INC

Iglesia ni Cristo

On Sunday morning, I was on Shaw at 8:30 looking for a place to have breakfast, surprised about the absence of traffic noise and not realizing that a rather sizeable crowd of Iglesia ni Cristo members was gathered in the intersection of EDSA and Shaw.

Some, those looking exhausted with bloodshot eyes, were holding their placards that obviously had only one provenance, mass produced for the occasion. Some of them looked as if they were attempting to keep sleep and fatigue at bay, trying their best not to look as if they’re uncertain about their decision to be there on EDSA. Some of those who have given up keeping the facade standing were sleeping on reflective mats sold to them by a few entrepreneurial members of the neutral public who had seized the moment to earn a little.

A man from Marinduque stood on stage and talked about how he abandoned his fear of public speaking and was with the Iglesia at this very critical moment in the history of the sect.

While walking in my slippers, torn shorts, and an old shirt, the thought of being caught in the maelstrom of history in this garb made me smile. It was a beautiful day; the sun was up, there’s a slight breeze, and the traffic of vehicles that normally gives EDSA its sinister character was absent. It was a nice feeling to be there if not for the giant amplifiers that blew everyone and everything that stood on the path of the sound waves emanating from it away.

A monstrous LED screen was showing the churches built by Iglesia all over the world, while a voice over in that super affected radio announcer pitch was explaining how architects have made sure that these structures are made to withstand any calamity – a super typhoon, a tsunami, even a massive earthquake.

At the back of the screen, placed in the concrete box islands that contain ornamental plants that are meant to make Shaw Boulevard less menacing were unopened boxes upon boxes of bottled water. A few meters away were portable toilets standing next to each other; a young-looking man was covering his nose with his shirt before entering one. The Iglesia was holding its ground and would not withdraw, it appeared.

Any well thinking individual, Iglesia members uncluding, I surmise, who have a little background on critical thinking will realize from the onset that the reason for the protest, framed within the premise of the call for separation of Church and State is but flawed.

The editorial of today’s Inquirer on the issue is written well, and calling the action of Iglesia ‘non-sense,’ is fearless. As the crowd of INC members dissipates today nothing is proved more than the waning relevance of the sect. That more than trying to throw a red herring from the real issue, it is their leaders’ attempt at testing how relevant Iglesia is still in a society moving toward modernity.

Political leaders genuflecting before that Disneyesque temple on Commonwealth months before elections will lose the respect of the rest of the population.

Leaders (Chiz Escudero [this guy is reeking with the stench of political opportunism], Marcos, Binay, and Poe) who support the brandishing of the laughable separation of church and state argument for fear of not getting Iglesia’s bloc vote come May 2016 elections do not deserve my vote (and I will file a leave from work for a day to do my voters’ registration just to make this point).

I found a tapsilogan near the corner of the street, had my fill, and went home, hearing on my way that same man telling his fellow believers that more Iglesia members were coming. Indeed all roads led to Manila yesterday for Iglesia ni Cristo believers. But what for and so what?

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Repelled by Araneta-Cubao

This Monday, I intend to experiment on using a new route home. I am going to get off at V. Mapa LRT2 Station after my 3:30 pm class in Ateneo instead of alighting in Araneta-Cubao, my usual route. Riding the MRT from Cubao to Shaw Boulevard is already killing me. The walk from Gateway to the station, dodging as many alienated human beings just like me, the useless exercise of falling in line and showing the entrails of my backpack to an indifferent security guard who do not really know what to look for inside, the pushing and brushing with other tired and smelly commuters on transit, and the presence of bored-looking magnetic stored-value tickets inside my wallet announcing a bad omen coming my way are all it took this afternoon to finally abort any resolve I used to have in undertaking suicidal activity on a daily basis.

http://wikipedia.com

But instead of giving up and calling it quits, I opt to look for an easier route that will spare me from all these drudgery that are considered ‘normal’ by those who are well-versed in the art of riding public transportation in Metro Manila.

I shall never be accustomed to this torture I expose myself to on a daily basis. I thought I will have no escape from this. Until I remembered this afternoon that I once took this V. Mapa Route last year to a part-time work I was doing then. All I hope is that this plan will be feasible. Although there are other aspect of the journey I need to consider such as the cost and the length of time it’ll take me to reach home, my primary consideration for now is to stay far from Araneta-Cubao as possible.

This rediscovered route will.

500th post

Last night, after a tiring strings of travels using a combination all imaginable modes of land transportation in a modern metropolis — tricycle, MRT, LRT, jeepney, bus, and several hundred meters by foot from Shaw in Mandaluyong to Katipunan in Quezon City for my class in Ateneo to my part time teaching job in Makati — I arrived home nearly exhausting all my reserved energy, using up all my arsenal of reserved hope that I thought to be inexhaustible.

After an endless litany that went to nowhere, a monologue that lacked clarity and coherence, whose absence of a thesis statement boggled even me, and which despite it being endless, it ended because I got no energy to continue. And I was at a lost for the right words to describe what I felt. My brain came to a sudden halt, ceased to work, and surrendered everything to the comforts of a deep sleep.

This morning while attempting to put my thoughts to writing, I was surprised to learn that this one I am writing now is my 500th post. I’ve posted in this blog 500 articles! Some articles that made sense, some that didn’t, some that reflected nothing but my narcissistic tendencies as a writer and a person, some that shamelessly exposed my darkest insecurities, and some that defy rational categorization.

And some more to come.

And it just felt good posting this 500th one.

Random thoughts on a drizzly night

emperor

Above is a print of the Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen . This was taken from an interview by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris with authors Edward Dolnick and Jonathan Lopez who both wrote about the  forgeries of Hans Van Meegeren of the work made by the 17th century Dutch painter Vermeer. The seven-part article entitled Bamboozling Ourselves talks about our idea of art, what makes a masterpiece, and why we are susceptible to sleight of hand forgeries.

This subject of the article, although cannot be directly compared with the current political situations in the Philippines, can provide us insights as to why the Arroyo administration is, up to this point, successful in maintaining a shaky order and why our representatives in the Congress remain unperturbed in their loyalty to the current government.

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shang_raisins

A week ago I found this lesser known supermarket in Pioneer Center between Boni Avenue and Shaw Boulevard. I am wont to buy all my needs from cans of beer to cotton buds in Robinsons Mall Pioneer which is quite expensive for somebody of my standing. What more, I found this brand of wrinkly (well, they’re generally wrinkly), brown raisins made from “premium California Thompson seedless grapes from select vineyard” aptly called Champion Natural Raisins (as if synthetic ones exist) are healthful and downright delicious.

I’m starting to develop a penchant for raisins. Aside from sore throat and discolored thumb and index finger consuming these brown goodness between meals, I can’t find any reason to let go of this starting-to-be-a-habit raisin addiction.

raisins

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When I use my laptop or browse the web, I consider myself functionally illiterate, or something close to that. When my computer malfunctions or my connection stops in the middle of an important upload or streaming (that is, aside from watching the web’s more prurient contents) I am left dumbfounded and unable to act much less troubleshoot. This evening, while uploading photos for my blog post Mozilla Firefox crashed. This occurred as many times as I attempted to upload the photos that I almost got fed up until I remembered that I could still revert to Windows Internet Explorer.  I have no idea why Mozilla did not work, but I’m glad I have Explorer to depend on.

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I love the rain. It makes Manila more livable, Romantic, less gray, cooler, less polluted, less alienating, more interesting. I love it when it’s wet.