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Monthly Archives: March 2010

The importance of organized religion

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After much contemplation, I decided to heed Arnaldo‘s months-long advice and attended the Holy Mass for the first time (except last Valentine’s Day) in such a long time. I attended an afternoon English-language mass in nearby San Pedro Apóstol; humorously, the sermon was conducted in Tagalog (but that matter is for a future blogpost).

Anyway, I would like to reiterate that my haughty contempt for the Novus Ordo Missae still remains. Regrettably, there is nothing much I can do about it at the moment. And as I wait for the opportune time to act for the return of the Tridentine Mass –the mass of all time–, why should I not attend my Faith’s congregation anymore?

The above case is what I scribbled about in a previous blogpost. An online friend of mine, Roberto, a frequent visitor to this humble blog, wrote a comment there that oganized religion should not matter anymore as long as I have faith in Jesus. However, this has been the belief of many a deist and a few agnostics for many centuries. It is understandable that these kind of people are fed up with religious strife in all parts of the globe. That is why John Lennon fancied a peaceful world without organized religions in his celebrated song Imagine. Marcelo H. del Pilar et al. lived proudly as a deist for years in Spain. Young freethinkers guising themselves as intellectuals have decreed that organized religion and faith are but for desperate fools and ignoramuses.

But, by shunning religion from their lives, did they find true peace and contentment that everyone has been yearning for ages? No. For a brief period of time, I myself eschewed the idea of a god and an afterlife many years ago. Trust me, it was the gloomiest part of my existence.

People who believe in God but do not believe in religious groups are like spiritual orphans, believers of God but without direction because without a community. And the danger lies in the fact that uniquely individual concepts about God will only lead to further division instead of unity. Now, if they say that organized religions usually lead to religious discord, it is not the fault of religious organization’s fault per se. All organizations are made up of humans, and we know that humans are not perfect creatures corporally and mentally. As such, it is not unusual to find cracks or dents in a seemingly well-fortified organization. Such people are what we call fanatics or extremists, unmindful of dialogue but advocates of jingoism and war. Worse, some founders and leaders of religion tend to be warmongers themselves by writing pugnacious remarks and decrees against nonmembers.

Be that as it may, religious discord should not be made as an excuse not to affiliate one’s self into a certain congregation. Becoming a member of a certain religious group does not mean that a person has already downplayed spirituality. Religion and spirituality complement each other. One should take note that the word religion originated from the Latin infinitive verb religare which means “to bind together” or “to reconnect”. It is because religion is what “binds us together” and “reconnects” us to God.

We have a duty to praise God and not to merely pray nor talk to him. God is not simply a “spiritual friend”. Realistically speaking, God is not a friend for the simple reason that he is God (you do not praise your friends nor do you pray to them, do you?). In a congregation, one can find himself in a community praying to God. There is a sense of belongingness, that the people around you believe what you believe. And that is what God wants; that is what is written in the Holy Bible. So why should it be defied in the first place?

In addition, I do not claim that salvation is a monopoly of the Catholic Church. Regarding the salvific fate of members of other religions, only God should know.

Organized religion is not the cause of wars. It is caused by men who do not understand their religion, as long as that religion does not exhort its members to wage an all-out war against other groups.

Emilia Boncodín (1954-2010), the incorruptible

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Emilia Boncodín (1954-2010) proved to the world that not all Filipinos working in government are corrupt nor support corruption. She was among the famous Hyatt 12 — cabinet members of the corrupt Arroyo government who resigned in the midst of the Hello Garci controversy.

There is one word which best describes her defiance against Arroyo’s corrupt government. And it’s spelled H-E-R-O-I-S-M. But like many good people, she died young: 55 due to kidney failure.

May the good Lord bless her soul. And may we have more government workers like her in the next administration.

Emilia Boncodín (1954-2010) chose to abandon corruption rather than joining it.

Tears, laughter mark necro service for ‘angel of budget’

Stories about Emilia Boncodín’s frugality drew much laughter.

Tears and laughter—but mostly laughter—marked the necrological rites for former Budget Secretary Boncodín held Thursday night by her friends and colleagues in government service.

On the fourth night of Boncodín’s wake, her colleagues at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) took turns to share stories and anecdotes about her and to praise her dedication and integrity as a public servant. Her mother Cristeta and only sister Adel were present.

Patricia Santo Tomas, Development Bank of the Philippines chair and former labor secretary, said Boncodín’s idea of a treat for her staff was ordering food to-go from Jollibee.

“She also liked going to Kamameshi and Serye at Quezon Memorial Circle. Sacsacan ng tipíd. (She was miserly).” Fine dining was not part of Boncodín’s lifestyle.

Exemplar of modesty

Calyzar S. Divinagracia, DAP board chair, described Boncodín as an “exemplar of modesty and frugality.”

DAP president Antonio D. Kálaw, Jr. spoke about her “utmost diligence and simplicity.”

Rarely did Cabinet members, who served on the DAP board, attend meetings, he said. They usually sent representatives. But Boncodín was always present.

Boncodín, however, was perennially late, Kálaw said, a habit that was confirmed by other colleagues who spoke at the tribute.

The reason, they said, was she always gave time to people who consulted her and there was never enough time for each one. And so she would be late for the next appointment and the next.

Boncodín, Divinagracia said, worked to make the DAP financially viable without asking funds from government. She played a key role in its seven-year subsidy program. She also taught at the DAP and at the University of the Philippines (UP) National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG).

“She did not want DAP to have an isáng cahig, isáng tucâ (hand-to-mouth) existence.” But, he added, “She was very matipíd (frugal). She even refused to give honoraria to the DAP board of trustees. ”

Always do right

Former Welfare Secretary Corazón Alma de León recalled: “Emy helped me get the needed budget when I was chair of the CESB. That is why they now have a building they call their own. She exercised the art of the possible but always with honesty, integrity and hard work. She lived the core values of ‘Gawin ang Tamà (Do what is right). She didn’t have to die at 55. But I guess she was ready. None of us are.”

“Emy liked singing,” Santo Tomás said. “She was more than just a public servant. She was a happy person and a really good person. They say that if you are with good persons, you also become a good person.”

Fiery words and flashy pronouncements were not Boncodín’s style. She just walked her talk. It could be done, it could be lived—was the message of her life. She lived simply, she died simply.

“But now she has lipstick on, and even eye shadow,” Santo Tomás quipped, drawing laughter from the audience.

Click here for the complete news article.

My poor Church attendance

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I haven’t attended regular Sunday Masses for a long time now. Well, the last time I attended one was on Valentine’s Day, but before and after that was a big attendance vacuum. I have 62 reasons why.

My friend Arnaldo has been scolding me for weeks for this rather impious stance that I have toward the modern Catholic Church. But I still go to churches, if only to mutter a short prayer of gratitude, praise, and support. I frequent the mysterious Santo Sepulcro church every Friday, not really to attend Friday masses but as a devotee and to practice my Catholicism.

But other than that, I abhor the Novus Ordo Missae — “the new Ordinary of the Mass” which we –Catholics and non–Catholics alike– are all familiar today.

A jam-packed Friday Mass in the Santo Sepulcro Church, Barrio Landayan, San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna.

The nearest church to our place (the San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church which shelters the arcane Cross of Tunasán) is just walking distance away from our apartment. I used to attend masses there when we were new in San Pedro. But remembering the traitorous history of how the Tridentine Mass was cunningly replaced by the Novus Ordo Missae, I stopped attending mass altogether, feeling that I’m doing history and the Christian faith a great disservice.

After having read and understood by heart the contents of the controversial book Till The End of Time With the Mass of All Time by the late Atty. Teodoro R. Domínguez, I started to harbor misgivings toward the kind of Catholic Mass which is celebrated today. It is nothing more than a conspiracy between top Protestant ministers, liberal theologians, and even Freemasons. The arguments and facts presented by Atty. Domínguez, an expert in Canon Law and Apologetics, are difficult, if not impossible, to refute. I was totally disillusioned, especially because during the time that I first read the book, I had just reconverted to Catholicism (I was an atheist-agnostic for a couple of years).

Last year, me and my family were about to stroll in Alabang Town Center when I noticed something “strange” going on inside the nearby St. Jerome Emiliani and Santa Susanna Parish Church. I noticed that the priest was facing the altar. We stopped by the church’s entrance, just to make sure if my suspicion was correct. And yes, they were celebrating the Latin Mass, all right! Perhaps only God could describe the elation that I felt during that time.

Suddenly, my mind flashbacked to 2003, the most difficult year of my young, married life. I was bicycling all the way to that church from our home in BF Parañaque just to attend Mass (I was then attending Mass everyday, not just on Sundays, since I had just reconverted to the Faith — I was very hungry for holiness). I chanced upon Rev. Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS outside the church. He’s the parish priest of St. Jerome Emiliani and Santa Susanna Church. I gathered myself up for a conversation, to check if this Italian priest knows something about the Latin Mass, because I was then ignorant about it but was all eager to learn more and support it. Sadly, what he told me disappointed me: he said that the Novus Ordo Missae and the Tridentine/Latin Mass were both the same, and that he didn’t sound appreciative of French Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre (1905-1991), one of the bastions of Traditionalist Catholicism and founder of the Society of St. Pius X. He just gave it a shrug of the shoulder, as if the fruits of Vatican II, i.e., the new Mass should really happen, and that Archbishop Lefebvre’s non-acceptance of it was a big mistake.

We parted ways after that brief conversation, with more questions left unanswered in my mind.

That is why I was surprised that, a few years later, his parish church suddenly decided to bring back the Latin Mass. Was that short conversation of ours inspired the good reverend to think twice? LOL! That’s too pretentious of me already. But anyway…

The Latin Mass was being celebrated there in that Alabang church every Sunday at 9:30 AM. But recently, they stopped. Up to now, I don’t have any idea why. Even the website dedicated to it didn’t offer any explanation. So after that short-lived ecstasy, I was again disillusioned.

But Arnaldo reproved me by saying that the Holy Catholic Church didn’t disappear just because the Mass was changed into something else. The deduction he brought forth is that I don’t stop being a son just because I disagree with my parents. My argument is that a son should still love his parents but not support their illegal drug business. This is a deep theological debate which I will not dare discuss further especially since I am no theologian, nor am I worthy to even defend my case; I’m not a holy man.

Nevertheless, I see his point. If many Catholics will follow my direction, then the Holy Mother Church will lose more members. Or perhaps these Catholics will join dissenting Traditional Catholic groups such as the Society of St. Pius X or, worse, Protestant cults. That will only betray Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts of reuniting with Traditionalists all over the world (and hopefully it will also include the Iglesia Filipina Independiente).

Right now, me and my wife are doing something in our spare time to “free ourselves from time constraints” once and for all. And once things fall into place smoothly, then I will have all the time in the world for my advocacies. And one of them is to bring back the Latin Mass, at the very least in the community where we will move in to (we’ll be moving to nearby Calambâ very soon).

But until then, what? What of the Holy Mass?

We’ll see this Sunday…

Movie scenes from Old Macati City

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Aside from relishing memories of my problem-free childhood, one reason why I enjoy watching old Tagalog movies (particularly those from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s) is that –more often than not– they contain so many scenes of classic Philippine landmarks, particularly Metro Manila where I grew up.

It’s so interesting and fun to see how Filipinos back then used to dress up. You’ll notice how places change so fast. Many landmarks such as downtown Manila, Macati City, and Quezon City didn’t have much skyscrapers and multinational fastfoods back then (and the air pollution was a wee bit tolerable compared to our times). Not too long ago, there were not much traffic jams, no MRT, no Skyway, no pesky MMDA peeps. The people had no cellphones; they make do with telephone booths which had those familiar red phones where you had to insert a couple of twenty-five-centavo coins which still had the butterfly emblem in them (don’t you just miss them?). And you’d always make fun of how Filipinas used to sport their hair, and how crazy young Filipinos were for small-sized Crispa tees! The street jargon used during those days sound funny today. Not to mention the wheels they used to drive — you’d say that they might be towed if spotted in major highways nowadays!

The YouTube clip in this blogpost (uploaded by rontorres01), is from the action flick Partida starring the late, great National Artist for Film (who should have been our president if not for some opportunist who, thankfully, will leave Malacañang after this year’s summer elections), Fernando Poe, Jr. It was shot in 1985, if I’m not mistaken. The first few minutes of the film will feature a high-octane car chase scene (impossible to accomplish these days) in Macati City. Metro Manileños will notice familiar places where the action scenes took place: Osmeña Highway, a brightly lit Magallanes interchange (sans the Skyway!), and Ayala Avenue without its gigantic buildings and horrible traffic that we are all familiar today.

Could it be that FPJ et al deliberately prolonged this Macati scene for posterity?

Enjoy if you may.

Archbishop Villegas honors Tomás Pinpín

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In this Inquirer.net commentary (published just today), Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas writes a brief description of Tomás Pinpín. The latter was a chino cristiano who authored and printed the first book in the Philippines during the early years of the 17th century. In this regard, it is but proper that Pinpín be honored as one of the country’s earliest cultural heroes.

Bas relief of Tomás Pinpín.

On March 17, Bataán will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Balanga by Pope Paul VI of holy memory. On the same day, the 400th anniversary of the first book authored and printed by a Filipino will be celebrated, too. That author and printer was Tomás Pinpín, from Abucay, Bataán.

Pinpin was the first Filipino author in Tagalog and Spanish. He was also the first native Filipino printer by typography. He was the first Filipino poet in Tagalog and Spanish. He was the first Filipino to write a grammar for Tagalogs to learn Spanish.

He was a Filipino. He was a Christian. He was from Bataán. Tomás Pinpín was the first Bataeño.

Typography student

Pinpín was born in about 1590. He received his education from the Spanish Dominican missionaries in Abucay and it was from Fr. Francisco Blancas de San José that he received his training in printing by typography.

An esteemed Dominican historian, Fr. Fidel Villaroel, OP, wrote: “In 1610, in the modest house of the Dominican mission of the pueblo of Abucay in the partido of Bataán, the first Filipino press brought to the world two grammars, which were the first books ever printed by Filipino printers.”

That year, Fr. Francisco Blancas de San José wrote the book “Artes Y Reglas de Las Lengua Tagala” and Pinpín printed it. Pinpín’s work, written in Tagalog for them to learn Spanish, was titled “Librong Pag-aaralan Nang Mañga Tagalog Nang Uicang Castila.” It was, in turn, published by a certain Diego Talangháy in the same year.

W. Retana says “Pinpín is the most interesting figure among the Filipino typographers, the patriarch of them all.”

First book

Pinpín’s story is a saga of faith in God and love of his countrymen. In the beautiful “Sulat” introducing his first book, he acknowledged with a deep sense of gratitude that his Christian faith was a great gift from God Almighty.

In the same breath, he admonished his countrymen to aim high and study with utmost diligence the Christian faith and the Castillan language.

The memory of Pinpin must inspire us to ever move toward excellence in everything we do and to fight the gnawing culture of mediocrity and the degrading temptation of ease and comfort.

According to Father Villaroel, “Like all pioneering enterprises, the making of printing press in the early 17th century Philippines must seem to the contemporaries almost “mission impossible.” As Retana wrote in 1610, the first typography on these islands was like “self apprenticeship, like the quasi invention of the press.”

Pinpín teaches us diligence and fortitude. His memory is an inspiration for excellence and perfection.

Click here for the complete story.

Pyramid dreams

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Lose/Win people bury a lot of feelings. And unexpressed feelings come forth later in uglier ways. Psychosomatic illnesses often are the reincarnation of cumulative resentment, deep disappointment and disillusionment repressed by the Lose/Win mentality. Disproportionate rage or anger, overreaction to minor provocation, and cynicism are other embodiments of suppressed emotion. People who are constantly repressing, not transcending feelings toward a higher meaning find that it affects the quality of their relationships with others. — Stephen R. Covey, management expert–

Every waking day, err, night (I still work at night, dammit), I feel like conceding to my heart’s desire of living a bohemian lifestyle. I want to escape from it all. But I couldn’t. I just freakin’ couldn’t (for “five cute and loveable” palpable reasons). So every night, I have to force to sit myself up straight from dreamland and wind up this bony and worn-out, corporate-slave @$s of mine, struggling to keep my jaded eyes open. Me and wifey bid our kids goodnight and goodbye, embracing them and kissing them, always feeling like we want to stay with them for the rest of the night, and for all the nights of their juvenile lives. Regrettably, we couldn’t. We just freakin’ couldn’t. And as we dress up and prepare ourselves for our source of bread and butter, I glance at my books at home — hundreds still unread. And then I begin to ponder: so many books to read, so much to scribble about, so little time. And after a couple of worthless seconds, we leave our humble flat as I disconsolately drag my nimble metatarsals to where I should go: the capitalist machinery.

But in the first place, why whine like a hapless unwashed cat? I should even be beholden to all the heavenly boon that we’ve been receiving from Him who has everything. But since we are His creation, I speculate that perhaps the reason why we mortals never stop yearning for the things that we don’t have is because we have this instinctual fancy of gaining everything our materialistic sights have set upon, because we were not created His equal (no intention of committing blasphemy; it is just my view). There is some sort of “divine atavistic” covetousness that is left in us because we are, simply put, incomplete. We cannot levitate, we cannot predict the future, we cannot make ambrosia out of our excrement, we cannot travel from one continent to another in the speed of light.

That is why we have to imagine and create fiction and weave funky words into meaningful verses to “complete ourselves” because we lack perfection. We are inchoate. We are mere mortals. We hunger to be alive. In varying degrees we always think of immortalizing ourselves and our fellowmen through art and –to some extent– corruption, to break loose from the cynical disposition that we are all in at the moment.

Oh, such bright words. “At the fu¢k!n’ moment”. Because ice melts. Because flowers wither. Because with every disgusting El Niño has a La Niña equivalent. Yes, everything is fluid. And fiction changes historical disposition. Nothing lasts forever. And forever doesn’t even sound final.

I am but a rudimentary being, a voiceless chap yearning for liberty of mind. And so –quite humorously– I find my hopes currently entangled into some multi-tiered trade which disgusts me yet makes me laugh out loud at the same time with pure, unavenged merriment. “Omigosh! This is it! This is it! Eureka! Eureka! Eu-fu¢k!n’-reka!” I’ve found the golden $H!+, at long last. I’m now building myself a pyramid of dreams even though, in all honesty, ambivalence still prevails. But since 2012 is near (LOL!), it’s a gamble worth playing for. And like I said, I’ve found the golden $H!t. So fu¢k King Midas for all his fictive worth.

I have come to the belief that I am not really cut for vocation. And so I downplay my economic disillusionment with pecuniary adventurism.

With this new venture, I hope to give measure to life’s treatment of humanistic treasure.

Fashionalism

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Collezione C2's ubiquitous My Pilipinas shirt. An unprecedented bestseller.

Like everything else, even Filipino fashion evolves.

I still remember during my younger years how kids and adults alike go gaga over foreign-branded threads such as Levi’s Jeans, Guess?, Adidas, Giordano, Esprit, United Colors of Benetton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, Banana Republic, Tag Heuer, Tommy Hilfiger, Marithé + François Girbaud, and countless others. In those days, if you don’t wear them, you’re considered a pleb. It was as if locally made clothes are meant only for old-fashioned Manileños and the rural folk (called provincianos in a pejorative tone), especially for the downtrodden. Well, not all. Several stores in tourist spots have been offering locally made shirts and other fashion items for foreigners for the past several years. But that’s just it: those are meant only for tourists usually as souvenir items and not really for casual wear.

I still remember some relatives of mine who half-tucked their shirts to show the brand names of their expensive jeans. It was an appalling sight: the shirts were untucked in front, but tucked-in from behind for people to see the inverted triangle symbol of their Guess? jeans. An awful and hilarious scene, indeed!

And my basketball-fanatic childhood friends talked of Adidas and Reebok and Nike as if they were the only shoes in the world. (at hindí pa casama dian yung paguiguing fanático nilá sa mga original NBA jerseys). They didn’t even know that Mariquina is the footwear capital of the Philippines.

That is why many local brands, unable to compete with the more popular foreign branded shirts and clothes, were somehow forced to blatantly imitate foreign-made apparels just to stay above water. One can find many of these rip-offs in tiangues located in crowded places such as Baclaran, Greenhills, and Divisoria.

But before all this hilarity and “bragging rights” ever happened, I remember a time when Crispa T-shirts ruled the hearts and minds of Martial Law babies as well as New Wavers of the 1980s.

Some stories claim that Crispa was derived from the names of the said clothing line’s founders: Doña Crisanta and Don Pablo Floro. Sales of the plain and colored T-shirts were so huge that it even spawned one of the greatest PBA Teams in local basketball history: the legendary Crispa Redmanizers whose rivalry against the Robert-Jaworski-led Toyota Tamaraws is reminiscent of the NBA’s Los Ángeles Lakers – Boston Celtics rivalry.

But the popularity of Crispa shirts faded over the years. I never even had the chance to buy one. Yeyette gave me one of her Crispa shirts (a green one) when she was still my girlfriend. I used it only as pambahay because it was too small for me. But it was a queer feeling wearing one of the country’s most talked-about and legendary tees during a time when it was no longer vogue; the onslaught of stateside clothes did them in.

Too bad Crispa didn’t invoke a sense of nationalism which is heavily in fashion today. Many fashionistas and the local press call this phenomenon fashionalism, a combination of the words fashion and nationalism. But before fashionalism, there was already a local brand –in a sense a bit intrepid– who challenged the foreign giants: Pidro shirts, born in 1991. It’s owned and introduced by Danny Javier of the iconic musical group Apo Hiking Society. It was the first local clothing company which attempted to invoke a sense of nationalism and patriotism among Filipinos during the last decade of the 20th century. The name was very familiar because Javier kept on mentioning it in his group’s musical-variety show in ABS-CBN Channel 2 (Sa Linggo nAPO Sila). But it really didn’t become a household name. Guess?, Levi’s Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and the rest of the overseas crew were still preferred by the masa although the prices of those branded clothes were notoriously high.

And then the Tommy Hilfiger controversy hit.

In late 1998, a shocking email made the rounds of the local internet scene:

Subject: FWD: Tommy Hilfiger hates us…

Did you see the recent Oprah Winfrey show on which Tommy Hilfiger was a guest? Oprah asked Hilfiger if his alleged statements about people of color were true – he’s been accused of saying things such as “If I had known that African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice,” and “I wish those people would not buy my clothes – they were made for upper-class whites.” What did he say when Oprah asked him if he said these things? He said “Yes.” Oprah immediately asked Hilfiger to leave her show.

Now, let’s give Hilfiger what he’s asked for – let’s not buy his clothes. Boycott! Please – pass this message along.

Poor Tommy had a hard time warding off this nasty rumor. But it was too late: a lot of Filipinos believed the false email message maligning him. And here in the Philippines, the email was regarded as fact by a huge majority especially since the internet during that time was still considered young. That event somehow sparked a slight aversion against Hilfiger products as well as other high-class brand names.

Enter the 21st century. A slew of unprecedented events in the country followed during the latter half of this decade: airbrushed and personalized shirts, elevating prices, the stock market crash of 2008, the death of nationalist rapper FrancisM, and the passing of democracy icon President Corazón C. Aquino.

The proliferation of shops offering design-your-own tees were in vogue during the later years of the 20th century. They’re much cheaper, too. And since they can be customized, it was more endearing to shoppers instead of buying those which were already pre-designed and have been mass-produced. It was therefore an embarassing moment to come across a stranger wearing the exact same shirt while walking inside a mall!

Spoofs Limited shirts also created a rather short-lived craze. It parodied many foreign products on their shirts designs: Tag Hirap (an obvious parody of Tag Heuer), FedUp (a play on FedEx Corporation), Bolo (making fun of Polo Ralph Lauren), Hard Cock (for that boring music bar and restaurant), The Lord of Pranings (after the award-winning movie trilogy), and a host of others. A few years ago, Bench, a brand owned by a Chinese-Filipino, began experimenting on Pinoy-themed designs. They tried to break away from the foreign-flavored image which their shirts used to sport.

And then Team Manila and master rapper FrancisM’s respective apparels entered the local fashion scene just a couple of years back. They are actually considered as the pioneers of today’s so-called fashionalism phenomenon that is apparent in almost every nook and cranny in the country, as well as in other parts of the globe (thanks to OFWs and delighted foreigners who bring them there after vacationing in the country). Between the two, the FrancisM Clothing Co. stood out. It launched the 3 Stars & A Sun clothing brand (named in honor of the Philippine flag’s symbols). Formed in 2006, the FMCC sought to create products meant for the “urban patriot”, and the balicbayan. It instantly became a hit especially since it was FrancisM himself who promoted it. But sales of his products even became more popular right after his death last year. His previous songs –Mga Kababayan, Three Stars And A Sun, 1-800-Ninety-Six (1896), Kaleidoscope World, etc.– again ruled the airwaves. And this created a huge curiosity for his FMCC’s colorfully designed tees, caps, and other fashion items, most of which pertained to Philippine symbols such as the flag and José Rizal. Many even clamored that he be declared a National Artist for Music (he should be).

The nationalist fervor in fashion was even heightened when, a few months after FrancisM succumbed to leukemia, Tita Cory followed suit after a long battle with colon cancer. Millions of Filipinos were moved, and it ushered the come back of Cory Magic, bringing back her famed yellow color out in the streets and the laban hand sign. It also catapulted her son’s political future into the coming May elections.

The two consecutive deaths of these two Filipino icons further spurred fashionalism into sublimity. And because of this, Collezione C2′s My Pilipinas shirts have sold more than two million RTWs all over the country! The My Pilipinas design has the Philippine archipelago either embroidered or silk-screened onto the upper right side of the shirt. It was launched more than two years ago, but it can be observed that it became highly popular right after the passing of FrancisM and Tita Cory. Now, the My Pilipinas symbol is also available in sports shirts, shirt dresses, capri pants, and shorts. Even other unknown local brands imitate Collezione C2′s stroke of genius (the way they imitated foreign brands). In our office, we even gifted a French colleague who happily and proudly wore it with him back to his homeland!

And since Filipino fashion has become the in-thing, we now have “revolutionary” clothing companies that have relied more on Filipino stylistic changes and individualism. Clothing lines such as ARtwork CLothing and Y.R.Y.S. (Your Rules, Your Style) have captivated a young audience, ruling the distinct tastes of today’s fashion-sensitive youth. It offers funky and groovy clothing styles that has overturned individualism in style. Happy Days pays tribute to Filipino pop icons such as the late comedian René Requiestas, movie villain Paquito Díaz, the jeepney, and even former strongman Ferdinand Marcos! TV personality Tado also owns his own clothing company which has hilarious and funny quotes designed in front of every shirt: Di Bale Nang Tamad, Di naman pagod; Nag-Iisa Lang Ako (with his face printed on it); Mas mabuti nang magnakaw kaysa mamakla; etc.

Several days ago, Yeyette had a shirt customized with this single –and rather scary– word in front of it: SELOSA.

All these shirts come at a very cheap price, something which young Filipinos of yesteryears could not even flaunt as they are accustomed to being proud of overly priced shirts and denims.

Indeed, fashion tends to change from time to time. This fashionalism which currently rules the local fashion scene may not last for long, but it will certainly inspire more imaginative ideas from Filipino fashion designers who have finally realized that their foreign counterparts are not immortals.

Foreign branded shirts and jeans should now declare a state of calamity.

Manny Pacquiáo wins over Joshua Clottey!

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Congratulations, Manny!

Congratulations to our People’s Champion, Manny Pacquiáo! Once again, Manny walked out of the ring victorious, having defeated the Ghanaian warrior Joshua Clottey in 12 rounds in front of a sell-out crowd (51,000 strong!) inside the gigantic Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Manny has long before cemented himself as the greatest boxer in the world in our generation. This win is merely another feather in his already illustrious cap. Floyd Mayweather must be cringing in envious loneliness over his faded star. He may rant and accuse and make excuses all he want, but he can never ever hold a candle to our People’s Champion, the undisputed best pound-for-pound boxer in the globe!

¡Ang galíng talagá ng Filipino!

The last video taken of Nick Joaquín, the quintessential Filipino

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Video taken by zenocross.

A clandestine ghost in Corregidor captured in photo?

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Last weekend, my comrade Arnaldo visited Isla de Corregidor as part of our mission to travel the whole country and document traces of our Hispanic past.

When he took a photograph of the ruins of the three-storey Mile-Long Barracks (reputedly the longest barracks in the world), little did he know that he also captured a phantom… or is it? You be the judge (and try to spot it yourselves!):

Most of Corregidor Island, so heavily devastated during World War II, is said to be haunted because thousands lost their lives there –Filipinos, Americans, and Japanese alike.

Arnaldo said that nobody is allowed to enter the premises. The ruins was totally empty. So what –or who– was that in the upper part of the ruins?

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