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Category Archives: Identidad Filipina

Life is one big adventure. Supposedly.

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“I am not like them. I am divine. I was meant to work with my intellect, not with my hand. I sweat aesthetically, but since they do not see, they think I am a sloth.”

—National Artist for Literature José García Villa (1908–1997) on being an employee—

I envy our forefathers so much. So much. Many of them were renaissance men, classy people. People of culture, people of the arts, people of sophistication. They had so much time on their hands honing their talents, immersing themselves in the sweetness of ambrosia — crowning each other with laurel leaves after witty poetic jousts, mesmerizing crowds’ minds with unforgettable oratories, blurring the lines (that is to say, tints) between real-life colors and man-made hues on canvass, creating the grandest of monuments out of formlessness, and filling the air with heavenly music coupled with dazzling footwork and graciousness of body movements. Not surprisingly, most of these visual and aural delights are now immortal and highly celebrated to this very day.

But all that was an era of a bygone golden age when focus was more on society building rather than private enterprise. Today is rather different: all of us are being sent to diploma-mill schools not really to hone our talents but simply to become wage slaves in the future. And as wage slaves, we bargain not just for hourly rates but also for our personal time. Of course, much of our time goes to the powers that be. And usually, whatever talents we all have that are of no use to them are placed on the back burner.

I see little difference between chattel slavery and corporate employment. If you observe it closely, it’s all the same. There were just “improvements” to the system. Back then, slaves were fed with pieces of grub while we corporate folks receive hourly rates. Slaves were whipped to move wheels and axles for hours on end; corporate kids are not whipped to use computers but are being monitored by watchful workforce managers and/or productivity measuring clocks for eight hours. Slaves were given a few days rest not for their sake but for them to be recharged just enough to able to handle those wicked machines of production once more; we urban yuppies are accorded days off and a couple of vacation (and sick leaves) as a temporary respite. Slaves were utilized regardless of age or until all strength have been sapped out from their bodies; corporate kids can wait until retirement age before such thing ever happens, but at an old age still (usually 65). I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture by now.

You may point out that working conditions have improved since the Industrial Revolution. I might agree. Nevertheless, the underlying factor is all the same: we are still at the mercy of economic exploitation. If you don’t work, you don’t get to live life the way you want it to be. Or better still, you don’t get to use your talents the way you (or God) intended them to be utilized. Your talents are corporate property. They use you for their gain and not exactly for your personal benefit. They give you personality development trainings intended not exactly for you but to make you more efficient in production for them to be able to reap higher profits in the end. It’s really all about them and their bank accounts and stocks. They would simply fool you with “Best Employee of the Year” awards and those hilarious Six Sigma belts just to keep you under their control. Employee-corporate relationship is binded by money. There’s no love here.

As they always say, there’s a light at the end of every tunnel (photo from La Familia Viajera).

This has been my mindset ever since I joined the labor force. I’ve been very cautious all my life because of this, that’s why I didn’t get along that well with my past supervisors/managers and colleagues. It’s really difficult for someone with a Commie background mingling with people stricken with sheep mentality in a capitalist environment. And my heart and mind are somewhere else. If some people think that I write rather well, I believe that I would have perfected this craft even more had I been given much time to polish it. But I didn’t get to have that privilege. Heck, neither could my kids. And so for years, I’ve been complaining to my wife, to close friends, and to God about this dilemma of mine, what I consider as “my personal cross”: being a corporate slave. Because all I ever wanted to do was to focus on what I know is my talent, or to reciprocate what our cultural-minded forefathers did a long time ago.

To put it more bluntly, all I ever wanted to do was to read, research, and write, to put forward my advocacy to the fullest, and to be just with my family and travel with them till our final days on this wretched realm. With beautiful people like Janet Nápoles around, I don’t really think this is asking for too much… is it?

“I really don’t ask for much. Just a chance to have my wife and children go through life with the least physical pain. That isn’t much to ask, is it? But in this bloody country, when a millionaire has a cold he goes right away to a fancy clinic in New York. And me, I can’t even afford to have my head examined. Hell, there’s justification in the old class struggle — I don’t care what you call it, but does a rich man have more right to live simply because he has more money?”

F Sionil José (through Godo in “The Pretenders”)—

Several hours ago, I think my patience may have reached the end of the rope. I did something stupid (albeit somewhat satisfying) during my shift earlier: I just freaked out, made a mess of my office work, complained to my supervisor that employment is not my life, that I’m fed up and giving up, and then I promptly gave her my resignation paper, to which she immediately accepted. It was good news for her of course. I’ve been a headache there ever since, not just to her but to my colleagues as well. But it wasn’t the first time such thing had happened. My previous jobs were a train wreck too. All my life as a corporate slave, I’ve never fared well. I just went to work without any intention at all of climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. I’m just after the money to support my Bohemian aspirations. And each time I sit in my cubicle, I stare at my computer rather blankly, with much stoic frustration. My mind is somewhere else because my heart is somewhere else. So more often than not, I always get into trouble with the people around me.

And so now with my resignation paper in the hands of corporate ladder climbers, I think I am into more trouble than what I initially thought of had I just opted to continue going with the flaccid flow (which I couldn’t do so anymore). Good friend Traveler On Foot tried to talk me out of it and advised me to just distress for awhile. Travel on my own, he says. It might help me decide calmly. His advice just might work. But seriously, I don’t think that will help me in the long term.

As of this writing, my wife still doesn’t know about my resignation. I do not know how to open this up to her, especially in her delicate condition. And that’s what I’m really worried about first and foremost. For sure, concerned relatives will do the classic facepalm when they learn of this rather puerile move of mine. I am debt-ridden. I don’t have any fallback at all. I also do not expect any help from them (as if they would, considering the brashness of my decision). And contrary to popular belief, my family’s not made of money. And with this somewhat inciendiary blogpost out in the open for everyone to laugh at and mock, I don’t think any company would have the faith of even hiring me anymore.

I’m not getting any younger. I have lost so much precious time being a milking cow when I should be reading books instead (I couldn’t even finish the Fifty Shades trilogy yet, hehe). So I will follow my heart. I MUST follow my heart. There is more to life than corporate slavery.

But how do I do it?

And so my adventure begins.

124th birth anniversary of Claro M. Recto

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On the occasion of his 124th birth anniversary, FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES would like to pay tribute to one of the greatest Filipino thinkers of modern times, the late senator Claro M. Recto. Here is a brief biographical sketch of the Tayabeño nationalist written by Antonino V. Mico (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Commission of the Philippines).

CLARO M. RECTO
(1890-1960)

Senator Claro M. Recto is known as a statesman, a constitutionalist, a jurist, internationalist, parliamentarian, poet, scholar, linguist, patriot, and nationalist. He was born on February 8, 1890, in Tiáong, Tayabas (now Quezon), the son of Claro Recto, Sr., and Micaéla Mayo, of Lipâ, Batangas. He obtained his elementary education in Lipâ and in his home town.

As a young man, he was endowed with a marvelous mind, an active imagination, a venturesome spirit, and a firm determination to stick to his personal convictions. At 19, he was already a holder of the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila; and at 24, he obtained his Master of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomás. In 1914, he was admitted to the Philippine bar and was licensed to practice law as a profession.

Recto’s political career began in 1916, when he served as legal adviser to the Philippine Senate. In 1919, he was elected representative from Batangas and served as House minority floor leader until 1925. In 1924, he went to the United States as member of the Parliamentary Independence Mission. He was admitted to the bar in the United States in 1924.

Upon his return to the Philippines, he founded the Demócrata Party, which served as a political thorn to the leadership of Manuel L. Quezon, when the latter was head of the Nacionalista Party and President of the Senate. He was elected senator for the first time in 1931 as a Demócrata and served as minority floor leader for three years.  In 1934, he became majority floor leader and President pro tempore of the Senate. He resigned his Senate seat when President Roosevelt appointed him Associate Justice in the Supreme Court in place of Justice Thomas Street, who retired. He left the Supreme Court in 1941 as a Nacionalista and again in 1953 as guest candidate of the Liberal Party. He ran as an independent Nacionalista candidate for President of the Philippines in the national elections of 1957, but lost.

Considered one of his immortal achievements in public life was his presidency of the Constitutional Convention, which drafted the Philippine Constitution, the first requirement towards the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth regime.

Recto was a brilliant poet, satirist, and author. He wrote such law books as The Law of Belligerent OccupationValidity of Payments During Enemy OccupationThree Years of Enemy Occupation, several one-act plays in Spanish, and a collection of poems. He was a recipient of the Zóbel Prize for literature and an honored member of the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation, of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española.

The then President Carlos P. García appointed Recto Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on the goodwill and cultural mission to Europe and South America in August, 1960. He was also appointed delegate to the 9th conference of the World Parliament Association in Venice in September, 1960, and was elected vice-president.

While giving a news conference in Rome, Recto suffered a heart attack from which he never recovered. He died in October 2, 1960.

Regarding his death, not a few historians believe that the great poet-turned-politician did not merely suffer from a heart attack. There’s this one interesting account from Raymond Bonner’s 1987 book Waltzing With A Dictator (pp. 41-42) that I’d like to share:

Transplanting democracy meant going after (Ramón) Magsaysay’s domestic political opponents, the most effective of whom was Senator Claro M. Recto, as unrelenting in his opposition to American foreign policy in the region as Magsaysay was slavish in following it. Recto, who was proud of his complete collection of Foreign Affairs, considered himself not anti-American but pro-Philippine. He criticized the bases agreement on the grounds, correctly, that the U.S. agreements under NATO and with other countries were far more favorable to the host country than was the U.S. arrangement in the Philippines. In Spain, the Spanish flag flew over the bases; in the Philippines, it was the American flag. When Washington claimed that the United States owned the lands on which the bases were situated, Recto prepared memorandums setting out the Philippine position that the United States had only leasehold rights, an argument eventually accepted by the United States. Recto was the “spearhead and brains of the national reawakening”.

The CIA set about to destroy Recto, who had been a principal drafter of the 1935 Constitution. It planted stories that he was a Communist Chinese agent who had been infiltrated into the Philippine Senate. To derail Recto’s electoral ambitions, the agency prepared packages of condoms, which it labeled “Courtesy of Claro M. Recto — The People’s Friend”. The condoms all had pinprick-size holes in them at the most inappropriate place. The agency went further. The CIA station chief, General Ralph B. Lovett, and the American Ambassador, Admiral Spruance, discussed assassinating Recto, going so far as to prepare a substance for poisoning him, an assassination plot that has not been publicly discussed before.

Recto wasn’t assassinated, the idea abandoned “for pragmatic consideration rather than moral scruples” (and with Lovett later suggesting that the bottle containing the poison was tossed into Manila Bay). He died of natural causes at the age of seventy.

It is hinted on this book that Recto was “assassinated” in Rome. Also, there have been persistent rumors that Recto did suffer a heart attack, but his medication was not given to him immediately which led to his very untimely death. Rumors they all may be, but there is a saying in Tagalog: “capág may usoc, may apóy” (when there’s smoke, there’s fire). Also, it is interesting to note that the place where he passed away was just a stopover. Recto was really on his way to Spain, the land of his mother tongue which is Spanish. He had never been there all his life, thus the excitement throbbing within his nationalistic spirit. He had already prepared a speech in Spanish, “Por los Fueros de una Herencia“, of which he was to deliver there upon arrival. But because of his demise, it remained unspoken.

The CIA knew that Recto delivering that speech in Spain would have proven catastrophic to their neocolonialistic ventures which were then in its early stages, as the Philippines was granted a phony independence 15 years earlier. That is why it was imperative for Recto to perish before he reached Spain.

One could just imagine what nationalistic and nostalgic fervor Recto would have sparked in Mother Spain had he delivered his speech there. Spain, who was robbed of her islands in the Pacific and the Americas in 1898, would have rekindled “righteous anger” into delivering, perhaps, the final blows of that war that should have ended justly and nobly. What fireworks his speech would have set upon the citizens of our Patria Grande! “Sayang” is all I could utter. Sayang…

Feliz cumpleaños, Don Claro. Tendré una botella de Cerveza Negra en su honor.

I’m merely warding off writer’s block, hence this dull blogpost. So please ignore. This is not for you.

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When I launched this much-hated blog back in 2009, I had intended it to be my own personal space this side of cyberspace. Y’know, just to write whatever stuff there is under the proverbial tropical sun which abruptly crosses my (un)usually cluttered thoughts. The truth is, a year or so before that stodgy launching, the blog’s first incarnation was simply entitled eSCRIBBLES, a name which I thought was perfectly descriptive of its status as an online journal. I also remained anonymous during its brief existence. However, I allowed myself to be identified in my other blog, ALAS FILIPINAS, the multi-awarded and internationally acclaimed Spanish-language Filipino blog (as I have said earlier, this is my personal space; bear with my happiness).

In eSCRIBBLES I was practically writing whatever it was that fancied me. Eventually, however, my pen kept on drawing towards the direction of one topic which interests me the most: Philippine History, and its offshoot which is Filipino Identity. In the course of time, I noticed that writing serious topics related to Filipino Identity and the like seemed to be out of sync for a blog containing a hodgepodge of topics such as rock bands, office blues, my relationship dramas with the missus, my fantabulous self, etc. So little by little, I felt compelled to start a new blog. And so FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, your computer screen’s favorite partner during lull hours, was born. And since I’m picky with dates, I deliberately timed its launching on the night of my 30th birthday. I simply left eSCRIBBLES to fester online, but I eventually closed it down completely about a year or two later (I still have an XML file copy of it in my turtle-paced Acer laptop as a memento of my drabness).

At the onset, I still had wanted the “new and improved” blog to run its course as a personal site, to tell more stories about my life, of what I think about the birds and the trees and the bees. However, given the dilemma that I encountered during its first run, I gave it a new twist: a blog dealing with everything about my Filipino cosmos, particularly our national identity (wow, how patriotic, clap clap clap!). I first thought of calling it “Pinoy eScribbles” because it sounded cute, not to mention the wide acceptance of that informal demonym in all corners of the world where there is an OFW. But Señor Guillermo Gómez had me convinced that Pinoy is a derogatory contraction of “PIlipinong uNgÓY” (Filipino monkey). While I do not attempt to argue that claim’s veracity here, the main reason why I opted to use Filipino instead of the more endearing Pinoy is because of the former’s nobleness in sound alone. The word Filipino exudes more grandeur, more dignity, more respectability. I am able to patriotically identify myself more with the word Filipino than with Pinoy which has already earned some level of corruption when a variation of it —PNoy— was used by the current president who is fast becoming unpopular due to lapses in judgment during times of crisis and near hopelessness.

Now what is the point of all this blah? Aside from the fact that the preceding three paragraphs all ended with words ending with the suffix -ness, I would also like to end with how I delimit my thematic output. I have always wanted to write on a regular basis, but I noticed that this fun plan is hampered with the limits of which I had imposed upon myself regarding the topics that I must publish as well as the tone and type of language that must surface in each blogpost. Following best buddy Arnaldo Arnáiz‘s advice many moons ago, I had tried to sound scholarly in some blogposts, particularly those which deal with history and identity. But of course, if we had wanted to be taken seriously by both readers and hecklers (another word for critics), we should at least try to style ourselves as very serious in our craft. Much to my dismay, we are still not taken seriously.

But why the need to be taken seriously? Because of an advocacy, a lingering itch that needed to be scratched from time to time. To my agitated mind, the Philippines is suffering from an excessive sleep disorder in the midst of an impending danger from both Red Chinks and Redneck Yanks, thus the need to kick her lazy Hollywoodized @$s to finally wake her up. It’s a tough choice that I chose, and it’s a losing battle. Nevertheless, it’s one damned good fight that I want to participate in.

Anyway, activism is not the point for this blogpost. What I really wanted to declare is that I simply wanted to free myself of the writing shackles which I have bound upon myself. No, I do not mean that I will no longer write Philippine History, Filipino Identity, and its related addendums. Topics here will still remain Philippine. What I had wanted to expound is that there will be an expansion of not just thoughts but of feelings. There will be more of me and not just history and identity. Because this is what this blog was supposed to be in the first place: a web log of what I think, not just of my thoughts.

Now eSCRIBBLES has come back to haunt me.

Not too long ago, I have segregated themes among my blogs: ALAS FILIPINAS should focus more on my advocacy for the return of the Spanish language in the country including a few write-ups about my personal and innermost thoughts and feelings; FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES should deal solely on Philippine History and National Identity coupled with a sprinkling of current Filipino news and current affairs (glad that ABS-CBN did not trademark the phrase), and; my latest piece, LA FAMILIA VIAJERA, is my sorry attempt at travel writing, but I included here the missus and the entire Alas caboodle especially since there is already a plethora of solo travel bloggers in the country. But now that I’ve been experiencing a drought in writing output, I think it’s time to break some rules. I’m already 34, and in a few days I will turn 40. And yet I have written only a handful of what I really wanted to express. And it pains and irritates me all the more that my writing spirits are high only when I’m at my busiest as a corporate slave but during my freetime I end up being a slacker watching zombie films on viooz.co (I highly recommend Warm Bodies; it is fun to watch over and over again).

Besides —and this is by no means any serious bragging of expertise— I believe that I write better in English than in Spanish (I don’t even know how to compose a neat essay in Tagalog) and that’s because since day one I’ve been exposed to this language, particularly in schools. But aren’t we all? Now, if I limit my topics to a certain theme, all the other non-essentials will dam up inside my pro-wrestling infested brain which will then drive me nuts and the people around me as well. I would only suffer from more mental drought and rage. I guess I’m still looking for a voice. Or maybe I haven’t reached a spot in the writing realm yet wherein I feel I should really be.

Creating another blog is out of the question. One more blog then I’m dead. So there. I must be free with the fewest possible blogs.

It is admirable to use writing to advance a struggle, to forward an advocacy. But in the end, writing should not be burdensome. It should all boil down to having fun, too. :D So I guess it’s time for me to write about my crazy neighborhood and those buses with unwanted videos-on-board. Might as well complain about the neverending littering problem that we have. And the alarming yet unnoticed growth of cockroaches everywhere (this is what Carlos Celdrán and his followers should really address, or else they might surface the city streets and manage a take over of PNoy civilization — I’m dead serious). Yes. All these and more. After all, I’m a Filipino out of time.

I’m free? I’m free.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

This insignificant blogpost was caused when a Batangas-bound bus suffered from spontaneous combustion at the South Luzón Expressway this morning, causing heavy traffic which has desensitized Filipino mobility anyway.

NCCA’s “Bloggers’ Hour”: Philippine Arts Festival 2014 — Art on the Edge

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It’s all systems go for this year’s National Arts Month!

In preparation for the upcoming Philippine Arts Festival (PAF), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) held its second “Bloggers’ Hour” last Thursday in its headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. The first Bloggers’ Hour was two years ago wherein I signed up as ALAS FILIPINAS. The blogpost I wrote for it was largely ignored in this wonderful country of ours because it was written in Spanish. Although I was hoping to grab the attention of the Spanish-speaking community overseas, it was not a clever move if I had wanted a Filipino audience. Actually, I didn’t. But never mind that. Anyway. This time around, I signed up as the Filipino eScribbler. And yes, I bet this pretty blogpost of mine will garner thousands of hits. Because the NCCA said so.

Last Thursday, me and other fellow bloggers who attended the simple gathering were informed about the upcoming events for the PAF 2014. The PAF is a month-long celebration held every February in time for the National Arts Month which was created by virtue of some presidential decree which nobody has ever heard of. This year, the event will start from January 31 up to March 3.

PAF 2014 will have a “soft opening” later this morning. At exactly 8:00 AM, there will be a flash mob of various artists coupled with performances by hip hop, ballet, and Filipiniana dancers at the Doroteo José station of the Light Railway Transit in Manila. It will be followed by another one at the Metro Railway Transit’s Cubáo station in Quezon City at 10:00 AM. So slackers who plan to be late for work will have a pretty good excuse: “I was mobbed by people with fancy Bohemian clothing, and they were armed with paintbrushes, chisels, and they were talking smack verses! I was totally helpless, boss!”

I’m supposed to be there later but I couldn’t because I haven’t slept yet since yesterday morning, and I’m still wide awake listening to the howling Siberian winds outside, and it’s close to 4:00 AM as I write this, and I have a thousand other lame excuses. But I think the ever-reliable blogger Gemma San José will be there to blog about it. So stay tuned to her blog Lifelong Learning. And yes, her latest blogpost has just saved me (and probably the other bloggers) from further explaining in detail what the highly informative NCCA Chairman Felipe de León, Jr. spoke about during last Thursday’s Bloggers’ Hour. Snippets of his absorbing impromptu speech about Filipino Identity and the arts can be viewed from Hoshi‘s video below:

And yes, that pretty boy to the right of the video is me. Talicogenic pa rin.

NCCA’s Bloggers’ Hour may not be as huge as other blogger events, but I am still honored to be part of it nonetheless especially since it is organized by the country’s bastion of —what else?— culture and the arts.

Hey. It would be nice if you’d get rid of that humdrum existence of yours once in a while. Or even for just a month. Let February do that for you. It’s National Arts Month, and art is on the edge. Better be there when it happens. As they say over at the NCCA, “Halina’t maqui-sining“. It’s guaranteed to get funky and fun. :D

Click here for more photos of Bloggers’ Hour. You may also visit PAF’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Expansionist Red China vs Imperialist Uncle Sam

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Red China vs the US WASPs? Yes. I hate sounding like a warmonger here, but it is bound to happen. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. No two empires in history ever existed at the same time. So one must fall.

And their battleground? Hapless República de Filipinas, of course.

Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years.

It will be an intolerable insult to China

According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea.

Click here for more.

 

It would be sheer luck if no battle ever happens on any part of mainland Philippines. So better be prepared than sorry, that’s all I really wanted to say. Because looking back at our history, most government officials have “safe passages” to fly away anytime from this pork-barrel-riddled country of ours. And we poor commoners are the ones left behind to suffer for their governmental inadequacies, nay, dumbfoundedness and sheer stupidity and cowardice. Well, there’s always an exception, such as the regime of Governor General Simón de Anda (1701-1776).  Hindí nang-iiuan. But that’s another story from another time, when our national identity was at its peak.

It’s hopeless. We are no match against China, of course. And our puppet government has no other choice but to kowtow to Uncle Sam’s every military whim and fancy. Because war is big business. At this point, all we can do is pray and blog and complain and provide some good ‘ol pep talk…

We are mere ants compared to the big boot that is Red China. But they should remember that ants bite back. And the sting lingers.

We are mere dogs chained to our U.S. neocolonial masters. But they should remember that dogs bite back. When we do, it’s usually rabid.

We can easily be defeated, there is no doubt to that. Our military might is a joke; it has become a sham ever since Ferdinand Marcos was ousted unceremoniously. But in the end, the Filipino spirit will never falter. Defiantly.

I don’t usually swear, but right now… I am REALLY angry. So fuck you both, China and US. My middle finger salutes you. Be proud.

Three Kings 2014

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It’s that time of the year again, for gift giving. And since it’s the first day of school this year, we just had fast food early this morning. Healthy.

Here’s hoping that this Filipino tradition —the gift giving every January 6, not the Jollibee Breakfast Meals— would be followed by more Filipino families in the future. Not just us. We kinda feel alone and “Jurassic” whenever we think that we’re the only ones doing this today. Sana hindí lang camí. :-)

Happy Three Kings, everyone!

2013 Filipino Of The Year — Fr. Jojo Zerrudo!

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Me and Yeyette with our spiritual hero at the Holy Family Church in Roxas District, Cubáo, Quezon City where he currently serves as parish priest. (08/04/2013)

For this year, FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS are so proud to bestow their (not-that-famous-yet) Filipino of the Year award to Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo!

Fr. Jojo truly deserves this soon-to-be-prestigious online award (wish) not because he officiated that classic “Wedding of the Year” in San Pedro Tunasán (which has just become a city, by the way), La Laguna province last September. It’s because he has exemplified through his life, thoughts, and works the virtues of what a COMPLETE Filipino truly is. He has also been featured several times by the media throughout the year, making curious folk sit up and take notice of this humble servant of the Lord. In that regard, may they all be inspired by him to become better persons the way he has inspired the owner of the above-mentioned blogs, together with his family, to become better Christians.

My disappointment was that in teaching high school, I realized that the students (even of Catholic schools) have the impression that the Spanish friars were all corrupt and they did nothing good for us. I always ask: give me a name of a Spanish friar you know… and they will all say in unison: “Padre Damaso”. Padre Damaso??? A fictitious character of Rizal’s novel??? Students do not know how to discern fact from fiction. Even if they say that Rizal recanted just before his execution, his Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo continue to exert his Masonic influence on young minds.

—Fr. Jojo Zerrudo—

That’s a courageous “against-the-flow” remark from the ranks of today’s much-maligned. Sa totoó láng, isáng tunay na Filipino na lamang ang puedeng macapágsalita ng ganián ñgayón. I bet even Rizal himself would have agreed with him. ‘Nuff said.

Congratulations, Fr. Jojo! May this award win you and your “TLM Team” a trip to Amanpulo! :D

How was Simbáng Gabí celebrated during the Spanish times?

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Have you ever wondered how the Misa de Gallo or Simbáng Gabí was celebrated during the Spanish times? Then come and visit the Holy Family Church in Roxas District, Cubáo, Quezon City from December 15 to 23 at 10:00 PM to witness this historic Filipino-Catholic ritual that is filled with so much “sense of the sacred“! And hey, don’t forget to bring your candles or lanterns (farol with light), OK? You’ll find out later on. ;-)

See you there!

My Filipiniana wedding!

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Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
—2 Thessalonians 2:15—

Jennifer “Yeyette” Perey and I have been together for 14 years. She was my college classmate (the prettiest in class, if I may add), my barcada, my “ate” (she’s three years my senior), my partner in crime, my best friend. Hindí man niyá acó lubusang naiintíndihan, tacbuhan co siyá palagui sa touíng bad trip acó sa cung anó mang bagay sa buhay. And vice versa. She had no fondness for almost everything that interests me. Books and politics bore her to death. And she couldn’t care less for the difference between nationalism and birthday parties. In the same vein, I dislike her diversions: showbiz and fashion, and the usual girl talk.

But as children of the 90s, perhaps the only thing which drew us towards each other is our susceptibility to the frivolities of our youth. It was an era of youth itself, when youth in the history of Time was at its happiest, when “happy-go-luckiedness” was basic canon, an age when democracy in our country was having the time of its life, when hip hop and metal were waging war against each other, and when primetime cartoons and sitcoms were the subject of next-days idle talk inside classrooms. It was a time when rebelling was no longer dangerous but fun, a time when pop culture has reached its zenith to the point of being making itself stale (and it did).

When Yeyette and I met, it was a time when euphoria made itself blatant as the most sought-after objective of man.

We never ignored the future, but we cared less for responsibilities. Unselfishness was but a precipitation on a windowpane on which we merely used to write down our names. Youth was all there was. We thought it was immortal. Although it never lorded us over, it never commanded us to do anything, it, however, tolerated our every whim, blinding us with the “truth” about pleasure.

Fortunately for me, I was not your average petty bourgeois. I was also an observant SOB and a worshipper of books dealing with various subjects. And even before me and Yeyette were already an item, I was already in pursuit of truth. Religious truth, that is. And so: growing up with a non-religious Catholic mom, I freely received various books and pamphlets from her JW cousins; as a teen, I showed interest with my maternal grandmother’s UCCP; I then spent several months with the MMCC; a couple of weeks with the INC; was a fanatic Ang Dating Daan fan for about two years, etc. Becoming more adventurous, I then joined DeMolay.

Looking back, I believe that listening to all those sects led to my disenchantment with organized religion which was further augmented with my activities as a young socialist activist. Imagine just what kind of existential angst I had to go through.

During my training with De Molay, my friendship with Yeyette ended up with her getting pregnant. Then Krystal followed. Then life in its most ostentatious color.

Our frosty windowpane was shattered with just a snap of a finger. All of youth’s promises, lost (I imagine José García Villa mockingly slapping our faces with yellowing rough drafts of his “Footnote to Youth”).

Youth betrayed us. Pop culture popped rather hard in front of us, stinging our faces painfully.

Our first photo together taken at Bacoor, Cavite (circa 1999).

In the difficult events that followed (and being unable to make a compromise with my dad regarding Yeyette’s pregnancy), I resigned myself to the notion that life’s a bitch, so it’s better to love myself. I gave up the idea of God. But not my family.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

My apologies; it’s not my intention to write a pathos-incensed story of our love life in one blogpost, so never mind the —if you may— kick-a$s intro, hehehe! It might take me forever to write about it. So let me just fast-forward things up to the time when me and Yeyette were already proud and happy parents of four kids: Krystal, Momay, Jefe, and Juanito. It took a family of my own to make me realize that God is real, God is true, God is within us, that family is the covenant He speaks of.

Yes, I became a Christian again, but only after torturous months of joblessness and defeat, reawakenings due to a rereading of Philippine History and philosophy (particularly metaphysics and theology), and wrestling against myself if I was to abort my second child or not. In the end, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) won over me. Life became clearer then. And I didn’t even have to read The Purpose Driven Life (as a matter of fact, I haven’t even read it yet).

And since me and Yeyette didn’t want to live a life filled with guilt over what we did (hooking up together much to our respective parents’ disappointment and heartbreak), neither did we intend to continue our lives in “fornication”. Although we were wed civilly, we are not yet married in God’s eyes. A couple of years from now, we’ll be in our 40s. We didn’t have any plans of going beyond that age limit before officially tying the knot.

And so three months ago today, on a dreaded Friday the 13th which was also our 14th anniversary as a couple, me and Yeyette were finally married in our parish church. It was a simple ceremony, really, as it never had the grandeur similar to other weddings. However, it had the elegance, the sacredness, and the character of a true Filipino wedding…

Photo by Mao Joseph Almadrones.

…because we were married using an ancient Catholic rite: the Rito Mozárabe or the Mozarabic Rite which was the original Catholic form of worship in the Philippines from the Spanish times up to the late 1950s. The wedding took place before the entrance of the church; it lasted for about half an hour. Afterwards came the nuptial blessing using the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, also known as the Tridentine Latin Mass. The languages used during the entire ceremony were Spanish and Latin, the way it should really be.

Ours can be considered a historic wedding because it was the first time —at least in the Southern Tagalog area— that a traditional Filipino wedding occurred since the late 1950s; a similar wedding occurred earlier this year, but it was held at the Holy Family Church in Cubáo, Quezon City.

And speaking of Tridentine Masses, it was a startling coincidence to find out later on that our wedding happened on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the promulgation of the celebrated apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! And our wedding also occurred during the final months of the Year of Faith, probably one of the most awesome things to have happened to someone who was once faithless! Friday the 13th be damned!

Really, AWESOME is all I could muster from my thoughts. :D

Invitation card designed by young Church historian Jesson Allerite.

Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.

I said goodbye to my long hair on the day of my wedding, LOL! It was Ryan Panaligan, Yeyette’s friend who is a personal stylist of Jed Madela, Luis Manzano and other ABS-CBN stars, was the one who took care of our hair and make-up. And now he’s styling another hunk in this photo.

My bride and our daughter Krystal.

Our boys: Momay, Jefe, and Juanito.

The centuries-old and miraculous Cruz de Tunasán —a “victim” of José Rizal’s satire— became part of our historic wedding!

A modest string of sampaguita flowers are hanging by the church pews on either side of the carpeted nave. San Pedro Tunasán is also known as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines”.

With former San Pedro Mayor Calixto Catáquiz and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes “Baby” Catáquiz who served as our wedding sponsors.

The bride arrives in an elegant looking carroza.*

The Mozarabic wedding is about to begin.

Locution of the admonition and exhortation. Reverend Father Michell Joe “Jojo” Zerrudo, pastor at the Holy Family Parish in Quezon City and also a renowned exorcist, officiates the rare wedding.

Union of our right hands.

Father Jojo blesses our rings and arrhae.

Fr. Jojo places the ring on my right ring finger.

Fr. Jojo gives me Yeyette’s ring which I then insert to her right middle finger.

Fr. Jojo transmits the arrhae to my hands…

…which I then transmit to Yeyette’s hands…

…which she then transmits back to Fr. Jojo.

Done with the Mozarabic Rite wedding! And nope, I’m not doing a rendition here of John Cena’s “you can’t see me!”. I was just proudly showing off my golden ring. :-)

The nuptial blessing begins (using the extraordinary form of the Mass). Both me and Yeyette were led by Fr. Jojo towards the altar. We were holding on to the edge of his stole as he recites Psalm 127. Go figure. :-)

 

The Catáquiz couple. Behind them is Señor Guillermo Gómez, a giant in Philippine history and letters who is also one of our wedding sponsors. Accompanying Señor Gómez is Valerie Devulder, French-Filipina granddaughter of the late Francisco Coching, “Dean of Philippine Comics”.

Sampaguita and camia flowers strewn all over the carpeted nave.

Imposition of the veil as Señor Gómez looks on. Renowned Catholic apologist Carlos Antonio Pálad

Nuptial blessing.

This moment brought me to tears, for I have not received Holy Communion in years. Tita Joji Alas, one of our wedding sponsors, is seated beside Señor Gómez.

My bride’s turn to receive the Body of Christ.

Sorry, no kissing in Tridentine Mass weddings. But of course, a couple should not show an intimate moment right in front of the altar. That is what I call a Novus Ordo Mistake.

Standing behind us: my cousin Jam, Tita Joji, Mayor Baby, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, Yeyette’s dad Jaime Perey, my dad Josefino Alas, Mayor Calex, and Señor Gómez.

Throwing rice grains to the newlyweds is an old Filipino custom. I just treat it as tradition. And hey, what our friends and family members flung at us are organic rice grains, LOL!

❤ ❤ ❤

CLICK HERE for more photos! And for an explanation of our wedding’s symbolism or the rite as a whole, CLICK HERE.

*Special thanks to Gerald Ceñir and the rest of the “Tridentine Boys” (Jesson, Mao, Juhnar Esmeralda, Satcheil Amamangpang, Miguel Madarang, and Justin Benaldes) for making this dream wedding come true (Gerald has been helping me in planning for this wedding since 2009!). Thank you also to former Biñán councilor Rómulo “Ome” Reyes for allowing us the use of his carroza, and to Mr. Ronald Yu for sponsoring it. To all who attended our wedding: ¡muchísimas gracias!. And more importantly, THANKS BE TO GOD!

Stay tuned for more of “My Filipiniana wedding!”

Online jottings of a Filipino out of time

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In the beginning, this blog’s tagline was “Random jottings about everything Philippine”. But it sounded too “Joaquinesque“. Not that I don’t like it, but I thought that it would be better if I had my own voice.

Just a few months ago, I was revved up by Virgilio Almario’s polemic protestations against the use of the name Pilipinas (and perhaps Philippines). So I thought of changing the tagline to “Random jottings about everything Filipino”. But people might mistake my ultraelectromagneticblog for a grade school subject. So I abandoned the idea.

Then I had a light bulb moment yesterday morning. Since for most of my adult life I’ve been feeling like a fish out of water, I think it is more appropriate for this blog to have a tagline like this:

“Online jottings of a Filipino out of time.”

Because that’s how I really feel, as if I was born in the wrong century. Just check out the way I write in Tagalog, for instance, haha.

And, oh, do I need to add that my site is one of the most hated blogs in the country today? Well, that’s just an observation of mine (but I’m proud of the reputation). So, before I end this, let me leave you more reasons to hate this site:

1) I am truly saddened with what has been transpiring over the Senate floor these past few weeks. I miss the old days when the Philippine Senate —and Spanish-speaking at that— effused a sense of dignity and gracefulness that was not only proper but filled with an intimidating light of “swagger” that befits the engines of an authentic Filipino body politic. Disappointingly, the Senate is now a despicable shell of its former self. The problem I see now is that the voting public has been contented lately of elevating scoundrels and clowns clad in suit and tie and fancy dresses to their undeserving pedestals. The only way the Filipino people can regain their moral ascendancy to run this country is for them to recognize and treasure their true Filipino Identity which is based on their Hispanic past.

2) It is impossible for me to remain a Filipino while hating my Spanish past at the same time.

3) Taking item# 2 to the extreme: it is impossible for me to remain a Catholic while hating my Spanish past at the same time.

Random jottings that are worth hating. :D Well, that’s all for now.

Now back to the cubicle, wage slave!

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