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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

25 years after

Pardon my French but… Crap, has it been 25 years already? Has it really been that long since Juan de la Cruz finally said good riddance to Da Apo, the shoe lady and their entire family and entourage, as they fled to sunny Hawaii courtesy of the US Air Force?

Everything about that historic event remains crystal clear to me to this day, from that fateful Saturday night when it all began, to the next three tense days that followed and the euphoria that greeted the nation upon learning of the couple’s hasty flight for their lives. It was, to borrow a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, our finest hour.

I was at my usual hangout that night. Tipsy and light-headed after downing not a few bottles of San Miguel,and unmindful of what was happening outside, I was happily singing along with the host inside a Sing-along bar (the term “Karaoke” wasn’t in vogue yet) when the owner, who is a personal friend, whispered to me about the looming standoff at Camp Aguinaldo and advised me to head home… pronto.

Damn, I thought. What a way to end a Saturday night.

On my way home I kept thinking and wondering whether this was it. For years after Ninoy’s assassination, the country has been hemorrhaging and many, including me, believed it would only be a matter of time before this country collapses on itself. The unfolding even that night only served to strengthen that assumption…

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CNY 2011

For the multitude of Chinese people across the globe — and that’s including their billion-strong cousins in the economic powerhouse that is the Middle Kingdom (that’s China to the uninitiated) — today will mark yet another auspicious day, as they welcome the year 4709, or more popularly known as the Year of the Rabbit, in the Chinese calendar. Also known as “The Spring Festival” despite its winter occurrence, the New Year festivities begin on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, and end 15 days later which will culminate with the “Lantern Festival”.

The longest and the most important of holidays in the calendar, it is, in essence, a time for family reunions, thanksgiving, as well as renewal and reconciliation. It is also that time of the year when old debts are settled and, for the sake of a fresh start, grudges are all but forgotten… at least for the time being.

While not nearly as universal and as widely celebrated as the western-influenced New Year’s Day celebration, at nearly 5,000 years old it is one of the longest and perhaps only surviving ancient festivity that is still continuously celebrated. And while much of the festivals of the ancient world were all but lost in history along with its people and culture, the festival that had its origins at a time when Europeans in their loincloths were still painting themselves blue, continues to this day, proof of the resilience and endurance of the Chinese culture.

 

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Note: This is my first POC article for 2011

Of all the pop icons that came out of the turbulent 60s they are undoubtedly the most enduring. It has been nearly five decades — or roughly two generations — since the four lads crossed the River Mersey and made their way out of Liverpool, England and started what was then known as the second British Invasion.  And yet, in spite of the passing of time, their popularity have yet to hit bottom — even in this day and age of Beiber and Lady Gaga.

Although not as wildly popular at present as they were in their heyday, the band remains to this day the gold standard when it comes to music and songwriting — not too shabby considering that the band was active for only ten years (their wilder counterpart from the swinging 60s, The Rolling Stones, are still rocking away and are still packing em’ in). Their songs have transcended generational boundaries, and in a world where the streets are littered with has-beens and one- hit wonders from years past, that is nothing short of amazing.

Known by the monikers, the Moptops (due to their early hairstyles)  and The Fab Four, they are that quintessential band from the 60s whose music influenced a whole generation of music lovers and incredibly, still continue to cast its spell of “Beatlemania” on the suceeding generations; and none of this is more evident than on Juan de la Cruz’s progenies. Mention the names John, Paul, George and Ringgo — the four names that every Pinoy, both the old and the young, seem to know by heart — and the Beatles instantly comes to mind (that is, unless he has four brothers with the same names no thanks to that peculiar practice of naming children after one’s idol.

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Say hello to my new toy…

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It’s not exactly a phone but you can use it like one. That is, IF you don’t mind looking like a jackass with that thing pressed against your ear. Because at 4.5″ X 7.5″, you looking cool would be the last thing on the mind of everyone around you. Stupid yes, but cool?

And though it is classified as a computer, it lacks the “oomph” to do the other things your average desktop or laptop does. But it does the job of connecting you to the net anywhere, anytime, as well as edit your MS Office files. And it’s great for watching movies on the go as well.

Oh yes, in case you’re still clueless, I’m one of those who succumbed to the lure of the geekworld’s most recent must-haves: The Tablet.

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Actually, I was in the market for a backup for my laptop, but I was opting for something that I can easily chuck inside my bag without worrying about the heft and weight. I was looking at several brands of netbooks and tablet PCs — including the drool-worthy iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab — and was seriously thinking of purchasing one that very day, until I passed by the shop of Cherry Mobile.

While it may not have the same specs and juice as its rivals, namely, Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, it is still robust enough to do the job of connecting me to the web, make a few phone calls whilst editing my already late articles for The POC. Besides, at a couple of pesos less than P20,000, it’s already a steal compared to the other two that would easily set you back around P30,000 ++.

And since it’s 3G capable, I can just as easily slide in a broadband SIM card (like what I did earlier today) and voila! instant internet access. No need to look for hard-to-find hotspots inside the malls and restaurants. It’s the web right at your fingertips, baby…

But while the tablet IS also a phone, I’m not about to ditch my reliable Blackberry anytime soon. I find it a bit odd using that thing to make calls. It’s okay for SMS I guess but phone calls? Nah, that would necessitate the need for a Bluetooth headset (the unit comes with a free Bluetooth headset) which, by the way, I abhor using as it runs out of juice faster than my car guzzles up gas.

So, is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship between I and this slick all-in-one geek gadget? Only time will tell…

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Hello 2011!

I just realized something today… okay, I realized TWO things to be exact, and it all dawned on me on this second day of 2011.

First, and the most obvious, is that I’ve neglected this blog for almost the entire year. Save for a few, uninspired posts and shameless plugs for my POC articles, my blog has been on an inactive status of sorts for some time now, and because of that, I have been remiss in other blog related things as well (you know, like paying a visit to other blog sites?). Sorry guys, my bad…

I guess it (the laziness thing) all started right after I began writing for The Philippine Online Chronicle. Not that I’ve been too busy writing a slew of articles for the POC, by the way, that I didn’t have enough time for my own journal; heck, compared to the other writers in Buhay Pinoy, my gig would be considered as, err… lackluster by the publisher’s standards, with one article per week at the most, that is IF I was inspired. Worse still, is that the past two or three months saw my contributions for the online magazine drop to two articles per month.

Second, in my “semi-absence” from the blogosphere I totally forgot about my online life’s yearly milestone that is this blog’s anniversary. August of 2010 saw this little journal of mine pass the five year mark and no thanks to my absentmindedness, I totally missed out on that occasion by posting at least something worthwhile (or something dramatic, or mushy) on my blog.

So what happened? Why did I so suddenly, and seemingly, lost interest in a journal that has seen me through thick and thin these past five years?

Perhaps in my fruitless effort to always come up with something that would pass off as good reading for my gig at the POC (as well as to impress the editor and all that blah), I have inadvertently swept aside the very thing that started it all: my blog. Suddenly, the prospect of getting paid for writing took over, and while we, as contributing writers, aren’t under pressure we were expected to at least come up with, well… something good, and that, I guess sort of took away the fun in writing.

I know, I know, no excuses. Laziness, work pressure and other distractions shouldn’t keep me away from the keyboards, right? My brain may be a pile of mush at the end of a working day but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t come up with at least something. There’s always something to rant or rave about in these islands, yes? As one friend said, “sayang naman, you spent five years building up this blog only to see it rot away because of a paid gig”.

He’s right, maybe I should keep this blog alive… at least for now.

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20 years later…

It was without a doubt one of the grisliest rape and murder cases to have ever hit these shores during the ’90s. The violence in which the whole thing was carried out was an all-out assault, if you will, on one’s sensibilities. A murder so foul that couldn’t have been carried out by someone in his right mind! — too violent, too inhuman, more so if you consider that a seven-year-old girl was among those whose lives were senselessly snuffed out.

Worse, the case couldn’t be cracked for close to four years, with the police almost giving up on ever solving it. The breakthrough in the investigation came only after the appearance of an unlikely witness.

The “massacre” (ever wonder why it’s called a massacre even though the butchery wasn’t exactly large-scale?), however brutal, wasn’t unique though, nor was it the first time such a thing happened in this crime-ridden land. Cases such as the so-called Vizconde massacre are plenty in the land of Juan. I mean, just open a newspaper and you’d be bombarded with rape stories, and more rape stories. Come to think of it, we were, at one time, touted as the rape capital of the world, weren’t we?

So what is it about this case that has fascinated, intrigued and perplexed so many in these islands? Well, for one thing it has all the necessary ingredients of a whodunit, more than enough to titillate Juan’s voyeuristic tendency, plus more.

The shock, and fear for our own safety and security, as well as the polarization of opinions — depending on whose side you believe — are but a few of the things that have kept this case alive in the mind of the often amnesiac Juan de la Cruz, refusing to be sidelined even after two decades.

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It took them long enough but they did, finally. So last week the people from SMC, or specifically, Magnolia, dropped by our house, and they came bearing gift… hoping to appease a pissed-off customer.

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I was rather hoping for something much more… like in $$, perhaps? Just kidding… three bottles of cream cheese, plus a bottle of cheesy (which, as of this writing, has yet to arrive by courier service) to replace the one that went bad is more than enough compensation.

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Anyways, thanks to the people of San Miguel Corp.

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