50 “to do” things before I die (because a 100 ‘to do’ list is just too lengthy):

In the tradition of accumulating nonsensical lists of unknown purpose and object, this list of things I should do before I enter the unknown is my humble contribution to this growing body of work. In no way do I guarantee the completeness of this list; furthermore, the items in this list are in no particular order, more like a random stream of consciousness:

1. Sing a karaoke version ‘Someday We’ll Know’ in front of a crowd while the person I am dedicating it to is listening.


2. Climb the summit of Popocatepetl.

3. Attend the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

4. Write a novel.

5. Publish a book for children.

6. Have my own child.

7. Play with the penguins in South Africa.

8. Live for a month in a tree house.

9. Star in my own porn.

10. Harvest spices from my own garden.

11. Lift 200 lbs of weights twenty times for three sets.

12. Participate in a triathlon.

13. Be addressed as professor/doctor.


14. Interview Meryl Streep.

15. Make love with a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

16. Take a photo with Big Foot.

17. Swim from Iloilo City to Guimaras.

18. Publish my own newspaper.

19. Go to the moon and see how my country looks like from there.

20. Witness an erupting volcano.

21. Ride a bike from Iloilo City to Miagao.

22. Learn to speak French, Russian, and Swahili.

23. Produce my own independent film on how to have sex with a bacterium.

24. Skin dive in the middle of Sulu Sea.

25. Learn to play poker.

26. Tell Korina Sanchez in her face how forced her masa appeal is.

27. Perform at experimental theater in CCP.

28. Attend my class topless without feeling any remorse.

29. Vote in a national election.

30. Have an afternoon conversation over a cup of coffee with Floy Quintos.

31. Attend a reunion of Dole Cannery Central Kindergarten School class of 1992.

32. Learn to dance hip-hop.

33. Write and compose a song.

34. Stay with the B’laan of Landan, South Cotabato for a month.


35. Watch a concert of Michael Buble and Imogen Heap.

36. Assemble a Christmas tree in our house with my mother and youngest sister.

37. Have an evening in Paris, alone.

38. Dye my hair silver.

39. Say “I’m sorry” to all the people I loved and hurt before.

40. Have a pet cat.

41. Learn to play basketball.

42. Say my confession to a priest and have my penance before I die.

43. Go to Mecca

44. Wail in front of the Wailing Wall.

45. Meet Jessica Zafra and suggest to have her hair rebonded.

46. Find God.

47. Get married in Amsterdam.

48. Ask God all the questions in my mind and have him explain all the paradoxes that boggle me, that is, in case I find him or he finally decides to show himself.

eye of a storm

49. Be inside the ‘eye’ of a storm.

50. To die with all the spectacle imaginable.


Cynical thoughts on this week’s politics

Ben and I were walking our way along Makati Avenue to an obscure street facing a chapel on Buenavista Hill to buy his daily paper as he makes sure he has a copy of all the big three broad sheets: PDI, Star, and Bulletin, everyday. For what reason? That I will have to find out.

From nowhere, “Who are you gonna vote for president?” I asked him.

Without any trace of hesitation he flatly replied, “Roxas.”

Having your opinions on Philippine politics is tricky if not altogether futile. As one is about to step on a stable ground, thinking that everything is going to be all right then he will realize that he stepped on a quick sand. So it is suggested not to have anything definite, especially opinions (well opinions are often changing), regarding politics in the country.

Mar Roxas and Noynoy Aquino


Let’s pick as an example Mar Roxas’s case. Weeks ago, we read on the news his pathetic performance in both polls made by the Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia, number six and seven, respectively. This week came and we found him abdicating the official endorsement of his Liberal Party, giving way to Noynoy Aquino (his childhood friend) to bid for the highest post in the land as their party’s standard bearer.

All of a sudden, people are talking about Roxas’s statesman-like character, his discernment, his virtues. Solita Monsod in her column even praised the senator and presidential wannabe.

Now let me share you an opinion by somebody raised and who still remains unweaned from Philippine pop culture:

This is a grand telenovela plot. Noynoy Aquino has no plan whatsoever to run as president. He knows his capability and he knows he’s not cut for the job. His parents’ heroism, unlike their Hacienda Luisita that has remained untouched by the Agrarian Reform Law, is non-transferable. Since Roxas’s popularity is trailing behind the rest he can use this to his advantage, as he finds out that marrying the high profile newsreader Korina Sanches is not enough to do the task. So he’ll be a thespian for a while, appearing undistraught in giving up his party nomination “for the country’s sake”. A mark of a true statesman.

Noynoy will then be back from his week-long retreat in a convent in Zamboanga, feeling all refreshed and ready to face his fate. And on national TV, teary-eyed he’ll declare that the post of the president is not for him, but will be content being the vice president in the mean time. He will add that somebody more worthy (as if it is a privilege), definitely not he, can do the job. The camera will then pan to Roxas feigning an unassuming posture. “Mar Roxas shall be the Liberal Party’s presidential nominee, and I will be just behind him as vice.” Noynoy will then do the cliché raising of Roxas’s hand.

Well, opinion do change, but Philippine politics seems to remain as is.

Mar Roxas’s sense of the ridiculous

Sa loob ng beerhouse:

G.R.O. (Sumasayaw): Ganito po sa amin, walang maayos na trabaho. Walang tutulong.

MAR ROXAS: Anak tumabi ka…ako ang gigiling.

(Inside a beerhouse:

G.R.O. (Dancing lasciviously): It’s been always like this. I cannot find a decent job. No one is going to help.

MAR ROXAS: Anak move over…let me do the dancing.)

Padyak Mar Roxas.jpg

I was in the toilet during my break when I received this SMS joke from a classmate in college. Political jokes do not interest me. They are uninteresting, funny in a very shallow way, and they lose their humor pretty quickly. Besides politicians in the Philippines are more laughable than the jokes they inspire. It’s like doing a parody of a joke. And that’s not at all funny.

Reading this joke above, however, made me reconsider my prejudgment. It was intelligently written. For one it is making a commentary on the supposed questionable sexuality of presidential candidate Mar Roxas. Not that it matters to me. In fact it doesn’t. But my take on this is a minority; in patriarchal Philippines a leader is compelled to live within the confines of stringent gender roles. Hybridizing is anomalous; and an anomaly is not easily accepted in Philippine politics. It is a sign of weakness, incompetence, moral degeneracy. So being a homosexual or being rumored as homosexual, even a trickle of this flamboyant blood running in one’s vein means a doomed political career.

In the Philippines they want to liken their male leaders to boars inseminating as many mistresses as their semen sac can ejaculate.  And their female leaders to be feminine and virginal. In the event she exhibits any sign of ‘libertarian’ tendencies then all is going down the drain for her.

Confused, unsure, or men and women opting to be in the middle ground are forever barred from politics. So they either remain closeted or come out and forget about politics altogether. This is Roxas’s problem. Unless he disproves this accusation hurled at him on his being binabae, baklush, bayot, bading, fairy, etc. then his dream of being in Malacanang is laid off. This will explain his much publicized rushed engagement with popular newreader Korina Sanches.

But the more important subtext of this joke is the politicians over-eagerness to help their voters that they end up disenfranchizing them in the crucial part of decision-making, of letting them decide their fate. Instead of empowering the voters and letting them find solutions to their individual problems by themselves, through their own effort and intellect, our politicians claim the burdens to themselves eventually making the forget them very reason why they are in public office.

Politicians in the Philippines are the most braggart lot; they’re so full of themselves, and are self proclaimed messiahs.

Mar Roxas, in his comatose-inducing Padyak ads, took the place of the boy in the driver’s seat, seated him in the passengers’ seat with his sister and drove the pedicab and jejunely uttered the flavorless tagline: Lalaban tayo! (We’ll fight this out!) He never proposed a solution, probably he meant to drive for the boy for a day, an earning insufficient to feed the boy’s family. Or he might have even wanted for himself the contemptibly small amount the boy will earn for a day in driving pedicab.

The greed.

Filipino politicians need to do a thorough system review and ask themselves whether their public relations department is doing its job. Gone are the days of gullible voters. Technology and the media are breeding more educated and sophisticated citizens. Why not instead of waging ad wars based on soap operatic themes, politicians consider presenting us definite platform of government? Enough with neurons-obliterating tactics. We demand substantial discussion of issues and not pa-pogi stance that has been repeatedly tried in previous elections. We’re sick and tired. And the political jokes circulating around is our response.

Don’t take us seriously and we’ll make fools of you.

I’ll cast my vote this time

I am a registered voter in Barangay Calansanan Badiangan, Iloilo. I registered with my grandmother in 2004, traversing streams and rice paddies and riding a tricycle swarmed by young elementary school students just to reach the municipal hall located on the other side of a mountain. Although I am a registered voter, I never voted in any single election since I turned 18. Some crooks might have already used my name to vote for some corrupt politicians who can afford to pay, as is always the case in Philippine elections.


This barangay, located several kilometers from the nearest high way, is blocked by ephemeral streams from roads that would have connected it to other barangays for trading and other commercial endeavors, so until this time civilization is still at bay wondering when it will be allowed access. The place exists in a dream-like painting by Amorsolo minus the smiling lasses and able lads basking in a golden afternoon sun because the place is poverty incarnate. And the smiling lasses and able lads are either forced to leave and find a living in the city to send back money or they endlessly manufacture, so long as their hormones allow them, smiling lasses and able lads like them and hoping that these replicates of themselves go to the city and send back money someday.

For if somebody in the field of anthropology wanting to conduct a research using hermeneutics to live in a place where cycle of poverty mindlessly cycles or a biology major finding evidences to support the theory of spontaneous generation, as in this place babies miraculously sprout from any available space like mushrooms after a shower and thunderstorm, then the place is perfect.

I was asked by my lola to register in that place because my uncle, her son, was running during that time for municipal councilor. I agreed. He won without my vote because I chose to volunteer then for a radio station to cover the election in a district of Iloilo City.

I was not able to vote in the succeeding election as well. That time my grandmother’s son found himself at the bottom of the list. By the third time, he failed to occupy a position. The last time I heard he was wallowing in memories of his failed career as a politician but was contemplating to do a grand political comeback in 2010.

I read in the news this morning about the forum organized by the businessmen of Makati that invited aspirants for the presidency in 2010. In the forum, the presidential wannabes we’re asked to give a presentation of their platform of government. It must have been a riveting gathering of five men and a woman. Both Noli de Castro and Manuel Villar declined. Ping Lacson (for reason that he has already given up his bid) refused the invitation.


Gilberto Teodoro is an untested yet imperious, cocky is a better adjective, guy from the Armed Forces who has deluded himself that he can win the election despite him standing in the shadow of Arroyo’s corrupt administration and his name that spontaneously appeared from a virtual anonymity. This, of course, is with the help of his wife whose take on being ambitious can only be described by the word overkill


Loren Legarda, a broadcaster turned senator tuned griping vice presidential loser has said nothing concrete in her entire life and who has mastered the use of politicalese to a high level of efficiency that nobody understands her anymore, not even she. “The absence of an integrated, unified, and coherent road map is the culprit for the snail-paced Philippine economic and security development. We need to fuse national economic growth with national security in the development of an integrated plan.” By integrated plan she means…

Dick Gordon

Richard Gordon needs to seriously consider changing his nickname, Dick. He is an idealist who speaks in sweeping and stirring declamatory style. I first heard him speak when I was fourteen, and I was awed, but after several times of listening to him my eardrums started to show signs of exhaustion. He delivers his speeches like a televangelist, which explains why he was the most applauded during the forum. He’s a cross between Bro. Edddie Villanueva and your favorite Amway sales representative. (I am considering voting for him, though.)

Manny Villar

Manuel Villar is hounded by scandals of corruption even before he has held office. His paid interview with Boy Abunda that could have cost him millions is too long to be effective and too dragging to be entertaining.


Noli de Castro has not proved anything during his short stint as senator and his accomplishments as vice president are forgettable. He lacks enough political experience to run a country that is as complex as most complicated definition of the word complex is.


Manuel Roxas lacks charisma which explains his strongly advertised engagement with news anchor Korina Sanches, a case of basking in the newsreader’s masa appeal. He inspires in me an image of a henpecked husband once his union with Korina is officially consummated. Any of Mar Roxas’s accomplishments was obliterated by his Padyak ad; he should think of means to undo the damages the ad has caused in the viewing public’s psyche.


Francis Escudero may have exuded confidence and youth, somebody who can usher new politics in the country, but based on his recent media interviews on his platform of government, this man is all but empty rhetoric and vacuous monotone.

Bayani Fernando

Bayani Fernando is a man who never strived to be popular in exchange by and give up the hard changes he viewed necessary. Manila may not be as organized or as livable as say Singapore (kidding) or as any Southeast Asian megalopolis but as chairman of MMDA he has made major strides to lessen the traffic jams and to make the people abide by the rules. Still so much is needed to be done. But Fernando is a no non-sense guy who walks the talk. (I’m also considering him.)

Joseph Estrada

Former President Joseph Estrada. We cannot allow this country to be run by a thief, again.

The election in 2010 is as crucial as any other elections in the past. I do not agree that this is more important that the previous ones. This will simply give us a chance to change the way our country is governed that for the next six years. If we botch this one, it means another six years of again waiting in vain. That, I believe, is something we cannot afford.

A single vote, that is my vote, will hardly matter, but I am willing to tread several streams again, with my lola if she is still alive by then, to cast my vote this time.