I am yet to figure out whether the word baroque which refers to “a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, and music” (from the ever reliable Wiki) is where the pejorative Filipino slang ‘barok’  came from.

Barok refers to the person, language, or way of doing that exhibits crassness, inappropriateness, lack of a sense of taste. In popular Filipino media, a stereotypical barok is a provincial lad arriving at the big city, unknowingly being taken advantage by a swindling Manileño whom he trusts his everything. The provinciano usually speaks with a heavy accent, which is usually Bisaya, dons a camisa chino and cotton pyjama ensemble, and carries a bayong.

It is hard to relate this barok from the baroque classical music that I listened to last night at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester. It was a concert by the Salisbury Singers entitled “Baroque Brilliance” that featured George Philipp Telemann’s and Johann Sebastian Bach’s music.

Not schooled in appreciating classical music, I only listen to what I think is worth listening; at its simplest, my taste in music is barok. I’d find myself switching from Wagner, to Eheads, to the Beatles, and the next minute to April Boy Regino. But if beauty transcends culture and a listener’s level of education, then something that is deemed beautiful is what it is no matter who is listening. And interestingly, despite the cold, and some glitches with my camera, I was able to enjoy the concert.

And felt last night’s music touching my soul, my spirit.

With all seriousness.

Night before posting grades

With the grades of my students due tomorrow, I know this night will be spent caressing their papers like an estrus lover, making sure I take into consideration everything they have poured into their works or I’ll miss the all-essential sap that will comprise their grade. I hate the idea of evaluation, of appraisal, of giving equivalents to works whose values will never be accurately and precisely quantified regardless of rubrics that attempt to minimize subjectivity as much as possible. But like everything, unless I am able to come up with something better, I have to make do with what I have at present.

While I am groping my Excel sheet and fingering a small calculator (as I have never fully mastered, and trust, this Excel thing), my laptop plays Eraserheads (how dated) just to remind me how it was being an insecure, acne botched undergraduate student to also give me that sense of empathy and to drizzle myself some form of level-mindedness amid pressure.

I am not a difficult teacher, I think.

I hated giving a 5.0 and do not enjoy keying in an F.

Monday Rock


Nineties rock is a good complement for a rainy Monday morning. Eraserheads final concert recording was blaring inside the bus but I got nothing to complain about. So did other passengers, I believe. Everyone was going with the beat. For any Filipino who spent his teenage years in the 90s, nothing is more 90s than the rock songs of Eraserheads.

The bus conductor, who must have spent his growing up years in the 70s or 80s turned off the overhead television.

Kuya naman! Nanood pa kami,” shouted the lady three seats in front of me.

Kanina pa kasi nakasalang ‘yan miss. Baka magasgas na ang plaka.”

Eh kakasakay ko lang ah, ngayon ko lang nakita ‘to. Kasalanan ko ba na ngayon lang ako nakasakay,” she seemed irritated by the logic of the old man.

Pasensya na miss. Ito Child’s Play, horror to, alam ko kilala mo si Chuckie.”

Ibalik niyo sa Eraserheads!

Oo na.” And the old man could do nothing but to play the recording.

And the atmosphere inside the bus felt like it was the 90s all over again.

An afternoon FM radio program, the 90s, and the Filipino nation


I’m currently listening to an afternoon radio program that plays songs popular during the 90s. It’s funny how these songs bring back memories of my elementary years when everything, without any exception, was good and nice. Listeners to this program can send their comments through texts that the 2 deejays read on air. Although it’s almost bordering to being corny and chummy, I can’t help myself from smiling because I am reminded by something I almost forgot: that I actually used to watch out for the showdown between the Universal Motion Dancers (UMD) and the Street Boys, and that there was this film I watched, which I secretly liked then, on the history of the dance group headed by the 90s most famous leading man Wowie De Guzman.


Most young people of my age would writhe whenever they hear or are being reminded of what it had been in the 90s, although I know they feel nostalgic within wanting to bring back the good ol’ days when Siakol, Eraserheads, and Yano dominated the airwaves and Noli De Castro’s face occupied one-third of the television screen showing the primetime news program. I do not have a clear recollection of that decade myself since the life I lived was confined within the parochial concerns of my growing up years in the province. It must have been clearer and more affecting for somebody who spent his development years in a metropolis such as Manila.

My siblings were hooked to Saturday youth oriented programs such as Thank God It’s Sabado (T.G.I.S.) or Gimik unaware that these shows subliminally altered our perception of our small world. I remember emulating the speech, manner of dressing, and their conduct whenever they were with their friends of these 16-years-olds living in an exclusive subdivision in Manila in contrast to us who were then growing up in a closely-knit community and a pretty big household whose only source of entertainment was our black-and-white television which was, luckily, replaced by a colored model. Now, it is easier for somebody like me who grew up in the province to relate with the consciousness of somebody who grew up in Manila during the 90s.

Had there been no television, my idea of the previous decade would have been different and I might not have been able to comprehend what the deejays on this afternoon radio programs are saying. Television and the Media in general can actually create an imagined consciousness and pseudo-reality, but why has it been impossible for the media to act as a go-between for the shared understanding on the Filipinos identity as a nation? Why has it and still is limiting itself to some banal (that’s how I see it) functions but not with things of import and significance?

Probably it is not as easy as I see it, but what makes the experience of some of us who grew up in the 90s different from the grander experience of the nation, aside of course from sheer size and complexity? Well, the latter question might have already answered the points raised by the question preceding it.

The Philippine media is yet to realize its more sublime purpose in the lives of Filipinos. What I hope is a media that will not only inspire nostalgia in me of the decade that has been but also a shared experience of how it is to be a Filipino and to choose to remain as one despite and because of the challenges it has gone through as a nation.


It’s cold outside.

My friend just finished knitting my scarf for the winter.

Everything looks gloomy and sad, but inside me I feel an unexplainable happiness.

Preparing for my class until ten tonight.

If you expect something intellectual in my post today, you’ll end up disappointed.

I’ve got nothing to say today.

This morning, after lifting some weights in the gym, although I am physically exhausted, but I’ve never felt this healthy before.

I feel peace inside me today.

My problems press hard on me most of the time – negligible concerns compared to that of the world’s.

I want to bathe in the cold rain outside.

I want to be a child again.

I want to go back to the place where I was born and thank my parents for loving each other so much, a love that keeps me inspired to find a love as pure as theirs.

I’m happy.