Last Saturday, March 19, Feast of Saint Joseph, My family and I attended the annual Lenten recollection at our Parish here at San Antonio de Padua  Church, Los Baños. The Priest who gave the recollection was Fr. Jerry Juarez from the diocese of Lucena (and I found out that we graduated from the same semianry). And it was a life-changing recollection for me.

I am not used on attending this knid of Parish recollection. Yeah, I am/was a Seminarian for eight years but there is this negative  characteristic/image among us seminarians that I continue to practice outside. Being omniscient. Being a badass know-it-all Prayle-wannabe. (Lipa) seminarians have this mentality of “alam ko na yang ibibigay mo sa aming talk”. That’s why some Priests are jokingly saying that seminarians are the most difficult audience to have your talk delivered to.

But this year, I decided to make a difference to my usual, know-it-all, badass mentality. I attended the Parish Recollection.

Fr. Jerry was your usual komedyanteng Prayle who uses his wit and sense of humor to connect to the people. And awesome was an understatement to describe this Priest.

He started his talk by pointing out our nature/characteristic to blame God during our time of trials, problems, and misfortunes. He pointed out different (and exaggerated) anecdotes from his Ministry as a Priest and his experience with the people to further stress out his point.

He continued delivering his talk with lots of funny anecdotes, few magic tricks, and comic punch lines and ended it with the Parishioners praying for one another.

After the recollection, I felt a sense of being reborn, refreshed, and renewed. I have been living a life away from what is being expected of me (as a Seminarian) and most of his words just pierced into my heart. Tagos pare!

Renewed. Blessed. Ecstatic. I do not have regrets on attending that recollection.

I have been giving talks, recollections and retreats to students and I have noticed that my material and style were quite old and boring. Paulit-ulit na lang ang sinasabi ko. Parang wala ng bago.

Yours truly during my recolllection with Grade 6 students of San Antonio de Padua Elementary School last March 11.

After attending the recollection, I was reviewed by Fr. Jerry on how to bring Jesus to the people. Meron akong mga bagong natutunan pero mas maraming mga bagay ang bumalik sa aking ala-ala. Mga bagay na dati kong alam na pero kinalimutan dahil naka-focus ako sa ibang bagay.

Yes, I know these things. But I need to hear them again and again from time to time.

Kapag sinabi mong alam mo na ang lahat ng bagay – o kapag hinog ka na – wala ng pagkakataon para lumago, para matutong muli.

Parang basong may tubig na kapag nilagyan ng tubig ay aapaw at masasayang lamang.

Learning is a life long process. Go back to the basics. Find time to reflect. Listen even though you already knew the message.

God’s message is always new and applicable for us.

May God bless us all. Padayon!


Mighty Hoax and the Pinoy Culture of Chismis

I had a real life over the past weekend so I was away from the internet during the height of the tragedy in Japan. No tweets. No Tumblr posts. Just glued on the television and broadsheets for news and updates.

I have been backreading some of my favorite bloggers on Tumblr and I have seen their sentiments, posts, and other stuff to deliver news, information, and awareness to netizens of the cyber empire created by David Karp.

Technology played a vital role in spreading the news and information during the height of the tragedy. We have seen photos and videos here on Tumblr and Facebook. Twitter played an important role to seek help to rebuild the devastated nation. News agencies became an instrument to find missing people after the tragedy.

And while technology was used to spread information faster, it was also used by some cunning individuals to spread malicious items and hoax to induce fear.

Let’s Just Leave It to the Angry Birds

Earlier this morning, while having a caffeine break and waging war to pigs using my angry birds armada to refresh my mind, I received a text message about the alleged BBC report about the nuclear fallout in one of the nuclear power plants in Japan and how allegedly, a radioactive rain (brought by the wind from Japan) will wreak havoc in the Philippines. It also warns the people to take extra precaution. And according to a friend, some versions of the text messages went as far as advising the people to use umbrellas, raincoats, putting Betadine (iodine solution)on the neck, and taking generous amount of iodized salt.

So there you go my friends, in case of a nuclear war in the future, you already know that some of our Kababayans‘ protections would be the following: umbrella,kapote, Betadine, and iodized salt (Sing “Iodized salt! Iodized salt! Mag-iodized salt tayo” dekada nobenta jingle here).

I immediately dismissed the text messages as a hoax for I have read beforehand the tweets and updates of respected journalists and news agencies.

I bet the one/s who created this hoax was/were laughing like the King of the Pigs on Angry Birds – Mighty Hoax level.

“Yehey! Walang Pasok!”

I switched the TV on and look for a local news program. As expected, most of the people who were unaware of the real score about the chismis would panic. But I was taken aback when I learned that a school/college suspended their classes because of this chismis.

Seriously, why didn’t they (the administration and whoever who is in-charge) verify first the reports before suspending the classes? With today’s technology, one can easily know whether an item is true or not. There’s Twitter. There’s Facebook. There’s the internet.

I now wonder if some bored students were the ones who were behind this hoax.

Let’s be Mutants like the Ninja Turtles

Though there are people who panicked on this chismis, some, after knowing that it was just a hoax, were smart enough to poke fun on this chismis. Pinoy na pinoy!

Some said that if the radiation leak reaches the Philippines, we will be mutants – but mutants with super powers. And I had fun reading the would-be “powers” of some people and celebrities I follow on Twitter.

Having fun, smiling amidst a nakaka-badtrip na item. That’s a Pinoy classic.

Chismis Culture?

It all started with a chismis – an unconfirmed text message that was repeatedly forwarded because of fear. Whoever was the one behind this fiasco, he succeeded. He induced fear and changed the normal routine of some of the Filipinos. He created an instant talk-of-the town. Or if he did it for fun, for sure, he laughed his ass out.

It’s just so disappointing that some idiots grab the opportunity of a disaster to create something stupid and for self-gratification.

Should our chismis culture be blamed? Our love for showbiz-oriented shows and tabloid-liked stories may be a factor. But I saw something “good” with this incedent.

It also showed the culture of Pinoy compassion.

They forwarded the messages to their friends and loved ones hoping that it will save them from impending harm and disaster.

Unfortunately, they passed the wrong message.

And the rest was an infamous story.

With today’s technology, news and information can be delivered faster. But technology doesn’t give us accuracy or veracity instantly.

So here’s a thing my friends: Check your sources, verify the reports, look for the other side of the story, and dare to ask.

Mas mahusay ang may alam. Ngunit mas lalong mahusay kung tama ang nalalaman.

But for now, I will resume my war against these pigs. I need to gain more stars on this Mighty Hoax level of Angry Birds to have more golden eggs. Padayon!

This blog entry was originally posted on my Tumblr account on March 14, 2011.


I blame it to David Karp and Morissey.

Imagine this scenario: I was browsing Tumblr while listening to the sad Bitish Pop anthems created by The Smiths. I was spinning Srangeways, Here We Come.

And I almost made the title of this blog entry Stranger, Here We Come.

For the first time after a year of blogging on David Karp’s empire, I felt like a stranger.

Most of the kids I knew on Tumblr went to this mass Tumblr meet-up called the White Day at Venice Piazza, The Fort. And obviously, based on photos and posts on my dashboard, they had fun.

I opted not to go to this meet-up due to some reasons: my excuse number one, I have self-esteem issues (weh?), and most importantly, I have class and I cannot find a substitute teacher to replace me (Gwyneth Paltrow, where art thou?).

So much for my excuses.

There are just too many new faces on Tumblr and too many new friendships and barkadahans have been formed. And I am okay with that. This just proves that tumblr is different from other social networking sites (It’s a blogging site in the first place).

And I feel like I don’t belong to any of them.

Yeah, I belong to this eLBikada-UPLB Tumblr Community but since I have been “away from them” for a while, I am no longer updated with the new happenings and to the new people/Tumblristas added to the barkada. There are just too many new faces and I haven’t met them yet (I have this selfish guideline that I will only follow a Tumblrista whom I met personally).

Should I blame myself for this feeling of isolation? Partly yes.

Before, I used to post personal stuff on my Tumblr blog. Back in the day when I was just like an ordinary dude who is trying to make a difference, one post at a time. And during that time, I feel “connected” with other people. Call it “cyber intimacy” but yeah, the good old days were better.

But now, I cannot just post anything personal on my blog. For security reasons, I decided to cap my posts to purely socio-political-satirical posts. And I am against posting nonsense stuff. I take blogging and the responsibility attached to it seriously. Yeah, 19,500 ++ followers (as of writing) can do that to you.

Fame has a price. If you can call it fame.

But don’t mention the word fame or famous to tumblr kids for they will surely abhor you.

I feel like a stranger on Tumblr and I am partly to blame.

Or should I blame my “serious and suplado image” on Tumblr? I have this gut feeling that people tend to avoid me because they feel that I am hard-to-reach and siplado because I post serious stuff.

Partly yes.

On the other hand, I am contented on where/ what I am right now. I may be a little jealous, envious, and bitter to these kids on Tumblr but it uplifts my spirit whenever someone posts a compliment on my inbox.

I am Juan Republic and this is me. I cannot just change myself because most of the kids are doing it. Right?

If you happen to read this one, let’s talk. I am inviting you to know the real me.

Thank you to the very much to the few individuals who were brave enough to bear with me, to talk to me outside Tumblr, and who knew the real me (or the other sidfe of me).

Thank you WordPress. I just have to let this out of my chest.

God bless us all. Padayon!