Like most every lay newspaper reader, I had my gum slightly burned upon reading that Senator Richard Gordon's proposed Ninth-ray to the Philippine flag has passed the bicameral body (that shadowy legislative backroom). My initial reaction was not about whether I agree or not to the proposal, but whether I should shudder in disbelief or quiver in disbelief. Yes I was surprised that there was even such a proposal and no, I don't blame Gordon's staff for my own failure to imagine that the Senator would gun for it.

Okay, simply put, our much cherished 8-ray sun Philippine flag will now sport a ninth ray. Such additional ray, according to Gordon, is “to acknowledge the courage, bravery and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation’s independence.”

If I remember my high school history right, the eight rays were supposed to represent the four Tagalog provinces and the four Kapampangan provinces which first rose in arms against colonial Spain.
Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has declared he is running for president of the Philippines next year.

Speaking at the historic Kalayaan Hall in Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City, on the 40th day of the death of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino, the 49 year old senator made the much awaited announcement, which he said was  in answer to people's plea for him to join the 2010 presidential race.

Since first reading Conrado de Quiros' excellently written Noynoy for President column (and his "Two More"), I became excited over the possibility of renewing my voter's credentials just so I can vote for Noynoy Aquino. I even immediately campaigned for him with my facebook friends, especially former high school classmates, whom I realized share my enthusiasm.

Doing my own discernment over the weekend, however, I asked myself, "what would make me NOT vote for Noynoy?"

Given the excellent arguments of de Quiros, I could think of no reason, except this one:

While I may condole with Iglesia ni Cristo friends and foes who mourn the loss of a man they deeply respect, I just can't get my mind off the faces of politicians who just can't miss being where the action is.

Damning their best to become the epitome of grief, the rest of the Filipino nation knows all to well why they are there. While them politicians grieve the passing of Eraño, they feel they should grieve more if Eraño's successor would count them among the politically dead. It's a political imperative that they should be there.

The Moral Force Movement launched last Monday by Chief Justice Reynato Puno has caught the attention of the Filipino public hungering for moral renewal. 

Highlighting the Moral Force Movement’s avowed mission, Puno called on the people “not to elect anyone who bribes, cheats, lies nor [to tolerate] anyone who does.” Volunteerism was his battle cry and thus enjoined every concernmed citizen to “..not just stay neutral in this fight, for the surest way to lose a fight against evil is through the conspiracy of silence.”

Philippine Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas is no longer seeking the presidency in 2010.

In a packed press conference at Club Filipino yesterday, Senator Manuel Roxas announced he was giving way to the candidacy of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Roxas admit it was the “most difficult” decision he had to make in his entire life and noted he did it to preserve unity of the Liberal Party and the country.

"I choose to lead the unity, not division,” he said. “As party president, I made the decision. I love the Liberal Party. My father founded it,” Roxas said.

On Monday, Senator Francis Pangilinan had appealed to Roxas to give way to Aquino should the latter decide to run for president. Pangilinan was also willing to abandon his own plan to run for vice president for the sake of party unity.

Calls for Aquino to run for president or vice president started mounting a few days after the funeral of his mother former President Corazon Aquino. Having no previous plan to seek higher office, Senator Aquino was understandably hesitant to accept the challenge, especially since the candidacy of Roxas and Pangilinan was already months in advanced preparations.

Up until yesterday, Aquino has never given any definitive indication of his political plans. Today, however, he is expected to make that announcement, fueling anticipation by his supporters, especially on facebook, that this would be IT.

Liberal Party (Philippines)Roxas made up his mind after long talks with Aquino over the weekend. "We agreed: ‘Let us forget about ourselves for a moment. This is not about us. This is about our people and our country. This is about our common dream, the dream of our parents’,” he said. And quickly added, "but let us not remain a country of dreamers. Let’s act now.”

Following their gesture, I must admit Roxas and Pangilinan has just earned my respect. If more Filipino politicians could follow their lead, then there may be hope for the country yet. =)

Below is a Youtube video of Roxas' announcement.

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I was sure he was clueless at the time but my high school best friend Moses (not his real name!) taught me a great lesson in coolness when he kissed his mom in public one fateful afternoon. He was so casual about it and couldn’t care less who was looking that I actually felt embarrassed to be even there.

Minutes later, after we board the vehicle en route back to school, I asked him what has just happened in front of mine eyes hoping I could endlessly tease him about it. I was dumbstruck when he flashed a big smile and with a solemn masculine confidence confessed, “I’m a mama’s boy”. I tell you, that simple declaration created a minuscule crack in my juvenile universe that triggered an infinite crisis.

Who says it’s unmanly to express affection for your mom in the first place? And why deny mothers everywhere the affection they deserve from their male children just because of their gender? How on earth can boys develop a healthy respect for women if they can’t even appreciate their mothers who truly love them on a deeper, spiritual level?

I was thinking, “here, before me is a rare creature.. a mama’s boy with an attitude!” A rebel of sorts in fact against all the cheesy put downs by social conspirators who can’t stand anyone violating the feisty protocols of manliness.

I realized too that only a stupid stupid girl would find it uncool to love a warm-blooded real mama’s boy who’s capacity for love transcends his erotic, nature.

With my new-found political cause, I dared go radical and started kissing my mommy on the cheeks publicly… for all her friends and my friends to see. It works like a charm. Everyone blushed every time but me. Pure magic.

Unconvinced still?

Try it with your mom today and be part of a revolution!

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Crossroads 55/365Image by * Photos by Chris M * via Flickr
Would you trade a life of security for a life of adventure?
"...how I left a secure and lucrative job as a radio announcer, which I had held for a couple of years, to go back into theatre. The life of an actor, for most of us, is about as secure as being out on the ocean in a row boat with no compass or chart and not knowing where the nearest land is. Nevertheless, that lack of security is the price paid for doing the work we love."
His actor friend on the other hand, took the road more traveled by of full-time job in a law firm and pursuing theatre only part-time, thereby missing a lifelong chance of building his dream career.

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I was twelve years old when the People Power revolution happened in 1986 and distinctly remember how it felt to hear on TV that, at last, the impossible was happening. Ferdinand Marcos has left Malacañang!

It was way past my bedtime when I heard a teary-eyed Orly Punzalan announced on TV, "umalis na ang demonyo!", translated as "Marcos has left the palace!". I was twelve years old when Marcos left Malacañang during the 1986 People Power Revolution. Everyone else at home was asleep but I knew I was not alone flashing the Laban sign that very moment, with dancing and jubilation!

My early political awakening, happened three years earlier. We were traveling from Valenzuela to visit relatives in Manila on the day Ninoy's remains was to be transferred from Tarlac to Sto. Domingo Church. Everywhere we go, I saw crowds of people waiting for a glimpse of his casket bearing placards that say "Ninoy, hindi ka nag-iisa!" I didn't know what it meant and my dad tried to explain but still it didn't make sense to me. "Who is Ninoy Aquino, in the first place?" There began my quest to understand the concept of injustice.
The Manila Bulletin headline, August 22, 1983.

I was still figuring out how to fly a kite at age nine when politics became the dominant topic of conversation in our homestreet. I began hearing people mention the Visayan word "pusila", (meaning "to shoot"), which completely eluded me so I didn't bother to ask what it meant. The word "assassination," however, caught my attention and it's always tragic when used in a sentence: "The Aquino assassination," I wrote beneath a cigarette foil etching I made of Ninoy's fallen body, which I copied from an oppositionist Komiks distributed at the time.

Two years later, the Snap Presidential Elections had everyone engaged in the epic battle between a vicious dictator and a widowed housewife clad in a simple yellow dress. Cory Aquino became the living symbol of the Filipino's struggle against oppression, greed and injustice.

After the downfall of Marcos, it felt like everything would be alright. It didn't. The reality of the Aquino Presidency slowly dawned on the masses. Eventually it toned-down people's expectations. Nonetheless, people still believed in her.

Back then, people at least knew they can trust their President even if they may find it hard to trust other people in government. Back then, decency was the norm, honesty was standard. For this, Cory enjoyed universal respect and admiration down to her last day in office and even beyond.

There have been three presidents since Cory stepped out of Malacañang. And each successor degrades the office (and the citizen's dignity along with it) down to the ditches where it is now.

Cory's death on Saturday morning was sad news for all.

It was to be a reminder that the Filipino deserves no less than honorable leaders.

In these poisoned times when we are made to accept mediocrity, apathy and impunity in public office, Cory's death reminds us in vivid colors, we need never put up with crap.

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Depending on who you ask, the color of Gloria’s SONA attire yesterday was either fuschia , lavander or violet. And depending on who you ask, Gloria either did clearly say goodbye or else just mentioned the fact that her term expires in 2010.

Judging from the stockmarket barometer, I knew nothing sinister was about to happen yesterday at the Batasan (although yesterday was admittedly a sinister holiday). So what was the rumor of coups and self-coups was all about then?

I asked my barber this and he said maybe Gloria was just playing “hard to forget”. I blurted “there’s no such thing!” but he ignored me and continued anyway. He said it’s the last game in town for lameducks and most most outgoing presidents are not daring enough to pretend setting the country on fire.

There’s the insight. In effect, Gloria’s just yelling (as in, “hey! Don’t count me out yet! I could be president-for-life, you know?”) On the other hand, what would happen if the lameduck did actually “accidentally” set the country on fire? Especially when everyone got used to her pretensions?

After pausing for a while, he said, “we’d either all burn our butts or we’ll have roasted lameduck for dinner”. I know it’s supposed to sound delicious but … don’t know it doesn’t seem very appetizing to me. I could use the cooking lesson though. It’s not everyday that I see a lameduck roasted.
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Man is basically a good and noble being generally, at least in my opinion and only under agreeable circumstances. Under extreme pressures, however, most people will crack, if not go temporarily insane, for such is the frailty that is human nature.

In the context of comfortable offices, lovely homes, promising careers and hilarious parties… talks about man’s innate goodness or tendency for evil is brushed aside as a mood spoiler. If I could have my way, I’d place this famous etching where the in-crowd can always see them…

Mealtime in the trenches In this ultra realistic etching by German artist Otto Dix, a lone soldier gulps down a hasty meal apparently indifferent to the human skeleton trapped in the frozen landscape beside him.

The work portrays not only the suffering that soldiers had to endure but also the ominous effect such conditions could have on a person's dignity. It springs from Dix’s intimate, if not carnal, knowledge of war and its dehumanizing effects.

In the 1960s Dix said, 'War reduces mankind to the state of beasts, with its hunger, vermin, mud and insane noises'. Who can argue with experience?

In his book “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell explores how this human frailty operates even in less extreme situations. Calling it “the power of context”, Gladwell depicts how human behavior is strongly influenced by environment. How even little things, like the prevalence of broken windows in New York, could rouse an epidemic of petty crimes and general disorder.

In a world going crazier by the day, how humanity will fare?

The Bible speaks of darker times ahead; “tribulation such as has not been nor ever shall be” . Scientists likewise warn us that, one way or another, the world will someday end; i.e, through a lethal flu pandemic, global warming, a comet hitting Earth, the big crunch, black hole, or the explosion of our own sun. The possibilities for the end, it seems, are endless!

Now would you rather forget all these and party while you still can? Or would you rather search life’s meaning and make peace with God while you still have your dignity intact?

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I'm a coffee lover and Ecclesiastes is my favorite blend.

Freshly brewed from on high Ecclesiastes perks me up when I'm feeling low and wakes me up when I'm backsliding.

Personally, I love Ecclessiastes' bitter taste, its downright cynicism, its in your face pessimism. It is guaranteed to make your mood gloomy or at least introspective with its harsh overdose of brutal honesty served hot straight from old Solomon's kettle.

I'm sure other Christians could relate to this special book in this way, even if they literally hate coffee. Realty bites and this book serves no lesser purpose than to serve reality as it is.


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