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Accelerating Philippine Economic Growth (Pananaw Magazine)

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It’s no longer 2011, but this has to be published. Sayang namán casí.

It appears that Pananaw magazine will forever remain in limbo. So I will publish another important article that was supposed to appear on that magazine’s maiden issue but didn’t, and is now long overdue.

During the rush for the said magazine’s supposedly first issue (for January 2011), editor-in-chief JB Lazarte gave me the task of soliciting an article on economics from a prominent person. Coincidentally, I was reviewing a textbook on the same subject at that time. The book is something that is very familiar to many a college student — Economics: An Introduction, authored by the country’s foremost economist, Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas (currently Vice President of the University of Asia and the Pacific). The idea is that a scholarly article will be published on our magazine vis-à-vis an interview with a fortune teller regarding the latter’s economic forecast for the rest of 2011. The technique was to entice readers to become interested in matters of national economics.

I immediately sought Dr. Villegas through his email and asked if he would be so kind to furnish us a brief article about the subject we had in mind. I honestly never expected him to reply; I was just pushing my luck. But to my utter surprise, he obliged!

Unfortunately, just like many startup publications and businesses, Pananaw’s maiden issue was not able to see the light of day. And Dr. Villegas’ precious article remained in my email inbox for the rest of the year.

Until now.

So without further ado, below is the it-should-have-made-them-sit-up-and-take-notice article written exclusively for Pananaw Magazine by the Harvard-educated economist, Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas. You be the judge, dear reader, if his economic forecast for last year came into fruition.

Special pre-launch issue of Pananaw Magazine (December 2010).

ACCELERATING PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC GROWTH
Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas

In economic management, the new competitive advantage of the Philippines is good governance. The upbeat mood of both consumers and investors is clearly due to a perception that the leadership of the country is in the right hands. This perception is being backed up by reality as some early economic wins have been registered by the new Administration of President Benigno Aquino III in less than six months since it came into power.

There have already been two months of budget surpluses, despite the continuing difficulties stemming from the global economic crisis. These surpluses came partly from improved collections as tax evaders were prosecuted with vigor. For the first time in eleven years, the budget was signed by the President in the same year it was passed. Despite an austerity program, the 2011 budget contains large appropriations for infrastructures, education, and other social services. Led by a highly experienced management team, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has announced that it will support an investment-led growth by making available a total of P200 billion to jumpstart the national government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives.

Just before the Great Recession, the Philippine GDP grew in 2007 at 7.1%. Like all the East Asian economies, the economy suffered a slowdown in the next two years, 4.8% in 2008 and 1.2% in 2009. Its resilience was once again tested (as in the 1997-1998 financial crisis when it was the least adversely affected among Southeast Asian countries) when it was only one of three (with Indonesia and Vietnam) that did not experience a recession in 2009 (excluding China). Like its two ASEAN neighbors, it still managed a positive GDP growth rate in 2009 because of its large domestic market of 93 million of whom at least 60 million are already part of the middle class, a strong foundation for a consumption-led growth.

In the first half of 2010, GDP grew at 7.9% bolstered by elections-related spending in the first four months, remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), a government stimulus package that frontloaded the budget for 2010 and a 40% growth in exports resulting from a strong recovery of the U.S. economy in the last quarter of 2009. This export recovery was especially boosted by the electronics sector that recovered the volumes they lost in 2009.

The strong recovery of electronics and semiconductor components helped the industry sector to grow at 16% during the first semester, making up for the poor performance of agriculture and fisheries that actually declined at -3% because of poor weather conditions. Services—propelled by the BPO, telecom and logistics sectors—grew at 6.7%.

For most of the second half of 2010, growth came from continued strength in exports, from increased OFW remittances that could break the US$20 billion mark for the whole year and from rising investments especially in infrastructure and energy, housing and real estate, mining, BPO, tourism, logistics and agribusiness. These investments started to replace the elections-related spending and pump priming that disappeared during the second half of the year.

There is a significant improvement in investors’ confidence after a relatively peaceful and successful election. Inflation has been controlled at less than 4%, despite the very liquid financial system. The savings rate is at an all-time high of 30% of GDP while the investment rate is still only 17%, leaving room for big ticket projects in the high growth sectors to be funded by local money. In fact, a peso-denominated bond issue was oversubscribed by 13 times. Secretary Cesar Purisima announced in mid-December 2010 that another peso-denominated bond issue is in the offing. As one of the emerging markets of Asia, the Philippines has attracted large flows of portfolio investments, sending stock market prices to unprecedented levels. Dollar inflows have grown rapidly so that the peso has appreciated from P45 to $1 at the end of 2009 to P43-P44 in December 2010, prompting the Central Bank to build its reserves to an all-time high of 9 months of import coverage so as to prevent further peso appreciation. There is a high likelihood that the balance of payments surplus for the whole year of 2010 will top $10 billion.

The downside risk is a slowdown of exports as its major markets, the U.S., the EU and Japan succumb to a double-dip recession or at best stagnant growth at less than 2% in 2011. If exports, especially of electronic components, slow down and quick money flees the Philippine capital market in the worst-case scenario of an escalation of the foreign currency war among the giants, the peso may return to the P45-P46 range in the first half of 2011.

An investment-led growth is getting strong support from the foreign investment community. The Joint Foreign Chambers presented to the Government last December 13, 2010 a roadmap dubbed “Arangkada Philippines” which described in great detail how a 7 to 9% universal growth in GDP can be achieved in the next five to six years. Seven key industries were identified as potential enablers for the Philippine economy to move twice as fast. They are agribusiness; business process outsourcing; creative industries; infrastructures; manufacturing and logistics; mining and tourism, medical travel and retirement.

What is encouraging is that these are the same “sunrise industries” in which the local taipans are investing heavily. The likes of San Miguel Corporation, the SM Group, the Metro Pacific Group, the Ayala Holdings, First Philippine Holdings and the PHINMA Group, among others, are leading the way to an investment-led recovery. The abundance of local financing is helping the recovery. Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) will strongly complement the local investors who have been first in regaining confidence in the Philippine economy.

As both India and Vietnam had accomplished over the last ten years or so, the Philippines is finally poised to grow at 7% or more in the next six to ten years. This growth will be made possible by significant improvements in governance and infrastructures, the two key factors for the high growth of 7% or more, completely indispensable for reducing the poverty line from 30% to 15% of the population in the next ten years.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Villegas for this enlightening article. Also, to apologize to him, because he took the time and effort to write a laudable 2011 economic forecast for a magazine that he has not heard of before, but nobody got to read it but me and my editor. Special thanks also to his secretary, Ms. Louella Orque, for mediating between me and his esteemed boss. ¡Muchísimas gracias a ustedes!

Pananaw Magazine, the magazine that never was

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Special pre-launch issue of Pananaw Magazine (December 2010).

When netrepreneur and writer extraordinaire JB Lazarte contacted me late last year for a magazine gig, I was so excited and overwhelmed. Finally, the realization that I might just accomplish all of Cuban hero José Martí’s three-fold mission of what a man ought to do in his life was to become a reality: to “plant a tree, write a book, have a son”. I haven’t fed Mother Earth any seedling yet, but that would be too easy, anyway. And I already have three sons. So probably the most difficult to accomplish among Martí’s real-macho-man attributes is to publish a book.

I haven’t published a book yet. I was commissioned three years ago to co-write a biography of San Pedro, La Laguna’s town mayor (a family friend), but it’s still in developmental hell (and since the good mayor is very busy working for the town’s cityhood, and my writing partner has lost all interest, his biography might not get published anymore). But to write for a magazine is the closest to publishing a book as one could get.

As they say in the world of writing, “publish or perish”.

Blogging today is the in thing. But even in a world that is ever dominated by the Internet, nothing can topple the worth and value and weight and authenticity and command that the contents of a physical book can hold. Thus this ache of getting published. The last time I was published was back in college. But those were verses that were published in our school journal. Seeing one’s writings published in a book or, for this matter, on a national daily or magazine beats all that.

It’s not just the feeling of being known that bites me, or of becoming famous even. It’s this ache of wanting others to know that you do exist, and for some lofty reason.

So back to my story. JB Lazarte is a multi-awarded writer. And he has more contacts to whatever writing gigs there are available for a craving and trying-hard scribbler like me. He contacted me late last year to contribute for a magazine of which he will become one of its editors (the other editor is Palanca awardee Omer Oscar Almenario).

The magazine’s name is Pananaw (Opinyon ng Bayan) published by the “Makabagong Pananaw Foundation, Inc.”, a group allied to the present administration. JB The Magus found my travels published in this blog cute. So he thought that such articles were a good addition to the magazine. Pananaw was also meant to promote agribusiness in the Philippines.

Editorial box with a list of the board of directors of Makabagong Pananaw Foundation, Inc. as well as the magazine's editorial staff.

The first article I’ve contributed was my coverage of the Día del Galeón last year, 6 October 2010. It was published in Pananaw’s special pre-launch issue last December and was chosen as its feature article!

Here it is!

EL GALEÓN ANDALUCÍA
Pepe Alas

To see a Spanish-era galleon ship docked in Manila Harbor’s Pier 13 amidst modern steel ships is not just surreal — it is downright weird (one could not help but be reminded of Walt Disney Picture’s The Pirates of the Carribean film series). And that weird feeling was what exactly my wife and I felt that hot afternoon of 6 October when we visited the visiting Galeón Andalucía! The coming of the said galleon was actually the highlight of the recently concluded Día del Galeón celebration.

No, Andalucía was not a galleon straight out of the past, preserved and renovated. It was only a replica of what a typical 17th century galleon used to look like during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade (1565-1815). But the Andalucía holds the distinction of being the only actual replica of a Spanish galleon that has ever been built in modern times.

According to Fernando Ziálcita, professor of Cultural Anthropology in Ateneo de Manila University and one of the organizers of the said event, it was Spanish historian Pedro Luengo who informed him last year of the Andalucía’s planned voyage from Seville to Shanghai, China. Professor Ziálcita thought that as the Philippines was the focal point of the Galleon Trade, the said ship should naturally have a stop-over in Manila. Earlier this year (February), Prof. Ziálcita and other concerned individuals had a meeting with the Philippine Academic Consortium for Latin American Studies in Cavite City. Mr. César Virata, former Prime Minister during Ferdinand Marcos’ regime and is now the president of the Cavite Historical Society, was present in the said meeting. He expressed interest in sponsoring an event that will feature the coming of the Andalucía Galleon.

The galleon trade may have a soft spot in Mr. Virata’s heart: aside from Manila Bay, (and occasionally Puerto Galera in Mindoro island), Cavite City used to be a port and construction site for the galleons.

But what really made things official was when Prof. Ziálcita proposed to the national government to sponsor the said event. They were very excited, he said. Thus, through the assistance and efforts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Senator Edgardo Angara, a hispanista, the event was made possible. So this past June, the government launched initiatives to celebrate the first international Día del Galeón Festival on 8 October. No less than the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared that the said date should be celebrated annually as the Day of the Galleon in commemoration of the Galleon Trade.

Although the event’s name is called Day of the Galleon, it was actually a month-long affair. The event’s official website (http://www.diadelgaleon.blogspot.com/) lists down a schedule of various lectures, cultural showcases, stage plays, and other cultural showcases, stage plays, and other cultural programs related to the galleon trade. My wife and I were able to attend only one event: the day when the Galleon Andalucía —the main event— “returned” to our shores.

As we were on our way to Manila Bay that afternoon to welcome the galleon, I was briefing my wife about what the event —and the galleon trade— was all about in order for her to appreciate our visit. Admittedly, her knowledge of galleons and of the galleon trade was minimal as is the case, sadly, with many Filipinos today (an ex-office mate of mine even pronounced it as a “Galileo” ship, much to my annoyance). Yearly, Filipino students are given a few hours’ rehash of what had transpired during the galleon trade for more than two centuries; an important epoch not only in our country’s history but in world history as well.

It is never enough to say that the galleon trade was merely a part of Philippine History, nor should it be limited to the retelling of Spanish History in Asia and the Pacific. Such scenario would have been too trifle to say the least. Rather, the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade should stand side by side with “the glory that was Greece” and “the grandeur that was Rome”. It should have equal status to that of the Industrial Revolution or the epic telling of survival during the Age of Depression and other economic revolutions. This would be no exaggeration for, truly, the galleon trade literally turned the world into a global village.

To put in simpler terms, it was the world’s first foray into globalization. Scholars and historians agree today that, although the trade was “limited” between Manila and Acapulco, México, it was in fact global in scope. Good from major markets in Asia, such as China and India, traveled to Amoy and Canton where they were shipped to Manila. From Manila Bay (just across Intramuros, which was then the original Manila) and/or Puerto de Cavite (today’s Cavite City), Asian goods, such as silk, spices, jewels, chinaware, and ivory, traveled across the globe through the Pacific in a perilous journey towards the other side of the world. From there, these goods were both sold and traded for Mexican silver and other goods coming not just from all over the Americas but from Europe as well (which were shipped over from the Atlantic).

The journey indeed was perilous because sea navigation today was different from that era. Lacking modern equipment in maritime affairs, the trip from Manila, which usually began from July or August, could last for six months and a half. The galleons followed the North Equatorial Current that had been discovered by Fray Andrés de Urdaneta on his return trip to México. During that time, it was the only safest route back across the Pacific to México and the rest of the New World (they could not travel eastward due to the Treaty of Tordesillas). Indeed, Spain could not have colonized the Philippines without this oceanic current.

It should be emphasized that it was not a simple sea voyage; as mentioned earlier, maritime voyages were not as sophisticated compared to modern sea navigation. Countless sailors perished out of hunger, thirst, and illness during the galleon trade due to miscalculation in logistics and supplies. As such, mutinies were not uncommon. Also, many a galleon ship perished in ferocious typhoons. Other galleons even met a more tragic fate — they were captured by vicious English buccaneers. Four of them were taken: Santa Ana in 1587; Encarnación in 1709; Covadonga in 1743, and; Santíssima Trinidad —the largest ship during that era— in 1762. Due to poor navigation, some were lost at sea, never to be seen again. Other galleons sank due to overloaded cargoes.

The return trip to Manila was as equally perilous as the voyage to México, but it was shorter: the galleons left Acapulco either in February of March and reached Manila in more or less 90 days. The return trip passed south of the North Equatorial Current, docking briefly in what is now known as the Marshall Islands and Guam.

The Galleon Trade allowed the participation of all Filipinos. An individual or organization must have a boleta (ticket) in order to engage business in the Trans-Pacific trade. The cargo space of a galleon was usually divided into 4,000 units. Each unit was represented by the said boleta. Thus, if the individual has, say, five boletas, he could ship an amount of merchandise to fill five units of cargo space. The government, however, had the privilege of owning over a thousand units (other groups who share such privileges are church leaders and businessmen). However, some individuals would choose to sell their boletas to wealthy businessmen for a higher fee (they were the precursors of today’s scalpers outside the Araneta Coliseum).

The galleon trade was truly epochal for Philippine existence. Through it, our country received different kinds of crops such as camote, sincamás, tomate (tomato), cacahuete or manî, lechugas, corn, avocado, pineapple, tobacco, and countless others. Virtually all the vegetables mentioned in the popular Tagalog folk song “Bahay Kubo” were brought over by the galleons from México and nearby Asian countries. Thus, we could be singing a different version of “Bahay Kubo” today without the galleon trade!

The said trade also gave the Filipinos the piano, the guitar, the violin, the cubiertos (fork, spoon, knives), plates, drinking glasses, cups and saucers; clock and calendar; various complex and simple machines, such as the printing press, the plow, the wheel, hammer and nails, books, pens, and other scholarly materials, etc.

It was not just inanimate things and tools that the galleons brought to our country. They also gave us livestock such as cattle and horses and poultry. Farming techniques written in various papers and books were also brought by these ships. The idea of arts and architecture were not excluded. Friars from various religious orders sailed through the galleons. Also, various laws and edicts and royal letters, as well as the occasional monetary assistance from the Spanish monarch were channeled through these enterprising ships.

The provinces of Lanáo del Norte and Lanáo del Sur in Mindanáo, by the way, were named after these galleons (la nao is another Spanish term for el Galeón).

There was also an exchange of peoples. Some Mexicans who joined the voyage to the Philippines never returned to their native land, and vice-versa. Therefore, sans the Clavería decree of 1849, there are Filipinos today who have Mexican last names such as Aguilar, Álvarez, Carrillo, Cruz, Flores, Guerrero, López, Pérez, del Río, Santibáñez, etc. And here is a shocking fact: there is a 200-year-old clan in México whose surname is Magandá which is the Tagalog word for beautiful!

The cultural exchanges that occurred between the Philippines and México were quite enormous; I might even end up in weeks enumerating everything. But it is safe to conclude that the galleon trade virtually created the Philippines. And almost everything that we Filipinos savor up to this very day we have to thank the galleon trade for. These facts my wife, who is not a history buff like me, discovered on her own during that 6 October visit to the galleon ship because, happily, one of Pier 13’s multi-purpose halls was converted into a temporary waiting area where visitors were able to view various exhibits, murals, and very helpful information and lectures about the Galleon Trade. It helped her and other visitors to the Andalucía to at least have a clearer idea of how the trade went about during those truly gaudy days of Spain in the Philippines, aside from the cultural gifts that we received.

As we stepped on board the Andalucía (it was named by the way after the place where it was constructed: Andalusia, Spain) together with a noisy crowd, I tried to imagine how the sailors fared a long time ago. Observing the Andalucía’s
middle deck, it was indeed amazing how some 4,000 units of cargo space could have fitted there, aside from the provisions for the sailors and the sailors themselves. Looking at the modern ships around the galleon, Andalucía seemed smaller and looked quite fragile. It’s made entirely of hardwood, a clear indication of the ship’s faithfulness to the original galleons.

Also, as I was looking down on the murky waters of Manila Bay softly lapping at the ship’s bow and stern, a stark realization dawned upon me: the last galleon that arrived in the Philippines was in 1815 (fortuitously, it was named Magallanes). That means it has been 195 years since a galleon last visited our shores!

Welcome back!

Those who were able to enjoy and fathom the Andalucía experience will never look at the galleon trade the same way again.

The pre-launch issue never made it to the newsstands. It was distributed only to selected government offices. The first issue was supposed to be on sale last January of this year (where I wrote a short essay about the importance of agribusiness). I also solicited a brief article from leading economist Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas for an economic forecast of the Philippines for the year 2010.

But the publication of Pananaw kept on stalling due to problems unknown to me. Like that biography I’m working on, it appears that Pananaw is still in developmental hell. And it’s almost a year since the pre-launch issue.

Sometimes I am tempted to believe a relative of mine who belittled me several years ago. Hinahabol yata talagá acó ng malas, ¡hahaha! :D

So I thought it wise to publish online what I wrote for that magazine. Because I am confident that whoever received a copy of it, nobody read my galleon trade article. Sayang namán. At least here in FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, I have a fanbase…

About three or four bored souls.

SEO is the key!

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When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. —Paulo Coelho—

World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart‘s saga is truly an admirable case. Years after the Montreal Screwjob courtesy of WWE owner Vince McMahon, he’s now back in ring action much to the delight of pro-wrestling fans. And he has buried the hatchet, too, with his on-screen and real-life rival, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Bret has learned to forgive and forget. And Vince, his ex-tormentor, has been so remorseful for the evil that he did to “The Excellence of Execution”; Mr. McMahon is now giving back to Bret all the honor and opportunities that “The Pink and Black Attack” rightfully deserve — a spot in the Hall of Fame (for both Bret and, quite recently, for his legendary dad, Stu Hart of The Dungeon fame), a fifth United States Championship, prime matches in pay-per-view and house events, etc.

All’s well that ends well for both wrestling icons.

I mention The Hitman here because like him, I was also screwed out of my job. Just last month. That incident I now call the Alabang Screwjob, LOL! Also, there is a striking similarity between these two screwjobs that had happened to both me and Bret: The Excellence of Execution was excellently screwed in a French-speaking city; me? I was screwed by the Frenchies themselves. Bret was able to forgive and forget. I can turn the other cheek, too. But I will never forget. Ever.

Now, looking back to the complete history of my being a wage slave is not something to be proud of. Whether or not I have made accomplishments in the various trades that I have worked for is not really the point. Besides, I have never made any major impact nor effort in building my “career” because my heart is reserved for another passion (followers of this blog and ALAS FILIPINAS know exactly what I’m talking about). But I did make a lot of friends, and I was able to support my family without bugging my folks. Those two reasons alone make just compensation for compelling myself to work for multinational whorehouses.

Several months ago, I wrote about my plans of escaping this sick, profit-driven society without jeopardizing my financial responsibilities to my wife and four kids. But I failed in that department. So now I’m back to square one. And if I fail again, I will not give up. Because I am really fed up of being a wage slave for the rest of my life. Other than that, I believe that I am not really cut for vocation. Just take a look at these instances:

1) In my very first job, I somehow learned how to dodge punches and coins. I learned a few Karate chops myself, kicking my way out from being beaten up by crazed motorists.
2) In my second job, I turned our company kitchen in Forbes Park into one whole swimming pool, much to the irritation of some of my colleagues (e, sa hindí acó marunong maghugas ng mga plato, eh).
3) Next, I came face to face with the devil himself.
4) In my fourth, I came to realize that a “teacher’s pet” exists not only in school but also in the workplace.
5) The fifth company I worked for was filled with so many cretins that it literally bloodied my lungs.
6) My sixth should have been paradise, until I saw that empire itself crumble just like ancient Rome. I thought it best to leave. But it turned out to be one of the worst decisions I have ever made because….
7) Finally, with my recent employer, I learned that the French pronunciation of the English word “justice” is actually “just us”.

By reminiscing on my hilarious work experiences, I have to reiterate that I am not cut for fuck!n’ vocation. And my recent bosses helped me realize that not-so-sad fact in a forceful and devious manner. If I cannot serve kingdoms, why not be the tyrant myself? LOL! But seriously, I am really done with modern slavery. I now refuse to make myself a firewood for corporate chimneys. Waking up to the sound of the alarm is perhaps the most cruel thing a sane person could to oneself. I do not want to grow old and then look back into my youth with disappointment and say “whatever happened to all those precious days? I have wasted all my Mondays-thru-Fridays on nothing!” Whatever talents that I have is rendered useless inside the unforgiving cubicle farms. I won’t have anything of it anymore.

To quote EDSA 86’s rallying cry: NEVER AGAIN!

I prayed to God fervently for help. Ironically, the good Lord provided the help that I needed in the person of the “god of Pinoy atheism” himself — JB Lazarte (indeed, God works in mysterious ways)! Shortly afterwards, The Magnus taught me the whole nine yards of how to comfortably and enjoyably burn my butt right inside my home forevermore.

Heck, I realized that it’s been right under my nose all these blogging years! And the key to this magic is SEO!

Then a few weeks later, adding up to my excitement and zeal, my ever-supportive wife bought me David “The SEO Expert” Viney’s tips on how to conquer Planet Google!

The startup will not be easy, however. It will take me a couple of months to realize my Bohemian aspirations. So in the meantime, I will need to take the blue pill first and walk amongst the apathetic wage slaves. Gotta “pretend” that everything’s normal. But again, it will only be for a few months. Afterwards, the red pill!

There is no more turning back.

In the meantime, back to regular programming. =)

Our treasured family values: scribbling like a mad potato like the one I saw in a run-down wet market filled with earthworms, screaming beggars, fighting vendors, and siesta-fanatics eager to forget the trauma caused by Ondoy and Pepeng who weren’t even invited to attend Pacman’s victory party over Pacmom’s debut movie about happy families resembling one another but that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, only to realize that it was Tolstoy who said that in Anna Karenina (not the TV soap) just to prove that he’s a prrrrrrrroud Rrrrrrrrrussian and that I’m not… but there’s still sunshine left!

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Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. –Queen Elizabeth II–

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation. –Friedrich Engels

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
–Jane Howard–

I just got to have a family. –Pepe Alas–

*******

Facebook: What’s on my mind?

Pepe Alas Going through very difficult times again: still no nannies for our kids; no choice, can’t go to work; writer’s block; depression; frequent low blood pressure attacks; and worse, our rent-to-own house might be cancelled, and it’s not even our fault. Good grief… why us??? =( Thu at 6:52pm
Pepe Alas I’d really appreciate it if anyone of you would take care two of our four kids for just a few days. Don’t worry: they’re polite and nice and loveable… exactly like their dad! And they’re fun to be with! They might even teach you some Spanish. Por favor, help us… Thu at 7:31pm
Jaime Martinez del Rio Pepe, animo! Ojala pudiera ayudar y estoy seguro de que muchos amigos tuyos lo haran. Si de algo sirven mi apoyo moral y amistad eso lo tienes! Aun cuando nos cubren los nubarrones mas negros aun ahi hay esperanza, y siempre vienen los tiempos mejores. Dios nos ama, ya veras que todo estara mejor! Thu at 7:37pm
Anmie Samson Martinez Relax lang. This too shall pass. Why will your “rent-to-own” contract be cancelled? What happened? Thu at 8:13pm
Leslie Nobleza hay mdmi tlg may gnyang problema.. ngka2ubusan n ata ng yaya ah.. ako pwde, mga 100k/month.hihihi Thu at 8:30pm
Arnaldo Arnáiz hang on there hombre, help is chopperin’ down… Thu at 11:34pm
Ragna Ivez pWdE b kO magAppLy, bUkoD s FrEe TuTpAsTe, sHampU at sAbOn..kLangAn mAy fRee mEaL, 2LuGan, dAILy gMik aLloWaNce (xMpRe pSyaL kMi ng mGa kIdoz) at ang rAte kO eh 3K a day wIth TutOriAL uN ah.. ahahha… kYa nYo yAn… sMiLe p rIn.. aJaaaaaaa!!! Thu at 11:46pm
Joaquin Montenegro Pertierra galing ren ako diyan more than a week ago, hirap talaga! Yesterday at 1:52am
Ann Cecil Evora kaya mo yan cuz! Yesterday at 1:56am
Levi Landrito Soledad You’ll get past through this Panyero, steady lang. Yesterday at 6:52am
Lian Gabrielle Santos Tado!! Este Pepe pala!!! Yakang yaka mo yan Peps!! Kaw pa! You’re no spanish speaking rep for nothing!!! Yesterday at 12:11pm
Pepe Alas Thanks everyone, for the moral support. Being a depressive, I really need it. My wife couldn’t take the pressure. Partly, it’s my fault; I’ve been grouch, myself. Now she already left our home together with two of our youngest boys. Pacasalán co na lang daw yung mga pinagsúsusulat co. I shouldn’t be writing about this here in Facebook. Caso grabe ang samá ng loób co ngayón. Waláng macá-usap, eh. =( Yesterday at 4:58pm
Ragna Ivez wKa n sAd JoMz… sUNdUin mO n cLa, ngHhNtay cLa s u.. b sTrOng.. bOth of U ni JenNy.. oKi?! kEeP oN rOckIn.. aJa… Yesterday at 5:09pm
Ria Gee D hey cheer up its just one of those days..mahal ka non..alam na alam ko yun Yesterday at 6:16pm
Leslie Nobleza sad.. espero q todo salga bien amigo. el Señor va a ayudarte. Today at 1:31pm
Anthony Castillo nid lng ni yeyette ng time space warp, be patient.

Pepe Alas had an ugly fight with Yeyette. Might separate… =( Yesterday at 3:29pm
Din Velilla =( kapatid… sad… i hope you can still fix it! Yesterday at 3:30pm
Ann Michelle Tulod ;( Yesterday at 3:31pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez AY SUS… LILIPAS DIN YAN!!LOVE NYO ISA’T ISA EH DI BA?? Yesterday at 4:25pm
Nante Cole pare maayos din yan. dami nyo na pinag daanan eh. wala yan! kayo pa Yesterday at 4:26pm
Lilet Alas Fernandez Pressured lang kyo kc wala kayong househelp… Yesterday at 4:27pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua ssshh… pepe and yet, talk it over guys :) Yesterday at 4:37pm
Pepe Alas Too late. She already left the house with Jefe and Juanito. I was able to persuade her to leave Krystal and Momay. Krystal is still crying. What did I do to deserve this?… =( Yesterday at 4:55pm
Buenafe DelMundo De Padua … it will be sorted out. however.. Yesterday at 4:59pm
April Ordiales-Katigbak follow her and talk to her… =( Yesterday at 5:23pm
Ai Ivy Chua aaww, if you really love each other and still want to work it out, go to her and talk it out when both of you cools down….things will work out fine buddy, just have faith *hugs* Yesterday at 6:09pm
Maureen Tiamsic-Dulay Anooo? panu na yung forever? Ikaw na lang magpakababa. I know you guys will be able to work it out. Yesterday at 7:06pm ·
Pogi Nazaret jom, I hope you’re not pulling another jomar… You’ve been through so much already… Yesterday at 7:17pm ·
Imee Rabang relax lang chong… baka nag-hahanap lang din si Yeyette ng space…am sure she loves you and your children that much, to give up your family will never be an option. Yesterday at 7:30pm
Jose Alberto Afanador Herrera PEPITO.. TEN CONFIANZA EN DIOS DE QUE TODO TE SALDRÁ BIEN… NO EXISTE NINGÚN MATRIMONIO QUE NO DISCUTA, ASÍ QUE, PON TU FÉ EN JESÚS HIJO DE DIOS TODOPODEROSO Y VERÁS QUE LAS COSAS VOLVERÁN A SU CAUCE. TEN MUCHA PACIENCIA HERMANO, y SOBRETODO DIALOGA CON TU SEÑORA ESPOSA.. SÉ QUE NO DEBE SER FÁCIL PERO SÍ SE PUEDE. TE SALUDA TU HERMANO VENEZOLANO. UN ABRAZO PEPITO. Yesterday at 9:19pm
George Madriaga chillax amigo !!!! Yesterday at 10:22pm
Anthony Castillo hayz… Yesterday at 11:08pm
Maria Rubia Alas are you serious this tym, Jomar? o biro2 lang? Today at 12:11am
Cake Mendoza This IS a heartbreaking post. I hope you two work things out… :'( Today at 12:55am
Jennifer Sanguir May gusto lang sabihin si Yeyette na hindi mo magets joms…importante pa din ang pag uusap. Today at 3:26am
Myla Irene Penson i hope everything will be fine soon… Today at 3:45am
Paolo Raphael Balicao kuya ayusin nio yan..wag pdalos dalos sa desisyon..goodluck Today at 8:59am
Ryan B. Palisocdude kmusta nsa marcelo nko nktira ano cell mo kita kits tyo minsan yngats and regards kay misis heres my no.09062700407 gb Today at 12:03pm
Ryan B. Palisoc dude there are times na mahairap dmi nyo na pinagdaanan wg nio isuko ang laban ………….usap lng yan Today at 12:05pm
Aileen Candido usap lang at magintindihan …mahirap ang iniisip mo Today at 1:02pm
Jesse Soriano mzta na po 11 hours ago

*******

Facebook: messages

Janis Santiago November 20 at 5:40pm

Hola de nuevo! I read your shout out.. what’s wrong??

Pepe, hayaan mo muna si Yeyette, para lang bumaba un tension between the 2 of you… at Para makapagisip kayong dalawa. You know, Yan ang scenario everyday, pagnaghiwalay kayo.. watak-watak un family nyo and your kids will be confused..
Un mga days na di kayo magkasama, both of you will realize that. May be hindi pa today kc asar pa kayo sa isa’t-isa.. Pero, eventually, pagnawala na un inis, then reality will begin to sink in.. both of you will miss each other.. Sometimes, hiwalayan isn’t permanent. May be kaya sya umalis so she could breathe.

Maybe nag freak out lang kayo sa mga pressures ng pagkakataon lately like walang maid, bills to pay, di makapasok sa work etc. and napasukan ng inis. Pero nalampasan nyo naman un dati, so, i’m sure malalampasan nyo ulit to. Ito un time na dapat you pray hard. Ask help from God and healing from angel Raphael. Effective sya, promise. Sabihin mo sa kanya lahat ng problems mo, talk to him like as if he’s just your bestfriend.. Hindi beer ang solution, magdasal ka.
Later, i’ll ask un maid ng neighbor ko na may kamag anak sa Laguna if meron silang alam na gustong mamasukan dyan. God Bless ü

4 na un mga anak ninyo, tsaka pa ba kayo maghihiwalay?? I mean, isipin nyo un mga anak ninyo kc kawawa naman sila if masisira un family nyo..

Hi Janis.

You are right. Ngayón pa nga lang nagpapalitan na camí ng txt messages.

Sobra, talagáng nag-freak out na camí parejo. Ang hirap ng apat ang anác, tapos walá namáng mag-aalagà. May pambayad namán camí, walá namáng mahanap. Tapos yung problema pa namin sa PAG-IBIG Fund at CHMI. Bacá bawiin yung bahay na binilí namin noóng isáng taón. Ang problema hindí sa aquin, eh — dun sa compañíang pinagtátrabahuhan co ngayón. Tapos yung credit card debts namin palaquí na ng palaquí. May pambayad din caso palaguí cong nacacalimutan — ewan co ba. Tapos yung mga dapat cong isulat, hindí co masimulán — dahil nahíhirapan na acóng magsulát. Ang paquiramdám co tulóy, ang bobo-bobo co ná. Casí hindí na talagá acó catulad ng dati: isáng upó lang, may verso na caagád acóng naiisip. Ngayón, tuyót na. Tapos nahihirapan camí sa mga gawáing bahay. Ayoco talagáng gumawà. Ang gusto co lang magsulát, magbasá, magsulát, magbasá…

We’ve been on our own since we eloped 10 years ago. Talagáng waláng camág-anac na puede naming mahiñgán ng tulong. We’ve been away from them ever since. At isá pá, nacácahiya namáng mang-istorbo. Iláng taóng waláng balita sa amin, tapos magpáparamdam lang camí capág may cailañgang tulong.

You know, I’ve caused my wife so much hurt because of my odd behavior. They say it’s a “writer’s thing”, a chronicler’s eccentricity. I do not want to be disturbed whenever I ponder on some things that I need to scribble down. Whenever I do that, I tend to neglect so many things. Including my responsibilities to my family.

I don’t even know how to go further with this explanation (excuse? defense?). It’s so private, yet I tend to go public with it (by posting it here on FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES. It’s stupid, just plain stupid. We should’ve just talked about my dilemma using our language, then post the conversation in ALAS FILIPINAS. But then again, nobody here in the silly Philies would understand us — fu©k the 1987 Constitution for that! Nobody’d understand me. I won’t be able to understand myself. And I want the whole world to understand me…

Yes, I’m begging for poignancy, and that’s just to keep my fu©k!ng unsharpened pen sharp, matulis, con punta, and with much life, enough to wake up sleeping trees bending gently with the breeze, and for sobbing statesmen with the same family problems –hidden from public scrutiny and entertainment– to sit up and orate extemporaneously about my being an out and out individualist, in love with humanities, in love with my psyche, frustrated with society, angry at so many things that I want to control but couldn’t, angry at my childhood, angry at the slipshod masa, angry at the lifestyles of the rich and boring, angry at the present, worried about the future, longing for what was then, all-mixed up, going crackers again…

Sorry Janis, my mind’s a vortex of an uncompounded rage as I write this……. I couldn’t even ask for Archangel Raphael’s intercession right now. I still remember what my friend JB Lazarte told me the last time we met in 2004. He said that when he heard the news that Yeyette and I had a child (Krystal, in 2000), he somehow felt compunctious over what would happen to me as a writer now that I’ll have other responsibilities. But I understood him perfectly well because Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera shared to me the same reaction months before.

“The main reason why my wife and I separated,” said he, “was because of all these.” And he pointed out to me the countless tomes of books scattered on his floor, stacked on his shelves, books and magazines under the bed, inside the washroom, within the kitchen walls. Yeah, it was then why I understood why Paciano Rizal and the other Freemasons kept José Rizal from being married to Leonor Rivera…

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. –Sir Francis Bacon (with ham, eggs, fried rice, and Tang orange juice)–

Old man Gómez’s marriage was a failure. But he achieved so much it makes me want to puke with envy…

Pero normal namán talagá ang mga hindí pagcacá-unawaán sa familia. Minsan, mahirap talagáng maiwasan yun. Pero minsan, may mga away na mabigát. Catulad na lang ng nangyaring itó sa amin ni Yeyette cahapon. Sa tuwíng may mabigát na away, magháhamon ng hiwalayan (at gagatuñgan pa ng mga in-laws). Sometimes, I’d like to think that I’m single again, so that I could do the things that I really want without any hassle.

I’ve never had a bachelor’s life because I got married at a very young age (nineteen). But I’m not exactly after a swinging bachelor’s life. I’m just looking for a sense of freedom… For ‘man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains’ (fu©k you for that, Rousseau). I yearn for liberty, but not exactly from matrimony. I’m refering to something else. And that something else is lurking behind the perpetually rainy mountains of Monte de Maquíling, in the forbidden forests of Mindanáo, in the ancient rivers of the Visayas… I want to embrace what no man has dared embrace before…

But I just couldn’t anymore.

It’s difficult to pretend what I am not. I just couldn’t think of myself without my Krystal, my Momay, my Jefe, my Juanito.

Life will seem to be difficult without Yeyette by my side. Life won’t even be life at all without her and our children.

Just observe what’s happening right now inside my mind while she’s away: deathly neurons exploding like heartache bits inside a microwave-like cerebral cortex — poppin’ and poppin’ and poppin’ and Mary poppin’… I’d go crazy without my family. If I’ll ever lose them, expect to see me makin’ love to a sexless táong grasa soon.

What about my, uh, responsibilities as a scribbler and “self-styled” defender of the national identity silently rumbling within the fabric of the Filipino cosmos? This is the price I have to pay. If I’m destined to have a life like this, then so be it. At the very least, I am not economically downtrodden. And I should be thankful for that.

The road to the truth has never been easy. Damn, I ain’t even a saint. Just who the fu©k am I? I’m just a piece of turd from an eternally swiveling galactic dust going nowhere for aeons.

Thus, I feel like the fictitious messiah of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. I tend to runaway from being crucified.

But that’s just the way it has to be.

Nevertheless, Janis, you made my day, my dear friend. We’re sending text messages now. Yeyette’s a very strong person; I am not. She’s only made weak whenever I scream at her out of my frustration about so many things in life. She’s been very patient with me, especially during my godless days.

Quisiera darte mi agradecimiento, por todo tu apoyo y consejo en estos tiempos malditos de cólera. Te quiero mucho como mi amiga, Janis. Que Dios te bendiga. I’ll go see Yeyette in ATC right now. With our children. For lunch. We’ll talk. About a lot of things. Let’s see what’ll happen. Cacayanin namin itó, lalong lalo na’t alám namin na ‘di camí nag-íisa.

A todos nuestros amigos, gracias por la inquietud que teneis sobre nuestra situación.

¡Y gracias por vuestro amor!

Facebook alert: today is the feast day of Christ The King…

Vicki Belo vs Facebook User: A First!

Posted on

FACEBOOK

The first Facebook libel case happened in the United Kingdom. Businessman Mathew Firsht sued a former school friend over a false personal profile status on the site, including private information about him and untrue allegations about his sexual preferences.

But the first Facebook libel case in the world where the complainant does not even belong to the defendant’s network of Facebook friends is happening right here, right now in the Philippines:

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of celebrity cosmetic surgeon Vicky Belo is challenging activist-lawyer Argee Guevarra, who faces a libel suit for allegedly maligning her in his Facebook shoutouts, to just face the issues in court.

Lawyer Adel Tamano, spokesman of the Belo Medical Group, dared Guevarra to “go to the proper forum, which are the courts of law, instead of engaging in trial by publicity.”

“To date… Guevarra has not filed any case with the courts of law against the Belo Medical Group, which is the proper procedure as it will allow all the parties to present their side. In fact, at the hearing of the libel case, Guevarra did not even attend the preliminary investigation and has opted instead to make statements to the press,” he said in a statement sent to The STAR.

Tamano said Belo was only forced to file the libel case against Guevarra “to protect her good name and reputation.”

He is reacting to a reported statement by Guevarra, who said Belo’s complaint against him will be “an opportunity to invite public attention to the hazards of cosmetic surgery clinics performing surgeries with untrained and unskilled medical practitioners and advertising such services as safe.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Hell hath no fury than a woman... porned?

Hell hath no fury than a woman... porned?

The online community should be very wary about what it’s writing. But!… I’m just curious…

What if I come up with a story that goes this way: “Vicki Belo paid JB Lazarte tons of moolah to distribute Hayden Kho’s ‘educational videos’ with Katrina Halili”? Will I get sued?

Haha! That sounds odd: People of the Philippines vs FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, LOL!

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