Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's all Abner Mercado's fault

The Philippines is a hot and humid country.  It's a place where the less you wear the more cool and comfortable you feel.  That's why a T-shirt, jeans and havianas get-up works very well hear.

Jackets and sweaters are reserved only for those living in Baguio or working in call centers because the coldness is real.  Any place else is just stupid.

The Philippines is no place for gloves, boots, fur coats, mufflers and scarves.  It is simply to hot to wear them.  And you can't wear them during the rainy season 'coz they'll just get wet and ruined.

But I do have those clothing accessories.  I have them for my trips abroad.  I use them when I go to cold countries like Germany, Great Britain and the US.  I do not wear them here in the country.

Recently, I travelled to Japan with my wife for our honeymoon.  I brought a coat and a pair of gloves.  I was supposed to bring a scarf but hesitated because I got disturbed with all the scarf (or keffiyeh) wearing here and I just got uncomfortable having one.  I ended up feeling a lot cold since temperature in Central Japan was a freezing 9 degrees celsius and I was forced to buy a new pair.
From this:
To this:
For the past couple of months, I've seen more and more men wearing scarves.  In the Philippines!

In hot and humid Philippines!


(a keffiyeh scarf)

What the hell is going on?  It's a fashion trend now.

I have nothing with fashion trends, I mean I went with the fitted shirt when it became a fad.  So too for the slim jeans.  Ofcourse I also got me a pair of Havianas and Sanuks.  And who can forget trucker hats.

But atleast all these fads complemented or worked with the weather and temperature.  It was okay.

But scarves!  They're for cold countries, man!  It doesn't make sense to wear them around here.  It looks stupid!  Are we all pretending that's it cold and windy outside?

Sure, sure, scarf-like keffiyehs are used in desert countries like Africa and Iraq, but they don't use it there as a fashion statement.  They use it there to cover the heads and faces, to protect them from the dusty wind.  So, exception dun.

Eh dito wala eh.  No practical use at all. 

Mr. Abner Mercado

I blame ABS-CBN news correspondent Abner Mercado for this scarf craze plaguing the country.  Ever since he started wearing those scarves (particularly, during the Philippine Mt Everest Expedition in '06) people here have been buying and wearing them.

Thanks a lot, man.

Now, I want it to be clear that I am not against those who wear scarves.  Hey, if you want to be fashionable, be my guest, it's a free country.  I just really feel it silly and stupid and I hope fad dies down real fast.

Now what do I do with this new scarf

What the hell happened in Mumbai?!

What the hell happened over there?

one hundred fifty people dead, including foreigners!!

scores more injured!

in two five-star hotels, restaurants, train stations, police stations and a place of worship, ten places all in all!

Oh my god.

Hindi ko masikmura yung violation na ginawa ng terrorist group.  Even if I am thousands of miles away, i feel so violated.

Siguro I feel this way kasi kakagaling ko lang ng ibang bansa bilang turista, and it could have happened to me.

It's so disturbing.

Whenever I think of what happened in Mumbai, India, I get a rush of different emotions that I don't know how to express myself.  I don't know where to begin and what to say.

I'm angry and mad.

I'm scared and frightened.

I feel helpless.

Alam ko na!  It reminds me of what I felt during the 9/11 attacks.  I remember watching that on TV seven years ago.  Na-disturb ako nun at na-disturb ako ngayon.

Ang yabang kasi ng dating eh.  Imagine, they arrived on a Mumbai beach wednesday night and they travel on foot in pairs to their respective targets, all about 15 minutes away.

Once there they started lobbing hand-grenades and opening fire to whoever.  Instantly, ang daming namatay.

The brazenness.  Unbelievable.

Naawa ako sa mga turista.  Dami sa kanila namatay at nasugatan.  Americans, Brits, Australians, Japanese, even Filipinos.

I hope the men (and women) responsible for these 10 atrocious acts are brought to justice.  If found guilty (and we have CNN footage and countless of eye witness testimonies to back it up) they should be meted the steepest penalties.

What happened was unacceptable.  Sobrang kabastusan yung ginawa nila.

I hope and pray for the people of India.  I hope they are able to rise from this.

And for us here in the Philippines?  I hope PNP intelligence can do a lot better in terms of surveillance of terroristic elements.  Let us learn from the Mumbai attacks and do all that we can do to prevent such kind of atrocity from happening here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

U-Turn slot in Katipunan: 1 step forward, 2 steps back

Back in college (circa late 90's) there was an intersection along Katipunan ave. in front of Gate 3 of Ateneo.  This is the one where KFC is located.

Vehicles leaving Ateneo exited through Gate 3 and either turn right towards UP, or turn left going to Makati.  It was the most convenient route out of school.

But as more and more students used cars going to school, that intersection, with its traffic light, became a congested area.

The school administrators tried lots of traffic rerouting schemes, including building a service/access road parallel to Katipunan, all to no avail.

Then in the early 2000's, MMDA came in with its U-Turn Slot Scheme.  It ordered the closure of that intersection, decommissioned the traffic light and put up u-turn slots in front of Shakey's on one end and Burgundy on the other.

According to MMDA, its U-Turn Slot system was more traffic friendly because it eliminated the waiting time associated with traffic lights.

Never mind that the traffic lights costed the Filipino people millions of pesos or that the traffic light system has been an effective traffic system in numerous countries, the MMDA U-Turn Slot system was much better.

Imagine my astonishment when I recently noticed a traffic light on a u-turn slot in Katipunan!!!

In effect, cars had to stop when the light was red and could only u-turn when the light turned green.

Isn't that counter-productive?

Doesn't that defeat the very purpose of the u-turn in the first place?

Eh di just reopen the intersection sa Gate 3 and place the traffic light there.  Para di na magsayang ng gas yung mga tao.

A classic case of taking one step forward, only to move two steps back. 

Gossip Girl: You know it's time to stop watching when...

You know it's time to stop watching a show when a male character has hooked up with all the female characters.

In the latest episode of Gossip Girl (Season 2 Episode 8) that I watched, the last scene showed Nate Archibald (played by Chase Crawford) kiss Jenny Humphrey (played by Taylor Momsen).

When I saw this I told myself, "That's it.  No more Gossip Girl for me!"

It's the Grey's Anatomy Effect.  

I used to like watching Grey's Anatomy.  I liked the concept of a group of new doctors trying to survive their internship in a hospital.  In its first season, the medical stories were very compelling and interesting.  The romance part was just decoration...  At least back then.

Then as the show progressed (or regressed), the medical stories took a backseat to the love triangle (or parallelogram or decagon) between the interns and doctors.  To the point where Meredith Grey slept with everyone!

Nung ganun na, I stopped watching the show.

And it looks like I'll be doing the same thing for Gossip Girl.  Ayoko na.

First Nate slept with Serena.

Then he's linked to Blair.

Then he has an affair with a much older and married Catherine.

Then he develops a close relationship with Vanessa during the summer.

Now he kisses Jenny!  What the hell?

Nate's the man-whore of the lot.  Although Dan is giving him a run for his money.

Dan's linked with Vanessa, Serena and Georgina.

As for Serena and Blair?  Well, they're not angels either.

Serena's hooked up with Nate and Dan.

Blair's been with Nate, Chuck and Lord Markus.

They're all sleeping with each other, it's becoming absurd!

That's it.  No more Gossip Girl for me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heart in Asero

A couple of nights ago, Ria told me to put the TV on GMA 'coz she wanted to watch Asero.  Yes, that teleserye starring Richard Gutierrez and Heart Evangelista with Richard playing the role of Grecko, a cyborg secret agent.

Apparently, it's the show's last week this week and Ria wanted to know if Emily (played by Heart) and Grecko will live happily ever after.

So, I had no choice but to watch the show with my wife.

There was this one scene where Heart was telling Richard that they are not meant to be.  She said (and I'm para-phrasing):

"Magkaiba tayo, Grecko.  Isa kang secret agent at cyborg..."

And whilst she was saying that, Heart started to cry!


Give this girl her FAMAS award!

I once doubted her acting ability, but to be able to shed a tear while saying the words "secret agent" AND "cyborg" in a sentence deserves commendation.

Ang galing!

You know you've made it as a dramatic actress if you can cry at will saying the most ridiculous lines.

Bravo! Bravo!  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's up with the Local Franchises of Endemol?

I am a fan of both US versions of Survivor and Fear Factor, that's why I hate myself for disliking the local versions of the two shows.  Here are my reasons:

1.  In the original TV shows, there's one episode per week.  And that episode takes up about an hour.  I reserve that particular time slot as Survivor hour and/or Fear Factor hour.

And it's all in there.  For Survivor, andun na yung 2 challenges and tribal council.  In Fear Factor, there are 3 challenges and that's it.  Nagkasya lahat sa isang oras.  And then happy na ako.  I've gotten my fill of Survivor and Fear Factor for the week.  And then I go on with my life.

I don't know why, for the life of me, sa Pinoy Survivor AND sa Pinoy Fear Factor, they've divided and stretched an episode into 5 days!  For Survivor, I've noticed that there's a challenge on one day.  Tapos the next day kwentuhan.  Tapos the next day immunity challenge.  And then the next one Tribal Council.  What's up with that?!  Ano 'to, telenobela?!

Siguro it's a marketing thing.  Pero I don't like it.  Na-turn-off ako.  I don't want to watch Survivor everyday.  It becomes a real wast of time.

I know I am a TV addict, Ria will attest to that.  But what GMA and ABS are doing is a complete waste of my time.  

Stretching a single episode into 5 episodes.  

2. Second, they fill in the hour with useless clips.  I was watching Pinoy Fear Factor last night and half an hour the camera was following the participantes around Buenos Aires.  Sa cottage nila, sa church.

Add to that the ignominy of listening to each participantes life story.  My gawd, let's get straight to the challenges.  That's what I want to watch, you know.  Kaya nga Fear Factor ang pinapanood ko.  If I wanted to watch a sob story, I'll wait of Maalala Mo Kaya!

3.  Last, and particularly for Pinoy Fear Factor, what's up with the spanish?  


Ronda de eliminacion?

Escapo de auto de aquatico?

Viva Filipinas?

What year is it today, 1898?!

Viva Filipinas?

Are you kidding me?

I know the entire show was taped in Argentina and I don't care for whatever reason they chose to go there--budget siguro, but to speak in spanish because they were in south america?

Isn't that degrading ourselves?

Have we no national pride?

If they want to speak spanish, speak it straight.  Siguro papalabasin din to sa Argentina.  Pero speak straight spanish.  Panindigan mo na, di ba?

But if you also translate what you say in spanish into tagalog, then naglolokohan na lang tayo.

i-tagalog mo na lang.

You speaking in spanish then tagalog makes me feel na nagyayabang ka, and at the same time makes me feel naawa ako sa inyo at nahihiya ako para sa inyo.


And that's why after watching the first episode of Pinoy Survivor and Pinoy Fear Factor, I decided not to continue watching them.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Teaching Night and Day, North and South

I teach on the side.  I started teaching business law when my friend Joey Tapia had to leave for the US and was looking for a substitute.  I took over her class in Miriam in 2006.  And I've been teaching there ever since.

I enjoy teaching.  It was a way for me to escape from my confined state as an associate lawyer working in a firm.  Back then, sukang suka na ako sa ginagawa ko sa law office.  There was nothing wrong with my boss or co-workers, they were all good people.  It was the work.  I felt suffocated by it.  Teaching allowed me to breath again.  It acted like a paper bag one blows into to relax.

Today, teaching serves the purpose of freeing me from my duties and responsibilities as a local politician.  Minsan, ang hirap humarap sa mga tao kung wala kang perang iaabot sa kanila.  Minsan, ang hirap sabihin sa wala kang magagawa sa poblema nila.  Ang bigat ng feeling.  Teaching makes me forget I have those kinds of problems.  

Now my class is in Manila.  Quezon City to be exact.  That doesn't look right, especially my official place of work is Laoag City.

And so I applied at the nearby university here in Ilocos, which is Northwestern University.  I told my secretary I wanted a teaching load on business law.  I could teach Obligation and Contracts, Corporation, Partnerships, Agency, Negotiable Instruments.  Basta commercial law.

"Opo, sir," sabi niya.  And then one day she called me over the cell.  I was busy talking to someone that I only heard her say there was an opening.  Crim law 2 daw.  I didn't pay so much attention I said okay.

And then I had my first class with my criminology students.



What the f*%k did I get myself into?

Yeah, I wanted to teach.  But you have to know what your teaching, right?

I knew nothing about crim!!!

Sure, I had Crim Law 1 & 2 and Crim Pro in law school, but that was eons ago.

What did I do?!

Pero andyan na eh.  Kelangan panindigan.

Pero kung ano experience ko sa Miriam, opposite naman dito sa NU.

Sa Miriam, puro babae studyante ko.  Sa NU, puro lalake.  My gosh, na-culture shock ako sa first class ko sa NU.  Di ako nasanay.  I had to look more serious.

Sa Miriam, taxation ang tinuturo ko ngayon.  Hard, but at least I know the subject.  Sa NU, like I said earlier, Crim Law 2.  Eh, puro crimes and penalties yun eh.  Hirap nun ah.  At hindi na kaya ako updated.

Sa Miriam, I can communicate in english and filipino.  Sa NU, mukhang filipino and ilocano and medium of instruction.  Nung in-english ko, wala silang reaction eh.  Nung nag-ilocano ako biglang naintindihan.  Mauubusan ata ako ng Ilocano sa class kong ito.

kung ikumpara ko ang classes ko sa Miriam at NU, parang araw at gabi.  Parang north and south.  polar opposites.

Sigh.  Ano pa magagawa ko.  Andyan na yan eh.  Tuloy ko na yung dalawa.

After all, teaching is teaching.  We're shaping the minds of the country's future.  Go, go, go!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama is to the US as Trillanes was to RP

By now everyone probably knows that Barack Obama has won the presidency of the United States of America.  As of press time, he has accumulated 349 electoral votes over John McCain's 147.

My take on the US Election is that it was a PROTEST VOTE.  People didn't dislike John McCain.  What's there to dislike about him?  He's a decorated Vietnam War veteran.  He's a senior member of the US Senate.  And he looks like he can be a Commander-in-Chief.  

The thing is, people disliked President George W. Bush.  And Bush belongs to the Republican Party.

Ang malas ni John McCain, he was the standard bearer of Bush AND the Republican Party.

So, kahit sino itapat mo sa kanya, dun boboto ang mga tao.  Not voting Republican was a form of protest by the American people.

It was a way of protesting the Iraq War.

It was a way of protesting the bad US economy.

It was a way of protesting all of Bush's policies.

I personally don't believe that people voted for Obama because of Obama.  Aside from his charming and eloquent ways, what else is there?

President-elect Obama has no track record to speak of.  He is a junior senator from Illinois.  You know what that means?  He was only on his first term as US Senator.  And in the 4 years he held that office, he spent 2 years launching his presidential bid.  He has authored not a single law.  Prior to his stint as US Senator, he was a practicing attorney.  He has no experience in leading a State, much less a city.  I did some more research on him, at talagang wala akong makita.  Magaling lang siya magsalita.

I truly believe people didn't vote for Obama because he was Obama.  People voted for Obama because he was the candidate against Bush and the Republicans.

Ganun lang yun.

Parang si Senator Trillanes.  The guy has no track record as a legislator to speak of.  His only claim to fame is that he  led a group of soldiers in a failed coup inside Oakwood hotel a few years ago and he looked good in a military uniform.  That's it.  But because he was against the GMA administration, binoto siya ng tao.  In short, PROTEST VOTE.

I highly doubt Filipinos voted for him because of his platform of government.  I don't think he had one.  Filipino voted for him because they wanted to get back at GMA.

Back to the US elections.

John McCain was the right candidate at the wrong time in the wrong political party.

Barack Obama was a the lucky candidate at the right time under the right political party.  Swerte niya talaga.

But now that he IS president, I hope Obama keeps and fulfills his campaign promises.  Ang dami niyang sinabing ang gandang gandang pakinggan, sana namay panindigan niya lahat yun.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Annulment just right after our wedding

It's not what you think.

It's not what you think. 

Ria and I are enjoying our marriage.

The thing is, Ria and I haven't even been married for a month and already we're saddled with three potential annulments--all concerning a family member.

I won't name names, but the three relatives have approached either of us for some legal assistance.  So here we are either filing a Petition for Annulment of Marriage or meeting with opposing counsel regarding an already pending case.

Wow.  What a reality check for us.  Annulment!  Right in our face!  And wala pa kaming isang buwan mag-asawa!  Nasira na kaagad yung image namin ng sanctity of marriage.  Wake up and smell the garbage!  Marriage sucks!

Parang ganun eh.

Sigh.  In fairness to our relatives, there were already talks about annulment way, way before our wedding but I told them I'll handle it right after.

Eh, November na.  "Right after" na nga naman.

Ria and I have been checking the 2003 SC Rule on Declaration of Nullity, Annulment of Marriage and Legal Separation and the procedure is not a walk in the park ha.

Sure, there are "package deals" available out there (hint, hint:  the bailwick of GMA and Among Ed) where you just pay a lawyer a one-time, big-time fee and you'd get your papers in 6 months or less, BUT it's a risk.

Anyway, Ria and I will continue discussing the matter with our respective relatives (no, not to convince them to get back together--both ends want to end it asap) to prepare them for trial.

Crazy world, this planet.