Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On the Occasion of the NU 107 Rock Awards

It ended on a sour note, a night that feted the country's rock stars. The people have spoken, and the band that won the night's most prestigious award has become famous for playing a song that has been used not only as the theme song of a show that panders to our voyeuristic tendencies, but as a government's rousing call to unity for an imperiled people.

There is nothing wrong with proclaiming our shared nationality, but all too often, this declaration has become an excuse to drown collective dissent in the name of national unity.

Whenever the Pinoy Big Brother theme song is played, I see Bayani Fernando with sll his MMDA emplyees dancing in front of an extremely amused Beijing mayor, the PSG cleaning up the barbed wire that used to swathe Malacanang in order to turn it into Christmas trees, and a band that rose to fame emulating the music and accent of an imperialist country, and that didn't care enough about its music (or maybe, wanted fame and needed the money) to allow it to be used as an ideological state apparatus.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I have slept through the sunrise.

I dreamed that we were roving through the streets of Manila, following the vehicles of other networks. Somehow, we lost them, and ended up on North Road, which was lined with smokestacks belching five-alarm bursts of smoke.

The smoke clings to your body, like the smell of too many bodies crowded into a single jail cell.

I woke up curled in the front passenger seat of the crewcab, in front of the press office of the Western Police District.

For three straight nights, I have roamed the streets from 12 midnight to 8 in the morning.

It's called the graveyard shift because it's an unholy hour; when everyone is asleep, save for the cops, the criminals, the arsonists, and those like me, who must stay awake to watch the city that never sleeps.

I met the graveyard shift media at the Central Police district, all of them hefty men in their mid-twenties who smoked constantly. When one car leaves, all the rest follow suit, tearing through the streets in order to catch a murder, fire, or car crash.

There are fewer crimes committed when it rains -- especially if it rains hard. Even criminals must have their breaks.

Thank God that even they are bound by the weather.

The next night, it only drizzled. I dashed from Ortigas-to-Caloocan-to-Quezon City-to-Manila. A man was electrocuted. A warehouse burned down. Four men were picked up for robbery. (They in turn, were robbed by the police.) World Psoriasis day. My day ended with a handshake with a man whose hands were scarred, pitted and gouged from a lifelong disease that cannot be cured.

They are treated like lepers, even though the rashes come out as a result of a genetic predisposition and psoriasis patients aren't contagious.

Many of them have been refused jobs, and shunned by their own families, once the rashes start to appear.

Another man, whom I talked to, a former electrical engineer, said that his psoriasis had only appeared when he started working. He left his high-paying job and became a filmmaker. Now he directs information campaigns about psoriasis.

He, and many others like him, are finding ways to fight the stigma, to lead normal lives as much as possible.

How much stock we set by the way a person looks! I have seen men treated like kings because they were dressed in business suits, and others treated like the dirt that clung to their clothes.

If I could only have a camera eternally fixed to my show others what I see, and not the sanitized one minute report I was commissioned to write, that never even made it on the air.

This is the first time that I have felt that words were inadequate to convey my sentiments.

Something to Blog About

Sabi nga ng the Wuds, isa sa mga paboritong banda ni Lisa (makikihiram din ako ng lyrics, pasintabi) , inosente lang ang nagtataka. Sa panahon ngayon, wala nang espasyo para sa mga nagtatanga-tanga.

repost from the young radicals blog:

Together, we can turn Arroyo's website into the "pekeng pangulo" homepage.

We are calling on all bloggers and web administrators to post a link with the keywords: "pekeng pangulo" to Arroyo's website at .

This will influence the search engine results to put GMA's website as top result when one searches the keywords: pekeng pangulo.

This has been done by anti-Bush activists during the peak of the anti-Iraq war protests in 2001. When you search Google with the key words: " miserable failure", then click on "Im Feeling Lucky", it will bring you striaght to the biography page of US President George W. Bush.

Other keywords you can link: sira ulo (, gobyernong bulok (, bugaw (, sinungaling (, etc.

You can read the article on this project here.

Everyone is encouraged to repost this entry on their weblog/website.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


One of my favorite authors has been turned into a juicebox. It looks like his heirs have taken advantage of his death by licensing his works to one of the crassest possible things. He would shudder in his grave, seeing this.

Is there anything left in this world that isn't for sale?

It's a rhetorical question, but universal truths such as faith, hope and love have long been commercialized. And now, even the idea of rallies in the mockery of a youth rally that Penshoppe held last October 14 in order to promote its clothes.

At a time when the youth and other dissidents are being hosed down at the foot of Mendiola, at a time when mass leaders are being killed right and left, I can think of no greater sacrilege.

I've just finished leafing trough the British edition of Vogue, the inch-think Bible of the so-called modern woman. And frankly, it disgusts me.

Everything is branded -- we are taught to dress, accessorize and primp according to a single "fashionable" standard.

All the articles, including one on luxury bathrooms, are utterly banal.

All save for one -- an article on the photographer Diane Arbus, who loved to capture freaks on camera.

She killed herself in 1972, leaving behind uncanny photographs of those whom society considered to be deviant.

This is what she wrote in 1959: "What's left after what one isn't is taken away is what one is."

I have pledged to stick to this job for at least a year, in order to prove myself, explore the possibilities for subversion within mainstream media, and for other reasons that remain unknown even to myself.

But I can't help wondering; in a year, what is going to be left of me?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Once More

with. feeling. armed and idealism is up and running.