Wednesday, January 31, 2007

burning bush on moistened soil

She knows what is sown in air
harvest storms and absence
and told him to plant their faith
on moistened soil instead;
soil where they believed,
blessings came.

He pressed the earth
at the succeeding sunrise
while she pranced
with honeyed-tongue soliloquies.
Both in filthy garments,
hymns and songs of saints
they bestowed
in this assurance of change.
He, she, in body, soul, spirit,
felt a sudden sensation
their praises they had praised
yesterday had brought.
It is the day their devotion
sprouted a bush that bloomed
festal fumes and flames.

The fire singed their skins
but felt no pain. They took off
their garments, paused on their impulses,
then cuddled and huddled on the ground,
beside the light
of the burning bush’s flame.

kill the bill

It’s weekend. You grope your pockets, and come up with a bill. A bill? What can you do?


-Bargain hunting. If you have the talent for scrounging up excellent finds, venture out to the world of bargain hunting. A 6-peso ride away, Villa Amada is the ukay-ukay place in Dumaguete. Or you can also check out Unitop, the new building near Quezon Park, for cheap shopping. And do not forget Aly Mae’s Surplus Store for interesting clothes, CDs and books!

-Bookworm’s delight. For some literary craving that cannot be satisfied by the SU Main Library, go to Lee Plaza’s book sale section or San Francisco Bookstore fronting Freedom Park, to pile up on literary favorites.

-Fastfood junkie. Students spend a majority of their allowances on food anyway, so splurge the bill on the nearest fastfood outlet. Dumaguete has several so far: Greenwich, Jollibee, Chowking, Shakey’s, Pizza Hut, Dunkin, Howyang, Scoobys, among others. Who knows what will happen when McDonald’s finally finishes setting up here?

-Hit the beach. What about the Silliman Beach or the Pebble Beach in Santander Cebu? Go to Sta. Teresa and order their adobo to go. Buy some rice at the nearest tindahan. Spend the rest on fare, and then when you get there, gloriously play sun bum.


-Watch-You-Want! Delayed-for-months flicks in Dumaguete aren’t so bad. Your Php35-45 can actually grant you a pass to see a movie or two straight. After the movies, spark a conversation with your companions, and critique it. For example, what did you think of Vic Sotto and Christine Hermosa’s latest “Enteng Kabisote” installment? Be the judge. It can be fun. Really.

-How thoughtful. Maybe it would be the right time to give your friend, someone close, or your parents unexpectedly a simple gift. Probably they would appreciate it more if there’s no occasion.

-Surf’s up! Indulge yourself with the wonders of the net with Netopia’s weekend Php 50 surf-all-you-can promo, or Scooby’s Php 15/hour rate. Check out the forums at, blog at, and stay informed with

-Cheap dinner. Hop on a pedicab and head towards the barbeque haven known to Sillimanians simply as ACSAT, because of its location. Barbequed pork (Php3 and Php5), chicken, isaw (Php5), chorizo and other internal organs, all dipped in a one-of-a-kind spicy sauce.


-Movie marathon. Pool your orange bills together for Video City’s movie rentals! Stay up all night to Kate Hudson’s “Almost Famous”. Get grossed out with “Saw III”. Laugh and cry to Adam Sandler’s “Click”. Then again, you can always venture out and try digital films like “Nasaan si Francis?”. Just a tip: always return the rentals on time--believe me.

-Board games bonanza! Borrow those neglected Scrabbles, Balderdash and Monopoly games at the Student Center, 2nd floor Hibbard Hall, and spend the money on snacks at the Oriental Hall kiosks. Do this on a rainy afternoon for added atmosphere.

-Stroll therapy. Step on the sidewalk and just let your feet wander. Who knows where you’ll end up? Afterwards, buy a Nescafe Freeze at the cafeteria or the ever-popular C2 at Sted’s.

-Cheese bread afternoon. Those first two words can make your day. Wait for the clock to strike 2pm and rush to the cafeteria for the infamous Php5 cheese bread. Then head towards the east quadrangle for a makeshift picnic.

Like the Mastercard commercials, let’s also leave room for “priceless” moments. The possibility of being broke is not always felt, but it could happen (in mysterious ways)! And if it does, just settle in your own homes and watch countless reruns on the tube. Tom and Jerry are always capable of giving us some hearty laughs, admit it. And you can always uhh… you know, study. Or catch up on sleep.

If you have some coins lying around, scrape some up to buy Mr. Bossing Tempura. Go to Laguna Silliman and discover (if you haven’t yet) the wonder Bossing has in store for your coins--tempuras dipped on sauce levels 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Or you can go to the banana cue place near Harold’s Mansion for soft, sweet turons.

If all else fails, take advantage of that unlimited load. Text the gang’s great spender or your boyfriend or girlfriend then palibre dayon! That way, you will feel that your last peso has its special worth.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

where have the brocka's and bernal's gone?

Ask any Filipino to cite a local film that promotes excellence and values, and the you’d most likely get a blank stare, or a diminutive enumeration of popular movies at best.

The dilemma of the Philippine movie industry is it’s caught between luring audiences with a commercialistic approach or calling everyone to appreciate quality entertainment with truths and right values. And admittedly, the masa would inevitably gear towards the previous one with reasons ranging from that it is easy to watch, to that it is easy to digest.

Thus far, the problem.

It wasn’t at all any different in last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. More and more every year, (MMFF is now on its 32nd) it seems to be getting superficial and, in some ways, immature when it could have been presenting films of literary and artistic competitiveness.

I’m talking about Philippine movies of as great caliber as “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag,” “Oro Plata Mata,” or “Tanging Yaman”.

But these days, the industry gives everyone a hint of its near collapsing state. Various movements are made and even the recently concluded MMFF was called to a halt. “If the MMFF is abolished, Filipinos will get to watch nothing but Disney movies during the holidays,” said Bayani Fernando, who spearheads MMFF, in a January 7 Philippine Daily Inquirer article. “I don’t [even] know if these protesters are really speaking on behalf of the movie industry.”

Philippine cinema is indeed on top of a shaking pedestal. Money runs the mill on most film companies—not its quality and artistic value.

When asked whether Filipino films are a dying lot, film critic Ed Cabagnot was quoted in Palanca awardee
Ian Rosales Casocot’s blog
as saying, “Philippine film might as well be dead.”

Casocot also commented on the 2005 MMFF: “If you are sensitive enough to take note of the critical apathy given the recently-concluded Metro Manila Film Festival, you may have to acknowledge the fact that the festival, once touted as an engine for driving new interest in Filipino films, has found itself in a new plateau of indifference.

“This is sad because, in the light of local filmdom’s already flagging fortunes being battered to bits by ‘stronger’ international releases, we do need annual exercises such as the MMFF. As a showcase of the Filipino Best, it has had its moments of true glory, premiering for example such worthy efforts as ‘Atsay’, ‘Burlesque Queen’, ‘Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa’, ‘Crying Ladies’, ‘Rizal’, and ‘Panaghoy sa Suba’.”

For so long, film or cinema has brought itself into the mass media from its early stages starting off as a novel breakthrough, later changing into one of the most important tools of communication and entertainment in the modern world; one of the best forms of medium to present creativity with a message.

No matter how the Filipino film industry shows signs of positive revival, the process is still slow. Perhaps it is due to its producers’ misguided motives, or due to the masa still currently stuck in mid-quality entertainment, intimidated with experimental works.

Indeed, visions from the movie greats like Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal concerning the country’s filmmaking talents fall short of where it is supposed to reach. Well, digital films are the exceptions. These are the only means for tight-budgeted producers to make films that disregard notions of the dreaded word “flop.”

A new Golden Age of Philippine Cinema is now unfolding before the very eyes for those who are willing to witness it. Because of digital technology, it served as an unexpected life-saving device to those who gained merit on various creative works.

According to, a website that aims to be the repository for Filipino film (and some foreign) discussions, stated that digital technology has helped give Pinoy filmmaking a comeback.

Art is not always difficult to understand. It is the common misconception of a typical Pinoy, but writers, producers, and directors should never inhibit themselves from creating what they think is the best for the industry. It should never be in drought.

sole survivors

“With all due respect, I am much better than you.”

“Oh just shut up,” said the Shoes to the Slippers, increasingly upset.

The dispute had been going on the whole day, with the Slippers losing more and more of their color, getting softer and more ductile with each retort.

The Shoes remembered when their brown backs and white leather faces were shiningly, shimmeringly, splendidly new. Now it is barely recognizable.

I have observed this fascinating and unique skirmish between footwear, with never a hint of yielding on both parties, each one proving to the other how famous, how magnificent, how functional, how economic (and so on) one is.
“Shut up, will I? You better keep your soles on the ground, you sorry excuse for footwear,” the Slippers said. “My bloodline is as royal as the holy grail.”

“Not listening,” the Shoes responded.

Actually, slippers evolved from the footwear used in Japan during the modern Meiji period, made with Japanese rice straw and wood “zori” for the sandals used with the kimono. The present-day Grolier’s Encyclopedia says flip-flops are usually of soft materials such as leather, rubber, and plastic. Through time, the world eventually tagged them “slippers.” It is recorded in English in the year 1478, deriving from the much older verb “to slip,” the notion being of a footwear that is "slipped" onto the foot.

Many companies like Dupe and Happy Feet have definitely capitalized on the slippers industry. Yup. I’m even wearing my very own black vintage Havaianas Surf while writing this.

A friend of mine, Paulalaine Martinez, a Political Science major, tells me that “Slippers are comfortable and can be used everywhere. Shoes are just so tiring to clean.”

“Slippers give the feet no restrictions whatsoever—the feet are free,” Alexis Marapao, a nursing student told me the other day. “Wearing these things aren’t just supposed to be flaunted; they are used because you just love wearing it”

However, according to, shoes also have an interesting story. Though it might be impossible to distinguish its exact phase of development up to now, one obvious reason why it was made was for protection.

Undoubtedly, shoes show the financial and social standing of the wearer. Looking at someone’s shoes, you can tell if the person is into sports, if he or she is laid-back, fussy, well-off or hugawan. It is a strong indication of personality.

In the mid part of the 20th century, the sneakers (another kind of shoes) became a more common cultural trend highlighting new “technological” offerings specifically for athletes. It was later redefined and redesigned for the fashion squad consumption. The first rubber-soled shoes, manufactured in the 1800s, were called “plimsolls”.

“Mas-better tanawon ang shoes kay formal gamay,” said Niko Cepe, a Nutrition and Dietetics sophomore. “Kung papilion ko kung unsa ang maayo jud, depende ra na sa gasuot kung angayan.”

I look back at the two fighting footwear as the Shoes’ laces bent as if they were its hands on its hips, and the Slippers flapping its straps like a chicken. I knew both have countless, gushing testimonies from their wearers; but the raging debate on who is the best sank into hotter water than before.

“We represent the basic necessity of the high, middle, and low class. And besides, without us, people will walk around their homes in heels,” the Slippers asserted.

“But we embody fortification and safety. Being incapable of purchasing us is not at all a hindrance in acquiring us,” protested the Shoes.

“Yet, we Slippers symbolize discipline and strength. We are aware of the environs’ harshness yet we are open to challenge it—to face it.”

“Challenge? We are challenge in the best form; trekking mountains, crossing fields, and training in various activities.”

“Huh, we may have rubber atrophy but we can be tough.”

“We, on the other hand, are touted as rough but we also give ease and comfort.”

“Hey, stop judging our kind!” both of them mutually (in genuine surprise) asserted to the other.

I drifted away from their dialogue when the skies suddenly shifted, fusing grey and deep indigo—a sure sign that rain would come. And yes, drops of cold rivulets caressed my bare nape while the Slippers and the Shoes continued to rant on. Oh, how we keep overlooking the most poignant lessons in the little things.

Lightning flashes in the far horizon; the rain comes roaring down, leaving the Slippers and the Shoes drenched in mud and dirt, soaked and wet, still adamantly proud of the laurels covering their eyes.

Dying out, endangered, tarnished and horribly neglected, and still ranting on.

Friday, January 26, 2007


This Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition
is even more challenging right now.
Thier latest visual art for inspiration is extremely surrealistic.
(my tiny problem here is the "basketball!")

I gave a shot to this literary contest on its second run and unfortunately it didn't hit the mark.
Anyways, I am posting this so that every time I visit my blog
and see this photo,
maybe a spark of creativity may tingle my mind.

I hope so.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the superhero

Your results:

You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman

Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

I just wish that I am a superhero.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Deep down,

Preachers speak
those sentiments
with revered ardor.

Listening is uplifting.

Listeners duplicate
those lines
with flaccid allegiance.

Preaching is painful.

These two will be those
that are always would be.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

searching for the labyrinth

January is nearing its expiration date and I have not yet seen a poster, a newspaper ad, a television trailer or any signs of the movie that I am really intent on feasting my eyes with. What's happening? At the least there's hope upon seeing its "pirated" copy on our favorite video nooks.

Pan's Labyrinth is just the excellent film for fantasy lovers who are mature enough for the wand-waving, dragon-riding concepts. Director Guillermo Del Toro hits the spot.

Just a thought, maybe Pan is not lost in the labyrinth by now but instead got a tiresome expedition of getting into the Philippine movie theaters!

Pan, pan, pan... If only I can get you in bakeshops right away.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

given by the dean

Butterflies fluttering inside my stomach could not be right; probably they are large scaly dragons breathing fire in my small intestine. Well that was how I felt when I received a text message from Sir Ian Casocot that I got a book from someone, gratis!

It’s no ordinary book (well, in my case I value all books that I have) and that someone is no everyday guy either. He is no other than Dean Alfar, a multi-Palanca awardee, who gave me a copy of The Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume Two.

Next target: Kite of Stars and Other Stories, and the rest of the Siglo series. I got to have my eyes peeled when I am in the bookstores.


what shocked you the most?

They say lightning never strikes twice, and I surely hope we don’t get a rerun of these most shocking things of 2006.

20. Undeniably the champ when it comes to guts, gloves and singing hits, Manny Pacquiao punched his way to Filipinos’ hearts everywhere, beating Erik Morales during their third boxing match-up.

19. Filipinos planted the national flag on the world’s highest peak. Pastor Emata, Leo Oracion, and the rest of the 1st Filipino Mt. Everest Expedition team, we salute you!

18. Retail giant Shoemart wowed every shopping addict with the completion of the Mall of Asia, the biggest in, well, Asia, with its humungous IMAX Theater and spacious strolling space.

17. Pinoy Big Brother’s Rustom Padilla’s disclosure of his homosexuality spiced up many a conversation. From rusty tough leather guy to Zsa Zsa Zaturnah’s alter ego, the contrast has never been clearer.

16. Silliman University was offered 500 hectares of land located in Masbate. Could we now boast of a 556-hectare Silliman campus this year?

15. The Guimaras oil spill made everyone think twice about the effects on the environment. And the MT Solar 1 is still underwater, leaks and all!

14. Rape, murder, theft. The City of Gentle People was plagued with highly publicized and gruesome crimes for a while. Could it be goodbye genteelness and gentleness?

13. Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith got the life sentence! A landmark in the Philippine justice system! Then… the government returned him to the US Embassy for “US supervision”. Bah! Politics.

12. Terry Lim Cua won the elusive Php2,000,0000 prize money in “Deal or No Deal!” Finally. Someone with luck on his side.

11. The peso to a dollar exchange rate reached an all-time low at Php48 point something!

10. Protests, uproars, and heated debates were the results of the nursing board examination leakage. Nationwide cheating or not, cheaters or not, those declared as passed by the Philippine Regulatory Commission ended up taking their oaths anyway.

9. A 5-year old kid swam the entire length of the Mactan Channel, with all its current, garbage, and depth. A standing ovation to Justin Daniel Juino for sheer determination and skill. Swimming for 2 hours in a 3 kilometer channel is not easy.

8. Bagyong Milenyo caused huge billboards in Metro Manila to fall, killing unsuspecting drivers. Who would have thought a blown-up face of Judy Ann Santos could end a life?

7. Box office hit “Enteng Kabisote 4” won the Best Picture in the 2006 Metro Manila Film Festival, over what the average intellectual could describe as better quality films.

6. What’s more shocking than an entertainment goddess like Gretchen Barretto—beautiful and glamorous—was said to be bringing along a microwave on a certain shampoo commercial shoot?

5. Philippine Digital Films flourished on the year of the dog. After a certain drought of quality films from mainstream cinema, these bold independent breed came to the rescue with the likes of Maximo Oliveros or a certain Masahista on the lead, gathering prestigious international awards.

4. Whoa! Some Filipinos paved their way to become one of Asia’s (if not the world’s) richest proving themselves to have a combined net worth of $16 billion as reported by the Asian edition of Forbes magazine. Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Jaime Zobel, and Danding Cojuangco, and the rest, can you lend us some?

3. As if its growing influence and revenue in the internet arena isn’t enough, the empire of Google bought YouTube. Bad news for some though, “special” videos suddenly vanished in thin air.

2. Though 4G mobile services are offered at some countries like Japan and Korea, people of the Philippines got thrilled when 3G capabilities and offers sprouted in cell phones and networks! Finally, video calling became possible.

1. Retail giant SM conglomerate wowed every shopping addict, lifestyle connoisseur, and for those who simply have to let go the itchy feel on one’s feet with Henry Sy’s best so far, the Mall of Asia! And with its humungous IMAX Theater, any movie aficionado would probably salivate upon watching a film with his P300 to P400 ticket.

(for more fun and entertainment, you rank the numbers the way you want it. I should have placed The Great Boxer at number one but someone made me think otherwise, with a kick.)