October 26, 2008

Soultakers at MBS2

Following is a small collection of photos of photo/videographers during the recently-held 2nd Mindanao Bloggers Summit (MBS2) in General Santos City. Legends have it that when photographers take pictures, they actually take the souls of their subjects. Perhaps, they really did take ours during the Summit... for posterity, that is :)

October 16, 2008

More afraid for Obama

I have just watched the last of the US Presidential election debates. It was halfway through when I caught it on CNN. Among the first things that interested me during the debate telecast was that while the two American presidentiables exchanged fiery notes on the most pressing election issues, breaking news were being flashed on screen about markets all over the world tumbling one after the other. The bulletins were reporting mostly Asian markets including the Philippines, as these parts of the world were going through their first hours of trading while the presidential debate was going on. The tumbling of markets would later follow daylight as it moves around the globe.

No, the negative trading was not caused by the presidential debate; but by a larger paranoia about worldwide recession. Why the paranoia? Beats me.

But I can tell you my own paranoia after watching the final Obama-McCain head-to-head tussle. I have become more afraid for Senator Barack Obama. Yes, for Obama, not of. The Democratic candidate won the debate, again. And by the looks of it -- polls, both US and global, would indicate -- he is poised, now better than ever, to become the next president of the most powerful nation in the known universe.

Now, if you are a Republican, an ultra-Republican at that, say a member of NRA (yes, the National Rifle Association, descendants of the Ku Klux Klan who burned colored people at the stakes), or an ultra-rightist super-Conservative who, throughout the election campaign, has thrown every nasty thing into the campaign arena and has branded Obama a communist and a terrorist; what would you do? Dig deeper into your campaign kitty (read: kaban ng bayan), say "Hello, Garci" and buy 1 million votes?

Have I been watching too many Hollywood movies? Call me paranoid. I am.

October 13, 2008


This slideshow I particularly dedicate to my classmates in MSU-High School, Class of 1984; most especially [do I sound like an FM radio?] to those who have been away for a while now. May we all see each other on the 27th of December at the campus grounds for the HUGPONG 2008, a celebration of 41 years of MSU-High!

October 2, 2008

Re: Rizal's novels for free

I would like to thank fellow Mindanao blogger
Gilbert Yap Tan for re-posting a piece by historian Ambeth Ocampo originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, titled Rizal's novels for free. I am reminded of my recent venture at the Manila International Book Fair where I personally observed the Noli, the Fili, and other works of Rizal as among the least handled books in the exhibit.

Among the very few booths I saw that displayed the said items was that of the National Historical Institute (NHI). I am sure why Rizal's works attracted only a few souls has got nothing to do with NHI's booth not being extravagantly made over (read: boring) unlike those which exhibited colorful children's books and techie materials. There were other more monotonously dressed up booths yet there were more patrons flipping through the pages of their displays.

It did not matter if the patrons' curiosities actually led to the eventual takeout of the books they were browsing. But I am almost sure of the reason why they snubbed Noli and Fili. It is the same reason I had why I just took photos instead of putting my hands on either: I am already done with it. Yes, I have been required by law to read Rizal. I did, not just once but twice; and I am done with it. The words of the student who once emailed Ambeth Ocampo could have been my words also. I began appreciating the Noli and the Fili only after the second time I got to read them. I am not about to say "no thanks" to my high school teachers. I did learn some drama techniques in class we were made to act out selected chapters of Rizal's novels; and I do appreciate the many other things outside of the Noli and the Fili I've learned from my high school teachers. But I have to say "many thanks" to my college mentor, the revolutionary (don't raise your eyebrows now) Reuel Molina Aguila, who made me finally enjoy Rizal's masterpieces reading through the English translations of Leon Ma. Guerrero.

It was the intent of R.A. 1425 to make us read and enjoy Rizal's works. The law was successful in me and probably that student of Mr. Ocampo, and was to some degree successful in all of those who passed their exams and quizzes in P.I. 100, Soc. Sci. 1-something and other differently-named Rizal courses. But that's just about it.

As the law (promulgated in 1956) continues to struggle to fulfill its other pertinent provisions (e.g. Section 3), a question runs parallel: are the great majority of the country's citizenry even up to the task of wanting to read and understand Rizal, much more, live his ideals?

As I wrote this post, I called up half a dozen people -- all working class -- and ask each one his/her recollection of the stories of either the Noli and Fili. None of them remembered. I am afraid the answer to the question above leans on the negative.

But perhaps, there is still hope. All of them remembered the novels were written by Jose Rizal, our national hero.