Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yes Virginia

All my life I haven't encountered an 80-year old woman throwing, to say the least, bedroom jokes as straightforward and as exciting as she does. All of us visitors burst into laughter when she narrated anecdotes on her private moments with her late husband. She talks like a magpie. So candid and unstoppable. I am certain she loves to talk and share so-called green jokes. Mind you, my subject is Mrs. Virginia Malolos, owner of La Virginia Leisure Park and Amusement Resort located in Mataas na Kahoy, a municipality comprising Batangas province, is a millionaire. We, employees along with appointed and elected officials of LGU-Sablayan had a training on Capability Building and Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) formulation facilitated by people from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) headed by Juanito Olave, Jr., Cluster Director for Occidental Mindoro.

On the second day of our training, Lola Virginia suddenly barged in into the group and started her "mara-talk". The jolly old woman was being assisted by two caregivers and she’s just wearing a simple floral designed duster. We can see that her muscles and flesh is slowly disappearing due to her age. She told her guests about her being swindled by some trusted people for more than 10 million pesos. She narrated how he met an accident just few days before we came that’s why she always carry a wooden cane. The old but business minded granny slipped on a slippery stairs inside a Mc. Donald branch in Manila where she’s a franchise holder and broke her pelvic bone. She was married to a retired soldier and they lived in the US for more than 40 years and then came back to the Philippines when he died. They have four children who are all grown-ups now. Lola Virginia, as I see it, cannot hide that she enjoyed their marriage figuratively, up to the last drop! She even told us that when she was a young wife, together with her soldier boy often watch, during their early marriage life, adult movies. Actually, she mentioned about the movie called "Fighting Fish" which I am not familiar of. But beyond her nasty jokes she’s a very religious woman. She further told us that during the most turbulent moment of her life, she just clung to the Almighty. “There is God. Just find the Lord or let the Lord find you,” she reminded us as if she was our mother.

She's also into palm reading according to her so two of the most prominent participants volunteered and allowed the old woman to individually read their palms. Her "findings" downed us all into laughter. But I won't give details here. What she said are too nasty to publish and I, too, would not name the two gentlemen who volunteered before her. Naming them and telling you what she told about them would be scandalous. But certainly, with a host like her, life becomes lighter. She provided a temporary relief to our brain-twisting activities that day including our hurdles with highly technical words such as “Level of Urgency”, “Risk Register”, and so forth and so on. Words that we used until we, headed by Mayor Ed Gadiano and Vice Mayor Andy Dangeros, finalized our Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) for 2014-2016.

The Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) was conceived to serve as a “powerful vehicle for effective local governance”. It may be defined as a planning document, covering a 3-year period corresponding to the term of local elective officials that is mutually developed and agreed upon by both the executive and legislative departments of an LGU. It is an integrated plan that contains the major development thrusts and priorities of both the executive and legislative branches towards a common vision for the locality. ELA is an instrument that will prioritize responses to multi-stakeholder needs, e.g., programs,
projects, activities, legislation and capacity development programs, and put into action local development plan.

"Life is short so make it sweet," Lola Virginia told us and I believe her. I don't know what I would gain from mentioning this but the place is really refreshing and recharging. It is located in the Batangas side ridge around the Taal Lake. It offers breath-taking view, too, of Taal Volcano Islands. You can peep into the place through this link. For sure, I will be going back to this place and enjoy private moments with my only "sweet" on our next wedding anniversary if our pockets allow it. The bottom line of Mrs. Malolos’ jokes is this: Active sexual life is one of the major ingredients of lasting, fruitful, happy and yes, even sanctifying relationship and union between two married individuals.

Yes Virginia, even telling adult stories using the most vulgar words brings re-learning...

(Photo: Grabbed without permission from Ma'am Fe Santos' Facebook account)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quit Quoting Quezon’s Quote

The avid supporters and propagandists of two mayoralty candidates in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro last May still couldn’t find time to move on even over a week have passed when Mayor Romulo “Muloy” Festin and Vice Mayor Rey Ladaga, including other elected and re-elected officials of said municipality have sworn in into office, although held in two separate ceremonies. Festin and Ladaga came from two opposing political yards. Mayor Muloy’s oath was administered by Judge Cornelio Sy of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) last June 26. On the other hand, I’m not privy to Ladaga’s oath taking. But it did happen I am sure as prescribed by law.

In the past few days, the most used and abused quotation, which is actually the title of President Manuel L. Quezon’s speech delivered for the Collectivists Party Convention at Manila Grand Opera House on February 17, 1922, was this: “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” But to some quarters, the message is never a two-way street. 

A book titled “20 Speeches That Moved a Nation” edited by Manuel “Manolo” L. Quezon III and published by Anvil Publication last 2002 was “turned over” to me for free by a bosom buddy by the name of Jose A. Norella, Jr. who ran but lost for mayoralty race in Magsaysay town but that’s another story. In the introductory part of the book, journalist Manolo Quezon wrote, “Read. Learn. Journey to the past, so that you may be better armed to play a constructive role in the present and our future.” But it was only after May 13 that I was able to find time to read that gem of a book.

Unknown perhaps to the people who uttered these words in caucuses and radio broadcasts recently, the speech analyzed directly how power may be gained and how far it may be wielded or utilized. This is what Manolo Quezon told his readers on his grandfather’s oratorical opus. Not only that, the grand old man Quezon, the controversial former provincial fiscal of Mindoro in the 1900s and later became the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, had exposed the use of manipulative public opinion by some political quarters. This reminds me of the two warring media groups and personalities in this part of Tamarawlandia. Only few of them have realized that their personal opinion and the things or hearsays only relayed to them through text or private messages are not undisputed facts. I have written a voluminous entry about this concern since I started this blog but to no avail. I am so frustrated.

Another speech, actually a prayer, quoted in the book I think relevant in the context of the political situation of San Jose today was rendered by a priest. A clergy named Fr. Pacifico Ortiz, SJ who happened to be the personal chaplain of President Quezon during World War II was later became delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. Ortiz’ prayer for the nation was delivered in the form of an invocation at the opening of the Philippine Congress in 1971. Not unlike those times, we too today are at the point of no return, to quote Ortiz, “[It] is a point of no return: it is a moment of truth that can either remake us as a people or unmake us into mob.” Ortiz concluded by reciting, “Grant us, O God, that we may have the courage of wisdom to forget the past with all its partisan bickering and recriminations – knowing as we do that each of us, if not by design or malice, certainly by apathy, cowardice or gain, has been responsible for the ugly things of the past.” We are all responsible why these things are happening around us either by adding insults to injured egos of our sisters and brothers or by adding logs to the fire inside each one of us, both citizens and netizens.

In that same speech Quezon vigorously declared something similar to our aspiration as people of Pandurucan, referring to both his political rivals and party mates he said, “There is no reason in the world why we cannot consider ourselves as brothers.” This grain of truth given 72 years ago must remind our present politicians and their supporters, government employees and members of the media, political personalities, those posting and commenting in social networking sites, how should we understand and look into political parties or groups the moment election is over: “It is not the unity of the party that should be sought. It should rather be the unity of the people. Partisan struggles should never be involve bad feelings and personal hatred. We can and we should remain as we have been, brothers that we are.”  Owning deaf ears to such call after elections or beyond is a dishonor to the heroism, memory and political philosophy of Manuel L. Quezon!  

Mature people do not ever toy with the idea that unity or cooperation is to succumb to other group’s opinion and principle. That’s not a call for unity neither cooperation. That’s an assertion for surrender!

If we are to convey partisan political opinions without being open to friendship and solidarity as citizens and netizens even among those we consider as political antagonists, we are just giving lip service to Manuel L. Quezon’s legacy and ideals. He who was one of the pioneers in statesmanship long ago emphasized with full hope in his famous speech this unfamiliar but detailed nugget: “What a beautiful spectacle for the country to behold political fights limited to discussion of principles and eliminating personalities! What a magnificent spectacle for the people to see political opponents eating on the same banquet tables, united by the same links of affection and friendship!”  You people must make this elusive unity and cooperation happen if not today maybe the day after tomorrow.

Being both legitimate sons of San Jose, Festin and Ladaga, two men that I both respect, could initiate further development and momentarily forget their political affiliations and let their loyalty to the people begin. Judging them both at this early stage is unhealthy. Let us allow them to lead us to progress and not to put a wall made up of senseless intrigues between them, at least until the next election. Or until if the protests of the “un-proclaimed” candidates from the municipal level are legally settled before 2016 and if ever the verdict would swing to their favor. If Festin and Ladaga including their colleagues just fight objectively in a friendly manner in the spirit of the principles of check-and-balance and participatory governance, we will be able to move even farther. That’s how the non-aligned silent majority perceive all of these.

If that brand of unity and cooperation is not part of your honest agenda and aspiration for San Jose, for God’s sake, quit quoting that quote of Quezon, ever…


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lihis o Tuhog?

Sa ika-7 ng Setyembre raw ngayong taon ipapalabas na sa mga sinehan ng SM dito sa Pilipinas ang indie film na pinamagatang “Lihis” na tumatalakay sa dalawang lalaking kasapi ng New People’s Army (NPA) na umibig sa isa’t-isa. Hindi ko alam pero kung sa Rusya ay may pelikulang ganitong tema ng homosekswalidad kahit ito’y umiinog sa komunistang rebolusyon, baka hindi ito maipapalabas. Oo, ang “Lihis” daw ay tungkol sa pag-iibigan ng dalawang lalaking nakikipaglaban sa kalayaan hindi lamang sa rehimeng Marcos kundi sa kanilang sinisikil na pagmamahalan.

Pinagbibidahan ito nina Jake Cuenca at Joem Bascon na ayon sa trailer na napanood ko kahapon sa Facebook, may love scene pa ang dalawa. Isasabak ang pelikula sa Sineng Pambansa All Masters Series FilmFestival ng Film Development Council of the Philippines o FDCP na idinirehe ng premyadong direktor na si Joel Lamangan at  isinulat naman ng premyado ring si Ricky Lee. Ayon sa balita, nauna pang naisulat ito ni Lee kaysa sa Hollywood film na may ganito ring tema, ang “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) ng isa sa mga Asyanong direktor na kinilala sa Estados Unidos na si  Ang Lee. Para sa kabatiran ng mga kinikilig sa mga lalaking guwapo at matitipuno, mayroon pang love scene dito (sa ilog ‘ata yun) sina Jake at Joem. Bida rin sa “Lihis” sina Lovi Poe at Isabelle Daza at ang nanay niyang si Gloria Diaz. Si Isabelle Daza nga pala ay masugid na taga-sulong ng gender equality ayon sa link  na ito. Kung ako ay makaluluwas, papanoorin ko ito sa wide screen dahil nakaririnig na rin ako ng ganitong kuwento na naganap sa loob ng rebolusyunaryong kilusan noong 1980s na taboo pang pag-usapan sa hanay ng mga aktibista noon.

Bilang masugid na tagasubaybay ng pandaigdigang kaganapan sa pulitika ay tinatanong ko ang sarili: "Kung gawa sa Rusya ang ganitong tema ng pelikula, ipalabas kaya ito sa mga sinehan?" Kamakilan lamang kasi ay nilagdaan ni Pangulong Vladimir Putin ang Anti Gay Law sa kanyang bansa. Ayon kay Putin, ang layunin ng batas ay, “to promote traditional Russian values over western liberalism and tolerance.” Matatandaan na noong 1995, sa Campostela Valley, ay naganap ang kauna-unahang “kasal” ng dalawang lalaking miyembro ng NPA na may basbas ng Communist Party of the Philippines o CPP. Simula noon, pinahihintulutan na sa kanilang kilusan ang same sex marriage. Samakatuwid, maging sa paksang homosekswalidad, hindi magkapareho ang stand dito ng mga pangkatin at partidong  komunista sa buong mundo. May tunggalian sa pagitan nila sa usapin ng gender  at sexuality kagaya rin ng pag-iiba-iba ng kani-kanilang interpretasyon at pagsasa-praktika sa mga kaisipang Marxismo, Leninismo at Maoismo kaya sila-sila mismo ay nagtutuligsaan.

Muli ay tumutok tayo sa usapin ng sekswalidad. Tingnan na lang natin ang bansang Nepal na ipinapalagay na pinaka-abanteng kilusang Maoista sa mundo, tahasan din nitong inaatake ang homoseksuwalidad na umano’y produkto ng kapitalismo. Sinabi noon ni Dev Gurung, isang Nepalese communist leader ng buong diin: "Under Soviet rule and when China was still very much a communist state, there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union or China. Now [that] they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem does not exist." Maliwanag na sagarang homophobic ang statement  na ito. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi lang ang mga anila’y reaksyunaryo at liberal na burgesya kundi kahit ang mga komunista ay may mahabang kasaysayan ng homophobia. At ito ay namamayani pa rin sa buong daigdig ngayon regardless of ideological lines, wika nga. Si Norman Markowitz ay may malawak na isinulat tungkol sa komunismo at homoseksuwalidad na mababasa natin dito. Bahala na kayo kung paniniwalaan ninyo itong aking tukayo sa kanyang kritisismo sa naging aksyong ito ng Rusya at Nepal.

Dito sa atin, sa mga institusyong “macho” halimbawa tulad ng sa militar at pulis, at kahit na ang  mga grupong muslim ay hindi tanggap ang homosexuality bilang pang-organisasyong o panrelihiyong polisiya at doktrina. Hindi ka tatanggapin sa Philippine Military Academy (PMA) kapag ikaw at isang ladlad na bakla. Kaya marahil tumabo sa takilya ang “Praybeyt Benjamin” ni Vice Ganda dahil sa pagbasag nito sa ganitong mga kaisipan at polisiya sa pamamaraan ng katatawanan sa puting telon. Maging sa mga seminaryo ay bawal din ang mga ladlad kaya ang resulta, may mga sundalo at pari na mga “paminta” o mga closet queen, sabi nga nila. Mga nilalang na may sinisikil na karapatan at damdamin sa sumusulong na kasaysayan ng lipunan. Pero batay sa napanood kong trailer  ng “Lihis”, isa lang ang napansin ko. Ang isang bakla ay maari ring maging tunay na lalake sa kilos, sa prinsipyo at hindi lamang nagtitilamsikan ang daliri at umiindayog ang balakang. Gayundin naman, ang mga amasona sa tunay na buhay ay kabaliktaran ng napapanood natin sa mga sine na parating mukhang tomboy, malalaki ang masel, brusko magsalita at iba pa. Hindi ba pwedeng maging amasona ang mga magaganda at mayuyumi? Kung kilala ninyo si Nelia Sancho at si Maita Gomez ay tiyak na sasabihin ninyong pwede. Stereotyping ba ang tawag doon?

Sa aking palagay ay medyo bukas na naman ang isipan ng mga Pinoy sa pagiging tomboy o bakla ng isang tao. Sabi nga ni Daniel Padilla sa interbyu ng TV Patrol sa kanya noong isang gabi, “Wala akong problema sa mga bading. Huwag lang nila akong momolestiyahin.” In general, walang gaanong kyiber sa same sex union ang mga Pinoy. Pero ironically, wala rin tayong tiyaga na pag-usapan ang karapatan ng mga lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) at humahaba pang listahan!

Sana lang ang matanim sa isip ng mga manonood ay hindi lamang tema ng homosekswalidad kundi ang kahalagahan ng pakikipaglaban para sa panlipunan at pandamdaming pagpapalaya. Tiyak ko na ang pelikulang ito ay mag-iiwan ng marka sa ating isipan sa ating gagawing pagsusuri sa mga usaping kaugnay nito sa ating lipunan sa hinaharap, kaya atin na itong panoorin.

Tingnan natin kung tuhog o lihis ito sa ating panlasa bilang mga tao, mga manonood at mamamayan…

(Photo :