Author Archives: Jose Francisco Cruz

rain 3

It’s raining metaphors

Monday, 11 July 2016 | Written by
rain 3

rain 3

It could signal the beginning, as the topsoil shudders while seedling tips frantically squirm and shoulder aboveground, thanks to the blessing of the May showers. It also could be a foreshadowing of the end, as Yolanda surges into San Juanico strait, its webbed wings engulfing the shoreline, stripping it bare of houses, and claiming lives of countless inhabitants. Most of us see it as a rebirth, challenge to our resilience, as we struggle against the confusion to stand up after Yolanda, our resolve furthered by the support of the international community.

Rain’s graphic imagery differs from one person to another, depending on impulse. Outgoing persons kept indoors by it become surly, while the homebodies nestle themselves comfortably beneath the sheets. A summer vacation-type of person would snarl at a hint of black cumulus clouds, while a hardcore surfer would jump at the chance to catch a monster wave in a typhoon.

We review the cameos of rain in the complex life of the Filipino. (SPOILER ALERT: Vignettes of various novels and films are mentioned, vital to plot momentum.)

Rain in movies, or literature in motion, evokes emotions hidden, and unsaid. It is awe-inspiring that some directors never have to rely on script, merely describing the rain scene. In essence, this style contributes enormously to improvisation, driving force of creativity, and places a wonderful boundary of mutual admiration between movie and literature fans.

Sue Prado is an independent film actress, who, like Jacquelyn Jose and the entire indie film industry, is a fountain of inspiration, pride, and respect.

In the ending scene of her movie with Mercedes Cabral, “Ganap na Babae (directed by Arevalo, R., Ramos, E., and Roxas, S.),” the rain signaled her liberation from a blighted life without a guiding compass, and hope prevailing against mundane, moment-to-moment existence. Prado adds that she felt that the rain washed away the bitterness.

The rains in “Manila After Dark (directed by Ishmael Bernal),” Prado recapitulates, helps the visualization of the destitute situation as Alma Moreno confides her pregnancy to her father, half-knowing he wouldn’t approve, with nothing left to do but get drenched in the rain to make sense of things.

As with Rizal’s Noli me Tangere snapshot below, Prado was also impressed with the red umbrella that sheltered Hilda Koronel and Christopher De Leon in “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising (directed by Mike De Leon).” The scene was filled with tenderness, emphasized by the scarlet umbrella signifying that love comes to us in varying intensities, and theirs was the unique kind that imbues inward glow.

Rain as pictured in books can be bright or ominous. But it’s more of ominous, really. And they’re saying the millenials have fetish for dark comedy?

Ngiti mo’y ulan sa tuyong lupain” – Florante at Laura, Francisco Balagtas

“Your smile as rain on parched land” would be the equivalent of this line of our foremost poet from Bulacan. ‘Florante at Laura’ is Romeo and Juliet in rhyme, where Florante woos dame Laura, pinning the imagery of a smile so sought, or the lady so aloof to Florante’s romantic advances (most probably both) that it is likened to rain on dessicated topsoil.

And then rain’s black veil descends, as with F. Sionil Jose’s “Tree.” In Chapter III, the nameless lead character, a boy from Rosales in Northern Luzon, was befriended by Hilda, a pre-adolescent tightrope performance artist. Fearless, she was able to walk the length of the tightrope without safety nets and despite the rains muddying the soil. I have already given you enough information. Buy the book, it’s so worth it.

Chapter VII, An Idyl on an Azotea, Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal (translated in English by Charles Derbyshire, Project Gutenberg)

Do you remember that stormy night when you saw me weeping alone by the side of my dead mother […], put your hand on my shoulder, saying […], ‘You have lost your mother while I never had one,’ and you wept with me?

This endearing verse is where Maria Clara asks Crisostomo Ibarra on the Azotea if he thinks of her, overheard by the giddy flowers and vines that crane their necks to hear. The above was Ibarra’s answer, obvious that he recalled this heartwarming scene, possibly as the point pegged when he realized that infatuation had turned to love. It is common in real life that we tend to remember the episodes where empathy was shown us by the people dearest to us. It is this simple fact that invokes such realism in this short passage. It is the contrast of ‘storms’ and ‘weeping’ with strokes of empathy that highlights this heartening scene of true love in Noli’s 8th chapter.

Chapter XXIII, A Corpse, El Filibusterismo, Jose Rizal (translated in English by Charles Derbyshire, Project Gutenberg)

Dead!” he murmured in a voice so low that it seemed to be a ghost whispering. “Dead! Dead without my having seen her, dead without knowing that I lived for her—dead!”

Feeling a terrible storm, a tempest of whirlwind and thunder without a drop of water, sobs without tears, cries without words, rage in his breast and threaten to burst out like burning lava long repressed, he rushed precipitately from the room. Basilio heard him descend the stairs with unsteady tread, stepping heavily, he heard a stifled cry, a cry that seemed to presage death, so solemn, deep, and sad that he arose from his chair pale and trembling.

The storm now becomes a most powerful psychical agent within Crisostomo Ibarra as he discovers the death of Maria Clara, with Rizal’s perusal of that intensity with the acuity of a waterless whirlwind likened to tearless implosion of Ibarra’s entire being. In my opinion, the ability of an author to vividly capture the duality of man’s light and dark emotions is what it takes to be world class.

Primitivo Mijares, “The Conjugal Dictatorship,” Chapter III Twilight of Democracy

Dusk was settling on the ancient city of Manila, with the sun that gives the Oriental metropolis its most beautiful sunset slowly sliding away behind the clouds beyond historic Corregidor and Caballo islands. The eastern horizon was aflame with layers of red clouds, a phenomenon which a Batangas farmer would undoubtedly interpret as a portent of heavy rains, perhaps stormy days, ahead.

Mijares was a recipient of the kindly favors of the Marcoses, being an insider and proponent of the dictatorship’s Media Advisory Council. Mijares might have foreseen his demise as collateral for his defection and his book, but not that his 16-year old son would be kidnapped, hogtied, feet and hands mangled (hammered?), eyes gouged out, genitals bloodied to a pulp, and skull bashed and broken in, with elder Mijares made to watch (source withheld).

Rain is the omnipresent observer but potent force, sluggard yet active, bright yet ominous, both light and dark. A fitting metaphor for who we are, and what we should decide, to become.

 

Photo credits:  bruisedbutnotbrokenblog.wordpress.com/

urban garden

Game changer: Urban gardening revolution for inclusive food security

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 | Written by
urban garden

urban garden

The seeds have been sown, and they are a-germinating. A good kind of tension is building up to the presidential inauguration. Already, we see the Philippine National Police patrolling our roads, protecting the citizenry from drug syndicates, and the people ganging up on rapists. Of course, mainstream media plays a germane role in keeping this momentum of shared vision, and shared progress. Another cause for excitement is a new chapter in the Department of Agriculture, wherein incoming secretary Emmanuel Pinol is in the works with Israeli Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Eyal Ben Ari, regarding training and employing street dwellers as greenhouse personnel (Ison, L., “Pinol Roadmap,” Philippine News Agency, 20 June 2016).

In this piece, we shall try to take the game-change play a step further. Should the ideas have a drastic effect on the welfare of professional farmers, you are free to tweak the methods proposed, and assumptions made.

“May lupa ka ba? Oo, sa paso!”

Let’s put it this way – if everybody, the rich and the poor, plants veggies and other cash crops at home, the demand for these would drastically decrease, and the prices for them would go down, and remain stable even in the typhoon season. We don’t need to have a backyard, a frontyard, sprawling or otherwise. All we need is a cubic meter. It could be indoor or outdoor. But that would largely affect what type of crops you can cultivate, and the propagation process (planting from seeds, grafts, bulbs, and others).

“Kailangan ko ng space, hindi ako makahinga”

Normally, we perceive Informal settlers cramped in a tight section of the cities, wading in grime, and their lungs drowning in smog. Urban gardening’s additional benefit is in producing more oxygen, thereby cooling the inundated shanty towns, presenting a more-relaxed atmosphere because of the greens and their flowers. Remember that the color most stress-reducing is the color of plants – the color green.

“I don’t worry, I’m too busy making money”

Having more than what we need of garlic, onion, ginger, and pumpkins will tell all of us that we do not need to steal, because we will never ever be hungry again. Jesus tells us that we do not need to be afraid, because He will help us. In my opinion, this is what He meant.

If the Filipino is not afraid of going hungry, the crime rates will definitely decrease. Since he has more than what he needs, he will have extra money for leisure, and this will bring him peace.

To the well-to-do and the subdivision homeowners, you too have a big part in this. The Holy Bible states, “The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops (II Timothy 2:6).” And so, let us put an end to the insecurity that has plagued the Filipino. If we have no need for our produce, the homeowners associations could pool them, sell them and the proceeds could be distributed to a legitimate non-government association of choice, or could be given away to our not-so-fortunate neighbors, as is.

By this small deed, we shall become peacemakers. A benefit we all can never have enough of.

“Aktibista ako, rebolusyon ang solusyon”

Participate in the urban gardening revolution, the truly GREEN revolution. It encompasses and addresses everything: poverty, progress, economy, global warming, peace and order, social justice – everything. If we are predisposed to activism, why do we not conserve some of that energy, and instead focus on planting calamansi (Philippine lime) in large pots?

“Ang basurang itinapon mo…(magastos at mabaho)”

The putridity, and the expense to the local government as it toils about, collecting biodegradable waste only to dump it in landfills, is nonsensical.

Garden soil we can get from composting. The safest, sanest, and most fragrant way to go about it is to use only vegetable or green waste, cover with soil, and mix that with wood shavings or grass, whichever is available. In a large container, you place your vegetable peels, add the wood shavings, then add a layer of soil. Cover firmly, unless you want the ‘mababait’ rodents and roaches to have a fiesta, buntings and all. After filling the large container, leave it covered for six months, and you would have ultra nutritious garden soil for your gardening needs. You can even sell it.

Another use for vegetable cuttings is for swine feed. Free-roaming pigs dieting solely on fruits and veggies will always have their fill, compared to feeds. We’ll save this discussion for another time.

“Expert help wanted”

The current disconnect is with gardening, especially in the subdivisions, focusing on ornamental plants. The mentality that farming is done only by poor people has been discussed in a past article. The thing is, vegetables and fruits have flowers too. And just as colorful. If we could harness the beauty of the edible squash flowers, and create wire sculptures for the tomatoes and sitaw (string bean) vines and shrubs to crawl upon, as expert landscape artists then we would be addressing both aesthetics and food security for all social classes.

Architects, with a go signal from the real estate magnates, could consult with landscape artists and agriculture scientists to see how the inside and outside of modern zen houses could be constructed to accommodate urban gardening initiatives. The government, as a form of encouragement, could put in place incentive programs for subdivision homeowners who choose to buy or renovate their homes with urban gardening provisions.

“What the world needs now…”

Nakikiusap po ang mga anak natin. Kailangan po nating gawin ito, bagamat sa unang tingin ay may kahirapang isagawa. Pagsumikapan natin, para sa kanila, para sa mga kaibigan nila, para sa bukas na puno ng kaligayahan at isang pamayanang nagmamahal sa lahat, na maipagmamalaki nila, maging sa magiging mga anak at apo nila. 

At a friend’s house, there was this calamansi shrub. It was in the backyard, left to its own devices, with the branches darting every which way, looking for the best spot for sunlight. It was never watered, pruned, nor sprayed with insect repellents. Yet, the produce from it was so bountiful, that you could sell it at a talipapa if you wanted to. That is just ONE calamansi plant. Think if we all would plant several calamansi plants in pots at home. We would have done a tangible good that might even outlast us. It’s so simple, and yet leaves one in awe at the realization that food security is just a matter of getting a pot, and planting a calamansi plant. What could be easier than that? “Enough to last, ‘till the end of time.”

Kababayan, can we not sing in chorus this time around?

“No not just for some, but for everyone…”

 

Photo credits:  www.hostelgarden.net

bahala na

Bathala na sa panahon ng kawalang-bahala

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 | Written by
bahala na

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bahala na

Sa pinanggalingan nitong “Bathala na,” maaari nating isiping kainaman ang ipagpasa-Diyos ang ating bawat gawain, pagkat sadyang kay buti Niya. Pagpulot ng kalat, pag-imis ng pinaghigaan, at ang paborito ng lahat – pag-uurong ng pinggan. Biro lamang. Sana’y nakita ninyo ang nais ipahiwatig – na mabuti ang Maylikha, tayo’y gagabayan, ngunit tayo’t tayo pa rin ang siyang kikilos tungo sa isang buhay na may pakinabang sa ating sarili at bayan.

“Bahala na.” Diyata’t ikinubli natin ang kawalang pakialam sa katagang ito. Mabait naman ang Lumikha, kung kaya, hayaan na kita sa gusto mo gawin, at hayaan mo din ako sa gusto ko gawin, hayaan na natin kung ano ang mangyayari sa susunod na araw, at kung ano man ang kalabasan, matira ang matibay, kung sino ang unang ma-tepok, ay iniloob ng tadhana niya.

Bukod pa riyan, sa ating pagiging literal, sa pagbabasa ng Bibliya, iisipin nating tumpak nang katapusan ng mundo. Nakapagtataka na kinatatakutan ito ng karamihan. Marahil ay di sila handa sa pagtatapos ng kanilang mundo. Ngunit makikita natin ang temang ito sa mga pelikula, libro, at kung anu-ano pa.

Zombies. Di po ba katapusan ng mundo ang paksa nito? Sa mga superhero komiks din, hindi ba laging may malupit na kontrabidang mahiwaga na may kakayahang puksain ang sangkatauhan? Mabentang mabenta ang produkto ng kamatayan at pagkagunaw ng mundo. Dahil nga literal tayo masyado. At ang nasa isip nating lahat, hindi natin hawak ang ating buhay. Mali po ang ganitong kaisipan, dahil ‘Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.’

Sa maling takbo ng utak natin, bakit pa nga naman natin ipaglalaban ang isang buhay na may dangal at hustisya, lalong-lalo na ang pagkakapantay-pantay? “Bahala na.”

Wika nga nung mekaniko ko, kahit sampung lane pa ang idagdag kada kalsada, kung pito naman rito ay haharangan ng jeepney at bus, para mamasahero, dahil walang bus stop kung saan ang tao ay pupunta, dahil ang mga pasaherong ito ay tinatamad maglakad at ma-abala nang kaunti, walang magagawa ang mga bagong kalsada, fly-over, tren, eroplano, helikopter, space shuttle, at time machine.

Tanungin po natin ang mga nagmo-motorsiklo. KALAHATI po ng oras ng biyahe ang natitipid nila kumpara sa mga ‘four-wheels.’ Kasi nga, kahit mabagal sila, ay tuloy-tuloy ang biyahe. Samantalang ang mga kotse, kada dalawang minuto titigil sa likod ng dyip. Maintindihan natin kung isa lang ang lane, at walang pagtatabihan. Ngunit  alam nating lahat na kahit puede tumabi sa bangketa, kadalasan, hindi nila gagawin ito, ‘pagkat nais din nilang ipitin ang mga jeepney sa likuran nila, para hindi sila ma-agawan sa pasahero.

At kung ang mga tao ay nais sumakay kung saan sila nakatayong naghihintay sa kanto, at ang mga jeepney naman ay titigil kada may tao, at iipitin ang daloy ng trapiko, ano naman ang papel ng kapulisan? Mag-inspection sa iisang lugar sa araw-araw na ginawa ng Bathala, upang madaling maiwasan ng mga mukhang guilty na motorista at terorista?

Kung ang Bathala, at si Presidente Duterte ay may element of surprise, dahil inaakala ng taumbayan na kahit saan ay maaaring mapuntahan nila, hindi ba dapat ganito din ang pulisya? Kung ang mga pulis ay nagpapa-ikut-ikot sa mga malalaking kalsada, at maging sa mga subdivision at eskinita, hindi po ba mas mabisa ito na pamigil sa kriminalidad, at sa mga taong madaling makalimot na may batas pala ang tao na dapat sundin, at hindi lamang kabaitan ng Diyos ang aasahan para sa hustisya’t pagkaka-pantay-pantay?

Huwag naman po sana na ipanasa-Bathala na rin ng mga pulis ang pagsugpo sa krimen. Naiintindihan naman natin na kakaunti ang mga pulis. Kaya nga po nakikiusap tayo sa darating na administrasyon na bukod sa pagtaas ng suweldo, ay bigyan sila ng scooter, na high-powered, para hindi sila ma-trapik, at makapag-ronda sa lahat ng lugar. Dito mararamdaman po ng mga drayber at pedestrian na hindi nila basta-basta puede labagin ang batas, dahil ang mga tagapagpatupad nito ay nakabantay, tulad ni Bathala.

Maraming tao sa Pilipinas. Isang-daang milyon. Ganito na lamang natin isipin. Magkano ba ang pinakamalaking halaga na nahawan natin? Gawin natin iyang barya, at isilid sa mga sako at buhatin. Hindi po ba ang bigat? Kung iyan barya lamang, eh paano na ang bilang ng Pilipino.

 

Kaya nga marami sa mga estapador ay nananamantala, kasi nga naman, kahit buong bayan ng kada probinsya ang huthutan nila ng limang libong piso pambayad para sa ‘scholarship fee’ ay may daang-libo pang tao na naghihintay sa karatig probinsya na HINDI, inuulit ko HINDI nagrereklamo.

Hindi gumagawa ng kaukulang hakbang para mabago ang sistema. Walang umaangal, walang nakaka-alam ng mga kalabisan ng mga huthutero’t-huthutera. Walang nakaka-alam, madali silang nakapu-puslit para makapanloko pa ng iba.

Mabuhay ang mga taga-Aurora, at nagkaisa sila para ipakulong ang estapadora. Ito po ay napakagandang panimula ng pagbabayanihan nating mga mamamayan, sa mga maliliit na bagay. Biruin ninyo, limang libo lamang kada tao, pero mantakin ninyo, ang kabuuan ng nakulimbat, isang milyong piso na pala. At sino nga naman ang hindi aasang sa limang libo ay makapag-aral? Hindi naman kapritsong pampa-puti ang pinaglaanan ng mga kawawang kababayan nating inosente, kundi pag-aaral. Tapos ganoon.

Kaya nga iyang sa droga na iyan, dapat pagkaisahan din natin iyan. Ipa-rehab na po natin ang mga adik nating kamag-anak. Huwag na nating hayaang habulin pa sila ng mga awtoridad, manlaban, at baka mapatay pa sila. Pati po yung mga pinagbibilhan nila ng droga, isuplong na po natin lahat. Para po mabitay na sila lahat.

Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit isinusulong ang parusang kamatayan ngayon. Para sa mga druglords. Ang sabi po ni incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre ay iyung Intsik na druglord na taga-mainland China na may bar sa loob ng Bilibid dati ang may hawak sa lahat ng operasyon ng droga mula sa piitan.

Hindi po ba ito ay lantarang pag-aalipin sa kalayaan ng bawat isang Pilipino na mamuhay nang maayos, tahimik, at walang takot na hahatakin sa isang eskinita, at gi-gripuhan dahil sa lulong na ang adik sa shabu? Para sa isang daan piso, ang kapalit ay buhay. Buhay na sinabi ng Diyos, ng Bathala, na bawal kunin, dahil sabi sa Sampung Banal na Utos, ay “Bawal Pumatay.”

Hindi po ba tayo ay alipin na ng takot at kawalang bahala? Tayo po ba ay magsasawalang-bahala na lamang at magdadasal sa Diyos na ang mga dalagita na tulad ni Given Grace Cebanico, pumayapa nawa, ay hindi magahasa ng mga adik na ito?

Sa ating pagsisimba, at pagdadasal nang taimtim, umaasa tayo na babaguhin ng Bathala ang lahat ng kabaluktutan sa ating bansa. Matagal na po tayong lumaya sa diktador, ngunit ang mga galamay ng korapsyon ay hindi nawala, dahil walang nagsasalita.

Binigyan tayo ng buhay ng Diyos para maging alagad ng hustisya niya. Nasa atin ang Banal na Espiritu. Tayo po ang na-atasang humayo, at ipahayag ang mabuting mensahe ng banal sa kasulatan.

Bawal pumatay, oo. Ngunit kung hahayaan nating ang mga inosenteng kababayan natin ang mamatay, hindi ba tayo ay accessory to the crime? Naway maputol ang leeg ng mga druglord na responsable sa pagkagumon ng mga lalakeng pumupuksa ng kalayaan ng mga dalagita na maglakad sa kalsada. At kung magalit ang Maykapal sa ganitong desisyon ko, sa araw ng paghuhukom, magpapakumbaba po ako at sasagot –

“Panginoon, para po sa mga inosenteng anak ko, tatanggapin ko po ang hatol ninyo.”

Photo credits:    www.expatch.org/

icons

A second more understanding look at religious images (by a non-Catholic)

Thursday, 2 June 2016 | Written by
icons

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icons 

 

The Roman Catholic Church is being vilified for going against population control, which many think to be an archaic frame of mind. Sweeping statements were uttered by the incoming administration in response to the church, and one would wonder how peace can be attained with such discord, a month before Malacanang Palace is vacated.

 

Having been converted to the Evangelical Christian faith at age 7, I was fretful at having to endure Catholic celebrations as a teenager. There just wasn’t any getting around it. You would have friends from other faiths who would invite you to their churches and fiestas and whatnot. Trouble is, the strong fragrances, the enormity of the saintly statues and the place of worship itself traumatized me so, because they were the very reasons that we converted. As a handful minority, and mocked at being so, I grew somber whenever called upon to exercise such duties.

 

But we asked for change in the elections, did we not?

 

For change to occur, we must go beyond ourselves, and try to understand and look for commonalities with the other faiths. Not to convert, debate or disillusion, but to unify.

 

During the Renaissance, an art movement predominantly spurred by the Catholic faith, and which produced a menagerie of religious images and sceneries, Michelangelo was the foremost artist, unparalleled in his mastery of the human form, both in paintings and sculptures. His contribution to art cannot be doubted. It is time we looked at religious images with new, and hopefully, at the very least, respectful eyes.

 

Mogi Mogado, a Filipino who migrated to Canada, and the sculptor of St. Julia Billiart, for the Catholic School of the same name, said that he felt at peace on the tormenting winter’s night, while he would chip away and inch by inch, form the image of St. Julia Billiart from a plaster slab.

 

A self-taught sculptor, former president of the Philippine Artists Group in Canada, and a parish leader, Mogado took it upon himself, during the forbidding winter months in Markham, to devote his craftsmanship and skill to a higher calling. That was to shave and slice away to produce magnificent religious images. First, he finished San Lorenzo Ruiz, and for this winter, he carved an image of St. Julia Billiart.

 

The product of good will always be good. If Mr. Mogado found peace in the middle of the blizzard, just like Jesus calming the storm, would that not mean that these images serve a higher purpose – that of bringing them closer to God, and Him giving them peace?

 

If we should judge, let us judge Catholics according to the merits of their faith. If not, then we become the oppressors ourselves, while we cry for equality and temperance.

 

If non-Catholics do not give them a chance, we would not know that St. Julia Billiart devoted her life to “steadfast commitment to the Catholic faith, self-sacrifice and charity for the children and the vulnerable, and life-long Bible catechism and teaching (Galicia, B., Balita Newspaper, 1 May 2016).”

 

Besides, even the Catholic school council member Jonille de los Santos was in awe that the image looked “pleasant and compassionate,” for the children to see the representation of her giving spirit. Art has that capability to immortalize the spirit.

 

Do we not also erect images of our national heroes? Is that really far off from what the Catholics are doing? Respect is reverence, and the penultimate expression of that is remembrance. We remember our heroes through the gigantic sculpture of Rizal in Luneta, and also of the common folks who went to the first Edsa Revolution (People Power Monument by Eduardo Castrillo).

 

Representation.

 

In the same vein, the Bible, like a religious image, is a representation of faith. It tells us of the ideological description of creation. Even the exacting scientific minds attempt to reconcile seemingly opposing ideologies, like the scientific method and the creation story.

 

George Lemaitre, the first scientist who proposed the Big Bang Theory, was a priest and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, Vatican (Morgan Freeman, The Story of God, National Geographic documentary).

 

Kindly consider that old civilizations did not have paper on which to record their history or their beliefs, neither would they see that forthcoming as paper would decompose. They needed something incorruptible, preferably material that would connote immortality. That is why they use stone. The Mayans recorded their creation story, their Bible, so to speak, in stone. Would this be irrational?

 

If belief in the immortality of the gods was present, then would it make sense that we would choose the most immortal of substances available to us to represent them? What could be more immortal than the mountains, than the parent rock that made up those mountains?

 

We have scientific evidence that certain human predispositions, or beliefs, are inherited, and the more heritable the attitudes and beliefs, the more they influence the way we act (DeAngelis, Tori, Are Beliefs Inherited?, American Psychological Association, April 2004).

 

Paganism. If you think about it, most, if not all pagan civilizations and beliefs, look to the stars. Even the Big Bang Theory was conceptualized by looking at the stars. In that respect, please realize that we are not that different, whether we believe in the Big Bang Theory, or Jesus. Whether we admit it or not, our beliefs today were shaped by our Kapitayan animist ancestors.

 

Unity. All religion is wistful for it. And yet, we would despair at the thought of converting from our beliefs. I am a unique individual, but part of me is in you, and part of you is in me. Only by knowing the other, will I have full knowledge of who I am. In that regard, my being circumspect is invalidated, if it was done without first gaining full knowledge on why you think you are right.

 

Let us discover the merits and the good in all the other religions and faiths.

 

“Vahdat al vudut” – unity in existence, by the Arab mystical philosopher who grew up in Spain, Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi.

 

“My whole existence is you” – Hinduism

 

Unity is peace and peace is heaven, and we long for unity and heaven in the afterlife.

 

Can we not attain peace while living here on earth?

 

Photo credit: www.theodysseyonline.com

branding

Ang madyik ng branding sa negosyo, sa buhay

Thursday, 26 May 2016 | Written by
branding

branding

Kung may isang bagay na dapat tayong malaman sa pulitika dito sa atin, ito ay ang kahalagahan ng branding maging sa pangangampanya. Ayon kay Josiah Go, founder ng lehitimong direct selling business na Waters Philippines, ang “Change” na ipinagkalandakan ng ating paparating na presidenteng si Rodrigo Duterte ay mas may hugot kaysa “Daang Matuwid.” Sumablay ang Daang Matuwid, dahil hindi naramdaman ng masa ang suporta mula sa administrasyon, at ang paghihirap ng manggagawa sa pagpila sa istasyon ng tren. Huli na nang mamalayan ito ng mga alipores ng administrasyon, sanhi ng pagkagulapay nila sa surveys at kalaunan, sa eleksyon. Mahalagang malaman natin, mga kababayan na maliliit na negosyante, na ang pagtangkilik ng masa o ng nakararaming Pilipino, ay ang daan sa ating pag-asenso.

Kung may isang bagay lamang tayong dapat matutunan sa takbo ng showbiz dito satin, ay ito ay ang kapangyarihan ng masa, ng mga mahihirap, para i-angat ang isang di kilalang starlet papunta sa super-stardom.

Hmm.

Kayo ha.

Naghihintay na kayo ng blind item.

Tsk.

Bago tayo mag-tsismisan at magtuloy-tuloy sa usapang tunay na walang patutunguhan, subukan muna natin tanungin tungkol sa branding ng produkto sa negosyo ang mga walang kamuwang-muwang. Bakit, bihasa lamang ba ang may karapatang marinig? Si maharlikang BeBe Memes (maharlikang BBM) lamang ba ang maaaring humakot ng trolls? Huwag tayo ganyan, social oppression yan. Bigyan ng karapatan!

Heto si Aling Ising. Mayamang matrona. Makalansing ang kasuotan. May kalansing din tila sa isipan. Ang tindig, Melanie Marquez, ang hitsura Joey Marquez. Atin siyang kapanayamin.

“Itch not Ising, call me IC. Ano tanong mo, hijo? Packaging, wat da pack? Neber herd, neber wheel! Eww. Grows hah!”

“Ayokong-ayoko yang mga masa-masa na ganyan, juice colored. Galing nako jan! Iniwan ko na’ng buhay ng mga walang sinabi. Ang gusto ko, itong peanut butter ko, whorl class. Lahat ng buong world, sasakupin ko. Monaco, Scarborow, Marlborow, lahat!,” kumpas ng braso’t kamay pa-korteng bilugan, mga sampung ulit, habang nagsasalita.

“Dapat seamless ang disenyo ng botelya, tas uso dapat, yung green, green climate. Dash it, dash d tren. Alam mo kasi, hijo, wala na ang masa, federalism na tayo, tatanggalin na lahat ng economic tarpaulins. Dapat kaya natin makipag-compete. Parang pagpapa-botaks lang yan. Ako, maintenance botaks na ko, kitamo, oh – ang kinis ng kutis ko, di ba? Mahirap na. Yung binatilyo kong jowa, iiwan ako nun, kapag nakakita ng mas makinis. Buti na lang mapera ako. Maghanap siya ng ka-edad niya na milyonarya. Gudlak. Ha!”

“But enaf of me, I’ve had enaf of mayself. Sabi nga nung biznes mentor ko na may chains ng talipapa sa loob ng mga bigating malls – we have to be forward looking. Forward lang ng forward. Pag lumingon ka sa pinanggalingan mo, purita ka! Hihihihihi! Hngoinrrrk!”

“Kita? Aanhin ko naman ang kita kung mukha naman akong dukha sa harap ng mga amiga ko sa parlor, di ba? Dapat bongga ako palagi! Bongga sa alahas, sa pananamit, sa jowa, sa kotse, sa bahay, at sa negosyo, bongga! Yung kita, saka na yun. Importante bongga! Kaya dapat pulido ang packaging ng peanut butter ko, pang-mayaman, para mayaman din ang bibili, sino ba yang mga dukha na yan, may pambili ba sila? Wala!”

Iniwan na muna natin ang bruha. Sinusog naman natin ang pink na pink na opisina ni Menandro. May-kayang silahis. May tindig ni Joey Marquez. May hitsura ni Joey Marquez. May puso ni Melanie Marquez. Gambalain natin si ateng.

“Call me Minnie, kuya,” sabay byutipul eyes at himas pababa sa braso ko. ‘Packaging? Ahaay! Pak na pak! Sure, sure, chika tayo, dali!,” ang nagku-kumiliting kumpas ng mga daliri niya.

“Alam mo naman aketch, simple person lang. Charot! Noon, nag-home service ako, manikurista. Ang chaka chaka koh, nakaka-azar! Super dami bakekang sa mukha. BWAHAHA!

Nag-seminar ako sa soap-making, and then, ayun, ok naman sha. Inumpisahan ko sa bakokang ko sa fez. Tas nang gumana, gumawa na akwoh, tas join join family, janakis, ganorn. Una binenta ko 15 pesos, at eventually, nag-click, kasi trulaloo sold out ako sa product ko.

Dibah, ikaskas ko ba naman sa sarili kong fez, at makita nilang wala na kong bakokang, sino ba naman hindi buy nun, di ba?”

“Kaso ang chaka, kasi binabalot lang namin sa plastic yung sabon. Effective nga, chaka naman, eh di chaka pa rin di ba? Kaya nagpunta ako sa opisina ng isang branding expert. Pero, koya, clarify ko sa kanya, dapat within budget.

At ang budget ko, kung tataas man, hanggang Php20 per soap lang. Ok naman, mga Php17.50 xa now, pero super ganda ng packaging. Colorful, like a rainbow, with glitters, tas maraming pink hearts, my favoriiite!

Gustong-gusto ng mga customers ko sa parlor, palengke, at sa may saklaan. At ang maganda nito, proud na sila mag-refer. Binibigyan ko nga sila ng bonus pag-nag-refer eh! Malapit na ako apply for a direct-selling business of my own. But first, magkaka-branch na kami sa mall! Hay naku! Thanks to my bakokang face talaga! Hahahha!”

Heto naman si Mang Ato. Naulayawan nating naglalasing mag-isa sa kalsada sa tapat ng bahay nila sa kasagsagan ng init. Marami pa tayong oras para sa production, kaya tukain na natin yan. Reliable source yan. Loyal customer. Against all odds ito, susuporta sa produkto. Branding o wala. Kitang-kita naman sa namumungay na mga mata niya oh.

“Hik! Attorney na lang itawag mo sakin. Attorney talaga ako. Maaga natapos hearing ko, kaya heto, nagpapalamig. Packano? Gin ba kamo? Heto na lang, tagayan kita ng gin. Maupo ka. Maupo. Dini, parini.’

“Hah, bashta kapag nakikita ko misis ko, nais ko mag-inom. Kahit ano. Pero paborito ko talaga itong marka-dimonyo, iba pinagsamahan namin nito. Di ako iniwan nito kahit kelan. Pag nag-iba ng hitsura? Markang bading? Haha. Nagpapatawa ka yata. O sige. Kahit. Kahit pa. Bibili pa rin ako. Maige nang bading kaysa misis kong hukbalahap. Hik!”

“Bababa ang stocks ng gin? Eh ano naman ngahyorrrn? Hnggrrng? Hik! Kahit magkano pa abutin niyan, mag-i-istock pa rin ako. Sampung kahorrn! Mapera ako. Marami nagpapanotaryo sakin dun sa bangketa sa may Recto. Wala ko pakialam kay Buterte. Matapang siya? Abugado ako, panyero! Hik! Ako ang batash! Bastash! Hangriniiig mongrrrh?! Hik!”

“Hah? OO, HONEY! ANDIYAN NA! Ano? Nakaligo ka na? Sige, uubusin ko na lang itong 1.5 litro kong marka dimonyo, aakyat na rin ako! Tsup-tsupee!”

Marubdob na pasasalamat kay May-i Guia Padilla, Managing Director ng Metapixel Media and Design, na siyang nagpaunawa ng fundamentals ng branding, upang maayos nating mailahad sa mambabasa.

Photo credits: www.filipiknow.net

fil students

4Peace: Kabataang may patnubay ng pamilya, pangulo, at pamayanan

Saturday, 21 May 2016 | Written by
fil students

fil students

Ngayon, ipinagmalaki natin sa mundo na ang Pilipino ay nais ng pagbabago. Nais natin ng mamumunong tatayong Itay at Inay na tinutugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga anak niya sa disiplina, at di lamang sa kuwalta. Sa mandato ng tao, makikita natin ang halaga ng gabay sa esprit de corps ng Pilipino. Na kung saan, ang kanilang pangulo ay literal na kaya silang puntahan sa bahay at tampal-tampalin kung sila ay hi-hithit ng ipinagbabawal na gamot. May malasakit at ihahatid sila sa kanto, upang makasakay nang mabilis, at makabiyahe na may dangal. Sa ganitong paraan, makarating sa paaralan o opisina na handang-handang higitan ang dating marka o quota, upang mas lalong lumaki ang kita. Tunay na maging kasiya-siya ang buhay nila. Ito po, ang demokrasya.

Lamang, nakaka-bahala na ang mga naghanap ng pagbabago, ay sinubukan din ilagay sa puwesto ang angkan na sanhi ng malawakang kurapsyon at pagyurak sa karapatang pantao noong Martial Law. Ang tangi lamang nilang argumento ay di mamanahin ng anak ang kasalanan ng ama. Malinaw naman na ang anak ay walang bahid ng pagsisisi sa karahasan at pandarambong na ginawa ng ama. Ang mga namatay ay itinago sa mga kathang kuwentong ‘maunlad na ekonomiya,’ ngunit masdan ang kasalukuyang pamamahala nila, pagkat wala namang maipagma-malaking mahusay na ginhawa sa nasasakupan.

Ang katangian ng mga taga-Norte pagdating sa pagtingin sa pinuno ay halintulad sa mga mamamayan ng North Korea – blanko ang mga mata, parang pastulang baka na walang muwang sa patutunguhan nila.

Paano humantong sa ganito?

Ang kahirapan ang sanhi ng kawalan ng interes sa pagkatuto. Ang bunga nito’y kawalan ng pakialam na magkaroon ng isang opinyon na tunay na pinag-isipan ang lahat ng aspeto ng isang paksa. Ito ang puno’t-dulo ng panganib na naka-amba ngayon, tahimik na tangkang binubuksan ang pinto gamit ang susing kinupit.

Ang kahirapan na tanging argumento ay ang kamangmangan ay kapantay ng ka-alaman, dahil ito ay garantiya ng demokrasya, ay siya nga namang nakawi-wiling argumento ng mga tamad.

Ang kahirapan na nagwasak ng institusyon ng pamilya – higit pa sa pangangalunya, higit pa sa diborsyo – na ninakaw ang panahon ng magulang sa anak, nagtulak sa gurong inang mag-katulong (Aviv, R., The Cost of Caring, The New Yorker, 11 April 2016), at sa padre de pamilya na magwelding sa Saudi Arabia – ang siyang tumayong magulang, barkada, tropa, sa mga binatilyo at dalagang may dating kung manamit, at maraming baong pera ngunit pagala-gala sa kalsada. Mga maki-kinang na taong-grasa.

Kahirapan na karamay sa kalungkutan, kahirapan na inagaw ang apoy ng mandirigma sa kanilang mga mata. Ang tanging natitira na lamang ay kawalang-bahala, pagsunod sa uso, at gamit ang makabagong telepono, pagkuha ng litrato pang-yabang sa madla.

Saan na napunta ang respeto sa sarili, muna, at ikalawa, bunga ng una, at mas mahalaga, ang sa kapwa?

Ang mga munting pangyayari sa buhay natin ay ipinapakita ang mas malaking katotohanan. Ang mga pang-araw-araw na nangyayari sa atin ay indikasyon ng mas malaking katotohanan, opinyon ng mga anthropologists na pinagta-tagni-tagni ang mga kaganapan noong panahon ni Hitler at holocaust (Ochs, Elinor and Capps, Lisa, 1996). Ang mga maliliit na kuwento ng pang-araw-araw na buhay natin ay siya mismong kabuuan ng katotohanan.

Ang pagbabasa ay naging puwersahang kaalamang dapat matutunan. Asan ang kaligayahan dulot ng pagbabasa? Nahan ang Pugad Baboy ng ating kamalayan? Ninakaw na rin sa atin, tila. Marunong magbasa ang dukhang kabataan, at karamihan ng mga bata sa ating bayan, ngunit ang paggamit ng mga datos at aral na minemorya upang buuin ang kasanayan, ang pagkakilala sa sarili, at ng kanilang prinsipyo, mithiin, at lugar sa pamayanan, ay sadyang kulang, sadyang wala, diyata.

Ang pagpapahalaga ay sa pampalipas oras, at pagkatakot sa mga sandaling hindi nakikiliti ang namanhid na pakiramdam ng mga batang inip na inip. Subalit halos di mapilit magligpit ng pinaghigaan. Ang pagka-gumon sa paglilibang ang nagdikta sa kanilang landas tungo sa kawalang muwang sa lipunan. At sa sandaling hindi na nakikiliti sa mga makabagong laro, litrato, at palabas ang kanilang isipan, saan na sila pupunta?

 Wala kasi ang magulang, nangibang-bayan. Hindi nga naman mabubuhay ang anak sa disiplina lamang. Kalahati ito, at kasing halaga, ay ang sustento.

 Ganito sa pamilya, ganito sa pamayanan, ganito sa pamahalaan.

 Ngunit alin ang mahirap, magpadala ng sustento, o magpalaki nang tama?

Huwag mawalan ng pag-asa.

Ang magulang na Overseas Filipino Worker, sa pagkakaroon ng mga taong magpagkakatiwalaan at susuporta, magiging maayos din ang pagpapalaki sa anak. Nariyan ang kamag-anak, simbahan, paaralan – kung saan magkakaroon ng mabuting kaibigan, guro, at magulang ang mga bata (Parenas, R.S, quoted by Taylor, A.R., Parenting in Filipino Transnational Families, UNF Digital Commons, 1998).

Sa pagkawala ng gabay, dahil sa kahirapan, dahil ang mga magulang ay itinaya ang kaligtasan sa dayuhang lugar, papaano na ang mga bata? Saan sila pupulutin kapag sila’y nasa wastong gulang na, at marunong sumulat at magbasa, ngunit ang sarili ay di kilala? Papaano mapapanatili ang pag-unlad ng ekonomiya, na kahit ang mga may mataas na pinag-aralan ay napapa-nganga?

Mag-umpisa muna tayo sa mali-liit na bagay. Bilang mga kaibigan, kapatid, at kasama sa simbahan at mga institusyon, bigyan natin ng panahon na turuan nang tama ang mga bata. Wala ang kanilang magulang, kaya ang obligasyon ngayon ay sa atin. Sa ating malasakit sa anak ng iba, ang balik nito ay sa ating mga anak rin, sapagkat ang mga batang kilala ang sarili at lugar sa lipunan ay kailanman hindi maaaring gamitin ng kung sino man.

Lalo na sa mga maitim na balak na wasaking tuluyan ang kinabukasan ng bansa, para lamang sa kapritso.

Di kailangan ng puso para kumita at gumasta ng kuwalta. Pero lubhang may malaking puso ang gumagamit ng kuwalta sa pagkatuto ng mga bata sa kanilang sarili, sa wastong edukasyon, at sa lugar nila sa lipunan, sa wastong pakikipag-kapwa tao, na unang ipinapakita ng mga nakata-tanda sa kanila.

Nais ninyo ng pagbabago?

Maging magulang muna, sa lahat ng bata.  

 

Photo credits:  thepoc.net

edu

Interplay of peace and education in the archipelago

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 | Written by
edu

edu

 

We are literally a fragmented nation; a people of disparate ideals. Our definition of help that of doling alms, not uplifting through education; and of tolerance keeping injustice isolated outside the realm of our clique, our religious beliefs. In a nation dying to be perceived as strong, the power to borrow commandeers all agendas. Peace becomes an afterthought: a moribund concept, consequently brushed aside.

 

Peace has become such an abstraction that we merely encounter it in hypothetical situations, like beauty pageant question-and-answer portions, and parodies of such. It is a matter perceived alien and laughable.

 

But in reality, it isn’t so. Peace has a blueprint.

 

Bluntly stated, concrete steps to peace are: (1) equitable distribution of wealth and economic opportunities, (2) better access to education, especially the marginalized and the women sector, and (3) interfaith dialogues.

 

Senator Gringo Honasan stated that the main cause of crime is poverty. By ensuring that everyone gets their fair share based on their work excellence, and stepping away from job contractualization, we show the disenfranchised a way out and the working class a means of prospering.

 

Sometimes greed exploits poverty.

 

Recently, the Abu Sayyaf has beheaded another hostage, a Canadian. Several more foreigners have been forcibly taken.

 

But peace gets to answer right back.

 

US military man, Col. Jim Linder, told Smithsonian.com, that to wage peace in Jolo, the camp of the terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf, people must be pulled out of the battlefield. They have done this through the building of roads, and providing needed social services.

 

We can call them gateways to peace.

 

DPWH-ARMM On the road reviews various infrastructure projects by the government.

 

The Polloc Port, being ARMM’s largest seaport, was rehabilitated and upgraded recently with the help of Governor Mujiv Hataman. It is a major export-import focal point for consumer products and petroleum. It also serves as entry point to the other islands of the archipelago, Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

Also in the works is a circumferential road in Lake Dapao, where people board boats to get from one place to another. The lake is considered to be the most breathtaking in Mindanao. It is also seen as a tourist magnet for Mindanao, currently a stop for those traveling from Cotabato to Marawi, where resort residences could be built. With the said road, it will be more accessible to Lanao, Region 9 and 12.

 

But the inception of roads does not always mean they are built.

 

While the Manilenos and Cebuanos are busy bickering among themselves, they do not intend on breaking away from the Philippine flag entirely, which is what the Moro National Liberation Front intended, given leeway with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Abandoning allegiance to Philippine patrimony in a general manner of speaking and specifically, the creeping expansion of the “opt-in” clause is what led to the failure of the bill. The opt-in clause lets municipalities, cities, provinces and other geographic areas to request to join the Bangsamoro at any time.

 

Rappler’s Angela Casauay, on the evolution of the BBL, presented opposing views: Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago on the unconstitutionality of a parliamentary autonomous region, and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide on its allowability within a local government unit.

 

The technical side of issues fails to grasp the human element.

 

How will we know how Muslims live or how Mindanaoans are in real life if we do not talk with them, if those from Manila have no inkling of what they experience day to day? Interfaith dialogues do not start with debates. They start with us listening to the Muslims and Mindanaoans. The failure to be fully informed and aware of what goes on in Mindanao, as well as how people there think, is what keeps us from peace.

 

One proof of this is asking ourselves what we know of the history of Mindanao aside from what we hear of wars and songs of wars about the place. We have heard so many bad things about them, but have we bothered finding the common misconceptions about them, especially the Muslims? In Christian communities in Mindanao, the Christian children find zero difference with their Muslim playmates.

 

In the noise of conflict, we are left with reminiscences of peace – hard to grasp, and still harder to attain.

 

Pining for peace and quiet, what do we get? A gazillion distractions. Myriad contradictions for whatever it is we desire. Want to relax at home? Suddenly the neighbor drills a hole in the wall for the 100-inch TV for their videoke sessions. This mystical resistance percolates into any and all attempts at peace, from simple quiet solitude to nationwide peace.

 

It does seem that all hope is lost.

 

But then, we have a secret weapon as the strongest deterrent against any terrorist organization or mustard poison gas.

 

Education, and its lovely postulate.

 

Education leads to peace. With it, we are able to run after that which enamors us. Access to education in all social classes reveals that we will live dignified, fulfilled lives. The higher a girl is educated, the more she knows her place in society as that walking alongside the men, not behind them. Education shows us a way out, so that we can choose not to play the confidence game, so that chivalry and philanthropy is still a choice available to the Filipino and can be done without any lurking agendas.

 

Now the election comes to a denouement. Some are fearful, prophesying impending economic doom, but still more are willing to risk it, because the rewards are exponentially greater – progress, in a big, inclusive way.

 

Know that voting in the election is not the end game of democracy. Rather, it is the ability to go after that which makes you happy. Should you have the capacity to create meaningful jobs, you are already considered a peacemaker. Heaven reserves a special place for you and your family.

 

Please remember that all of us have the capacity to work for peace through education. And the classroom setting is just a small piece of it. Let us put ourselves out there. Be with the people, listen to them, talk to them, encourage them. Sure we’ll encounter pilferers who ask for consultation fees even though they weren’t able to fix our vehicles or gadgets, but are still many good people out there.

 

Educate the people on how to land jobs. Yes, contractualization is an issue, with only a tiny percentage of skilled workers getting regularized. But they still do. Education is about bringing out what the person already has. You shall be their confidence Viagra. A pat on the back and a shout of ‘Fight!,’ and you would have done more good than the quintessential traditional politician.

 

It is suggested with much brashness that we seek out the people who need our help, who want that help, and in doing so, we take out the bullet from the gun, render it powerless, and provide that abstract commodity integral to peace – happiness.

 

(Author’s note:   Unless otherwise stated, The Philippine History, Culture & Tradition facebook forum, government websites, and an individual highly knowledgeable on peace requisites.     Much obliged to them all.)

 

Photo credits: bible.org.ph

online teacher

Onlayn titser

Friday, 22 April 2016 | Written by
online teacher

online teacher Tipong self-employed cialis of canada ka na rin, kapag online teacher ka. Di ka na papasok sa opisina, at di ka na magla-laway sa haba ng at pagod sa biyahe. Subalit tulad ng isang self-employed professional, viagra las vegas na halintulad din sa isang negosyante, walang trabaho, walang kita. Dasal at sipag para umunlad. May kataasan ang parte ng mga money transfer companies. Maging ang mga bangko, naniningil na rin ng singkuwenta pesos pataas kada transfer. Daig pa ang real-estate agent kung mangubra minsan. Bentaheng malaki na ang Pilipino ay maraming alam na wika. Dalawa agad. Ang iba, magdaragdag pa, wikang Kastila o Chinese na mabebentang wika. Sa call center pa lamang, mas malaki ang sahod kapag ikaw ay nakuha bilang ahente na bihasa sa Ingles at Espanyol. Pakiwari ko’y mado-doble pharmacycanada-rxedtop ang basic salary. Karamihan ng mga kliyente sa Silangang Amerika ay mga Latino, na wikang Kastila ang gamit. Wala nang mas magpapa-hinahon pa sa galit na parokyano ng kumpanya mo sa pagkakaroon ng agarang kuneksyon bilang ikaw viagrageneric-edtop.com ay nagsasalita rin ng wika nila. Patas at tropa na kayo, kumbaga, at bagaman dismayado sa produkto o serbisyo, panatag na sigurado ang loob nila sa inyo. Ang kaibhan ng call center sa online language teaching, na kadalasan ay Ingles, ay magti-tiyaga ka na dumami ang mga estudyante mo. Gaya rin ng negosyo. May nakapagkuwento na ang pwesto sa negosyo, sa unang anim na buwan ay lalangawin, o sa kabutihang palad, breakeven. Ganito rin sa online English teaching. Ang akala ng iba, mahirap ang buhay ng babae sa corporate setting. Sa palagay ko ay iba na ngayon. Kung sa rank-and-file, o yung mga mabababang ranggong empleyado, mas nais na ng mga bossing na babae ang kunin, dahil nga naman kung pleasing lamang ang hahanapin sa personality, di-hamak na mas pleasing ang malambot na kutis ng babae kaysa magaspang at nakasimangot na karakas ng karamihang lalake. Sa online teaching, madalang lamang makita ang mukha. Ang problema na lamang ng isang lalaking online teacher ay kung boses sigarilyo siya. Ayos din naman, basta Sting lang, at huwag Garutay. Paglipas ng ilang buwang pagtitiyaga, isipin na lamang ninyo na galing sa proby sa isang kumpanya ay naging regular na kayo, canadian pharmacy residency at kikita naman kayo ng ilang libo sobra sa minimum wage. Ang kagandahan nito ay may panahon pa kayo magnegosyo sa gabi, o sa huling dalawang araw ng linggo, o kaya naman ay itodo ninyo na pati pato, at wala nang tayuan, beinte-kwatro oras, siyete araw sa isang linggo. Sa negosyo, at sa self-employment, ibayong sipag, hakot kuwalta. Kung gusto mong chill-chill lamang, maaari din. Depende nga sa tao, sa kagustuhan niya sa kung anong balanse ang magiging takbo ng buhay niya. Hindi katulad kapag nasa opisina, may quota ka na dapat abutin, sa ayaw at sa gusto mo. Ang pagkakaroon ng panahon sa sarili ay ginugugol ng karamihan sa pag-aaral muli, at sa mga raket. Ang iba ay nagluluto, nagtatayo ng bakery, restawran, o kaya nama’y sa direct selling o sa stock market trading. Pakisigurado lamang na tunay at wagas ang direct selling company na papasukin ninyo. Kung tutuusin, mas maigi talaga ang sariling produkto, mula sa inyong pawis, hinubog ng sariling mga kamay. Walang katumbas ang kasiyahan ng isang negosyanteng napalago ang sarili sa pagpupunyagi.   Sino ba naman ang di naranasang maduwal, mabasa mula buhok hanggang medyas dahil nabasbasan sa piyesta ng tubig kanal, at maihi sa karsunsilyo sa haba ng biyahe, o maging sa takot sa mala-ahas na pagma-maneho ng mga tsuper na di mo mawari ang sanhi ng pagmamadali? Pampagising daw, wika ng ilan. Sino ang hindi pa nadudukutan sa tren, na kung saan ang tanong ng pulis ay kung magkano ang teleponong nadukot? Sino ang hindi pa inanod ng baha mula opisina papunta sa kanilang bahay? Sino ang nais pa-alagaan sa katulong ang mga paslit na mahal nila sa buhay? Sa pagiging online teacher, maiiwasan na ang halos lahat nang ito, huwag lamang bahain ang lugar ninyo. Makapagta-trabaho ka sa iyong sariling kuwarto, kahit walang saplot. Pero magdamit ka na lang, ma-nuno pa yung mga estudyante mo. Ang i-intindihin mo lamang ay ang pagkaka-kabit ng isang malakas na sagap ng internet. Napakadaling bagay dito sa Pinas. Walang ka-hirap hirap. Sinasabi ko sa inyo. Ang masidhing pagkakaiba ng trabahong gagampanan sa bahay at sa opisina ay ang katahimikan. Sa kabilang banda, depende pa rin talaga kung saan ka nagta-trabaho. Ang ibig kong sabihin ay kumpara sa pagtibag ng pader sa konstruksyon, mas tahimik pa rin ang sigawang umaatikabo sa palapag ng call center. Ngunit ang call center ay di hamak na mas maingay kaysa sigawan ng mga nag-aaway na paslit na hindi pa tumu-tungtong ng elementarya. Tara mamasukan na lamang uli tayo. Ang isang bagay na di mapapantayan ng pagtatrabaho sa opisina at pagiging online teacher – ay kapag

nag-pururutsa ang iyong tiyan. Lahat na yata ng puedeng binyagan na palikuran sa biyahe nagawa ko na. Sa istasyon ng pulis, sa MRT, maging sa isang cubicle na walang pinto. Huwag na kayo mag-usisa.   Sa trabaho namin, isang flush lang, at kaunting idlip, pag umige ang pakiramdam, payt ulit.   Ang kapasala-salamat sa pagiging online teacher ay ang pagkatuto ng mga tulad namin sa kultura ng ibang bansa. Sabihin natin na sensitibo ang disposisyon ng pangangatawan ng isang online teacher, at di siya mapapayagan o di niya kakayaning lumipad sa eroplano. Hindi pa rin niya mararamdaman na may kulang sa buhay niya, dahil sa pakikipag-usap sa iba’t-ibang tao mula sa iba’t-ibang bansa, ay para na ring narating niya ang mga lugar nila. At alam ninyo, batid ko na ang paglalakbay, ang pamamasyal, hindi kailanman pinagbubuhusan ng oras dahil sa tanawin lamang. Kung ako nga’y magiging pangahas pa, mariin kong ibubulalas na ang paglalakbay ay nagiging makabuluhan lamang kung kikilalanin mo ang mga taong taga-ibang lugar. Dahil sila’y mga karakter sa nobela ng buhay natin, at sumasalamin rin, sa ating mga sarili at mithiin. Magandang araw.   Photo credits: http://cat.xula.edu/food/how-to-be-a-better-online-teacher/

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Hot!!!

Sunday, 3 April 2016 | Written by
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The heat is so unbearable that children’s skins are breaking out, couples are having heated arguments and nearly breaking up, and the supporters of every candidate lashing out and nearly losing real-life friends, and not just the virtual ones. Forest fires are burning Bukidnon forests. Buildings in UP and UE, which house staunch critics of the Marcoses, have been razed. According to analysts, stock exchange markets around the world are on the bullish momentum once more, steam bellowing from its nostrils, deadset on revenue. The price of crude oil again has gone hot, and along with it, prime commodities such as infant milk, of which the local pharmacist has issued an official statement, and reads thus: “Hoy ha, inform lang kita, tataas na [ang gatas].” It is a good thing we do not use infant milk in halo-halo, since we are in a dejectable state, detestable and we are unsure where summer’s sunny predilection has gone.

Moisture is what we need to counter the heat. Aside from always bringing a water bottle with you whenever you go out, you can also frequent your market or talipapa coconut vendor. At the malls they have natural juice kiosks. Those are advised versus fraps and milk tea that tend to be overly sweet. If you cannot resist, then chase it up with your water.

You can make your own ice cream. This is a recipe we got into by accident. Take out the succulent meat of four ripe mangoes, put in a blender, and add all-purpose cream then puree. Add evaporated milk and sugar to taste. NOTE: DO NOT ADD ANY WATER. Refrigerate, and serve after several hours. If you add gelatin strips, then it becomes gelato. This is even easier to make than halo-halo.

But of course, eventually, you gonna getta hankerin’ for halo-halo. And so you need to get out.

Use a hat, or an umbrella, and be sure to fan yourself when the air is humid. Humid is when the air is so still you can hear the gossip-mongerers buzzing like carrier mosquitoes. We can always use air conditioning but unless we have a dedicated solar energy system, then that would further our carbon footprint.

Fanning should be moderate. Kung ikaw ay electric fan, dapat naka-number 1 ka lang. Save cents ka pa. Fanning like a madman means you generate more heat. You don’t want to generate more heat than you should, and you don’t want to look like a lunatic.  You should look hot, but you shouldn’t feel bacon greasy hot to the touch.

Should you find the nearest halo-halo offerings unsatisfactory, then you may scoot on further to where the lines are longer. Wala ka naman utang na loob dun sa suki mo sa may inyo. Location in business is most important, but in opposition to that, and of equal value, is word of mouth. Ask around. You may still satisfy your body’s natural urge for agua.

So you’re out, and with the sun on full blast, and the hot girls and guys a-plenty, the tendency is for the clothes to show more skin. Looking hot in the summer is a hefty bruncher’s worst nightmare. And then there’s that contention of whether painfully sweating it out is healthy. People with six-pack abs are essentially dehydrated.

In my opinion, a man with a flat tummy is more than enough. A man appearing to be in the first trimester of pregnancy is not too shabby either. That is how men are, ladies, get over it. Still, the shoulders, arms, thighs and calves should be sculpted. It is harder for women, because post pregnancy, their stomach region accumulates water and gets flabby. While men can still look hot with a slight protrusion, the females are pressured to have it leveled out. Go figure.

You ask the cute girl or guy, how much the halo-halo is (when you could have just as easily asked the vendor instead, you sly fox you) and you innocently strike up a conversation while puncturing shaved ice, and intently preventing a drop of milky water from literally slipping by your fingers. You are asked who you will vote for, and you reply, but que horror, your summer fling for the week is voting your candidate’s nemesis!

Before you know it, you’re flinging ube, leche flan, mongo, garbansos, and other such colorful beans, with the shaved ice and milky water, and sticking nata de coco up your fling’s nostrils, and stabbing with a plastic spoon. Now, you’re really hot, baby. Fuming hot.

The fumes in UP and UE are still fresh, and the forest fires in Bukidnon are presumed to have direct linkage with El Nino and global warming. The Mindanao region is in dire need of assistance. The weather there is getting to be so hot that the El Nino has indirectly claimed the lives of protesting farmers from Kidapawan, Bukidnon, only wanting to get by this heat storm, and feed their hungry families.

What is it, when we get to the heat of an argument, that prevents us from tapping our collective common decency, and saying to ourselves that we will not hurt a fellow Filipino, our kababayan? Please, let us not play the harsh game of politics to the point that we exterminate innocents. These are the innocents who have halo-halo to cool themselves down in the heat of the summer farthest from their minds.

Buying, no, thinking of buying halo-halo would already be a luxury.

The weather is hot, but why are they getting so cold a treatment from those who have sworn to protect them, to lead them, to serve them, when all they are peacefully protesting for is their right to survive, their fundamental human right to life?

Image credit: www.flickr.com/photos/photographybycolby/16425267182

merienda 4

Tara nang mag-meryenda sa Laguna!

Thursday, 31 March 2016 | Written by
merienda 4

Miyerkules Santo, Tahimik. Pinilit ko ang sarili kong bumiyahe pa-Laguna, para makabili ng kutkutin at mailahad sa inyo ang iba’t-ibang mga lasa. Iyung iba namamasyal at sa pag-uwi pasalubong ang punta. Ako, pasalubong ang sadya. Maaliwalas naman ang biyahe papunta. Kakaunti ang tao. Mabilis ang biyahe mula Crossing EDSA papuntang Los Banos – dalawang oras lamang. Bumaba na ako sa may Olivares Plaza, para pumasok at sumilip sa campus. Matahimik ang mundo. Miyerkules Santo.

 

Biglaang preno ang isang walang sakay na dyip, biyaheng “College” sa may istasyon ng gasolina. Sabay tigil, sabay hagis ng walang laman na mineral water bottle sa baldosa. Matumal marahil. At inapuhapan ako ng takot bahagya dahil maraming estudyante ang sumakay.

 

Ang lumang kainan lang na napansin ko ay ang Papu’s siomai, na melts in your mouth, umaagos sa dila mo ang laman, parang palaman na lamang halos. Sunog ang dila mo sa anghang. Dati Php11 ang tatlong piraso. Di na ko napadaan kasi nagkanda-nerbyos na naman ako sa dami ng mga batang pauwi sa Maynila, tapos ko dumaan sa campus.

merienda 2

Tapos tumambay, inuna kong puntahan ang Mer-Nel’s. Iyung nag-iisang roll na lamang ang kinuha ko, at pinipig choco polvoron. Ang cake ng Mer-Nel’s ampao-pula ang kahon. Matibay ito at recyclable. Kakayanin ang ma-tuhod, ma-sipa bahagya sa may paanan ninyo nang makailang beses sakaling maligalig ang mga sumasakay ng bus. Huwag lamang ma-tukuran ng nawalan ng balanseng pasaherong pumapanaog sa biglaang preno ni Manong Bus Driver.

merienda 4

 

Malagkit ang frosting, ang tamis ay pinasobra lamang ng kaunti sa sakto, ang tsokolate ay di nakakaumay. Halos walang makitang butas ng hangin sa mismong cake ngunit napakalambot pa rin.

 

Sunod ang mga kutkutin sa The Original Buko Pie:

 

Lengua de Gato – napakasimple ng rekado: mantikilya, itlog, harina at asukal, pero ang labas, kutkutin na di ka makakatulog hanggat di mo nauubos. Parang lagi kang tinatawag, at binubuyong “isa pa, isa pa.” Kumuha ka ng pastilyas, pisain mo, lagyan ng kaunting hangin, palutungin. Lengua de gato.

snack laguna 2

Pangilinan Sweets Pastillas de Leche – yung munchkin gawin mong purong gatas, kortehin na parang tubo ng tubig, at yung sprinkles ay asukal. Ganoon. Ang Bulacan ay sikat sa pastillas. Doon rin nakuha ang inilako sa pasalubong shop. Ang ube pastillas de leche nila ay lasang-lasa ang ube, ngunit natabunan na ang gatas. Kaunting balanse pa sana ng rekado, ang mungkahi. May kahong puti ang lalagyan ng Pangilinan Pastillas, may plastic cover, address, at contact number. Masarap.

 

Pangilinan Sweets Macapuno Balls — lasang-lasa ang buko macapuno pero wala kang mangunguya na buong laman. Malagkit sa pagnguya. Maige rin kung may kaunting matigas na mangunguya, parang yung biko ng suki namin. May malagkit tas mangilan-ngilan na rice crispies kumbaga. Nakakadagdag sa pagka-aliw ng kumakain. Madalas kasi, nagpapalipas oras ang mga mag-anak na kumakain ng kutkutin.

 

Campitas Broas – “ladyfingers” sa Ingles. Ang kaibahan ng broas sa lengua de gato ay may pampaalsa ito. Kaya ma-hangin ang loob. Mas matapang rin ang lasa. Halos aftertaste na, pero hindi pa umaabot doon. Kung may breadcrumbs na masarap, na naging tinapay, ganito ang lasa noon, at higit pa. Sa Lucban, Quezon ang Campitas. Maganda ang branding, may sunflower at papel ng magasin ang etiketa ng produkto nila.

snack laguna 3

Ang Shing-A-Ling ni Mang Patricio – mapapakanta ka ng “Shing-a-linga-ling-ding-dong!” Walang estudyante ng unibersidad ang nakaligtas sa makamandag na alindog ng mala-ahas na hugis na kutkuting ito. Ang Shing-A-Ling ni Mang Patricio ay ubod ng lutong, kaunting anghang, at alat na katamtaman. May pait ito na sumusunod kapag nalawayan na, at bago lunukin. Tila ginagaya ang lasa ng proven ng manok.

 

Mikiron Noodle Crackers — kay Mang Patricio pa rin. Ito mapait na talaga. Parang dilis na ang dating. Hindi ko alam kung bakit mikiron. Baka miki na lasang “prawn?” Mang Patricio, kung nasa-saan ka man, magparamdam ka naman, sa reply box. Parang fish cracker ang dating nito, pero miki noodles ang korte. Mainam pang-pulutan.

merienda 1

 

Banana chips -– Edna’s pasalubong ang nakuha ko. Malutong na malutong. Mahinahon ang tamis. Ang chips ay napaka-nipis. Parang pambalat ng gulay ang ginamit. Ang pagkakaluto ay halos golden brown na, ngunit sinadya ito, dahil alam nilang ito ang pinakamalutong na labas. Magaling. Si Aling Edna ay taga Canlalay, Binan Laguna. Punong-puno ang plastic na lalagyan, halos di na kayanin. Saludo.

merienda 3

Barquillos — tubong harinang malutong, malutong lang ng kaunti sa lengua de gato, na may nakapaloob na pinong-pinong pulbura na tila pulburon. Mani ang pulbura marahil. Napakasarap. Ang pagkalat ng lasa sa dila ay maiha-halintulad sa ice cream. Pantay na pantay, at saklaw ang buong dila. Nananatili ng kaunti, dahil nga parang pulburon, pero hindi nakakasamid dahil hindi ganoong karaming pulbos ang laman.

 

Merengue ng Panaderia Pantoja – since 1950 pa daw sila. May expiration date, ngunit walang address. May makisig na kalalakihang naka-bowtie sa etiketa. Makapal ang plastic na lalagyan. May pagka-malikhain ang pagkaka-laminate nito. Sosyal ang dating. Ang ibang merengue, kapag kinagat mo, bibigay agad, at matutunaw sa dila. Ang sa Pantoja ay lumalaban. Sisipsipin mo pa bago tuluyang matunaw. De-kalidad ito. Kahanga-hanga. Isipin ninyong cotton candy o icing ng cake na pinatigas at may kaunting maliliit na bulsa ng hangin. Singtamis din ng icing. Ilabas ang kapeng barako, kapag inihain ito.

 

Espasol – nakabalot sa beige na Manila paper ang Floren’s Espasol mula sa Nagcarlan, Laguna. Maayos ang portion. Ang sangkap raw ay malagkit, buko, pinipig, at asukal. Ang malagkit at buko ang mismong nakakagat, at ang pulbos marahil ang dinikdik na pinipig. Tama ang tamis. Nakali-libang dahil tapos kumagat, sasawsaw ka dun sa pulbos, para matabunan ang parteng pinagkagatan. Mabigat ito sa tiyan. Mabilis rin mapanis, kaya kainin agad, pagkabili. Masarap ang Floren’s Espasol.

 

Apas – Campitas, sa Lucban ang may luto. Korteng dog-tag ng mga sundalo. Malutong. Shing-a-ling na matamis ang dating, pero ang pait ay nakakubli, di gaya ng sa Shing-a-ling. Ang apas ay may asukal na tila mahiyaing tagaluto ang nag-budbod. Konserbatibo ang pagkakalagay ng mga pampalasa. Mainam ipares sa mga ubod nang tamis na mga minandal at inuming tsokolate.

 

Toasted pastillas — lumalaban sa pagnguya ang likha ng Krimmy’s. Sa unang tingin, iisipin nating may lasang usok o sunog dahil toasted, pero bahagyang-bahagya lamang ang pagkaka-toast at nag-caramelize ang asukal dahil dito. Iyun ang malalasahan ninyo. Pastillas na caramelized nang kaunti.

 

Country Choco Milk – malapot ang gatas; ang tsokolate ay nasa kalagitnaan ng tablea at yung nabibili sa inyong suking tindahan. Swabe, walang sabit. Sakto ang timpla. Ang packaging ay botelyang plastic na maaaring muling gamitin. Tatak ay baka. Kung sa stuffed toy ay napakasarap tirisin. Ang kyot. May expiration date.

 

Naka-tengga lang kami sa kalsada sa may simbahan malapit sa tirahan ko. Buti pa iyung dyip sa harapan, may mga nagse-selfie na dalagita, isinama ang pagkuha sa parada.

 

Naiinip ako, hindi naman ako makalakad tulad ng iba, at napakarami kong dala. At isa pa, wala na akong lakas. Naka-kain pa ako nang lagay na yan doon sa may terminal sa Crossing EDSA.

 

Miyerkules Santo kasi. At kahit anong araw, kung gusto mong may mangyari sa buhay mo, dapat talaga, magtiyaga, at payt lang nang payt.

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