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Monday, November 26, 2012

Lazy Parenting 101

No time to explain, okay?
(Courtesy of

Having had to work on a Sunday, I decided to have coffee at the mall's Food Court before logging in for work. I got to the area smack in the middle of lunch time, and given the particular day of the week, it was filled with families doing their weekly ritual of having a meal, most probably after attending some form of church service.

I should probably qualify that as traditional families, which can be explained by what happened next.

Given the space limitations, I decided to bring myself (and my caffeine fix) to one of the "stool" areas, designed with "singles" in mind, meaning if you were all alone going to the food court: high table, high chairs, arranged loosely. From a management point of view, it was desirable to have this set up, rather than having one person occupy a "regular" table that could seat 4 or 6 people.

There I was, happily buzzed with my coffee, along with many other "singles", when we all heard a boy of about 8 years old asking his mom "why are they all alone?" and obviously referring to us on the high chairs.

The mom, probably not past 40, took a quick glance, and told him "that's because they have no families, and are probably single...kain na, Nico. You still have lumpia on your plate."

Nico remained fixated on us, probably feeling pity as to why we would have "no families".

I rationalized the mom's answer as the easy way out. It's probably easier than explaining to her son some facts of life, many of which I refuse to consider as "modern", because they have existed long before I was born, and are probably just being discussed more openly now.

(1) Some people are single, by choice. It's not easy to live that out, especially in a culture as family-oriented as ours, where everyone is expected to settle down, have kids, and be a picture perfect representation of the ideal pamilyang Pilipino.

(2) Some people have to work on weekends. Not everyone has a nine to five job.

(3) Some people do not feel the need to follow the "Sunday ritual", especially if it is one put on for show, when the rest of the week, everyone in that family acts crappily towards each other. Or if a family isn't particularly religious, then Sunday would just be another day. Period.

(4) Some people prefer to rest - and I mean nakatihaya all day - on the weekends, and if someone from the same family didn't feel the same way, then they could just go out and go to a movie, eat out, or see friends on their own. Shocking, yes, but people can actually decide freely what to do on their spare time without feeling like they have "betrayed" their own flesh and blood.

(5) Some people have a different family structure - e.g. non-traditional, both in form and substance. It may be three siblings, living apart, because both parents have passed away. Some people have friends and friendships, non blood relations, that would put those affiliated by marriage to shame by their devotion and affection to each other. Some people have a husband or wife, but without legal recognition of being declared as one.

I feel bad for Nico, who may grow up thinking there's only one way to be and have a family.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In Daddy And Mommy's Name

I'll tell! Momeeeeee!
(Courtesy of

Passing by Landmark Department Store the other day on the way to work, I decided to buy some supplies from their grocery, and had a deja vu of an acquaintance who had a "scene" right where I was.

Apparently, his mom had been a loyal customer of Landmark, so much so that she had some kind of credit account with the grocery, that she would be able to purchase items, and not pay a single cent at the checkout counter because the bill would be sent to their house (just like a credit card statement).

My acquaintance, the son, found himself having to shop there one day (at almost 40, still living with his mom, which explains why he had to do her bidding and had no choice in the matter). He forgot his mom's grocery card, so when he went to the counter, he relayed to the counter girl that his mom had a standing account and that he didn't bring the card, expecting fully that he could leave the store without paying a cent.

The employee, thinking only of job security, did not accept that explanation and required that he show his identification as well as that of his mom, in order to corroborate his claim of being the son and so she could check the so-called arrangement his mom had with the store.

"Excuse me! Don't you know who my mom is?!? Na-bale wala lang ang years of loyalty namin dito! How dare you treat me this way! Nasaan ang manager?!? Tawagin mo! I've never been treated this disrespectfully, ever!!!"

I was stunned (to say the least) while this acquaintance was relaying his story, for the following reasons:

(1) The cashier didn't know him from Juan dela Cruz.
(2) The cashier probably didn't know his mother, by the same reasoning.
(3) He was just a "regular" customer, as far as she was concerned.
(4) She subjected him to the same protocol as she would any other customer.

And even if all these reasons were rendered null, the biggest reason in my mind was:

(5) You are not your mom. Why are you expecting to be treated as if you were her?

Of course, I never voiced this out - why should I, when I can transform it into another post?

It's the misplaced sense of entitlement, by some osmosis, or principle of transference, that grates on my nerves. So just because your mom was a "loyal shopper", it follows that you are? And you be accorded the same "treatment"? Whatever happened to being your own person? Have you no identity apart from your mother?

It then dawned on me that this is exactly how our political dynasties come to be: the same misplaced sense of entitlement. My dad was a congressman, therefore, I should be voted as one as well, after his term expires! How dare you question my qualifications?!?...(altogether now) Don't you know who my dad is?!?

I used to think that the supermarket incident was isolated. Not anymore. And like that acquaintance, it seems to be an affliction of those who belong to the upper economic class. Or those who wield political power.

Until today, I have yet to hear anyone outside those "classes" bellowing "Don't you know who my father is?!?"

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Scanning my Facebook Wall, I am seeing tons of posts about Thanksgiving, which is not at all surprising, since it is that time of the year, for the USA. Can I repeat that, for the USA.

Count us in?
(Courtesy of

Which is why I was stunned to pass by a local restaurant that was celebrating the patently American holiday. I'm also receiving many offers online and through my email that American style turkey is being sold, available in time for the "holidays".

I had to check to see if I was still in the Philippines. I don't get it: why the need to ingratiate ourselves into a holiday for the USA?

I know, I know. There's nothing wrong with being thankful. Heck, I'm thankful everyday, for so many things, I can't even begin listing them all here lest I bore you into a comatose position. But it's the fact that those who do it here time it exactly when America celebrates it. So, obviously, there is this attempt to include ourselves in their holiday.

Do most Filipinos even know the term 'Plymouth'? More importantly, do we care? Or is this just another attempt by marketers to squeeze every last inch of holiday moolah from consumers, whether or not we know what it is we're celebrating?

See, our grasp on our "national identity" is tenuous, at best. We've all learned from our Social Studies classes how many times we've been colonized, to the point that we always seem to be the odd man out in Asia, so different from our neighbors. Long after all our colonizers have left, here we are, pining to place roasted turkey on our table, come November, when a majority of us would never know a Pilgrim if one passed right by us.

And before you start commenting, "there he goes again, yammering on about something insignificant, something most people won't care about" I know one sector that will rejoice at the point of this post, proving that they have made the right decision, they are doing the right thing, in a country with a psyche and predisposition like ours:

Manufacturers of skin whitening products.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Delay And Decay

That, in a nutshell, is what some legislators wish for the Reproductive Health Bill.

Not so incidentally, the title of my post is what some netizens are calling Senators Enrile and Sotto, two of the most powerful men in the Senate (Senate President and Majority Floor Leader), who see eye to eye as far as the bill is concerned.

Round and round and round...
(Courtesy of

It may be time to impress upon these two men, as well as all our legislators, that we have had enough. And by we, I mean both sides of the RH debate, colloquially called the Pros and the Antis. One look at any online forum with the RH Bill as the topic will betray a singular fact, one perpetuated by the inaction of Congress, which is in a similar position: We have been going around in circles.

The Pros have repeated the same defense: it is a reproductive health issue, a free choice with no coercion, it respects the individual's right to choose according to their religion, it is a universal human right, you can choose to plan your family the modern or natural way, we do not have unlimited resources, the various rates concerning maternal and infant mortality would give anyone pause, female empowerment in a culture like ours, it will not prevent women with no financial resources to make the same choices as those who "can afford", and so on.

The Antis have repeated the same defense: it is an affront to life, artificial contraception is tantamount to abortion, it is coercive, it will force families to have fewer children, it is against religious rights, it is disrespectful to (the Catholic) faith, it negates the importance of what the (Catholic) religious leaders say and demand of its followers, there is no such thing as overpopulation, it is a conspiracy from well funded foreign lobby groups to make us their slaves, and so on.

Paulit ulit nalang.

Yun at yun nalang.

Lumampas na tayo sa isang dekada sa kakahimay ng isyu na to.

Many of us, when the debate started, were still in elementary, or high school. Today, at the twilight of the year 2012, my contemporaries are juggling the demands of making ends meet, whether to have both parents working, while trying to send their child or children to the best schools they possibly can.

We have already moved on to the next generation, a generation that is already approaching their 20's (I was so thrown when one of my best friends told me that her son is off to take a scholarship grant for his master's degree, and I froze on the spot thinking, Gaaaaad, I'm OLD).

We have wasted so much time debating endlessly, that while we were all bickering, the next generation is already here, and some of them have unplanned pregnancies to deal with already.

It is time to put this matter to some form of conclusion, at the very least.

Whether you are for or against the measure, vote on it already. The time that we have consumed with so much non-productivity with this issue is such that Enrile is now fielding his son for the next senatorial elections. Do we even need clearer proof of how much time has passed by, with there being no end in sight?

Akala ko ba paglilingkod sa bayan ang ginagawa niyo sa Kongreso?

Only you, members of Congress, will have the force of law to place a finite point on it.

Yes, it will have repercussions to your political mortality, that is definitely true. So even if expediency and longevity are the only words you subscribe to when you hear the term "public service", it is in your best interest - the selfish variety - to vote on the measure. Recognize that I am not appealing to any lofty concept like the common good, public interest, welfare of women and children, doing the right thing.

Having lived this long, I know these are not the terms that you will respond to as legislators.

But I am certain that once your future in your current position will be compromised, we will have your undivided attention.

This is not a threat, but a wake up call to reality. We will vote based on your action or inaction on this much debated measure.

Vote on the RH Bill. It does not matter which side of the matter you have aligned yourself with, but for goodness' sake, MAKE A STAND. For or Against. No more games, delays, legalistic maneuvers or subterfuge.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Not My Slice Of Pie(ty)

There seems to be a growing trend for keeping your tongue in check (especially if you plan to say something tongue in cheek), in being more circumspect about comments, and in holding back.

Easy peasy? Not quite.
(Courtesy of

I'm not buying it.

A particular episode in Sex and the City tackles this briefly, in an exchange between the lead character Carrie and her (gay) friend Stanford. The subject of judging others comes up, and Carrie is incredulous when Stanford points out the times that she was caught doing it.

"Judge? Judge? Do I judge?"

"Yes, we judge. Some people do arts and crafts, we judge."

The local version which I hear quite often is the line "sobra naman to, napaka-judgemental". The funny thing is, that in itself is a form of judgement, of trying to say "you're just as dirty as the rest of us".

Look, we all judge. It may be ingrained in our DNA, it may be something we have processed as a matter of evolving, as some kind of "warning system", because our very mortality depended on making a correct assessment. On top of that, it's practically impossible to stop doing it.

How many times have we dismissed someone we were just introduced to, simply because they didn't dress to your standard? Why would the beauty and cosmetics industry be worth billions if image is something to be considered as "fluff"? Granted, these can be argued as "shallow" reasons, but a study done by two people I know personally - which won them the best thesis in UP, beating graduate level research - ties this "judging" with work opportunities: given more or less the same credentials, the candidate perceived to be more attractive would be the overwhelming choice for the job.

What baffles me, however, is when it is the pious elements of our society (which almost always happen to be of some religious sect) that will stoop to the "that's so judgemental" defense...I mean, really? Seriously?

Why should they act so surprised when "everyone else" starts to chime in when these characters start their fall from (pious) grace?

Who was it that paraded their piety credentials, waving it like some badge of pride?

Who was it who said, implied or announced, to one and all, what a virtuous life they led?

Who was it who continued judging everyone else as "dirty", "sinful", "immoral", "unclean" and other words deemed unprintable, giving the impression that they alone had the matter of ethical conduct concluded, with a deity listening to their every word?

If you can afford to rub in our faces how "proper" and "moral" you are even when no one was asking or needed to know, then you should be able to take it whenever you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar, or literally having your belt around your ankles.

So stop the faux gasp, the horrified expression when someone "judges", it seems to me as human an activity as one can do. Stop acting like a reality television star, begging for attention, but when the sh*t hits the fan, expect everyone to turn away and mind their own business.

You gave up that luxury the moment you tried to force your version of morality down everyone's throats, which, similarly, is another form of judgement, of saying that everyone would be lost without your supposed guidance.

So I think Stanford's statement should be tweaked: Some people do arts and crafts, but everyone judges.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Planning For A Planner

(Courtesy of

Yes, it is that time of the year: when people of a certain economic class (or want to be perceived as being a member of it) start ordering drinks from their favorite coffee house, all in pursuit of a daily planner.

Truth be told, I tried it once (and was actually successful in obtaining one using the drink-64-orders method), and my lame-ass excuse was because while I did not smoke, my work colleague who I was constantly with did and because we both love coffee and he had to smoke, we would hang out at Starbucks which would satisfy everyone, and get a free planner, to boot.

I really shouldn't be saying "free" because (1) not even water is free and (2) have you sat down and tried to compute what it would actually cost to get the "free" planner? (The miser in me never looked back once I did the math.)

A disclaimer, first: I am not an enemy of capitalism. I think this is a shining example of creating a need where none existed before, it taps into a human need, both for tradition and inclusion, and it is most certainly legal while earning big revenues for the coffee companies.

My biggest disclaimer has to do with economic status: if you can afford it, then by good golly, go right ahead. Do not apologize for your financial success or capability (though this shouldn't apply to those who just "inherited" their money), splurge on it, the same way I don't mind people placing odd sounding chemicals on their faces or getting "cut up" in an attempt to look younger. It's your life, your body.

But the stingy part of me always raises the alarm, especially for those who are "wannabes": do you need to pay thousands of pesos for a planner, and gaining truckloads of calories in the process? (Not to mention sleepless nights with that much caffeine running in your bloodstream)

I'm talking about the people who need to go to Starbucks and other similar coffee houses because it's cool to be seen in these places, as far as perception goes.

If the defense is "bakit? masama ba mangarap?" then the answer is an unequivocal "no". Everyone is trucking along hoping to get a better future, and if you've somehow managed to do so, tastes do change. But not if you're not there yet. I know someone personally who tries to keep up with her amigas by shelling out hundreds of pesos on a drink and some desserts but actually has a problem with the amortization of her home, and needing to utang just to get a ride home.

It's people like her that seem so easily lured into the "planner mentality": I have to get it to maintain my (illusory) social status.

It's been my observation (unscientific, but there it is) that we seem to be obsessed with appearances, and not substance. As long as the guests are well-fed, who cares if we blow out the monthly budget.

We have actors and singers who can't act nor sing, but because they have washboard abs that can grate cheese or breasts that would make watermelons blush, they get the contract.

No one should know that we are in debt, so we have to keep making extravagant renovations on our house, which can be taken away any time now.

There is a preoccupation with seeming, instead of being.

Of seeming well off, instead of being financially secure.

Of seeming glamorous, instead of being happy.

Of seeming to prefer aspiration, instead of being authentic.

There is, of course, that cultural value of hiya, or shame, one we share with our other Asian neighbors. The loss of face, the gossips that might result, the judgmental stares - something that social scientists have recorded and dissected. And while it can sometimes be useful as a pseudo-warning device for propriety, I can't help but wish that there more substantial, more meaningful things to be ashamed for, and of.

Besides, where a planner is from is nowhere as important as what's inside it.

So, maybe it would be a nice question to ask, once you get the snazzy looking date book:

What, now?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Will Always Be Fashionable

The recent events of the past few months surrounding the "main players" around the Reproductive Health Bill - which is currently congregating around the letter of someone bearing the name of America's version of royalty to one of our own legislators - have made one thing patently clear.

Always hip.
(Courtesy of

Some things will never go out of style.

Honesty. The ability to say, bask in and propagate the truth.

Integrity. Being able to live with yourself, to sleep soundly at night, knowing that while life demands you compromise some things, you do not compromise what makes you you.

Giving credit where it's due. It's fun to watch reality show stars sulot everything in sight, and this happens rather often in the competitive workplace (meaning in every job imaginable), but it's never the right thing to do. It's alright to feel envious that someone beat you to it - it should be your cue to do something better or different, but not to steal it and pass it off as yours. It goes back to honesty.

Age does not necessarily mean wisdom. It may just mean you've had a lot of experience - of twisting the law to your own ends, mastering the art of delaying legislation by claiming "I'm not ready pa, huwag niyo ako madaliin", elevating the obnoxiously disgusting into a dubious art. It also means that sometimes, the wisest or best things and ideas may come from those who are termed "fresh blood" derogatorily, as if it was the worst thing to be labeled as.

Morality cannot be separated from the person. Even though they claim to stand for an organization, a group - or a religion. This is something I have given some thought to, this propensity of these so-called "leaders of the flock" to resort to cheating, outright lying, threats, deception, the list goes on. My only conclusion is they were that way long before they were peddling the idea that they were some sort of "moral arbiter" representing the so-called values that we "should" all abide by.

Tolerance and acceptance. Even though someone may have a different view than yours - in politics, religion, social graces or anything else. We should move past "tolerating", which translates rather nicely into tinitiis in the vernacular, clearly not conveying a positive state, more like a punishment to be endured. While the opposite term, translated as pagtanggap, implies an opening up of oneself and bringing the other into the fold.

It's time for all of us to be stylish, with concepts that will never grow old.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Congress Has New Jobs, Philippines!

Calling all plagiarists, copycats and like-minded citizens: Good News!

Yes, you are wanted.
(Courtesy of

There is now a haven for members of the populace incapable of thinking for themselves!

If you spent your time in school resorting to cheating off a seatmate's paper, poring over term papers a decade ago to pass off as your own "research", mumbling your way through during recitation and when asked to enunciate better, end up saying "what she said", you may just be what Congress is looking for!

A place where copying is not only seen as "not illegal", it is encouraged and even defended!

This is especially victorious "bragging rights" news to those of you who were shamed, ridiculed, pinagsabihan ng titser, or even expelled by your teachers for deigning to take someone else's work and passing it off as your own, in order to pass a subject or course!

Nek nek niyo, mali kayong lahat!

As we all should be aware of by now, our lawmakers actually celebrate copying!


Remember, our own Senate President has stated that legislators have immunity and "cannot be questioned".


Happy day for all job seekers! If you have the qualifications, do send in your resume, show up at Congress, and chances are, you will leave with a job in the bag! It's your chance to give the _________ finger at all those goody-two shoes who made your life unbearable, berating you with concepts like "dishonesty" and "taking credit", as well as trying to impose funny sounding phrases like "unquestionable integrity" or "taking pride in your own words and work".

They can all suck it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Ten Commandments For Plagiarists

I'd like to take an ethics class under him.
(Courtesy of

1. Laugh. Portray the accusation as a vendetta, poo-pooh it by saying things like "they're just jealous of me". Make it seem insignificant, the way diarrhea can be.

2. Act imperious, and do it with conviction, as if you are coming from a place of moral certainty: remember, you're only acting.

3. Utilize the Bart Simpson defense/tactic: No one saw me do it, you can't prove it, you can't be blamed. In short, channel your inner belligerent kid. Unless you are the belligerent kid, in which case you only have to be more of yourself.

4. Denial should be part of your DNA, a mantra to be applied daily. Like moisturizer.

5. Have a lackey who you can blame: "tinext lang naman sa akin eh!" or "blame my staff!" are popular catch-all lines that absolve you of any responsibility.

6. Portray all internet users as no-good, shiftless and aimless morons, who, surprisingly, are adept at fact checking (insert audible gasp here) and for calling out your BS, but despite this, find time to make you the center of their world.

7. Push for legislation that will punish people for saying what's on their mind. So, freedom of speech will be impaired. A basic democratic tenet will be rendered useless. It will gag people, most especially the truth-tellers. WHO CARES. As long as they all shut up, which is what you wanted, everyone can suck it, right?

8. Remember, if you translate something, it becomes original. Better if you translate it from English to Tagalog. It will soon be a college degree: B.S. And no, not Bachelor of Science. The other meaning of B.S.

9. Petition for all schools to remove plagiarism as an academic offense: why should anyone demand students to have integrity in their work? What conceivable purpose does "giving someone proper credit" do? Will you be rewarded for being "honest"? Kailangan ba lahat orig? As long as something isn't declared "illegal", game lang yan!

10. Run for any legislative post. You decide what passes for legal, you have "parliamentary immunity", you can make bombastic speeches all day long uninterrupted - who cares if they are devoid of any thought, original or otherwise - and most importantly, you are called "honorable".

Sweet deal, huh?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't Force Your Niqab On Us, CBCP

It's supposed to be a personal choice.
(Courtesy of

Did you hear about the woman in Egypt who was assaulted and whose hair was forcibly cut?

On Sunday, a Christian woman had her hairstyle forcibly changed by two women in Egypt (who happened to be wearing niqabs), in an apparent attempt to instill the notion that ALL Egyptian women should be wearing the niqab when in public.

(See for more details.)

The niqab is the veil or face covering that Islam requires of its' female members to wear in certain instances. (Not to be confused with the burka.)

The Christian woman was called an "infidel", and was pushed off the train (they were in the metro/train station) which broke her arm.

It brought to my mind what the CBCP is doing in our own country.

Specifically, with the RH Bill.

You see, the niqab wearing women confused their religious choice as being the standard to follow for all of Egypt - it has been established that the woman they assaulted was a Christian, but that didn't matter one whit to them: all they can think of was, if you are a woman in Egypt, you should wear a niqab.

Similarly, our bishops are confusing the entire Philippines as being Catholic.

They don't seem to care that under our form of government, a democracy that is secular in nature, anyone is free to choose their religion. It means you can choose to be a Catholic. It also means you can choose to be a non-Catholic, however that fact is manifested (one chooses another religion or no religion at all).

Once these facts are clearly established, it becomes incomprehensible why the CBCP is so adamant in insisting that their view on the RH Bill - particularly as to which forms of contraception they deem "acceptable" and "moral" - is the only "way to go".

I think it's because they have gotten away with it for so long, this "unchallenged" position that they have occupied in this country as the religious majority.

They don't care that this country has a sizable religious minority. They make threats - both veiled and obvious - to our lawmakers regarding their political mortality if they will approve of the RH Bill. The lawmakers who are against the bill have reasons like "it is against our faith", clearly a statement of intolerance, one that presumes and assumes that we have a uniform faith and a singular religion.

Being the religious majority does not give you the right to run roughshod over everyone else, the way these two Islamic women in Egypt broke the arm of the Christian woman.

Being the religious majority does not give you the right to assault our beliefs or non-belief as "immoral", the way these two Islamic women in Egypt thought of the Christian woman for not wearing a niqab..

Being the religious majority does not give you the right to change the laws in this land to suit your taste, the way these two Islamic women in Egypt tried to change the Christian woman's hairstyle.

Don't force your niqab on us.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Last Concert Ticket Cost PhP 700

So, you can just imagine how stunned I was to hear that for the one-night-only concert of singer, dancer and actress (and some time American Idol judge) Jennifer Lopez in Manila, it would cost at least PhP 2,590.00 (roughly $61) just to get in the door - the General Admission price.

She must be worth it - the VIP seats are sold out.
(Courtesy of

I actually saw the ad on TV and I had to blink a few times to check if I was seeing correctly: prime seats to her concert (VIP) would put you out by PhP 25,840.00! That's more than $600! (I initially posted this in my Facebook status, and I was heartened to hear that even for people in the USA, they found the price outrageous.) And when I checked a website to see the prices (I like to research first before I post anything on my blog), I was even more stunned to see that this section was already Sold Out.

Are you sure we should still classify ourselves a Third World country?

For a complete listing of prices, here is the poster I found from the Philippine Concerts website.

My reaction to the prices: Wow.
(Courtesy of

As my post title suggests, it must have been quite some time from the last concert that I attended. I remember feeling quite guilty for spending PhP 750 on a concert, something my mom would call a "waste of money" especially if you could just purchase it online. (Of course, when she said that, we still had casette tapes. Look it up, kids.)

If you have the money to burn - the 25k seats being sold out indicates there are people who can - I will say the same thing I say to people who get face lifts: more power to you, I hope it gives you some measure of satisfaction. 

I have to say it again: Wow for a 25k ticket.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Satan Has A Taxi Company

I had the distinct (dis)pleasure of being driven around by one in the employ of The Nasty One the other day.  In hindsight, I realize now my own mortality could have easily been compromised, and it's only now that I can look back at it with humor (with a little chill still coursing through my lumbar spine.)

Can I get out of this
(Courtesy of

With the excitement of moving into our new place (which explains why I haven't been blogging for quite some time, owing to precoccupation with moving concerns) comes the pain of the logistical nightmares of cutting up telephone and cable accounts, cleaning up our old digs, and settling of unfinished business. Let's face it: Moving is a pain in the ass.

Coupled with the fact that I just suffered a nasty sprain over the weekend when we started our moving out process (which gave rise to other conditions) and I was pumped and primed for a blowout soon enough. Luckily, the taxi driver from a fiery place gave me the release I needed.

I was scheduled to meet Sky Cable technicians in our old place to supervise their disconnection of our cable line, so I tried to flag a cab from our new place. Seeing my "invalid" status (I had a noticeable limp), the security guard stationed in our entrance assisted me and brought forth what I would later call the chariot of death.

As I got in the cab, I realized that I had whole thousand bills only and so I told the driver to take me to our old place: "Manong, paki derecho lang sa Yakal Street, may ATM diyan, wiwithdraw ako, buo kasi pera ko, para mabayaran kita."

Driving Demon squints and strains his eyes forward, and seeing a line of cars further ahead, he turns to me (at 9 in the morning) and goes: "Ano ka, hilo?!? Nakita mo ba ang trapik banda roon? Eh, diba sa Dela Rosa naman ang punta mo?!? Kakaliwa na ako dito!"

I was speechless - and it's something that doesn't happen very often. I asked nicely, the detour was so I could pay him without a mad dash for panukli, and having lived in Makati a good number of years, the "trapik" he was so aghast over was nothing, really. I started pulling out all the loose change I could find - actually more coins than loose bills - to pay for the ride.

As I felt the throbbing pain in my foot, I decided to concentrate all my energies into (1) not saying a word and (2) focus on not screaming in pain. Which, of course, was his cue to make himself a target for my barely contained indignation.

"O...san na ba tayo dadaan? Pwede na ba dito? Pwede ba sa kabila?"

I turned into a camel whose back was just broken by an idiotic blowhard. I looked at him and said, "akala ko ba alam mo ang daan? Eh, diba ayaw mo nga dumaan sa gusto ko, kumaliwa ka na lang bigla, tapos ngayon, tatanong ka sa akin kung san dadaan?!?"

DD: "Teka..teka...bakit ba bigla ka nalang magagalit sakin, HA?!?"

Me: "Nakuha mo pang itanong kung bakit?!? Sinabi ko sa iyo na kailangan ko dumaan sa ATM para sa bayad mo, ayaw mo gawin, kesyo alam mo kung saan ka dadaan, tapos di mo pa alam...tapos tatanungin mo ako bakit ako magagalit?"

DD: "Hooooooy! Ano ka, sinuswerte?!? Ano kala mo sa akin, i-SLAVE mo?!? Ang trabaho ko, taxi drayber! Dadalhin kita sa kung saan ka papunta, pero di ako alipin! Hindi yung uutusan mo ako mag antay sa iyo habang may ginagawa kang iba! Hilo ka ba?!? Aba, kailangan mo magising!"

At that point, I was truly amazed that he had the temerity to even defend his obnoxiousness, that I was oblivious to the fact that he had driven all the way to Dela Rosa Street; unfortunately, it was at the intersection way past our old condo, and because it was a one way street, we had to go the very long way just to get to where I wanted.

Me: "Kita mo na, mapapalayo pa tayo nito, eh! Kung sinundan mo ang sinabi ko, dederecho lang sa isang loop ang daan natin, hindi kung katakot takot na intersection and kailangan pa natin daanan at iikot pa tayo ng malayo!"

DD: "Dinala naman kita sa Dela Rosa, ah!"

We were so engrossed in our bickering that he stopped the car completely, obstructing the traffic flow even more. A traffic cop approached us to flag the cab, and I could hear the cop from outside: "Kanina pa kita pinapa-go! Obstruction ka na niyan!"

The imp proceeds to bring the cab to the curb, he gets down and begins his litanya to the cop: "Eto kasing pasahero na to, eh! Di naman pala alam kung saan papunta! Ayan tuloy, nagtalo kami sa gitna ng daan!"

Adrenalin must have pumped through me like a gush of waterfalls because I suddenly felt free from my foot pain and got out of the car to confront the lying servant of the Dark Overlord. "Ang kapal mo rin, ano! Ako pa ngayon ang sasabihin mong dahilan kung bakit ka nahuli! Sinungaling ka, ah! Kung sinunod mo lang ang sinabi kong daan, eh di naandun na tayo sa pupuntahan ko! Nagmamagaling ka diyan, wala ka naman palang binatbat!"

The cop proceeds to question us separately: he directs me to wait in the car while he interrogates the cab driver outside. After he gets both our sides, I could hear him reprimanding the devil incarnate: " dun naman pala sa Yakal ka niya pinapapunta para magwithdraw ng pambayad sa yo, bakit sa iba ka dumaan? Wala ngang barya yung tao, eh! At bilang drayber, hindi ka pwede makipagtalo sa pupuntahan ng pasahero mo..."

So, how does this story end?

The cop issues him a ticket, the incubus fidgets all the way - the loooong way - driving me to my old place, refusing to look at his rear view mirror, although I made sure my ultimately satisfied smirk was visible even from outer space.

When Art met up with me for lunch, he then chastised me for locking horns with someone who was born with his own gleaming pair: "Good thing he didn't hurt you, you know how our public drivers are, walang kinakatakutan, they always have some weapon like a balisong with them."

Something to remember, worth PhP 78.50 (my cab fare).

I can't decide if the lesson is cheap or expensive.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Last Word

Yak it up.
(Courtesy of

1. Conversation between conservative school adminstrator and "shopping" parent.

"We have the best facilities here, the best faculty, and we teach compassion to our students."
"How do you achieve the last item?"
"We have an outreach program to immerse students in squatter areas."
"And then?"
"For two hours they get to see how the other side lives. Then we share our collected goods."
"And this is a signature program you have here?"
"Yes! It's very successful. Students leave feeling grateful for having so much."
"Can I suggest something that would add to the program?"
"If you enroll your child with us, we would love to hear your suggestions."
"Maybe you could teach the students why there is such economic disparity in our country. How laws, businesses, politicians, religions, media and many other factors are conspiring to make it difficult for the ones in the lower rungs of our socio-economic stations to rise above their status."


2. Conversation between homophobe and nonchalant young person, circa 2012.

"Homosexuality is an abomination! It is clearly unnatural!"
"Male and female! Made for each other! It's in nature! It's natural for males to look for females!
"And by nature, you mean...?"
"How you were born, made, come into this world! Nature!"
"There are thousands of species on earth where homosexuality has been recorded as being natural."
"Anything else?"
"So just because some animals do it, these gay freaks have to imitate it? Are they that dumb?"
"Are you straight?"
"Of course! How could you even ask me that!"
"Did you learn your heterosexuality from animals, too?"


3. Conversation between advocates of natural and modern family planning methods.

"Natural family planning methods are better! They are "open to life"!
"What do you mean by that phrase?"
"Even if NFP is practiced, there is a possibility of impregnation!"
"But isn't the end goal of NFP contraception?"
"You engage in NFP to not be pregnant, right?"
"So...whether by natural or modern methods, contraception is contraception."
"Anything else to add?"
"You are offending my religious beliefs!"
"I don't share your beliefs, and we are not in your place of worship. This is a public forum."
"Anything more?"
"You will burn in a fiery place!"
"I thought you wanted a religion-free discussion."


4. Conversation between politician and voter.

"Vote for my spouse, my work will continue!"
"Isn't that the beginning of a dynasty?"
"There's no enabling law!"
"It's in the Constitution."
"It's not illegal."
"Aren't you a lawmaker?"
"So why didn't you make one?"


5. Conversation between parent and child.

"I need the new tablet."
"But everyone has it."
"Look, I'll only use it for important stuff."
"I just want to hook up with my friends."
"Then you're grounded for two months!"