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Monthly Archives: November 2009

A Filipino is this year’s CNN Hero of the Year!

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Read and be proud!

Pushcart educator named CNN Hero of the Year

Efren Peñaflorida, who started a “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Peñaflorida’s selection at the conclusion of the third-annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

The gala event, taped before an audience of 3,000 at the Kodak Theatre, premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the global networks of CNN.

The broadcast, which honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, features performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood, R&B crooner Maxwell and British pop sensation Leona Lewis.

Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at CNN.com. More than 2.75 million votes were cast.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry,” Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

“So to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.” CNN.com

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–

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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…

Spanish for English

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Thanks to midfielding1 (a YouTube user who uploaded the video), we can now listen to President Manuel L. Quezon giving a speech in Spanish! See video below (at 3:02):

President Manuel Quezon learned English in only 18 days (and not three months as I wrote in the comments box of that video in YouTube, my mistake; three months was actually the time it took for another great Spanish-speaking Filipino, Claro M. Recto, to learn and MASTER the English language). Quezon’s primary languages were both Spanish and Tagalog. But like most Filipinos of his time, he was more articulate in Spanish.

Yes, I said MOST Filipinos. Because you see, it is not taught in our classrooms that when the US invaded (not saved) the Philippines in 1899, they killed around 1,250,000 Filipinos — that is about 1/6 of the population during that time! And they murdered more Filipinos in such a short span of time compared to those who perished in more than three centuries of Spanish rule! And worse, more Spanish-speaking Filipinos also perished in the last world war. Those who survived either migrated to Spain or to the US. And the few remaining are now regarded as a very small and almost forgotten minority.

Today, there are more or less 3,000 Filipinos who use Spanish as their primary language, i.e., they think in Spanish (the 1990 census declared that there were 2,660 Spanish-speaking Filipinos).

In my family, there are only two of us who use Spanish: me and my dad’s sister, María Rubia E. Alas. Before us, the last member of the family who spoke in Spanish was Tía Rubia’s maternal uncle, Windalino Évora y Bonilla of Unisan, Quezon province. Uncle Carding was also fluent in French (another cognate of Spanish); he died in 1997, the last Spanish-speaker of Unisan town. Sadly, the rest of the family seem not to care about the language anymore. But I am trying to conserve it by teaching it to my children: my nine-year-old daughter Krystal is already conversational; my five-year-old son Momay can speak and understand the language moderately; my second son, Jefe, who is already two, can comprehend the language (I can already give out orders to him in Spanish); And I plan to make Juanito, who is barely a year old, a pure Spanish-speaker. Actually, my children’s primary language is Spanish. But since their playmates and our neighbors and my wife’s relatives all speak in Tagalog, I’m having a hard time maintaining the language up in their psyche.

Going back to President Quezon, one main reason why he learned English that fast is because of his Spanish. Although English is a West Germanic language, it is also a cognate of Spanish. Countless words in Spanish resemble those in English. Take the following words for example:

Biblia / bible
botón / button
mantener / to maintain
mártir / martyr
política / politics
responsable / responsible
sufrir / to suffer
teléfono / telephone
televisión / television
tolerar / to tolerate

Many proper names in Spanish also have their English counterparts:

Jesucristo / Jesus Christ
Clara / Clare
Juan / John
José / Joseph
María / Mary

That is the reason why the first generation of Filipinos under the American Occupation were much better speakers and writers in the English language compared to our generation. National Artist for Literature Nicomedes “Nick” Joaquín (1917-2004) is regarded as the greatest Filipino writer in English. But his primary language was Spanish. The quintessential poet in English and another National Artist for Literature, José García Villa (1908-1997, son of Simeón Villa, a physician of President Emilio Aguinaldo and a close associate of General Antonio Luna), also had Spanish as his first language. The Philippine Star’s Máximo Solivén (1929-2006) also spoke in flawless Spanish. And who could ever forget playwright and thespian Wilfrido Mª Guerrero (1917-1995) whose “Wanted: A Chaperon”, among other plays, is now considered a classic? Guerrero is a descendant of Lorenzo Guerrero (1835-1904), another native hispanoparlante. He first wrote in Spanish before shifting to English. And many of his plays were even staged in the US!

The abovementioned great men of Philippine letters had previous notions of Spanish, a daughter of the Latin language, therefore a basis by itself of English. That is why the English of the early 20th-century Filipinos were much superb compared to ours.

And that is why teaching Spanish in Philippine schools is crucial to the government’s efforts to make Filipinos fluent in English. The 24 units of Spanish should be brought back to colleges and universities. Imagine… Spanish has been with us for more than three hundred years. English for just a hundred or so. But why put so much importance to the latter? Isn’t it that Spanish is a global language, too? English was never ours in the first place. But Spanish is something that is already ours…

“Spanish is a national, Filipino tradition, for not only has it seeds in our history but roots that saturate the very core of our national soul and being, for it is the “open sesame” to the enchanted cavern that keeps like enduring treasures the highest thoughts and the deepest feelings of our race since the dawn of civilization.” –Claro M. Recto–

What are you lookin' at?

Special thanks to Inu Yasha (a reader of FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES) for sharing the MLQ video to us! =)

Desecrating the Philippine flag

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The Fourth Estate got too elated over Pacman’s systematic decimation of Miguel Cotto last November 15 that it failed to notice that a law was already being violated.

Many didn’t notice this, but the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a photo last November 17 showing a man unwittingly desecrating the Philippine flag at the expense of his admiration for Manny Pacquiáo(see below):

This action grossly violated the provisions of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8491):

Section 34 of the Prohibited Acts;
f. To add any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisements or imprints of any nature on the flag;

But what if that guy holding the flag is a Filipino who’s already a US citizen — would he still be exempted from Republic Act 8491? Besides, the crime was done overseas — would it still matter?

Right now, what matters most is that our local leaders, particularly Senators Richard “The Dick” Gordon, “Candid” Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Francis “El Queso” Escudero, have proposed to “legally desecrate” the flag that has been known to us –and to our patriots who first hoisted it– as a symbol of our nationhood for more than a century already. The details of this “legal desecration” can be found in the provisions of Senate Bill 3307 which proposes to amend Republic Act 8491.

The bill seeks to add a ninth ray to our flag’s sun. With tons of national problems continuously disturbing our lives every day, why do our solons want to do such a thing?

In a statement, Gordon, who’s the most vocal on this latest move to make a graffiti out of our country’s beloved symbol, has this to say: “We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. I think this is a big step toward reuniting our country, recognizing the contributions of our fellow countrymen, the Filipino Muslims. We should recognize their deeds in our country.”

He did not say, however, what those contributions were, if there were any at all. We’re speaking here in the context of Philippine historiography, something that the good senator is trying to imply especially when he mentioned that our country has been in conflict with Mindanáo Muslims for decades.

Well, not exactly decades, but for centuries. Or perhaps since the Fall of the Byzantine Empire. Or perhaps since their “prophet” Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh wrote these hate-filled passages in the Qur’an:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (S IX 29)

“O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you; and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.” (S IX 123)

“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (For friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guided not a people unjust.” (S V 54)

(The People of the Book are the Christians; jizya, on the other hand, is the tribute.)

As you can see, lasting peace between Muslims and non-Muslims is nothing but a pie in the sky.

Here in the Philippines, the government has tried everything it can to break the dividing wall between Muslim Filipinos and non-Muslims, particularly Christians. But it is the Muslims who keep on distancing themselves. And with much bravado. We long for peace, but they take pride in war. Why? Just refer to their Qur’an.

And now they have the nerve to claim Mindanáo for themselves. This should not be a surprise anymore because Filipinos today do not know much about Philippine history…

Renowned US historian John Leddy Phelan’s monumental work, The Hispanization of the Philippines (University of Wisconsin Press, Menasha, WI, 1959), recounts the story of one of the processes of how our nation was built:

In various provinces of the Philippines native chieftains and freeman were assembled during the year 1599 in order to “elect” the Castilian king as their natural lord and sovereign. These election ceremonies were organized upon the urging of a royal cedula from Spain. The Filipinos based their voluntary submission on the contractual promise that the king and his new subjects would render each other certain services.

To reiterate, the Filipino identity is the product of the Filipino State that began to exist in Spanish on 24 June 1571. The Filipino State was founded together with Manila on that same date, with the government having Spanish as its official language.

As stated in Phelan’s book, the previously existing native ethnic states went into the Filipino State as co-founding members in 1599. They incorporated themselves with the Filipino State when they elected the Spanish King (Rey Felipe II) as their natural sovereign. This election was verified during a synod-plebiscite held also that year.

From that time on, and after forming part of the 1571 Filipino State, our pre-Hispanic ancestors also accepted Spanish as their official and national language with their respective native languages as auxiliary official languages. Thus, the previously autonomous Ethnic States that existed before 1599 were respectively the ones that belonged to the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Pampangueños, Bicolanos, Visayans, Mindanáo Lumads, etc. including the Moro Sultanates of Joló and Maguindanáo.

Yes, even Mindanáo’s Muslim leaders had a deal with the Spanish monarchy.

Thus, before we go off topic here, adding a ninth ray to the sun will not be a solution that there will be everlasting peace between Christian Filipinos and Muslim Filipinos. This is not to say that we should continue hating the Muslims. No, of course not. It’s useless. Jesus Christ didn’t teach us to hate. But the tenets of Islam teach Muslims to hate: “O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about…

Sadly, their fundamentalism can never be denied.

Now, let us discuss what the symbols of the flag stand for. The white triangle stands for equality and fraternity. The blue field is for peace, truth, and justice. The red field for patriotism, and valor, and bravery. The stars are for Luzón, Visayas, and Mindanáo. And the eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces which declared themselves in a state of rebellion against Spain: Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Écija, Bataán, Laguna, and Batangas (these provinces were then placed under martial law by the Spanish government).

Adding a ninth ray to the sun tarnishes the significance of the meaning of the other eight rays. What province does the ninth ray represent? And what if other groups ask to be represented in the flag as well? Besides, the Moros fought the Spaniards in order not for them to be assimilated to the Philippine government. Is that what you call a fight for freedom? Yes, it is. But they fought only for themselves, not for the whole country.

To put it more bluntly, they fought against the Philippine government during the Spanish times, like what they’re still doing to this very day. And then our politicians want to reward them something that they never did?

In another angle, Emmanuel Libre Osorio postulated in a column of his in Business Mirror (25 June 2009) that “until the ninth ray is added to the Philippine flag, the Philippines cannot be a truly national community. It is that simple and yet its truth has eluded many.” (Business Mirror).

Simple? Unbeknownst to Mr. Osorio, the Philippines has been a national community since 24 June 1571. And that was when Manila was founded and declared as the capital city of the Philippine Islands during the reign of the first Spanish Governor-General, El Adelantado Miguel López de Legazpi.

The Filipino State, therefore, was simultaneously founded with the founding of the City of Manila. Logically speaking, why should there be a capital city, seat of a central government with its laws, without a corresponding state to govern?

We should thus celebrate June 24 each year as the birthdate of our country, and not merely as Araw ng Maynilà.

In the same article, Mr. Osorio also implied that this clamor for a ninth ray has much weight in it because it has been raised numerous times in the past by people of influence and political significance: former Cagayán de Oro City, Misamis Oriental Mayor (and now Senator) Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.; two-time Speaker of the House of Representatives José B. Laurel, Jr., and; Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, ex-chairperson of the National Historical Institute. But that is beside the point. Mr. Osorio is already using appeal to authority here. Even if, say, José Rizal were alive today and he’d also opt for a ninth ray, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their argument would be correct already. Einstein may have been a genius, but that didn’t make him infallible.

Mr. Osorio then asks: is the addition of the ninth ray a constitutional heresy?

What does the Constitution say?

Article XVI, Section 1 of the Constitution states: “The flag of the Philippines shall be red, white and blue, with a sun and three stars, as consecrated and honored by the people and recognized by law.”

The Constitution is silent on the number of rays.

But that silence doesn’t mean that we should allow creativity –or should I say POLITICAL WHIMSICALITY– to meddle with what Marcela Marino de Agoncillo, together with her daughter Lorenza and Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, toiled for in Hong Kong way back in 1897. The constitution is also silent with the color of the sun and even on the shape of the flag. It can be “silent” about so many other things regarding the attributes of our flag; all one needs is an imaginative mind. I’m sure Mr. Osorio doesn’t want to encourage “creativity” such as what that boxing fan did when he hoisted the Philippine flag last Sunday with a “PACQUIAO FOR PRESIDENT” lettering, does he? But if Mr. Osorio is cool with that, then God save the Philippine flag and all other things which symbolize our national identity.

“The revolution, which is a commitment to freedom, is being recognized, symbolized by the rays. In the search for national unity, a common bond is sought and found. The common bond is the commitment to freedom. A commitment to freedom different from staging a revolution may also be symbolized by a ray or rays. It is all very simple.”

No, it is not all very simple. We are speaking of concepts here, beautiful concepts that exist only in the mind, in a distant future, a fevered dream, utopia. The “ninth ray advocates” may have a good intention: peace and harmony in Mindanáo. But no, adding a ninth ray to finally hault the neverending insurrection in the south is not a simple thing to do. Frankly speaking, it’s a waste of time, money, energy, effort, not to mention a crime against history. It is 100% guaranteed that the Muslim insurectos in Mindanáo and elsewhere will never give a monkey’s @$$ whether we add a ninth ray, or perhaps a tenth ray for Sultan Kudarat, or an eleventh for Shariff Kabunsuan, or a twelfth ray for Christmas, etc. The Muslims never asked for a ninth ray. The hungry and jobless Filipino masses do not need a ninth ray for their flag; what the masses are asking for are for food, stable jobs, and a trustworthy government. That is what the people are clamoring — THAT IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD GIVE. The Mindanáo Muslims (led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other self-styled Islamic patriots) on the other hand, are asking for the whole island of Mindanáo, or at least the areas covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanáo. That is what the government should focus, on how to make them understand that it is not possible because it’s tantamount to destroying Filipino patrimony which Spain bequeathed to us.

This futile effort of adding a ninth ray to the sun’s flag in order to achieve peace can be compared with those peace talks the government conducts with local communists under the leadership of José Mª Sison. Malacañang Palace should realize that the communists will not stop until they have set-up a dictatorship of the proletariat, something that is vague and strange under republican and big-business politicians that we have today.

Sad but true.

The government’s efforts to find a solution to end these hostilities are laudable. But please, not at the expense of our flag. It has been an unwavering symbol of our national identity.

To repeat Arnaldo Arnáiz, LEAVE THE FLAG ALONE.

The Arroyo Empire starts to crumble!

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Now for some good news from –surprisingly!– Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri:

Arroyo party sapped by mass defection
About 40% may have left, Zubiri estimates

As much as 30-40 percent of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD may have decamped, and the ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) are swelling at the administration party’s expense.

That candid assessment was made Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the ruling party’s vice president for Mindanáo, who explained the defections of erstwhile Palace allies to the LP and NP as “betting on the winning horse” in the May 2010 polls.

“Probably 30-40 percent of the party … has already left,” Zubiri said. “Well, you know, as we say in politics, for everyone that leaves there’s always an open door for somebody to come in.” Inquirer.net

Huh?

Zubiri’s raving. Who in his sane and righteous mind would want to come in to a dirt-filled house of horrors?

Everybody’s leaving; what keeps “Candid Zubiri” remaining? In the long run, his honest remark regarding the status of the much-hated Arroyo Empire might put him in trouble…

Fill in the balloon, Miggy Boy! Tell us some more!

The ban on the 1948 Marian apparition in Lipâ City has been lifted!

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When I was in elementary (Escuela de San Lorenzo Ruiz in Parañaque City), at the height of the infamous Agoó Apparition in La Unión province, we had an elderly teacher who relayed to us another Marian apparition which happened decades before. It was in Lipâ, Batangas. She told us that a shower of rose petals fell from the sky, and that she was one of those who were fortunate to grab hold of a petal that has up to that day never withered.

A couple of days later, she brought the miraculous petal to school and showed it to us. True, it hasn’t withered yet! But I couldn’t make anything out of the supposedly faint image of the Virgin Mary etched in that petal (she didn’t allow us to touch it).

I have to admit that the abovementioned recollection is a very faint one. I could hardly remember the exact details of that episode in my youth. Strangely, it may or may not have even happened! Anyway, I still remember how we call that elderly teacher of ours: Teacher Ludy. She was already a grandmother at that time. And I’m not even sure if she’s still alive or not. If she still is, I hope that she still remembers me so that I’d be able to talk to her about it.

I was just reminded of the above recollection when the below newstory captured my attention:

Lipa bishop lifts ban on ‘Our Lady’

Lipâ Archbishop Ramón Argüelles confirmed that he had lifted the 1951 ban on the public veneration of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace.

In a phone interview Tuesday night, Argüelles said he lifted the ban on Nov. 12 as “there was nothing wrong in praising apparitions” as he was well-aware of “the love of the people for the Blessed Mother.”

“The Blessed Mother has [protected] the country from calamities,” he said.

In 1948, the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared 19 times to Teresita Castillo, a novice in the Carmelite Order in Lipâ City. Rose petals with holy images reportedly fell from the sky. In her last apparition to Castillo, the Blessed Virgin identified herself: “I am the Mediatrix of All Grace.”

Although the veneration of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace was permitted by then Bishop Alfred Verzosa, the Philippine church hierarchy declared in 1951 that “there was no supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings including the shower of rose petals in Lipa,” according to the website www.marymediatrixofallgrace.com.

Image displayed again

In 1992, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola granted permission to once again display the image of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace. In 1993, he declared his personal conviction that the Lipa apparitions were worthy of belief, according to http://www.miraclehunter.com.

As the years went by, the ban seemed to have been disregarded as new proofs of the apparitions’ authenticity were presented and accounts about the bishops’ high-handed suppressiveness in 1948 were brought to light.

A repeat of the shower of rose petals is said to have occurred some years ago but the Carmelite nuns kept a low profile. Some people have petals in their possession.

In 2005, Arguelles resurrected the veneration for Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace with “increased activity and devotion” and plans to place statues representing the Virgin of Lipâ, in every diocese, according to www.miraclehunter.com. Inquirer.net

Suddenly, my mind shrank into a vortex of reminiscences and ended up on that almost faded scence from my youth.

I’m positive I’ve seen one of those petals.

Now for the queries regarding the Inquirer.net newstory:

Why lift the ban just now? Why were the witnesses of this Marian apparition silenced? And worse, those who silenced them were Church authorities! Why did they do such a thing?!

If the issue here is to ward off intrigues and accusations of “false claims” or “wild invented stories” from anti-Catholics, then why destroy the evidence?

Are those Carmelite nuns, particularly Sister Teresita Castillo, still alive? If yes, where are they? And where are the other people who have in their possession those miraculous petals?

The local Catholic Church should provide the answers to those who are interested in this Marian controversy.

A faint image of the Virgin Mary can be seen in this rose petal that has never withered! I was lucky enough to have seen one when I was in sixth grade.

RELATED LINKS:
A Short History of the Apparition at Lipa of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
Lipa, Philippines (1948) Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace

There’ll be a meteor shower tonight!

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Get those binoculars and telescopes off your dusty closets. And just wish it won’t rain tonight.

Things are looking… up! And brightly!

A “prolific” meteor shower is expected to light up the skies of Asia and Europe for two days – tomorrow night (Nov. 17) and Wednesday (Nov. 18), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Here in the Philippines, Pagasa administrator Prisco Nilo said Filipinos will get a glimpse of the meteorological phenomenon, known as the “Leonids” meteor shower, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. of the following day.

“We have a very good chance that we’ll see meteor showers,” Nilo said. philstar.com

According to scientists, tonight’s meteor shower might produce more or less 500 meteors an hour!

Below is a sample video of what Leonids are (thanks to YouTube):

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