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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Gibo-Gwen tandem: a powerhouse duo? Says who?

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Gilbert Teodoro has Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng to thank for. Because of these tempests, he’s all over the news helping out the victims. An added plus for his presidential campaign.

Because if not for these typhoons, he would have been just another candidate.

Now comes his surprising choice for his veep:

Gibo-Gwen tandem emerging for Lakas

The tandem of Lakas-Kampi standard-bearer Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for the 2010 elections is emerging as negotiations for what the administration sees as a powerhouse team-up are nearing the homestretch, officials said yesterday.

A highly placed source privy to the talks said the negotiations to have Garcia as the Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s vice presidential candidate have reached “the crucial stage and an announcement would be made anytime soon.”

The ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD is expected to hold its national convention on Nov. 12 in Cebu where the party is set to formalize the selection of Teodoro and his running mate for the 2010 elections.

“It was Gibo (Teodoro’s nickname) who really wanted Gwen, and she was the real target,” the source said amid reports that the ruling party was wooing either Sen. Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) or Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos to be the defense chief’s running mate.

“This is a powerhouse team. They are both young and well-experienced executives with good credentials and track record. Together, that counts a lot for the reconstruction and reform in the country,” the official said. philstar.com

Gibô Teodoro seems to be in a quandary.

Gibô Teodoro seems to be in a quandary.

A powerhouse team?

In a country where popularity in surveys counts so much, this is no powerhouse team at all. Aside from being the governess of historic Cebú island, who in the blue hell is Gwen?

Only time will tell. And if they ever win in the upcoming 2010 Philippine National Elections (very possible since this hapless country of ours is still under the chains of US imperialism and its local lackeys), a big question mark will be placed on top of the victory marquee of this so-called “powerhouse team”.

There will be no Christmas celebration in Malacañang and Congress this year.

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No Christmas in Malacañang and Congress this year, 2009.

A burning Christmas tree is what GMA deserves.

A burning Christmas tree is what GMA deserves.

There will be no Nativity Scene in Malacañang and Congress this year!

The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in the Malacañang and Congress this Christmas season.

This isn’t for any religious reason.

They simply have not been able to find Three Wise Men in Malacañang and Congress.

A search for a Virgin continues.

There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable.

*******

Special thanks to Auntie Angie Alas-Feasey for forwarding this hilarious email!

Loren’s shopping for a presidentiable.

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Vice Presidential hopeful Loren Legarda is shopping around for a Presidential candidate for the upcoming 2010 Philippine National Elections.

Real estate magnate Manny Villar’s going to be an expensive one. Noynoy Aquino’s a classic brand name (and besides, Mar Roxas is with him already). Chiz Escudero — to cheesy. There’s Gilbert Teodoro, but he’s not a popular product.

Too bad Erap’s already expired.

Visiting Typhoon Ondoy's victims: a perfect way to campaign:

Visiting Typhoon Ondoy's victims: a perfect way to campaign:

Pacquiao flies to Los Ángeles

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Pacquiao flies to Los Ángeles.

That’s one of the main sports stories in today’s Inquirer Sports.

Manny Pacquiáo — flying?!

Of course he can! He’s WAPAKMAN!!!

Reunion with three friends.

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“The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories.”

The workload in my current company makes me want to disappear from this world with just a snap of a finger. Last night’s shift was hell. Too many issues, slow internet, bad vibes, and documents drowning my thoughts. All of us weren’t able to finish the job. And it has been weeks like that. Some of us feel that we lack manpower. Some feel that there were bad project decisions from the higher ups. Some felt sick (literally). Me, I just feel like I want to fly away from it all.

I was supposed to continue all unfinished tasks at home. But…

It was a reprieve when my wife fetched me and broached the idea of visiting a childhood friend of mine, Christian Caballero, who works in the building next to ours. I already know that Tanò has been working in the other building for a long time (thanks to our office concierge, Oliver). But we haven’t had the chance to see each other due to our busy schedules.

Our bunch was the baaaadest and nastiest in our own turf in some posh yet decrepit village in Parañaque City, my “dirty south, baby!” hometown. We’ve known each other since kids. I was estranged from my childhood pals when I was kicked out of our home because I chose to stay with my pregnant girlfriend (who’s now my wife) instead of being with my family and continue schooling. Since then, I began seeing my Parañaque homies sporadically. And the last time I saw Christian and the rest of the gang was back in 2006, but only for a short drunken while. We weren’t even complete that night. We’ll, now there’s Facebook; many of my childhood pals are already in my list: Jerome, John Michael, Dennis, Angerico, etc. But of course it’s a different feeling when you get to see your long lost friends eye-to-eye and in the flesh.

We were all delighted to see each other of course. He’s also engaged to his college sweetheart Lesleyann Tugnáo of Majayjay, La Laguna. Their wedding will be this coming December in Sanctuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Ciudad de Macati. And I’m expecting to see the rest of the gang on his wedding day. =)

Congratulations and best wishes, Christian and Lesleyann! May the good Lord bless you always!

*******

Next stop was our current town, San Pedro, La Laguna.

After visiting Krystal and Momay at school, we went to Tita Deming, the manager of our apartment, to pay for the monthly rent. She works in the Municipal Hall. And since we were there already, I thought of introducing Wifey to our town mayor, Calixto R. Catáquiz, whom I haven’t seen since the death of his father. I just wanted to introduce my wife to him, and perhaps setup a date with him to talk about whether he’s still interested in publishing the biography Arnold and I wrote for him last year (it was even reviewed by our country’s first beauty queen, Gemma Cruz de Araneta, in her Manila Bulletin column “Landscape”).

Well, it turned out that he is still very interested in it. But the problem is proper timing. Aside from his father’s untimely death, Typhoon Ondoy ruined all of San Pedro’s lakeshore villages. Now he has the task of taking care of thousands of San Pedrense families who have lost their homes and who are now sheltered in various evacuation centers scattered around San Pedro. He invited us to join him for lunch. I wasn’t able to say no. And my wife, who was star struck (hehehe), urged me to come along.

We ate at Max’s Restaurant in –coincidentally– Parañaque City, my hometown! There we discussed lots of things about town politics, national politics, the 2010 Philippine National Elections, and of course, his biography.

He also mentioned to me interesting facts that Arnold and I haven’t included yet in his unpublished biography, A DATE WITH DESTINY: One More Challenge! (The Life Story of San Pedro, Laguna Mayor Calixto R. Cataquiz). When he was still the chairman of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, he made several project recommendations to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and even Malacañang Palace to help safeguard and uplift the status quo of Laguna de Bay. For one, he recommended that LLDA should adopt a system for Laguna de Bay which is very similar to the Dutch Flood Barrier System. Mayor Calex also once tackled environmental and developmental issues of the lake with renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr., who last month declared that the the national government already foresaw the massive floods of September 26.

The mayor also cited sewage, water treatment, and other waterworks projects that he had envisioned for Laguna de Bay. He also forwarded the idea of taking care of not just the lake but its tributaries as well. He also complained LLDA’s lack of policepower which should have enforced environmental rules. And he also lamented the fact that the LLDA was not under the direct supervision of the Office of the President (this would have ensured the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s commitment to a “green” Philippines). But all of these were ignored. If they weren’t ignored, the horrible displacement of thousands of lakeshore families –not to mention the death toll which the flood had left– wouldn’t have happened.

We also discussed his San Pedro 2020 Vision.

My wife had a grand time listening to the Mayor’s candid stories. Afterwards, we spent a relaxing afternoon at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.

*******

The next reunion was, well, via SMS only. =(

Mayor Calex and his convoy drove us home. On our way home, I remembered having kept the cellphone number of someone else from my past: Ka Danilo Balao.

I never thought that I’d be able to communicate with a dear comrade in Ka Dan. He is from the Ybanag tribe of the northern lands. We were both socialist activists during our college days, members of the militant Liga ng Sosyalistang Kabataan (in political solidarity with the Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa). Me, Danilo, and a host of other socialist youth shared each other’s tribulations, joys, hunger, and sufferings. Like my Parañaque boys, we at LSK were also a bad bunch (giving the League of Filipino Students some headache which they deserved). Aaaahhh, the days of yore! I really stopped growing when I reached 30 years of age!

I got his number several days ago from another long lost activist friend, mad chemist Allan Jay Q. Martírez (my “discoverer”!) whom I rediscovered in Mike Chanco’s / JB Lazarte’s (my other “discoverer”!) controversial website Flesh Asia Daily 3.0.

So here I print our text conversation:

PEPE: Danilo Balao
DANILO: Hu r u?
PEPE: Visit https://filipinoscribbles.wordpress.com and you will know, my old friend…
DANILO: Hav n0 tym searchin.. Y cant u say it n0w?
PEPE: Because I do not want the military to trace me. You know the drill, Ka Dan.
DANILO: Hahaha.. U.G.? Ur kidding me.. H0w can it pocbly be? Wat org?
PEPE: Mabuhay ang LIGA NG KOMUNISTANG KABATAAN!
DANILO: Damn! Is this true? Wer did u get my numbr?
PEPE: José Mario Alas Fans Club
DANILO: Hahaha! Yeah..! Wats crakin man? Wat happen 2 u? I’ve been searching u 4 d last 3 years. H0w did u realy get my numbr?
PEPE: I have been monitoring you for the last five years. I was sent to kill you, Gerry, Page, and Allan Jay. But I couldn’t because you’re my friends.

I got no more reply from good ol’ Dan. I must’ve totally freaked him out with my last text, so…

PEPE: Just kidding, dude.

*******

I miss my other friends. I miss the past. I miss the Spanish past although I’ve never lived in that era. I grew up listening to We Built This City On Rock N’ Roll, Footloose, and Rico Mambo. I cried when Atreyu’s horse Atrax was taken by the Swamps. Garfield still had farm friends (beats Facebook’s FarmVille), and the Christmas Belén in C.O.D. (Cubáo, Quezon City), and so much more.

I’m getting old, and dying.

Shucks. Nostalgia fever setting in again.

The only bad thing that happened this afternoon? My wife’s almost-a-decade-old cellphone camera was out of battery. =(

Holiday! Celebrate!

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Too many holidays raising BPO firms’ costs

More than the uncertainty of the upcoming elections and the weakening dollar, business process outsourcing industry players in the country are concerned about Malacañang’s penchant for long weekends as this affect their business costs.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines president and chief executive Oscar Sanez said the industry’s cost of doing business remained high, and this was exacerbated by the many holidays that required companies to pay their employees extra.

“It’s good that (Malacañang) gives us a list of the holidays in advance as this gives companies a chance to include these extras into their planning. It’s the unannounced holidays that we’re concerned about,” he said in an interview. (Inquirer.net)

Uh, BPO bigwigs… I think Arroyo’s planning to declare Halloween as a national holiday, too. Her grandchildren needs to go trick or treatin’, LOL!!!

Wifey's call center photo.

Wifey's call center photo.

Macati’s Guadalupe Shrine

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One cool Tuesday morning, last September 22, just days before the great flood of Metro Manila, Arnold and I visited the great scholar –and our dear friend– Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera in his Macati home in Barrio María de la Paz. We had our usual discussions about Philippine history and the identity of our nation.

After accompanying Señor Gómez to his Rockwell studio (and after a hearty lunch in nearby Power Plant Mall), Arnold and I passed by the centuries-old Guadalupe Shrine on our way home.

It was early afternoon, and the skies were blanketed by endless gray clouds, giving out a bleak mood throughout the slums neighboring the silent, hulking gray walls of the church. And the people living near the church –almost mindlessly doing routine tasks each and every dying day due– don’t have any idea at all about the significance of this almost forgotten church in Philippine History.

The Guadalupe Shrine

The Guadalupe Shrine

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati


CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF GUADALUPE

The foundations of this church and monastery of the Augustinian Order were laid in 1601 and construction work was finished in 1629. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was chosen Titular Patroness in 1603. After the Chinese uprising of 1639, this sanctuary served as a seat of devotion for the Chinese. The buildings withstood the earthquakes of 1645, 1658, 1754, and 1863; the masonry roof of the church collapsed in the earthquakes of 1880 and the structure was rebuilt in 1882 by Rev. José Corujedo, O.S.A. Site of an orphan asylum and trade school administered by the Augustinian Order for the benefit of the children of the victims of the cholera of 1882. Both church and monastery were gutted by fire in February, 1899, during the early skirmishes between Americans and Filipinos.

1937.

Details of one of the windows.

Details of one of the windows.

THE GUADALUPE SHRINE

As written on the historical marker, the Augustinians began constructing the shrine in the early 1600s. The Provincial Chapter declared the monastery a domus formata on 7 March 1601. A domus formata is a religious house in which reside at least six professed members (four of which should be priests), and this one in Macati was placed under the advocacy of Our Lady of Grace. Construction was completed in 1629. The shrine was named after the world-famous and miraculous Basílica de Guadalupe in México City, México.

The first domus formata was composed of three priests and a lay brother. Later on, the Provincial Chapter of November 30, 1603 received a petition from the Spanish community in Manila and from other prominent Filipinos to change the advocacy. They prevailed when the Provincial Chapter approved the petition. Thus, the Our Lady of Grace became Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It was not until the shrine had its third prior administrator when stone construction commenced. This administrator was Fray Juan de Montes de Oca. But he was not able to finish the project because he was transferred to another mission outpost. And so those who took over his spot continued the construction.

And since the church stood the test of times, it has had its share of countless (and historically famous) Priors Administrator, some of them renowned friar-scholars, such as:

Simón Dantes — widely believed to be the first prior of the Guadalupe Shrine.
Juan de Montes de Oca — started the construction of the stone sanctuary.
Francisco Coronel — published the book Artes y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga (1617) when he was still in Pampanga.
Hernando Guerrero — became Archbishop of Manila in 1635; best remembered for his feud with Governor General Hurtado de Corcuera.

In my opinion, perhaps the most famous friar who have ever served the altars of the Shrine of Guadalupe was Fray Manuel Blanco of Navia, Zamora, Spain. He entered the Augustinian order when he was just 16 years old. Aside from his religious duties, he was also an erudite and multifaceted scholar who excelled in history, languages, medicine, and even my “favorite” subject — mathematics! When he was assigned to the San Agustín Church, he maintained a garden there (now fondly called as Fr. Blanco’s Garden). But he’s best known for his contributions to natural sciences, particularly botany. This led to the publication of the groundbreaking Flora Filipina. Because of this book, plants can now be classified according to their species, class, and genus. His blessed remains are still in the Guadalupe Shrine.

A side entrance.

A side entrance.

Dark nights of the Shrine.

The period of seventy years from the War of Independence up to the Second World War was the darkest for the sanctuary. The termination of the Spanish-American War brought about by the ratification of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 caused the Filipino-American conflict to flare up into an all-out war. Manila was the immediate theater of destruction. It did not take long for the superior American forces to rout the Filipino forces.

The Americans, having cleared the city of the Filipino forces, proceeded eastward to Makati as far as San Pedro. The Filipino soldiers, tipped off of the advancing Americans, positioned themselves in Guadalupe. They outnumbered their enemies. The Americans sensed this, and not having enough troops that would stay behind to safeguard the place from being retaken by the Filipinos, they halted for a day waiting for reinforcement. The next day, the American forces under the command of General Lloyd Wheaton advanced to attack Guadalupe.

Having advanced for a mile, the Americans started to subject Guadalupe to artillery fire together with that of the gunboat Laguna de Bay along the Pásig river. The siege was fierce. The Filipinos under General Pío del Pilar, unable to resist the stronger forces, retreated, but not before they burned the church and the monastery. It was like adding insult to injury because the shrine had already been battered by American artillery fire. This even marked the end of Guadalupe shrine whose aisle Filipinos and Spaniards alike, for almost three centuries, used to throng to manifest their devotion to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

After the War of Independence, the Guadalupe shrine and the monastery became a foreboding place because it was shrouded by the grasses and trees. Even on its walls the trees grew, dissolving little by little the bricks, the stones and the lime. (“The Guadalupe Shrine” by Rodolfo M. Arreza, O.S.A., Globalcomp, Manila, 1991)

The gross disrespect for God’s home in Guadalupe, Macati didn’t end here. What was left of the abandoned church was further razed to the ground by both American and Japanese artillery during the final days of World War II. In the words of Fr. Arreza, “the walls of the monastery and the shrine became the only standing skeletons left that served as a mute witness of the many misfortunes in the past”.

But Guadalupe couldn’t just die like that.

On 29 July 1970, the Augustinians were recalled to Guadalupe. Patiently, they began reconstructing the church of their predecessors, the church which has harbored countless candles during Tridentine Masses of yore.

And so the magic of Guadalupe persists to this day.

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

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