Wednesday, December 31, 2008

last post for oh-eight

As I look back, I just can’t believe that the year 2008 is really that tedious. It is tedious but exciting. It even challenged my sanity. Good and bad things have happened, and honestly most of them are, you know, the latter of the two. But I guess this is a good thing. The way things fall has made me delineate what’s supposed to carry and what’s not to carry as we move on. Sheesh, enough of this melodrama year-ender crap. Let’s just continue hopping ‘til the end of days. Merry bullfrogish new year everyone!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

warning: dangerous content

I know this is going to be tough for you guys so grab your bags fast. An involuntary retching might take place. One, two, three, and… Fine. I've just grabbed these from someone's blogsite and the Rayver Cruz-Shaina Magdayao tandem, in my honest opinion, looks cute but this one? This is plain ridiculous! All this hype is making me nauseate.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Because my gifts were somehow “still adequate” when put side by side to my nephews’ and nieces’, I enjoyed the night until twelve o’clock strike. While doing so, I sat under the Christmas tree and got myself surrounded with presents from everybody else’s just to internalize the feeling that I am, you know, gifted. Ishamyl!

P.S. The 25th is also my mother's birthday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

not so wise to be wise

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice
The Weekly Sillimanian
December 17, 2008

I remember my mother telling me one night not to turn on the Christmas lights I had put up in our garden. I obeyed. When asked why, she just explained that it keeps the carolers away. “So as not to attract them… we are in crisis,” she added in our bisaya language.

Whether it was a stupid joke or not, her words had a relatively beneficial underlying point. We can actually save up energy by doing so. I am not an environmentalist, really. Though I pick up what’s lying on the floor, I do not go the extra mile of cleaning the university grounds of rubbish whenever I pass by them. It’s not being silly—it’s just the right thing that I can do within my mentality’s thinking range. Ironically, I was attending a skill-share program in Boracay while writing this, trying to increase my knowledge on all things green by listening to Greenpeace advocates and fellow SolarGeneration groups from across the country.

The aforementioned training, aside from its focus on saving the planet, suddenly got me into thinking about my mother’s stipulation. It was dumb but clever. I know that energy efficiency was not her main intention but, theoretically considering other possibilities, it might be. She had just campaigned without even knowing. Campaigning for the environment is for a good cause but the question on how it should work and be applied to the general public is the next concern. As for me following my mother’s request of not turning the lights on is one example that her inner persuading ability is in good shape. Influence is the key.

Chris Rose, a British writer who is effectively campaigning strategies on environmental preservation said that “The simplest thing you can do to help [channel] your message is to be direct and straightforward. Forget being clever.” One good example is the movement towards combating climate change. It’s fast influencing a lot of people and I’m sure a portion of them is not involved in direct actions such as rallying in the streets, putting up banners at building walls, and shouting at public areas. Sometimes, these just bring more confusion or, to the last degree, chaos instead of order. At times, there’s definitely no need to be completely radical. And being subtle and silent doesn’t help either.

For instance, there’s Silliman. This coming Christmas break, the university has made a good decision of shutting down its power but what about the students leaving the halls, going back to their homes? Have they heard about this? I’m pretty sure many have disregarded the news and its tremendous benefit on electric power savings. Without the Green Issue of the Weekly Sillimanian last week, many wouldn’t even know that the administration is initiating this plan. I know Christmas is a time of merrymaking and not a lecture session with sweet-talking speakers but I just do pray that in upcoming undertakings, the “higher beings” would at least give us the hint they’re making a move. There’s no need to be totally intellectual or formal to be understood, and depend every time on people with a nose for publicity. All that’s needed is an operation strongly supported and known by a tiny part of the population. Word of mouth, as always, is a potent means of sustaining and, at the most, achieving a goal.

It’s obvious that campaigning in my mother’s yuletide gospel is way out of context. It just so happened that by doing so she sparked a realization that there is a need to, you know, change. Sounds familiar? Well, it has always been used and its degree of believability these days is doubtful but in my case there are so many happenings around us to believe in it. And that didn’t cost me the time of my life to recognize the call at all. It was that simple.

Fine. Now burn this writer at the stake for his sudden departure of the literary and the issues of homosexuality but it’s never too late to clear up one’s consciousness concerning our dear Earth. Dark and glum future Christmases, I guess, are not part of anyone’s December wish list. I may not be an environmentalist but I am concerned. This way, I could probably light up our Christmas lights earlier than usual next time.


Friday, December 19, 2008

brilliance in boracay

After a day of listening to each other’s evaluation, enumerating possible superpowers to save the world, and knowing the background of Greenpeace and SolarGeneration, we listened to more discussions by Francis dela Cruz, Beng Reyes Ong, and Amalie Conchele Jamoy-Obusan. From shocking facts concerning the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, policy work to celebrity star power, the skillshare event got more interesting than expected. Especially for an occasion held in Boracay, it was difficult for one’s attention not to float away.

Later on, plan of actions from the different regional SolarGeneration sectors were presented. Joan Meris guided the group planning before the presentations. The suggested activities for 2009 looked more like a feat, a tasking job no one could ever possibly do. But upon closer look, with cooperation from interested people, anything is actually “do-able.” What’s SolarGen if not for the talk about solar panels? No, it’s not like we knew nothing about them but Jeffrey Lazaro and Albert Lozada enlightened us more about the technicalities and their efficient usage. The latter also expounded on green campuses and its implementation all over the country. And an interesting insert: Ever wondered where the satellites that were released by NASA got their energy to keep on working even in space? Well, the sun of course!

The hours continued to move on like the waves of the beach but just like the waves too, we got more persistent into this movement for renewable and efficient energy. In the afternoon, there was no mistaking the tightness and solidarity towards each other. Though jokingly touted as “Destroy the Team Building Exercise,” the activity showed what it meant to work hand in hand to achieve a goal. By night time, after enjoying a sumptuous dinner, we got ready for the planned exhibit at Café Del Mar Resort the following day.

Morning came and we set off to the resort, shared what we learned during the skillshare sessions to people who stick their nose into the exhibit proper. We were not letting them go away with just a fruit shake produced by a solar-powered blender in their hands. We made sure that they knew something beneficial before leaving the beach.

When everything and everyone seemed prepared for next day’s itinerary, we agreed that we needed to distress for a while. We hit the beach and enjoyed countless picture-taking sessions even at night. After all, a bit of moonlight won’t hurt anyone who takes advantage of the sun.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Call me a silly caveman now but I am in Boracay, happy and spreading grains of sand in an internet café. I am not here for a vacation but for a good cause, especially that I left Dumaguete in time of prelim examinations and supposedly nonstop thesis workout. But I'm still glad. For the next few days, I'll be staying in a retreat center with the Greenpeace people and Solargen delegates from different regions to discuss on climate change and the need for renewable energy. More news to come, I have to leave kay mahal ang internet!

Friday, December 05, 2008

small voices no more

About three years ago, I attended my cousin’s wedding. My mother was one of the principal sponsors and I the regular, ever-persistent companion. Held inside a school chapel, voices filled the place that reminded me of old classical movies and an aging church for the aging devout. Typical wedding accessories, I mumbled. Come picture taking time and everything I imagined about the voices proved me wrong. Up above us, I realized that the people singing were children, not adults. I was deeply in awe. After rounds of tugging my mother’s gown, I discovered they were the Loboc Children’s Choir.

Ignored in the past in favor of its neighbors with their urban but highly embellished setting, Bohol lies at the center of the Philippines with its local colors of the past still present in every nook, cranny, and sensibility. One can see it evident in colorful parades or even its firm religious grounding that tricycles got to have a Bible verse painted on each of them. So basically, its interest for history is not depreciating.

Though the potato-shaped province is now rightfully considered one of the top tourist destinations around, there’s more to Bohol than white sand beaches with breathtaking diving sites, wide-eyed tarsiers, colonial churches, Chocolate Hills and calamay. Because twenty-four kilometers from Bohol’s capital city of Tagbilaran, is the town of Loboc that humbly awaits those who seek brilliance. What’s in it? Aside from the fact that it is a home to a generation of singers and composers, it has the Loboc Children’s Choir (LCC).

A simple school choir for town affairs and school activities, the LCC is now among the exceptional singing groups in the country. Now 28 years old since it was founded in 1980 at the Loboc Central Elementary School, the choir, composed of children aged nine to thirteen, has already established for itself a reputation that usually takes a much longer time to achieve. Well, for a town that sustains its vibrancy with rondallas, music bands, a brass symphonic ensemble, and many more choirs, it’s hard not to embrace the youth in its creative culture. Currently, the choir’s music consultant is Mrs. Enriquita Butalid while the conductor is Alma Fernando-Taldo (or better known as “Ma’am Taldo”), teaching and handling English and Character Education for fifth-grade pupils at the Loboc Central Elementary School—the school where it all began.

Glory and Fame
It’s definitely not only the childhood charm and title of being from Loboc that brought the LCC into the national and international limelight. It is, of course, the talent. Their utmost dedication to music, singing local folks songs to upbeat Filipino classics, is the driving force that has made them a three-time National Champion of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) in the Children’s Category. Being in a prestigious competition in the Philippines, the LCC has proven that they are no mere small voices after championing the years of 2001, 1995 and 1993.

Singing with and for well-known people is a common occurrence for them. In 2000, the group represented the country in the International Children's Culture and Arts Festival in Tianjin, China, and held concerts in Beijing and Hong Kong. By 2003 LCC bagged the gold medal in the 6th International Folksongs Festival in Barcelona, Spain for the Youth Category, surpassing the scores of twelve other international choirs. In the local scene, they sung in various major business establishments in Makati and Ayala Alabang with the help of Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Subsequently, this got the attention of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain that they sang for her with the University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors during a cultural exchange visit. And just recently, the choir won this year’s ALIW Best Group Concert in the Philippines.

But what is poignant is that their gift is not only shared to the affluent, the award-cognizant elites, the ones who could afford a costly ticket. Because aside from guilded concert halls and auditoriums, they sing for many people who need more love and joy through music and they are found in homes for the aged, hospitals, orphanages, and even prisons. That’s talent for a good cause.

Lasting Birthright
Even if the children right now are not the original batch that has graced the audiences back in 1980, since a child has to “graduate” when he or she reaches the age of fourteen, all of the members leave a legacy that no one could replicate except for the children who got themselves into the choir. If there’s one thing the choir would be proud of, it’s not the bright lights they are in but their passion to uphold musical artistry.

Loboc, where an almost 300-year old Church of St. Peter the Apostle looms over a serene river winding through its heart, is indeed a town as equally remarkable as the feats of the young boys and girls.

Back to my cousin’s wedding, there was no doubt I was entirely in awe. If ever I’d witness them singing again, I am sure they’d still astound me not the way they did three years ago when I discovered that they were children but because, as young as they are, they’ve brought the rich cultural heritage and talents from one of the nation’s rare treasures onto center stage. When a child’s heart sings, anyone would be humbled, especially a fellow Boholano like me.

Writer’s note: The Loboc Children’s Choir is having a concert at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, Silliman University on December 6, 2008 (Saturday). The matinee show starts at 3 o’clock in the afternoon while the gala starts at 8 o’clock in the evening.

Monday, December 01, 2008

is adam for eve?

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice
The Weekly Sillimanian
November 26, 2008

Values and ethics are highly esteemed in the Filipino family setting. When a child is born the tradition of goodness and integrity is immediately instilled, nurtured with the ways of what is proper. If the child shows signs of difference, a light spanking on the bottom is enough. But let us get this straight to the point: gays, lesbians, and everyone in between have gotten more than just a spanking for their supposedly “abnormal” nature.

I totally find it dumb that in the eyes of many people nowadays homosexuality is immediately attached to AIDS, a notion that must have taken from European urban legends. Or rather, it’s subjugated to the idea of immorality, related to sin as if all the evils of the world are rolled up into one and resulted either to an Ellen Degeneres or an Arnel Ignacio. Gender roles are now tightly twisted that same sex marriage is seen as a condemnation to mankind. Since it’s copiously deemed as something new to Filipinos, the Bible and one’s conviction are immediately placed at the forefront. “Wala na sa bala-ud” or “Adam is only for Eve and not for Steve!” These are what some of the people with Styrofoam for a brain would say. But wait, aren’t there heavier matters that need more problem solving than cancelling out two people’s plan of marital bond because of their sexual orientation? Well, how about this, aren’t there more straight couples whose lives ended in the drain compared to queer relationships?

The world is going crazy. Even global warming, take note, has already been linked to the roles of women. In Rina Jimenez-David’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer written a month ago, it is stated that a forum for climate change mentioned that “the negotiation process tends to be driven by a masculine view of the problem and its solutions. Participation of women in the whole process… is very low…” I am not really sure if this is a good thing, but there are obviously too many demarcations created for a woman to do this and for a man to do that. Specifics are good but when pushed to the limit they can be absurd. It’s just like going to the nearest bookstore and asking a saleslady, “Can I buy a manly magazine here, the glossy one that has large pictures of scantily-clad women, has one free pack of condom usually found at the center page, and costs about a hundred pesos?” Maybe in the coming days, it would no longer be surprising to hear news that reveals being queer will lead to the end of the world. To repeat Jimenez-David’s words, “What does gender have to do with it?”

That’s that. What has homosexuality got to do with the world’s destruction? Is it a deadly disease for the terminally ill? Or is it toxic that a person must be burned at the stakes when they’re found guilty of lack of machismo or daintiness? The church says a lot of contradictory things. If the Bible be followed word for word, doesn’t it say that God loves everyone who accepts his Son? And in Proverbs 8:17, it mentioned “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” So, are gays and lesbians incapable of such emotion and does their belonging to this particular stratum make him or her already a pagan? Heck, no. Pardon the lineup of interrogations but this is only one small step towards a more elaborate debate.

Religion, or one’s faulty grasp of it, has become a tool for sexism, a weapon to arouse phobia. To further underline this word, this is an irrational belief, a disorder that excessively desires to avoid a feared subject. The upshot here is that it’s purely unreasonable. In these dismal circumstances wherein errors have been intentionally blown up for selfish but idiotic reasons, wherein it subsequently brainwashed many people, it’s hard not to keep anyone from closing their eyes, stay blind and deaf from what is true because there’s plenty of badmouthing about the “issue” and only a little is done on clarification. And the media have their fair share of spreading the bad news, too. Most of the time, they sensationalize even the smallest things. Compare two kissing male celebrities for an upcoming art film to the recent natural disaster that has devastated a nearby province and it’s easy to point which has generated the more party poppers and attention.

As the world ages, its inhabitants are ironically getting more stubborn, keeping digression as a replacement for progression like it’s a paradox for sustaining life. I am not saying that by marrying the same sex we effectively catapult our country’s third world standing to the top. Sincerely, it’s just that a lot of people have already been hurt and shunned. And to be listened to and to be understood are the least things we could ask for. To end this, I’d like to add that Adam is not only for Eve. He’s for everyone.