RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: July 2009

Urbanities: a twisted version of a bipolaroid urbiculture.

Posted on

A twisted tree for a twisted mind.

A twisted tree for a twisted mind.

Hahaha! I had fun rereading this one!

I wrote and published this crazy blog post more than three years ago in my Friendster blog. I just couldn’t believe how psychotic I can be when it comes to free-form writing, hahaha! But I’ve mellowed down through the years (I no longer write that way).

I hope you’ll have fun reading this as I had.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

URBANITIES: A TWISTED VERSION OF A BIPOLAROID URBICULTURE.
Sa uacás…

The mist has risen.

Yo trabajo en un centro de llamada. La contabilidad que nosotros trabajámolos es sobre la seguridad de salud para los estadounidenses. Es por eso, tengo el privilegio a usar el sitio de web del dicho trabajo…

www.medcohealth.com

It has helped me a lot.

It vivisected my innermost thoughts, hidden desires, and unnoticed urges. For free. My uncontrollable and swinging misdemeanor, my hyperactivity, and to what I thought was my close brush with dementia quite a couple of times… all this I thought were just passing behavioral fancy (if there ever was a term).

At last (and at least), I now confirm that I ain’t one of you.

Society disdains people who don’t conform. Those who violate urbanities are sanctioned, punished. The most common is imprisonment. Those who have difficulty in conforming are secluded in thick-walled buildings, whose rooms are custom-built to contain the unthinkable and unspeakable rage and loathing and unfathomable dreams of the “distorted” psyche. These establishments are better known as (gulp!) mental health facilities. Locally, it’s more popularly known as mental hospitals. Or Elsie. Or Manda.

This revelation is not to confirm that I’ve gone totally crackers (“How do I love thee? Let me smash your face…” / Come live with me and be my X-ray fish). No. It’s just to confirm my state of liberation. The freedom from what’s chaining me to the stinkin’ ground. Yes, like that forgettable line in an old Bush (British grunge band of the late 90s) song, I’m now pissing on self-esteem. If I can’t have it, then I WON’T TAKE IT.

I’ve longed for psychiatric treatment eversince I realized that my peers have been calling me a weirdo, whether they meant it or not. But I couldn’t get any out of shame and because of my walletophobia. I’ve been yearning for Prozac (or its generic, Fluoxetine), but I don’t know where and how to get some (Jonathan Davis, help me).

I had to say this. I thought that my Catholicism would save me from my misanthropy and that kinda stuff — well, I know it can, and would, but due my mixed-up emotional and mental instability, I couldn’t wear it into my spiritual fiber. Christianity teaches that God helps those who are willing to stand up on their own. The problem is, I am uncertain of where, or more aptly, HOW, I stand. I was an atheist for more than two years, no thanks to my fragile curiosity. I know how sorry and putrefied that ideology is. It isn’t even an ideology — it’s downright arrogant stupidity, and stupid arrogance.

I tried to socialize, but I felt alienated. At least now, I have come to the realization that socializing, the urbane way, is just a mere pushpin. Yeah, that’s what all it is. If you disagree, then you’re a lying crappy li’l cretin. That’s what we all are in this world.

Going back to my dilemma. My pusillanimity in relation to maintaining good social relations took its toll on the relationship itself. I was able to create friendships, though they’re quite a few (I’m the complete opposite of my wifey), but lotsa puzzled looks. The “weirdo” tag has been like a signpost sticking on top of my cranium since I was in the 3rd grade.

But y’know what? Come to think of it, I kinda liked.

However, eccentric behavior came to a halt when, quite abruptly, I started raising a family that was never planned. But everything turned out not to be OK, but great! Havin’ a family is perhaps the greatest thing to have ever happened to me, counting all the hardships and trials. All that shit is worth it whenever I look into the happy and contented eyes of my wife, daughter, and son.

But still lingering within the recesses of my cerebral cortex is that fuckin’ itch that never puts my soul to rest. It keeps me wide awake at night — well, that was when I was still on a day job — and restless in my endeavors. For the past two years, for two damn years, I’ve been sterile in my craft. Until a few days ago, when some chuckling witch forced me outta my shell once more… rainy days are here again. Ellipsis, ellipsis, fuckin’ ellipsis.

The Muse beckons not daily, not weekly, not a fuckin’ regular status, but even rarely. I never had a “disturbance” for quite some shitty time. In fact, I even tried to forget the whole idea, thinking it’s all but frivolity and a waste of time, especially that I’m a family man now. I regarded it but a big joke. Writing is a big joke. And the joke’s on those who read them. The writer gets the last laugh.

The Muse took animal form. For the first time, this Muse of poetic fame became tangible right before my very eyes. The Muse rebuked me for not feeding my emaciated ego. So there she was, with whip in hand, ready to punish me for my frigidity.

It took a couple of days before it dawned upon me that I am, at 26 years of age, getting old for all the crap that what I’ve been trying to pretend is me. So one crisp morning, while I was walking home from work, looking for a bus which will take me to San Pedro, La Laguna, I contemplated on my “private future”. I walked, my gait guided by a built-in CDman inside my head, playin’ my fave tunes. Every soul I bump upon in crowded Mutinlupà Market a faceless gargoyle on the attack, the bag on my hand carrying my “baon” my shabby scabbard sword. Conan the Barbarian I’m not, but I’m a listless warrior in my own right. Under the Alabang viaduct, I walk in the middle of the asphalt road; each bus on either side and in front of me, are horrid but lazy, easy-to-slice-like-quickmelt-cheese monsters awaiting my final strike (i.e., when I come aboard their “bellies” to take a seat where I continue to smirk at the faceless throng and their search for subsistence).

In the bus, I asked myself, “What in the name of motherfuck am I doin’ here?!” Like that “creepy” song that still enjoys airtime in alam-mo-na-’yan/i-memorize yan. radio stations being enjoyed by sun-and-soot baked bus/jeepney drivers, I whisper to myself: what the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here…

I’ve got kids, and a lovely, caring wife. A happy house. A god-fearing home. But they are not me. They are a part of me, but they still do not reflect who I really am, and vice-versa. There’s another part of me, a very charitable one, one who wishes nothing but to nourish a very hungry and thirsty ego. There’s a side of me who calls for unity, eager to negotiate with a demanding id. And there’s a sicker side of myself who wishes to outwit a being whom he regards as a dimwit, an inutile being (actually, with no offense to my spiritual conscience, it really is) — jolly ol’ super-ass-life-ego.

Reality check. Back to medco.com. How did it help? It’s just a website. That’s all it is, churning out prescription benefits as well as interesting health info. I always access it at work. Not only did it aid me during my calls, but it helped me a lot in analyzing my mentality. I was able to verify and confirm stuff that were just hunches before. Now that I’ve confirmed some disorders, there are reasons for my fears after all. Mission accomplished. Hurrah.

Kidding aside, I think I should commence another chapter in my uninteresting, Beavis N’ Butthead life, such as: how deal with — and self-treat my bipolar disorder, ADHD, hyperthyroidism, social phobia, hemophobia, and other cute stuff (my bestfriend in Dubai, weirdonextdoor — do visit her FRIENDSTER, she’s on my account, her name’s Rachel Nazaret, and she needs psychohelp too ever since another pal of mine, Mike Lim {don’t visit his FRIENDSTER} fooled her for some slut somewhere in the Metro — said if you don’t know what it’s called, or if you don’t want to name it, call it STUFF). Treatment shall be done in this, whazzit called? blog?, for all you urbanites to chow down. And for y’all to realize how charitable I am in feeding my ego for free (say what?!@*)

Also, I’d like to stress that I now change the definition of urbanity in my turf. I hate those things that are urban. I feel it takes away something that what ee cummings used to perceive as civility. To those who have the quality of an urbanite, I say bullshit to it! I know it did cause me to have all this mental, uh, STUFF that prompted me into writing this.

Henceforth, urbanity here shall be regarded like this: it’s about people like me… and peeps like you. Yep. Like you, oh tired, sleepless one… come with me, take my hand, and let’s have a walk down the asphalt road of dark urbanities…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: I copied the above post from my Friendster blog because I have many things to do today. I don’t have much time to write something new. =(

The Country’s “Green Czar” Should Spare Pampanga’s Iconic Acacia Trees!

Posted on
A photo in the frontpage of the Manila Bulletin, formerly the nation's leading newspaper.

A photo in the frontpage of the Manila Bulletin, formerly the nation's leading newspaper.

Not too long ago, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed herself as the Philippines’ “green czar”. It drew criticisms from various environmental groups. Nobody from the green sector seemed to trust her “green leadership” especially due to several controversies she’s been involved with.

So far, she’s done nothing newsworthy for the environment. But with the above photo which I saw in today’s issue of the Manila Bulletin, I believe this is the right time for Mrs. Arroyo to make herself worthy of her designation and “dedication” to protect our country’s environment no matter how small the task or the issue at hand is.

The caption in the paper says:

OLD ACACIA TREES IN PAMPANGA. These old acacia trees in Pampanga, several of which are 50 years or older, are scheduled to be cut down to give way for a road widening project of the government. The Save the Trees Coalition has assailed the cutting of some 5,000 trees along the length of MacArthur Highway from San Fernando City to Angeles City.

Hopefully, when Arroyo gets back from her 45-minute meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington, she’ll find some time to take this matter into her own “environmental hands” if she is really serious AND sincere about being the country’s environmental czar. Besides, Pampanga is her and her father’s hometown. She should also at least do something to save those iconic acacia trees which have beautified MacArthur Highway for many decades. The nation is already knowledgeable that she has all the political power to save these trees, to have them replanted elsewhere instead of being cut down for good. What the nation needs to know is if she has the political will to do it.

It would be hypocritical of Arroyo if she does nothing to save these trees when one of the things she would discuss with Obama is another environmental issue: climate change.

Philippine Travel Blogs: The Best Way To Promote The Country Online!

Posted on
This photo was taken from Ivan About Town, one of the most popular and widely known travel blogs in the Philippines.

Ivan About Town, one of the most popular and widely known travel blogs in the country.

Among the achievements that wasn’t given much limelight in Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s recently concluded State of the Nation Address (SONA) was the success story of Philippine tourism.

Arroyo mentioned it briefly yet powerfully:

“In the last four years tourism almost doubled. It is now a $5 billion industry.”

Many critics of Arroyo are still in doubt over the accuracy of the economic figures she mentioned in her SONA. But observers, especially in the travel and tourism sector, could never deny the sudden growth and liveliness of Philippine Tourism these past few years. This is due to an aggressive and relentless advertising campaign by the Department of Tourism, led by Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, to promote the country not only to foreigners but to Filipinos as well. It is because the DOT is knowledgeable of the fact that thousands of Filipinos are themselves foreigners in their own country.

Many years ago, it was the dream of countless Filipinos to travel abroad not really for work but just for the sake of traveling. Nowadays, however, Filipinos have already set their eyes at home. Why travel to other parts of the world when there are as many breathtaking sights to discover as there are in other countries? Besides, there are still many scenic spots left unphotographed nor visited by the mainstream public.

Take the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan or the white coastlines of Caramóan, Camarines Sur, for instance. These two, now a favorite of many locals as well as foreigners, were virtual unknowns as compared to the mammoth popularity of, say, Mayón Volcano of Albay and the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. The previous decade, Palawan’s underground river and Caramóan’s beaches were almost unknown. But now both places are in the mainstream of public consciousness.

Aside from the laudable projects of the Mr. Durano and the Department of Tourism, the local tourism sector has several anonymous people to thank for. And these are the online advocates of tourism (not to mention patriotism), the webloggers!

Travel writer and heritage advocate Ivan Henares and his hugely popular website IVAN ABOUT TOWN leads this online group of travel freaks who relentessly walk the endless mile of Philippine paradise. The website won The Best Travel Blog for 2007 in the inaugural The Philippine Blog Awards which I and my daughter were fortunate enough to witness. But unfortunately, Ivan wasn’t there to collect his trophy (he was out traveling! LOL!).

There’s no need for further introductions for Mr. Henares (he is also a member of the Heritage Conservation Society); all he needs to do is to take a bow and do some more traveling here in the Philippines because recently, I began to notice that he has included foreign trips in his blog as well. In my point of view, I don’t find it appropriate for a Philippine travel blog (especially since a rabid nationalism has been rubbed off on me by works of nationalist writers I follow). But of course, it’s his prerogative to do that and I have no right to meddle. He’s still doing a fantastic job for the local tourism sector as well as heritage conservation.

Next is PINOY TRAVEL BLOG, another popular travel blog which also focuses on local travel and tourism destinations. It is maintained by some of the best young writers/bloggers in the country today: Palanca Awardee and netrepreneur Abe Olandrés (popularly known as “Yuga” in the local internet scene), Marc “Hoop” Avellana, Arnold Zafra, and a host of others.

PHILIPPINE TRAVEL BLOG, much like PINOY TRAVEL BLOG, is also maintained by a host of contributors who have made traveling the archipelago their passion. Some of the contributors are Melo Villareal (travel photojournalist and online publisher), Jocelyn Dimaculangan, and Enrico Dee (who also contributes for PINOY TRAVEL BLOG).

We also have TRAVELER ON FOOT which also has a strong following. I had the pleasure of meeting this rather “mysterious traveler” last year. I said mysterious because, up to now, he still refuses to show himself up in his website! Instead, Mr. Traveler usually brings his son along with him and takes pictures of the latter in front of any scenic spot on hand. Quite unique and intriguing.

And of course, there’s WITH ONE’S PAST by my dear friend and fellow hispanista Arnold Arnáiz. Although his blog deals mainly with Philippine history and occasional socio-political commentary, “Arnaldo” is also using it as a platform to familiarize his readers with a rich historico-travel information on Philippine provinces. He’s currently based in Cebú and has already traveled to many Visayan provinces.

One of my favorites is PINOY MOUNTAINEER (especially since I’m a mountaineer myself). Although not exactly a travel blog, it somehow falls under this category because it’s proprietor, Gideon Lasco, travels, climbs, and documents almost every mountain there is in the Philippines. As of this writing, he has climbed over 50 mountains in the Philippines. This website (launched with the help of Ivan Henares) is a gold mine of information about Philippine mountains, popular or not, as well as a rich source of mountaineering knowledge.

LAKWATSERA DE PRIMERA (and it’s true… it’s not just another travel blog!) is another interesting online travel diary. This one is highly recommended since it contains awesome and much larger photographs of the places featured in it. You’ll also enjoy reading this particular blog post taken from the said travel blog: 100 THINGS I AM PROUD ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES.

My own, ALAS FILIPINAS, tries to become a travel blog, too. But due to time constraints, it remains mainly as my angst bin, hahaha! But seriously speaking, whenever I have time, I travel to different places and blog about it for the reading consumption of the Spanish-speaking netizens. Try this link, for instance.

I am sure there are still lots of local travel blogs around. And there will be many more to come. Wittingly or unwittingly, they should now be cognizant of the fact that they have made themselves Philippine online heroes because they have featured many places, cultures, and other aspects about the Philippines that have never been shown to the world before. Furthermore, travel advocacy promotes ecotourism and environmentalism, two very important attributes in Philippine tourism.

To all of you out there, thank you very much your travel advocacies and for patronizing our own. Helping out Philippine tourism is tantamount to saving the country as well.

One Angry SONA

Posted on
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (in a fuschia-colored terno designed by Inno Sotto) delivering a rancorous SONA.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (in a fuschia-colored terno designed by Inno Sotto) delivering a rancorous SONA.

“The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics.”

Arguably that was the strongest line from yesterday’s hour-long State of the Nation Address (SONA) which was delivered by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

As a trained economist, Arroyo has always strived to be known as an economic workhorse. And so she peppered her 9th (and supposedly last) SONA with fabulous figures of economic growth that, many will say, are too good to be true. Therefore, the SONA was applauded 124 times this year (as against last year’s 104 and 2007’s 103 — in itself a feat!).

Her SONA, however, wasn’t all talk about development and a “strong economy.” Since it comes but once a year, she made it an opportunity to fireback at her political foes and critics.

While a strong downpour outside the Batasang Pambansâ disappointed thousands of anti-Arroyo protesters, she made sour slights and indirect hints against those who have been heavily criticizing her presidency. But the unfortunate unnamed receivers of Arroyo’s rancorous remarks were pretty obvious.

In one instance, Arroyo declared:

Our efforts prodded the pharmaceutical companies to come up with low-cost generics and brands like RiteMed. I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicine law over the weak version of my critics. The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs. Thank you, Congressmen Cúa, Álvarez, Birón and Locsín.

Pursuant to law, we are placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you really want something done, just do it. Do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t pander. And don’t say bad words in public.

It is widely known that Arroyo has been at odds against Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas over the issue of cheaper medicines. Whatever their disagreement over the said issue, they certainly didn’t jive because last December, an angry Mar Roxas unleashed perhaps the most unparliamentary remark –a foul language at that– ever heard in the history of the Philippine Senate as a negative reaction towards Arroyo’s stance on cheaper medicines. And so on her SONA, Arroyo retaliated quite hilariously with a funny-sounding Brit verb that is rarely used nowadays: pussyfoot

What in the world does pussyfoot mean? The following definition is fromhttp://dictionary.reference.com:

puss-y-foot [poo s-ee-foot] verb, noun, plural -foots.
–verb (used without object)

1. to go or move in a stealthy or cautious manner.
2. to act cautiously or timidly, as if afraid to commit oneself on a point at issue

Arroyo even thanked Congressmen Junie Cúa, Antonio Álvarez, Ferjenel Birón and Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsín, Jr., without acknowledging Roxas who was, in the first place the staunchest advocate of passing a cheaper medicines law.

The next victim of Arroyo’s seething anger was friend-turned-nemesis, former House Speaker José de Venecia, Jr.:

The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.

It’s interesting to note that in previous SONAs, Joe de V have had his palms all red due to numerous applauses he gave to his ex-friend.

Finally, Arroyo left no kind words unannounced for her bitter rival, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada:

I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my position for personal profit. Many who accuse me have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime.

We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves.

Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.

Arroyo was all smiles all throughout the controversial SONA. And those smiles weren’t just because she was declaring good news to her constituents, but because finally she was able to garner some payback time against those who have been attacking her left and right these previous months.

Yesterday’s weather and Arroyo. Both were on the same mood.

Regrettably, this angry SONA of hers began with a solemn prayer (for former President Corazón Aquino who is currently battling colon cancer). It’s quite ironic to begin an event with a prayer and then follow it up with a barrage of attacks against critics and rivals, not to mention questionable claims of economic progress.

Questionable. Because, you see — have all these proud declarations of development trickled down to a massive hungry populace?

Sic Transit Gloria: Arroyo’s 9th State of the Nation Address

Posted on
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

As of this writing, thousands of anti-Arroyo rallyists have already converged along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to listen to her ninth (and supposedly final) State of the Nation Address (S0NA) which will commence moments from now.

It was also reported that at least eight senators (all from the opposition) and other militant lawmakers are planning to boycott the said event. This could mark the first time in the history of Philippine politics that numerous lawmakers will skip the president’s SONA.

All this may no longer negatively affect Arroyo’s mindset. Since grabbing the presidency in 2001, she’s certainly become accustomed to collective ad hominems and massive rallies against her. With all types of allegations being hurled against her person and her government through the years, she’s been through hell and back (what with all those countless protest rallies and coup d’états she had experienced). But what could certainly be troubling her mind all this time is a scathing editorial from the influential US daily The Washington Times. And this editorial was released at a most inopportune time: yesterday (Manila time), on the eve of her SONA.

The editorial criticizes US President Barack Obama’s decision to welcome Arroyo to The White House this coming Friday (Thursday, Washington time). It will be his young presidency’s first visit by a Southeast Asian leader. But this doesn’t sit well with the newspaper’s team of opinion generators.

The newspaper did its homework quite well because it cited Arroyo’s current standing in public approval polls (a ghastly 26 percent), the growing discontent of the masses (“Street demonstrations against her are routine and growing in size.”), not to mention her questionable victory during the 2004 polls (which many believe should have been won by local film legend and Filipino idol Fernando Poe, Jr.) and the bribe and extortion scandals. Furthermore…

The Philippines has become less free during Mrs. Arroyo’s 10-year presidency. According to Freedom House, “Corruption is extensive throughout the Philippine state apparatus, from the lowest to the highest levels. Bribes and extortion seem to be a regular element of the complex connections among bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen, the press and the public.” In Transparency International’s 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Philippines ranked 141st out of 180 nations on a list in which No. 1 is the least corrupt. The level of Philippine corruption is tied with Iran and Yemen and worse than in dodgy places such as Libya and Nigeria.

The corruption problem is affecting Manila’s relationship with other allies. A senior Philippine official told The Washington Times that German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent Mrs. Arroyo an ultimatum last month that Berlin-Manila ties are at risk if the Philippines doesn’t pay $60 million owed to the German government for Manila’s new international airport. The Philippine government seized the airport and refused to pay a German company — which is partly owned by the German state — for its construction after revelations that the contract allegedly was laden with millions in bribes and kickbacks.

There are also serious human-rights abuses in the archipelago. According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, “The Philippines ranks sixth worldwide among countries that fail to prosecute cases of journalists killed for their work.” Between 1992 and 2008, at least 34 journalists were murdered in the Philippines; there were convictions in only three of these cases. Four more members of the press were killed this June alone. Opposition voices regularly disappear as well.

Surprisingly, it is apparent that the editorial shares the sentiments of many Filipinos, and in much precise fashion. For some political pundits and analysts, it remains to be seen if Arroyo’s spin doctors and speechmakers did hasty overnight revisions to her SONA just to counter the editorial. Or perhaps Arroyo will simply ignore it.

Whether or not Arroyo ignores the editorial content of The Washington Times in her SONA, the fact of the matter is that it has already disturbed her enough. She nor her spokesperson doesn’t have to admit this. Any major leader of a nation who has been loyal to the most powerful country in the world must win not only the attention of the American president but the American press as well. For as in most countries, the media still guide the flow of a body politic’s opinion.

Obama is still young. And such political youthfulness carries the innate wisdom to listen to the wise discernment of the Fourth Estate.

On The Tridentine Mass

Posted on
Papal Basilica of Saint Peter

Papal Basilica of Saint Peter

Two nights ago, I was chatting with a young chap from UPLB. He was practising his Spanish with me. Our conversation then shifted to Catholicism. And this young man impressed with me with his knowledge of the Catholic Church.

I was born a Catholic, but wasn’t really a devout one. But my father is. He comes from a very religious family. Anyway, my dad is from a generation whose elders were brought under a strict Spanish Catholic environment. I was what you’d consider a Catholic by affiliation, and that is all. I was nonchalant about my religion, and even ignorant about most of its teachings.

When I stepped into the world of college life, I was exposed to a myriad of ideas, precepts, beliefs: Iglesia Ni Cristo, Marxism, Freemasonry, atheism, born-again peeps, etc. Since I’m a person who reads a lot, I explored and researched about other creeds. In the end, this (mis)led me to believe that the religion I grew up with is a false one. =(

After brief stints with other groups, the funny thing was I ended up as an atheist for the next two years or so!

But as they say, God works in mysterious ways.

I was brought back to the Catholic fold last 2003 due mainly to personal researches about my country’s Spanish past. Along the way, I was able to discover and realize the leyenda negra (black legend) being hurled against the Spanish clergy. Ironically, I ended up defending the Spanish friars against everyone attacking them although I was still an atheist! Little by little, my “reconversion” was on its way. I soon became an agnostic. And one September night of that year, as I was pondering whether to have my wife abort our second child or not, God gave me a sign.

You see, 2003 was the worst and arguably one of the best and memorable years of my life. I was jobless, disowned by my folks and various relatives, living in a decrepit bodega, penniless, you name it. It was during this year when I did nothing but read, write, ponder, steal books, ponder some more, dream. And since I was (surprisingly) having difficulty in getting employed, I thought that having another baby was too much (I was already then an agnostic during this time). I was goading my wife for days to give up the baby. I was giving her horrible scenarios of what might happen to us if she doesn’t accept abortion as a solution: poverty, poverty, and lotsa poverty. Finally, I was able to make her say yes. We planned of going to Quiapò to buy an infamous pill (Cytotec) to kill the fetus.

I admit, however, that I felt uncertain and very afraid of doing it. So before committing the crime, I prayed to God for the very first time in years. While walking desolately along Chino Roces Avenue one night on my way home, I muttered, “Lord, if you are indeed real, show me a sign —any sign— that you disapprove of this abortion”.

The sign came that very night. Upon arriving home, I talked again to my wife (without telling her that I prayed). I told her that we have to abort the fetus soon, the next day, while the it is not yet in human form (an infamous argument by “pro-choice” advocates). Quietly, she agreed. And as we slept together, I thought of my prayer – I had no idea what kind of sign I would receive… if God were ever real. After a few minutes, we drifted to sleep.

But moments later, my wife woke me up. I was surprised — she was crying! In between sobs, she said she’d rather not have an abortion. She said she’s willing to face anything —EVERYTHING— just to keep the baby. I embraced her, and broke into tears as well.

It was no coincidence or anything like that. It couldn’t have been any clearer: that was the sign I’ve been waiting for…

GOD IS REAL.

And so a few months later, a very handsome José Mario Guillermo II P. Alas —Momay— was born. And my stupid fear of poverty-ridden-days-ahead was just that: plain stupid. Because now our kids are four, and we’ve never been better than before!

José Mario Guillermo II Alas y Perey

José Mario Guillermo II Alas y Perey

 ***

Fast forward to today. Me and my wife will have been married for a decade this coming September 13 (our anniversary). Although we’ve been married civilly, we haven’t had a church wedding yet.

It’s every Filipina’s dream of being walked down the aisle. As a Catholic husband, it’s everything for me as well. The rite of marriage for devout Catholics is very sacred. And so we’ve decided to be wed under Church ceremonies. It is never enough to remain married only in pen and paper or in the eyes of the law.

And since it’s going to be our tenth year together, we decided to marry under Church ceremonies. And my wife even went a step further by suggesting that it should be a Latin/Tridentine Mass wedding.

Great idea!

 ***

A Latin Mass wedding in Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, Bohol

A Latin Mass wedding in Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, Bohol

My wife has always known my passion for everything Catholic. In fact, she learned about the Tridentine Mass only from me. But although it was I who taught her about the Latin Mass, I’ve never even thought of marrying under that rite!

I’ve learned about the “reality” of the Latin Mass during those bleak days of 2003 when I was deep into Philippine history. Although renowned Philippine historian Fernando Ziálcita will not agree with me (he once told me that one shouldn’t interrelate Christianity to Philippine history), one cannot help studying Philippine history vis-à-vis Philippine Christianity (because I firmly believe that the Philippines is a Christian creation; Spain was but a tool). One particular book which really grabbed my attention was Till The End of Time With the Mass of All Time written by the late Atty. Teodoro R. Domínguez (A.A., L.L., B.), himself an ex-atheist who converted to Catholicism. Funds for the publication of this controversial book was from a certain Therese Villanueva de Vargas.

It was from this book where I learned about the brief history of the Tridentine Mass, the alleged “Lefebvre schism”, the crisis within the Vatican, the Society of St. Pius X, even Canon Law (I wasn’t really familiar with it before). In this book I was also introduced to then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI; he was then Prefect of the highly important Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now headed by William Cardinal Levada). And through this book, I instantly became a fan of Cardinal Ratzinger (that’s why when our beloved Pope John Paul II passed away, I was rooting for Cardinal Ratzinger to take his post — and my prayers were answered!).

I got this book from my mentor, the eminent Filipino scholar, linguist, and historian Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera. And I was even intrigued when Señor Gómez told me that he once contacted Atty. Domínguez for a telephone interview. Señor Gómez said he had a hard time in doing so because he had to go through a lot of people and a tedious verification process before finally being able to speak to the erudite lawyer. Señor Gómez also mentioned to me that Villanueva de Vargas’ various businesses were ruined, and that she went bankrupt.

The reason behind this? Señor Gómez had an accusing finger on Freemasonry, the nemesis of our religion (but that’s another story). I am not so sure if all this information is correct. Well, I’m not saying that Señor Gómez was exaggerating or something to that effect (he’s not that kind of person). It’s just that I’m surprised about the intriguing nature and controversiality of this issue (I just hope I could contact Ms. Villanueva de Vargas).

DOMINGUEZ

Atty. and Mrs. Teodoro R. Domínguez, known defenders of the TRUE Catholic Church in the Philippines

I tried contacting Atty. Domínguez myself (I think it was also 2003 or early 2004). I found his number in the phone directory (because Señor Gómez lost his contact number) and dialled him. The person who answered the phone was Mrs. Domínguez herself! She was a very polite lady (quite young if you ask me), but I could easily tell from the suspicion from her voice. She asked me how I got their number, what my agenda was, and all that verification stuff. I simply told her that I had the opportune chance of reading her husband’s book and had wanted to attend a Latin Mass. She said that her husband was already too old and weak to accept calls (by then, he was already receiving the Holy Communion privately at their house), but politely told me that I can attend one of their services in a church somewhere in Quezon City (Our Lady of Victories Church in New Manila). I didn’t ask anymore, but apparently she’s hiding her husband against some form of “threat”. She also told me briefly about her husband’s tiff against the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin who was the first to oppose the Society of St. Pius X, calling the members schismatic (the Domínguez couple were members of this Catholic Traditionalist group).

Although I wasn’t allowed to speak with Atty. Domínguez, I learned a lot from his nice spouse.

Then a few years later, as I was searching his name in the internet, I found out that he already passed away… =(

I won’t go into details of the book lest this blog post becomes a book review. But all I can say is that it opened my eyes to the crisis —the current crisis— that the Holy Catholic Church is currently facing. And that is one major reason why I no longer attend Sunday masses in churches near us (although I stop by to pray and pay my respect). Because such masses are orchestrated by the “Conciliar Church”.

In a jiffy, here are sixty-two reasons why, in conscience, I cannot attend the New Mass of the Conciliar Church.

Let me add a sixty-third reason: Facebook and the internet!

That was a joke.

Metro Laguna Cited As The Country’s Next BPO Hub.

Posted on

The proliferation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies in the country is virtually everywhere, even in faraway Mindanáo. But the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) cited Metro Laguna as the Philippines’ next hotbed for BPOs.

Province of La Laguna and surrounding areas.

Province of La Laguna and surrounding areas.

Metro Laguna is comprised of La Laguna municipalities and cities that are near Metro Manila: Santa Rosa, Cabuyao, Calambâ, Los Baños, and San Pablo. I’m not sure if San Pedro (where I currently reside) and Biñán are included. But I believe they should be, especially since Biñán is the home of Laguna Technopark, Inc.

Santa Rosa tops the list of Metro Laguna cities and municipalities as the number one place to setup a BPO company; it is being positioned as the center where BPOs and IT companies can run and operate offices, while neighboring cities can supply the skilled workers.

To tap Metro Laguna as the country’s next premier business hub for BPOs is a very wise gesture in my opinion. This is because, although being tagged as “Metro”, La Laguna is still a province; that would easily help BPO companies to incur more cost-saving strategies (setting up businesses outside Metro Manila is cheaper). Aside from that, its proximity from the country’s financial capital (particulary Makati City) could hardly be ignored.

Meanwhile, in the municipality of San Pedro, Mayor Calixto R. Catáquiz is planning to turn a large tract of undeveloped land in his municipality as a BPO hub (as part of his San Pedro Vision 2020 project). The northwestern part of San Pedro is still largely undeveloped and uninhabited. Furthermore, San Pedro’s telephone area code is non-provincial, i.e., it has the same area code as that of Metro Manila (02), making it easier for these BPOs’ telephony systems to be connected to the metropolis where all major business actions take place.

Let us keep our fingers crossed that more good news like this for our country’s BPO workers (collectively known as the nation’s Bagong Bayani) will prevail in the newstands.

%d bloggers like this: