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Showing posts from July, 2005

Moths to the light, flies to the filth

ALLOW me to share reality temblors rumbling through the Journal Group website

Netizens -- that's for citizens of the World Wide Web -- are getting fed up with PBA: it shows in the number of page views notched to keep tabs on dwindling numbers that still stew through on Pinoy basketball. It likely turns out they don't love this ho-hum game. Maybe that's a basket case turning into casket case.

As the growing number of page views on sports staples show, Internet surfing readers are growing keener on games where Pinoys are world-class. Say, billiards, boxing, chess, why, even tennis. Not exactly in that order.

It's also likely that basketball fanatics would just log on to the NBA or PBA website for their fix.
Netizens aren't hung up on the mix-up blood and gore stories culled off metropolitan or provincial police and military blotters. More page views turn up on news stories in which culprits are getting caught, felons getting their just …

Bad hair day

TELEVISION is heavily tattooed with shampoo commercials—why, the idiot box is all slathered up and virtually oozing with shampoo suds. The market for hair care preparations must be lucratively huge.

Or most people in these islands have gone bonkers over their hair, so hair care has become a national obsession. Never mind what’s under the scalp and skull, hair care is the order of the day. Say, beer suds also does wonders for hair setting but San Miguel Corp. won’t advertise it as such.

Now, the rind of kabuyaw—the so-called kaffir lime or Citrus hystrix – can lend a silky sheen plus a delicate sweetish scent to a maiden’s midnight tresses. Kabuyaw is now quite difficult to find—a seed-grown 6-inch tall sapling cost us P150 and it took months hopping from one garden show to another before we actually got one.

So, it will take 2-3 years before such pathetic sapling finally grows into a decent size and starts yielding the genuine article that tops every shampoo preparation currently ava…

Shaft shift (Palit-bihis) | Idiocy rules (Naghahari ang kanilang uri) [PJI editorials 28-29 July 2005]

SHIFT from the ‘peso’-dential to the ‘payola’-mentary form of government?

Let’s see. Mull this over.

Pugad islet off Bulacan—celebrated in the Amado V. Hernandez novel in verse, Bayang Malaya -- was a fishing village studded with salt-rinsed nipa-and-bamboo hovels, crossed any which way by narrow dirt streets and walkways that were litter-free any time of day. Local inhabitants in the 1970s must have kept their community throbbing with a thriving sense of neatness and order—that must have rubbed off into their way of life.

Barangay Palingon off Laguna Lake along the Calamba shoreline repeated Pugad islet’s neat refrain—the same array of humble abodes of unpainted wood and bamboo latticework capped by rusty tin roofs, each home lot arrayed with flowering and ornamental plants, every sill and wood surface of each hut scrubbed to a tell-tale dull sheen by is-is leaves. Palingon thrummed with that homely charm in the 1970s.

Pugad and Palingon are rare remarkable sights. They’re probably …

17 lawmakers, one legislative body|Ghost sound bytes| Proof in the eating (PJI editorials 24-26 July 2005)

IN the not so distant future this scenario might unfold, if ever the 1987 Charter is thoroughly overhauled.

Fed up with the dalawa-sampera quality of the lawmakers who get elected to the Senate and House of Representatives, irate taxpayers invoke every deity and demon available for a miracle shifting the current presidential form of government to a brutally pared-down parliamentary system.

The miracle comes to pass. The bicameral lawmaking body is fused as one national parliament—one solon for each region. As of 2002, there were only 17 regions. So, 17 lawmakers are elected to the parliament. 17 lawmakers will slug it out for the plum post of the prime minister. Omit the spare tire, please.

So the nation’s steward emerges out of the illustrious 17 solons representing the best highly skilled minds the regions can turn up. After the prime minister is elected, 16 lawmakers stay behind in the national assembly to do the business of lawmaking.

Isn’t that a preposterous scenario? Tell that…

Buy us a drink, we’ll listen (Bilmoko muna) | Show of numbers (Paramihan lang ba?) [PJI editorials 17-18 July 2005)

CONSIDER these as jokes meant to elicit bitter laughter—laugh until it hurts.

Three days after the so-called ‘Ayala 1’ anti-Gloria mass action that drew-- as conservative estimates put it-- a crowd of 30,000, select e-mail addresses received a facsimile copy of a cash coupon that were allegedly distributed to rally participants. A coupon was worth P300 and could be redeemed at an office of the local government unit.

An ambulant food vendor who sets up her cart near the Journal premises had signed in a rally attendance sheet plied out by her local barangay chief. She was promised P500. The amount was to be given 2-3 days later for her participation in the July 16 pro-Gloria rally at Luneta. Give or take a thousand, the droves that saw mass action in the latter rally in Manila was about numerically equal to the previous rally in Ayala.

Recall Elvis to provide rock-it-to-‘em commentary: “(It’s) one for the money! Two for the show!”

“Bumili ka ng kausap mo!” was the common-sense counsel g…

Petition for urban renewal

Guys, this is about that petition for an urban renewal to be done pronto to Baguio-- it was passed on to me but I didn't add my signature to it.

I wish you and all those who signed that petition all the luck. Pluck too.

The big catch is, "Where in hell or any similar place are we dumping off the way too excess populace that's now choking the gills out of Baguio?"


I'm thinking of a similar story of a city slowly going to seed. I grew up in an idyllic Quezon City. It was a time when rice paddies, carabao wallows, and fruit orchards ran rampant in the city's not-so-urban inner sections. West Avenue was a howling cogonal then; Commonwealth Avenue was a dead-end dirt road that led to Quezon's pipe dream of a National Government Center that was to become the National Squatters Haven from which crime and sob stories ooze from to fill in every tabloid's Metro section.

The stretch of Morato Ave. was once known as Sampaloc Avenue and it hosted a gente…

Asuwang biotechnology (This saw print as a PJI editorial sometime February 2005)

DIRE necessity ought to be the mother of invention if not forcible incursion into technology.

With prices of crude oil products soaring between the rooftops and beyond the clouds, motorists and commuters are likely to set their sights even keep their fingers crossed on anything that promises relief for hemorrhaged budgets.

Even the next to impossible, the arcane lore or once-hidden know-how can invite exploration, maybe dead-earnest research and development.

Take the case of a horror movie staple—zombies. As early as the 1930s, certain witch-doctors cum labor dealers in Haiti and Martinique made piles of cash from tractable work gangs that they hired out to cane growers. Those workers slaved nearly ‘round the clock, in fair or foul weather, hardly slept or rested, and subsisted on food more fit for pigs.

It turned out that the workers were zombies. Yes, zombies!

They were drugged with a powerful anesthetic derived from certain species of toads and the deadly puffer fish. That drug—i…

Bagabag sa bayagbag

SALAMPAK na nagsusulat sa gitna ng hardin sa isang panig ng Loresville sa Antipolo nang maulinig ang mahinang kaluskos. Nasipat sa sulok ng tanaw ang animal sa kalapit na dawag. Gumagapang. Tatambang ng lukton, tipaklong, mandarangkal o anumang dadapong kulisap. Kisap-matang iglap na umigkas ang kamay.

Pumitlag-pitlag ang lunting bayagbag na nasaklot sa leeg. Bayagbag: dalawang dangkal mula buntot hanggang ulong hunyango. Nagkanlong sa kulay ng mga dahon. Nakaangkop man ang kulay sa dinapuan, hindi nabago ang anyo. Mapagbalatkayo talaga ang kaanak ng iguana, bayawak, buwaya, butiki, basilisko’t dragon.

Nakahingi ng sikapat na dipang sinulid. Tinalian sa leeg at sikmura ang bihag na bayagbag. Tila tandang na itinambang sa ginagalaan nitong dawag ang nabihag. Bumalik sa pagsusulat.

Bunsong anak ang unang sumiksik sa isip. Mahiligin si Abraham Arjuna sa samut-saring alaga. Pagong si Gamera, inot na gumagala saanmang sulok-hardin ng aming tahanan. Inahing manok si Harika, kabiyak ng t…

Pakapalan ng apog|Superiority complex (PJI editorials 3-4 July 2005)

Pakapalan ng apog

APOG is a catch-all term for the soggy white paste-like substance. It’s usually calcium oxide chewed as cud with mild peppery tasting betel leaf (ikmo), a wee chunk of areca nut, and a pinch or two of cured tobacco roll (maskada).

The chewy amalgam is called buyo—it is ground together into a chewy paste with tiny mortar-and-pestle contraption called katikot, the grinding so familiarly lewd that it prompts a riddle, “Mahaba-taba ang kay tatang, malalim-luwang ang kay inang.” The mix provides a mild high that chewing gum can’t give.

A generous slathering of apog can neutralize hyperacidity of soils gone too sour and unfit for growing crops. Apog is rubbed in on wooden carvings, especially figures of saints, before the finishing touches are applied. Indeed, apog can suggest a saintly cover-up.

A teaspoon or two of apog thoroughly stirred into a tub of water does wonders for batches of santol rinds, kundol chunks, kamias fruits or such tropic fruits that can be turned i…