Thursday, December 20, 2007

On IBP's "objection" to the "Culture of Corruption" of this Administration

My apologies to my lawyer relatives, friends and contacts.

My father was a lawyer, God rest his soul. I have been brought up following the wheelings and dealings of a filipino lawyer practicing the law profession in this country. My father was an honest lawyer, to a point. He knew which strings to pull to get positive response for his clients. He knew, as we say, how to grease the wheels of justice. So for the IBP to say that they are aghast over the "Culture of Corruption" is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. The practice is so filled with this so called culutre that it is often joked that an honest lawyer is a dead one. I guess this is hypocrisy at its finest. Sure, there may be honest lawyers out there, in some backward province where the practice of law comprise of notarization and petty cases. A lawyer who pratices religiously by the rules ends up in the losing side of the case. Lawyers may find this staement "objectionable", but let us face facts. Four of my uncles are lawyers, one of them was once managing partner to a very big law firm in Makati. They knew how to play the game -- calling in favors here, slipping a little "grease" there. Lawyers will deny that this practice is done, much like the way they might deny that they rehearse their witnesses before calling them to the stand, but that is the way things work. After all, if they don't do it, the other side will. And in a court case, no one wants to be on the losing team. The culture of corruption so vehemently objected to by the IBP of this administration is the very culture that keeps their practice succesful.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

to anjela, tatang orly's niece

Hello Anjela. I only got achance to read your comment about my article on Tatang today. I am so sorry for the very, very, very late reply. You are most welcome to link my blog to your multiply site. You can also add me up in multiply ( Take care always.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Faith Restored

I have been verbal about my disappointment with the actions of several bishops, priests and nuns the past few days and I finally did something to help me release my sentiments. I wrote Monsignor Pepe Quitorio of the CBCP. I was glad I did because I tend to generalize when i air my sentiments. Here is the mosnignor's reply in full:

dear rodel,
thanks for your email. i understand your sentiments. on social issues each one should be able to express his opinion--it is our inherent right. you will pehaps agree that to suppress one's opinion or individual stand on issues is not very wholesome.
perhaps it is good to correct some generalizations:
1. there are presently 7,800 plus catholic priests in the philippines. only three (2 bishops and 1 priest) were in makati. to say that "priests and bishops are modern day pharisees persecuting the president" is not very accurate. are we to condemn the remaining 7,797 priests who does nothing but celebrate the sacraments and minister to their parishes or schools?
2. bishop labayen is retired and fr robert is on leave from his diocese. only bishop tobias is active. to tag them as church leaders is not also accurate.
i hope the above figures will somehow situate your disappointment with the church which, incidentally does not belong to the priests cited above but to the composite of millions of lay people and thousands of priests, nuns and bishops.

have a nice day.

msgr quitorio

This reply has puit my views to better perspective and i have been somewhat calmed by his assurance and remark that indeed, the church does not belong to the bishops I am disappointed with, but to the "composite of millions of lay people and thousands of priests, nuns and bishops". With this caliming reassurance, My faith in the catholic religion has been restored. I only wish there are more people like Monsignor Quiterio who bother to talk to the millions of faithful who wish to express themselves fully.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dalai Lama Draws Thousands of Japanese Buddhist Crowd


Yokohama, Japan, 20 November 2007 (Phayul) - Some 5000 Buddhists, mainly Japanese, congregated in the National Convention Hall of Yokohama city, Kanagawa prefecture, to hear His Holiness deliver message of peace and hope.

His Holiness was invited by the All Japanese Buddhist Federation (AJBF) and Kanagawa Buddhist Federation (KBF) to speak on the topic Shinzuru Kokoro to Heiwa (Faith and Peace) at the Buddhist Conference commemorating their 50th and 40th anniversaries respectively.

Mainly relying on his own experience and from the lessons of the Buddhist Tibetan tradition, The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke on how to create a more peaceful world by reducing gap between human perception and realities in today’s world.

His Holiness blamed many of the world’s man-made problems and crisis to lack of “realistic approach”.

Pointing out at the problem of “more mental and emotional crisis among younger generation” and increasing global “environmental damages”, His Holiness told the Buddhist conference that “these problems which we are facing are creation of human beings themselves – in some cases (through) mistakes, some cases – negligence, and also some cases out of ignorance”.

“The gap between human perception and today’s reality should be reduced. There should be less and less gap between these two for a more sensible approach to reduce many problems,” His Holiness insisted.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also did not approve the wide gap between the rich and poor, which he says “exists even in developed nations like United States and Japan”. “That is not only morally wrong … practically also there are problems” he added.

His Holiness also called for incorporation of moral lessons in today’s educational system. “Modern education pays more and sufficient attention on brain development only and less or no attention on moral values. I think that is a mistake,” the Dalai Lama said.

On the question of “whether the world with six billion people (are) going towards doomsday,” the Dalai Lama said, “It depends entirely on our mental attitude, hope, vision, and our efforts.” Taking the example of Japan, the Dalai Lama said the people of the country “did not give up” after the World War II crisis. “With more hope and determination, Japan is now strong and very much advanced,” the Dalai Lama said.

“Because of negative events and negative developments, if we lose our hope and self-confidence, and remain pessimist, then we will not develop,” the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate told the crowd.

Describing himself as a “simple Buddhist monk”, the Dalai Lama said promotion of human values and religious harmony are two of his main commitments in life. He, however said, Buddhist concept of interdependency is worth an attention for non-Buddhists and, both believer and non believer of religion. Since the concept is based on reasoning, the Dalai Lama said the concept “can be very much relevant in this 21st century”. Because of its scientific implications, the Dalai Lama also opined that it could be even more useful for non-believers and scientists.

To the Japanese Buddhists, the Dalai Lama demanded more serious practice of the Buddha Dharma. For followers of other faiths, he said there was no need of religious conversion to understand the concept of another religion.

The President of the All Japanese Buddhist Federation and Yokohama City Mayor were among those dignitaries at the Buddhist Conference in the shell-shaped hall, which is one the largest in the world.

After the conference, the Dalai Lama interacted briefly with Mongolian community in Japan at the latter’s request.

The Tibetan leader is currently on a 9-day Japan tour beginning November 15.

Although he was well received by the religious groups, the Japanese government officials have avoided contact with the exiled Tibetan leader in an obvious effort not to irk China. But the popularity that the Dalai Lama enjoys in Japan, with its considerable Buddhist population, enabled the organisers of the Tuesday’s conference to sell out 5000 tickets within hours.

The Dalai Lama earlier described his current visit as part of his effort to promote human values and religious harmony. On Sunday he paid visit of the nation’s most sacred Shinto shrine and participated in an Interfaith Forum at Kogakkan University in Western Japan’s Ise City, Mie Prefecture.

While in Yokohama, His Holiness is expected to give lectures in two private schools and visit a Shingon Buddhist temple in Tokyo's Bunkyo-ku before leaving for India on November 23.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Zen -- Harmony for Mother Earth (Takuhatsu)


It is a tradition among zen monks to periodically embark on takuhatsu or begging bowl exercise. This is a system used by Zen monks who are in training, to beg for their food or for the temples' needs. This is generally done in groups of ten to fifteen.

In keeping with this tradition, the Zen Center for Oriental Spirituality in the Philippines, of which I am a student of, is embarking on its own Takuhatsu. Its friends and members have organized a unique concert entitled "Zen -- Harmony for Mother Earth"December 9, 2007, a Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Bro. Donato Center for Perofrming Arts in La Salle Greenhills. The concert will feature Noel Cabangon and Susan Fernandez (as guest performer).

Please PM me for further inquiries regarding tickets or call me at 933-17-96. which aims to help raise funds for the Zen Center. The concert will be held on

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diabetes, Obesity & Zen

It has been about three months since I was told by my Doctor that I was diabetic. At first, i was so worried about my condition that I underwent a short period of depression. I had this idea that diabetes meant a life of bland food for the rest of my life. To calm my fears, I did a lot of research over the internet regarding diabetes, and was surprised to learn that one can live a nearly normal life even with diabetes. Then an invitation to attend the Glimpse into Zen orientation at the Zen Center for Oriental Spirituality came, and I decided to attend.

We were a small group of attendees, probably less than twelve, and composed of individuals of varying ages and professions. Our hostess, Dr. Lulu Ignacio of Cardinal Santos, gave us a brief introduction on zen meditation and its beginnings here in the Philippines, as well as a backgrounder on the beginning of the Zen Center for Oriental Spirituality in the Philippines.

The talk was a short one which lasted about thirty minutes. We were then taken to the meditation area where we were taught how to "sit" or meditate properly, the potures we should use, the hand positions and everything else in between.

When i walked into the Zen orientation, i had no intention of finishing the entire "course", but i found myself going weekly to attend the orientation. It was then that i discovered that slowly, zen meditation helps me to cope with my diabetes. Being overweight for nearly a third of my life, it also helped me to see clearly the need to revere my body, thus encouraging me to eat foods that are not harmful to my body (which is a good thing since, as a diabetic, i am under strict orders by my doctor to follow a strict dietary regiment).

I and my "peers" have finished the 5th session and we are on our last three sessions before our formal acceptance into the practice. Being able to sit daily for ten to fifteen minutes used to be hard for me, but now has become sort of second nature. It has helped me to become a calmer person, more patient and understanding of others. I have learned to overcome my insecurities regarding my weight and have adjusted to a more tranquil lifestyle.

It got me thinking that Doc Lulu is right: nothing happens by chance. We moved to Provident without knowing that the Zen Center was just three houses away. I found out my sister practices zen when we moved to Provident. Now, I am taking the zen orientation classes.

My 5 weeks experience with zen has led me to believe that it can help others in my situation to try meditation, whether as a form of stress relief, therapy for the insecure or just plain sitting in silence in union with others.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Angelicum Revisited

I just arrived from a long PAASCU accreditation meeting in Angelicum College. I was asked by the new PR Head to be one of the resource persons representing the alumni in the accreditation renewal for the school.

I decided to go an hour and a half early so i can tour the campus before the meeting. I was pleasently surprised at how classy the school grounds has become, compared to when i was still there. The PR Office is no longer the shabby corner office at the second floor of St. Dominic Bldg. It is now a 1 room, 2 cubicle affair at the St. Thomas Ground Floor which formerly housed the school's cyber cafe.

The cyber cafe itself is now a classy hi-tech affair situated right beside cafetorium 2. The grounds no longer looked like alcatraz revisited. The REctor's office, which was once a gaudy mess is now as classy as a corporate CEO's suite, complete with better furnished board room complete with high back swivel leather chairs.

It was a pleasant surprise as well that my friend Boyet San Diego, former president of APO (Angelicum Parents Organization) was also invited to be one of the parent representatives. The meeting lasted about a couple and a half hours at the College Case Room (Thesis Defense Room).

All in all, Angelicum has changed a lot physically. It is yet to be decided if the system too has changed... and if so, we will find out if it changed for the better or for worse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

To Kill A Mockingbird

I've had Harper Lee's classic novel for the longest time but never found it an interesting read. In fact, I found just the cover to be so uninteresting that it never even crossed my mind to read it -- until last month. Last month i decided i would take this critically-acclaimed masterpiece out of my book box and read it for the first time. I was not disappointed. Harper Lee's characters Atticus, Scout and Jem Finch, Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, Miss Rachel, Stephanie Crawford, Dill and the other characters of To Kill A Mockingbird stuck to my mind like glue to paper. The story is set in Maycomb County (I think it is in Alabama) during the time when negroes were segregated and shunned. Atticus, being a lawyer (and a state legislature representative to boot) was asked by the court to represent Tom Robinson, a negro accused of raping a member of the Ewell Clan. The story talks of innocence at a time of unrest. The main character, Jean Louise "Scout" Finch narrates the story from her perspective.

This book is definitely a must read.

Questionaire (From Miel)

isip ka ng ISANG tao. i-base mo sa
kanya ang mga isasagot mo. WALANG
ibahan ng naisip.

A nong lugar ang naaalala mo sa kanya?
- rufo's

- masarap ang tapa atbp doon

Anong song ang naaalala mo sa kanya?
- Even Now

- may naaalala siguro siya sa awiting ito

Okay ba ang height?
- tamang-tama

Magaling ba kumanta?
- oo

Sumayaw ?
- i think so

May kamukha ba siyang artista/singer?
- meron

Close ba kayo?
- dati. di na siguro ngayon.

Nakita mo na siyang magalit?
- isang beses pa lang.

Ngumiti ?
- maraming beses.

- marami ring beses.

Ano fave foods nya?
- italian, tapa, junk food atbp

Bakit ?
- trip lang siguro niya

Bakit siya ang napili mo para sa
survey na ito?
- siya unang pumasok sa isip ko.

Pinaiyak ka ba niya?
- i claim executive privilege, your honor.

Pinaiyak mo ba siya?
- sa aking sapantaha ay hindi.

Pinangiti ka ba niya?
- maraming beses

Amazing Palabok!

I'm not the type to brag, but i can't help but feel proud that my first try in making apalbok was a success, and it was delicious! I used Mama Sita's instant palabok mix, and the product was actually good. I use Mama Sita's chop suey/canton mix and i know that the product is really goog (okay, enough of the advertisement). I sauteed some tinapa flakes with some shrimp and cooked it with the instant sauce. Voila! Success. One thing i have to learn though is to learn to make just enough for the three of us at home, and not this fiesta-sized extravaganza. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007


As part of our annual tradition, Noel & girlfriend Aubrey and I went to Santo Domingo Church for the Centenial celebration of the Feast of the Nuestra Senora de Santissima Rosario de La Naval de Manila or Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. We arrived around 5 pm, and parking was difficult to come by. We finally found a reasonable parking space a block from the church. We went to the front of the church just as the carosas of the different dominican saints were being rolled out of the church. Barangays of Quezon City were well-represented in the procession which started 5 pm and lasted until about 7:00 pm.

It is also part of our tradition to drop by our dear friend Doc Kho's house near Sto. Domingo to partake in his birthday-cum-fiesta feast. Yesterday was no exception. We went to Doc's right after the procession and stuffed ourselves with Doc's trademark lechon and siomai, calderetta, embotido, aroz valenciana, roast chicken and lots of other delicious stuff.I got to see my old teachers and friends from Angelicum who were also there, including some of our old students and fellow alumni. I also visited my dear friend Che (Maricel) Munoz, a neighbor of Doc's, who has not changed a bit since we saw each other last.

Yesterday was a time of reflection and reunion, a time of prayer and thanksgiving, a time for meeting new friends and re-establishing ties with old ones. We are very fortunate to have had been a part and continue to be a part of this wodnerful tradition.


Friday, October 12, 2007


Today marks Eid Al Fitr, the end of the holliest month for millions of our brother msulims all over the world. The word "eid" means "festivity" and "fitr" to break a fast in Arabic and it is common to hear greetings for the holiday like "Eid Mubarak!" or "Blessed Eid", "Eid Saeed!" or "Happy Eid!" and "Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair!" or "May every year find you in good health!".

The day before Eid al-Fitr families typically donate food such as rice, barley or dates, to the less well off. The donation is known as "sadaqah al-fitr" or charity of fast-breaking. Eid itself marks the first day of the Islamic calendar's month of Shawwal.

Today, Eid itself, families wake early on the day of celebration, eat a small meal before attending special prayers at mosques, arenas or stadiums, and then go on to feast at friends or relatives' houses, although hotels and restaurants also organize lavish end of Eid spreads. It is also a day for asking for forgiveness and visiting graves.

Eid is low-key in most non-Islamic countries, but for the first time this year New York's Empire State Building will be lit up in green to honor the festival, as green symbolizes a happy occasion in Islamic culture.

Today brought back memories of my Adamson days, when my muslim classmates would tell us about ramadan and eid and the preparations they have to undertake for this holliest of months for their faith. I miss my mulsim classmates like Ansano Ali and Alenon Datuharon. I hope they are well and in good spirits.

To our brother muslims all over the world, May every year find you in good health!

information about the Eid courtesy of Reuters and FactBox.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The e-mail quoted hereunder was written by singer/songwriter Lorie Ilustre of the band HOTDOG (of Manila fame). This was posted in the Yahoo Group of UP's Cineastes Studio where my brother is a former officer and member. I asked my brother to forward the email to me so i can discuss it in my different blogs.

I read the e-mail and was shocked by this expose. Big companies should be held responsible and liable for atrocious acts like this that tend to discourage filipino artists from pursuing their talents here rather than abroad.

I strongly condemn this act by this big corporation who prides itself, or at least tries to project itself as a bastion of fairness and morality. They ought to be ashamed of what they did.

Will we ever hear this corporation explain its actions? I doubt it. I do, however, encourage you to pass the email to everyone you know so that this deceitful act will not go unpunished.



Thirty-one years ago, I wrote my last commercial song.
May 24th, 1976 I composed, arranged and orchestrated the music entitled Panaginip. It was a big hit back then during my HOTDOG years. I remember it was such a big hit that the late Bobby Ledesma would sing it everyday at the end of the noontime show Student Canteen because it became his favorite.

During the 70's I was already disappointed with the way composers/songwriters were treated. Songwriters were just given loose change for their valuable compositions. They were not recognized nor given the proper credit, nor were even paid royalties for the sale of the records. Reports from record companies would always say that there was no sale. I remember buying a lot of records which I gave away, but figures would always be zero, not considering that my song was a hit and was selling well. And so I decided not to be a songwriter anymore and I became what I am now…..a musical arranger/orchestrator, musical director.

Thirty-one years ago, I decided not to sell outright nor assign the rights of my Panaginip. Music comes from the heart and soul. It is a part of you and the composition is too valuable to just be paid a very small amount (barya lang).

I didn't receive any single centavo from all those sales through the years. It was OK as long as I knew that I own my music.

I had the song copyrighted
February 21, 1977. Document is valid for the rest of my life and fifty years after my death.

Last year friends in the US have been calling me saying they saw and heard my song being aired over ASAP and other shows in ABS CBN including a teleserya (telenovela) via TFC (which is shown in the US via Direct TV or Cox Cable) and that there was a new album out called Hotsilog which was produced by ASAP.

My collecting agent, FILSCAP, didn't notice this because we found out that in the credits, my name was taken out and replaced. Not only did they infringe copyright laws…used my song without permission, they even had the nerve to change the composer's name. Maybe knowing that I'm in the
US, nobody would notice.

Filscap has been coordinating and negotiating with the producers and their lawyers for almost a year now, still nothing has come out of it. ABS CBN has a battery of lawyers and I think has been giving Filscap the run around.

Come to think of it…sino nga ba si LORRIE ILUSTRE….. who would even bother.

When you ride the jeep, bus or taxi, you pay right??? When you eat sa karinderia….same thing, you pay. But if you want to use somebody's composition, no no no…..people don't want to pay. Up to now it's still loose change….it's not a big sum of money…it's just giving respect to the songwriter/composer . If they had paid for the rights…the money that I'll get won't even be able to pay for one of my kid's semestral tuition fee or maybe pay for a round trip ticket for one to the
US so that I can be with my family.

Correct me if I'm wrong….give me a name who made millions or who made a living. as a composer/songwriter . (Balita ko lang may isang novelty songwriter na mayaman na daw dyan daming kotse etc…but tsismis yun). Most if not all are poor… pag naaapi ang mga tao…..with raised arms and clenched fists… sa kalye they sing BAYAN KO….hindi po si Fredie Aguilar ang lumikha nung musika nun kundi si ka Constancio de Guzman na nagkasakit at namatay rin na walang pera…Same with ka Levi Celerio…just one example is pag pasko kanta tayo ng kanta ng Ang Pasko ay Sumapit…sya ang sumulat ng letra nun…pero ano sya…nag mamakaawa at humihingi ng tulong para may maibayad sa hospital. Namatay rin ng wala. Kawawa naman. ! Ilan lang ito sa nakakarami. Ika nga ng kaibigan natin na composer na si George Canseco….composers never die,……they only decompose.

Pano kaya ang buhay natin sa araw araw kung wala tayong naririnig na musika. Ano ang pag aaliwan ng mga tao…..pano kayo mag karaoke…kung walang tugtog at awit…. Ano…tutula na lang kayo? Aanhin ang mga IPODS kung wala namang silbi!!! Pang japorms na lang.

Saan na tayo patutungo…after 31 years, I look back and the music industry in the
Philippines is still the same. Sana mali ako. Pano na yung mga bagong mga composers and songwriters…. who will protect them,…. Kung ako binabali wala (who has the legal rights and documents), ano pa kayong mga bagito sa industria. Maybe in the next century…baka sakaling may pagbabago.

Mahirap ang nasa ibang bansa…malayo sa pamilya puro tiis at hirap makapag padala lang ng pera sa Pinas. People think that because you are in the
USA or abroad , sarap ng buhay mo…hindi po…….mas mahirap po ang buhay dito.


Lorrie Buencamino Ilustre

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Proud of Our Filipino Domestic Helpers

My friend Jerick Aguilar, who is on vacation in the United States, wrote another piece about OFWs which i have posted below. A few weeks back, Jerick wrote about the Kindness of Filipino Strangers. That article got positive response from readers when it appeared in the Reader's Corner of, and i am sure this new article from Jerick will receive the same acclaim.

You can repost this story as long as credit is given to Jerick T. Aguilar who wrote the article and where the article first appeared.

Proud of Our Filipino Domestic Helpers

By Jerick T. Aguilar
Thursday, September 27, 2007

I have this one photo album where I place a picture of a country, territory, or autonomous region I’ve visited and it is usually of me with its famous landmark as the background – Bagan in Myanmar, Petra in Jordan, Djenné in Mali, Statue Square in Hong Kong. Yup, you read it right – an unassuming square in the island of Hong Kong which is not at all historical or was once eventful.

As a matter of fact, my friend from college with whom I travelled there had to confirm and reconfirm, while we were still in the hotel, that I wanted a photograph taken of that place. And when we got there, she finally understood why.

Statue Square is where thousands of our domestic helpers congregate during their day off from work (well, not all of them at the same time).

It was like a fiesta over there! Our “kababayans” transformed the concrete pavement into a grassy park – they were lying on either a piece of cloth or “banig” they brought with them from the Philippines and fanning themselves either with a newspaper or “pamaypay” (that went with the “banig”) while exchanging stories of how their week went, “tsismis” concerning their “amo” (i.e. employer gossip), and how their loved ones are in their respective hometowns.

My friend and I also saw family pictures strewn on the ground and, being away from my mother and siblings myself, it struck a chord when I saw them proudly showing off these photos to each other such as their children in toga, the tricycle a husband just bought, a newly-built house (with the husband and children as the background), etc., etc.

It was also very grounding to hear different Philippine dialects spoken in just one place. I only know Tagalog but my friend who is from Mindanao understood what some of our “kababayans” were talking about.

Of course I wasn’t only there for a photo opportunity. I instantly became an interviewer and asked my recently found “entourage” questions such as where they were from, how long they had stayed in Hong Kong, how old they were, and what their occupations were in the Philippines.

Their response to the first question was like listening to the jingle of “Eat Bulaga” – “mula Aparri hanggang Jolo”, since they came from everywhere in our country. There was also a huge contrast between those who had been working there for decades and the ones who had just started at the young age of 18. And among their previous professions, most were, as common knowledge, teachers; some worked as food servers; and there were a few who were homemakers.

But whether or not they have a college degree, I find these Filipino domestic helpers, not just in Hong Kong but around the world, to be intelligent and resourceful. I mean, I for one who did doctoral research did not even know that I had to separate white from colored clothes in the washing machine until a Filipino domestic helper in Singapore pointed this out to me.

Somebody I met in Qatar told me to simply gather the rubbish from a trash can with one pull of the plastic bag without having to empty and then clean the bin each time.

Our Filipino domestic helpers can also be feisty, if need be. A number, unfortunately not all, of them know when they have to argue with their employer about a pressing matter and how to do it.

I came across someone in Syria who only finished her elementary education but can speak in straight and perfect English every time she has a verbal argument with her boss. And there is another one in Tunisia who talks diplomatically to her boss’ mother when she has a complaint about her boss’ wife. The mother then discusses the matter with her son who then tells his wife what not to do or what to say next time to their “kasambahay”.

If rich people outside the country have their Jaguars instead of Kias, they also have their domestic helpers from the Philippines rather than from anywhere else in the world. In England, for instance, there are celebrities, royalty, and millionaire-businessmen who have Filipinos in their households. Mind you, they are really well-paid because the British know that they have to spend a lot on quality.

In Italy, our Filipino domestic helpers tell, not ask, their future employer the salary they prefer to receive. In some instances, they even tell their bosses when they want to go on vacation. And in Greece, it is a status symbol to have a Filipino domestic helper. A Greek family is considered middle-class if the household help is from Albania, for example. This is sadly not the case in most countries where there are Filipino domestic helpers (go Europe!), but it is great to know that some of them are being recognized and rewarded for their decent work.

With the relatively high salary they earn in countries such as these, they and their families get to live a good life in the Philippines. It is both amusing and ironic that they work as domestic helpers overseas but they simultaneously hire their own domestic helpers locally in their homes. And I like the way some of the people I asked view this irony. They said they did the same household chores in our country anyway so it’s better that they get paid to do them overseas! They also said they don’t want their husband and children (and/or mothers) to do the housework while they’re away so they hire someone else to do it provided they can afford this additional household expense.

A few months back, there was an article published in a magazine about the author’s brief summer vacation abroad in which she mentioned being on a plane with Filipino domestic helpers. She was trying to be funny and witty at the same time by recounting how their cheap colognes had overpowered the scent of her expensive and exclusive fragrance, among other things. But the readers weren’t laughing. Amazingly, almost everybody reacted negatively and passionately to her article in defense of our “kababayans.” They adamantly asked her to apologize and so she did.

But she actually forgot to thank these Filipino domestic helpers for her international trip. Were it not for the billions of foreign currency remittances that they, along with the rest of our OFWs, regularly send to the Philippines, the instability and depreciation of the peso-dollar exchange rate would’ve made the dollar costlier in peso terms. In short, the value of the dollar would be much higher so airfares that are quoted in US currency would be much more expensive in Philippine pesos – probably prohibiting her from traveling abroad and from writing about it in the first place.

It is sad that there are overseas Filipinos who have to work as domestic helpers, but it is the reality. It is much sadder that some people look down on them because they don’t consider it a professional job. What they probably fail to realize is that it is a demanding and difficult occupation nonetheless, like any other work in the office. Yes, it is manual labor but it also entails intellectual thinking and a common sense of basic things a white-collar worker like me doesn’t even know of. From the point of view of our Filipino domestic helpers (and mine), their job is a noble one – providing valuable household help to their employer and employer’s family overseas while giving more valuable financial aid to their own families at home in the Philippines. This is why I have always looked up to them and believe that they deserve not only our respect but also our appreciation and praise. So to all our Filipino domestic helpers out there – keep up the good work! You definitely make us proud!

Mapangurirat's reply:

Those who look down on filipino domestic helpers don't understand that these people are the ones who send much-needed dollars back to the Philippines. Yes, it is sad to see our countrymen working as domestic helpers. I remember your article about ofws who had to be naturalized citizens of their host country just to get work., in a brief bio of Rizal, said that (Rizal) always regretted the naturalization of his countrymen abroad, considering it a loss to the country which needed numbers to play the influential part he hoped it would play in awakening Asia. Rizal may be speaking at a different time and under different circumstances, but the regret is the same. However, i think that the filipino domestic helpers and OFWs in general deserve our respect even more because of this. They are the true heroes of our nation. Cheers to all our OFWs and domestic helpers abroad!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Avilon Zoo

The barkada planned a trip to Avilon Zoo on September 22. So come 9:00 am, we were ready and raring to go to Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) to visit the famous Avilon Zoo.

Around 9:30, we left in two cars (Noel's and Poppo's). We arrived at Avilon around past 10 am. We were toured by Aubrey's brother who has been to the zoo many times. We first saw the birds, then the crocodiles and other members of the reptilian family (i also thought i saw a senator in one of the pens, but it was just an ordinary croc. tsk.). We got to see a malaysian tapir, some tigers, a tarsier, a tree kangaroo, a jaguar (not the one with fourwheels ha) and a whole lot of arapima (those big fishies that look like giant tilapia).

We had lunch around 12:30 and were joined by "gaggle" of esager young kids (read noisy) who had to have their field trip the same time as our tour.

All in all, the visit to the zoo was relaxing, although i did get a tad bit tired. Anyway, here is the link to the photos. Enjoy1

Friday, September 21, 2007


I received a while ago a letter of apology from Watson's regarding an incident a couple of days back. The apology was sent as an attachment via email. The attachedapology letter itself was written using a .LWP file.

For those unfamiliar with .LWP files, it is an extension used with Lotus Word Pro, a program which has long been overshadowed by MS Word. Big companies still use word pro but hey, if you're issuing an apology letter, is it not safe to assume that most people don't have Lotus Word Pro at home? Duh. That speaks volumes about their company.

Rudeness has no place in a personal care store. That is why it is a personal care store in the first place. People who go to Watsons go there to procure medicines or other health-related products. I am not a hot-headed person but this incident can be chalked up as one for the books.

I have downloaded a program to open the .LWP file containing the apology letter. Here it is for all of you to read.

Date: Friday, September 21, 2007

Mr. Rodel Banares
14 St. Claire St., Provident Village
Barangay Tañong, Marikina City

Dear Sir,

Good day! This is with regards to your concern regarding the untoward incident on the telephone with one of our employees here in Watson Mall of Asia Department Store.

It was Mr. John Raymond Viros, one of our newly hired stock clerks, who spoke with you on the telephone. Sir, Mr. Viros was very apologetic when I asked him about it and he admitted his faults that he failed to speak cordially to you because he was not used to speaking on the phone to customers, being a stock clerk and assigned at the stockroom only. He was merely trying to help out our sales associates who were busy assisting customers in the selling area because it was a high trading that day (3Day Sale event at that time).

I asked him to prepare an explanation letter and served a Violation Report for his misbehavior.

On behalf of my team, I am committing that this will never happen again and I would like to sincerely apologize for the inconveniences we’ve caused. Rest assured that the next time you need to make a phone call with us or other Watsons branch, due courtesy would definitely be extended. We hope that this experience has dampen very little of your loyalty in Watsons and that you would still continue to consider us as your Personal Care Store.

Thank you.

Very sincerely yours,

Jonah Grace H. Reyes
Area Manager - Central 1

Lousy Customer Service

My glucose meter was almost out of test strips and i decided to search the net for the website of Watsons. No luck. I then tried getting the number of SM Mall of Asia which hosues the biggest Watson's store so far. The admin officer was nice enough to connect me to the Watson's store of the mall. RRRRiiiing! The person who answered on the other line was rude, didin't even bother to say "good Evening". He just said "Hello" in a very discourteoous tone. So i asked point blank if they carried Accu-Chek Advantage II Test Strips and he said "sandali lang". After an eternity, he came back. He said "Meron ho". So i then asked if he could give me the number of the watsons Store in Blue Wave or Riverbank Mall. He seemed to have been taken aback by the request, but still begrudgingly said in a very fast tone "9413610". So i said thank you, but im quite sure he didn't here it because he was quite eager to put don the phone. So i called the number up, and lo and behold! The number he gave me was a dedicated fax number for Watsons! I decided instead to check Roche's website since Roche is the maker of Accu-Chek Advantage II. It was about 8 pm when i got the number. I called up Roche and the guard said the offices are closed. He politely asked if he could assist me and i told him my dillema. He then said he would connect me to someone who might be able to help. He connected me to a girl named Marife who got my number and promised to get the number of a store nearest my abode which carries the strips i need. 15 minute later, she called back and gave me the number for Watsons Riverbanks mall.

I am deeply upset that a big company like SM and their subsidiary Watsons does not even offer a directory of their stores. Mercury Drug has a far better website. I am dependent on the web for information, and SM seems to have concetrated on the business aspect of their malls and not the needs of their clientelle.

Businesses like Watsons should have a directory of their stores so that their customers wont waste time going to their store for non-existent or out-of-stock items.

My hats off to Roche's Corporate HQ. They really provided the assistance i needed. I forgot to ask a's surname so i can mention her in my blog. Sayang.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


So upon consultation with my doctor, i was allowed to eat chocolate for as long as the chocolate content doesn't go any lower than 76%. Guess what? I found a chocolate bar from Meiji that actaullay offers 72%, 86% and 99% cacao. The 86% and 99% will definitely need a lot of getting used to because there is no sweetness at all... but bitter chocolate has its advantages. Meijii 86% is available in most big groceries, while the 72% is only available at SM Snack exchange.

I found out about Meiji Cacao 86% when i went to Robinsons Supermarket at Blue Wave Mall in Marikina. I then wrote Meiji Singapore an email inquiring if they carry 76& cacao. It was Miss Letty Chua of Grand Dragon Enterprises, Inc., local distributor of Meiji in the Philippines, who answered my email and told me that SM Snack Exchange carries the particular chocolate bar of Meiji.

Bitter or dark chocolate are rich in flavonoids. Dark chocolate contains more flavoniods than any other food -- including green tea, black tea, red wine, and blueberries. Flavonoids provide important protective benefits to plants, such as in repairing damage and shielding from environmental toxins. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power (source: According to, "one of the recently identified virtues of chocolate is its lofty ranking as the third largest dietary source of antioxidants—those chemicals beloved for their free radical-fighting properties that preserve cell membranes, protect DNA, prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis, and prevent plaque formation within arterial walls".

No wonder the Mayans worshiped chocolate. They even called it the Food of the Gods. Now we know why!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hoy! Gising!

News reports today are too biased, too leading. I don't like their anchors, most especially that filipino-chinese guy called Anthony Taberna. He may look and sound intelligent, but all his questions for his guests are too leading. PEople should watch the news and be able to form their own opinions -- not force-fed with the anchor's own views. If they don't like the government (and this guy obviously doesn't, because i have heard him several times on DZMM poke fun at the administration), then they should not influence the people with their own, self-centered, biased opinions.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Our world has suffered numerous hardships the past few years. We can put on a show and play the blame game, or we can appeal to our Creator, our Architect of Being, to guide us and give us peace. I found this hindu prayer from and i hope you can include this little prayer, no matter what religion you may have.

Prayer for Peace (Hindu)

Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real. Oh God, lead us from darkness to light. Oh God, lead us from death to immortality. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all. Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to us. And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This is the finding of the justices of the Sandiganbayan's Special Court on ERap's plunder case. Erap's camp cannot cry foul over the decision. During the trial, most of the requests of Erap's team of lawyers have been approved. The jsutices themselves have an above-average track record for fairness and are topnotchers in the field of law. The poor showing of support by Erap's supporters and their dwindling numbers is proof enough that the former president's clout has greatly diminished, and with the promulgation of jeudgment will further dwindle his support base. To Erap, i offer an unsolicited advise: Show remorse for your actions. Only then can the people and God forgive you for your sins. Now, let us all move on with our lives. This chapter of our history is finally at an end and we should all look towards the future for our country and our people.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Kindness of Filipino Strangers

My very close friend Prof. Jerick Aguilar sent me an email regarding an article he wrote for In his articfle, he discussed the Kindess of filipino strangers. Jerick, or Jake as we fondly call the old bloke, is a professor for the University of Bath in England and a researcher for the UN. I wish to post his article for others to read.

The Kindness of Filipino Strangers
By Jerick T Aguilar
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” once said the American playwright Tennessee Williams. Well, Mr. Williams must have traveled a lot because I myself have relied on people I never knew and only met for the first time in my travels the world over. And given that there are Filipinos everywhere around the globe, one is most certainly to come across a fellow “kababayan” whom a traveler can unexpectedly count on.

While I was doing my postgraduate studies in Singapore, I decided to take the train to Kuala Lumpur where I reserved a reasonably-priced hotel owned by an Indian. This happened way back but I can still vividly remember the time I entered the hotel’s main entrance and saw a woman at the reception desk talking to who seemed to be the owner. She smiled the moment she looked at me and so did I because we instantly knew that we are both from the Philippines even without talking to each other. (I guess we all have a “Pinoy-dar” inside of us!)

Just after a few minutes of conversation with her, not only did she become my unofficial tour guide in the capital of Malaysia, she was also able to convince her Indian lover – as a side, she in due course told me that she’s already married and her husband is in the Philippines who she knows has a mistress in Manila (so fair is fair I suppose, but this is something else to write about) – she was also able to convince her Indian lover to charge me half the price for the duration of my stay in his hotel. That was the first time this Filipina and I met and yet she was ever so generous, accommodating, and honest (!) with me.

A couple of years later while working in the United States, I went on vacation in Europe and visited Milan where I stopped at a McDonald’s. I was carrying a lot of shoeboxes with me in separate plastic bags (yeah, key chains don’t count as souvenirs from Italy for oneself, family, and friends) when, thanks again to my Pinoy-dar, I saw a Filipina with this huge shopping bag. After greeting her of course with “Kumusta, kabayan?”, I asked her where I could get a similar bag to hold all my stuff. She told me she doesn’t know but, lo and behold, she started taking away all her things inside the shopping bag and, with a smile, gave it to me. That simple act made me speechless that I was only able to smile back without saying “salamat” before she went out the door.

In another McDonald’s this time in Madrid (whatever the explanation, Filipinos congregate in McDonald’s restaurants worldwide!), I was with my lonesome self sipping a milkshake when, with my Pinoy-dar, I saw a Filipina also with her lonesome self nibbling on some fries. I did not hesitate to join her so we started talking. She found out that I was a tourist and that it was my first time in the city. She asked me where I was staying so I told her at a hotel near the train station.

We were only chatting for a few minutes when she offered her house where I could stay instead. I was surprised at the invitation but even more surprised to have met a “kababayan” who had her own house in Spain. So I just had to ask her her job. Nonchalantly, she replied that she’s a domestic helper but her employers were on vacation. No wonder she was at McDonald’s on a weekday! As much as I was tempted to save on my hotel expenses, I had to politely decline and thank her.

And speaking of domestic helpers, I came across three of them in Beirut. I went there a while back from the UK to do some doctoral research. I was checking my mailbox in an Internet station when I overheard three women talking in Tagalog and planning where to go for lunch. I was also hungry and wanted to eat Filipino food in Lebanon so I plainly introduced myself and asked directions to a good Pinoy restaurant. They did not answer my question because I ended up being invited to join them.

After a hearty meal, I had a choice of either spending the rest of the afternoon with them or go sightseeing on my own (they couldn’t give me a grand tour else they would go back late to their employers’ houses). I preferred the former so all four of us went to their weekend hide-away, a small apartment of another Filipino friend who works as a chambermaid. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me but we spent such a hilarious time watching a pirated VCD of a Regal Films movie while telling stories, exchanging jokes, and eating “meryenda” in-between.

Here in Tunisia, a Pakistani nun in our French language class told me about working with a certain Filipino priest in Tripoli. Before deciding to travel to Libya, I asked for his contact details and as soon as I called him, he was ready and willing to welcome me to the Church of St. Francis. Weeks after, I arrived there just before the usual Sunday service where I finally met the priest who introduced me to the Filipino choir. The lead vocalist and guitarist happened to be from the same province of Quezon as I and, right then and there, she invited me to her house where she lived with her husband and daughter.

I thought it was only for the day while I looked for a hotel, but as soon as we came to her lovely home, she showed me the guestroom where she said I would be staying the rest of the time. I just couldn’t believe it! There I was in another country not expecting anything and then getting a warm invitation from someone I didn’t even know (and who didn’t also know the least bit about me) instead of booking a hotel room. Not only did she let me sleep in her house, but she fed me, drove me around, introduced me to her friends and the Filipino community, took me to different parties, etc., etc. In short, the only money I spent in Libya was going there and getting back from Tunisia! We were not even from the same hometown – only the same province, yet she treated me (and still does) like I were one of the family.

In my travels, I am always in awe by the kindness of strangers who I meet along the way. A part of me believes in quid pro quo, that there is no such thing as a free lunch (as one of my Economics professors would always say), and that I will only scratch your back if you scratch mine. But I guess the word “kindness” is the opposite of the concept of self-interest. Kindness still exists and I often wonder why when people are naturally egoistic. Maybe because Filipinos in particular are generally kind and, for some reason, they express (as opposed to “show”) their kindness even more when they are outside the Philippines. Or maybe because when I met them and they met me, we were never strangers to begin with, but fellow Filipinos.

Del's reply:

aah, Jake. Your mind still works wonders. . :) Very well-written article, dear friend. Even abroad, the magic of Filipino Hospitality never fails. Mcluhann's concept of a global village rings loud and true for filipinos abroad. It is as if the world is one big Philippines and everyone is a relative or friend. Or maybe it's the longing for home that makes us gravitate towards our fellow filipinos. Wherever we are in the world, we have this need, this desire, this longing for home, and since we cannot be home, we try to adjust and make our host country as filipino as possible. Besides, i think it is only ntural with filipinos to feel the need to share, to mingle. After all, filipinos are well-advanced social creatures, more advanced i think than some people in Europe or the Americas, but that is my opinion.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

i have been searching for a clear dvd copy of the musical Annie for the past two years. Yesterday, as i drove my sister Ruth to the World Trade Center for the International Book Fair, i decided to go to Harrison Plaza's National Bookstore to check the latest PB Book. I passed by their DVD section and decided to have a look -- and lo and behold - a DVD copy of Annie (the original, not the Disney remake) was on the rack, and it was on sale! I didn't hesitate to grab the copy and proceed to the cashier to make the sale official.

The original Annie is really a gem of a find. I asked my brother Ben, an expert in the Quiapo DVD district, to search for a copy, to no avail. I even went so far as to look for old VHS tapes which i can buy and have transferred to CD but still no luck.

Aileen Quinn's role as Annie was well picked. she's an adorable little girl who fits the role of Annie real well. You might even say she was born for the part. Also noteworthy are the performances of Albert Finney, Tim Curry and Carol Burnett as the memorable Miss Hannigan.

The songs too are classic. Who could ever forget the scene at the White House when Annie, FDR and Oliver Warbucks sang "Tomorrow"? Or the song "It's a hard knock life"?

This truly is a must see for kids and adults alike.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Today is the birthday of one of most inspiring people I have encountered. I got a chance to write about Edgar Eniego for the Philippine Panorama when he was still detained at the Puerto Princesa City Jail. This was back in 2001. Edgar’s life has been written by many others who felt inspired by him. As a tribute to you, dear friend, on your birthday today, I am re-posting my article which appeared on December 31, 2001 in the Philippine Panorama. May it inspire others to face their demons and surmount seemingly insurmountable odds. Happy Birthday!


Rodel Banares
(phil. panorama, dec. 30, 2001)

Within the damp, dark confines of the Puerto Princesa City Jail (PPCJ), a small window allows just enough light to illuminate the room where the rehabilitation officer of the said jail is discussing several programs with Edgar Eniego. Among the programs being discussed are the proposed plans of expanding the Re-Entry Education Agenda for the Poor (REAP) Home Study Program in the PPCJ. REAP is a program conceived by Angelicum College to help out-of-school individuals return to the folds of education free of charge through their unique program.

According to Eniego, contrary to common knowledge that jails are “punitive places reserved for criminals, it is rather a corrective and reformative institution aiming to rehabilitate offenders into productive and law-abiding citizens for their future re-integration to society”. That is the reason his devotion in helping the REAP program spread throughout the PPCJ is that strong for Eniego knows whereof he speaks, himself being a detainee at the PPCJ.

Edgar Eniego was born on August 31, 1976 in Occidental Mindoro to Lamberto Eniego and Araceli Dizon. Edgar’s father died when he was only ten years old due to intestinal cancer. However, despite his family’s financial status, he was able to study and graduate with honors in grade school. In high school, he enrolled at the Sisters of Mary School in Santa Mesa, Manila where he took and passed a scholarship test for indigent students. He graduated from high school in 1993 with an academic excellence award , ranked 7th in his batch, earned his diploma in academics and Citizens Army Training, auto mechanics, electronics, refrigeration and air-conditioning.

In 1995 his third sister died of acute asthma, burdening him with obligation of being the bread winner in the family. But despite the odds, he still had the determination to go to college. So he decided to leave Manila and reside with one of his sisters in Palawan.

He enrolled at the Universal Vocation School where he was elected student council president and graduated valedictorian. In 1997, he enrolled at the Palawan State University where he took up Civil Engineering. Here too, he was recognized for his excellent performance in academics. The following semester, he was offered a scholarship grant from the university.

Fate, however, can play cruel tricks on people. In 1998, his childhood sweetheart from Manila visited him in Palawan and stayed there for a month. To make matters worse, his brother who was living with him suffered a mild stroke, further depleting his savings. A few months later, his sweetheart wrote him a letter saying she was pregnant with his child. He sought financial help from friends and relatives, but received none.

Out of desperation, he did what he thought was last resort. On August 10, 1998, Edgar Eniego attempted to hold-up a passenger jeepney. He failed in his attempt and was caught.

Afraid his relatives would find out, he used a fictitious name which he gave to the police. A day after his arrest, he was committed to the Puerto Princesa City Jail. Eniego, however, did not let his situation get the better of him. “The most important lessons have been learned – not to lose hope at all times, for even in the extreme vicissitudes of life, man has always his freedom to treasure and that there is life as long as you breath, even in the absence of liberty”, he says with conviction.

Today, Edgar Eniego actively participates in all activities being undertaken by the PPCJ and is encouraging his fellow detainees to enroll in the REAP Program. He is quite happy with the fruits of his labor.

“These things were made aware to the detainees”, he says, “and upon seeing the opportunity, they seized the chance and gratefully appreciated the program. Optimistic and enthusiastic, they eagerly move on, anxious to obtain the reward that awaits”.

However, Eniego is first to admit that the road is still long and obstacles will still be encountered. According to him, the biggest challenge still looms ahead. “The race has started but the course must be finished. The obstacle lays intimidating and seemingly insurmountable, but with faith teeming and courage a-plenty, no mountain is immovable”, quips the optimistic youth.

At the end of the day, Edgar Eniego looks wistfully at his surroundings which he has learned, for the time being, to call home. His is a lesson of faith and perseverance. And he leaves a message for his fellow youth:

“The ultimate lesson which I reach out to you – youth of Rizal – never to break any rules even in the direst of circumstances … and that violence must have no place in your heart. Temperance and perseverance will always sustain you. And may not my words but my life and the lives of many a youth whose vigor and dreams have gone wasted in the dull misery of paying the price for past unheeded acts brought by the passion of youth”.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Last year, a group of professionals led by a doctor from Harvard called a press conference appealing to the US Govt. to disclose everything they know about UFOs and Extra Terrestrial Life. These people are composed of engineers, govt. workers, astronauts, lawyers, doctors, physicists and other people from all walks of life. here is the press conference video courtesy of YouTube.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Sorry guys. I haven't been able to write anything on this blog for a time since i have been concentrating on my podcasts. Anyway, i would just like everyone to know that this blog is still active. I promise to update this daily (or at least try) by next week.

thanks or your patience and continued patronage.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Macromedia Training

I attended the workshop on HTML at the Kodak Bldg. in Makati yesterday and it turned out to be very informative. We were only 5 in the class, plus the teacher, Datu Arellano (yes, the visual artist and great-grandson of painter Juan Arellano). It was a hands-on workshop with many tips and tricks on HTML, XHTML, CSS and even Dreamweaver CS3. I wont go into the details of the workshop but rest assured that any workshop or course conducted by PCCI (Philippine Center for Creative Imaging) is definitely worth the fee. They also offer courses on Adobe Flash, CorellDraw, Photography, and many many others. For those who wish to know about their courses, workshops and schedules, please visit

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The person who a year ago tried to pass herself off as one of my contacts here in multiply has reared his/her ugly head again, and this time she's calling heerself Goddess and her "loyal followers", disciples. Wow! talk about cult culture in the RP. Amelia Ng, or so she calls herself, is active once more and i was tipped off by a "concerned citizen" about her recent activity. TI decided to join her Yahoo Group to investigate. I guess i was found out because the next day they closed the group and she required all her old members to submit pics and personal info. I've written about these impostors on the web, be it friendster, myspce, multiply etc. Sure, i agree with buwayaman of philippines for men, this may not be in league as phishing, but it is virtually the same. Someone uses your pictures to lure men (and even women) to view your site and entice them to send you money or call cards in exchange for a promise of a sex eyeball. Poor person in the picture! A victim without even realizing it.

Recently, i heard that even the great Thespian Master Tony Mabesa has not been spared from these impostors. Someone opened a friendster account in friendster using Tony's name. I havent seen the site myself but have heard from others that the fake Mabesa friendster account has some libelous content.

So a fair warning to our friends on Multiply: BEWARE. You dont know who may grab your photos and claim it as theirs. You might wake up one day and find out your the "reyna ng haliparot". Hala.

Monday, July 09, 2007

BCIS Launches podcasts

The Banares Clan Information Service (BCIS) recently launched its podcast programs which you can access via The podcasts were made possible following the repair of the BCIS' laptop's mic input slot. So far, BCIS has several programs already on air: FAMILIA JOURNAL ON AIR, BALITANG PINOY, GLOBAL NEWS TODAY, and THE SUNDAY SHOW (Livelihood show). This week BCIS will air MIDDLE EAST NEWS. This is the start of BCIS' globalization. Truly, BCIS is in service of the clan worldwide.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Big Switch

I've been contemplating during my long break from blogging whether to change internet browsers. Well, yesterday afternoon i did it. I made the big switch from internet explorer to Mozilla Firefox. You can easily tell the difference between the two in relation to speed and looks. Firefox doesn't look as cluttered as IE, and in fairness, Mozilla Firefox does load faster (especially since i use the net to watch local US Channels). Firefox is also more user friendly, and shows less buttons (IE has buttons that we often don't use). Being a Google fan, i'm really happy that Firefox makes it easier for me to access my google sites like Blogger, my Google Homepage and YouTube. When i downloaded Firefox, it came with a Google toolbar made especially for Mozilla and it is really great. If I were you, I'd make the big switch too.

It's good to be back... finally!

It seems forever since my last blog here in mapangurirat. Truth be told, i felt that the well is drying up. Sigh. But here i am again, fresh from my long break. I haven't had the leisure of opening my gmail as well. When i did open it yesterday, i was pleasently surprised that my friend of 28 years, Prof. Jerick aguilar has finally replied to an email i sent him middle of march. I'm glad to know he's happy with his travelling, and that he won two tickets to Paris. Jake, fyi, is a professor at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. He was my classmate back in elementary at Angelicum. He is now in Tunisia and will soon be based in Yemen. I heard he's doing research for the United Nations. His essay on his travels was published at I'll post the link as soon as i get the chance to copy it.
During my long break from blogging, i got a chance to visit my sister's house in Tandang Sora and found that her Jurrasic Park-inspired garden is gone and has been replaced by her own personal Zen Garden. There's a very big difference between the before and after.
Also during my break, i managed to catch up on the latest inside the Big brother house and was not surprised that the PBB people are still shamelessly shamming their hard-earned text money. Now they saw it fit to fool the people by pretending to evict wendy, nel and mickey, and then letting mickey and wnedy go back. Now the people will have to vote (AGAIN) for the "big 4". For a TV Station that makes a big deal out of poll fraud, they sure are enjoying their own version of it. This is a good case of the pot calling the kettle black.
I also got a chance to see "Life and Death of a Pumpkin" by Blame Society productions over at grouper. Man, that was some short flick and i salute the people who did the film. That was certainly a different take on halloween. Kudos!
More of the things i did during my break tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Independence Day

Archbishop's Dirty Tactics

Archbishop Oscar Cruz has been reported by a news program discouraging Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Philippines. Cruz feels that the Pope's visit might be used by the president to cover up her alleged "wrongdoings". This supposed prince of the church is again acting un-christian by crucifying the president without trial. Cruz, who is a paharasee to my eyes, is the personification of horror movies that depict Satan as a bishop of the church. Is Cruz mentally retarded (oops, sorry. i didn't mean to insult the mentally retarded by comparing them to the devil -este- Bishop cruz). Haaay, Oscar. You're acting all crazy and people might just believe that you are crazy by denying the filipino faithful the chance to be visited by His Holiness. Crawl back from the rock where you came from. Bishop Oscar Cruz is a hypocrite. Father, forgive Oscar, for he knows not what he does. If there is a person who can ruin the image of the catholic curch in this country, it is cruz who chose to stick his nose into everybody's business. Why doesn't he emulate Ed Panlilio? Gov. Ed decided to act and ran for governor because he really wants change in Pampanga. Cruz, on the other hand, wants change so he wastes his precious saliva on trivial things, while the people of Lingayen suffer because their spiritual needs have been neglected by their spiritual leader.

Friday, June 01, 2007

June 1 marks end to a Resepcted Sims Institution

I learned recently that SimsHost, the no. 1 and most respected host of free and subscription sites for the Sims1 (and also Sims2) is shutting down tomorrow, June 1, 2007. This means that all its supported sites will cease operations as well, unless they manage to transfer to a new host server before tomorrow. I am saddened by this fact since i am a confessed Sims1 addict and a frequent visitor to SimsHost's sites, including Killer Sims. Luckily, Killer Sims managed to transfer to a news server but we'll find out tomorrw if the server can hold all Killer Sims' files. I salute the men and women of SimsHost who made it possible for us avid Sims1 fans to download lots of free and beautiful objects. Though the Sims 1 community is getting smaller, we loyal fans will continue to support your sites for as long as it is up and running. More power to the countless men and women who have made it possible for us to live in an alternate reality.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The most romantic song ever written for me is Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal by Ernani Cuenco. The lyrics and the melody really strike a cord whenver i hear it. I was fortunate to have been able to find an mp3 version of Ernani Cuenco's obra maestra in the Multiply account of Xiao Chua. I think he got the MP3 from the Dean of History at UP Diliman. To Xiao, thanks a lot. Many may not know that i am a Kundiman fan (aside from being an opera fan). I was able to gather from the internet a compilation of classic Filipino music including some hard-to-find Kundiman songs (I especially like Larry Miranda's "Sa Lumang Simbahan" ). I am glad that there are still many filipinos (sadly most of them are abroad) who share in my desire to be able to preserve Kundiman music for posterity.

The music "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal" may be considered baduy by the present generation who grew up with love songs with a more upbeat tempo. They fail to realize the intensity, the emotion that goes with every line of the song. If only they could learn to appreciate real beautiful music.

I found the lyrics of "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal" at and i am posting it here for the benefit of those who like the music. Hope you like it. :D

Ikaw lamang ang aking iibigin
Ang pag-ibig ko sa 'yo ay tunay
Nais ko sanang patunayan
Huwag ka nang mag-alinlangan
Ang pag-ibig ko'y hindi kukupas
Tulad din ng umaga
May pag-asang sumisikat
Ang ating buhay
Maikli aking hirang
Kung kaya't kailangan
ng pagsuyong wagas
Ang sumpa ko sa iyo'y asahan
Ikaw lamang ang aking iibigin mapakailanman
Ang ating buhay
Maikli aking hirang
Kung kaya't kailangan ng pagsuyong wagas
Ang sumpa ko sa iyo'y asahan
Ikaw lamang ang aking iibigin

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Question

I have been asked if i have changed religions. The answer is no. I am still a christian. I have not converted to Taoism. My belief in the Pathway to Enlightenment (slightly different from the Tao for the Pathway to Enlightenment is my personal religion) is not, as i believe, in violation with the tennets of my belief. In fact, it helps me to become a better christian. The 3 keys of the Pathway (simplicity, love and meditation) and the Three Jewels of the Tao (humility, moderation and love) are in perfect harmony with the teachings of Christ. In fact, Christ exercised these keys (both of the pathway and the Tao) during His stay on this earth. He lived simply, He showed love and compassion, humility, moderation and He meditated. So i see no need to switch religions just because i practice the three keys towards True Enlightenment.

No Power

My niece wrote a blog about a recent power failure in their area. Upon contemplation, i wrote her this reply:

Darkness allows us a chance to meditate. The loss of power should be considered a blessing for it gives us the opportunity for deep meditation. Darkness and silence are factors to see the pathway to true enlightenment. When one is in deep meditation, the physical discomforts vanish like the stars upon the entrance of the majestic sun.
Love. Simplicity. Meditation. Three keys to the Pathway to Enlightenment. These are based on the Three Jewels of the Tao: Humility, Moderation and Love. The Tao and the Pathway are similar, if not one and the same.

The Pathway to Enlightement

We go about our daily lives focused on trivial matters. I say trivial because in the broader spectrum of life, the chi or path towards enlightenment recognizes no status, financial stability or social status -- these are merely man-made and not an integral part of the discovery of the pathway to enlightenment. The three jewels of the Tao (as with the essentials towards the realization of the Pathway towards True Enlightenment) are humility, moderation and love. With the Pathway, it is love, simplicity and meditation. Love is essential because only with love can one come closer to the Pathway. Living simply (simplicity) is essential as well, for only in simplicity can one escape the trappings of materiality and the temptations of the body. Lastly there is meditation. This final step towards the Pathway is based on two elements: darkness and silence. Darkness and silence are essential for it elliminates distractions of the senses and heightens the ability of a person to listen only to his heart. With the right training, the Pathway to Enlightenment will present itself, as certain as the Sun rises in the East.

How does one love?

How does one love? Does one love with his mind or with his heart? If one loves with his mind, he opens himself up to doubt and distrust, for the mind is analytical and approaches problems in forms of equations and formulae. When one loves with his heart, the heart sees only the sincerity and the goodness of another. But, the heart can be misled, and quite easily too. The brain and the heart are like the chinese Yin and Yang. Like the yin and yang, there too must be an equal balance of heart and mind when loving. To love, one must be open to the reality that all human beings have their own good and bad side. To see only the good in a person without acknowledging his faults, shortcomings and weaknesses is not love. Always remember that the positive should always be balanced by the negative, for no one of this earth is born of only one side. In the words of my old mentor Master Rico, one is blinded by love and sees only the good when he can no longer differentiate between a dimple and a pimple.

Preaching the Obvious

Someone once asked me why i bother to preach on the obvious. I replied that the reason i have to preach about the obvious is that the obvious is the thing we take for granted the most. It is not unlike the devout christian asking God for a miracle and yet fails to see the miracle in the transformation of the butterfly, or the presence of the rainbow. There is a song that says that if one would only look at a drop of rain, he opens the secrets to the skies. The obvious is taken for granted, and one must preach about it so that it can be re-discovered. One must, once in a while, look at the world through the eyes of a child who marvels at the clouds whenever he stares at the sky, or wonders about the rain, or thunder and lightning. Only then can he see that the obvious is not so obvious after all.

Silence is Golden

There is truth in the saying "Silence is Golden". In silence, we learn to truly hear what the ears cannot. With silence, we can hear the deepest desires of our hearts. Silence allows our souls to discern the true path to enlghtenment. silence allows us to hear the cries of anguish of our neighbors -- their cries for help. That is why it is important for us to allow for moments of silence everyday, for then, and only then can we really, truly hear.

Great Things start from Small Things

Great things come from small beginnings. The stately and graceful butterfly starts as a homely caterpillar. The giant redwood starts out as a single seed. Humans begin their journey through life as a single cell. The greatest empires of the world began as tiny specks of greed embedded in the hearts of their leaders. That is why great care must be given to little things, things that seldom seem to have importance, and yet prove to be more magnanimous than perceived possible. So it is with our spirituality. We may begin our spiritual journey as a single desire to commune with our maker, but soon realize that our spirituality is bigger, greater than a single desire. It becomes an encompassing and overwhelming cocoon that encapsulates us. The trick is not to try and escape our spirituality because this is not possible, but to be one with the cocoon of our spirituality. As we morph inside our spirituality we hope to emerge as enlightened beings, far understanding of the world we live in, just as the stately butterlfy learns to fly at the first opening of its wings. And so from one little desire to commune with our maker, our maker elevates us from creatures of confusion to creatures of enlightenment. Thus, from a single desire, great things begin.

14th Pundaquit Festival at CASA San Miguel

My good friend Rene "Ren" Salovsa III gave me the lowdown regarding the 14th Pundquit Festival (which he got from another good friend, Bernie Gregorio) and requested i pass it on.

The 14th Pundaquit Festcval of the CASA San Miguel Foundation in San Antonio, Zambales takes place May 26. The festival will feature exhibits and concerts from grantees and scholars as part of its mission of nurturing artistic excellence in the rural community. The event is also in observance of the 2nd death anniversary of Ricardo K. Bolipata, A founding member and patron of CASA San Miguel.At 6pm of May 26, 16-year-old violinist Joseph Valdes takes center stage in a recital which will be held at the Ramon Corpus Hall with Ruth Quinones.
On May 27, CASA San Miguel will luanch an exhibit by grantees and resident artists at Siemens Hall. On exhibit are the latest artworks of Plet Bolipata, fresh from her residency grant at the Vermont Art Center, Carlo Gabuco, Jan Leeroy New, Zaniel Mariano, Brendale Tadeo and Don Salubayba.

The launch will be followed by a concert by the scholars and grantees of CASA San Miguel with the special participation of the Makiling Ensemble, a musical group from the Phil. High School for the Arts in Los Banos.The Pundaquit Festival begain in 1994 with the beleif that it promotes slef-esteem and positive attitude towards work, family and community.All events are free to the public, with the support of Siemens, the Citigroup Foudnation of New York and Wyeth Philippines.

Call 933-23-92 and 903-86-57 for details.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Congratulations, Cong. Ronny!

Congratulations are in order for Congressman Ronny Zamora who won as congressman of the lone district of San Juan under the banner of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino. His outstanding service to San Juan far outweighed the non-achievement of his opponent Alcovendas.
Ronny Zamora was Bar Topnatcher (Number One) in 1969, Executive Secretary, Office of the President of the Philippines (1998-2001), Congressman (1987-1998), Assemblyman (1978-1984) Majority Leader, House of Representatives (1992-1995), Minority Leader, House of Representatives (1995-1998), Author or Sponsor of numerous important pieces of legislation including: Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law; the Organic Act for Muslim Midnanao and many others.
He was Magna Cum Laude, Bachelor of Laws, University of the Philippines, 1969; Magna Cum Laude, Bachelor of Political Science, University of the Philippines 1965; Valedictorian, UPLaw Class 1969, ahead of classmates like Senator (and former Senate President) Franklin Drilon and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago; Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awardee for Law and Public Office, 1972.
Congrats, Cong. Ronny!

Asado and Mantau buns

We were at my sister's place yesterday and i mentioned to my brother-in-law Vic that i was planning to cook pork asado. So he looked up a recipe of mantau (a sort of siopao but without the filling). After an hour, he had a printed recipe of the steamed buns and we proceded to work on it. It took us about 15 minutes to gather all the ingredients from their kitchen and placed it on their bread maker (just to mix the dough). While waiting for the dough to be kneaded thouroughly, i began cooking the pork asado (just a combination of dark soy sauce, sugar, water and hoisin sauce). After the asado was cooked and being cooled, kuya vic began dividing the dough into small buns and putting wax paper underneath them. My niece Carla got the steamer and soon we had ourselves an asado and mantao dinner. It was a shame my sister wasn't there to enjoy the asado and mantau. I plan to make it here at home as well. Yum.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


After weeks of looking forward to election day, this day turned out to be more of a big disappointment than a milestone. From Marikina, my sister, niece and i travelled to San Andres in Manila to vote. My sister was hesitant to vote since she was afraid that the poll officials mights ask for her voters ID which we didn't have. We took the risk, braved the heat, and finally arrived at Rafael Palma Elementary School along Zobel Roxas. We went to the room where our precinct was, but it turned out that our barangay (763) has been divided into 6 precincts, which turned out to be scattered all over the big school. Still, we went to each of the rooms until the last room proved to be our precinct. We checked our names, and my sister found hers next to my mom's, but my name wasn't included in the list! I let my sister vote first before w went to the Comelec representative, and they checked the list and tooth which our true enough, i wasn't on any of their lists. So we went to the PPCRV booth, and the same thing happened. My final resort was to visit the barangay captain put up near the school. They checked the list, found that my name wasn't in any of them, and surmised that it might have been transfered to another precinct. What??? How could that have happened? Comelec was just saying over the radio that only 2 election no-shows will qualify one to be stricken off the list. I only missed one election which was the last Presidential elections. How could this have happened? Sadly, no one was able to answer my question, as if this was one of life's great mysteries. And so, with a heavy heart, we left Manila without me voting. I just want an explanation, a reasonable one, to validate why my name was removed from the list while my dearly departed mother's name was still on the list.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Surprising Week

I recently opened the email address of our clan website which i have not been able to open since december. I found to my surprise an email from Maureen Bernardo of Perth, Australia who sent an email along with attachments of their family tree and an theory about their link to our clan. I was surprised because the among the pictures she sent me was a picture of her mother-in-law Sabina Banares Bernardo dated 1976. The picture shows Sabina with Jose Banares and my grandfather Tomas. According to Maureen's email, when they visited Bacacay in 1976, they were receivd and accepted into the clan by Jose and Tomas. Which is why today, i am busy ammending the history of the clan which might soon include a previously unknown sixth child of ancestor Bartolome Banares. The sixth son was rumored to have left the family in his early teens and was never heard from again by the family. It is Maureen's belief, and i tend to agree with her, that Sabina's father Cornelio is the missing son of Bartolome. In any case, it is my belief that since the side of Cornelio was accepted into the clan by Tomas and Jose, then we should accept them with open arms. Truly, this is a surprising week.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Viva, Vigan!

Our four-day vacation in Vigan with the barkada was one of the best road trips our group has done. The 10-hour trip to the historic city was uneventful and we managed to arrive at our hotel, the Vigan Heritage Hotel, shortly before the start of the Binatbatan Festival Parade.

The parade started around 4 pm , and though the temperature was above humid, lots of people gathered along Liberation Avenue to watch the dancers in their colorful garb dance to a festive beat of the rondalla.

After the parade, my friends decided to take a calesa tour of Vigan, while my niece and I went back to the hotel. Along the way, i managed to take pictures of various interesting houses within the Vigan Heritage Park.

We spent the rest of our first day in Vigan trying out the various delicacies such as empanadang vigan, and of course, trying out the night life at Vigan's premiere bar, Sitio Bar, right at the heart of Vigan's Heritage Park area. The next morning, we managed to take a walking tour of the heritage park and we came upon the statue of Leona Florentino, Foremost ilocano poetess, playright and satirist. Her statue can be found in a small plaza right in front of the Max's Restaurant and Casa Leona, the poetess' residence.

There are lots of interesting architectural designs along the famed Heritage Strip, and one of these is the 3-storey marvel i stumbled upon while strolling the strip early one morning.

We had lunch on our second day at Max's, and we had their popular fried chicken and the famous bagnet and longanisang vigan, and the vegetable viand "dinuyduy".

Here are my friends smiling sweetly for my camera, as they prepare to order lunch.

After lunch, we decided to take another stroll through the heritage strip (along Calle Crisologo). The sun was at its hottest since we arrived, but that didn't prevent us from taking a stroll.

At the Vigan Heritage Park Tourism Office, we came upon Bernard. Here you can see our friend Louwi posing with the cuddly dog.

Meanwhile, across the street, a Vigan resident observes us tourists while unintentionally posing for this picture. I found out later on she was the wife of the sculptor of the statue whose head she was carressing.

We found a sign leading to a photo studio and so we decided to have our picture taken as a group, vintage style, that is. The studio provides spanish era dresses for its clients. We found out after the photo shoot that the costumes are owned by Camp Suki. That's me as Padre Damaso.

while wasiting for the hard copy of the photos, we went to the Burgos Museum (formerly Ayala Museum and now National Museum - Vigan Branch). The museum has a good collection of spanish-era furniture, beds, armoirs, and a little bit of Ifugao relics at the ground floor.

We also got a chance to visit the burnayan, where the famous vigan jars are made. when you enter the compound, you will be surprised by thenumber of jars they have -- jars as far as the eye can see.

We got a chance to see how a clay jar is made, as demosntrated here by one of the burnayan workers. He also showed us the pugon or oven where the jars are baked.

That's me having a sweet moment with one of the clay figures in the burnayan. Mwaah. We also got a chance to visit the Syquia Mansion. A scion of the Syquias married President Elpidio Quirino and one can see his memorabilia at the mansion's ground level. We had a great time touring the huge mansion and managed to steal some snapshots. The photo below is Jhackie at the second floor azotea fountain.

this is the official limousine of President Quirino during his term. It is a black, stretch Chrysler Limousine.

The next day, we headed to Batac to visit the remains of President Marcos. Here I am posing before a manequin of the late dictator.

We decided to proceed to Paoay and Curimao instead of going all the way to Pagudpod. Here is one of the views you will see along the road going to Curimao via Paoay.

While searching for a resort, we managed to enter a Korena-run resort. the resort has a Rolls Royce parked in the executive parking area. wow.

We finally decided to settle for D'Coral Resort in curimao, which was fairly okay especially since there were only a handful of guests at the resort during that time. Poppo rented an airconditioned cottage for the group and we spent the rest of the day swimming in the cool China Sea water.

Before the day was over, we returned to Vigan for our last night of vacation. We took a stroll along Heritage Park and took pictures, and then returned to Hotel for a drinking spree at the roofdeck which the owner generously offered for us to use.

We left Vigan shortly before noon, but not before passing by the market to buy pasalubong. we settled for longanisang Vigan while the others also bought bagnet and chichacorn.

On our way home, we passed by this magnificent view and decided to stop and take pictures. This was taken at a cove a few kilometers after the famous Quirino Bridge. the water looked so cool and tempting.

As a finale, here's a photo fo Mapangurirat in a contemplative mood at the Vigan Heritage Hotel.

You can see more of our Vigan trip pcitures at my multiply account. Visit it at