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Monday, July 30, 2012

One Morning At Bfast

Breakfast being my favorite meal time (aside from being the unanimous choice of nutritionists everywhere as the most important meal of the day) it was a no surprise that we would avail of Deal Grocer's offer for Chef Laudico's Bfast at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Since we decided to use it on a Sunday, I looked online and found out that they have something called "Wagyu Weekends", which starts at 9AM. It is described as a buffet, and the name implies the presence of Wagyu Beef. For PhP (Philippine Peso) 388.00, it sounded like a deal, since a look at Bfast's entrees cost around PhP 150 to 250.

The rains did not deter us, and Makati is lovely (read: practically empty) on weekends. And we brought our appetite, since it was almost 10AM when we entered Bfast.

Here are some of the items we got from the spread they offered.

Karnevorous Omelette, Sauteed Veggies with Bagoong,
Fish Tocino and Meat Lovers' Rice.

Chicken and Pork Tocino, Atchuete Rice,
Beef Caldereta.

Pasta with Crab Roe Sauce

Same Pasta with Mozarella Cheese

Wagyu Beef, Roast Chicken

Strawberry flavored drink, included in the buffet.
(Choice of this or iced tea, I would've preferred coffee.)

The standout items were the Lechon Kawali with Bagoong, Pasta with Crab Roe Sauce, and Karnevorous Omelette. Yes, it turns out that some of these weren't really "breakfast items", but that's because Wagyu Weekends extends until 2PM.

The Roast Chicken was quite flavorful, but the Wagyu Beef was a bit of a letdown: it tasted like "the usual" roast beef we'd tried elsewhere.

It was surprising that when we got there, many of the food items were cold and the spread wasn't complete. (Since we arrived almost 10AM, that means it was almost an hour since Wagyu Weekends started.) The staff did compensate - by just a tad - by being solicitous and eager.

A bit of hit-and-miss, but for the price vis-a-vis the regular prices, it was quite alright to have woken up for Chef Laudico's Bfast's weekend offer. I can't recommend the Lechon Kawali with Bagoong enough, Art and I thought it was the dish that made it all worth it.

Buffet name notwithstanding.


Chef Laudico's BFAST
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati Avenue
Bel-Air, Makati City
(02) 621-6100

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another Term?

Take me back. Again. And again. And again.
(Courtesy of

According to a news report following Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's "victory" at the Sandiganbayan, her spokesperson has hinted that Arroyo will be seeking a second term as legislator.

Are people with pending court cases allowed by our current electoral system to run for public office in any capacity?

Just asking aloud.

I went to the Comelec (Commission on Elections) website to look for candidate qualifications and requirements.

I'm still in the dark as there is no information about those there. (Or maybe the website isn't very "friendly".) There are a whole lot of links for voter requirements, though.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"What's Your Day Job?"

We should be so lucky.
(Courtesy of

This question was posed to a friend of mine, a professional dancer and dance/fitness teacher, right before she was due to make a dance performance. It was an innocent question from one of the production staff people in charge of getting information from the performers.

It puzzled her because she was doing what she loved doing, it just so happened to also put food on the table.

Pressed for a reason why a professional dancer would need a "day job", the staff person replied, "I have to introduce you as _________ (fill in "accepted" occupations like doctor, chef, etc.) and that dancing is just a hobby."

The infantile in me would have easily blurted back, "Jealous much?"

It brought one thing to focus: there is a notion (I don't think it is limited to the Philippines) that you can have something you're passionate about, and you can have work that pays the bills, but you can't have both.

People who write, dance, take photographs, anyone who is in the arts, feel this viewpoint more acutely. There seems to be a belief that once you mention that you are an artist, it must be qualified by the word "starving". Or more accurately, the qualifier isn't needed, it is implied and understood. Hence, the question asked of my friend.

The underlying message being, you don't expect me to believe that you actually make a living doing that?!?

It also explains the following scenarios:

People expecting you to take their pictures because you have a camera in tow all the time as a photographer. Gratis.

People expecting you to "show us a dance or two". For fun.

People telling you to teach a movement based class. For an hour. For free.

People making pakiusap (asking a favor) to do their graphic design needs, anyway "it's very simple only."

All the while, everyone else is making a profit out of your art, the one they insist on pooh-pooing. The one that parents like to remind their kids of as "useless" and something that "will be a dead-end." The one that is seen as a "lowly" job, one that credit card companies would perennially raise their eyebrows on.

I am reminded of one of those posters in Facebook that reads: Do something that you love, and you'll never work for a day in your life.

You see, the one thing artists have is passion. What artists do tends to be personal, because a part of them is invariably stamped on their "work". Whether it is a composition, a recital, a mural, a feature article. It isn't a job where you can "copy and paste" from somebody else - well, you can, but they're called plagiarists, and something very much frowned upon in a field that prides itself as having practitioners who can claim the word unique in everything they do.

And, I would wager, artists have a work ethic that can be described as intense. Rethinking a sentence over and over to properly convey a thought, doing a pirouette so many times the dancer's toes start to bleed but having to do it to give a perfect performance, I personally know of so many artists who are almost obsessively perfectionist in the way they approach what they do. It runs counter to some of the portrayals in media of artists who are shiftless bums with no aim in life.

I wish we had a better appreciation of the arts and how it speaks to our inner lives. Until such a time comes to pass, this view that the arts are something to "pass the time away" while slaving at your "day job" will prevail. The changing of the current viewpoint should be started by parents and schools, who should nurture talent when it manifests. Children shouldn't be given negative messages like "your talent is worth nothing", unless one was a sadist. They should be encouraged.

And I wish to differentiate it from the current obsession of young people to become artistas (celebrities). Yes, they dance, sing, act, but the companies that mold and train them do so in the view that these people are products, and are doing the "training" in order to sell records, movie tickets, etc. The prevalence of reality shows that are supposed to showcase budding actors and singers worries me, as most of the time, the "winners" are determined by text-voting, a clear cut indication that their "appeal" is more important than the actual talent they supposedly bring to the table. The siren song of fame proves to be irresistible, judging by the number of young people who line up to be part of these shows.

Back to my friend who was asked the title of this post. She declared that dancing was her day job, much to the wonder of the person soliciting the information from her.

If only everyone was so fortunate to be doing what they love best for a living.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Venus And Our Collective Neuroses

The fall of the fair-skinned? Not at this time.
(Courtesy of

Watching the Venus Raj story in MMK (Maalaala Mo Kaya) highlighted a few things, some we already knew but never wanted to admit.

1. We are racists. In this country, white skin equals beautiful, dark skin means shame and ridicule.

2. We love the underdog. A large part of Manny Pacquiao's appeal is his rise from humble beginnings. The same can be said of Venus Raj's story. She was regularly made fun of for not being fair skinned, and went on to win Bb. Pilipinas.

3. It shouldn't be, but our self-esteem is largely tied to how we look. We should just hope that we are the "current flavor" for beauty pageants and advertisers.

4. Teachers have a free pass to be involved with students, the loophole being that these students have low self-esteem to begin with. (To be fair, Venus' mom was against the relationship from the start.)

5. Joining pageants to earn money to help the family gives it a sheen of nobility of purpose.

6. It's disturbing for a woman found laughable because of her dark skin to seek validation from an industry that promotes the unreal ideal of "perfect" body measurments and looks from its' participants. But then we decry corrupt politicians all the time and continue voting for them the following elections. So it's par for the course.

7. Mothers have the final say. Period.

8. I wish this country understood that being valued for your looks is not female empowerment, or feminism at work, it is the precise opposite of what the movement stands for. (I was just informed that there are only 1000 of us in a country of 100 million citizens who believe this.)

9. Venus' story is supposed to be the triumph of the dark-skinned over the fair. While her story was on break, I was regaled with ads for whitening creams.

10. The current career path of Venus as a host ensures that beauty pageants will always be filled with women wanting their share of the spotlight.

And so, here we are, circa 2012.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Blessing Of Angelica Jones

The bad weather forced me to stay home, which in turn gave me the chance to see bad TV, some of it, the good kind. (Get it?)

Enter Angelica Jones, erstwhile local actress and board member of some province.

Never a dull moment, for sure.
(Courtesy of

I saw her years ago, and two things struck me off the bat: (1) why is she so TH (trying hard) to affect an American slang when she could speak freely in the vernacular and (2) is she on something? The phrase "train of thought" doesn't seem to register with her, she flits from one topic to another and really ends up making no sense whatsoever.

Which makes me erupt in a fit of giggles.

After her interview just now in a showbiz show (hosted by Lolit Solis and Joey de Leon), those same things still struck me, but with a third question: will her child be needing therapy?

Lolit Solis only had one question: bakit nauna ang pagbubuntis kaysa sa pagpapakasal? (Why did your pregnancy take place before the marriage?)

Angelica begins her response. It is so drawn out that it was the only question that was asked of her.

She begins by mentioning the father of her child, a doctor also in the province.

She then regales viewers with their plans for marriage.

She recounts how she has myoma, and how painful it is that she couldn't sleep some nights.

She threw in her position as part of some league of young legislators or public officials.

She also ate some fruit courtesy of Mike Velarde, as treatment for her myoma.

She went to many churches.

She then goes back to her wedding plans, scheduled for January 2013.

She makes a grim face, and proceeds to recount how she and the doctor haven't been together since Marsh. Yes, that is how she pronounces March.

She blames the "others" who do not want to see them happy as a couple, then also says that the doctor is not used to her celebrity stature so the "pressure" and "media" might have scared him off.

And when Lolit sarcastically remarks that after all of these (the long winded tale of her life thus far) that didn't really answer the question, she was still able to become pregnant, Angelica then uses the blanket statement:

It's a blessing.

The hosts were forced to cut her off because of the time she consumed, and while Lolit was loudly saying, "Bye! Bye!", you could hear Angelica trying to talk over Lolit (no small feat for anyone who knows the voice of Lolit Solis), thanking constituents from various places.

And my fit of giggles continues.

Salamat, Angelica, for the good bad TV I had the fortune of witnessing this damp, dreary, flood filled day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Defense Of Society Pages (?)

Having gone through my "news feed" at Facebook awhile ago, my interest was particularly piqued by a thread that seemed to suggest that "not all society page characters are bad".

The benefits of having society pages.
(Courtesy of

I've never had so much money that I can afford to take a private jet to Belize just to catch the sun from that part of the world, so if you think my commentaries about society pages seem to reek from some form of jealousy, I would like to state that it's more a matter of not comprehending where these characters are coming from: why would I need to flaunt where I traveled or what the f*** I just ate in some rustic villa off the coast of some "millionaire's playground", to be printed in some glossy or newspaper, in a country as poor as ours? (Majority of people here cannot afford three meals a day. Don't deny that we are a poor country.)

Talk about rubbing the calamansi on an open sore courtesy of malnutrition.

If I suddenly had to switch hats and become one of society pages' biggest defenders, how would I go about doing this task? What can I possibly say to give it a positive spin?

1. "Society pages provide jobs for editors, fashion consultants and everyone in the magazine who push these overpriced goods! We are job creators!"

2. "Our newspapers are printed on recyclable materials! Society pages are part of the environmentally-conscious sectors of society!"

3. "Tourism industries blossom because Mrs. What's-Up-Her-Butt went clubbing in ____________! We support the various tourist destinations of First World countries, who need even more money!"

4. "Think of the rich people and the social climbers! Where will they spend money if these pages aren't published? We are humanitarians who love showing (certain) people the way (to throw their money away)!"

5. "How selfish can you get? When you have pretty and nice things, you must share these blessings with the world!, no, we're not rubbing it in the faces of people who can't even feed their kids, we are sending them a message of aspiration, so that they will want to have a better life, to have all the nice things we have, even though we all know that they never will have those in this lifetime!"

6. "This is a chance to teach the "others" about life: The pursuit of beauty, like most things, has a price. It's a steep one. Pay up to enter this world."

7. "I've donated naman 10,000 pesos to my charity, ah!" (Socialite saying this while carrying a bag worth 2.5 million pesos, a dress for half a million, shoes for another half million, in a car that costs 10 million pesos.)

8. "We are not inciting envy. When we flaunt the goods we have and the places we go to, we are actually building up your self esteem. If you don't buckle from feeling bad because you will never have these things even if you work 20 hours a day, we are contributing to your personal and emotional growth!"

9. "There's too much ugliness in the world. We are championing the opposite."

10. "We're just more upfront about the correlation between human nature, pride and greed. You?"

That's all I have, so far.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now Showing (At The Ballot): Artistas

A recent poster by GMA News reminded me of a sterling fact that has been more pronounced with each election that I am witness to in our country: the rise of the artista (celebrity) cannot be denied.

A twist to "a star-studded affair."
(Courtesy of GMA News)

Enter the artista into our political lives.

We not only get to see them in the big and small screens, they now write our laws and enforce them as well.

Who can forget President Estrada, attaining the highest post of the land? (His defenders keep reminding everyone that "to be fair", he did rise up the ranks in San Juan, a city where his family is now considered the de facto rulers. I guess he's done with San Juan beause he now wants to battle it out with Mayor Lim for Manila.)

When I am asked about how I feel about it, I respond by saying both sides of the coin have compelling reasons.

Those who see their entry into politics as "perfectly fine" say that (1) you can't fault the artista for having popularity on their side because other candidates have a track record, or money, or entrenched underlings as their trump card and (2) it would infringe on the right of a citizen of this country - who just happens to be an artista - to run for an elective post, if that person satisfies the bare, minimum requirements for the post.

On the other hand, those who are appalled with their foray into politics believe (1) it is an undue advantage that they are exploting their mass appeal and fame and convert it to votes and a shot at another career (since some of those running are considered "inactive" or "not really successful" with their showbiz careers) and (2) voters are nasisilawan (blinded) by the name recognition/recall that they don't bother electing a more "deserving" candidate - probably a career civil servant - and end up making the "wrong" choice.

If you have seen my posts about the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, it would be hypocritical of me to say that I cannot trust people to make the "right" decisions when that is exactly what I am voicing out when I support the RH Bill, that people should be given the choice - and the correct, scientific information help make those choices, to plan their families the best way it suits their needs.

I am also passionate about education being the great equalizer - we may have different stands on so many different issues, but as long as you have facts, and not just rhetoric, "conventional wisdom" (which I see no difference with "tradition") or dogma, as your basis for your decision, then I will respect that decision or choice.

And so it is with the celebrities who now take on a political route.

At the end of the day, we get the (democratic) government we elected, and we will deserve that choice.

Quick question, though: how do we expect to be a robust, economic powerhouse if we are perfectly happy that the people we elect to lead us satisfy only the barest of (legal) requirements?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Piety As A Weapon

In this country, it is used as much for offense as it is for defense. How scintillating (I had other adjectives in mind, this seemed to be the "safest") that a recent blow-up in the local entertainment scene should showcase this spectacularly.

Truly, we fashion the concept of God after our own desires and biases.

After the death of Dolphy, the most controversial news adjacent to the event was the ruckus caused by feisty talent manager Annabelle Rama at a wake/dinner where the King of Comedy was being remembered. Claiming that she was "provoked" by showbiz reporter Chito Alcid, she was caught on video trying to raise a stick-apparatus (some say it was a cane, others say it was a mic stand) in an apparent attempt to hit on the said "provocative" party.

She prayed for everyone.
(Courtesy of

Probably hearing the backlash from everyone castigating her for this incident that can be diplomatically described as "tasteless", Rama has since apologized to the Quizon family for her actions.

Knowing Rama, you know that isn't the end of it. (Her numerous libel cases will testify that words are her Waterloo.)

A news item at ABS-CBN News caught my eye regarding this brouhaha and her involvement in it.

(See for full story.)

What struck me the most was the ease that both parties invoked God into their motivations and actions.

"Sa lahat ng concern sa akin, ipinagdarasal ko kayo. Sa lahat naman ng mga komokontra, ipinagdarasal ko rin kayo na mabuksan isipan nyo..." (To those concerned for me, I prayed for you. To those who oppose me, I also prayed for you so your minds will be open.)

A cursory reading of this has a part that is glaring: God must be on Annabelle's side. A statement like hers is clearly meant to enforce the notion that she is on a path that is righteous, such that she expects her prayers to be answered positively. (No one goes into prayer hoping for a 'No', do they?)

It also has a veneer of compassion, the way zealots like to sarcastically say "I'll pray for you", but the real message being "You're a filthy sinner and you should get down on your knees and thank me that I am spreading news to save you!" In short, people who do this tactic are actually condescending while appearing compassionate.

And appearances matter a whole lot for a country like ours. Who cares if we blow out the college fund, we should feed our guests well during the town fiesta.

Not to be outdone is the reporter Annabelle is trading barbs with - blows if she wasn't physically stopped as shown in the video - who also made the following statement:

"No, hindi ko siya pinrovoke...mayroon siyang Eddie Gutierrez na matangkad, mayroon syang bodyguard na nandoon sa tabi niya. So how can I provoke, alam ng Panginoon yan." (No, I never provoked her...she has a tall Eddie Gutierrez and a bodyguard beside her. So how can I provoke, God knows that.)

Translation: my word is as good as gold, as solid as steel...I have the backing of God. To challenge my statement is to challenge God as my you dare?!?

Ever since a once-young actress remarked "God was with us" (I'm sure we all know who this is) when asked about her child out of wedlock, I have known from an early age how the name of God has been bandied around, sometimes innocently, sometimes quite forcefully, as being "behind" one's thoughts, words and actions, thereby giving the person saying this a free pass for most anything. To cast doubt on something approved by God would be heretical, right?

Just recently, impeached Chief Justice Corona authorized the holding of masses within the Supreme Court grounds - I am a non-lawyer but the word "unconstitutional" keep flashing before me - even getting media mileage for being deep in prayer with an equally controversial priest, the photo splashed all over the dailies and online. Read: I can't be on the wrong side, I'm a warrior for God and here's a cleric to lend ecclesiastical weight to that pride-less claim.

I guess God doesn't take sides then, since He is on everyone's side.

Excuse me while I go back to the real world, where I expect people to be personally responsible for their thoughts, words and actions.

It reeks to be a secularist in a country that thinks one's religion is a license to be free from criticism and debate, with a card that erroneously gives its bearer an inflated - and false - sense of moral superiority.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Finally Saw Those PBB Teens

That's time I won't be able to take back.

Remind me again why they're "heroes", according to one columnist.
(Courtesy of

All I could think of while they were describing their pairing off with one another:


As part of my fact-finding about Sen. Chiz Escudero on taking another career path by being the co-host of Kris Aquino in her morning show, I had the of beholding these teenagers who "fought" against one another for prizes in the millions of pesos by being the most "votable", sometime this week.

( is where I write about a senator's job probably being easy, thanks to Chiz and Bong showing us how to juggle their way through many hats.)

There were these twins (finalists for this season) that would make drag queen behavior passe.

There were the (predictably) pa-cute guys - not finalists - professing their "affection" for the girls who were finalists. (Can anyone say "hanging on those darned 15 minutes?")

And then the "big winner", Myrtle, who, when asked by Kris if she was really outspoken and had a strong personality, responded by nodding her head meekly and acted as if she was mute.

Do we have a Ministry of Time? I'd like to get back those wasted minutes, please.

And don't get me started on Sen. Escudero acting all kilig (gushy) around these teenagers.

I couldn't decide which car crash was worse.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Isn't Katie A Non-Entity?

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, that is.

Reminds one of Groucho Marx.
(Courtesy of

Even if you were the least bit interested in showbiz news, anyone who is wired and connected the way this generation has become to the online world cannot escape a recent buzz: the divorce of Katie Holmes from actor Tom Cruise, who is considered a "senior" member of the Church of Scientology, if what I heard on a news item was correct.

Speculations were rife (they still are, even though the Church has issued a denial) that the biggest reason for the separation was the belief system of Cruise. There is no official word from either of the divorcing parties, hence the free-wheeling speculations.

But now comes the news that Katie has "registered" (is that the right term) as a Catholic "again" (this was the religion of her childhood and she converted to Scientology, and apparently, now wants out).

I'm not a Catholic, so help me out here.

If you get a divorce, doesn't that make you non-existent in the eyes of the Catholic Church?

If you're not considered "existing", how does that same person get a membership?


Anyone at all?

A Twist To Drive Thru Service

Where the vendors are the ones who drive their trucks up to where people are and foodies get to sample different fares, while merchants get to keep their costs low. Or at least lower.

I first came across Off The Grid on Andrew Zimmern's show Bizarre Foods. He was in San Francisco (known for its counter-culture, er, culture) and I suppose that characteristic of the city makes it an ideal place for Off The Grid to take off.

I don't see why it can't work here. We do have lots of spaces that remain underutilized, or local city governments could designate areas to be blocked off to entice local food producers and chefs to come together to showcase their produce, wares and food discoveries. (All pictures from and more information can be found at

Currently, the "markets" I see are, yes, cross cultural - I came across Persian, French, regional Filipino, Thai and Mexican cuisines all under one roof - but the prices of the foods ensured that only members of certain economic classes could partake of them. (I don't know about you, but getting a slice of Moussaka for almost 300 Philippine Pesos is not something I would say is "consumer friendly", in the context of a public market setting.)

I wonder if any of our local city governments would consider the Off The Grid model.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We're Not Working Our Senators Hard Enough

Or they must think what they were voted to do is just a part time job.

Leading man in both movies and the Senate.
(Courtesy of

Sen. Bong Revilla hosts a weekly TV show and appears in various commercials for a university. And who can forget his role - "inherited" from his father, also a senator-actor - as Panday, which always rakes it in at the local film festival at year end?

I guess this clued Sen. Chiz Escudero into his current career track: aside from appearing in commercials for a meat product and also another school, I have seen him for about 2 weeks (purely by chance) now as a co-host for the morning talk show of presidential sister Kris Aquino. (Not sure if he's been hosting for two weeks straight or only on those particular days I chanced upon him.)

Your morning duo?
(Courtesy of

Maybe being a senator isn't that hard a job at all. That's what I got from the example these two senators are showing.

What's the saying about people not always believing what you say but always believing what you do?

It's probably just odd timing that elections are fast approaching.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Unpleasant Ayala Parking Experience

It's how you feel that will count, in the end.
(Courtesy of

Just when I thought Ayala Malls were my favorite among the concrete monoliths. (They have great use of spaces, they provide lush greenery, they make pathways and bridges that benefit not only them but the community surrounding them. In short, they make me hurl the least when I think of the word malls, which usually translates to "soul-lessness".)

I had an (extremely) early meeting at 615AM so I got up especially early. When I got to the Greenbelt parking area, I was surprised to see a line: apparently the automatic ticket dispenser was malfunctioning, and there was an attendant beside the machine issuing the cards on a manual basis.

I knew I was going to be late because of the delay. (I had to wait a good 5 to 7 minutes in line before I was able to get my ticket.) I thought it odd, that the card was now being issued manually, so they really didn't take note of the plate number, but in my haste to make it to my meeting, I pushed that thought aside.

Of course, it came back to bite me when I left the parking area.

A parking attendant was at the exit booth, who seemed to idolize Dona Victorina of Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, she had cheesy brown hued (colored) hair (that wasn't well done) and a heavily made up face long before the mall officially opened. She asked for my parking card and I gave it to her.

She kept swiping the card in her reader and (as I suspected) found no data.

She then said (our conversation was in the vernacular, but I will be posting it in English) "Sir, I have to verify your card."

I said, "OK."

She then proceeded to call a security guard, who was either deaf or had too much time on his hands, as he took his time coming over.

"Sir, just wait. We have to verify."


She started fidgeting with the card more...animatedly. She began taking note of the conduction sticker of the car.

"What time did you enter?"

"A little after 6AM."

More fidgeting. Some punching in her terminal happening, then she looks at me.

"Sir, we can't let the car pass because the card is blank."

"Yes, so what are going to do?"

"Well, the card is have to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle."

"Do you even know why it's empty?"

"Sir, we cannot let the car pass until you've proven..."

"Wait. What I asked you was, do you even know why the card is empty?"


"I'll tell you why. Your card dispenser is not working. There had to be a person manually giving out cards at the entrance. I was actually late for my early morning meeting because of that malfunction in your system."

"Yes, but you now have to produce your O.R. and C.R. and we have to take note of the information so that we are sure you are the owner of the car."

"Don't you ask that when the ticket is lost?"

"There is no data in the card."

That's exactly my point: that "problem" is yours, not mine. I've already experienced losing my ticket, it will take us another 30 minutes just for your security people to get my information, writing on a large sheet of paper, asking me to pay 200 pesos, and generally being made to feel like a criminal who attempted to steal a car. I did not lose my ticket, what I am looking for now is an acknowledgement that YOU are causing me this inconvenience. You keep harping on your point that I have to prove, I have to prove, while conveniently ignoring the fact that because of the card dispenser failing, we are now having this problem."

"But we still need proof that you are..."

At this point, the security guard she called was there, and was listening to our last exchange, and he held his hand up to the attendant's face and said "Just take note of the conduction sticker. He was able to produce the parking card, let the vehicle pass."

The attendant pouted, and said in a loud voice, bereft of any feeling of remorse for causing that much brouhaha, "I'm SOOOORY, Sir. You felt harrassed."

I was made to feel like I did a criminal act, and that's what sticks out the most.

I opted not to prolong the discussion as I was late for my next appointment. (It was akin to a customer purchasing a pair of jeans, and the store ran out of their paper bags, so the customer has to carry the bought item by hand, and when she gets to the exit, she is asked to prove that she really bought the pair of jeans.)

Thanks to the Dona Victorina wannabe, I have another tale to tell.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"It's Time People Know What We've Done."

That is how Cynthia Villar justified her numerous advertisements on television, showcasing the achievements of the Villar Foundation.

FYI, she says.
(Courtesy of

On this morning's episode of Head Start with Karen Davila on ANC, Villar was asked a question sent online: "Is your ad early campaigning?"

She replied, "The ad is about Villar Foundation which has existed for 20 years. It's time people know what we've done."

Some questions:

(1) In your view, is this the end goal of all charities, so people may know "what we've done"?
(2) Why didn't you answer with a yes or no? Seemed like a direct question.
(3) Why should it matter if people know what "good works" you've done? 
(4) Are you saying no one is capable of doing charity without publicity as the end goal?
(5) What does that say about humanity and altruism?
(6) How much did an ad cost?
(7) Wouldn't the amount spent on TV advertisements so "people know" what you've done been put to much better use in actual projects that benefit the communities you supposedly "serve"?
(8) Shouldn't you wait for people to "recognize" your deeds and not push it in our faces?
(9) Isn't 2013 an election year for senators?
(10) Yes or no: Are you running for senator on 2013? No "justifications", please. Just yes or no.

I don't know about you, but the moment Villar said what the title of this post says, I felt incredibly insulted. And looking at the ANC thread where this was discussed, everyone else did, also.

We really should also discuss Escudero advertising for a school and some meat products, as well. But, for now, I would love to hear Villar's responses to these questions.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Is That What 'Baby Bump' Means?

An incident this morning prompted me to write a status update in Facebook, and when I checked my account again, I got a comment from my friend Chris asking me if may pinaghuhugutan (I am drawing this from something specific). I was also surprised to see people liking the post because I was sure what I wrote was a shoo-in for the Anti-Social pile so I was (pleasantly) surprised.

Don't be fooled: This is a weapon.
(Cortesy of

The particular incident: I was walking back to our building when a car pulls up the driveway and unloads a mom with a baby in her arms, as well as three other (older) children and two maids. Now, the walkway in our building isn't a particularly large one (like most walkways in this country) but four people could walk side by side, just to give you an idea of the width.

She proceeds to dump their bags, a stroller and various boxes, and takes up about 90% of the walkway width. Her chidren are running around, up and down the walkway into the car driveway, with the maids running after them. Her baby is on her right arm, and with her other arm outstretched, she begins giving "commands" to the maids (barely listening to her lest the children get run over by passing cars on the driveway) as to where the things go.

The building residents had to "squeeze through" the remaining 10% width space because she seemed oblivious to the blockage her things caused. Bad enough that she had no sense of decency to at least place her things on one side of the walkway and acted like it was her property.

But you know there's more.

I proceeded to the lobby to catch the lift. For a mid-morning, I was surprised that I was the only one waiting for the elevator on a weekend. (Maybe everyone had an early start?) I pressed the Up button and waited in front of the car that was going down the fastest. Already, I could hear the mom's footsteps and braced myself for the loud cries of an infant. One of her maids was bringing her other things (a large bag and a plastic bag) so she only had the infant in her arms.

I suddenly felt something bump the back of my head, first from the back of my head to the side, and then from the side to the back again: it was her baby's head.

Yes, a baby's head. In her attempt to give last minute instructions to her help, she flung the infant to and fro, making contact with my head, which, expectedly, caused the baby to let out a cry.

She had to stand beside me in an empty lobby. Not content with blocking the walkway, she now wants to invade my personal space. Not content with that, she tried to get more space by using her baby's head as a weapon.

I'm sure no one is holding their breath for an apology. That's the thing: I'm not most people.

I turned to her, and said "Excuse me?" and gave her a look that suggested that she was a cannibal who feasted on human babies. It was "only then" that she realized that she was standing too close to me, she said sorry in a volume that not even a cat could hear, and "attempted" to move a few inches away from me. Emphasis on "attempted" because she was really just making an empty gesture, pakitang tao (for show) as we say in the vernacular, as if to say, "There! I moved! Will that shut you up?"

Since when did having babies and children become the free pass to act obnoxious, devoid of manners and bereft of respect for other people's space?

News flash: You're not pregnant anymore. You can't use your mood swings, your extra weight, the swollen toes, and everything else that comes with pregnancies as your free card for priority. And I know many women who are pregnant and who also manage to keep their manners intact - if anything, they apologize too much for being a "bother" to other people - so I can't think of a reason why someone who willfully decides to bring her child out for whatever reason should be given some kind of "royal treatment", that they can block entire walkways and bump people from behind and think they should have some perverted license to do so.

My work takes me to the malls often, and I have seen women using their baby strollers as battering rams to get a better slot in lines or to block people's right of way - probably thinking that having babies is the ultimate trump card. And what gets me everytime is the sense of entitlement they assume - if they "happen" to run their stroller straight over someone else's toes, you'd be lucky to get an apology: they have a look that says don't bother challenging me, I'm with child.

If you can't practice etiquette where your own body and space are concerned, what right do you have being responsible for another human being, imposing on her or him your sense of right and wrong, one that is clearly out of whack?

If you do not have enough decency to practice good manners where others are present, what makes you think you are fit to coach a child on how to go about the world?

If you think you are somehow "entitled" to be rude just because you happen to lug around your offspring, what business do you have teaching them to be the best they can be when you are the epitome of expecting things for doing nothing?

Being a parent doesn't give you the license to be a d*ck or b*tch. I said it in my Facebook status, and I'll say it again: What you have is a child, not a lobotomy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Riding on Bayo's Remains

That's how I see the recent ad of Belo.

In the vernacular, nakisakay.
(Courtesy of

What leads me to say that is, if there's anything that can describe "celebrity" doctor Vicky Belo, it's that she is media-savvy: she has cornered the entertainment market (being associated with local celebrities and even showing up in entertainment programs) and parlayed their star power into business success. 

It makes it, therefore, incredulous if she will claim not to have known about the recent brouhaha that clothing company Bayo has figured in with their "percentage" ads. Someone who has her ear to the ground where popular culture is concerned, who makes it a point to be in the spotlight as much as she can - both professionally and personally - will not be credible if she says she knows squat about the recent "racist" controversy by that ad campaign.

The only conclusion I have is that she is in fact building on and stoking the controversy wave produced by Bayo. The Belo Men ad doesn't even bother hiding its homage with the placement of a percentage figure in a prominent spot. As we say in our native language, nakikisakay. (Riding on the coattails) 

And somehow, basing on how Belo has projected herself, it makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If Anderson Had Said "I'm Straight"

I hear scores of straight women mourning.
(Courtesy of

There wouldn't be the online buzz that has now been unleashed by what Anderson actually admitted, what many are saying is an "open secret, anyway."

But it can now be officially said.

Anderson Cooper, CNN reporter and talk show host, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, generally acknowledged as a "looker" who happens to be darned good at what he does, has come out. Finally. With those three words, he has inched the civil rights movement forward:

I am gay.

Just as when Obama finally clinched the presidency (and will hopefully do it again this year), it mattered much more to African Americans, because it is a concrete, real, and tangible demonstration that finally, after all this time, they can now claim that their color is no longer a hindrance to doing anything. Those who know how it is truly like to be judged on the basis of skin color - on an everyday basis - consider Obama's victory symbolic, poetic and powerful.

And when Anderson Cooper finally came out, I heard and read both straight and gay people commenting "as if we didn't know" and "does it really matter?"

Well, does it matter?

Here is where I am coming from.

As someone who has been told that I am evil, that I will amount to nothing worthwhile, that I am "making (my) life difficult", who has been told that I am not worthy to be loved by either God or fellow humans, that I am "choosing to sin" (as if people "chose" to be straight), and that by reaffirming who I am and refusing to cave in to demands that I be "normal", I will be causing the downfall of so-called "traditional values", who has been exposed to absurd portrayals in popular media as fully made-up losers in women's clothing as the only way to "be", and closed off to various job opportunities because I do not make an attempt to hide who I am.

Let me tell you what I think of what Anderson said means.

It matters to me.

It's the reason I prefaced this in my post title: it is an act of courage for Anderson, and those who have reached the career heights that Anderson has, to come out while they are at the top of their game. Saying those three seemingly little, short words carries with it a host, nay, a multitude of questions and fears, and these are concerns that straight people never have to wrestle and contend with by virtue of being the sexual majority.

Will I lose my job over this?

Will people look down on me?

Will I lose my inheritance?

Will straight relatives petition me as "undeserving" of any inheritance rights?

Why can't I stay with my partner of 25 years in the hospital while he is being treated, but his brother who is homophobic, hates him and beat him up, gets to decide on the questions about life-and-death?

What will my friends say behind my back?

Will I still have friends?

What happens to all the legal benefits I have?

Why don't I have the same rights as my heterosexual counterparts?

Will I stunt my own promotion with this admission?

Will somebody beat me up for "failing" to live up to their "religious standard"?

Am I counting the days until someone murders me in the name of their deity?

And among these and other questions, I find this to be at the core of all these:

Can you love me and accept me for who I truly am?

None of these scenarios ever play out in one's mind when a person has to go through the painless admission of saying "I'm straight!"

So let me make it clear, why I seem to be making "a big deal" over what Anderson Cooper has just verbalized, admitted and come out in the open with, on behalf of every gay person who wondered if their family would still love them, if they can ever find love in this life, worried over work and health benefits, and especially on behalf of every gay kid who was bullied, ridiculed, called names and even murdered for being "different", I will state it in unflinchingly clear terms:

It Matters To Me.