Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pedicabs are PUVs, so they should follow traffic laws

  They say Jeepneys are the Kings of the Road because they drive like they are kings of the road.  They stop when they want.  They go when they want.

Others argue that the new kings of the road are buses since not only do they stop and go as they please, but they also take 2 or 3 lanes of the highway when they swerve.

But I disagree.  I believe the real kings of the road are the pedicabs and their friggin' drivers.

These guys really think they are the kings of the road because not only do they stop and go when they feel like it, but they are so slow moving that they paralyze the flow of traffic, worse, they break all traffic laws known to man.

At least bus, jeepney and taxi drivers hold drivers licenses and when they get caught by the police they have to pay a fine.

Pedicab drivers don't have licenses.  So they break the law left and right.

The worst infraction for me is when they counterflow to an extent na they feel that they are the ones driving at the proper direction.

Ang yayabang.

What's even worse than that is if they do get into an accident, let's say scratch a bumper, kamot ng ulo lang ang aabutin mo sa kanila.


At the end of the day, as a driver/commuter, wala ka rin magagawa.  You bear the loss.

Kaya, King of the Road talaga ang pedicab driver.  They get away with everything.

And what do you do to Kings in this day in age?  You put them in their place or you make them obsolete. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

This book got my attention, but I quickly placed it back on the shelf

While accompanying Ria shop for wedding stationery at National Bookstore, I noticed this book in one of the aisles.

Bibilhin ko na sana eh...

Diplomat, Artist.... tsan-tsananan!!! AND JUDO MASTER!!!

Si Amba talaga oo.  Nasira yung title nung nilagyan niya ng "Judo Master" yung cover ng libro niya.

It would've looked a lot better if the title simply said, "Rafael Gonzales--An Autobiography"

If Amba wanted to entice customers to read his book by stating that he is an artist AND a judo master, I think he did the opposite.

Judo Master?!

Why would I buy a book about an ambassador who's an artist AND a judo master?


There are many painters who are judo practitioners at the same time out there, and vice-versa.

May be Amba does have a market for his book!

In that case, I take back everything that I said!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Push Up Panty

Everyone knows about push-up bras.  But while going around SM with Ria I saw this in the undergarment section...

This was so hilarious!

Push-up Panty?!

To lift one's butt cheeks?

Vanity, vanity, vanity

New Journeys

Last Friday, Ria and I met up with our LM friends in Power Plant mall.

In attendance were April, Allan (both in picture with us), Abel, Pixie, Von and his gf Mars.

Both April and Allan are going on new journeys this August.

April is leaving for Germany this coming August 31 to pursue further studies under an Erasmus scholarship.  She will be traveling all over Europe.  Siguro the next time Ria and I will see her is when we pay her a visit there.

Allan on the other hand is flying to New York this August 30 for a possible 6-month internship at the United Nations.  This is part of his LLM studies at Peking University.

All of us are happy for our friends, that they are following their dreams.

Meanwhile, at the home front, I still look forward to studying abroad.  But it has to wait.  I still have 22 months as Provincial Board Member, and there's the fact that Ria and I are about to start a family.  Anyhoo, bata pa naman tayo.

To April and Allan,

"May the road rise up to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields;
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand."

Bon Voyage and God Bless you!    

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Having my license confiscated and claiming it at LTO-Main Office

I actually pride myself for not being your typical anak-ng-pulitiko.  I never drove a high-end sports car to college.  Back then, I drove a locally assembled Mazda pick-up.  Today, I drive a very spartan Toyota Vios.

I don’t have a bodyguard.  I had a driver and yaya before, but that was in grade school.  As much as possible, I don’t name drop.  I don’t carry a signed calling card of the PNP Director-General or the Vice-President in my wallet.  I don’t carry a gun.  Never have. 

When applying for government permits and licenses, I refuse to take the short-cut afforded to me as a son of a well-connected politician.  I line up just like everybody.  For example, what could have taken just one week to get my commissionship as a naval reserve officer by virtue of my dad’s friends in the military, took me almost a year to get because I applied and processed my papers the regular way.

When I travel with my dad and he skips lining up for customs and immigration, I cover my face with my jacket as I pass other passengers because I feel embarrassed and ashamed.

But, if there’s one thing I take advantage of, though, it’s that I use an “8” plate.

This, I am guilty as charged.

Pero I only use it to avoid the number-coding scheme.  That’s it.  I take it off kung hindi naman bawal.

At dito pa ako nayari last month.  Hehehe.

One fine Saturday morning, while driving to Miriam College for my business law class, I got caught by the PNP-LTO Highway Patrol along Katipunan Ave.  Nagtaka ako ba’t ako hinuli eh naka-seatbelt naman ako.  We were a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, siguro at least 10 cars.  And I noticed all of us had something in common, our plates.

Apparently, the Highway Patrol has this new campaign against car plates.  Lahat hinuli.  Commemorative plates, make-shift plates, plates with expired LTO stickers, no plates and other special plates—pati “8”.

Unauthorized use of special plate daw yung sa akin.

Because it was an “8” plate, which is for Congressmen, necessarily, I dropped the name of my dad.  Out of “respect,” the policeman who caught me was about to let me go, but sinigawan siya ng “hepe”/chief niya.  So he had no choice but to hold me and write me a ticket.  I could have called my dad, but didn’t.  These guys were just doing their job.  And, it was really wrong for me to use the “8” plate, which like I said is reserved only for congressmen.

So, they confiscated the plate and my driver’s license.

No problem.  Taught me a lesson.

The next week, I claimed my license at the LTO, and gawd, it made me feel I should have carried my weight around when I got caught because it’s such a disorganized place!

I mean you could see there was an attempt to try to be organized by providing a map and all, but it was useless because it was not updated.

You’d expect to go to one place, pay your fine and go.

But no.

It took me siguro 10 minutes to find the office where I was supposed to go, which is here:

Then I had to pay it in a separate building, right here:

Then I had to walk to another building to claim my license:

You would think, by 2000s the LTO would have it down pat—to have simplified procedures and truly have a one-stop shop.  I mean they’ve only been existing since what, 1950?

It was like they took one step forward with computers, and three steps backward with all the bureaucratic red tape.

It took me the whole morning to get my license back.  Gee-maneez.

Would I carry my weight around next time I get caught?  No.  Still no.

I’d rather write a strongly worded complaint letter addressed to the LTO Chief.

(I wrote this while waiting out Typhoon Karen to pass our province.)

Purchasing Geena Silk in Divisoria

For our wedding this October, Ria and I wanted to decorate the reception area like this:

Unfortunately, the venue for the reception (a church garden) did not have any geena silk.  The caterer/s only had a few bundles.  Which meant Ria and I had to procure them (what to do with it after the wedding I don't know).

So, last Monday, I accompanied Ria to Divisoria to buy one roll of geena silk to supplement the caterer's stock.

It wasn't my first time in Divisoria.  I've gone there before.  However, in those times, I was either a driver or just waiting in a fastfood chain.  I don't remember shopping there myself.

Last Monday was the first time I did.

Ria said it was a good day since it was sunny and all the sellers were there.  There were lots of people, from all walks of life.  From the well-to-do (I noticed their saucy 'twang and demeanor) to the everyday man (with amateur-done tattoos all over their bodies).  And they sold all sorts of things.  They even had hawaiian hula-hula costumes, dog chains, and french fries/chicken deep fryers.  These guys sold everything.

Another thing I noticed was the smell.  There were some parts of Divisoria that smelled like industrial juice.  I would instantly remember the smell of basement parking of some malls and/or a garbage truck.  Parang ganun... na lingering.

Tapos may nagbebenta ng pineapple.

Pa'no ka naman kakain ng pineapple kung ganun yung amoy?

I also noticed some peddlers of selling Exra Joss.  Their cariton had a small loudspeaker playing the Extra Joss commercial ad.

I wondered why would anyone buy Extra Joss at that place.

Later on I realized why.

Nakakapagod palang umikot ng Divisoria.

Actually, after waiting on Ria to choose a ribbon in a store (Honey, how long does it take to pick a size and color?  Just grab one and let's go) I was thirsty for mamang peddler's Extra Joss energy drink.

Anyhoo, after going around the place, we stopped at a textile shop and bought a roll of geena silk.  Here I am carrying it along the streets of Divisoria:

And here I am perspiring and having a hard time carrying the damn roll after about 2 more minutes of walking:

Actually, the humiliating thing about this is that Ria had been doing similar things for the past 7 occasions for the wedding.  She had carried loads of pamaypays, katsa, and other wedding supplies.  From Divisoria all the way to her parked car in Tutuban Mall.  That's a long walk.  So, I really shouldn't be complaining.

Having said that, I wish magkakasya na yung dagdag na 1 roll sa reception venue.  I'd hate to go back to Divi and carry 2 more of those.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thank you, Wheels 4 Life!

 Three months ago I was surfing the net about bicycle safety and bike related laws when I came across the Wheels4Life website.

This foundation, started by Mr. Hans Rey, donates bicycles to poor and far-flung communities in need of transportation.  They've given thousands of bikes in Africa, Latin America and Asia, including the Philippines (Kalinga and Ormoc City).

Being a bike advocate and knowing that we have remote and hard-up barangays here in Ilocos Norte, I wrote them asking for help.  In a month, my request was granted!  And after another month, I received funding from Wheels4Life.  They wired me $1,500.00 (around PhP 65,000.00).  At PhP 2,700 per mountain bike (basic china-made MTB sold at a Local Bike Shop) the 65k can buy around 24 units!



Now, I've ordered the bikes already.  I'm just waiting for the report of the Social Welfare Officer of the town of Adams which would contain the list of potential beneficiaries.  I told Adams Mayor Eric Bawingan that the recipient must be a student living at least 8 kilometers away from school and belonging to an indigent family.

Once I get the list and verify the recipients' situation, I will travel to Adams (which is a good 70 kilometers away) to personally deliver the bikes.

Tiyak na madaming matutuwang batang Isneg sa bayan ng Adams.

Muli, maraming salamat, Wheels4Life! Mabuhay kayo!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Local Legislation 102

Having studied law and having worked in Congress I know how a bill becomes a law like the back of my hand.

I know that Congressmen have their own research teams  in their respective offices called Legislative Staff Officers or Legislative Staff Assistants.  They are the ones who draft the proposals.  A lot of Representatives just proof read them and then sign it na.  After filing and referral to a committee, the assigned committee has a handful staff that would do the legwork and supply the Chairman and Members with the needed research.  Pagkatapos ng initial hearing ang mag-aayos din lang naman ng bill ay ang Technical Working Group, comprised of congressional and committee staff.  When the bill reaches plenary debate, someone has already written the author's speech.  All he has to do is read it aloud.  When he is interpellated by a colleague, his staff coaches him all the way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is every step of the way a Congressman or Senator is always assisted by his research team.  Ganyan sa National level.

Opposite sa local legislation.

Wala kaming katulong.

Ako ang nagda-draft ng draft ordinance or resolution ko.  Granted, I copy some of my work from ordinances of other provinces, ako pa rin ang nag-aayos ng Whereas clauses.

After it is referred to a committee, ako din ang mag-aasikaso niyan.  Kunwari lang sa committee pupunta.  Wala naman talagang gaganapin na committee meeting.  Ako rin ang gagawa ng Committee Report.  Papapirma ko lang sa mga members ko.

Tapos pag ready na for 2nd reading, ako din gagawa ng sponsorship speech.  Mano mano lahat.

At pagnagkaroon ng amendments at na-approve, ako din ang mag-po-provide sa secretariat ng amended version.

Mahirap maging bokal kung gusto mo maging active.  Kelangan lahat sa yo.  Kung gusto mo may output, wala kang aasahan kundi sarili mo.

Yan ang natutunan ko dito sa SP.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Test Drive of Toyota Vios 1.5 G

A couple of weeks back I got a phone call from my Brod, Gerry Crudo, asking me if I was interested in test driving a Toyota Vios.  I said I was okay with it.  A few days later, Gerry's friend, Albert of Dentsu Asia, called me up about the proposal.

The session didn't take long.  It was the Vice-Governor's birthday and may pakain siya.  Here I am loading my things para makauwi na ako.
I drove over to Sarrat to deliver 3 knapsack sprayers for Brgy. San Agustin.  These come from my Barangay Development Fund and will be used by farmers to distribute fertilizer and/or pesticide.
Same sh*t, different day.  After a day's work I'm getting ready to go home.
That night, the car travelled back to Manila.  Back and forth, it covered 1,140 kilometers.  I returned the car to Albert and Hazel on August 1.  Thanks, for letting me test drive it, guys!

Over-all, the new Toyota Vios 1.5 G is a cool and affordable car for yuppies like me.  Reasonable price, fuel efficient and nice looking.

If there was a problem with this particular model it's that the clutch was too high and medyo matigas.  Other than that I give it a score of 9.5 out of 10.