mga lalaki (kuno) ay nagpapatalbugan na sa rampa! Salamat kay Ben Chan, ang mga lalaking pokpok at mga paminta (macho gays) ay nagsipag sulputan na parang mga kabute.

At ito din ang dahilan kung bakit ang dami dami daming bakla ngayon sa showbiz! Hindi bilang reporter lang ha, kundi mga artista din. Yung mga pa-macho effect sa masa, pero sa likod ng mga sinehan o gaybar, sila yung mga sumisigaw ng DARNA!!!

Walang masama naman dito. Raket raket lang yan. Tamaan ng kidlat ang mga nagbabalatkayo!

3. Talentadong Pinoy vs Pilipinas Got Talent - Yung una ay yung generic version ng syndicated show Pilipinas Got Talent. Para makatipid, eh ginaya lang ng Talentadong Pinoy ang format ng ___ Got Talent na isang franchise show sa iba't ibang bansa.

Dito magaling ang Pinoy. Nagpapakita ng kung ano anong gilas. Mula sa pagkain ng bubog hanggang sa pagtula, kanta, sayaw, padyak, hubad, ay madre mia! Naalala ko tuloy na ang mga baklang perya na sobrang galing umupo sa mga barya na nasa taas ng isang boteng beer. Uupuan nila ang mga barya (mga 20 yan) at isasaksak sa puwet nila at isa isang iluluwa parang alkansiya. Bakit kaya di sumali ang mga yan? Mas talentado pa yan kesa sa mga ngongo na kumakanta noh!

Parehong format yang dalawang palabas na yan. Kaya kitang kita ninyo ang daming talent talaga sa Pinas! Dalawang channel pa ang nagpapakitang gilas. Isa sa mga judges sa Talentadong Pinoy ay si Ruffa. At isa sa mga judges ng Pilipinas Got Talent ay si Kris. Parehong oras. Parehong araw. Ibang channel nga lang.

Nagkataon lang ba o talagang magsasalpukan pa din ang landas ng mga ito?

At para sa inyong tatlong show hosts na lalake, isa ay lalakwe...hulaan ninyo!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ford County - the shorts of grisham

For those who are unfamiliar with John Grisham, this may not interest you.

But I am a fan and no matter how tawdry some critics think about his writing, there is that part of me that is fascinated by his fiction and page-turning writing prowess.

Ford County is his latest book. It is his first compilation of short stories. In fact, they are 7 short stories which lack a plot twist, a literary surprise, or even decorous descriptions that requires so much immersion into a book that would merit attention from Oprah. If there is one thing that Grisham does well, is tell a story. And while most of his published books center on courtroom drama and fiction, his 2006 novel The Innocent Man, a true to life story of a misguided mission by law enforcers that sends a man to death row, showcased the writing prowess of Grisham. His ability to tell a story, the way a story should be told is without doubt his forte.

The short story collection is set in Ford County, Mississippi, a deja vu to the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill.

The seven short stories include:
1. Blood Drive - a construction worker named Bailey gets into an accident in Memphis. His mother who lives in some hillbilly county called Box Hill, and is invalid bawls at the tragedy and soon the whole town has poor Bailey's accidental injury turn into a hell of a circus through rumors that he now lies dying. The folks at Box Hill gather three young but confused youths who get on a truck on a mission of donating blood to the supposedly dying Bailey. The drive to save Bailey ends up with more humor and tragedy on the youngsters in this escapade.

2. Fetching Raymond - tells of the final days of Raymond Graney. The sad and chaotic lives of the 3 sons of Inez Graney are intertwined and confusingly revealed in the 3 hr trip from Clanton to Parchman Prison where Raymond is in his last few days prior to his execution. And then unwinding of the Graney lives as they bring back to Ford County, Clanton the body of Raymond after the execution.

3. Fish Files - is the story of Mack Stafford, a lawyer whose married life was on the brink of destruction and a career that seemed to go nowhere. How Grisham makes Stafford disappear from the face of the earth is as heart pounding as it gets. And it is such an envy to have prepared oneself into going into oblivion and then starting life anew.

4. Casino - tells the story of one of the dullest man to live with. His wife dumps him to make a life for herself and shacks up with one of the most ruthless businessmen in the industry. Instead of turning the tragedy into a misfortune, his card counting ability is what makes this story of vengeance and triumph a standing ovation in the end.

5. Michael's Room - tells of a client's revenge on a scheming lawyer Stanley Wade. Wade is always in for the win. Wade has never lost a court case even if the doctor accused in the wrongful act is as guilty as daylight. Which leaves a family of a mental retardate take Wade on a private courtroom drama, in Michael's room...this time with Wade's fate - to live or die - on the line.

6. Quiet Haven - is the story of a shameful crook that takes advantage of senior citizens in a nursing home. The latter are forgotten even by their own relatives, the circumstances of which allows this crook to manipulate their emotional weaknesses and abandonment for his ulterior plan.

7. Funny Boy - is the most poignant of all. Set in the early 80s when AIDS was a death sentence and where people ostracized those afflicted with the disease because of lack of knowledge about it, it tells the story of Adrian Keane, a homosexual white boy who has AIDS from his sexual indiscretions and goes home to Clanton to die. The Keane family agree with a Miss Emporia, a 75 year old black spinster that should she take care of the young man till his death, the house where Miss Emporia is living in now would be hers. The final months of Adrian's life forms not only a bond of understanding and friendship but serves as the conduit to freedom - not of Adrian, but of Miss Emporia, when Adrian passes away.

It is a must read and is light reading material. Each chapter has one characteristic ending - that it leaves the reader wondering what else can happen to the story. It's as real as real life gets - and leaves you hanging and wanting for an ending.

I guarantee that once you've started the short stories of Grisham, you will not be able to put it down.

But it's the kind of book you'll want to pick up in an airport, for your next flight as it is as entertaining as it gets. You won't even know that the flight is over even before you've finished the book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Translated means the poorest of the poor.

And so Joey Salceda, Albay Governor, has formally declared that more Filipinos suffer from hunger, and more Pinoys are poorer today than they were before Ate Glo became president.

Ironically this is contrary to what the people in the Palace were declaring. It is also contrary to what Ate Glo was claiming in her paid advertisements on her accomplishments as president of the Philippines for the past nine years.

The answer of the people in the Palace? "It could have been worse!"

Sanamagan country. Can anyone really explain this kind of excuse? Jeez, I would have thought the people in the Palace would reply - "Oh we're sorry for stealing and eating thousand dollar steaks and going out of the country to watch Pacquiao fight using taxpayers money". Nope. They go ahead and say, "well, it could have been worse."

Such shitty reply deserves multiple slaps on the face of every public official that has stolen from the coffers of the nation!

But the Pinoys are forgiving (or the majority are poor and have congenital
Alzheimer's) that they are actually being misled by the jingles of Manny V that he is the Moses who will deliver us from all the poverty.

According to Salceda, the poor have become poorer and the rich richer. Among the CEOs and executives of the top 1000 corporations in the country, their wealth has grown anywhere from 15-25% in the last 6 years.

That leaves Juan de la Cruz either peddling in the streets, hunting for jobs OUT OF the Philippines, committing crime, joining noontime game shows and gambling their hard earned peso in the lotto to get rich quick, doing drugs to forget the pathetic living, or joining the bandwagon of elective officials in the upcoming elections!

Here in the Philippines, every election year is categorically classified as sex and violence. They shoot each other even for a petty position as Barangay Tanod!!

Poverty is a social condition brought about by graft and corruption. It's not that not enough taxes are collected. It's that graft and corruption has plunged people into being so poor that the taxes collected do not translate to better roads, better education, better health care, better infrastructure...

Politicians live in Palaces. That, is a given. I have two new neighbors - one is a congresswoman and the other is a retired general. Their houses occupy over 1000 sqm of prime property. They were completed in less than 6 months. With what they make in their elective positions each month, even with combined salaries, they cannot afford to buy a government subsidized housing project.

It's the reason why the promise the moon and the stars to every gullible yagit - jingling all the way, asking different denominations to vote for them, paying movie stars to endorse their candidacies - because of the power, the glory and the money!

In short, RAKET ang politika (politics is a racket), in this country.

Perhaps, politics in dirty in many countries of the world as well. That does not excuse us from following these shitheads.

The gap between the rich and the poor has actually thinned out. The middle class is mostly in exile - in other countries as OFWs.

Once the gap is gone, a revolution will occur sooner or later.

And the Yagit, in sheer numbers, whom we have used and abused over the years, will always win!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Hey, fuck you, you are a big big asshole. You think you are good but you are really not. You are so fake. From Me.

I was amused that I ticked off someone with my blog on AI. This was the comment I received from this blog.

While blogging and writing can receive both good and bad comments, reactions like these only show how immature the responses of some readers are.

Of course I do not expect good reviews. The blog is opinionated and every reader in entitled to his or her own opinion, much in the same way that the blogging is opinion-based as well. But that is what writing is all about. It expresses that freedom which many of us dish out so freely, because it is what it is. And you can counter argue that the comment left by the reader is his/her opinion as well.

I will not argue with whoever commented in the above manner. However, anyone who curses and uses such vile language and writes down his pseudonym as Anonymous is humor to me. They actually have no balls nor brain to make a constructive criticism as well. But thank you Anonymous for visiting my blogsite. And to give you credit, I have dedicated one blog article just for you. Imagine that! You should be proud I even took the time to give you space when no space is needed for ghosts like you.

People like "Anonymous" should and will remain as such. They have no contribution to society, except to stay as anonymous. Their opinions don't matter. And anonymity is tantamount to non-existence in this world.

N.B. What is fantastic about technology is that I have installed care of, a counter (and more) for my blogsite. This counter identifies who and where my comments are coming from. Click on the sitemeter below each page and you'll know what I mean. I think everyone should install this, as it is free and you can find out where the followers and the noisemakers are coming from.

AI the 9th and hopefully LAST season

Alright, so I'm a fan of American Idol.

That was then.

From seasons 4-8, I was one of the millions that surreptitiously followed AI all the way from the auditions till the crowning glory.

And I have never agreed with the Americans on their choice of winners except for Jordin Sparks.

Simon Cowell puts it bluntly and truthfully - this is, after all, a singing contest.

But the voting online has cast so much doubts on who is the rightful owner of the plum prize. Perhaps saying that those who rooted for the winners were (or are still) tone deaf is actually a kind comment.

And season 9 has been the biggest disappointment. For everyone who has been following the elimination rounds from the top 24 to the top 20, darn, some of them were not only out of tune, but out of sync. And, by popularity, they remained in the to either fight another day or to make viewers lose interest eventually.

Has America lost talent in looking for better singers?

This has been the worst of the Idol seasons. Adding even the new judge Ellen Degeneres has been a problem for me. While I like Ellen in her talk show, I think that as a judge, she should be more unbiased. She is a sore eye in the show as I don't know whether she is actually judging the competition or convincing people on whom to vote to stay or playing safe so that she doesn't lose viewers for her talk show. So much for trying to swim in two oceans at the same time.

Truth be told, while the erstwhile judge Paula Abdul was not a great judge as well (as she praised everyone who made it to the semifinals), Degeneres must find a place in the sun and like her comments to the contestants, I don't think Degeneres is cut out to be a judge for the competition as well. She flip flops and even her choices are a big DUH!!! She even comments at the end of each performance on who the audience should vote for to stay. If you don't believe me, rewind to all the previous shows.

Degeneres may have "discovered" the "talent" of local singer Charice Pempengco, but even the latter is not laden with enough talent. While Charice can sing, she has a hard time pronouncing the lyrics well enough for the song to be appreciated. And she does not have the charisma in a concert. After a few songs, Charice is good to go and falters in tone, diction and personality. Could Degeneres have been wrong in discovering singers, which is actually not her forte.

Which goes back to AI the 9th season.

It's all the same stuff. Perhaps I had higher expectations considering that Abdul has been replaced by someone more popular and Cowell is on his way out. Seacrest is as tacky as a host and has no surprises any longer. Perhaps he too is too old for the job.

And if you watch the show, the judges look like they are so disappointed with the contestants that they wouldn't care less who got booted out in the subsequent weeks.

And the songs...darn...I would not even waste precious money attempting to download on iTunes any of them. It was difficult enough to appreciate them during the competition, why do I want my iPhone to carry a screechy song?

One thing for sure, I will attempt to finish what I started with AI this season...but it gets to be more painful having to listen to these contestants screech in and out till the finals.

At the rate it is going, after they declare the winner for AI the 9th season, it may be lights out for the series as well.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bitching 101 - Of idiots and morons

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) junked disqualification cases against Sen. Manuel "Lito" Lapid and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, whose candidacies in the May elections were questions for lack of academic credentials.

This was the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The disqualification case was filed by erstwhile disqualified presidential aspirant and lawyer, Ely Pamatong. In his arguments, Pamatong claimed that reelectionist Lapid was "hardly educated" and knew little about lawmaking, while congressional aspirant Pacquiao was "mentally very poor and not prepared to step into the ring of legislation".

While some may lament that Pamatong himself may be a nuisance candidate, he actually has lucid intervals such as these. For these points made, I agree with him. And while the Comelec insists that there is actually no justifiably solid case to prove that Lapid and Pacquiao are not "qualified" candidates, they further rebut by saying that "a high IQ is never a gauge of good public service." The Comelec added that "a candidate's high educational attainment has never been held as qualification for public office. To be sure, the quality of public service which an elected official can render is not measured by the level of his intelligence."

So much for the Galing at Talino campaign of Gibo.

While I have no interest with Ely Pamatong and his bewildered quest to become a presidential aspirant, I have to agree with him on this matter.

And disagree with the Comelec.

Lapid has served as a nuisance senator over the past 6 years. He sits there in the senate, with an iota of contribution to whatsoever transpired in the senate halls. It is a waste of resources of the public, particularly hard earned money by taxpayers like me. While he may have been elected by the jologs of Philippine society, I am willing to bet that majority of his votes come from the freebie groupies. They are the ones who do not even pay taxes - the jobless, the mendicants, the flying voters - the one's who I have time and again said, have no right to vote.

And I am solid on this take. People who do not pay taxes should not be allowed to vote. It is shameful that the politicians use our hard earned taxes to pay for idiots and morons who do nothing but sleep on the job.

Which goes to the point of improving and setting a minimum level of academic achievement for those running for specific public offices. While it is true that you do not need to have a high IQ to be a good public servant, the thin line for discriminating who is qualified to run for public office should be at least one that is respectable. If we were to follow the argument of the Comelec, does that mean that I can include a Down's Syndrome and Autism party list, with candidates who have both Down's and Autism as their party representatives?

Even entry into pre-school, grade school, high school and colleges have a minimum criteria. Qualifications matter. Even when one works, one must have minimum entry criteria otherwise we'd be getting call center agents with terrible accents, front desk officers that finished grade school, chefs that can only cook fried rice and fried eggs...What more those that enter the political arena?

Pamatong was actually disqualified and declared a nuisance because of scant financial support. He may have the greatest wish to annex the Philippines as the 52nd state of the United States, but what is so wrong in giving up the sovereignty of a country on the verge of extinction because of massive graft and corruption?

Which means that the Comelec is actually accepting candidates not on the background of who is qualified but who has the means. #!?! sanamagan country!

And we blame our public officials for all the problems that our governmental system is laden with. Like our children that grow, we need to be nurtured by right parenting and the models must be good ones. If the Comelec has such an idiotic and moronic line of thinking, where do you think we will be 10 years from today? I have never, ever, ever, in my lifetime been so critical against public people in office as this line of thinking as our local Comelec.

The Comelec is right. You do not need people with high IQ to be in government. Look at the people in Comelec alone!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Skin deep

One of my favorite columnists Conrado de Quiros had a very interesting column today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

While I may disagree with him at times, I agree with him often as well.

The topic is titled Black and White.

"Jojo Binay came out last week painting it black. That was after the local Food and Drug Administration banned a shipment of skin whiteners from China containing high levels of mercury and steroids. Binay applauded the move but demanded to know why we needed skin whitening products at all, whether they contained safe amounts of chemicals or not. 'We are brown and should be proud of it'."

And I agree!

The other week I had a mother at my clinic asking me if it was alright for her 12 year old daughter to start on these skin whitening preparations. I retorted that there is no scientific evidence to this claim. As a matter of fact, glutathione is approved in Europe as an adjunct to the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It's side effect - it whitens the skin!

This mother went on rambling that her daughter was a fish out of water. She loved to swim! But she is dark colored. Then chastised her daughter by saying in front of me that the color did not look good on her. I felt like slapping her, because the girl was almost ashamed of her mom berating her in front of me. Dang this mother! Of course, I gave her a piece of my mind, which probably did not sound too well with her.

I told her that the natural color of our body is the color of our butt. That's the only one that's really not exposed to sun. And so what was so wrong with being brown? I've always wanted that darker hue, but my genetic make-up will not permit. I only burn when I attempt to get a tan. Boohoo!!!

But the commercialization of endorsers has actually made every Tomas, Ricardo and Haribon want to become 'white'! Even a gay boy has come out in an ad splattered all over the billboards, on the glutathione effect. My maids buy papaya whitening soap and insist that only Belo touches their skin. Never mind if they don't have money for food, as long as their skin is as white as Juday's! Dang!

What sells is that these endorsers seem to be making a killing at the financial gains, but the consumer is the ultimate dud who buys these stuff, even if there are no approved therapeutic claims.

And you can say the same about almost every product in the market - children who are fat (and at times obscenely obese) advertising hotdogs, multivitamins that will make you taller (even if your parents are Mura and Mahal), a Fit and Right drink that contains 70 calories per bottle but supposedly should make you get abs, or herbal preparations that will make you piss all those toxic waste or suddenly you can walk again, or even soft drinks that can make you happy just by opening the can!

de Quiros goes on saying that "No wonder we are the laughing stock of Asia. It's not just that we cannot keep up with our neighbors' prosperity, it's that we cannot crawl out of our caves. Hollywood of course has much to do with it. But even as Hollywood is slowly getting out of it, as indeed the US itself which voted its first black president a couple of years ago, we are not. While Hollywood is toasting the stars of "Slumdog Millionaire" and the Chinese actors and actresses of Ang Lee and Zhang Ziyou, we still think that being born to a mixed marriage, specifically with one of the parents being white, is a natural entitlement to becoming a star of the Philippine movies."

Those Fil-Ams or children from mixed caucasian marriages seem to be at an advantage when it comes to on screen appearance, but that's being superficial. Many of them get opportunities at local TV breaks, but stars like Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda are making a name for themselves in more competitive territories, while these lackies are trying their luck at the local channels.

We keep complaining about being discriminated against in other countries on the basis of color and height, openly or subtly depending on the country, and yet that's what we do right at home. We don't need other people to make us feel inferior, we do a perfectly good job of it ourselves. We laugh at the dark-skinned, the short, the kinky-haired, the flat-nosed, the beady-eyed, which are the characteristics of our race, and which did not prevent Jose Rizal from becoming one of the greatest men who ever lived. Why shouldn't other people treat us as inferiors when we deem ourselves to be so?

There is, after all, nothing wrong in trying our best to look beautiful exteriorly. At the end of it all, however, what matters most is how beautiful we are - skin deep.