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Showing posts from April, 2007

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…