A Year After

Photos courtesy of Hufftingtonpost.com

This day marks the first anniversary of the infamous Manila Hostage Tragedy where 8 Hong Kong tourists died when dismissed police officer Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus carrying 25 people in an attempt to get his job back.

Where were you during that tragic incident?

I was then in between doing my editing works and procrastinating on Tumblr when the news broke out the morning of August 23, 2010. Having seen a similar situation years before when Jun Ducat held hostage preschool students in a bus, I told myself that this will also come to a peaceful end. I even exchanged some good laughs and ideas with Tita Marj about the possibility of creating a biopic for Captain Mendoza and guessing who would be the best actor to portray him.

The whole afternoon and early evening went by with me tweeting and posting some stuff on Tumblr about the hostage crisis, my opinion, my rant against Captain Mendoza, on how would it affect our image to the international community, and being glued on the evening news on television, monitoring the events.

And then the unexpected came. The whole country – and perhaps the whole world – was in shock.

Most of us, I think, were glued then on the television and have watched the events that lead to a bloodbath. Those who have no television during that time resorted to social media, blogging site Tumblr included, for updates. My dashboard became a news feed of sort, thanks to the Tumblristas who posted the events (and opinion) on this blogging platform. (There was even a pun created during that time here on David Karp’s cyber empire. Tumblr became ‘Tumblr Patrol’ in reference to the blow by blow posting of events just like in the news program ‘TV Patrol’.)

After the tragic event, the eyes of the whole world were glued to our country and the then two-month old Aquino administration was put under the spotlight of local and international ridicule. The Pinoy culture of ‘mas magaling ang miron’, ‘sisihan’ and ‘turuan’ were seen days after the event. Memes about howpulpol our policemen were spread on various social media. Angry Facebook users stormed the Facebook page of President Aquino (that lead to its early demise and reconstruction). And to make things worse, photos of policemen and students who were taking pictures with the ill-fated bus spread on the internet (that added to the anger of the citizens of Hong Kong.)

It has been repeatedly said that no one wanted this to happen. Our country has repeatedly apologized to the victims. But is an apology enough? No. Is justice served to the victims? (Click the GMAnews.tv link below to read what happened to the personalities that were held liable for the tragedy.)

And aside from justice for the victims, have our authorities learned about this tragedy? And in the event that a similar event happen again, are we assured not to have another bloodbath similar to this one?

Every mistake requires penance and contrition. Every tragedy requires justice for the aggrieved party. Forgiveness may come later but the first move to reconciliation and closure must first come from the aggressor.

Aside from justice for the victims and the preparedness of our forces, I also want our government to clean up the system so as not to make another Captain Mendoza. It may be remembered that one of the reasons why Captain Mendoza hijacked the bus was the alleged corruption (and bribery for his pending case) on the Office of the Ombudsman. Daang Matuwid? I hope so.

On the first year of the Manila Hostage Tragedy, I am inviting you to say a prayer or two (or just be still and be silent for a minute, if you are an agnostic or an atheist)for the victims. And pray to God – or ask the Cosmos – that this may not happen again.

Never again.

Read more here: The 2010 Manila Hostage Crisis: A Year After (GMAnews.tv)’  GMA News Online looks back at the personalities held liable for the tragedy and examines if justice has indeed been served to the eight victims of dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza, who was himself killed in a police assault viewed live worldwide. 

Source: Photos courtesy of Hufftingtonpost.com

Post Scriptum: During the height and the aftermath of the hostage crisis, I made a handful of blog entries here at the Republic. You may want to visit and read them by clicking these links: 1. Dear Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza 2. Ang Pinakamatapang na Pulis ng Maynila 3. Ang Linya na Hindi Inirerespeto ng mga Usisero 4. And the ‘Most Hated Person’ Award is Given to.. 5. Ano kaya Bersyon ng Kuwento ng mga “Kontrabida”? 6. Araw ng mga Bayani? (WOTL) 7. Major Major’

Enter the Dragon

This may not be a government-sponsored hero's welcome but this is far more touching - a people's welcome. (Photo courtesy of PDI)

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III presents the Presidential Citation to the 26-members of the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, represented by Philippine Dragon Boat Federation President Marcia Cristobal, in recognition for their triumphant participation in the 10th International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida during the Courtesy Call at the Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace Friday August 12, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Noynoy Aquino's Facebook Page)

I may be late on posting this. Much has been said and written about the Philippine Dragonboat Federation Team and the alleged lack of support by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.

I was tempted to just leave it there and not blog about it but I made a promise on my last post that I will get back on this. After all, it is advocacy to promote Pinoy pride and to put a different and light approach on serious matters of society, sports, and politics.

Most of the things that I will share here may be already said by the Sports experts and fellow bloggers. You are free to skip this post and try looking for other interesting stuff on the internet. As usual, I will put my thoughts into bullets because I am too lazy to construct an full-length discussion about the topic (and so as not to bore the younglings who read this post). Here we go:

  • GMA News TV’s Brigada and ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo’s Krusada has featured the struggles of the team during their preparation for the tournament. Lack of funds, support, and own paddles are just some of the items tackled on the above-mentioned programs. The athletes have to resort on diving for mussels (tahong) for their food. So to those who are accusing our athletes of using steroids, it’s tahong who give extraordinary strength to our athletes. Beat that douchebags! (I even laughed on one of the soldier-athlete’s answer on Jessica Soho’s interview last Friday night on SONA when asked about steroids. The soldier told Jessica, “Steriods? E yung iba nga sa amin hindi alam ang spelling ng steroids eh..”. See?)
  • I really admired the Filipinos in Tampa Bay, Florida who gave their full support (food, allowance, gifts, etc. You name it.) to our athletes. It just shows that the spirit of bayanihan is still alive even in other country.Mabuhay kayo!
  • Based on what I understood, the only trouble about this team and our authorities is that dragonboat should be under the canoe-kayak classification since dragonboat uses forward paddling. I hope that they could fix this mess soon and come up with an agreement good for both parties. Sports should unite, not divide. Humility lang yan mga Pare! 
  • Noynoy Aquino promised his support for the team and he vowed to rid sports of politics. On a different but related thought, should we keep sportsmen away from Politics so as not to distract them on their game? (Ring any bells?). He promised support to the athletes, but one of the alleged kontrabida in this whole fiasco is Noynoy’s Uncle, Don Peping Cojuangco. Cool eh?
  • Speaking of Don Peping, he actually got irked on defending the Olympic Committee last Friday night on SONA. He told Jessica Soho that the Federation did not ask for any support from the Committee. He also added that lack of funds is not only the Dragonboat Federation’s problem but the whole sports community. Are you ready for their face-off between the two parties? Let’s wait and watch the Senate and House hearing on this issue and, hopefully, come up with a solution to end this fiasco.
  • While the Federation was fighting for our country in Tampa Bay, Florida, POC and PSC continued to defend themselves and gave a not-so-pleasing statements (e.g. PSC Jeff Tamayo’s “They have the body, they have everything, but as we all know, ampaw na lang ’yun”) that set the public into an uproar. Douchebags. Dragon boat team, please give them a kamehame wave for us! #LOL
  • We all know that our government, dealing with other more important problems (education, security, and health), lack funds on supporting our sportsmen. Why don’t we just leave it to the private sector? (I personally commend Cobra Energy Drink, ABS-CBN, and Manny V. Pangilinan for supporting our athletes).
  • Support. Our paddlers need their fellow countrymen’s support. Just because they are not as guwapo as the Azkals does not mean we will have to neglect them. (Come on! Mas mukhang Pilipino ang mga ‘to mga Pare! I’m just kidding but I know you got my point there.)
  • I hope that dragon boat will soon be recognized as an Olympic sport. Who knows? Our country’s first gold medal may come from this event.
  • In the event that the tension on West Philippine Sea escalates and our chinky-eyed neighbors threaten us with their aircraft carrier,  hamunin na lang natin sila sa Dragon Boat! Kahit sa kanila pa nanggaling ang sports na ‘yan! Ha ha!
  • We can have other better paddlers when these great athletes retire.Madami tayong mga mangingisda! Magaling magsagwan ang mga yan!

Congratulations again to the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation. Thank you for bringing an honor and inspiration on this divided country. Viva Filipinas! Padayon!

Read more here: 1. Aquino vows to rid sports of Politics. 2. Dragonslayers (Patricia Evangelista)

Angels and Jejemons: Isang Pagsusuri (o Isang Mapagkunwaring Book Review)

Angels and Jejemons: Isang Pagsusuri (o Isang Mapagkunwaring Book Review) Isang disclaimer: Hindi ito libro tungkol sa mga anghel. Hindi din ito tungkol sa mga Jejemon. At hindi ito spoof ng nobela ni Dan Brown kaya’t hindi mo makikita ang Santo Papa na nagsusuot ng jejecap bilang kapalit ng kanyang Mitra. Isa itong aklat tungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture. Nasa Booksale ako kahapon sa SM CIty Calamba nang makapukaw ito sa aming paningin. Itinuro sa akin ng tatay ko ang librong ito na naka-display malapit sa may counter. Takaw-pansin ang libro dahil katulad ng illustration ng sikat na nobela ni Dan Brown - ang Angels and Demons.  Dahil mura ang aklat sa halagang 85 pesos, agad ko itong binayaran sa counter. At hindi naman ako nanghinayanhg sa pagbili. Puwede ng pagtiyagaan. Madali kong natapos ang aklat. 136 pahina lang kasi. Isang upuan lang, solb na ang kuwentuhan. Ang aklat, katulad ng nabanggit ko sa itaas, ay tungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture. Nahahati ito sa ilang mga kabanata: mga patunkol sa pelikula, teleserye, artista, listahan ng mga kung-ano-mang-naisip-ng-may-akda, musika, basketball, at ilan pang mga random na bagay na pumasok sa isip ni Arnel Aquitania na isinulat upang maging bahagi ng aklat. Dahil nga patungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture, makaka-relate ang mga mambabasa sa ilang mga bagay sa aklat na ito. Pero may mga item sa libro na kailangan pang i-Google ng kasalukuyang henerasyon dahil sa masyao na itong vintage o hindi na umabot sa panahon ng torrents. Kaya may mga parte na nagpapatawa na pala ang may akda, hindi ko pa rin ma-gets. Taglish at informal ang wikang ginamit sa aklat. Parang nagku-kuwentuhan lang kayo ng conyologs mong kaibigan. Nandoon ang witty na atake at paglalaro sa mga salitang ginamit. Kung alipin ka ni Bob Ong, malamang na sabihin mong “parang si Bob Ong ang istilo ng pagsusulat.” Ngayon pa lang itigil mo na ang pagbabasa ng artikulong ito at pumunta sa pinakamalapit na bookstore at pumunta sa Filipiniana section, halungkatin mo yung mga obra ng ibang Pilipinong manunulat. Sa kabuuan, mahusay ang pagkakasulat ni Arnel Aquitania sa aklat na ito. Nandoon ang sarili niyang istilo sa pagku-kuwento na hindi maaaring ihalintulad sa ibang manunulat. Pinupuri ko din ang PSICOM Publishing sa pagbibigay ng pagkakataon sa ilan nating mga kababayang manunulat na mailimbag sa isang aklat ang kanilang mga obra. At naniniwala akong madami pa kayong matutulungan. At sana ay isa na po ako doon (shameless promotion). Sa bandang huli, nais kong iwanan sa inyo ang katagang ito: “Bob Ong may have stereotyped the writing style of some Pinoy writers but only a wide reader can break that notion.” (Pinag-isipan ko yan. Bawal nakawin.) Diyan na muna kayo. Baka kuyugin na ako ng mga fans ni Bob Ong. Padayon!

Cover pa lang. Catchy na. Sino ba naman ang hindi magiging interesado sa librong yan? Pero dapat pala, pinaniwalaan ko yung "Do not judge a book by its cover"

Isang disclaimer: Hindi ito libro tungkol sa mga anghel. Hindi din ito tungkol sa mga Jejemon. At hindi ito spoof ng nobela ni Dan Brown kaya’t hindi mo makikita ang Santo Papa na nagsusuot ng jejecap bilang kapalit ng kanyang Mitra.

Isa itong aklat tungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture.

Nasa Booksale ako kahapon sa SM CIty Calamba nang makapukaw ito sa aming paningin. Itinuro sa akin ng tatay ko ang librong ito na naka-display malapit sa may counter. Takaw-pansin ang libro dahil katulad ng illustration ng sikat na nobela ni Dan Brown – ang Angels and Demons.

Binasa ko 'to noong College sa kalagitnaan ng pagre-review ko sa Ontology at Epistemology. Hindi ko mabitawan sa sobrang ganda! #DanBrownIsEvil

Dahil mura ang aklat sa halagang 85 pesos, agad ko itong binayaran sa counter. At hindi naman ako nanghinayanhg sa pagbili. Puwede ng pagtiyagaan.

Madali kong natapos ang aklat. 136 pahina lang kasi. Isang upuan lang, solb na ang kuwentuhan.

Ang aklat, katulad ng nabanggit ko sa itaas, ay tungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture. Nahahati ito sa ilang mga kabanata: mga patunkol sa pelikula, teleserye, artista, listahan ng mga kung-ano-mang-naisip-ng-may-akda, musika, basketball, at ilan pang mga random na bagay na pumasok sa isip ni Arnel Aquitania na isinulat upang maging bahagi ng aklat.

Dahil nga patungkol sa Pinoy Pop Culture, makaka-relate ang mga mambabasa sa ilang mga bagay sa aklat na ito. Pero may mga item sa libro na kailangan pang i-Google ng kasalukuyang henerasyon dahil sa masyao na itong vintage o hindi na umabot sa panahon ng torrents. Kaya may mga parte na nagpapatawa na pala ang may akda, hindi ko pa rin ma-gets.

Taglish at informal ang wikang ginamit sa aklat. Parang nagku-kuwentuhan lang kayo ng conyologs mong kaibigan. Nandoon ang witty na atake at paglalaro sa mga salitang ginamit.

Kung alipin ka ni Bob Ong, malamang na sabihin mong “parang si Bob Ong ang istilo ng pagsusulat.” Ngayon pa lang itigil mo na ang pagbabasa ng artikulong ito at pumunta sa pinakamalapit na bookstore at pumunta sa Filipiniana section, halungkatin mo yung mga obra ng ibang Pilipinong manunulat.

Sa kabuuan, mahusay ang pagkakasulat ni Arnel Aquitania sa aklat na ito. Nandoon ang sarili niyang istilo sa pagku-kuwento na hindi maaaring ihalintulad sa ibang manunulat.

Pinupuri ko din ang PSICOM Publishing sa pagbibigay ng pagkakataon sa ilan nating mga kababayang manunulat na mailimbag sa isang aklat ang kanilang mga obra. At naniniwala akong madami pa kayong matutulungan. At sana ay isa na po ako doon (shameless promotion).

Sa bandang huli, nais kong iwanan sa inyo ang katagang ito: “Bob Ong may have stereotyped the writing style of some Pinoy writers but only a wide reader can break that notion.” (Pinag-isipan ko yan. Bawal nakawin.)

Diyan na muna kayo. Baka kuyugin na ako ng mga fans ni Bob Ong. Padayon!

Originally written and posted on 8 November 2010. Reposting because I am bored. And too burned out to write something new.

 

 

David and Gloliath on West Philippine Sea

Hindi mo na kailangan ng military at naval training to spot the difference.

When the tension on the West Philippine Sea (formerly South China Sea) escalated brought by the territorial dispute on the Spratlys, our government sent the largest warship of the Philippine Navy – the BRP Raja Humabon.

But being built on 1943, Raja Humabon is older than our parents (or maybe our grandparents) and her equipment are as old as the second world war.

Worry no more fellas. In the next couple of days, our biggest and latest warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (formerly USCGC Hamilton) will arrive in our shores from the United States. Our government has purchased it from the United States for the price of 450 million pesos under the Excess Defense Article Program (EDA) paying the money from the Philippine Malampaya Project.

But on the downside, though not as old as the Raja Humabon, Gregorio del Pilar is also old being built on 1965. Moreso, it was originally designed to carry a 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System) designed to shoot down anti-ship missiles and fixed-wing aircraft, but the weapons system was removed by the US and transferred to another US Coast Guard ship. Instead, the US installed additional radar and other electronic equipment as part of the transfer agreement with the Philippines.

But that’s not just our weakness (or handicap) when it comes to naval battle on the West Philippine Sea. Sleeping giant China’s aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang, is much bigger and more powerful than our own Gregorio del Pilar.

And the photo above is more than enough proof for you to spot the difference.

This is a modern battle between David and Goliath.

Do we really have a chance against these sleeping giant and chinky-eyed neighbors of ours? Maybe no. In terms of military size and equipment, we are far far behind China.

But how about our ever-loyal friend Uncle Sam? Will he still help us? Please remember that they were always there for us during our troubled times. But will he still help us amidst their failing economy and increasing debt? I will not be surprised if, one day, Uncle Sam will no longer be the world’s super power.

Who will save us? Who will help us? Our Filipino-Chinese countrymen? Henry Sy or Lucio Tan perhaps?

I personally do not know a solution and I am no expert to discuss foreign relations, policies, and diplomacy. But I can do something, I shall pray for peace and hope that vigilance and peaceful agreement prevail over tension and military and naval showdown. And I would start to be more makabayan amidst this tension-filled time for our country. Would you?

World peace, mga pare. Padayon!

Read more here: Philippine’s biggest warship versus China’s first aircraft carrier

Priceless

During the onslaught of Tropical Storm Juaning in Albay, 12-year-old Janella Lelis braves the flood to save a Philippine flag Francisco Pena Lozano

A few days ago, I posted a blog entry about our slain and decapitated soldiersin Sulu after their clash with the Abu Sayyafs and how I admire their courage and love for our country. We are all called to be a bayani even in our own, small, little ways and one of which is to respect and give honor to our flag.

And this young girl on the photo did more than that. She braved the flood during the height of Tropical Storm Juaning to save a Philippine flag.

I watched the evening news earlier and it saddened me learning that their house and all their stuff were all wiped out by the raging flood. She and her family are now homeless and are temporarily living with a relative.

She was not able to save their house and all their stuff, but she was able to save our flag, our country’s symbol, from the flood. How sweet was that? I admire you Janella. You are indeed a hero.

I just hope that there are still other Janellas among our youngsters today. I hope that the spirit of patriotism is still burning in the hearts of Filipinos today. It’s just sad to hear people who have forgotten our national anthem after finishing school (or even in College where the flag ceremonies are seldom done). Or to see people, especially in the malls, not pausing and giving respect whenever the national anthem is played. Or people who just treat our flag as an ordinary piece of cloth.

How about you? How far will you go for our country?

Viva Filipinas! Padayon!

Elsewhere: Bata, lumusong sa baha para isalba ang Philippine Flag (video)

Yellow Ribbon (Presidential Mix)

Yellow Ribbon (Presidential Mix)

This song is a remix done by DJ MOD (popularly seen on ABS-CBN’s Showtime) of the original song by Tony Orlando and Dawn entitled “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”. A yellow ribbon is a sign a released convict or prisoner requested from his wife or lover to indicate that she would welcome him home.

The yellow ribbon became a popular symbol of Cory Aquino as a symbol of opposition during the Martial Law era when her husband, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., was shot and killed upon his arrival after a 3-year exile in the United States.image

I first heard this song on Rock Ed Radio’s “Cory Aquino Episode” shortly after her death on August 1, 2009. Gang Badoy and the rest of the team played songs that from the Cory Aquino-era and songs that would remind the Filipino people of her.

The remix, with its catchy tune and different twist, immediately caught my attention and I immediately searched for it on the net. And let me share with you a little background of this song:

Calling upon the talents of Kix of Saia to sing the song, D-Coy and J.O.L.O. to drop a few bars and Pikaso to co-produce the track.

With a gut feeling friday night (July 31, 2009) DJ MOD felt there was a need of urgency to get the song recorded and finished. DCOY and JOLO got into the recording both at PIKASO’s studio, that very same night and got the vocals to DJ MOD.

Once the song was finished,in the early hours of Saturday Morning, DJ MOD got word our Nation’s greatest president had passed. 

Please keep TITA CORY in your prayers and enjoy the song.

Let us remember Tita Cory on her second death anniversary and may we continue to live and value the democracy that she, together with millions of Filipinos, have fought for us.

And let us also pray that she may guide her son, our President Noynoy Aquino, from up there as he lead our country to the Daang Matuwid. Hopefully.

And yeah, her daughter Kris Aquino included. Please guide (and scold) her Tita Cory.

Maraming-maraming salamat po Tita Cory! Viva Filipinas! Padayon!