A New Day for the Farmers

“Dalawang uri lang naman ang mayroon sa Pilipinas. Ang mga Panginoong may lupa at mga hampas lupa..”

I remember saying those lines to my mistah back in 2008, when I was still in College. I said it perhaps out of frustration. Or anger. Or my losing of faith to the system. We were then with the Calatagan farmers who were about to attend the Holy Mass and to have an audience with the Archbishop before leaving for their long march to Manila (A move inspired perhaps by the Sumilao farmers from Bukidnon.).

Since the advent of my awakening, I have always supported the cause of the poor and the oppressed for justice, freedom, and ownership. You may not see me with a banner or a raised fist in the streets but I believe that there are other ways to support their cause other than protests and rallies.

I studied Land Reform for one semester in 2005 as a required subject in College. The semester ended with all the discussions, cases, principles, and examples but there is only one thing that I can still remember up to this day.

The different programs for land reform in the Philippines have failed. The farmers are still tilling the lands which are not theirs. And powerful landlords still own vast area of land.

But the dark days for landless farmers may soon be over.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of about 5, 000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita.

The court sided with the farmers, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, which said that the stock distribution option was not in accordance with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

(For the benefit of those who are not watching the news, in stock distribution option, the farmers who will choose that would be just a mere stockholder (shareholder) and not a landowner.)

At last, social justice for the farmers. I hope that the Hacienda Luisita case would be a landmark decision, a jumping point for other cases. The struggle of farmers with their lands is not just a problem of Tarlac but of the whole country.

I want to see a new day where there will be no more landless farmers, no more greedy landowners, and no more social injustice brought by land ownership disputes.

Mabuhay ang mga magsasakang pinagkalooban ng lupa! Mabuhay ang mga magsasakang nakikibaka para sa kanilang lupa! Padayon!



Hysterical, Historical Day

Yesterday was not just any ordinary Friday. Well personally, aside from the fact that it was my beloved Nanay’s birthday, I have been waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision and whether Gloria Arroyo would (be allowed to) leave the country or not.

But it turned out to be a series of unfortunate events – for our former President.

It started in the morning when the COMELEC en banc filed Electoral Sabotage charges against Arroyo. I knew then that Gloria Arroyo’s days of freedom are numbered.

But with the Supreme Court’s decision denying the motion for reconsideration seeking to lift the TRO on Arroyo’s hold departure order, I thought that it’s over. She can (and would) leave the country.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have been glued on Twitter and on news websites all day, waiting for the developments of the Arroyo Saga. But it turned out to be faster than expected.

All of a sudden, the case was filed at the Pasay RTC and the warrant of arrest was immediately released. Next thing we knew, Gloria Arroyo is being arrested. And with that arrest warrant from the RTC, which is independent from the Supreme Court, her wish to go abroad, even with Supreme Court’s approval, went down to the drain.

In less than twenty-four (24) hours, a case was filed, a warrant of arrest was release, and a former President, arrested.

That was fast.

Of course, the critics of the Aquino administration and the defenders of Gloria Arroyo said that the case was railroaded, even calling it a “moro-moro”.

But in my opinion, what transpired in the past days up to the climax yesterday was a damn if you do, damn if you don’t situation for the Aquino Administration. If they didn’t file a case against Gloria, critics would say that the government is slow on doing their jobs. And if they filed a case against Arroyo, as what happened yesterday, they would say that it was railroaded and it did not undergo a due process.

We (or most of us) have all been seeking answers and justice from the numerous controversies of the previous administration. And yesterday’s event proved that justice is working in our country.

It’s just sad to know that most of our Kababayans who are equally seeking for justice are left with a slow and painful turn of the wheels of justice.

Is Gloria Arroyo guilty of the crime? Let’s just leave that to the courts. And let’s hope that truth and justice will prevail.

I have been always fascinated with front pages and covers of broadsheets, magazines, tabloids, and other publications. I consider it as an exceptional art and as a part of history as well.

I am posting this front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in commemoration of yesterday’s hysterical and historical series of events. And because we may not be able to see Gloria Arroyo’s mugshot. As of writing, Attorney Ferdinand Topacio requested the media not to release Gloria Arroyo’s mugshot because she is, er, a woman.

Gloria Arroyo is now under arrest. Let the truth come out and justice, served.Viva Filipinas! Padayon!


Wag Lang Di Makaraos: Eros Atalia’s New Book

I have been glued on the news websites and on Twitter all day, waiting for the next chapter of the Arroyo Saga. And the recent, successive events of this day that led to the arrest of our former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made me look for something more interesting than Politics.

My journey into the depths of cyberspace led to stalking, er, checking myfriends’ Facebook pages.

And I ended up looking at Professor Eros Atalia’s profile.

Blame it to the evil ticker of Facebook which made observing (I repeat. Observing, not stalking.) easier. Or the news feed. When I saw Eros Atalia’s profile picture has been changed, and it looked like a cover of a book, a new book, I immediately checked his page.

Lo and behold! He’s releasing a new book! And it’s entitled ‘Wag Lang ‘Di Makaraos 100 Dagli (Mga Kwentong Pasaway, Paaway at Pamatay)’.

It has been two years since he gave us the love story of Intoy and Jen on Ligo na U, Lapit na Me and I can’t wait for another story/stories that he has to offer.

On his Facebook wall, he posted this details for the launching of his latest book:

Launching ng “Wag Lang ‘Di Makaraos 100 Dagli (Mga Kwentong Pasaway, Paaway at Pamatay)” sa Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC) Auditorium , University of Santo Tomas sa November 28 (Monday), 2011; 12 nn-3pm. Panauhing pandangal ang Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Literatura na si Bienvenido Lumbera, kasama ang Dekano ng UP Mass Communication na si Roland Tolentino, Jun Cruz Reyes, Efren Abueg at mga kaibigan, kapanalig at katanguan sa panulat at panitikan. Kita-kits.

I have another reason to envy the Thomasians, especially his (past and present) students. I may not be able to go to his book launch but I am sure as Gloria spending the rest of her life in jail that I will buy this book.

Are you excited for his new book? Mabuhay si Eros Atalia!

Wait, you don’t know him? Then it sucks to be you. Peace out!


Seventh Year

A few weeks ago, a viral video of the alleged lies and crimes by the Aquino Family spread like wildfire on various forms of social media. Those who were amazed by the amazing videography and presentation of the details (for the record, I did not say facts) immediately believed and shared the video. While those who were discriminating enough, did their research, double-checked the details, and consulted other historians about the veracity of the video as a whole.

While some of the video’s details may not be a verified fact (i.e. the Antonio Luna and Ysidra Cojuangco love affair), one cannot deny the fact that some of the events really happened. And one of the crimes shown on the video that was a proven, actual event, was the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre.

Seven years ago today, twelve (12) picketing farmers and two (2) children were allegedly killed by the police and the military in a violent dispersal at the Gate 1 of the Hacienda Luisita.

And up to this day, no one was charged for that crime.

The recent circus brought by the opposing sides of the Executive and the Judicial Departments, Gloria Arroyo’s airport drama and Leila De Lima’s defiance of the Supreme Court order, the controversies of Pacquiao’s win and the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and Attorney Ferdinand topacio’s sacrificial bayag may have overshadowed today’s memorial of the event.

But by letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, we seem to be condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or allowing the culture of impunity in our country.

He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.

Justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre! Never forget. Never again.


Once again, a group of superheroes more powerful than the Justice Leagueand The Avengers rescued the Arroyos from destruction and persecution. And I am talking about the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court.

The celebration of the opposing side was short-lived. Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Justice rejected the petition of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad.

Personally, I was not surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the travel ban. Law experts have warned a few days ago that the arguments for not allowing Gloria Arroyo to travel abroad are weak. And based on their previous decisions, I know that the Supreme Court will always save the witch’s ass.

Voting 8-5 on the decision, the Justices who voted to allow Arroyo to leave were: Chief Justice Renato Corona, and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Presbitero Velasco, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, Jose Perez, and Arturo Brion.

Those who voted against were Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Antonio Carpio, Bienvenido Reyes, and Jose Catral Mendoza.

The two Justices who did not vote were Teresita Leonarde de Castro and Mariano del Castillo, who are both on leave.

Words cannot describe my dismay for the Supreme Court’s decision. So I will just let this cereal guy meme that I did do it for me.


This Time For Lilia Cuntapay

My childhood years belong to an era where watching Filipino movies in the movie houses are something to look forward to. I can still remember how my Father and I would watch local movies at the then-famous Agrix movie house here in Los Banos (the site where Anthony Genuino’s Los Banos Centro Mall is being built). No torrents. No downloads. No pirated dibidis. And if one missed the movies on the theaters, there is always our suking VHS rental houses to the rescue. (Man, I can still remember how to clean the VHS head with a clean bond paper. Ah, the little wonders of those days.)

The movie industry of the nineties is rich with Carlo J. Caparas’ insert-the-name-of-the-place-and-add-the-word-massacre movies, comedy films by Viva Films (Kuwadro De Jack and Pusoy Dos will always be my favorite), the last glorious days of Pinoy action movies, titillating flicks by Seiko Films (oh yeah!), and the thriller/haunted/shocker movies by Regal Films.

Let me focus on the last one – Regal Films. The movie outlet who taught us that haunted refrigerators and toilet bowls (Undin!) do exist; who coined the term “Anak ni Janice” which is synonymous to tiyanak (I wonder how Janice De Belen’s children from John Estrada and Aga Muhlach would react to this.); and who gave us a lesson on Aswang survival (Thank you Manilyn Reynes and Ana Roces).

Regal Films played an important role in shaping the contemporary Philippine cinema, thanks to the efforts of Mother Lily Monteverde. But in my opinion, there is another two-word term synonymous to Regal Films’ success aside from Mother Lily andhorror movies.

Lilia Cuntapay.

If there is one person who scared me when I was as a child aside from the creepy kid on the TV commercial of pediafortan and Mr. Shooli (Jun Urbano), that would be the most famous extra of Filipino movies – Lilia Cuntapay. Her long white hair, her toothless scare face, and the way she stares at her victims was enough for me to run to my parents in tears. Or hide under my pillow.

And of course, aside from her roles as white lady, aswang, and mangkukulam in the movies, there is always her appearance on the Halloween specials ofMagandang Gabi Bayan. I can still remember her creepy face as a white lady on theCeres bus haunted stories (where the camera caught a real image of a white lady on a highway somewhere up north).

Lilia Cuntapay. The country’s most famous extra. Even if you are not really into Filipino movies, I know that her face is familiar to you (though I bet that not all of you know her real name, like my favorite Professor in College.). And it is but proper for the movie industry to recognize her talent by making a movie starring her on her very first lead role.

A few weeks ago, the trailer of her movie 6 Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay spread on the internet. The movie tells the story of “dakilang extra” Lilia Cuntapay through the days leading up to a fictionalized awards night where she is nominated as a Best Supporting Actress for the very first time. The movie is one of the entries of this year’s Cinema One Originals.

Last night, November 13, the awarding ceremony for the said movie festival was held at the RCBC Theater. And the movie bagged six (6) awards including Best Actress for Lilia Cuntapay (other awards are Special Jury Prize, Best Supporting Actress for Geraldine Villamil, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Audience Choice Awards).

At last, Lilia’s talent is now being recognized by the industry. I hope this is not the last movie with Lilia Cuntapay. Today’s generation still need to know more of this brilliant, talented, and famous extra. I also hope that this movie be released commercially or if not, be more available for more viewers and movie goers to see.

It’s time for this industry to recognize talented extras (and sidekicks). Who knows?We might see Mang Andres (AKA Bangkay) and Bubble Gang’s Diego Lorico and Myka Flores on their first-ever movie in a starring role in the near future.

The Philippine movie industry needs more talented and creative minds to resurrect.And with the recent emergence of quality independent and mainstream movies, we may be slowly achieving that goal.

And I am sure that Lilia Cuntapay played her part on this movement.

Mabuhay si Lilia Cuntapay!


An Eargasmic Juggernaut Music

If I were to give an Eargasmic Album of the Year award, it would be Patience Dear Juggernaut’s debut release Girl the Impaler. NU 107 is long dead (368 days is long, right?) so I might as well do my own Rock Awards this year.

Wait, who the hell is Patient Dear Juggernaut? Some of you may ask. Let me do the honors of introducing him to you, thanks to the artist’s Facebook Page:

Patience Dear Juggernaut is the solo project of Manila-based songwriter and filmmaker Cameron Aquino (AKA Wincy Ong), who writes, composes and plays the music for all of his songs. Cameron Aquino was a former guitarist of the indie band Narda and is the guitarist-keyboardist of Us-2 Evil-0.

The artist’s style can be characterized by ‘60s style harmony vocals, psychedelic chord progressions, robotic beeps and bleats, and progressive song structures, while his lyrical style leans towards the Dionysian and the absurd.

The other night, I saw a post from CJ De Silva’s Tumblr page (we used to know her then as the Promil Kid with an awesome drawing skills. And yeah, I envied her for that.) about an illustration inspired by Patience Dear Juggernaut’s songs. And it included a Bandcamp link where one can listen to all of the songs. I immediately checked its Facebook page and lo and behold, the album can be downloaded for FREE! If there is one thing wonderful in this cyber world aside from downloaded movies, that would be free music so that’s something to be celebrated, right? (I checked the page earlier this morning and I was surprised that they are charging 5 Dollars for the album. I wonder why.)

I first discovered Patience Dear Juggernaut on one of Lilystars Records posts before. Being a fan of bands under their roster of artists and other similar acts like Your Imaginary Friends, The Camerawalls, A Gentle Isolation, National ExpressOuterhope, Us-2 Evil-0, Everything Gone Green, That Lingering Feeling, and other artists included in the Filipino Indie Pop Scene compilations, I immediately binged (uh, pardon the word) its music. And I was not disappointed.

The opening track Beta Male is enough for one to immediately like (and dance to) the album. It showcases Wincy Ong’s commendable poetry backed with an upbeat tune. Other notable tracks on the album are Art School Lover (Death to Ordinary Girls) and Ellen. But you have to listen the the whole album because I guarantee that every song is a sweet tune to the ear.

Being an indie pop aficionado, you may judge me as bias for giving a two-thumbs-and-toes-up for this album. If there is one thing I love about indie pop music, it is the ability to give us music with killer melodies, sweet vocals, andbetter poetry.

This album deserves to be in your playlist. I recommend this on your car’s music box and iPods because this is a perfect music for long travels and unforgiving traffic conditions. Or just listen to it whenever you feel like relaxing. Or having a good time. Or being alone with nature.

Now where’s my piano? I must learn to play these songs.