Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pacquiao-Bradley II : Bible and Boxing


For Timothy Bardley, Jr, Manny Pacquiao’s fierceness and “fire” in the ring is gone. No less than Freddie Roach in an ABS-CBN report the other day said that “The Bible is getting in the way' of Pacquiao's killer instinct.” Roach says that the Pacman has become compassionate, refusing to finish the fight whenever he sees his opponents hurt. Roach said that the bible has affected the Pambansang Kamao’s mind set in his previous fight. But things have changed now according to Roach. He said, “What helped me a lot, was Bradley saying is that Manny does not have the 'Eye of the Tiger' any more, that he no longer has hunger to win. Bradley has motivated Manny. Manny feels embarrassed by those comments and he's ready to go.” Pacquiao with all humility responded to his opponent’s harsh comment with these words: “That is why I pray for that [fire].” Feel embarrassed and be angry but do not hate.

According to Roach himself assuring us boxing fans that, “The thing is The Bible is getting in the way a little bit, but I showed him in The Bible there is violence, and there is payback," Roach said in Gareth Davies’ report to “The Telegraph.” See how apparently Manny influenced even Roach to become a preacher and a theologian which I also try to do in this blog post.  Of course, that is solely from my limited and poor perspective as a boxing fan and a communicator and not an expert on faith or biblical theology. So, do not rely on me much or be serious about this. Maybe this is just due to my lack of something to write as of this very moment or my excitement to the upcoming rematch.

Well, one thing is sure. The Pacquiao-Bradley rematch on Sunday (Manila time) is just a sleep away before the Holy Week. Certainly, in Jesus’ passion and resurrection, though many of His people expected retaliation and retribution, the Son of Man by example emphasized that there should be no payback. Violence is not allowed as God’s command and vengeance is unholy! But the fight is dubbed by GMA-7 as "Vengeance in Vegas" but "Vengeance is mine", says the Lord.

Pacquiao have already resurrected from that recent and fatal KO he suffered from his life-long nemesis his (almost) tucayo, Manuel Marquez, Jr. and his controversial lost to Bradley via scorecards before that. Manny resurrected because the Filipino people including his fans world-wide never abandoned the Pacman. Unlike Christ’s disciples who denied, betrayed, abandoned their leader to his fate. His fight against Brandon Rios convinced us that Manny indeed have risen. Though maybe, Bradley has his own reasons to say that the “fire” or the killer instinct in Manny is now gone. But a fighter should not be always a killer and that’s what we learned from the Jewish Carpenter. From my point of view, though boxing they say is a “hurt business” it is also a “sweet science”. And in that “sweetness” lies that we should not hate our enemies. We could be angry at them but we must not hate them. We must love our enemy to the point that we teach them a lesson by way of showing or making them feel our “sweetest love” by giving him instructions even to the point of giving body blows, exemplary footwork and tremendous flashing punches in bunches. Boxers cannot afford to spoil the rod, err…the glove. The preachers scattered around our champ for whatever reason should realize that the proper place for them now is certainly not at the Wild Card Gym.

Go, Manny, go as ever. Show Bradley that he’s the King of the Ring in his own rights and the King of Kings is behind him because he’s true to His commands, especially by being ever humble, on being as meek as a lamb even at the face of his most arrogant detractors and adversities. This made me remember the nasty remarks made by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on Manny.

By the way, I trust Freddie Roach donning punching pads and not when he's holding a Bible in his hands. On the other hand, the pastors should also stay away from Manny at this final stretch of the training camp...

-----------
(Photo: Sports Illustrated)







Thursday, March 27, 2014

Si Vic Vargas at Iba Pang Kuwento


Bihira na tiyak sa mga Generation Xers ang nakakikilala sa sikat na aktor noon na si Vic Vargas.

Bago iyan, isa sa mga paborito ko noon sa serialized comics sa Liwayway ay ang nobela ni Francisco V. Coching at sa dibuho ni Federico C. Javinal na isinapelikula  noong 1972 kung kailan ay Grade III pa lang yata ako. Ito ay ang pelikulang “El Vibora”. Ngayong uso na ang internet, at bilang isa ang pelikulang ito sa bahagi ng aking kamusmusan, diniskubre at inunawa sa pamamagitan ng makabagong lente ng teknolohiya at lulan ng duyan ang pagbabalik-tanaw sa mga bagay na kaugnay ng aking happy childhood.

Ang kuwento ng “El Vibora”, sa Liwayway man o sa telon ng El Mundo Theater ay pwede umanong ituring na halaw sa kuwento ng bayaning si Heneral Artemio Ricarte. Isang kilalang manunulat sa katauhan ni F. Sionil Jose sa aking pagkakatanda ay sumulat rin ang aklat na may pamagat na “Vibora!” noong 2007. Ang nobela ay naglalahad ng buhay ng isang Benjamin Singkol na nag-kuwento ng nalalaman niya sa buhay ni Ricarte. Si Ricarte nga pala, ang tunay na buhay na Vibora, ay marubdob na kontra Amerikano. Nakita niya kung papaano minasaker ng mga Kano ag mga Pilipino habang ang mga elitista niyang kababayan ay dinidiyos ang mga ito noon. Hindi niya masikmura ang pagbubulag-bulagan ng kanyang mga kalahi noon sa panunupil ng mga Kano. Naniniwala ang Vibora sa tunay na buhay na ang mga Kano ay ang siyang tunay na kaaway ng mga Pilipino kaya siya ay itunuring na taksil ng mga kapwa niya lider rebolusyunaryo noon.

Ang bida sa pelikulang aksyon na “El Vibora” ni Ishmael Bernal ay isinilang dito sa Kanlurang Mindoro kung hindi ninyo alam. Siya ang isa sa iilang versatile actors ng bansa at halos lahat na yata ng genre sa pelikula ay nagampanan na niya. Pero bago pa man ang “El Vibora” nauna siyang nadiskubre ni Doc Jose Perez na siyang may-ari ng Sampaguita Pictures habang nagtuturo ng Judo at Karate sa isang program sa TV. Una siyang nakilala nang magbida sa pelikulang “Diegong Tabak” noong 1963 hanggang sa mapansin siya sa mga pelikulang aksyon at drama at itinuring na macho man  noon ng puting tabing. Sa kabila nito, mahusay niyang nagampanan, sa isang pelikulang katatawanan, ang papel ni “Andres de Saya” na isa ring karakter sa komiks na likha ni Carlo J. Caparas. 

Kahit siya ay sikat na, may pagkakataong dumadalaw ito sa kanyang bayang sinilangan, nakikipag-laro ng basketbol sa kanyang mga pinsan ay kabarkada at namamasyal sakay ng kanyang scooter lalo na kapag piyesta sa kanilang lugar. Higit sa 60 pelikula ang nagawa niya simula 1950s hanggang 2002. Sa pelikulang “El Vibora” nga pala ay natamo niya ang “Best Actor Award” sa 7th Manila Film Festival noon ngang 1972. Bago ito, gumanap din siya sa mga tinatawag na Bomba (or soft core sex) Films sa mga pelikulang pinagtambalan nila ni Rosanna Ortiz sa “Saging ni Pacing” ni Luis San Juan at “Bukid ay Basa” ni Ading Fernando at iba pa.

Ngunit nang tumamlay na ang kanyang karera, nasangkot din siya sa iba’t-ibang kaso na may kinalaman sa droga. Noong Disyembre 7, 1993, naaresto siya ng Malabon anti-narcotics unit dahil umano sa pagtutulak ng shabu sabi sa balitang ITO. Simula noong 1995 hanggang 2000 siya ay nanirahan na sa Taytay, Palawan. Sumapi siya sa Bantay Dagat sa layuning ingatan ang kalikasan doon at napabilang sa Charismatic Movement. Pero siya ay nakulong sa kasong estafa sa Pampanga noong Enero 2003 ayon sa ulat na mababasa DITO. Siya ay agad namang nakalaya hanggang sa ma-stroke at bawian ng buhay noong Hulyo 19, 2003 sa Pasay.

Si Vic Vargas ay si Jose Maria Marfori Asuncion sa totoong buhay na pamangkin ni Maximino Papa na naging alkalde ng Sablayan simula noong 1925 hanggang 1927. Noong 1929 siya ay naging alkalde rin ng San Jose at bumalik ng Sablayan at muling nahalal noong1938 hanggang 1940. Si Papa, na kilala sa taguring Minoy kasama ang ama ng artistang aking ibinibida sa inyo ngayon ay pinatay ng mga gerilya dahil lamang sa bintang na sila ay maka-Hapon.

Si Vic Vargas ay ipinanganak dito sa Sitio Busaran, Brgy. Poblacion, Sablayan noong ika-28 ng Marso 1939, eksaktong 74 na taon na bukas….

-------
(Photo: Philstar.com. Vic Vargas with Maggie dela Riva in the stills of "Ang Langit ay Para sa Lahat")







Friday, March 7, 2014

Juana


We are now celebrating Women’s Month and its theme made me remember Lola Juana, my mother’s aunt. This year’s theme reads: “Juana, ang Tatag Mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong”. They say that this year's celebration of Women's Month pays tribute to the strong and resilient "Juanas" who brought inspiring changes here in the country and across the globe. My Lola Juana, by the way, was the late Juana Delos Trinos- Monsobre, elder sister of my maternal grandmother Bernardita whose family came from San Felipe, Zambales but settled in Mamburao during the country’s Peace Time or Prewar Era. I have other 6 grandmothers who I knew only by their nicknames being Meling, Maring, Iska, Suela, Leding and Insiang. Bernardita or Ditang died of pneumonia just days after she gave birth to her second daughter Arsenia, my mother. Arsenia and her elder sister Ofelia both grew up under the care of our Lola Juana here in Mindoro until they were able to stand on their own. They are my dearest “Juana’s” who rise up and were able to move on despite of life’s challenges and hardships.

The celebration is mandated by, among other legal mandates, by Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day. The Philippine Commission for Women is the lead government agency for this particular event. But allow me to add that tomorrow, Friday, March 8, 2014 the Local Government Unit of Sablayan and the KAAGAPAY NGO-PO Network are out to honor a dedicated local Juana in the field of education in the person of Norma B. Taboy, Teacher III and at the same time Teacher-in-Charge at Claudio Salgado National High School in Baloc-Baloc.

According to sources, the 2014 Women's Month Celebration is the best time to highlight the “drivers of change” who untiringly volunteered themselves in times of disaster, conflict and calamity. This celebration recognizes the role of women in the rehabilitation process and their over-all contribution to progress. But allow me to emphasize the word “Natin”(Our) in the theme.

From my standpoint, empowering women, whether in the workplace, at home, anywhere and everywhere is a virtue. But demonizing men and undervaluing the family undermines that virtue. Herstory/history shows that men and womyn (to borrow a word first coined by James Hogg) struggled together while crossing the hostile river of family survival and both sexes must win or the river would submerge both of them, lifeless.

Like how my dearest “Juanas” stick to the Filipino culture of strong family ties which emphasizes the different but complementary roles of womyn and men….
-------

(Photo: "Pistahan" by Amorsolo from Asiaweek)




Monday, March 3, 2014

Emerging Power in Mindoro Island


The Power Supply Agreement (PSA) between Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (OMECO) and the Emerging Power Incorporated (EPI), Philippines was finally signed last Friday, February 28, 2014 at Sikatuna Beach Hotel here in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and the speakers, especially those coming from our locality, including the two program emcees, keep on saying, “Walang pulitika ito” and with all honesty I do not believe them. There is politics in everything. Be it in other part of the planet or right here at our very nose.

The event is supposedly witnessed by no less than Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla but he didn’t show up for the day before, all of the five of the geothermal plants in Mindanao bogged down that resulted to massive power outage in the whole region. Malacanan sent him in the area to assess and remedy the situation there. He felt so sorry for his absence, according to reports. Secretary Petilla, on the other hand, is very positive on the realization of Mindoro Integrated Development Plan which is targeted to be funded by the Malampaya Fund.

The PSA between OMECO and EPI is a welcome development. At this early point, I would like to congratulate the OMECO people led by Melito Pasol, Chairman of the Board and Engr. Fritz Dantis, its general manager. EPI is a Mindoro-based power company which is about to operate a 45-megawatt geothermal power plant in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. The confirmatory tests, according to the EPI executive president Alberto C. Guanzon, gained positive results and they will be drilling 8 wells starting July of this year and gave assurance that the first well with 3MW capacity would be directed to, thus augment power supply in Occidental Mindoro through OMECO.

According to Rep. Josephine Y. Ramirez Sato, EPI assured them that by 2015, we will be getting additional 3.3 MW and expected to increase each year. By 2017, we can all say goodbye to brown outs and other hassles brought about by power outage, we were assured. Our geothermal source has a life span of 50 years and the Contract or the PSA has a life span of 25 years. What we need now are transmission lines and the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) should upgrade all its transmission lines circumventing the whole island as soon as possible. Sato asked the people from EPI to stand by their commitment. Rep. Rey Umali, of 2nd district of Oriental Mindoro and chair of the Committee on Energy at the House of Representatives, too, graced the occasion.

From my perspective as a lowly electric consumer and MSEAC member, I think that financially-wise, geothermal is more acceptable than bunker fuel or oil and carbon for it belongs to renewable energy. Our country sells the highest electricity rate in the universe that made the average unit electricity consumption per Filipino household is half that of Indonesia. News reports have it that EPI is slated to drill by the third quarter of this year and will start delivering by middle of 2015, with the full capacity for delivering 20 MW to Occidental Mindoro and 20 MW to Oriental Mindoro by the middle of 2016. Antonie de Wilde, CEO of Emerging Power Inc, Philippines assured that the whole island will be the “capital of the shining light in the country.” Indeed, the geothermal field could also attract tourists just like the so-called Blue Lagoon in Iceland, they say.

In a paper entitled “Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All: The Energy Sector Directions Paper” released by the World Bank in July 2013 stressed that the access to reliable source of energy is a key component to ending poverty. The undersigned too is into opinion that people living without electricity have fewer opportunities to improve their lives. Indeed, delivering reliable energy services for economic development and providing access to electricity to communities without or lacking such energy services is essential to reducing poverty. "Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty," said World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte. "It is energy that lights the lamp that lets you do your homework, that keeps the heat on in a hospital, the light that lights the small businesses where most people work. Without energy, there is no economic growth, there is no dynamism, and there is no opportunity."  Let us be watchdogs more than ever. Our people cannot afford to be impoverished forever. We deserve more than being poor.

Everything is political. Thus, being the basic social service, the provision of reliable and affordable electricity, is one product of politics’ true intention. And again to emphasize, politics in the strictest sense of the world is sacred and positive. The ugly things are, among other things, when politicians intervene in a supposed to be apolitical (not leaning on any political group) electric cooperatives. In short, how politicians wield political power and authority. When this- and- that politician makes business or makes money out of it. When (s)he uses all the tricks (s)he can afford to legally assert his/her business interest. These are the very emerging concerns that we must be vigilant of as electric consumers.

There is politics in everything. Even silence is a political option and action…

----------

(Photo grabbed without permission from Robert Asignacion's Facebook account)




Thursday, February 20, 2014

‘Di Lang Mangyan Ang May Buntot


Sa isang bahagi ng aking buhay ako ay nagkaroon din ng buntot. Hindi lang ako. Kayo rin na bumabasa ng blog entry na ito, minsan ay nagkaroon ka rin ng buntot (sa likod). Babae ka man o lalake.

Tanong ko sa sarili nang mapanood ko ang episode ng Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho noong Sabado, ika-9 ng Pebrero sa GMA-7, bakit pumapatok  pa ang hoax na ito na noon pang 1900s nagsimula. Una, dapat ay malinawan natin na ang pangunahing ugat ng ganitong mga kuwento ng katarantaduhan patungkol sa mga Mangyan, o sa lahat ng mga indigenous peoples (IPs) o katutubo sa buong mundo, ay ang tila likas nating discriminatory attitude towards them at hindi natin pagiging culturally-sensitive. Kasama na ang paggalang sa kanilang mga karapatan, lalo na ang pagpapahalaga sa kanilang kultura. Hindi ko po sinasabing guilty dito ang nasabing TV show. In fact, mabuti naman at binigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga Alangan Mangyan na mailinaw na ito ay isang mito at likhang-isip lamang at gawa-gawaan ng mga sundalong Kano. Very informative, no doubt, ang KMJS.

Sa nasabing episode ng KMJS ay sinimulan sa pagtatampok sa isang 35-anyos na taga-India at nakatira sa Alipurdar na dahil sa kanyang 14 na pulgadang “buntot” ay sinamba at pinaniniwalaan na reincarnation umano siya ng kanilang diyos ng mga unggoy na si Hanuman. Siya ay si Chandre Oraon at lumabas ang balita noong nakaraang linggo lamang na mababasa natin DITO. Bago pa umutlaw ang pagkakaroon ng buntot ni Oraon, lumabas rin ang isang urban legend noong 1977 na ito umanong si Evonne Faye Goolagong, na isang babaeng tennis star mula sa Australia na umano ay may buntot din. Dangan kasi namang itong si Goolagong (sa tunog pa lang ng apelyido) ay galing sa pamilyang Australian Aboriginal mula sa tribong kung tawagin doon ay Wiradjuri. Ang kakatwang kuwento na ito ni Goolagong, marahil, ay mula sa kantiyaw ng mga tagahanga ng mga nasapawan niya noon sa nasabing laro na dominated ng mga hindi katutubo. Malakas pa kasi sa kanilang bansa noon ang diskriminasyon sa mga aboriginals.

Dito sa Pilipinas, matapos ang Spanish-American War, ang Estados Unidos ay nagpadala ng mga sundalo sa mga kagubatan ng Pilipinas upang magsiyasat sa mga likas-yamang isinuko sa kanila ng Espanya. Lumabas ang ulat sa Amerika na ang mga sundalong Kano ay nakasalubong umano ng isang Igorot na may buntot. Kinunan nila ito ng larawan at ginawan ng kung anu-anong kuwentong paniwalaan-dili. Ginawa pa ngang postcard ang kinuhang larawan na ipinagbili pa mismo ng mga Pilipinong taga-patag sa mga turistang Kano noon. Mismong tayong mga taga-patag ang unang nag-exploit nito para pagkakitaan. Doon unang pumutok sa buong mundo na ang mga katutubo natin ay may buntot. Kunsabagay, hanggang ngayon naman ay maami pa ring NGO na anila ay makatao at maka-Diyos ngunit pinagkikitaan lang ang mga katutubo.

Maraming mga mamamayan sa mundo, lalo na ang mga Kano, sa kuwento hanggang sa ito ay patulan ng United States National Museum na nagsagawa nga ng isang opisyal na imbestigasyon ukol dito. Sa lathalaing TheStraight Dope ni Cecil Adams na lumabas noong July 15, 1977 ay ganito niya ito ipinaliwanag matapos itong idineklarang peke : “Anthropologists speculated that the original confusion may have resulted from imperfect observation of Igorot rituals: one tribal dance required animal costumes, which were made, of course, complete with tails.” At nang lumabas ang kuwento tungkol sa buntot ni Chandre Oraon na taga-India na isa ring katutubo, kamakailan, muling nabuhay ang kuwentong bayang ito na may buntot nga ang mga katutubo sa Pilipinas.

Sa totoo lang, lahat tayo, tulad ng sinabi ko sa itaas, babae man o lalake, ay nagkaroon ng buntot. Ang lahat ng mga human embryo ay mayroong buntot na ang sukat ay about one-sixth of the size of the embryo itself. At habang ang embryo ay na-de-develop bilang isang fetus, ang ating buntot ay na-a-absorb ng patuloy na paglaki ng ating katawan. Dagdag pa ni Adams sa kanyang ginawang research: “Occasionally, a child is born with a "soft tail," described by one embryologist as containing "no vertebrae, but blood vessels, muscles, and nerves, of the same consistency …” Kitam. Maaaring ganoon nga ang totoong kuwento sa likod ng buntot ni Oraon.

Pero tiyak ko na ang pinagmulan ng kuwento ng mga “buntot” nina Goolagong at mga Mangyan at ng iba pang mga katutubo, aboriginals o indigenous peoples, ay may mahabang kawag ng pang-uuyam o pagmamaliit sa likod ng diskriminasyon sa kultura sa ating mga kapatid sa kabundukan….


------
(Photo: Barriodeoriente.com)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mall But Terrible


I have heard from the grapevine that a mall will soon be open in Occidental Mindoro particularly in San Jose, the town where I was born some 624 full moons ago. I am not so excited about this news unlike the Gen-Xers over social networking sites. Development for me is not measured by the presence of malls, be it SM, Robinson or Gaisano, or any building for that matter but by positive figures in an instrument called Quality of Life Index (QLI). According to Wikipedia, QLI is, “…based on a method that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries.” It dwells on 9 factors to determine the score namely: health, family life, community life, material well being, political stability and security, climate and geography, job security, political freedom and gender equality of a certain municipality or country. If we performed well in all of these factors, this would be the true sign of development before any prominent physical economic barometer used by many like malls or gigantic commercial establishments are put into place.

We need malls but not yet. What we need initially is to pass through a QLI and consequently get a good QLI rating first. In our sister province particularly in its capital town of Calapan, numerous malls exist. First was Citimart followed by Robinsons (neo Calapan) and in 2012, Gaisano and Puregold became both operational. But unlike Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro is still short of important and stable public utilities which is first and foremost is the reliable source of power or electricity including transport facilities and other infrastructures like roads and bridges. Trust me, to shopping mall investors, with this prevailing reality, placing their investment here is foolishness. The province’s five seaports are doorways to neighboring provinces and regions. The people of Oriental Mindoro are united against any project detrimental to their environment that’s why farming will forever be their main livelihood next to tourism. Speaking of which, Puerto Galera is a huge revenue earner.

Compared to Oriental Mindoro, we are far behind in every aspect of QLI. We are politically unstable, culturally diverse, spiritually misguided and socially unaware and as a consequence, we are still economically flaccid.

What San Jose need at this point are not malls but projects and programs both in private and public spheres that would integrally answer those concerns and factors rather than, again, malls that would only siphoned money from the pockets of the masses, the fishers and the farmers. Mall owners and capitalists are channels of “side effects” of the dominant hyper consumerist culture. The shopping mall, for me, is the basilica, the grand temple of our culture of consumption and acquisition where money is god, goods and gadgets are altars, brochures are bibles and the sales clerks are acolytes.

These giant malls are continuous to branch out outside Manila and virtually scattered all over other provinces. Malls to some are extensions of the country’s capital for they offer products that cannot be accessed in the locality. Branded and expensive t-shirts, caps, underwear, bags, cosmetics, modern electronic gadgets, toys, vitamins and practically all those products being advertized in our TV screens. Not to exclude other “health” services like a full body massage, foot spa or liposuction and the list is almost endless. But do we REALLY need them? We cannot find cheap but quality farm implements and inputs or fishing gears at the mall. The things truly needed by majority of our people. Indeed social scientist Henry Fairlie maybe right when he wrote, “The most important fact about our shopping malls is that we do not need most of what they sell.”  But like the gremlins, malls in the country continue to multiply while our eyes are wet with their air conditionings and their food courts are feeding us with foods that are alien to our taste buds. Malls are of course found in such provinces, towns and cities where said business is feasible.    

SM Malls in the country, according to 2012 report, have expanded by 10%. SM Malls have grown from 23 in 2005 to 37 in 2010 or an average growth rate of 12%. In addition, SM Investment’s reported capital expenditures which will fund shopping mall and other property projects has been slated to increase by 16% to Php 65 billion in 2013 from Php 56 billion in 2012, again, according to Wikipedia. If this is development, is this for us or for them? Local politicians who would benefit from it through straight or crooked (as politician or businessman, or both) means included!

While our leaders are neglecting the importance of QLI, having a mall in our midst is certainly not a true priority. This mall of our dream is a mall but terrible…

----------
(Photo: Skyscrapercity.com)