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!



The Return of the Infamous X-Men

This is not about Professor X, Wolverine and their mutant friends.

But these men wrecked havoc and terror that caused lives and properties more than what Magneto did and other mutants have combined.

Since the advent of my bumming in our school library and in my parents’ office library, I have been always fascinated with covers and front pages of various local and international broadsheets and magazines. In fact, it is my daily habit before starting a day’s work to browse and to look at various front pages and covers whether it be in print or in digital format. I consider it as an exceptional art and as a part of history as well.

I can still remember the front page and the head line of the 11 September 2001 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I can still recall the whole-page photo of Blessed John Paul II on the same broad sheet after his death and how they changed their logo from blue to yellow after the death of Cory Aquino. I can still remember a stern-looking Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Iron Lady?) and a versatile U2-frontman Bono (Will Bono Save the World?) on Time Magazine’s cover and comic geniuses Jose Marie Viceral (Vice Ganda) and Beethoven Del Valle Bunagan (Michael V.) gracing the cover of the annual humor issue of Reader’s Digest.

The above-mentioned examples are just few of the numerous covers that still remain in my memory and that made a mark on the history of print.

But there is one special and rare type (style or design) of cover that stands out and continuously fascinates my love for front pages and covers. It’s from the international magazine TIME.

It’s the iconic ‘X treatment’ scrawled across the face of an American enemy. It’s their famous ‘X’ Covers.

This is the fourth time that the magazine has put an X over the face of an infamous person for their cover. the first person to receive the treatment was the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler after the discovery of his body on May 2, 1945. The second one was Saddam Hussein after the capture of Iraq by the coalition forces (he will be captured 7 months later). And the last one before Bin Laden was Al Qaeda’s number three Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He was called as the “mastermind” of the insurgency in Iraq.

(Because of the red in Japan’s flag, they used a black cross instead. This was released after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima ang Nagasaki).

This special issue will be released on Thursday (in the United States).

Personally, I want this type of treatment for some of the infamous personalities in our country. Imagine how people will react upon seeing Ferdinand Marcos’ or Gloria Arroyo’s face marked with an ‘X’ in the front page of the Philippine Free Press or some major broadsheets and magazines.

Setting aside the reaction of loyalists and relatives and censorship, this may still seem to be an impossible dream. We have this culture of high respect and honor for the (dead) person no matter how infamous he was. Let’s just leave it there. Let’s go back to Osama bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. It first spread like wildfire on Twitter and various social media (thank you technology). At first, I doubt the veracity of the reports. Remember during the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein? A local television network interviewed a Filipino who was a former worker at Saddam’s place and a local government official and they said that Saddam have ‘doubles’ that can act as a decoy. With Bin Laden’s face as common as any ordinary Arab that we see on TV, it may be true that Bin Laden also has doubles or decoys.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Imagine how the United States, the most powerful nation equipped with latest military equipments and intelligence gathering, took almost 10 years to capture (and kill) the world’s most wanted terrorist. As my friend said, “It is not something that they should be too proud of.”

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Most of the world is now on full alert and governments warn their people for possible retaliation from his supporters. Some would say that his death may cause fear for other terrorists but I beg to disagree. These men are trained to do their task without fear and with their leader dead, I sense a possible new threat.

Remember the Abu Sayyaf? Remember how the sons and the next generation of fighters continue what their slain leaders and fathers have started? It is a continuing battle, an endless struggle.

Watching the local news earlier yesterday, I saw a comment from a viewer that the US is responsible for making Osama Bin Laden. He said that decades of oppression against Muslims and domineering foreign policy will create more Bin Ladens in the future. I am no expert on history and foreign policy so I will say that he may be right.

Going back here in the Philippines, I see the same problem in the rebels in the south and insurgents in the mountains. As long as there is an unjust distribution of goods and resources, as long  there are farmers without lands, as long as there is oppression and exploitation, the threat will continue.

Let us look into the bigger picture of rebellion and insurgency.

And with terrorism, I do not blame our Muslim brothers. I firmly believe that Islam is a Religion of peace. And any act of terrorism, in my opinion, is against the Islam.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. What’s next? Is this the end or is just the beginning? Is this the end for Al Qaeda or is it just a beginning of a bigger attack? I don’t know.

If we can only have Professor X, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm and other Mutants to help us. But it’s impossible.

Let’s just continue to be vigilant and pray for peace.

And I hope that Osama Bin Laden will be the last “X-Men” to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

>“Gatas ng Gobyerno”


Ngayon ay April 15. Deadline ng pagfa-file ng income tax. Ibig sabihin, busy na naman ang Kawatanan Kagawaran ng Rentas Internas (BIR) sa pangongolekta ng pondo mula sa ating mga taxpayer para maging bahagi ng pondo ng gobyerno.

Wala namang masama sa pagbubuwis. Nakakatulong pa nga ito. Para sa inyong mga hindi pa nag-aaral ng taxation sa Kolehiyo, ang buwis ang siyang dugo na bumubuhay sa isang bansa. Kung walang buwis – na siyang pinagmumulan ng pondong ginagamit sa mga proyekto at serbisyo ng gobyerno – mamamatay ang isang bansa.

Sa ibang bansa, grabe kung makapagbuwis ang gobyerno. Pero hindi nagrereklamo ang mga tao dahil ramdam naman nila ang epekto ng kanilang buwis – sa serbisyo at proyekto na ipinagkakaloob ng gobyerno.

Dito sa Pilipinas, palagi na lang umaangal ang mga mamayan kapag tumataas ang mga produkto at serbisyo dahil sa karagdagang buwis. May punto naman ang ating mga kababayan. Minsan kasi, hindi natin nararamdaman kung saan napupunta ang kinaltas sa ating mga kayamanan.

Sa aking opinyon, kahit gawing 20% o 30% pa ang buwis, kung inutil naman ang pangongolekta at kung sablay naman ang paggamit sa pondo, walang mangyayari sa atin. Kahit 100% VAT pa ang ipataw sa paborito kong kape at beer. Sana ay matugunan ito ng mga susunod na uupo sa puwesto.

Mga kaibigan, 24 days na lang bago maghalalan. Pag-isipan nating mabuti ang ating mga ihahalal sa puwesto. Umasenso tayo Pilipinas. Padayon!

Juan Republic, 24 Days Before the Election

>Hindi ko Iboboto ang Tumatakbong Konsehal na hindi alam ang Pinagkaiba ng "Resolution" sa "Ordinance" (O kung Bakit Hindi natin Dapat Balewalain ang P



Kagabi, matapos mawalan ng kuryente ay pinatay ko na ang laptop. At dahil matalino ang meralco, halos limang minuto lang tumagal ang brownout, pero tinamad na akong mag-internet. Kaya binuksan ko na lang ang TV para manood ng mga late night news and public affairs program sa telebisyon.

At napatapat ako sa Channel 2. Sa The Correspondents. At napakaganda ng kanilang topic kagabi – tungkol sa mga konsehal. Kung bakit nga naman iyong mga artista at mga mayayamang negosyante ay nagkukumahog na gumastos ng malaki sa kampanya para sa posisyon ng Konsehal.

Mababa sa ating paningin? Mag-isip ka ulit.

Sila ang itinuturing na mga Little Congressmen.

Kung sa Camara de Representates, tumatanggap ang ating mga butihin at buwayang mga Congressmen ng Pork Barrel o Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) para sa mga proyekto sa bawat distrito, ang ating mga Konsehal ay may tinatanggap din na pondo na alokasyon para sa kanilang mga proyekto sa kanilang nasasakupang distrito, lungsod, o bayan.

At kung akala mong barya lang, nagkakamali ka. Umaabot ito ng mahigit 40 Milyong Piso taon-taon! At para lang iyon sa isang konsehal. Mabuti sana kung sa mabuting proyekto napupunta ang alokasyong iyon.

Ang konseho (kalipunan ng mga konsehal) din ang may kapangyarihan para i-apruba o ibasura ang mga nakahaing business permits, development sa isang bayan/lungsod, pagpapatayo ng mga gusali at mall at marami pang iba.

At hindi naman kaila sa atin na may mga pogi tayong konsehal na tumatanggap ng lagay sa mga negosyante para mapabilis ang transaksyon at pag-apruba sa isang proyekto.

Marami sa mga tumatakbong konsehala ang nagsasabing gusto nilang makapaglingkod sa kanilang mga kababayan kaya gusto nilang tumakbo. Pero nakakalungkot isipin na noong tinanong ng host na si Karen Davila ang mga aspiring councilors sa pinagkaiba ng “resolution” at “ordinance” – na dapat ay nasa puso na ng isang konsehal dahil sa kanila ito nagmumula – malayo at malabo ang isinagot nila.

Oo, mababaw na dahilan para hindi iboto ngunit malalim ang pinaghuhugutan. Sa kanila kasi nakasalalay ang ating lungsod/bayan.

Huwag sana tayong mabulag sa kasikatan ng tumatakbo. Huwag sana tayong magpadala sa mga kupal pangako. Huwag sana tayong magpadala sa sabi sabi ng iba. Kilatising mabuti ang mga kandidato.

Tandaan ninyong mas direkta ang impluwensya sa atin ng mga Konsehal kesa sa mga Congressman, Senador, Pangalawang Pangulo, at Pangulo. Mas malapit at direkta sa atin ang kanilang kapangyarihan upang makapaglingkod.

Mga kaibigan, 25 araw na lang bago ang eleksyon. Pag-isipan nating mabuti ang ating mga boto.

Kapayapaan at pag-unlad para sa Bansang Pilipinas. Padayon!


>Unbelievable? Believe it. I have witnessed it myself.

Kanina, matapos akong ma-badtrip sa torture device na nagpapatugtog ng campaign jingle in the tune of “Nobody” malapit dito sa amin, umalis kami ng kapatid ko para magbayad ng water at electric bills namin sa Laguna Water District at sa Meralco.

Ako ang nagpunta sa Meralco at ang kapatid ko naman ang sa Water District.

Ngayon, alam niyo naman sigurong mga Meralco consumers kung gaano kahaba ang pila kapag nagbabayad sa Meralco. Buti na lang at de aircon ang headquarters ng Meralco kaya medyo tolerable ang mahabang pila.

Nandoon ako, nakapila, waiting for my turn sa counter at dala ang mahabang pasensya. Sa likod ko ay may isang nanay, on her 30’s, na karga ang kanyang anak na sa tingin ko ay nasa 2 hanggang 3 taong gulang.

At dahil cool yung bata, sinabayan niya ang init ng panahon ng umaatikabong pagmamaktol at pagngalngal – naiinip na siguro o nagugutom.

Ginawa ni nanay ang lahat para amuin ang bata pero hindi pa rin tumigil ang bata sa ginagawa niyang noise pollution.

At ginamit na ni Nanay ang kanyang ULTIMATUM.

Kinanta niya ang (in)famous na campaign jingle ni Manny Villar habang hinehele ang bata (yung medyo kinakalog-kalog ng konti ngunit may paglalambing para makatulog ang bata).

Hindi bawal mangarap, ang mahirap. Basta’t maaabot ito sa malinis na paraan..”

Hindi ko alam kung may hypnotic effect talaga ang kanta ni Manny Villar pero himalang tumigil ang bata sa kanyang pagmamaktol at unti-unting nakatulog.

Wasak! Kahit ako ay hindi makapaniwala.

Naniniwala na akong malakas talaga sa mga bata ang mga pang-aakit ni Manny Villar – mismong si Baby James Yap nga ay naapektuhan na din. Sabi nga ng nanay ko, kung mga bata daw ang boboto, tiyak na panalo na si manny Villar.

Huwag sana tayong tumulad sa bata na nakatulog at napatahimik ng kanta ni Manny Villar. Hindi campaign jingle ang basehan ng pagpili ng magiging lider ng ating bayan.

Pag-ibig at kapayapaan para sa ating lahat. Padayon!

>That was my statement during the height of the “Nobody” craze last year. At hindi pa rin siya magbabago.

You see, naging torture sa akin ang pagpasok sa trabaho noon dahil palagi na lang siyang pinapatugtog sa sinasakyan kong bus na biyaheng LRT-Taft Buendia. Kasama pa ang buwakananginang “Sabay-sabay Tayo” ni Marian “Nakakasawa ka na” Rivera.

Tapos pag-uwi ko, pagod sa maghapong trabaho sa field, maririnig ko pa sa mga kapitbahay naming may sumasayaw na mga bata. Tapos kakantahin pa nung kapatid ko sa harap ng salamin. Abashet!

It was everywhere. Noong una, tolerable pa. Nang maglaon, naging torture device na.

Ngayon, habang nagluluto ako, may “naka-park” na Mobile Noise Machine and Torture Device (iyong mga sasakyan na may malakas na speaker, tapos nagpapatugtog ng mga pang-hypnotize na campaign jingles) malapit dito sa amin.

Pinapatugtog ang campaign jingle ng Governor and Vice Governor tandem ng Liberal Party dito sa amin in the tune of “NOBODY”.

Abashet! Sobrang init na nga, yun pa ang mapapakinggan! I’ve had enough!

Mababaw na dahilan ang hindi pagboto ng dahil lang sa campaign jingle – dapat ding tingnan ang track record, plataporma, at kung may magagwa ba talaga siya sa Lalawigan/Bayan.

Pero matagal na akong nakapili ng iboboto ko sa pinakamataas na posisyon sa aming Lalawigan- at hindi sila iyon.

Kaya sorry na lang. Mad nakadagdag pa sa hindi ko pagboto sa inyo ang paggamit ng “Nobody” sa campaign jingle ninyo.

Kung puwede lang sanang pasabugin yung speaker. Mainit na nga at may napapabalita pang 3-hour brownout ngayong araw, parusa ang mag-ingay gamit ang jingle nila.

Konting malasakit naman ngayong tag-init. Kapag nairita sa inyo ang taong bayan, mas hindi kayo iboboto. Tapos magrereklamo kayong dinaya kayo?

Mainit na tanghali sa inyong lahat!

>A Death Threat for My Comrade


You have read that right.

I am scheduled to give a talk tomorrow to a public school with him. A lenten recollection to the graduating students to be exact.

But this morning, he texted me:

Kapatid, baka hindi ako makababa at makapunta diyan. May death threat na naman ako. Tatambangan daw ako kung sa daan ko pauwi. Ipagdasal mo ako.

He is a religious missionary in the mountainous region of Sierra Madre, part of Bulacan. And he has been of service to the Dumagats and other poor and uneducated people up there. He builds a community, a cooperative, and a school for our poor and uneducated countrymen.

And now, a local politician and his cohorts are angry.

Why? Here’s a nerve-wracking story according to my Missionary friend:

Ang mga Dumagat ay may subsidy na isanlibong piso mula sa lokal na gobyerno. Ngunit dahil sila nga ay hindi mga edukado, inuuto sila ng gobyerno. Pinapapirma sila sa voucher na nakasulat ay isanlibong piso, ngunit isandaang piso lamang ang ibibigay sa kanila. Nakakagalit ng laman ano?

At kinuwestyon iyon ng kaibigan ko. Sinugod niya ang opisina ng nasa posisyon na iyon. Nabuksan ang katotoihanan.

At simula noon, nakakatanggap na siya ng mga death threats. Binabato ang kumbento at ang kanyang kuwarto. At nakakatanggap ng sulat na “Nakatulog ka na ba sa gitna ng kalsada habang nasusunog ang kuwarto mo” at “Huwag kang maglalakad ng mag-isa sa kalsada at baka ma-hit and run ka.”

That is a sad reality. That is a nerve-wracking story of my friend. akala ko sa pelikula lang nangyayari, meron din pala sa tunay na buhay.

I admire his courage to stay there in the service of the people. He could have just give up and live a normal and peaceful life. But no, he chose to stay.

The last time I saw him was last week, before he came back to the mountains. He told me that he is ready to die and his death would not be in vain since he is fighting for the truth, since he is fighting for of our Lord.

What I have there in front of me was a martyr-in-process.

Sometimes, I ask myself, can i die for our Lord? Can I die for my faith? I think, I do not have that enough courage and strength to be a martyr. I just don’t know yet.

How about you? Can you die for your faith? Can you stand and fight for the truth until the end?

I will leave this as a challenge for each and everyone of us.

And please, pray for my comrade. His name is Christian.