The Facebook monster

While almost everyone, those individuals who wanted to be seen as erudite, passionate, un-apathetic, a rebel-with-a-definite-cause, or those who are genuinely involved and are wanting to voice their opinions out on this divisive debate, rants about the perceived lack of insight the Catholic Church in the Philippines is making rather too obvious as regards its stand on the RH Bill, although not a few are inundating the site with remarks that border from the harmlessly banausic to the noxiously annoying.

But all of us being, members of this free virtual site, are left with no option but to ignore the refuse some people mindlessly spew on the walls, or because we have relations with these people that is beyond the virtual, connections that bleed to the real, we obligate ourselves to click ‘like’ button even though we know in our greenest gut that this is an act as horrendous as devouring somebody’s puke.

While these social networking sites, facebook and its countless copies are giving us ‘choices’, these are as artificial as artificial can be, a consolation for our being subject to their surreptitious manipulation, artificial choices that they can easily take a way at a whim. And we, being too accustomed to their presence, would rather make do with what they provide than to wallow haplessly like heroin addicts deprived of its paradisaical kick.

First, it was television that I slowly, steadily, and successfully eliminated from my routine, but with some symptoms of difficult withdrawal syndrome. Now, this facebook thing, an entity that initially presented itself as a benign diversion, is now turning into a malevolent monster eating anyone it has lodged itself in from the inside out, including me.

Tell me, how do I get out of here?

2010 in review:

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 179 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 569 posts. There were 464 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 59mb. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was February 27th with 1,161 views. The most popular post that day was How to know if she’s carrying a fake Louis Vuitton.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,, WordPress Dashboard, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for louis vuitton, sadness, manila, cockroach, and karaoke.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


How to know if she’s carrying a fake Louis Vuitton June 2009


Oh sadness! June 2008


Images February 2009


Questions from a notebook I bought five months ago: October 2008


La cucaracha September 2009

Optimizing site clicks

What SEO or Search Engine Optimization exactly means still eludes me. Although I think it’s a statement not worth writing since I have after all access to the web and without any problem, I can type the phrase in the Google search box found in the upper right hand corner of my monitor and in a matter of milliseconds I’ll get the answers to my question. But doing it the easy way is a no-brainer.

It is a learned behavior of those who work in outsourced industries to congregate in coffee shops and talk/orate about subjects of non-import using their uniformly mixed nasal-guttural voice audible within a 200-meter radius. As is often the case, this is a bane, especially if one stays in a coffee shop to read a paperback schedule to be read by as many times as the even-numbered pages but has been postponed by as many times as its odd-numbered pages. In some rare instances, however, one can pluck useful information from eavesdropping in these conversations that are more like a public address system announcements than private exchanges. I learned from one of these that SEO has to do with maximizing the number of clicks a website receives (which reflects on the number of people who visits it and therefore more opportunities to advertise), roughly.

It concerns me, though it does not bother me to I point that I deprive myself of sleep thinking of ways to get as many clicks as I can in a day. But is it a natural course for my blog readership to plummet? I ask. From a peak of almost 700 to a thousand in a day, I now only have, on average, 400 on weekdays and 300 on weekends, and based on how things look, the drop will not stop any time soon.

Partly, this drop can be attributed to my lack of new posts for weeks now. But this isn’t the whole picture since majority of my most popular posts were old ones. This has caused me to wonder, until…

I began reconsidering the objective I had when I started this site. I was only after expression of my thoughts (though eventually, I realized that they cannot be only mine), and this is regardless whether they’re read or not. And the clicks, yes, they give me some bragging rights, but that’s all. Also, I am a bit driven by a little vanity.

A very entertaining spam comment

Before the advent of spam blockers like Akismet, the default blocker used by WordPress, spams would leave one’s site flooded to the waist, its owner wading in hundred of useless comments that sell anything from how-to-learn-English-in-30-days DVDs to boring porn.

But some can be very engaging and hilarious such as this:

HELP! I’m currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia penis enlargement and being forced to post spam comments on blogs and forum! If you don’t approve this they will kill me. They’re coming back now. Vimax. Please send help!

It sounds like these companies have been employing impressively creative copy writers who never reached college and hurl these masterpieces for all the web to see.

On elegance

Seated in the end-most seat at the back part of the auditorium of Insituto Cervantes in Manila, I had a clearer, albeit the small cinema in the Instituto was unlighted as in all other self-respecting cinemas, glimpses of people who were seated in front of me. I went there earlier, catching a 5:30 pm LRT1 ride from Gil Puyat to United Nations amid a heavy afternoon downpour.

On Wednesday of last week, I got hold of an announcement, printed in the Business Mirror, on the Spanish Embassy’s annual El Dia Espanol (Day of the Spanish Language). Piqued by the activities lined up by the Instituto, I braved the impending rain which later fell into an itinerant early monsoon rainfall. I arrived at the Instituto soaked and a bit disorientated because of drippings from umbrellas of other less careful commuters and the usual slaughter house-like scene inside these crammed coaches.

The perceived very intellectual atmosphere in the Instituto, several meters away from the UN Avenue train station, gave me a warm welcoming.

Several groups of Filipinos, mostly students and young professionals and some tourist-looking Caucasians were conversing with each other in Spanish and English and occasional Tagalog in a small cafe a few steps from the metal-detecting machine. I do not speak Spanish neither do I understand the language, which is just too bad.

At first, I thought the place was reeking with heat coming from the usual European (specifically Parisian) coffee shop debates on semiotic, critique of post-structuralism or the discussion on metaphor and the primacy of irony over other devices in chapter 4 of Aristotle’s Poetics. Overhearing their small chit-chats, my impressions fell flat on their faces and mine, and the supposed intellectual atmosphere collapsed into heaps of commonplace subjects of small talks. The topics of their discussion were of unlofty kind, mostly mundane concerns about the heralding of a new brand of politics that comes with the election of Mr. Aquino to the highest seat in the land, the recovery of the national economy vis-a-vis the ‘rigged’ figures proudly claimed by the Arroyo administration, the sorry state of Philippine education system, and some students from, I gathered, St Benilde, who were exchanging banalities about the rigor and excitement of their college life.

I sipped my coffee fast and escaped immediately from the very heavy atmosphere in the lobby. I ran to the small auditorium and chose the most isolated location because I wanted to enjoy my movie, Galatasaray – Depor. I half suspected it was going to be in Spanish (of course!) and that subtitles, if there were any, would be in Spanish. I was right.

I trusted that motion picture is an art of universal value that transcends cultural boundaries. And that for somebody who studied and teaches communication, my education prepared me to tackle kinesics head on, understanding the story based on the actions, the varying tones of the characters’ voices in delivering their lines, and the subtleties of their interactions. Or so I thought.

Until a group of people, the same group I tried to escape from in the cafeteria came in and joined in communal experience of film-viewing. One of them, the most brazen, blurted “Ay, walang English subtitles.” I do not see why people in this country have the penchant of stating, and stating out loud, what is obvious.

But the fact that these people have the audacity to advertise their stupidity like a badge of honor is even more horrifying.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people, whom I assume to be impeccably conversant in Spanish, made it sure that people like me who understand no Spanish word except pronto, puerta, or puta knew where to locate ourselves in the greater scheme of things. These people who have studied Spanish, the younger, over-eager undergraduate, especially, who were part of that group in question, laughed twice as hard and as loudly as one would normally laugh when faced with a funny scene or line in the film.

Their stylized way of laughing signified the void that separates the Spanish literate and the non-literate, which was fine with me. They were more than willing to announce their extensive knowledge of the Spanish language, complete with understanding of the subtle idioms and irony.

But this is an act that leaves a bad aftertaste. It’s inelegant.

Day of the Spanish language

Instituto Cervantes (855 T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila) will celebrate El Dia Del Espanol (Day of the Spanish Language) on June 19, starting 9:30 am. There will be an open house with exhibits, kite flying, a photo contest, and fun cultural activities. At 6 pm they will screen director Hannes Storh’s 2005 German-Spanish film Galatasaray – Depor (one day in Europe) about the finals of the Champion’s League. Free admission. For seat reservations, call 526-1445. For more info about El Dia Del Espanol, log on to

On the entire exercise of literary criticism

The character is enmeshed, to his consternation, in an almost inescapable trap he has unwittingly set himself in, a character caught in the architectonics of a metanarrative of dubious origin. In the middle of a cold, septic room, he beheld glimpses of seemingly unreal soirees of the supposed ambiguous but in fact meaningless discourses. Discourses that camouflage as a repetitious matrix of sensible ideas that crumble to dust upon closer scrutiny.