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Showing posts from 2007

To cook rice

NEVER mind the truculent topography to trample not too thoroughly, the hike-hop-hobble to the Sierra Madre work site just took over three hours.

It was past lunch time when we plopped ourselves down on a mat of grass for some easy breathing spell, allow famished stomachs to growl and gripe. Pay no heed to such grumblings. Legs can whine. Soles can whimper. Stretched taut sinew all over one’s body can fret and stew.

Stew? Delicious jolt this chewy morsel of a word

Ah, meals can be whipped up in a jiffy. A pot of water boils in less than five minutes on mountain tops-- well-boiled, fluffy steaming rice can be had in around 10 minutes.

So we rummaged through the tools, provisions, and not-so weighty things we’ve tacked on our backs for the three-day working weekend. We rummaged some more. We set down on the grass every article of consequence we had brought.

We looked at ‘em items with serious intent, eyeing each item in earnest. Mattock, kama scythes, bolo, knives, whetstone, pingga or ba…

Ale Baba & Plenty Thieves

SAWIKAIN ng mga Tagalog ang ipinagpipilitan: kapatid ng bulaan ang kawatan.
Baka naman kaugnay ito ng inilalapat sa pangalan ng mga kawatan. Este, kinatawan nga pala sa House of Thieves, oops, House of Representatives, Ito ‘yung tinatawag yatang tahanan ng mga diputado o sa wikang Español, Casa de los Hijo de Putados. Madalas ngang tanggalin ang huling pantig na –dos kasi sobra sa 200 silang nakalublob doon. Lalaspag ng mga P200 milyon para magkasundong bumuo bawat isang batas na walang balak maipatupad kahit palit-pangalan lang ng kalye o espinita. They’re kindred spirits, not kind, though.
Tinatawag kasi sila, Hon. Your honor pa nga ang pasakalye bago sila magtaltalan sa kapulungan.Malakas ang kutob naming ito na ang tinutukoy ng kasabihan naman sa Ingles: There is honor among thieves.
Hindi naman kami nagtataka nang dumagsa nitong nakaraang linggo ang mga your honor upang sumagpang ng agahan o almusalsal sa Palasyo sa Pasig . Sumulpot na lang sa mga bali-balita na may nagbigay sa ka…

Farting is such sweet sorrow

“DON’T terrorize me again. Not these days when methane farts off Glorietta and Gloria.”
Thus I farted off a few pesos worth of text messages like that after my son sent a P20 load to my mobile phone. The load expires in 2 days—it takes me more than three weeks to fidget and fiddle a P30 load off an idled mobile phone that takes after Samuel Butler. “To do great work a man must be very idle and very industrious.”
Blame not this sucker for a quote on quietude: “Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.” Besides, suction slurps louder than words.
I don’t have to explain to folks I plied that two-sentence note to that methane buildup stems from corruption and rotten organic discards. If the gas buildup isn’t confined in a structure of sound integrity, lots of gas—and guise like lame excuses and news releases—are issued off. Such bouts of oral flatulence can be nauseous.

The guys I sent that message to don’t have to be told in length that suspicions are rife over the methane buildup in e…

G shot turns on delight but digital tech puts firm pressure to pleasure

SHOWBIZ scuttlebutt ejaculated that a sports icon has come across with a tidy sum to pay for the enlargement of his sexy star girlfriend’s elevator button of sorts—the so-called la bella loca or G spot. It was an earnest bid to make such luscious spot more accessible for both of ‘em during sex, or plunking down money where the lower mouth is.

The non-surgery involves injection of a specially prepared collagen into the bean-sized Grafenberg spot just behind the pubic bone. It’s smack on the upper anterior wall two inches off the adit to the silken depths. The collagen filler swells the spot to the size of a peso coin. That’s for easier and greater area of penile traction.

And that two-bit technical data has fueled tattlers’ wild speculations-- the sports icon’s nether tool may be coming short of over two-inch expectations.

The 15-minute operation costs P50,000, a year’s average yield of profits off a hectare of palay. Chicken feed to folks that come with high incomes. A patient need not b…

Health system under siege

AN epidemic running amok in any of the country’s 19 regions will likely trigger a national calamity. The nation’s health system just can’t cope—we’ll just watch people die like flies.

Why, there’s less than one physician attending to every thousand populace. Two nurses have to tend to 1,000— a nurse for every 500 people. There’s less than one midwife seeing to every 2,000 people. Meanwhile, an 8,564-strong nationwide army of dentists can hack out separate niche clientele from a population over 80 million.

Here’s a calamity waiting to happen. More likely a doomsday scenario that has begun—a physician all by his lonesome self, wrenching his brains out to see to 1,000 disease-struck patients.

A deadly contagion has yet to strike. Who can tell when such a pestilence breaks out?
The vulnerability of the Filipino populace is palpable, as obscene as the splayed out legs of a whore on a payday night, open to all takers and every manner of assault.

Such pitiable figures on the state of the nation’s…

Holdout at ground zero

THE lone red coral tree at the northeastern end of Manila Hotel barely waves its lanky arms at the noisome saraband of cars, vans, container vans and such flow of metal monsters any given day at Andres Bonifacio Drive in Manila’s south port area.

Years back, there were other red coral trees lined up like a fenced in squad of sentries, sloughing foliage to squeeze out through myriad twig fingers a splendor of blood-dyed petals come April maybe around Lent. By 2005, that row of corals stood dead, bark stripped off their fat boles, trunks bleached pale—an infestation of African wasps had decimated every stand of red coral trees in Metro Manila and outlying areas.

Except for that tough one at Manila Hotel to which I ply a salutation nearly every evening or thereabouts as I trudge off from a watering hole on 20th Street in port area for a bite of beef mami and a few more beers at Peter Lee’s Hong Kong Tea House on A. Mabini in Ermita.

That survivor of the plague of wasps—those nasty stingers …

Running healthy for the Senate

OF the 37 Senate seat-seekers for the 2007 mid-term elections, 11 are running healthy—that is, they have included public health among their legislative concerns. The rest can be labeled “unhealthy.”

With P35,000 in monthly paycheck, about a million pesos a month to pay for support staff and some P200 million in pork barrel funds per year, a stint at the Senate ought to be an enriching experience for any hopeful bet lucky enough to win in this year’s senatorial race. Tempting, such largesse of pelf and power.

Thus, 79 Senate hopefuls—several of them were jobless—showed up like symptoms of a disease at the Commission on Elections to be listed up as official candidates; 42 were dropped from the Comelec list, deemed as nuisance candidates. Taxpayers can now sift a dozen among 37 remnants—they come from a mixed bag of 13 political parties, each vowing to lessen maybe wipe out poverty, combat graft and corruption, and, as most pre-poll campaign sound bites go, even make your wishes come true …

Puppy lap and that lethal lickin' goodness

HAGAR the Horrible and Snert. Phantom and Devil. Tin-Tin the boy detective and Snowy. Pepe and Pilar and Bantay. A gadabout Saint Roque and his nameless cur that has left a trail of wondrous tales in the more bucolic parts of Nueva Ecija for healing the sick or wounded with a few licks or so. From storybooks to oral folklore, the bonds that link dog and man endure.

And there was the late movie idol Fernando Poe, Sr. He was strong as an ox, statuesque with a physique made immortal in the bronze Oblation statue that stands as colossus in every campus of the University of the Philippines nationwide. A rabies-infected puppy of his licked his hand that had an open wound. Such a licking sent him to an early grave.

Indeed, rabies kills.

While more deaths may have been induced by attempts at howling out "My Way" in cheap videoke joints throughout the country, rabies-caused deaths hereabouts focused global attention on the Philippines. There was an increase in rabies fatalities in the ‘…

He injures, she endures

THE child was just another dreamer who wanted to wring the nightmares that reeled off right in their home into something less repugnant. He would hear his mother sob, howl out in pain, break into some more sobbing as the husband had his way with her. Feeling afraid and helpless, the child would go back to sleep and pretend it was all a bad dream.

That dreamer grew up haunted by bad dreams about his mother’s sexual torture. He turned into a brutal rapist perpetrating multiple assaults, recounts maverick criminologist Dr. Lonnie H. Athens who journeyed into the depths of criminal minds and found out what it takes for any person to turn into a monster.

The same nightmares descend upon women throughout the world in their waking hours. The warmth of hell engulfs womankind in the comfort and safety of their homes. Or in more placid terms, women have to bear and rear children plus untold amounts of homespun brutality.

Indeed, a man’s home is his castle—torture chambers are aplenty.

"I suffe…

Pambalot sana ng tinapa’t dilis

SANA’Y sumapin lang itong pagmumukha Sa tinapa’t dilis na para sa dukha…Natikman mo sana ang lansa’t mantikaNahimod sana ng mukha mong bilasa.Nangakasupalpal sa TV at radyoAng maskara ninyo’t pati na aninoHinihimok kami na kayo’y ibotoSa ganyang gawain kami’y ginagago…Kung sa pahayagan kayo ay nagsaadNg mga pangako’t iba pang boladas—Nakinabang sana sa mga pahayagPati na ang puwit, mayroong pamunas.Anong gantimpala aming makakamitKung sa radyo’t TV kayo humihirit?Kung pahina sana’y naging pamparikitNg aming ilawan sa gabing pusikit.Bahala na kayong lapatan ng sumasagitsit na himig at sumusulak na ngitngit ang mga naunang taludtod. Pasintabi na sa mga kupal at kumag na nagtatapon daw ng may P16 milyon sanlinggo para maiwisik ang katas ng kanilang kalatas sa 51 milyong rehistradong bobotante. Pagkain at pananamit ang nangunguna sa tatlong pangunahing pangangailangan ng tao— ni isa dito’y hindi tinutugunan o pinag-uukulan ng pansin ng mga kupal at kumag na nagwawaldas ng tala-talaksang …

Please go, Harvey Keh

APPREHENSIVE about certain louts winning the May 14 vote, eh? Sure they will win.

As sure as that ransom note of sorts of yours that somebody from my high school e-group dumped in my e-mail. Those aren’t a terrorist’s demands. More of a terror-struck aghast at how things are shaping up in the country and woeful at the possibilities that will soon come to pass. That’ll prompt you to pack your bags and leave the country, maybe for good. Please do. Follow your heart.

Never fear for these accursed islands with its accursed denizens. Most of us can bear whatever onus rapine providence or sagging confidence has to dump some more on our backs, why, we can hardly stand erect like manhood out to inflict another mouth to feed on dwindling income and scant resources.

Any whit of wariness that crackpots would crack can hardly be appreciated by crackpots. Why, I would have voted for you had you taken the desperation to make a bid in the senatorial derby. You didn’t. You weren’t that desperate enough.…

Just sick and tired looking for leaders

A colleague wrote a flattering sketch of an asshole gunning for a seat in the Senate, one clown whom I had tackled, some months back, in an editorial about his winsome ways with any woman he takes a fancy to.

I was told that the lecher plunks down P3 million right into the bank account of the slavered after lay as overture to waylaying her. No problem if there’s no bank account, he’ll open one pronto for adored ladylove. The lady—enunciate that properly, stress on the first syllable, “lay”—richer by a few million bucks coyly opens up nether cleft for proper accommodation. Why, I even suggested the monies may have likely been shucked off pockets of taxpayers like me; I ought to have a go at her since I’ve contributed my share in procurement of such carcass. Empathize with, oops, emphasize last syllable, please—“ass.”

Now, that’s character. Character is simply the individual’s past actions and actuations merely repeated again and again right on into the future. Shady or dubious, that char…

Boo! Corrupt! Corrupt!

NAGKUKUMAHOG ang mga kumag na sunggaban ang mga himig na kinagigiliwan ng madla. Gagamiting campaign jingle. Matunog nga naman sa mga bobotante. Kaya inaasahang magiging matunog din ang pangalan ng kandidato.

Higit sambuwan na ang nakalipas nang iulat ng mga researchers na talagang gumuguhit sa utak ang mga pira-piraso ng awitin—usually the first few bars in a song packed with an individual’s memories s/he dotes on. The melody goes, the memory remains.

Kapag umarangkada na ang melody, kasunod na papailanlang sa isipan ang mga gunita.

Pakay ng kandidato na maging kabilang siya sa mga alaala ng botante. Para nga naman hindi malilimutan. Maisasalampak ang kanyang pangalan sa balota. Kasi naman, walong pangalan lang ang natatandaan ng karamihan sa mga posibleng botante—ganoon ang nasiwalat sa magkasunod na opinion survey ng Pulse Asia, Inc.

Umabot lang sa 64 na pangalan ang inilista ng Pulse Asia. Pero sa ganoon mang karaming pangalan, walo lang ang karaniwang pinipili ng mga inungkat. Mas…

Gipit sa gitna

Gipit sa gitna

PINAKATALAMAK daw ang alimuom na masasagap sa gitna ng tanggapan o tahanan. Ganoon ang bungad na ulat ng aming batikang manunukat ng feng shui para taon ng OINK—oh, irog na kinalikot—na aarangkada sa bagong buwan ng Pebrero 18.

Talaga namang gitnang bahagi ang tahasang ginitgit ng VD—hindi venereal disease na dating taguri sa STD— na Araw ng Pusok o pusong tinusok-tuhog na parang fishballs nitong Pebrero 14.

Tatambakan daw ng mga hindi kanais-nais na alimuom ang gitna ng mga tanggapan at tahanan sa Taon ng Bulugan, that translates as Year of the Boar at Year of the Sow, huwag masyadong ipagduldulan sa mga makakarinig na katabi ang bahaging “Boar at” nitong pangungusap, please. Huwag na ring ulit-ulitin ang “Sow.” In any case, this porcine year is going to be sexy.

Sektor ng lupa ang bahaging gitna ng alinmang tanggapan at tahanan. Bull’s eye. Kaya madadamay ang lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya, makakasagap lahat ng masamang alimuom—lalo na ang ina ng tahanan, pati na ang kayam…

Product positioning

SURVEYS were applied strictly to the lay of the land sometime in the hazy past. Geodetic, that’s what it were. A land survey is meant to pinpoint a tract of land’s boundaries—to be plugged in with concrete markers called mujones defining an exact area to be girded. A survey like that helps in precise plotting. Uh, no coup plots then.

Plots are similarly hatched in today’s surveys that come in various guises and disguises. Most are stabs that cut across the minds of people, mindless or mindful. Say, a survey of TV viewing habits seeks to convince advertisers to plunk down sums of money on programs that pander to the greatest number of candidates for lobotomy and the mentally comatose.

Instead of mujones driven into skulls of the surveyed, TV programmers are prompted into revelry over the huge tracts of brain areas they have gained over a stretch of weeks. Presumably, those tracts would be possessed in due time as programmers ply some more of the same viewing fare. To draw more and more n…

Paspasang pasya, kakasya

HAYAAN na ang mga hukuman na gumamit ng katagang decision—sampu kasi ang katuturan ng deci. Nangangahulugan na sampung ulit na titimbangin at susuriin ang ilalapat na tugon sa nakadulog na usapin. Mabagal na parang usad ng trapiko sa EDSA.

Mas mabilis ang dating ng pasya. Katugma ng kasya. Lapat agad. Sagad. Salpak. Tumpak.

Sa mga karaniwang pagsubok, mas mainam pala ang mga madaling pasya kaysa matumal na decision. (Pansinin ang iba’t ibang kahulugan ng “madali”—rapid, fast, snappy, easy. Rapid? Naroon pa rin iyon sa aves de rapiña o bird of prey, ibong mandaragit. Heto pa. Raptor. Rapt or contemplative.Talagang kakawing yata ng bilis ang masusi, masinsinan, matalim at malalim na kaisipan.)

Tinukoy ng isang ulat na inilabas kamakailan sa Internet ng pahayagang Current Biology na higit ngang mainam ang mga dagliang pasya kaysa matagalang pag-iisip sa mga mabilisang pagsusulit o pagsubok. Naturol sa ginawang pagsusuri ang mataas na antas na pamamaraan ng utak sa paggagap.

Sa pagsubok, kai…

Dead cold numbers

WALA pa yatang nangahas na iligpit sa pamamagitan ng kulam ang sinumang Pestedente ng bansa. Tiyak namang tatablan. Matitigok na walang pasubali—no ass ifs, so twats, butts, or similar protruding members are spared. Walang pinipili sa kulam na masahol pa yata sa surgical strike. Anyone bites the dust.

Ikinatwiran noon ni Manoling Festin Martinez—ex-seminarian na batikan sa theosophy at isa sa mga katoto ni Ama—na mayroon daw kakaibang mahika na lulukob na parang protective shield sa sinuman kapag nakaluklok na bilang Pangulo o Panggulo, Presidente o Pestedente na parang pababang spaghetti na al dente.

Kaya raw hindi basta tatablan.

Pero sa huling tuusan, tatablan pa rin ng kulam kahit pa 10-foot thick tempered steel with Teflon-coating ang kapal ng pagmumukha.

Sakaling umaabot sa P129 billion ang tipak ng pork barrel na kinopo ng nakaluklok sa Palasyo, baka naman humirit ang kukulam—tropang paktol man o parakaraw-- ng kahit 10% commission of the heinous crime. Aabot din sa halos P13 bil…

Mural lessons, moral lesions

MY favorite panel in that P50-million or so mural cum feast for white ants at the National Press Club is one which depicts an hour glass where a big shot’s hand pours coins of the realm that trickle down as transmuted typescript with two or three bats hovering like moths over the ripple of words. That tells me words—in due time to round out a prelude to the gospels, “In the beginning was the Word”-- can be precious and be light-like that draws those oriental sigils of longevity, those bats. I take that to mean writings can endure, paintings may not. Why, the same panel has attracted hordes of termites as an uncared-for book does.

The adjacent panel has the same big shot’s other hand garroted around the head—all senses clamped shut-- of a writer banging away at copy that stretches way, way out like a highway paved with verbiage. ‘Tis an old maxim in the schools that flattery’s fed to fools. So I’ll take such a sight anytime with a grain of assault.

Maybe, Enteng Manansala and his crew o…

Kidlat mula Ampasit-Puguis

NI HINDI yata nakapaglaro ng qi gong o sining ng hininga sina Ama’t Mama habang nagliliwaliw—oops, migratory bird umano ang liwaliw na gumagala sa mga taniman bago dumating ang tag-ulan at itinuturing na sagisag ng kasaganaan—sa kagubatan ng pino sa Ampasit-Puguis ng La Trinidad, Benguet.

Nasabi sa amin ni Ama noong paslit pa kaming apat na magkakapatid—Bilog, Podying, Kukudyu (ako) at Puwit—na malakas raw ang agos ng dragon currents ng lupa na dumadaloy sa punong pino o pine tree. May payak daw na paraan sa qi gong para mapadaloy sa katawan ng tao ang naturang agos-dragon mula dibdib ng lupa. Pantungkab raw sa plema ng may ubo, pampatibay ng puso at baga, panlunas din sa hika.

Kailangan lang daw yakapin ang puno. Ganoon lang kadali.

Hindi kailangang idikit ang katawan sa puno habang nakayakap. Isayaw ang hininga sa wastong indak. Iguhit sa ulirat na dumadaloy ang agos na tila malamyos na kidlat mula kaliwang palad, naglalandas tungo sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng katawan. Sumasagitsit, sumas…