It's Good to be Pinoy!

A Pinoy is having breakfast one morning (coffee, croissants, bread, butter and jam when a Frenchman, chewing bubble-gum, sits down next to him. The Pinoy ignores the Frenchman who, nevertheless, starts a conversation.

Frenchman: "You Filipinos eat the whole bread??"

Pinoy (in a bad mood): "Of course."

Frenchman: (after blowing a huge bubble) "We don't. In France, we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle it, transform them into croissants and sell them to the Philippines." The Frenchman has a smirk on his face.

The Pinoy listens in silence.

The Frenchman persists: "Do you eat jelly with the bread??"

Pinoy: "Of Course."

Frenchman: (cracking his bubble-gum between his teeth and chuckling). "We don't. In France, we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put all the peels, seeds, and leftovers in containers, recycle them, transform them into jam and sell the jam to the Philippine Islands."

After a moment of silence, (irritated already) the Pinoy then asks: "Do you have sex in France?"

Frenchman: "Why, of course we do", he says with a big smirk.

Pinoy: "And what do you do with the condoms once you've used them?"

Frenchman: "We throw them away, of course."

Noypi: "We don't. In my dear homeland, we put them in a container, recycle them, melt them down into bubble-gum and sell them to France."


The Weekend News

Samurai Showdown
I got to watch The Last Samurai twice over the weekend, so it's quite obvious that I've taken a tremendous liking for the film. The story for the most part, is good, but not something we haven't already seen before (think Michael Dudikoff or David Bradley given the A-movie treatment via Tom Cruise). What it lacks in originality though, it makes up for in its exquisite production design and heart-pumping battle scenes (my favorite being the gallant stand of the Samurai against the black Ninjas). If you happen to have a strong interest in, or at least find Japanese culture and traditions intriguing, you will most probably enjoy this movie.

I'm a sucker for most things eastern, especially martial arts and weaponry. Swordfighting, specifically with a Katana, is easily one of my greatest frustrations. But that is a story for another post.

Need for Speed
I've always seen the Initial D games in Timezone and Power Station, but I never really understood why all these people lined up for them.

Now, I do.

JC introduced me to the game last Sunday. In a way, you get to have the car you can't actually have in real life, like a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI for instance (unless, of course, you're filthy rich). The object is to earn as much points as you can by winning a bunch of races. As you reach certain levels of points, you can use these to upgrade your ride. Naturally, the more trekked out your road beast is, the greater the chances of letting the opponent eat your dust.

It can get pretty addictive once you're into it, so be prepared.

Pillsbury Doh! Boy
All it took was four tablespoons of water, an oven toaster, and 30 minutes to make my first ever batch of golden-brown, chewy, chocolate chip cookies (and I hear, to the satisfaction of my supreme overlord and her family). God is good for allowing man to invent the Instant Cookie Mix (plug plug)! God is good.


Wasted Opportunity

PLUS ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (The more it changes, the more it remains the same.) Edsa II was mounted three years ago to change a corrupt and incompetent administration. It was described by a columnist as "the culmination of a movement to restore accountability and idealism in government.''

But has Edsa II changed the corrupt landscape of Philippine government and politics? The answer should be obvious: No. Has it restored accountability and idealism in government? Again, the answer is no. The business of government and politics is still being conducted, not on the basis of principles, but on the basis of pragmatism, practicality and self-interest.

The principal beneficiary of Edsa II was President Macapagal-Arroyo. To be sure, she was not the unanimous choice of the hundreds of thousands who flocked to Edsa three years ago, shouting for President Joseph Estrada to step down. There was a sector that was urging the top officials in government: "Resign all!'' But the Constitution had to be followed, although the ouster of Estrada was done through an extra-constitutional route, and it was Ms Macapagal who had to succeed him.

The Macapagal administration began auspiciously enough. The new President impressed everyone as a knowledgeable workaholic, a sharp contrast to the laid-back, boozing, carousing Estrada. But soon she began flip-flopping all over the place, sacrificing principles in favor of political pragmatism. There was talk of corruption in high places, although it could not be definitely proven.

Ms Macapagal put a stop to divisive politics when she announced on December 30, 2002 that she was not running in 2004. But then, in what could be the biggest flip-flop of her life, last year she took that promise back and said she was running for a full term after all. She could have gone down in history as a transition president, and history would have looked kindly on her, but now she will be judged by her actions after she reversed her decision not to run.

Now, in violation of the spirit of Edsa II, the President is making all sorts of accommodations and is bending principles in cobbling together a "winning'' ticket. She has accepted into the administration ticket John Osmena, one of the infamous "Balato Twins''; Orlando Mercado, Estrada's defense secretary; and former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, one of the staunchest defenders of Estrada during the impeachment trial. Obviously Ms Macapagal has no compunctions about her actions because, after all, she was not part of the principled oust-Estrada movement from the beginning. She resigned from the administration and joined the movement only when it was certain that Estrada was going to be deposed.

The President has made the usual noises about curbing corruption, but she has done nothing earth-shaking about this perennial problem. To the contrary, the magnitude of corruption in government has risen, and talk of corruption has involved people close to the President, such as was alleged in the Jose Pidal expos, among other things.

Now, the administration is even tolerating, if not actually pushing for, the departure of Estrada for the United States or another country to have an operation on his knee, although it can be done here by Filipino surgeons who are the equal of their foreign counterparts in surgical expertise. If Estrada is allowed to leave, will that mean the end of the plunder case against him? Will he be allowed to go scot-free? And why would he return when he faces the distinct possibility of a death sentence here? And if he walks free, what was Edsa II all for? Is it going to be remembered as just another exercise in futility?

The pity of it is that Ms Macapagal could have been a notable, if not a good, president had she held true to her promise not to seek election. She could have undertaken wide-ranging reforms and made crucial decisions without minding whether they would affect her political plans for 2004 or not. She could have launched a real, honest-to-goodness campaign against corruption which was after all the principal issue in Edsa II. She could have exerted her political and moral influence to ensure the holding of clean, honest and peaceful elections in May. Now even this is no longer sure anymore.

Edsa II has not changed the political landscape. Probably what we need is not just a change of leaders, for elections have been a game of musical chairs, with people from the same elite taking turns in the seat of power. Probably what we need is a change in men and a change in the system.

~ Inquirer Editorial, 20 January 2004


David Blaine Ain't Got Nothin' On Fido Dido

Click here, and you'll see what I mean. It's just simply beyond human comprehesion.

Up, Up, and Away...

...is probably a bit too early for everyone's favorite farmboy at this point. But there's always room for a familiar look.

Photo courtesy of Kryptonsite.


The Dagohoy Story

It was the first day of school in Washington, DC and a new student named Dagohoy, the son of a Filipino immigrant, entered the fourth grade.

The teacher began, "Let's review some American history, class. Who said 'Give me liberty or give me death?'" She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Dagohoy's who had his hand up, "Patrick Henry, 1775." "Very good," said the teacher.

"Who said 'Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth'"? Again, no response except from Dagohoy: "Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, 1863," he said.

The teacher snaps at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed, Dagohoy who is new to our country knows more about our history than you do."

She hears a loud whisper from the back: "Screw the Filipinos." "Who said that?" she demanded. Dagohoy put his hand up. "General John Pershing, Manila, 1896."

At that point, Jack, another student says, "I'm going to puke."

The teacher glares and asks, "All right! Now who said that?" Again Dagohoy answers, "George Bush, Sr. to the Japanese Prime Minister during the state dinner, Tokyo, 1991."

Now furious another student yells, "Oh yeah? Suck this!" Dagohoy jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher at the top of his voice, "Bill Clinton to Monica Lewinsky, the Oval Office, 1997!"

Someone shouts, "You little shit if you say anything else, I'll kill you." Dagohoy yells, "Congressman Gary Condit to Chandra Levy, Washington, D.C., 2001!"

The teacher faints. "I'm outta here!" mutters one student as he sidles to the door. "President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Baguio City, December 30, 2002!" Dagohoy responds.

As the class gathers around her on the floor, someone says, "Oh shit, now we're really in big trouble!" "Saddam Hussein, on the Iraq invasion, Bhagdad, May 2003!" Dagohoy bellowed.

"Now, I really have to run," Jack mutters, heading for the exit., "Gloria Macapagal Arroyo again, Pampanga, October 4, 2003!" Dagohoy shouts triumphantly jumping with glee.


One Step Backward

The Supreme Court has just found the P1.3-B contract between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Mega Pacific consortium for the computerization of the coming May 10 polls null and void. Full story here.

The computerization, part of the Comelec's Election Modernization program, has been heavily opposed by many, citing a number of irregularities in the vote-counting machines and software provided by Mega Pacific. An estimated 800 billion pesos had already been spent by prior to the cancellation of the contract. The Court has ordered the Solicitor General to find a way of recovering the said amount. Returning to manual counting could push the elections back by a couple of months. What's scary about this is the threat of a Military takeover in the event the polls, which is always supposed to be held on the second Monday of May, does get delayed.

Philippine politics sucks.


Photoblog - Day Trip to Enchanted Kingdom

I know, I know...it's about damn time! Sorry but the first week of work has just been...very unfavorable...to my blogging time. Anyway, on with the show.

December 20 of last year, I had the chance to visit Enchanted Kingdom (EK) again for just the third time in my life. It also was my first ever long drive from Manila to Laguna.

The magic is here...or so they say.
The last time I was here, it was back in high school. My brother, my sister, and some cousins were with me then. And I was still terrified of the Space Shuttle and Anchors Away rides. Those two were the only rides I didn't get on. This time I was with Pi and some people from work. But would I be able to conquer my fear of the stomach raising monsters? Stick around to find out.

(L-R excluding the kids and the mascots) Pi, Me, Veena, Ronnel, Shaggy (kneeling), Doni (kneeling), Len, Concon, Ceejay, Clarisse.
(Free) Lunch with the kids.
Coincidentally, Globe had scheduled an Ate/Kuya (Big Sister/Big Brother) for a day program on the same day, which accounts for the presence of the kidly kids in the pictures above. Some of my officemates had volunteered to be part of the said program. Their lunch was on the company of course, but we were lucky enough to be recipients of some extra food stubs.

Pi and moi, ready to take off in our rocket-propelled super swings of doom (I wish).
Air Chucks. Taken while on the "Flying Fiesta". I should sell this pic to Converse.
The Flying Fiesta is easily one of my all time favorite rides in EK. The ride per se is pretty shallow come to think of it, but the feel of your feet hanging freely in the air is very...invigorating.

This will do (left). I fell of a horse in Wright Park a few years back; I've never been on a real one since. Pi (right) looks absolutely beautiful in this picture.
Pi and I were here for the first time as a couple. We obviously had a lot of fun.
For a Php 500.00 rate that covers the entrance fee, the ride-all-you-can bracelet isn't such a bad deal. I guess you just have to get on every ride to get your money's worth. Yep, when I say every, that includes the ultimate kiddy ride...the Grand Carousel. There are a few attractions that do have a separate fee though: the 4D Theater for Php 40.00 (which doesn't just live up to the hype; it's not worth the long wait), the Paint Ball Arena for Php 90.00 (this is for 20 balls, you can pay for more), and the Go Kart Track for Php 160.00 (this one is definitely worth it).

Space Shuttle. Had I moved a bit more to the left and taken this shot, the image would have been a little too phallic.
Anchors Away. I had a real tough time taking this shot. We sat at the farthest seat on our side.
Well what do you know? I guess I found my balls and rode the two most dreaded rides in EK afterall. Ha. Too bad I didn't get to take a pic while I was on the Space Shuttle. That would've been interesting.

Ninja, Ninja Wrap (bad pun). Pi and myself, before quenching the need for speed on the Go Kart track.
(L-R) Ronnel, Me, Pi, Shaggy, Doni, Clarisse.
(L-R) Doni, Clarisse, Pi, Me, Shaggy, Ronnel.
The Go Karts were the last rides Pi and I went on before finally going back to Manila. We had to go ahead of the others...a TLS reunion/Christmas celebration was also scheduled that evening at Zane's house.

We arrived around a quarter before 11 PM. Fatigue started to kick in the minute I stepped into the Ronquillo gate. I've never been one to keep my eyes open when that happens; Gerwin and Jon will attest to that (Zane was kind enough to let me crash in Ping's bed). Unfortunately, there is a lack of images from the gathering. I had left Ger's camera in the car that night.


After A Well-Deserved Break...

...it's back to work again for me today. Spent a good two weeks on vacation in the motherland (Baguio City), but internet connection up there (in our house at least) is crap...and i mean my-friend's-cousin's-grandmother-runs-faster-than-this crap...so pardon the lack of updates. Expect decent blogging though in the next few days. Still have those photoblogs I promised on my list. I just need to catch up on work for today.

Check back again later.