Monday, May 31, 2010

No talent for Pilipinas Got Talent!

The franchise of the Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent show is also in the Philippines.

This started a few months ago on ABS-CBN. With a lackluster start, the shows three judges, Freddie Garcia, Kris Aquino and Ai-Ai de las Alas were unimpressive to me. The two hosts, Lucky Manzano and Billy Joe Crawford were like lovers in akimbo. In short, I didn't think that the local edition of this talent search would get anywhere.

But as the way Filipinos are, there will always be the spotlight to hog. And after a few weeks of watching people sing, dance, flex their muscles, eat bottles, play with fire, play musical instruments, do a magic act...I eventually got bored. The talents were far and few...

Last night, I chanced upon one of their semi-final episodes where the finalists would be based on the selection of sent in text voters and the judges as well. When the lovey dovey show hosts Luis (Lucky) and Billy announced who would leave the show, they requested the losers to stay on stage and approach them. Then the pathetic hosts asked the losers how they felt on losing!

Only in the Philippines!!!

Was there nothing else to discuss? Did you need to ask these questions? I mean sure they lost. They lost! That's it. Exit door please. Tadahhhhh!!! No more exit interviews! What were these two nincompoops thinking of?

Then the losers started to sob, cry, huhuhu, wail, and a valley of tears fell. Then the brainless Luis goes on the air saying, it's an emotional moment. Emotional moment my ass! I mean, gimme a break. I don't know where the brains of this Manzano kid came from, but believe me when I say that he has no hosting skills at all. My dog can do better at hosting. Like all people given a break in showbiz, the guy happens to be the son of Vilma Santos and Edu Manzano. That's it there is to it. No acting ability. No hosting ability. My gosh, I don't even know what ABS-CBN saw in him! He looks like someone with an identity crisis trying to pacify and magnify himself. I mean, he thanks Designer Whey for giving him his protein supplements for his bodybuilding! In one of the episodes, Luis removed his shirt just to show his BODY to another weight lifter who joined the contest to compare "notes". Narcissism is one of the biggest giveaways to homosexual identity crisis.

All the three losers would huddle together and the Mutt and Jeff team of Manzano and Crawford would capitalize on the sobbing spree and then keep muttering that it's an emotional moment for all. And then say that they're all winners and then the wailing would begin again. My goodness! What was the wailing all about? They should not even have this segment aired anymore!!!


What did these people think, that everyone would be a winner?

Every contest has a winner. A winner. Meaning ONE! And eventually the rest of the people lose the contest. Those who had major disabilities also went in to join this reality talent search. Did they expect people to look at their disability and cry them a river and vote them to win? Golly gee!! IF this is what these people thought, they should just go peddling in the street for loose change.

After last night, I was so disappointed with the Philippine version of the show that I felt that the franchisers of the show should sue ABS-CBN for the way the original talent search program was maligned. The judges were unbelievable and for the record, let me state that I don't think Kris Aquino has any credentials for choosing talent at all. Ai-Ai de las Alas may be one of the bigger stars of the network but she is not a sterling example of pure talent. Her comedy is all she has got. And the comments coming out the mouth of these two women judges are - darn - "friendship"!!!! Then the tandem of Mutt and Jeff (Manzano and Crawford) are a sore eye to the show. They talk too much especially that Manzano boy who seems to want to hog the limelights out of the talents.

If this talent search is full of bad talents from the judges to the hosts, then what kind of talents do we expect to come out of the show Pilipinas Got Talent?

After this season - lights out for this talent show!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why women have bigger balls than men

Now that I have your attention on this blog spot with my title for this post, I'd like to turn your attention to Dr. Esperanza Icasas-Cabral, our current Secretary of Health.

Dr. Cabral (Espie, to her friends) has done more in her 3-4 months in office than her predecessor Dr. Francisco Duque III. Honestly, all Duque did was to jockey his way into politics with Ate Glue. Seriously, Duque did not earn his post as Secretary of Health because he was capable of heading the agency. He so happened to be the neighbor of GMA in Valle Verde. His incompetence as head of the health agency in the country began actually as PhilHealth head during the term of Ate Glue. An agency which the dwarf in the palace capitalized on for her campaign and elections for the 2004 presidency. I will not discuss this any further, as this is a thing of the past. For the record, Duque had no balls to make something out of himself. He did not earn his current post. Like a dog, they were rewards for "fetching the ball".

But let me commend Espie for sticking to what is right.

When she stood up to the Catholic crusaders on the reproductive bill and giving away condoms by the government to address population problems and curb HIV transmission in the country, I thought that that was the way a good health secretary should decide. It is not the disease or a replicating population that will drive this country into self-destruction. It is religion.

When she stood up to the tobacco industry that there should be pictures of the ill effects of smoking on every pack of cigarette so that the public is made more graphically aware of the morbid and fatal outcome of cigarette smoking, I was impressed that she would take the bull by its horns. After all, what better deterrent to a vice than to make the ordinary Juan de la Cruz understand what the sign "cigarette smoking is detrimental to your health" means. Show a picture of a finger all gangrened, and the next smoker will think twice before he lights the cigarette.

Let's face it. While we laud that the Philippines is an English speaking country, the forces of Jejemon language, Taglish and Bading-talk make it really difficult to comprehend that we are serious about English as a primary communication skill. The mere fact that many can't even read and write with correct grammar and syntax (and they're in government office or the academe already), makes you really wonder if half the Filipinos even understand the warnings that we put in every commercial commodity!

You think that Juan de la Cruz understands what the words "drink in moderation" mean? I am willing to bet that 8 out of 10 think that as long as you don't get too drunk (which may mean anywhere from not being able to walk a straight line to not getting an erection and passing out after a drinking spree and peeing on yourself), that's moderate drinking.

And the advertising gimmicks do not help lessen the vice of Filipino people. 90% of the advertisements are made to promote the evil rather than give the true picture of what essentially the product is all about. But that is how irresponsible advertising is in this country. Let's just make a quick buck within the confines of the idiotic laws of this land.

The most recent stand of Espie regarding the voluminous herbal products that have plagued the local market is laudable. If you ask Filipinos if they know what "no approved therapeutic claim" means, I am willing to bet my balls that 8 out of 10 have NO IDEA at all. Espie's idea (which was what I have been lecturing all along in my talks) is simple and not even rocket science. Translate all the warning signs to Tagalog. Which means, that all herbal supplements or food supplements that carry the tag "NO APPROVED THERAPEUTIC CLAIMS" under Administrative Order 2010-0008 must be translated to "Mahalagang paalala: (name of product) ay hindi gamot at hindi dapat gamiting panggamot sa anumang uri ng sakit".

The day right after this AO was released, an herbal company went ahead to sue Espie. They said that it did not go through public consultation and Dr. Cabral had violated the law on graft.

Graft??!?!!? The lawyer of that herbal company probably is a nincompoop that probably has dementia and has been taking too many herbal agents that his/her brains have simply disintegrated. Dr. Cabral is right - you don't need to go through public consultation for a translation! You mean to tell me that if you have a sign that says NO PEDESTRIAN CROSSING, you will need to go through public consultation just to say BAWAL TUMAWID? Come on. Gimme a break. Somebody please, shoot the lawyer! Aba eh talaga naman bobo yang mga yan at balak talagang man-denggoy. I have always said, and will state for the record - that there is no greater fool than the fool that is fooled by a fool.

And which is altogether true about Dr. Cabral's stand.

Let me call a spade a spade. The herbal agents come in as a food supplement. They get their registration from the Food and Drug Authority as a food supplement. They are not drugs. If they want to be classified under the category of drugs, they must show clinical trials and other physicochemical proof that they can be marketed as drugs. Only drugs can claim therapeutic effects. This is for the safety of the consuming public. If the patient wishes to take an herbal agent to treat himself of a disease (for example, ampalaya extract for diabetes), then go ahead. But he must understand that the herbal agent IS NOT intended to cure him of the disease. It is not licensed for that.

But the mere fact that the advertisements of the herbal agents do not say that they are simply food supplements and GO BEYOND by claiming they are for use in patients with the disease IS A THERAPEUTIC CLAIM altogether.

Which is a pure violation of the law.

Which I cannot understand how the advertising companies and media board allow this kind of advertisement to proliferate and get aired on prime time.

What is more strange is how the media and networks, have not given ample news and significance to this imbroglio between Sec. Cabral and the herbal companies. It is simply because networks like ABS-CBN, GMA 7, etc. thrive on the advertisements of these herbal companies. Without the herbal companies, the revenues in advertisements would slump by 20%.

And this would also mean that shows like Wowowee and endorsements by TV personalities and media personnel would go down by 50% in revenues alone.

To add fuel to fire, it is stated in the administrative order that when translated to Tagalog, the translated words must be recited slowly and understandably, and not in the 1 second spiel that it is currently being displayed in advertisements and flashed on and off on the screen that it disappears even before you can blink. Which is also sensibly correct.

But safety is not an issue at all with these herbal agents. They flaunt that because the substance is herbal in nature it is absolutely safe. Safety issues on drugs and supplements in wanting in this country. Of the billions of drugs and supplements in the market, the local FDA receives less than 1,000 reports from the pharmaceutical and herbal industry each year. Which does not mean that the drugs and supplements are safe. It just goes to show you that adverse event reporting is not considered a practice unless it is a serious one.

I agree with Dr. Cabral. These measures are not intended to kill the herbal industry. It is meant to educate the public and not kill the Filipino people, who have seemingly resorted to buying herbal supplements from the sheer belief that they are actually drugs intended to cure a disease. This is the moral and ethical obligation of the Department of Health. This was the blind eye taken by the previous secretary of health.

And there is more work to be done, but so little time as the next administration comes into the picture to appoint a new secretary of health.

For example, alcohol advertisements should be banned in the same way as tobacco advertisements are. While tobacco consumption poses health risks, so does alcohol. Beer is readily available over the counter and in supermarkets in this country. It can easily be bought by children even under 15 years old. And "drinking moderately" and being "cool" about drinking alcohol leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It's like saying, "you can't smoke because it's bad for your health, but it's okay if you drink alcohol as long as it's in moderation".

Then there are the so many generic products in the market. We don't actually need gazillion generic products. A few generic equivalents that are of good quality is all the country needs. Healthy business competition, my ass. Many of the generic equivalents are actually traders of Indian companies. Someone has to make a stand on ensuring quality generic products in the country. Drugs save lives. But poor quality standard drugs kill. And substandard drugs have no place anywhere in the world. They stand to benefit only the shrewd businessman. Never mind the patient.

Even the maximum drug retail price is altogether wrong.

This MDRP signed by the dwarf in the palace should be questioned before the courts. It is stipulated in the implementing rules and regulations of the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act that the MDRP can only be declared during an emergency. For example, if there is an outbreak of AH1N1 and the public will need Tamiflu, then the president can declare a maximum retail price for this drug. At the moment, all the drugs in the MDRP are not emergency situations. As to how and who decided on the list is blatantly stupid.

If the claim of the government is that the generic equivalents in the market are as equally good as the branded ones, where is the emergency here with the abundance of several generic equivalents in the country?

I can go on and on and on, but I will stop here.

I just wanted to say that Espie has done more in 3 months than what her predecessor has done licking the boots of the dwarf. If I were the new president, I would keep Espie as my secretary of health. A woman with morals and ethics and no qualms about keeping the record straight when it comes to policies on health care in the country.

She stands taller than men who cringe at the flick of the finger of the dwarf. And by golly, she has balls!

Ma'am you have my vote and whether you stay on as secretary of health or not, let me salute you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Let me start this by saying "bato bato sa langit tamaan huwag magalit" (stones that fall from the sky, whoever is hit by them, don't get angry).

After this disclaimer, let me go on to discussing an online shop that sells Louis Vuitton replicas.

I was aghast at this.

The temerity of this online shop to put the ad on Facebook!

While I do not undermine the enterprising nature of these people who duplicate original articles, I am strongly opposed to intellectual piracy in any form.

Intellectual piracy should be condoned. If you cannot afford to own an original LV, you do not have the right to own it at all. It does not give one the right to simply mass produce an item just because it is popular so that every one can own a Louis Vuitton bag! Imagine your maid going to the supermarket with you with an LV in tow, right next to your original LV.

There is a putative right to ownership of luxurious items. And owning it, comes with a price. The mere fact that we even flaunt a fake, speaks of how shrewd the Pinoy businessman is willing to get. The only one that stands to profit actually from an industry that mass manufactures replicas are thieves. They steal the original ideas of other artists only for self financial gain. While some businessmen think that there is nothing wrong in making a quick buck, I think it is altogether wrong that one makes money out of other people's efforts and ideas.

To me, it is tantamount to stealing. It is not like any drug that you can make a generic copy. Drugs are a different story because they save lives. As to walking around with an LV bag that is fake, it speaks of how cheap one can be and the temerity to flaunt a fake item! Grade A or grade B or whatever grade you call the replica - it is still FAKE!

And it is not only an LV. There are many name brands that are sold in major malls in the city! The mass production and selling of fakes should be put to a stop. We are not depriving people of anything that is going to affect their health or lives. It is a matter of principle that we encourage the Pinoys to challenge their brain cells to come up with more original concepts on retail business rather than just producing replicas.

Buying a fake is a reflection of the kind of personality you have and you own - fake!

If you do not have the resources to buy an original, I will simply state the obvious - you are poor. Don't try to be what you're not.

And FB must not condone this type of publicity. Facebook must shut down the accounts of those that sell replicas of fake goods online, using this site. It must help stop intellectual piracy now!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Godforsaken traffic!

I have always marveled and shriveled at the never ending traffic problem in the Philippines.

I will put it bluntly - the traffic problem in the country is not only a major turn off for foreign investors but is the perfect mirror of the sense of non-urgency of the Pinoys.

I have never understood why this problem cannot be addressed.

No sitting president in the country has addressed this problem.

During her nine years in office, the outgoing dwarf in the palace has not addressed this situation as well. Sure she traveled all over the world on chartered flights and traveled to and from Malacanan without having to go through traffic (though her travels have also been the cause of the horrendous traffic as well).

But why do I want to talk about traffic in the Philippines?

Because traffic here has become a cultural problem. Like many of the cultural stupidities the Pinoys have, traffic is one of those classified as major headache.

Jeepneys, buses, FXs, taxis, and tricycles continue to lord it on the public roads. I cannot fathom why to local governments allow tricycles even in major thoroughfares. All forms of public vehicles (except trains and the railway systems) load and unload in prohibited zones. Even if there is a sign as big as daylight that says "NO LOADING AND UNLOADING FROM HERE TO CORNER", there will always be the Pinoy who thinks he is God or Gloria and will load and unload passengers at will.

I cannot understand why the people in this banana republic have to load and unload where they want to. You see them get off in one area then the jeep travels 50 meters and sanamagan another one gets off then it travels 20 meters and you see another nuthead get off and then after 5 meters the jeep stops because a passenger is getting on and then moves on the next 25 meters only to stop again because the driver has reached the loading and unloading zone. Dang!!! Sometimes you get to feel for the road rage people.

Some say that if you don't have the patience to drive in the streets of the Philippines you shouldn't be driving. I think that is the wrong kind of thinking or mindset. That is an idiot's line of thinking. Discipline is something that is wanting in this country. If you look at it from a microcosm, the traffic situation in the Philippines is the perfect singular example on the matter.

The surge of so many motorcycles in the country has also made the streets a chaos. These motorcycles drivers are probably part of the amazing lot of Pinoys who are able to put a maximum of 5 passengers on a two wheel vehicle. They have their wife and three children riding shotgun in all places on this vehicle and manage to swerve in and out of the roads of the Philippines. Never mind endangering the lives of the people on board. After all, if a car hits them, it will ALWAYS be the fault of the car. The charge? Driving with reckless imprudence leading to homicide (or whatever accident occurs).

There was an incident a few years ago where a man threw himself over the overpass of the Espana pedestrian walkway in front of the University of Santo Tomas. The man landed in front of a taxi cab that was traversing Espana St. The cab hit the guy who "fell from the sky" and the guy died. The poor cab driver was charged with reckless imprudence leading to homicide!?!?!!? Only in the Philippines.

Poverty and being a developing country CANNOT be an acceptable excuse for the sheer lack of discipline in this Godforsaken country. Our bleeding hearts and the senseless pathetic attitude of government officials towards the lack of discipline among the Pinoys on the road (and elsewhere) is definitely nerve-wracking and is a test of patience. Local politicians will always ride on the sentiments of the poor. That we should allow this kind of practice on how to ride public transportation in the Philippines is beyond my comprehension.

I can never understand how Pinoys who migrate to or travel to other countries (aside from the Philippines 7,107 islands) are able to be in their best behavior! My blog readers will attest to this! Watch a Pinoy cross the street in Singapore. They will cross where the pedestrian lane is. Watch a Pinoy cross the street in Quiapo. He is willing to play tag with the oncoming buses, jeepneys and cars and hurdle the cement barrier that is 3 1/2 feet high that divides the left side of the street with the right side of the street and will defy gravity after making that brave cross to the other side instead of going up the elevated pedestrian walkway.

I have never understood why we cannot put a reign on the public transport system in this country.

Most of the people, except for Bayani Fernando and the Metro Manila Development Authority, know that the major cause of traffic in the Philippines in general and Metro Manila in particular is NOT the sheer volume of private vehicles. Rather, it is the lack in discipline and poor quality of urban planning in each of the cities in the metropolis.

Remove every SM mall and you will see traffic decongest by 20% instantly! Every SM mall is strategically located in areas that are accessible to public transportation. Each of these malls are converted indirectly into public station depots because of the large number of people that go to these malls. Remove all the malls (aside from the SM malls) from within each city and you would have added 10% decrease in traffic congestion.

All 10 wheelers (and above) should be banned from the roads from 6am - 9pm. Hindi kasya ang kalsada para sa ating lahat (the streets are not enough for all of us). They should try to make use of the port to port delivery rather than make use of the door to door delivery system. Of course, it will only be those operating the ports that will holler at this idea, but seriously, will it kill them if they only plied the streets of the metropolis during nighttime? It certainly will decrease the number of accidents on the street and definitely the traffic. Most of these old trucks bog down in the middle of our narrow thoroughfares and just ONE ten wheeler causes a humongous traffic that takes hours to unclog and wastes so much manpower and precious time. Decreasing these big trucks will decrease 25% more of the congestion and traffic conditions not to mention the unquantifiable hours lost and gasoline saved for the ordinary Juan de la Cruz.

Then there are the Pinoys who insist on playing tag with cars that ply the highways. You see one Pinoy dashing from one end to the other end with child in tow! We waste so much in taxpayers money building overhead pedestrian lanes which are occupied only by vendors or used underneath by motorcycles when it rains, as a shelter! Gadzooks! And the only one that actually benefited from these structures are the local government officials who stood to make a quick buck from these infrastructures.

And if we only did these, we wouldn't need to have color-coding days! Only the traffic aides stand to gain from this corrupt and inept ordinance in Metro Manila!


There is no sense of urgency among the Pinoys! And if we intend to move out of the third world category, we need to fix this problem NOW. I cannot understand why we cannot walk a few meters so we can provide more convenience to the majority of the commuting public! Is it so hard to understand this?

Patience they say is a virtue. Some may say that I am an impatient person and that I should just let majority of the commuting public do what they currently are doing - violating the law.

I think that over the half decade of my existence, and my having to bear with this stupidity and crazy traffic system and car coding system in the country, I have redefined the definition of patience.

Those that tolerate this system and turn a blind eye to the actual scenario, are not patient. They are masochists. They deserve to be in the banana republic!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Everyone has a deep dark secret he/she keeps.

I am not a fan of Desperate Housewives, but I guess that's what TV surfing does. One night, I had the chance to watch one episode and found it interesting and insightful. It would be the content of this blog.

I believe that we all lead "intricate" lives.

While we live in a world of reality, there is a tangential secret life many, if not all of us lead.

There is the husband or wife or partner who looks like the perfect person in a relationship. But behind the seemingly perfect relationship is a cheating, conniving, selfish bastard.

There are times we think we know the other person well. He/she may be your best friend and that you've shared good and bad times together. But there is another part of your friend's life that he/she will keep to himself/herself. A broken home, poverty-stricken background, family problems. A secret.

But are these secrets bad?

In all honesty, I believe that there is a deep dark secret that we all keep. They may have been mistakes of the past or indiscretions in our lifetime or some pent up hatred for family or friends. No matter what atonement we do, when these secrets are unraveled, they will haunt us.

No matter how we try to digress from these secrets by changing lives, changing jobs, changing partners, or becoming materialistic so that we temporarily forget the pains of our well-kept secrets, there will always be something that will remind us that we have a secret that continuously haunts us in life.

We can never run away from a secret because it is something that has been done. It is a past event. Life is never made up of rewinds. One can never make up what has been committed in the past. One simply moves on.

Which goes to the question - how does one resolve a secret that is bothersome? The Catholics call it confession. Notice how the act of confession simply serves as a relief mechanism because we tell someone else the burden we secretly keep. Confession is also called revelation. Talking to someone (not necessarily a priest) like a psychiatrist or friend or psychologist or relatives is a helpful process in relieving ourselves from the stress of keeping a secret.

There is the fear that we become judged for the wrong that we did. But these are consequences we will need to take in order to achieve peace of mind. We need to let the chips fall where it should. If some of our friends understand, then good. If not, then fine. The burden has been released. We need to face consequences and face life the way it should be. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.

When we keep a secret throughout our lives, we live with pain and sorrow. The burden simply piles up and our sanity and happiness become captives to the secret we keep.

There is a human need to unleash the burden of so much secrecy in our lives.

Ask yourself if there is a secret that has been the reason for your being uneasy with life...

We either release this in our lifetime and begin to enjoy what life has to offer, or bring the deep dark secret to our graves.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Noynoy and the noise around him

Without doubt, Noynoy Aquino won the recent May 10, 2010 Presidential election in the Philippines.

I am not a political analyst and will not pretend to be one in this short blog.

I am a Filipino citizen. I did my duty for my country. I voted for him because I saw in him the essence of change and the reason for continuing to dream on for a better Philippines. I remain cynical about this though. Perhaps, the country will not change overnight, nor in my lifetime, but I would like to believe that ethics and proper moral values can be the agent of change and not remain an elusive dream for this country.

Post-election, however, has not been kind.

While many issues surrounding the sitting president remain and will certainly hound his cabinet and our government, I believe that many things can be resolved amicably.

There are bad seeds that were planted by GMA. That is undeniable. Those will need a lot of work to get weeded.

However, a few good men in the cabinet of GMA should be given a standing ovation because they did not use political mileage in order to further the poison of greed and corruption.

What disturbs me though are the noisemakers around Noynoy. Even when I was in Tokyo after the election, the noisemakers were merrily providing ill-advise to him. While I have nothing against suggestions, opinions, and recommendations, Noynoy must be able to dig deeper into his mind and heart and not just trust all these people.

I am a firm believer that many of these politicians giving him advice, have vested interests as well.

And even before he has sat down as the highest official in the land, there is so much noise coming from them and from the media launching so much hate and animosity from the get go.

All beginnings are hard, but humility is a giant step towards reconciliation. If Noynoy is really bent on changing this country for the better, this step must be taken.

It is difficult to carry a heavy burden even before one has started his career. There will be intrigues, and more greed and corruption.

As evident in the results of the election, the Filipinos have not learned a lesson yet. There are still some dynasties and bad eggs that are in the basket. Animosity only breeds contempt.

I voted for you to become our next leader. All of us have ONE vote. These votes collectively put in your hands the future of our country. You DO NOT OWE any single person anything that you need to pay back in return. I spent money to campaign for you as well. The least I expect is that you serve the people, the country well.

It is time to douse water on these noisemakers. It is time that Noynoy stands up on his own. Only then, can he be a good president.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NAIA 1 - the window of poverty to the Philippines

My flight from Tokyo touched down at NAIA 1 at exactly 1015pm. We were 30 minutes ahead of time. I was back in Manila. And I was sad.

Sad that I would see the dilapidated airport called Ninoy Aquino International Airport 1.

Dilapidated is an understatement.

Unfortunately, this airport houses all the other major international flights to an from the Philippines. Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, KLM, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Korean Airlines, Asiana, Japan Airlines.

From the current existing condition of NAIA 1, I do not understand why we insist on using this as the showcase of our country. Why in God's name was NAIA 3 ever built? NAIA 2 houses only Philippine Airlines, but PAL is a no fly zone for most of the international companies. It is a policy by many foreign multinational companies that speakers, delegates and representatives being sponsored by them for business trips DO NOT FLY on PAL because of the safety risks and after being downgraded by international aviation groups.

I blog about this because upon arrival at NAIA 1, the arrival and parking area is complete chaos. You have squeaky belts in a warm arrival area where even the toilet smells terrible. It's a dump! Let's face it!

When I got out of the airport, I went to where my driver was so that I could get home quick. Our car was blocked by several cars that were double parked and triple parked in front of us! We couldn't find the driver of one car, so I went to the security guards that were manning the gate of the parking area at the arrival zone. I gave the guard the plate number of the car and asked him to please page the owner.

Guess what? He told me to go to the paging area. It's not his job to page!

Watdfuk? So what was his job? Stand there and make his balls grow big? He was just standing there with two other guards and this girl from God knows where. They were watching the people go through the gate. That was it!

He told me that if I wanted to complain, I should go to the paging booth myself.

I told him it was his job, not mine. I pay for parking. That's the least he can do. I asked for his name. He flashed his name on my face. Said that his first name was Emil! And the other guard just snickered.

The girl beside them said that it was not their job to page and that it was my problem that there were cars double parked! Anak talaga ng tipaklong ang putah! I wanted to slap the bitch right there. I told her to shut the f*ck up. I wasn't talking to her. Unless she is the Queen of the Nile, she should not even be there.

I told the guards that this country has gone to the dogs. They wouldn't move until the whole crew of ABS-CBN and GMA and TV5 showed up. Would they want that? There's a new president-elect and gone are the days of the dwarf in the palace. If there's change they want, it should start with them. Pathetic people!

Then they kept quiet and said someone will go to the paging booth and asked for the plate number of the car. My driver was just beside me.

Infuriating is not an apt description for the idiots. Blowing my top was the least I wanted to do. But people like these, people who lead pathetic lives, people who get paid and yet do not want to do their job no matter how menial it may be, are the kind of people that will never ever have more successful and better lives.

They live in a world where our political system has made them comfortable and satisfied with the kind of lives they lead. They go back home to shanties, to their 8 children, because our government allows these idiots to exist.

That day, I was an ordinary citizen. I did not let my driver go around so he can pick me up. I wanted to just walk to the parking lot and go home. Just like every Juan de la Cruz. No fanfare. No help from immigration officials. No bodyguards. A simple Juan de la Cruz.

The crap that you get from NAIA 1 is the window to the world - on how proverbial poverty, greed, corruption and stupidity - has made the Philippines perennially a third world country.

I can never comprehend why we cannot break tradition where the whole barangay has to be there to greet oncoming arrivals. It's as if they will not have "pasalubongs" or will run out of it if they don't meet and greet their relatives.

I have never understood why we cannot shut down operations at NAIA 1 and move to NAIA 3 where parking is huge and the crowd is more controllable.

It will take a miracle for Noynoy to undo what other politicians have done to make us the showcase and definition of a pathetic race to the world!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tokyo - Lost in translation but loving it!

The perfect combination of a destination holiday is Sunny and Cool weather.

This made the 5 days trip to Tokyo, Japan both relaxing and memorable.

For those making a trip to Tokyo, a few tips:

1. DO NOT attempt to take a cab. You are bound to get lost in translation. If you plan to take a cab to go somewhere, ask for a Japanese translation of your destination. Your hotel should also provide you a calling card just in case you reach your destination and would not know how to get back. Believe me, you will never understand each other and will end up getting frustrated and poor! Cab fare is not cheap. To compare, the Narita Express from the Narita Airport Terminal 1 to the Tokyo Station is around $27.50 one way. The limousine service by the hotel on a Lexus or BMW is $575.00. A cab fare is about $300.00 without traffic and non-inclusive of the toll charges, which is charged to the passenger.

2. Plan your trip way ahead. Do not plan when you are in Tokyo. It would be a waste of time trying to figure out where to go and what to do. There are several districts, all unique in itself. Shopping is all the same in the various districts. For example, if you plan to do some shopping at high end stores, the Ginza district and Omestasando will have what you're looking for - Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermes, it, you've got it!

3. Each district has a highlight in itself. For example, Ginza is home to fashion and glitz and glamor. Several department stores including the French department store PrintTemp and Laduree Paris patisserie are found in the Ginza district. Then there is Daimaru, Matzusakaya and Mitsukoya. Walk along the side streets and you'll find Brooks Brothers, Gucci, Hermes, Apple, Sony, Gap, and oodles of stores including UNIQLO and Forever XXI. The latter two are great buy stores because they are reasonable in price. But name brands are extremely expensive. Do not attempt to buy at the Duty Free Shops in the airport. They have very limited choice. If you want to buy a designer item, you'll need to do this in the city. If you have the money to burn!

4. Don't forget to have money changed at the Airport. And that means have ALL your dollars changed. Do not scrimp! They will not change your dollars in any department store. Some hotels do not provide a money change counter. The current exchange is $1.00 = 89Y. That means that your $1000 is about 89,000Y. If you don't shop, this should last you the 5 days (for food and transportation alone). This is on the presumption that your hotel is all paid for already!

5. Eating out in Tokyo in definitely a must! The food is wonderful and most of the bars are full at night. Drinking and eating is the way to unwind and cap the day. You will need to share a table with others though. And don't forget, many of the local restaurants DO NOT have an English menu. You may end up having to point at the picture. But what you see isn't exactly what you'll get. And since the prices are listed in Japanese, you may end up fainting at your bill. If you're not sure what to order, or are practically scrimping on cash, go to any Makudunorado (McDonald's) or KFC restaurant. That way, you'll still manage to survive on the measly cash you brought with you. There are, however, a lot of noodle restaurants in the shopping malls. Sad to say, they don't live up to authentic Japanese dining. Experiment, give it a try. And when all else fails while you're lost in translation inside a Japanese pub, look at what the next person beside you is eating and point, point, point. Tell the waitress that's what you want to eat!

Incidentally, servings are not extra large and one order is good for ONE person with a small stomach.

6. Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. You will need this. Do not attempt to wear your high heeled shoes. You're bound to break them. Remember, Tokyo is a walking city. Cab fare is expensive. The trains are highly efficient, but you'll still need to do a lot of walking from point A to point B. Burn those extra calories! Believe me when I say that after a day out, you'd have burned 500 calories easily.

7. Memorize the subway lines. The Tokyo Station is HUGE!!!! Darn, you can even get lost in the subway. For foreigners (like me), get a SUICA pass when you get to the airport. It will give you a ticket already to the city and at the same time have credits for entrance and exit on the subways. Not a lot of people speak English in Japan. Even in the subway area where there is an information counter, you may not be able to communicate well with the man behind the counter and you'll just end up in an area you don't even know. Remember, people rush back and forth. DO NOT STAND in the middle of the passageways. Know where you intend to go so that you can ask for assistance with your hotel concierge before embarking on your trip for the day.

8. If you plan to go to Disneyland, I suggest you go to DisneySea. Of all the Disney theme parks in the world, only Tokyo has the DisneySea and it's an adventure you will surely not want to miss! It's more adult themed so you won't see a lot of children there. But for the young ones (and the young at heart) this is one place you'll want to go to over and over and over again. And you'll see everyone carrying a Duffy, the official Disney Bear. Only Tokyo DisneySea has this character and you'll see everyone (practically everyone) carrying a Duffy. It's believed that owning a Duffy bring good luck to those that have it. I just couldn't resist getting a Duffy, if only for the luck it would bring.

9. No scrimping! If you wanted to go to Tokyo for a vacation, do not scrimp! It's a very expensive city. Very expensive is an understatement. The 10% tax and 5% service charge alone will kill you. Which means that if you're having lunch for 950Y, the whole menu will cost you over 1100Y (about $12.50). For a family of 4, about $50! That's just one meal. A McDonald's meal is about 690Y. That's without fries or drinks or whatever you had in mind.

10. Tokyo (Japan for that matter) is so clean that you won't even find a trash can on the road. Yes. No trash can. You will find it only in specific designated areas. Which means that you'll need to carry that trash on your hand until you find a trash can. It's their way of conserving garbage. The Japanese are so disciplined that you'll notice no one crosses the road until the stoplights say so. You'll also notice that they give in to the disabled and senior citizens. In the subways and train stations, you will need to get up from your seat for the underprivileged.

All in all, this was both a great way to spend spring - relaxing and culture tripping.

And whatever minimal communication skills I had in the Japanese language, getting lost in translation was half the fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tokyo - Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

There are flights from Manila to Japan. Delta airlines flies directly non-stop to Tokyo every day.

My last flight on Delta was almost 6 years ago, when it was still Northwest. While other airlines had upgraded their Business and First Class sections, Delta (or Northwest) seemed to have taken a back seat at this arena.

This was a reunion with what used to be one of my favorite flight carriers to the US. Delta's time schedule to and from Narita (Tokyo, Japan) was one of the best. Leaving Manila at 805am (arriving Narita 1245pm, Japan time) and returning at 700pm (arriving Manila 1045pm) was perfect.

Aside from the reconfigured seats, Delta airlines was as I remembered it. Some of the business class seats wouldn't work. My neighbor's seat could recline but you had to press the buttons gazillion times before it would get back to sitting position. And the breakfast served was mediocre.

Arriving in Narita was a breeze.

I had arranged for meeting and greeting services from the Four Seasons at Marunouchi Hotel in Tokyo where I am staying for the next 5 days. The airport greeting is an extra $60 on my tab, but if there is one place that I wouldn't want to bringing out my dictionary during a conversation, is Japan.

The people of this country are extra nice. They have this courteous lilt in them. And there's NO TIPPING please in Japan.

The Narita Express and all their commuter trains are so ON TIME. Delays were a rarity and the trains were super duper clean! They even had meals on board for sale for the short 60 mins trip from Narita International Airport to the Tokyo Station, my final destination.

Upon reaching the Tokyo Station, another concierge had met me at the Tokyo Platform to get my luggage. We took a short walk through the maze to get to the Four Seasons Tokyo Hotel at Marunouchi.

From the entrance of the hotel to the room, I was very impressed with not only the service, but the grandiosity of the hotel!

Check in was in my bedroom, but the lobby was on the 7th floor. The Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi has only 56 rooms and is annexed to the Pacific Place Building. I had a superior room and it was 44 sqm large (I should emphasize large by Japan standards), had a very long corridor. Its walls, doors and floors were made of lacquer finish, the rooms were minimalist in design, and the lights could be modulated at the touch of your fingers, the 42 inches flat screen was attached to an ipod dock and a Bose stereo with ready CDs were part of the amenities. The bar was well filled, the room was superbly clean, there were even pajamas and a yutaka for your personal use.

All the concierges spoke perfect English and were very well versed with connections and directions. All requests were taken with a smile! They were not only polite but were extremely happy to be of service.

Then there's the bathroom. Ah the bathroom...

I've always said that the mirror of how great a hotel is, is the bathroom! This may not be where you sleep, but this is what makes the comfort most appealing. If you have a hotel whose bathroom looks like the dumps, then the room is not worth it at all. At Four Seasons Tokyo at Maranuchoui, the L'Occitane bath products were the icing on the cake. It was large enough to house one separate toilet, one separate shower and a sunken bath tub sprawling with mood lights and separate night lamps. All toilets and shower in the bathroom were separated but frosted glass enclosures. All the glass enclosures, doors and floors of the room were floor to ceiling.

Internet was 2000Y for a day and they had an efficient wifi system.

It was time to work upon arrival - get those emails answered, get ready for the meeting - but hey, I'm not complaining. At the Four Seasons Tokyo at Maranouchi, you can make me stay here anytime with just my laptop and I'd be willing to work for change!

You can unwind in their 24/7 gym and spa with an onsen bath on the 7th floor of the hotel. The ambience is distinctly one of comfort and pleasure. If you're getting the area for a purely business trip, you shouldn't be bothering about this hotel.

At 52,000Y (about $560USD) without 10 % room tax and 5% service tax and Japan occupancy rate of 200 Y per night per head, this is one of the most upscale hotels. And worth every penny.

Breakfast on the other hand is quite a steep price. For a Japanese breakfast (rice, miso soup, dried salted fish of the day, tea and orange juice) served in bed, the 4100Y ($45.00) is quite a bite. And while I understand how some people would complain at these prices, I've always said that one is never obligated to eat in their restaurants. What you see is what you get. If you don't like the prices, there is always "Makudunoradu" (McDonald's) right around the corner.

Who says comfort is free? Not in Japan!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A day before my flight to Tokyo, I blog about the May 10, 2010 election.

Yes, I voted first before preparing for my Tokyo trip. It was an obligation as Filipino citizen I wouldn't miss.

This election will go down in history as the FIRST automated election (and hopefully all will be automated from hereon) in the Philippines.

First, let's talk about the automated election. While there are close to 100,000 whiners on the procedure of the election, this was the way to go. If you go by statistics, the complainants on the process of this election should try to understand two things: one is that not all things are expected to go right the first time around. Second is that of the over 50Million Filipino eligible voters, this number or about 0.5% of the voting population is a tiny proportion compared to those that lauded the automation procedure.

Sure the lines were long. This was expected due to the massive turn out of voters AND the consolidation of some precincts so that it could fit the 76,000 machines. Like I said, the process was good enough, but the implementation could be better the next time around.

Enough of the whining.

If there is one thing I laud Ate Glue, it is the fact that it is during her term that automating the elections became a reality. Hats off to her and goodbye. Enough said.

The very quick results as the final endpoint and outcome of the election puts all issues to rest. In 24 hours, we had already about 80% of the returns tallied and verified. Very minimal manual counting. No more waiting for 2 weeks to 2 years for final election returns. Minimal cheating. Why, even the election lawyers seemed to have no jobs for this election.

Some observations from friends and yours truly:
1. The demise of Cory Aquino last year paved the way for a more credible election in the sense that had she not passed away, Noynoy would not have run for president. And had Noynoy not run, well, the obvious is that Erap would return as our president. Dang!!!! Crap! You can never tell how these people think and it's so Filipino. Masochism at the highest degree!!! If Erap had won, we deserve the kind of corruption and greed in government.

2. We clamor for change. With that said, we were busy campaigning for the president and the vice-president. At the senatorial level, we see the old faces (and I mean old). We should have not voted for SOME (if not MANY) of the idiots that should not deserve seats in public office. I was flabbergasted that Lito Lapid, made it to the magic 12!!! Lito Lapid!! Lord help the Filipino people. It is no wonder that the country is in such dire need of more brains. Try to make sense out of common sense? We need a few human brains in public office and not those wherein cockroaches have larger brains than our public servants!!

3. Erap is running a distant second to front runner Noynoy. And he and his camp are whining that he's being cheated in this election. You can obviously see that this guy really is clingy. Can someone please give him a movie project so he can get out of politics? Maybe ABS-CBN can make Erap replace Willie Revillame. After all, they have the same penchant for multiple women.

4. Gordon is such a sourpuss. You can tell because he's complaining as to where Noynoy got the financial support. Darn! Well, for your information, I donated a good amount to the campaign of Noynoy. Any questions Dicky? Face it. Not everyone who posted Go Gordon in Facebook was a fan. As a matter of fact, you're one sore loser. So we didn't support you, so what's the big deal? To my friends who are Gordon fanatics, tsk tsk tsk, Dicky boy is asking where IS THE MONEY? Bakit hanggang Facebook lang daw kayo? Bow!

5. FB is a powerful tool. But 80% of the Pinoys live below the poverty line. Of these, 90% have not even heard of FB. Not even ALL the 20% of those that live above the poverty line are tech-driven. About 50% are techies. Mostly the youth. Which explains why Gibo was driven by fans on Facebook. But FB or Twitter or Friendster does not translate to votes. Many of those on FB are not even of legal age to VOTE.

6. Imagine how democracy works. There are 4 Marcoses that have won seats in government in the time of Aquino. Wow!!! Talk about a comeback. Leading the pack is BongBong Marcos who has won a senatorial seat!

7. The only contest left is the vice-presidential seat. Where Mar Roxas seemed to have the cat in the bag, so to speak, at the beginning of the campaign. But the endorsement of Chiz Escudero on the Noy-Bi tandem on the last few weeks of the campaign had apparently spelled the difference. There was a sudden barrage of balimbings and like a tectonic shift in the earth, the tide suddenly changed. And in the official count, Roxas has been trailing Binay. This has been the most perplexing phenomenon. What happened?

8. Those that did not vote because they were on "vacation or holiday", should shut up! They have no right to complain on anything that happens after this election. You snooze, you lose. You should be ashamed at claiming rights to bantering while enjoying yourselves. Shame shame shame!!! If my 73 year old mom braved the heat, crowd, and technology glitz because of her love for country, I don't see why some people could not postpone their trips to the US of A or anywhere else just because the trip was free or the tickets were dirt cheap at the time of booking or that their kids were whining to go on vacation and the parents felt so obligated to send them to Timbuktu. If your reason for not voting is because you were having a grand time somewhere else and expect to come home and join the party, you should really have a thick face on this kind of attitude. It's the kind that puts the country 10 steps backwards on the scale of progress.

History will treat us well. In the Philippines, the outcome of political events is unpredictable as its weather forecast.

As of this blog, the only one gracious in defeat is Manny Villar, who was the first to concede to Noynoy. Can everyone please just get a grip on reality? For the sore losers, concede. This country, no matter how insane the political system is, needs to move on.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I was watching an episode of Private Practice the other night.

The series featured the plot between life and death. A baby born with diaphragmatic hernia where an immediate surgical procedure would be needed. A matter of life and death. But the baby was being delivered to a mother who had already decided that the baby would be given up for adoption. And she refused to decide on the fate of her baby and would leave that decision to the adopting parents. But the adopting parents had opted not to adopt the baby. Which left the plot requiring a resolution.

The most touching part of the episode was the doctor who was dying of pancreatic cancer. On his last days, he wanted to just go home to die. Two colleagues were there to provide him company and comfort in his last few days. He had little options, and he wanted to die.

The "assisted death" was one of the most moving scenes I ever saw. When the doctor had injected himself with a large dose of morphine, he was more than willing to die. Then at the brink of death, he began having second thoughts. It was then that he expressed to his colleagues how lonely he was. And how it terrified him to die - alone. And that he wanted to live. He begged for another chance. Dying alone was his greatest fear.


One is such a lonely number.

It is my most feared scenario as well. At the end of the day, when I crawl to bed, I feel the loneliness seeping in.

Many of the escapes we have in life provide us the temporary exit out of the myriad of problems we face each day. Going on a vacation, changing jobs, moving to far away places, changing partners, buying things - often provide us the "distraction" from facing real life decisions and ending up with "peace of mind".

The greatest step we make towards sanity is facing life the way it is presented to us. Full of challenges and yet disappointing. An escapist life is not fulfilling. You only run away from problems and end up losing yourself in the process.

Wherever life takes us, we cannot live regretting that we could have made it right, when we were given the opportunity to. There may be misgivings and heartaches, indecisive moments driven by past hurts and pains, but nothing falls short of realizing that it can be resolved by a simple text message or a hand of forgiveness and reconciliation that is just within our reach. Even if it means having to swallow our pride, we did our part.

We do not need to be alone.

Let me share with you (even those who are non-Catholics), a short prayer I say each morning. It has become a ritual, but it has helped me through the best and worst days of my life. You may want to try a little prayer. Each morning as you start your day, in the solace of your home, instead of being ALONE, whisper this prayer.

It is "peace of mind" for free!

"Dear God, as I begin this day, let me turn to you and ask your help in everything that I say and do.

Give the patience that I need to keep my peace of mind, and with life's cares, I hope, Dear God, some happiness to find.

Let me live but for today, not knowing what's ahead, for I trust that you will see, I get my daily bread.

Give me the courage to face life's trials and not from troubles run. Let me keep this thought in mind, Your will not mine be done.

And if some wish I do not get, though I have prayed to thee, let me keep in mind, you know what's best for me.

I've failed you many times I know, but when tonight I rest, I hope that I can kneel and say, dear God, I've done my best."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bitching 101 - He said, she said, I say

One of my blog followers said that it's been quite some time since I "bitched".

It's really difficult to find a topic to blog about. More difficult to find a topic to bitch about.

But hey, it's my cup of tea, so...

Willie Revillame had a big word war with Jobet Sucaldito. For Revillame to storm at Jobet with all the fury of a mad man, he had stooped so low that he threatened ABS-CBN to choose - fire Sucaldito or Revillame leaves ABS-CBN. Hmmmm...interesting. I hope ABS-CBN finally let's Willie go. The guy is a pain the ass and he thinks he is God's gift to the people of the banana republic. This drama would be interesting. Revillame forgets that threatening the hand that feeds him is bad karma. Abangan!

Ruffa Gutierrez reportedly endorses Gibo and Roxas for president and vice-president. Well the Gutierrezes are inconsequential. Who cares if Ruffa votes for Gibo? Her spat with Kris just shows her true color - green - for envy! With all the drama that has surrounded Ruffa, she doesn't even deserve an endorsement nor is her endorsement credible.

Then there's Eddie Villanueva. Another candidate running for president. He's been trailing way way wayyyy behind. Anyway he has filed a petition with the Comelec to postpone the automated polls to allow more time for testing the machines. Sanamagan these wannabees. I don't get it and I guess neither does Villanueva. Whether they postpone it a month from today to gazillion years from today, he will still not win the election. We will probably never see him as president of the banana republic, even in his lifetime. Can we just go on with the election? No one has ever been more excited at getting rid ofthe dwarf in the palace than this generation of voters.

Then there are the winners of last election who have been affirmed by the Comelec or Supreme Court as winners THEN. But the announcement was just made NOW! Example is Ed Panlilio of Pampanga who supposedly won the governorship in the last election. He is running for reelection. Lo and behold that a few days before the election, Lilia Pineda is declared winner. So who was running what? Darn the judicial system in this country. How true the saying that justice delayed is justice denied. There ought to be a law that puts a timeline on election protests. And that timeline should not exceed 60 days for the Comelec and 120 days for the Supreme Court. If no action is taken by aforementioned parties within that deadline, the Comelec official or Justice should be publicly executed.

Finally, the statistical shift in the upcoming election is for the vice presidency already. This would be fun to watch. In 2 weeks, since Chiz Escudero endorsed Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas and Binay are now statistically tied. What happened? Even Noynoy's pitch that his only vice-president is Mar isn't helping poor Mar. Could it be that someone close to Mar has sealed his doom for even the second highest office in the land?

But the mudslinging continues and as any saga in the life of the Filipino people evolves, May 10, 2010 will be remembered as one big drama that will change the plot of the political telenovela of the Pinoys.

Interestingly is the fact that the averge Pinoy has a penchant for happy endings. Will it or will it not be?

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata sa buhay ni Juan.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Of friends and relationships

I've had my share of friends and relationships.

Some of my friends and relationships have come and gone. Some to better places. Some just missed the boat. Some with a better half. Some with a bitter half. And some have stayed on.

But life's like that. There will always be opportunities and we need to take that leap of faith and believe that things will turn out better.

And not everything will be a bed of roses. There will always be trials in life and there is no textbook that tells you what to do so that things turn out the way we want to.

Like a fork in the road, we reach that point where we are made to choose. Some choose one road out of practicality. Another chooses based on his/her heart or happiness. But both are transient.

Nothing is permanent except change and death.

One of my closest friend came home for a visit. It was her mom's 75th birthday. It has truly been quite awhile since we saw each other, but we stayed in touch. I asked permission if I could blog about her life and she acceded. But I will keep her life a private matter.

Her story is no different from many of our stories. She has had her share to tears and joy. Successes and failures. In her family, it had always been her that everyone would turn to. She was the eldest in a brood of 5. And they all had their stories on tragedies and triumphs.

Like most of her friends, we were all surprised that she turned her back on a wonderful medical career because of love and happiness. In another country, she would begin another chapter in her life. It was not an easy decision, but her heart would lead her to another land, to another life.

While life may pose more challenges today for her, she has remained the person I knew from way back when. I know that there are days that she would cry in solitude but she makes the most out of every thing that comes her way.

Which is what many relationships lack. The challenges may be too burdensome for others. There are those who are myopic and see the smaller picture - I. I have always believed that in a relationship, there is 'Us'.

Believe me when I say that there is no relationship where one loves the other as equally as the other loves you.

One will definitely always love one more than the other one. But it takes two to make the relationship work. I don't mean making the ultimate sacrifice, but rather, seeing the relationship not only from ONE person's point of view but also from the OTHER side.

And I share this thought with my friends.

Perhaps, there will come a time when we get fed up or are simply bored with our better half or friend that we forget to see the real reason why we ever got together in the first place. The happier times are easily forgotten and when we wallow in misery, we make the relationship or friendship truly a miserable one.

My best friend has always been my mom - INANG. And during the times when I look back at her relationship with my dad, it was not truly a bed of roses. It is evident in our stories of my life in my blog.

One day I asked her how she managed her relationship.

She answered, "no two persons live life without even the slightest of misunderstanding. But knowing how to forgive and forget makes partnerships last. Live with no excuses and love with no regrets. When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1,000 reasons to smile."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One day more

I have a friend who's dying.

At the prime of his life, he has been diagnosed to have cancer. Non-smoker, non-drinker, a family man - good provider, husband and father. It started as a bad cough. It must have just been a cold that wouldn't go away. In a recent trip abroad, the symptoms worsened. He experienced difficulty in breathing.

A few days after his return, the cough worsened. His wife was worried but he didn't get to see a doctor until he collapsed at work.

At 30 years old, it was a shock to his family that he was diagnosed to have lung cancer. There was bone metastasis already.

The doctors and family huddled together to talk about chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. The prognosis was poor, but technology was advanced. They could prolong his life and the new protocols for this type of cancer were promising.

In the confines of his hospital, my friend was asking many questions. Why him? What did he do wrong? What did he do to deserve this? Was he not a good person? He wanted to live. He wanted to see his little 3 year old girl enter nursery school this coming school year. He wanted to experience more out of life.

Ironically, he was not asking about the treatment protocols.

He was asking why him?

Then tears began to flow. Normally, my talkative self would give a lot of heart warming advices on being strong, putting yourself together, hang in there, fight for your life and all that rah-rah perk up your spirit talk.

But he made sense. Why him? All these talk about treatment protocols and options would only prolong the agony, not to mention the financial burden it would put on his family. The truth of the matter is - science cannot explain everything. And science cannot have a solution to everything.

Truth be told, the prognosis was grim. Even with the new protocols, the chance for survival with metastasis was less than 10% for 6 months.

He comes from a well-to-do family. And they can afford the treatment protocol. His parents were at his bedside, providing encouraging words. That it would be alright. That this was simply a setback. The doctors were explaining the treatment regimen to him.

He simply looked away. He was staring at space and at the blank walls.

My friend has never left the hospital, a month after his diagnosis. He has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When I went to visit him the other day, he was all shriveled, pale, and gaunt. He was hanging in there.

He gave me a smile, a tear, and I couldn't help but smile back and shed a tear as well.

I told him to hang in there. Take one day at a time. You have come this far, one day more my friend.

He smiled and weakly said thank you. And then replied,

"I want to die..."