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Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Corona Impeachment Trial: one positive historical note to consider

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A positive note to consider in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona is the investigation of the income tax returns of his family members. Because of this, Filipinos are now beginning to learn that there are SO MANY TAXES that they have to pay (aside from the withholding tax levied against them if they are employed). But during the Spanish times, which many Filipinos today loathe so much, there were only FIVE (5) forms of taxation whereas the Filipino under this US WASP neocolonial government has over TWENTY (20) or more taxes to pay. “The Reign of Greed” is happening today and not during the Spanish times. Charles Derbyshire is a complete hispanophobic cretin.

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Internet community on strike against SOPA and PIPA!

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I live in the web. I feel compelled to write about this issue…

Several weeks ago, I got heroically delusional by attempting to battle local pornography access in the Philippines (yeah go ahead; call me St. Pepe, the patron saint of sinners). And I did just that by launching a blog which I pompously entitled as the Philippine Online Movement Against Pornography. Ironically, as a person who supports freedom of expression and of the press (i.e., “online press”), I was somehow inspired by certain countries’ lordship over the internet. In China, for instance, Facebook is inaccessible. North Korea practices the same kind of censorship towards particular websites that its government deems to be pro-South Korea.

And I remember a few years ago from my Dubai-based friend Weirdonextdoor that she could not access my Spanish blog from there! I wonder what legal or perhaps moral issues blogger.com (my Spanish website’s host) may have with the UAE’s top honchos. However, I’m not really sure now if blogger.com is still banned from that Middle Eastern country.

But my point back then is this: if governments can block websites from being visited by its citizens, then why couldn’t our own do the same with porn sites? I thought it was a splendid idea.

Now, I am not about to discuss my moral standpoint regarding pornography (that would be for another blogpost). The issue right now is internet censorship. During those days that I was toying around with this anti-porn blog inside my “saintly head”, I naively thought that I’d do my country (and my faith) a great service. Little did I know that I might conveniently harm this wonderful man-made universe called the internet. Let me expound.

When fellow Filipinistas Señor Guillermo Gómez and Arnaldo Arnáiz learned about my new blog, I was surprised that they didn’t support it. Worse, they were even vehemently against it. I was dazed and disappointed. I didn’t understand from the onset what they really meant. For Señor Gómez, it was a total waste of effort. He cautioned me that it will only take away what little time I already have for our online advocacy, which is to defend and ennoble the Filipino National Identity. Arnaldo shares the same view, but he added more syllogisms and deductions to Señor‘s preoccupations…

Internet censorship is something that simply shouldn’t be. Difficult to accept/understand, yet easy to be left behind. In the internet, one can do virtually anything his mind wishes. One can satiate the desires and pleasures of the mind by visiting a preferred website: a site about books, automobiles, social networking, blogs about local insects, heritage conservation websites, stuff about communism, money-making tips online, and yes, pornography. Truly, the internet has become a global vegetable bowl wherein everyone can participate in the feasting, and that no one is shunned from doing so. But if you do not want the ingredients, then you have the option not to partake of the feast. It is really all up to you.

And in the internet, one is able to showcase perhaps one of God’s most puzzling and oft misunderstood “gifts”: freewill. In real life, we always use it without realizing that we have already decided on something. But the internet actually makes you realize that you should decide, for many different reasons, whether or not you should visit a particular site. Pornography is the best example. One might laugh off those “before-entering-click-yes-if-you’re-over-18” disclaimer because virtually any pimply teenager straight out of puberty can visit the site. There’s no physical internet police to guard each and every netizen regarding what site should be visited in accordance to one’s moral laws and ethics. And so that’s where freewill comes in. And not only that but the intellect as well.

The intellect. It was the main reason why the late great Nick Joaquín, sitting as a member of the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures during the 1960s, refused to cut nor ban controversial films because he believed in the intelligence and good sense of moviegoers. That is why former Senator Tito Sotto received a lot of flak during the mid 90s when, using his senatorial powers, he tried to censor several local and foreign rock bands (Eraserheads, Yano, Slayer, etc.) due to what he described as disturbing lyrics. Remember the memorable Eraserheads song Alapaap? Sotto tried to read between the lines of the song’s lyrics and decided that it was about a cracked-up junkie with notions of flight due to a meth high. But whether or not Sotto’s poetic intrusions are true (only the E-heads know for sure), the youth back then were not convinced by the song’s popularity, nay, lyrics to visit the nearest underground pharmacy. Actually, no song from hell ever convinced anyone to steal his dad’s gun and fire at his physics teacher. I should know; I belong to that generation when the E-heads gave us Ligaya (happiness).

In view of the foregoing, the key here is trust. Censors should refrain from being cynical about the public’s intellect. They always put the blame on the performer, on the medium. They should realize that the audience, the receptors, are not always stupid, are no longer stupid, especially in today’s age when ignorance is fast becoming obsolete. And we have the internet to thank for.

But the problem that the internet community all over the world —and not just in the US— is facing right now is not about internet censorship due to morality issues. Reportedly, the main target of the internet censors in the US Congress and the Senate is the alleged mercantilist threat towards the music industry as well as property rights. I’m talking about…

SOPA and PIPA

Today (Manila time), several big-name websites are blacked out in protest of these two controversial US bills that are pending legislation; its legislation will have a profound effect on the future of cyberspace. FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES is no big-name website (I’m ready to moon at the first one who readily agrees), but I blacked it out nonetheless to join the protest. Because this is not just a problem among the netizens of the United States of America. It will soon be a global threat once the US House of Congress’ “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and its US Senate companion bill, the Protect IP Act” (PIPA), are passed into law.

The purpose of these bills is to make it difficult, if not impossible, for websites —especially those located outside the USA— to sell or distribute pirated copyrighted material such as movies and music as well as physical goods like counterfeit purses, shirts, watches, etc. At first glance, you might think that the objectives of these bills are good. Perhaps they really are. The problem is they were not well thought of. And it should be noted that most of SOPA and PIPA’s strongest critics applaud the intentions of the legislation WHILE AT THE SAME TIME deploring what it might actually accomplish.

And what might that be?

Censorship, of course. It’s because the SOPA and the PIPA will definitely set a precedent in future internet censorship legislation. As wisely stated in Wikipedia (a vehement opponent of the said bills), the “SOPA and PIPA (will) build a framework for future restrictions and suppression”.

If SOPA and PIPA succeeds, there is a big chance that my blogs (and virtually anybody else’s blog) will be silenced in the near future on the grounds that, for instance, these websites are extremely anti-US and (‘gasp’) anti-“ABAKADA PINOY”, and that they might endanger the teaching of Philippine History, etc. Yes, it could get that worse (and I thought only Filipino legislators are stupid). And sooner or later, morality issues will come into play. And we’re not even talking about politics and religion yet.

Censorship is not always good. I’m wondering now if censorship could be another reason why Filipinos during the final years of Spanish rule were very rebellious. Think of Rizal and del Pilar and Jaena. All were good Catholics but they readily rebelled against the status quo. Is it a result of “centuries of living inside a convent”? The Catholic Church during those times was twice or thrice as strict as they are nowadays. One couldn’t simply read a book from another country for it might be listed under the Index of Forbidden books. Even the teaching of Spanish was stifled because the friars feared that when the natives learned the language, they will easily take hold of Masonic ideas that the Church abhorred for centuries. Spanish was fast becoming a vehicle of Freemasons in Europe, that is why the friars never preferred the natives to speak the language. Therefore, when the more liberal white guys from North America invaded us, our top leaders who were against Spain easily joined them. Could it be something psychological in our genes which we inherited from our ancestors during the turn of the last century that has made us allergic whenever we hear the word “censorship” nowadays?

Admittedly, the polemic discussion of censorship is still something that I do not fully understand. It has its good points as it has its bad ones because there are so many arguments to hear from both anti- and pro- groups, both of which can be passed as valid. And I still have my reservations for and against censorship. But what I know is this: if your right to be heard (and to be creative) has been stifled and jeopardized, then that is fundamentally wrong and unjust. Freewill is “divine”. Therefore, it should be accepted, if not respected. God will never stop you from liking my blogs’ Facebook fan pages. So why allow mere men to do so?

And what about the fate of the Philippine Online Movement Against Pornography? Forget it. If you suddenly feel like you want to see María Ozawa in action, then it’s all up to your intellect and sound judgment to decide whether or not it’s a good idea. Other than that, I already forgot my login credentials. So it’s no use even if I change my mind about what I think now of censorship. 😀

Say no to SOPA and PIPA!

The Black Nazarene of Quiapò (Facebook photos)

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Exactly a week has passed but I haven’t blogged about the Black Nazarene procession of Quiapò which I have attended. I have been very busy attending to some personal matters: taking care of my pet grasshoppers; searching for fireflies in the dead of the night, etc. Actually, I did blog about this historic event (reportedly one of the longest processions ever at 22 hours despite terrorist-threat warnings from Malacañang!) in my other blog, with videos to boot. But it’s in Spanish. So I will blog about the event here in FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES very soon. Hopefully before the month ends.

In the meantime, I have published my photos of the Fiesta de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno in my Facebook page. You can view the photos (with captions) by clicking here.

CF Madrid too good for Philippine Azkals

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Here are the results of last night’s football charity game for the victims of Typhoon Sendong (from Inquirer.net):

CF Madrid too good for Philippine Azkals

MANILA, Philippines — It was a loss that felt more like a win for Philippine football.

The Azkals Alyansa bowed to a more cohesive and disciplined Internacional de Madrid side, 1-3, Saturday night in a charity game that lured a crowd of 8,000 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Proceeds of the match dubbed “Dili ka nag-iisa” will go to relief efforts for the victims of Tropical Storm Sendong in Mindanáo and for goal scorer James Younghusband, that was already enough.

“I’m glad to get the goal, but for me just being part of this game is already special,” he said.

At halftime, CF Madrid officials turned over a check for 10,000 euros to the Philippine National Red Cross chair Sen. Richard Gordon. The stadium observed a minute of silence for the victims before the game and the crowd sung “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1943 Broadway musical Carousel dedicated to the victims.

Younghusband scored the only goal for the Azkals—a header from a cross from Chieffy Caligdong—in the 62nd minute, but by that time, the Spanish Tercera division side had already settled the outcome after going 3-nil up a minute into the second half.

Rufo Sánchez put CF Madrid ahead with a 15th minute penalty after Eduard Sacapano clipped Daniel García Fernández inside the box.

Fernández doubled the lead in the 32nd minute with a curling strike from just inside the box. A quick counterattack a minute into the second half saw Ignacio Feijoo make it 3-nil with a well-taken strike from close range.

While several players from the United Football League were in the squad, Azkals Alyansa coach Edwin Cabalida opted to field a starting lineup made up of national players.

But the Azkals were a shadow of the fearsome side that won five matches last year, struggling to keep up with the pace and enterprising play of the Spanish side, which continuously created chances in the opening half.

“The fitness level was very low. The passing and combination play wasn’t there, but the team improved in the second half,” said Cabalida.
The Azkals are preparing for the AFC Challenge Cup in March and Cabalida said the match showed there was plenty of work to be done on the team to become competitive in the tournament.

“It was a tough game and we played a very good team which makes this trip worth it,” said CF Madrid coach Javier García Márquez.

A swift three-pass combination from the backline allowed Fernández to run past Antón Del Rosario, forcing Sacapano to go out of his line.

The Azkals found difficulty to break down the Spanish side with Ian Araneta limited to long-range efforts and Phil Younghusband managing just a tame shot in the 10th minute.

To CF Madrid and Philippine Azkals: ¡muchísimas gracias! God bless you both for your charity. 🙂

78th Adamson University Grand Alumni Homecoming / 80th Foundation Anniversary of Adamson University

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Calling all Adamsonians/alumni of Adamson University worldwide (Preparatory, Elementary, High School, College, Graduate School, and College of Law from 1934 to 2011): you are all invited to attend the 78th GRAND ALUMNI HOMECOMING and celebration of the 80th FOUNDATION ANNIVERSARY OF ADAMSON UNIVERSITY.

PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

1:00 PM … Registration/Fellowship/University Tour
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM … Unveiling of the University Mural at the SV Lobby
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM … Anticipated Mass by our own alumnus, Rev. Fr. Fernando “Pando” Suárez
5:00 PM -7:00 PM … Recognizing the Jubilarian Awardees, Board, and Bar Passers; induction of the new set of Officers of the Architecture Alumni Alumni Association.

RECOGNIZING THE ALUMNI COMING FROM ABROAD
RECOGNIZING ADAMSONIAN AWARDEES – Outstanding Alumni

7:00 PM … DINNER

7:30 PM – 9:30 PM … PROGRAM AND RAFFLE DRAW
9:30 PM … FIREWORKS DISPLAY
9:45 PM onwards …. DANCE/DISCO/BALLROOM with FULL SHOW BAND

TICKET PRICE: ₱500.00

For more information and ticket reservation, please call the Alumni Office. Look for Red, Judy, and/or Pat.

AUAAI: 524-2011 local 302
Telefax: 524-6544

For Office for Institutional Advancement, AdU: 524-2011 local 314
Telefax: 5259858. Look for Ms. Eva A. Dulay, Ms. Edylyn Medina, AJ, and/or Jheralin.

¡Nos vemos! See you! =)

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Special thanks to the Adamson University Alumni Association, Inc. for the above info.

Happy Three Kings, folks!

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Mi familia.

Happy Three Kings everyone! =)

Al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (To The Sacred Heart of Jesus) by Manuel Bernabé

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Manuel Bernabé‘s famous poem, Al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, commonly known as No Más Amor Que El Tuyo (No Greater Love Than Yours), was made even more popular when it was turned into a song during the 1930s. It used to be sung in all Philippine churches during Masses and other religious activities, even by those who were not Spanish speakers. Below is a recording of the song done many years ago by Señor Guillermo Gómez (it was uploaded in YouTube by our friend Fonsucu).

Today, this song is rarely heard. But now that Spanish is fast becoming popular again, the Filipino people must bring this song back to their religious life.

Click here for more information about No Más Amor Que El Tuyo (lyrics included).

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DID YOU KNOW?!: The opening lines of popular noontime show Eat Bulaga!’s theme song was inspired by this poem/song. This song was also sung during the funeral mass of current President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s dad, whose parents (Don Benigno Aquino, Sr. and Doña Aurora Aquino de Aquino) were both native Spanish speakers.

¡El idioma español debería estar de vuelta en Filipinas! ¡Ya es la hora!

Azkals vs Internacional de Madrid: a fund-raising game for the benefit of Typhoon Sendong victims

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In order to raise funds for those affected by Typhoon Sendong in the Philippines.

Azkals, the pride of Filipino football, will face Internacional de Madrid C.F. in a charity game for the benefit of Typhoon Sendong victims. The charity game will take place this coming Saturday, 7 January (4:00 PM), at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Malate, Manila. Tickets are available now at Ticketworld outlets. This is a fun way of helping our weary, hungry, and homeless brothers in Northern Mindanáo.

Premio Zóbel Facebook page

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Please click here to join the Premio Zóbel group on Facebook.

This year, 2012, we will bring back our true literature: Literatura Filipina. More about this in future posts!

Decline in morals

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We have, in fact, two kinds of morality side by side; one which we preach but do not practice, and another which we practice but seldom preach.
—Bertrand Russell—

Last October, the whole world was shocked when a surveillance video in Foshan, China caught a van recklessly and mercilessly running over a two-year-old girl. And for a harrowing ten minutes or so, several passersby didn’t bother to help the severely injured toddler. She died in a hospital a few days later.

A few days before the above incident, Apple Inc. co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs passed away after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. The internet community all over the world wept and heaped tons of praise and eulogy to this pioneer of the personal computer revolution. Many of these people didn’t even know who he really was until after he died. But for many, many years, the whole world has been cognizant of the famine and hunger that is going on for decades in various parts of the African continent.

On 29 October 2011, local Philippine showbiz was rattled with the murder of young character actor Ram Revilla. What made this more sensational was that Ram was no ordinary actor — he was the son of former Senator Ramón Revilla, himself a legend in Philippine Cinema. Ram is also the half-brother of current Senator Ramón “Bong” Revilla, Jr. But what shocked the nation even more was when the motive behind the killings was exposed: Ram was killed because of sibling rivalry. Results of the investigation revealed that at least three of Ram’s siblings (RJ, Ramona, and Gail) were involved. And all this bloodbath because they were fighting over the monthly allowance they were receiving from their ailing father.

Ram and his siblings RJ and Ramona. Both his siblings were accused of masterminding his murder.

The police were adamant and mighty confident with the results of their investigation: Ram was indeed ordered to be killed by his siblings.

Two days later, international singing sensation Charice Pempengco’s father was stabbed to death in San Pedro, La Laguna. The YouTube sensation’s dad was estranged from her since she was three years old. She then went on to become one of the greatest singers discovered from the internet. But at the height of her fame, not once did she try to visit her dad. And just when the father died did she pay him a visit: but already a lifeless shell inside a coffin. She then went on to tell the local press how she loved her dad so much, singing here and there in every interview, hoping that her hymns would be heard by her dad. And last November, she paid the ultimate tribute to him in Mandalay Bay. For all intents and purposes, it was mere gimmick, perhaps wittingly or unwittingly from her part. But the result remains the same: to garner sympathy to add up to her stardom’s poignancy, reminiscent of many other attention-starved celebrities who came before her.

And speaking of celebrities, we have another revelation on moral issues, this time from the not-so-moral Mo Twister:

This confession (if true) reveals a dirty truth behind the local mass media and how they wants to portray their up-and-coming starlets: seductive yet virginal at all costs. And contractually, they should remain that way. Otherwise, their careers would have to join the breadlines. For Rhian Ramos’ part, as per Mo Twister, their baby’s life had to go to in exchange for the mother’s blossoming TV/film career.

In local politics, President Noynoy Aquino‘s relentless pursuit for his predecessor‘s alleged crimes as well as the current Supreme Court Justice’s “crown” is a classic example of misplaced priorities. Running after them for their past (and current) crimes is OK. But that shouldn’t be the number one priority, something that seems to be the obvious in the current administration’s activities. And so the million-dollar-question is: will this pursuit even uplift our economy?

In the video below, Noynoy made no qualms in attacking Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona for his being a midnight appointee (which is true anyway) as well as other iniquities done in collaboration with allies in the legislature. However, these attacks were not done in a proper forum.

Indeed, the other is thick-faced. But the other one is rude.

And do we even have to mention the rude one’s clamor for the passing of the RH Bill, the controversial bill that has divided our nation?

Finally, Lady Gaga’s music video, a post-apocalyptic orgy entitled “Judas” —released just in time for the Holy Week—, needs no further description:

The sacrilegious video, by the way, was directed by a self-professed “Christian”. And Lady Gaga fans all over the world even enjoyed this visual-aural “art” without minding the profanities nor the religious sensitivities of many people involved.

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These are but some of the moral issues that hit the headlines last year. We have asked for too much liberty. Now that we are enjoying an excess of liberalization, are the above examples the price that we have to pay?

What does 2012 has in store for us?

Nothing. It is us who fill up the events of an empty calendar year. Our destiny is ours to make. And it is up to us if we allow or disallow morality to guide our actions.

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