Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don’t tell me we’re doomed!

It's a little late but I have to do a follow-up of my last post. My wife and two boys arrived in batches the following day, Sunday. They braved the waist high flood to reach the house. Mickey, who was supposed to go to Bulacan Saturday was stranded at OsmeƱa Blvd., Nitz stayed at the University, and Coby stayed with a friend's friend's condo unit.

Since then, love has been coming our way. While I believe we do not really need relief at this time, friends have been coming and offering help. Mickey's friends at the orchestra came and gave us a gas tank, a sack of rice and other goodies Monday brought to us by his friend, Bob Brillante and his friend. This morning, my eldest's company, represented by their HR gave out several donations, too. I also received a message from Trudy and Stephe, Arlene's children, offering help. We all had a tear in our eyes when Trudy said "consider it as a gift from mom!" Arlene is by far the most generous person I have ever known and now, even her children are showering us with so much. I don't know if I can even reciprocate such friendship. While we do need some supplies are these were about to be depleted soon, we plan to share our blessings to relatives who have been victims of the calamity. My siblings in Marikina, for one, needs help I'm sure, although they have not asked for anything at all. My wife's brother's house was also heavily inundated.

It’s been days since typhoon Ondoy struck Luzon and still the country is barely able to address the pressing demands for relief for the victims. And to think typhoon Ondoy did not hit Manila in its full intensity. It was just a signal number two alert. As a matter of fact, CHED never called off classes relying on PAGASA (which also means hope in tagalog or the lack thereof) saying that it wasn't a full blown typhoon yet. The downpour was very heavy though that the clogged flooding system in the city just cannot contain the onslaught of water. We have known this to be a fact since the seventies and still we have not done anything. Squatters still live miserably along river banks, the river is still plagued with the city’s debris of chemicals and toxic wastes. However, we cannot blame this malady to just the squatters alone but the whole Filipino populace as well. We have been complacent and passive. To say the least, we had it coming. We have known the benefit of proper garbage disposal, segregation of waste, the ill effects of using styrofoam and plastic but we do not heed. No matter what we say, people are still wantonly throwing their wastes irresponsibly. We still think that laws are made for others while we are exempt from it.

Let’s face it. Manila is not ready to face a calamity. We rely heavily on the private sector to aid us in the most trying of times. Government do not have the capability to address a major catastrophe. Too bad for we are situated in a land where calamities are wont to strike anytime. We lie in a very unsteady earthquake belt and typhoon infested zone and yet we do not do anything about it. It would interest you to see what I discovered in facebook.
I saw a video clip of a committee hearing the impeachment complaint being railroaded by the majority members.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A home without the comforts of a house: Typhoon Ondoy

(I wrote this on my laptop while Typhoon Ondoy was still pouring in more rain)

When we moved to this house in 1988, there was a big flood. It stayed for a month and we had to ride a banca to and from the house. It was too late for us to back out as we have already started paying the mortgage and there’s nowhere else to go.

They told us flooding happens in this part of the city every 8 years or so. I would not be surprised for after all, the river’s delta is just a stone’s throw away although one cannot realize this to be so for the river’s view is blocked by houses and other commercial edifices. But that was okay. Our house is spared from inundation. In my years of experience living here, our place was like a tiny island surrounded by brown, murky, filthy water that was knee-high. The municipal hall which was about two hundred meters away would have floods that reached the neckline. We have had this flood two more times ever since. We had to ask friends from the south to take the kids in for just a while until the flooded streets subsided. Kraiganne who was then in sophomore high, had to stay with her best friend in Ayala Alabang. The boys had to stay with Mickey’s best friend while Kim and I slept with our family friend’s family. Nitz had to stay behind to take care of the house and her aging mother. It was a lot of hassle to us and to the families we had to disturb.

But the hassles then were nothing compared to what we are experiencing now. The flood has reached our premises and beyond. I had to transfer the car to what I thought would have been safer grounds. This is the first time that we had to raise up the furniture, disconnect the electronics and put them to a safer place at the second floor lest they get soaked in water and break. The toughest was the refrigerator.

What’s worse is that Nitz and the two boys decided to go to school. “Classes are not suspended,” they argued. So, they’re now stuck in Taft while we had to find ways to raise everything, cook food and bring it up so that we can eat. But we always have to think positive and look at the brighter side. The good thing is that we now have a toilet and bath upstairs. I can just imagine the horrors if we still had the old house where we only had one bathroom downstairs. Taking a bath would have been very uncomfortable. Using the toilet would have been horrendous.

It's Sunday. The rains have stopped and I was hoping the water level would have gone down but to no avail. For some reason or another, it has not abated an inch. Hopefully, this is not that kind of flood that stays for months! The phone is now busted and I have no idea exactly where Nitz and the boys are. Not really. Coby decided to take his chances going home and got stuck inside his friend’s car. The last time I heard from him is that he is in a condo unit of a friend. Mickey, likewise, is stuck in traffic I don’t have a freakin’ idea where. Nitz is still somewhere in school. Her office got inundated too and had to transfer. I don’t think they are coming home anytime soon. The water level outside the subdivision is still waist high. (note: They manage to come home around noon)

Before my laptop’s batteries go dead on me, let me blurt out my sentiments on someone out there who will not even get a glimpse of what I have written. Nonetheless, my ramblings might give me some relief. I have no one to blame but the incompetence of education officials to at least have a modicum of intelligence not to trust the weather bureau and its outdated machines and announce a no class day based on what they are seeing outside the comforts of their homes. I blame the city engineers for not having an iota of an idea how to prevent flooding or at least make it go away as soon as possible. Most importantly, I blame the government officials for their greed plaguing this forsaken land with corruption so that they can live in luxury and wanton pleasure regardless of the plight of the citizens who they pledged to serve who are living in misery.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Noynoy for president?

Since the time Noynoy expressed his intention to join the presidential race, allegedly after a deep soul-searching retreat in a religious institution his mother sought before she ran for office, the senator is now on cloud nine. Why not? His candidacy looks even brighter today after a contested survey named him as the person to beat in the 2010 elections. Actually, landing in the top spot does not come to me as a surprise considering the outcome of Cory’s funeral parade which was attended by millions of Filipinos. If we eradicate cheating, which is bound to happen in whatever form during the polls, from among the variables and granting that we are about to have the cleanest elections with the introduction of automated machines, the question to ask is will Noynoy be able to sustain the people’s interest in him considering that 2010 is still a long way and that Filipinos sometimes have a very short memory.

I believe Noynoy does not share the charisma his parents have. Neither does he have the flare of his father’s tongue and quick wit nor his mother’s halo. At least not the Noynoy I have known so far. While he does not come as someone who is bobo, he is short of being a complete nondescript to date. With his lisp and a good surname, he is continuously overshadowed by a sister whose flare is au naturel who insists in giving him a make-over like as if she was Carson Kressley of the Queer eye for the straight guy show. What he actually needs is Kris’ handlers and acting tutors. In all fairness, in both instances I saw her on the boobtube, (one during her expose of being a battered woman and her eulogy for Cory), her timing is impeccable, her stance and gestures on camera, superb.

Noynoy will need a lot of things to work on. Especially now that Archbishop Vidal, whose organization helped a lot with Cory's candidacy and will prove to be a very strong ally, is threatening to disown him after learning about his stand on childbirth control. I am not a political analyst. Of course, I can be way off. But that's not important. I have not made my choice yet as to who to vote for in 2010. I will have to wait until all the hats are thrown into the ring. If Noynoy's credentials are as good as they want to make me believe, then I shall be voting for him. I do not agree with the Administration's pronouncements that the coming elections will not be about good vs. evil. Of course, the administration players will not join a game where they are sure to lose. On the contrary, I believe it is about good against evil this time. Let's see which one shall prevail.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


This is my latest creation which is to be owned by a friend of some twenty eight years or so. He will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow. He is also about to bless his own four-storey building which shall be his new home and printing press combined. He has gone a long way out of honest, hard work and perseverance. I join him and his family in celebrating a life of more abundance, good health and peace.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Linggo ng Wika

I had been asked by the Filipino coordinator to join his little poetry contest in celebration of the Linggo ng Wika and I obliged. Here's the original poem I wrote in Tagalog and my english version. Hope you like them.

Pano bang mamuhay ng malaya?

Tunay ka bang malaya
pagkat ika’y wala sa hawla?
Hindi naninilbihan sa hindi kadugong
iba ang kulay ng balat at anyo?
Malaya ka ba dahil nasisilayan mo ang araw,
napagmamasdan ang buwan
at nararamdaman ang init ng haplos
ng hanging amihan sa gitna ng kadiliman?

Baka naman ika’y parang sampung daliri
na oo nga’t malayang kumilos nang walang paglilimi
pagmasdan mo’t ang kilos naman nito’y
kumporme pa rin sa natural na daloy
pagkat ito’y nakadikit sa iyong palad
kahit gaano pa man ito kalapad.
Oo nga’t maaari kang pumunta kahit saan
ngunit paano itong gagawin kung bulsa mo’y
butas hanggang sa kailailaliman?

Maituturing bang malaya ang isang kaluluwang
ipinapanganak pa lamang ay baon na sa utang?
Utang na ginastos ng walang kapararakan
ng hindi naman dayuhan bagkus ay isang kalahi
na buong hayok na niyurakan yaring kalooban.
Siya na halos isuka ang pagkasarap-sarap na pagkaing
nakahain sa mamahaling pinggan
sapagkat siya’y bundat na sa kabusugan
habang ikaw nama’y kumukulo
ang maasim na sikmurang
parating walang laman.

Ilang beses na bang pinakawalan
itong ibong pipit mula sa kanyang piitan?
Di ba nga’t tuwing may pagtitipong ganyak
Itong mga tibak na hamak
mikoropono’t gitara ‘y pihadong tangan
paliliparin ito at pagbuka ng pakpak ay hahayaan
Subalit , kaibigan, ito’y sa awit lamang
kaya’t kawawang ibo’y umiiyak pa rin sa parang.

Ano ang ganda ng bulaklak na busilak
kung ang pang-amoy mo nama’y manhid
pagkat binara ang ilong mong makitid
ng sangsang ng amoy na basurang hatid?
Aanhin mo ang ganda ng sikat ng umaga
kung bulag ka naman sa sinapit ng inang bayan?
Ano ang silbi ng tamis ng tunog na dulot ng lira
kung bingi ka naman sa panaghoy ng batang ulila?

Malaya ka nga ba kaibigan
pagkat sa hawla ika’y hindi naninirahan?
Pakaisipin mong mabuti
ang ibong pipit na nakapiit ay pihadong kakain
anumang sandali, minsan nga’y pinipilit
samantalang ika’y wala man lang kahit ano
umaasa lamang kung anong sasapit
na tila baga isang aso
nakatali at nag aalumpihit.

What Does It Mean to Live a Free Man?

Can you consider yourself free
because you do not live in a cage;
do not serve foreign masters
who look different than you?

Can you say you’re truly free
just because you can see the sun,
gaze at the moon and feel the gentle breeze
touch your face in the dead of night?

Maybe you are just like your ten fingers
that can move at will
but whose movements are dictated
by the confines of your hand.
Yes, you can go anywhere you please
but cannot do so with barely a dime.

Can one consider free a soul
born heir to debt amounting to trillions?
A debt ill-spent not by a foreign
conqueror but someone of the same race,
who with voracious greed ravaged your being.
He who almost puked the delicious delicacies
served on ornate platters with silver spoons
because he is fully satiated and cannot have more
while your empty stomach grinds
and growls from hunger.

How often have we set the sparrow free?
We have sung in the streets many times
“put a bird inside a cage and it will cry endlessly”
and so we let it go and set it to flight
but that was only in a song
and the poor bird still cries.

Can you claim freedom when all you feel
is the filth of moral degradation?
What is the beauty of a rose
if your sense of smell has been numbed
by the stench of trash all around?
What sweetness do you hear from the sound of a lyre
if you’ve gone deaf to the pleas of the orphaned child?
What will you do with the morning sun
if you’re blind to what has come to this land?

Are you truly free,
because you do not live in a cage?
The caged bird
is sure to eat for he’ll be fed morning till night
while you who have nothing
just like a fettered lapdog waits,
depending on what the day shall bring
if it will ever come.