Never say never…Why we changed our minds about Boracay

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

My fiance and I went to Boracay about four summers ago. We didn’t like it. We thought the island was overrated–being anti-social vacationers, we detested the crowd and the noise and vowed never to go back.

Fast forward to 2009. Fiance asked me to plan a getaway vacation in the middle of October. We were both stressed out from work and we needed a break. I decided to flip out my Enjoy card and checked out the affiliated hotels and resorts. On a whim, I checked out Patio Pacific Boracay’s site. I asked my fiance if he was willing to give Boracay another try. Friends kept telling me to go there on off-season to avoid the crowds plus resorts give great promotional rates at these times.

I contacted Patio Pacific then reserved a room for 4 days and 3 nights (we booked the trip a couple of weeks before Ondoy hit). Arranging the reservations with my Enjoy card perks was a breeze. All transactions were via email. The sales rep was so accommodating and was able to answer all my questions. I personally think that our stay at this resort-hotel was what made the trip so worth it.

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Lessons from Ondoy

October 3, 2009 2 comments

For the first time in my life, my family and I became victims of a natural disaster.

Last Saturday, Sept. 26, my home for the last sixteen years was flooded for the first and only time I could remember. It was unexpected and we were so unprepared for what happened. All of us could only watch in shock when water started seeping through our front doors that evening. When the flood reached waist-level less than two hours later, we decided to leave our home and seek help. My parents, my two brothers, our helper and I, each took a bag of our belongings and waded through the chest-high flood waters outside. This was at around 8pm. We sought shelter at the second floor of our neighbor’s house next door along with two other families. I made two trips back to get our dogs and my laptop; the water was ice-cold and the current was so strong that I had to keep one hand clinging to our neighbor’s fence to make sure I won’t be swept away.

The next day, we went back to survey the damage. The entire house was filled with mud. Needless to say, we lost a lot of our belongings–stuff that my parents had collected in their 30+ years of marriage.

It’s been a whole week since Ondoy hit. My body’s aching from cleaning up and today, our house is starting to look “normal” again.  Yes, we lost a lot but we keep telling ourselves that everything we lost can be replaced. In trying to stay true to the promise I made myself to focus on the the positive, I am indeed quite blessed that despite the experience, I still have a lot to be thankful for.

My family’s okay–no one was hurt. This is the worst crisis we’ve had to go through and I’m proud to say we’re surviving with flying colors. During this past week I realized that my younger brothers aren’t boys anymore–they’re reliable young men.

My boyfriend really loves me. Mac was in Cubao working on a project when everything happened. When he couldn’t contact us anymore (mobile phone signals were almost non-existent), he found a way to come to us. He rode a cab to Katipunan, took the LRT to Santolan station then walked in waist deep flood water to get to us. If that’s not love then I don’t know what is.

I am extremely blessed to have great friends.  I’ve been receiving text messages and calls from friends near and far.  Thank you guys! Your messages and phone calls kept me strong.

I have the best office mates. 🙂 I know a lot of them had to adjust in our absence (a couple more of my colleagues’ homes were also flooded) just to make sure operations ran smoothly. Thanks for the prayers, the messages and the help you sent. It was overwhelming…!

I believe that we live in a great community. Our homes were all flooded but my neighbors were more than willing to help each other out. My family and I are so grateful to have a roof over our heads that fateful night. There were rides to the supermarket and simple sharing of much needed information when we were closed off from the rest of the world. My neighbors didn’t act like victims–they were heroes.

This last week made me realize how I took everything for granted. The material things I took so much care for looked so irrelevant in the muddy aftermath of Ondoy.  The shoes, the bags, the furniture and the other stuff we lost can be replaced but I don’t know what I could have done if anyone I cared for got hurt. I’m leaving this experience with the knowledge that nothing in life is permanent–that everything you’ve worked for can disappear in an instant. It’s a scary thought but at least I now know what to prioritize in my life.

What happened with Ondoy was a traumatic experience that I do not EVER want to go through again. Indeed, some of life’s lessons should be learned the hard way.

Categories: personal Tags: ,

Caparas is National Artist for Film…GOD Save Us!

August 8, 2009 5 comments

I was listening to the Startalk interview with Carlo J. Caparas and his wife Donna, and I got so angry that I blogged.

For those unaware of what’s been happening, artists are protesting PGMA’s decision to confer the award to an official of the agency that screens the nominees of the said award (Cecille-Guidote-Alvarez), and a movie director (Caparas) whose nomination for the award has been rejected twice. (Read full article here.)

I hate that Caparas is making this into a class fight because it’s not. He is taking this so personally that he feels he has to prove that he deserves the award. What he seems to fail to understand is that people are clamoring against the abuse of power perpetuated yet again by Malacañang.

Caparas says that what’s going on is a “protest syndrome”–that people will protest against anything our president is doing. Mr. Caparas, hindi kami bobo at tanga para tumahimik lang sa isang tabi habang lantaran kaming niloloko at inaabuso ng mga taong nasa kapangyarihan. Ang iyong paghirang bilang isang National Artist ay pinoprotesta namin dahil ito ay isang lantarang pag-abuso ng kapangyarihan ni Gloria bilang presidente. Kahit ano man ang sabihin mo, wala ka sa listahan ng mga nominado ng NCCA na ipinasa nila sa Malacañang. Mismong ang mga miyembro ng panel na nag-deliberate sa listahan na ito ay di malaman kung saan napulot ang pangalan mo.

This really isn’t personal Mr. Caparas but you’re making it as if it was. You may have been an unlucky victim of circumstance but your attempt to prove that you deserve to be a National Artist makes me less empathic. Since you’re standing your ground, no matter how shaky its foundation, I think you deserve the criticisms. The truth is, you don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Brocka, Bernal, Romero and de Leon.

Caparas referred to his massacre films as justice films–to this I say “bullshit”. His films were poorly executed (yes, I watched some of them on cable) and were obvious acts of exploitation. He says that millions of people watched his movies and that in itself is proof that he deserves the award. If that’s the case then Michael Bay should have already won an Oscar.

Donna says that “award lang naman ito” which obviously showed her ignorance about the kind of undeserved honor her husband has received. Being named as National Artist is way more than that–as a layman, I would like to think that the works of my National Artists represent me as a Filipino to the world. I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want to be represented by Kris Aquino massacre films.

As a comic novelist, Caparas doesn’t even illustrate his own comics. So technically and unarguably, the honor is undeserved.

He says that he will give part of the monthly stipend he will get as National Artist to streetchildren…he has helped a lot of people in the industry…he has 400 scholars…he sees himself as an inspiration to people since he used to be poor and is now rich because of hard work…

All these prove that Caparas is probably a generous, hard working person but these do not qualify him as a National Artist for Film and Visual Arts.

We are not elitists Mr. Caparas. We say you don’t deserve to be called a National Artist because it’s the truth. No amount of dull, illogical argument can change that.

At this point, I’d like to quote a paragraph from the official statement made by Leo Martinez, Director General of the Film Academy of the Philippines, about the selection of Carlo J. Caparas as National Artist for Visual Arts and Film:

Conferring the highest award on someone who was never in the running makes a travesty of the National Artist Awards, an institution that has been looked up to, venerated even for the recognition it gives to Filipinos whose body of works or whose contribution to the Filipino people is of the highest order. We have as this year’s awardees Manuel Conde for Film and Frederico Alcuaz for Visual Arts. Both are commendable, both beyond question. It has never been done before but had the Organizers wanted to give the same award to more than one person, why not consider the other most deserving nominees. Instead, in our utter disgust, a new category was coined and the two most prestigious awards for Film and Visual Arts were conferred Carlo Caparas.

It is a pity that the National Artist Award has been reduced to a joke.

I don’t feel like laughing.

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! Shame on you Jamby Madrigal!!!

August 6, 2009 9 comments

A quick post…

I’m tired and haven’t really had the time to blog (blame it on facebook games) but this cannot wait. When Jamby Madrigal announced her intention to run for president, I laughed and treated it as a joke. I’m not laughing now.

Yesterday, I was among the millions of Filipinos who watched as former President Cory Aquino was laid to rest. I noticed that there were politicians who were obviously riding on the event–that was expected. But Jamby’s actions takes the prize–walang kasing kapal ng mukha.

A certain H Appy Feraren posted a note on her facebook page about her experience. While waiting for Cory’s cortege to pass along South Super Highway, she and her mom decided to buy a couple of umbrellas from a vendor. The vendor handed them a yellow bracelet “for free”. This was what the bracelet looked like:

Here’s the original facebook post:

Now that we’ve remembered, relived and recreated the spirit of ’86 let’s make sure this yellow ribbon doesn’t get tangled up in other people’s political campaigns.

Subtle electioneering IN A FUNERAL?!?! SHAME ON YOU. Do not ride on Cory’s wave to pursue your vested interest. The people who waited in the streets weren’t there to see you! The revolution doesn’t belong to you, phony politician, it belongs to the people. And what makes you think you could get away with such a dirty trick? Cory’s lasting impression of sincerity, humility and honesty is now the benchmark of what leaders are supposed to be. You think people don’t see through you? The respect we have for Cory is not something you acquire with falsity (or through endorsement from Judy Ann Santos) it is earned. How dare you pose as someone offering sympathy to the Aquino family while you think about the votes you’re going to get come election time.

As I waited for the cortege (news networks’ new favourite word) along the South Super Highway, my mom and I bought 2 yellow umbrellas from this street vendor who was also selling nuts. And then as we paid, he pulled out something from his pocket – a yellow beaded bracelet nicely packed in a small clear plastic bag. Upon handing it over to us, he said: “Eto o, bonus para sa inyo.”Of course my mom and I were pleased and were all “awww how sweet.”Until I actually looked at the bracelet and saw a little tag with the name and photo of Jamby Madrigal.

I called out to him and asked, “O bakit may Jamby Madrigal itong bracelet na ito” and when I looked at the vendor for an answer he had already walked away.

Maybe an hour before this incident, I saw her car passing by the growing sea of people. Window open, flashing the L sign and strangely enough, a cameraman in front filming the people. My mom started shouting “Transparencyyyy!” and then I looked at her asking if I could put up my middle finger and my mom looked at me and said I should just shout transparency, accountability or good governance. In other words “BOOOOOOOO!!!!” And then the two of us just started shouting BOO JAMBY!!!

I am utterly disgusted by you, Ms.Madrigal. And to you other filthy politicians, behave yourselves because we are all watching you, even if you’re supposedly Cory’s “favorite” mayor. Genuine democracy is People Power and everything Ninoy and Cory stood for. It also means that now, whenever there’s a phony claiming he or she is there to protect Cory’s legacy, we will be able to speak up and act with the same fearless fervour we had before.

You know sometimes I wish I could march in the government offices with a magical broom that can sweep away all the dirty politicians we have in this country. A giant clean up, but this time not just for the environment but for our government. Haha, imagine if we could really do that? I’m already writing down the names of the people I’d attack first with my magic walis!

So, before you file for candidacy (a bit too late though in this case) think again. Actually, good luck! The people have remembered.

To Ms. Feraren, thanks for sharing your experience. Needless to say, a lot of us share your contempt over this.

Why I Will Vote in 2010

May 31, 2009 1 comment

There’s something wrong with the kind of democracy we have in this country. My main gripe has always been this: we put the power of the vote on the people’s hands but we let them remain uneducated. We let them make decisions that will affect the nation for all the wrong reasons. But it’s freedom in its most basic form. I can’t argue with that.

Being part of the middle class, I have a lot of complaints about the government. I realize that being part of the middle class means that the government has received a chunk of my salary before I even get my payslip. It means that everytime I shop or eat at a restaurant, I pay something to the government. Pera ko ang nagpapasuweldo sa mga nakaupo sa gobyerno.

With all the distasteful things that’s been happening in our country, I decided to finally do something. I’ve never voted simply because I don’t believe in the system. But I realized that this is the only system we have and I can’t work against it. If I want change to happen, I have to work with it.

I am finally registered to vote. It took me the entire day (and my ID picture SUCKS!) but I did it.

To those who have been watching in the sidelines, take the plunge. The middle class should go out and vote–we’re practically running the country with all the taxes we’re paying anyway.