Monday, November 26, 2007

fame price

everyday whenever I go to the office, I always see a long pile of people either patiently waiting or sleeping outside the audience entrance of the building. probably they've been there since the other night. making sure that they are first in line by the time the audience entrance gate opens. surprisingly, most of them are old women and children, only having a thin sheet blanket, small umbrellas and carton boxes against the discomfort of cold dusk and dead concrete pathways. there are also instances in which you could see an entire family lying flat on the concrete floors. while either of the parent is preparing a hot drink for their entire folks.

at first, I thought that poverty was the only reason that drives these people to tolerate these situations. but last saturday by an invitation of an officemate, I have found out other subtle reasons for such cases. we were invited to fill in a dry run for a local gameshow, 1vs.100. we were asked to pretend that we are the actual contestants because they are trying a new approach to develop the show. whereas, the one is required to choose 10 people from the mob and he needs to defeat them all before he could actually be given an option to choose for the money.

anyhow, I was designated at the top row. there were no other people sitting beside me that point. when two guys took over the seats. they said that they were talents and was able to get the slot after one of the coordinators of the show approached their manager. they were asked to pretend that they are college students. I didn't know that they were talents that point, so I taught they are really college students and asked from what school they were. they answered me with a pause and told me that they are actually talents not students. I felt I have offended them in a way.

nonetheless, we were able to know one another since it was almost 4 hours before the dry run started. these guys where not really from manila and came from visayas and mindanao. they went to manila to try their chance of becoming celebrities and be seen in tv. I was surprised hearing from them their struggle of making it on each of their screenings just to be waiters, passer bys, extras etc. among various shows of the network. they have mentioned that everyday, they go to the network's premise waiting for a screening or dry runs like these. its like a break for them if they were able to make it. when I asked what else do they do aside from these, they've answered none. although they've admitted that they are college graduate. I felt sad for a moment.

when for me, these are just things you do for the first time and for the experience. these people are actually doing this for living. saddening in a way, that despite a good education, they are willing to exchange it for the price of fame.

after the show, we were paid P500. I went to starbucks, bought a toffe nut frappucino, completed my sticker card and claimed my planner. when I was about to go home, I saw them waiting again outside one of the studios.

come to think of it, fame really pays. but not guaranteeing anything in return.
so I've made up a decision regarding applying for a non-degree course. I've decided not to take it anymore. weighing down the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing creative writing 10, a 3-unit course subject for P5,046 in up diliman.
here are my formulated lists:
1. aside from work, I still have something productive to do for the entire semester before I go back to law school.
2. it would allow me to meet my friends often. since they are studying in the same university.
1. there is no assurance that this subject will be credited as an english unit for law school.
2. the tuition fee for a single subject is way unjustifiable for a state university. this is almost my entire tuition for an 18 unit semester when I was in my undergraduate (mind you, that is just two years ago).
3. once, I've enrolled to the non-degree program, I'll be needing to reapply for cross enrollee program again by the time I am already enrolled for law school. such a hassle.
4. if I'll be needing to take an undergraduate subject, it would be a lot cheaper since I am just a cross-enrollee and not a non-degree enrollee.
5. with christmas season approaching, expenses is also about to soar. not to mention, I am needing to buy a new phone. since I am still using the old school phone that I have bought in cubao.

no regrets.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

hike me, not

i have arrived manila by lunch time after an out of town trip from fontana in clark field, pampanga. after my friends dropped me off in philcoa, i immediately headed home and dropped off my things. then went to up diliman to follow up my pending non degree application.
yes, my colleagues, i am still on vacation for law school because i still find it quite difficult to continue the pages of my law school life in a new school starting from scratches again---no friends, new teachers, new environment, new blockmates and new studying habit. so i have decided to just finish the required english units for my curriculum.
the line was really long and there were still lots of stubborn students like me who decided to enroll on the last day of enrollment. nonetheless, i was still able to manage to keep my enrollment for a day. disheartenedly, from almost 50 sections that offered the general english courses, only two sections were available: one starts at 7 am. while the other is at 8:30. unfortunately, it went across my work shift, so it was the shedule conflict taht made me not to take it.
still optimistic, i tried looking for another general english elective. then, i saw another which was creative writing 10, that starts at 4 in the afternoon until 5:30. although i am really in doubt wheter or not this would be credited as an english unit. without any option left, i enlisted on the subject. thinking atleast i still have something to do aside from work.
the manangs in the registrar's office were kind enough to process my papers without the hassle i have previously experienced regarding public offices.

but when i assessed the fees that i am going to pay, i was surprised when i saw that it was 5,046 pesos for the 3 unit subject that i am enrolling. its about a 18 unit load that i usually pay per semester when i was in my undergraduate degree.
the lady in the counter told me that even if i have graduated on the same university since the 300% increase was already implemented across various campuses in up, i am already covered by the hike.
i was on shock that i remained speechless the entire time. i suddenly thought where was i when rallies where been mobilized regarding this issue for UP? i felt guilty thinking about the answers.
now, all i was left, was in doubt of whether or not i am still going to continue a subject that i really don't know if it would be credited for law school?
considering the pros and cons, i am really confused. please help me. i think i'll be needing divine intervention. whatever that means.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

jeric raval: the comeback of philippine action cinema

have you ever wander, how there are no longer action films being shown among philippine cinemas?
i just realized this after seeing jeric raval as one of dennis padilla and long mejia's guests in kapamilya deal or no deal.
when dennis called for help in the second set of the game, he called in JERIC RAVAL. it was a long pause before i was able to recall the name. i finally remembered him as one of the action stars in the 90s. he is often partnered with either jennifer sevilla or shirley fuentes. he also contributed to the era of black leather jackets and maong pants together with robin padilla.
i immediately grabbed my phone and sent a group message to all of my friends indicating the comeback apparition of the former action star. most of their response was, who is jeric raval?
at the back of my head, how come these guys don't know jeric raval? i am just an older or probably a year younger to them. so how come they don't know him?
probably, i thought its been a while since we've seen jeric raval. or better yet, its been a while since we've since a philippine action movie.
philippine cinema today, is bombarded by either fantasy, comedy, drama or love story movies. the golden years of both action and sexy movies had begun losing its spot in the movie screen except on specific movie houses in recto and cubao, which still shows cynthia luster movies. come to think of it, probably our country just have had enough of the fights, violence and high volume of rape cases over the past years. so the movie industry decided to uplift the masses' morale by giving lighter movies to watch.
just a thought that i pondered.

propaganda: if filipinos would also learn how to make things upside down

thanks kat!

Friday, November 9, 2007

a month to celebrate

adobo pork with cheese and brown rice
this would probably be the longest month of my life.
there were lots of things that happened without me going out of my room and meeting with my friends. when everything seemed to run in slowmo(tion) and your doing the same routine over and over again, it is surprising to know that there was something along with it that would still make you smile at the end of each day.
couple of months ago, the entire picture is more likely to be different from the current one. i used to go out, meet friends, and couldn't keep myself inside my room. i am always on the go. scared of thinking and introspecting too much when i am alone. well, i wouldn't dwell too much on that anymore because i may sound too emo. oops! excuse me..
probably the basic point that i am driving at is, the past month may not be the way i thought of it for the past 22 years of my life. but i am still happy experiencing it for the first time, in a more serious way.
i only hope this is already it. well, i no there is no room for guarantee. but i am still hoping, enjoying and making the most out of it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

in vino, veritas: the modern way of ancient greek's political discourse

for almost 2 years now, i tend to shy away from the issue of philippine politics and ideologies.

whenever, politics becomes the topic of each conversations you would either see me smiling as a gesture or simply giving a nod as a sign of 'yes, i am listening'. often times, i even can't stop thinking that probably these people i am with would think 'what kind of UP alumna i am?! having no stand or doesn't bother at all." well, just in case this paranoia would actually happen, i would simply just tell them," you don't know what you are talking about."

way back in college, i am (not was) an active student activist inclined with the masses' theater (braechtian theater, to be technical). we arouse, organize and mobilize people to political ideologies through the medium of arts, which we believe as the most effective arm in making the people more politically, socially and culturally aware.

later on, i have become a student and youth leader among mass discussions, mobilizations and demonstrations. there were instances in which you'll handle the toughest, most intense and brutal days of your life among streets against firetruck hoses, hard batons and chasing police. while there are moments, where you'll encounter the most gentle and kindest signs of gestures among the people who sympathizes into what you are doing. thanking you that you are bravely doing these things in behalf of them. you can't just keep yourself from bursting into tears.

but despite all of these, at the end of the day, when you arrive home or you're talking to your parents, relatives or friends, the support that you'll be getting is as not as good as what you get in the streets. there are lots of questions of why, how, what if, who, where, and when soaring in the air. well. i couldn't blame them. because i could feel that behind those aggression and sarcasm, the concern of them toward me is overpowering the entire scenario.

what made me to be an activist then? is it just because i am from UP that's why i need to brand myself to be an UP activist too? is it just as a sign of gratitude and obligation, that i need to pay the masses back for this 'opportuniy' to study in this 'prestigious' institution?

well, when i entered this university, i can say that i am your regular naive and 'pathetic' college freshman, that doesn't desire anything else but to get good grades and graduate on time. i came on a relatively middle class family, so by the time i've saw my first mass demonstration and rally in the university. i tend to avoid it because of my connotative impressions against activists. and due to my parents' warnings as well. but as the folds of events went through, in a snap of a second, i found myself a member of a progressive theater (that i have discussed above) that eventually made me changed my perception, not only to them. but more towards life.

me as a salvaged farmer, baguio city. 2005

i have been into places i never thought exists. i have experience life in the most extreme opposite where i was used to. i never thought that 'these' things really happen in real life. when i thought i was living the most miserable life there is, they've shown themselves to me in an instant like they are just there infront of you, waiting for you to notice them. life is indeed unfair. conflicts are needed for life to move on and societies to survive. inequality is inevitable and contradictions are everywhere. everything is a vicous and unending cycle of predator and prey. as the undying quotation of charles darwin goes, it is survival of the fittest.

indeed, these are facts. but irrevocable as it may seems, the nature of life opens the possibility of optimismistic change. we may not completely deconstruct inequality. but atleast, we could minimize its scope and effects. if that would be successful in process, at least there will be a number of people that could enjoy there fair share of life that they are really entitled with. and there will be a person smiling at the back of his head, telling himself atleast, i was able to help.but for every organization, no matter how noble and feasible the objectives could be, you couldn't expect it to be perfect. there will always be persons, things, goals and processes that would tests the principles and ideologies that you (thought) you commonly share with the organization. being an activists is not just a matter of shouting in the streets and clamouring for change in a scorching hot day. there is a lot and i mean a lot of thing underneath. much tasks and responsibilities than you could ever think of: more than you're academic or professional load, if i may say. believe me, like most things we do, there are a lot of times that you'll feel you're already burned out, walk out the door and just quit. but by the time you hit the streets and witness the things that you're giving up, you'll just find yourself going back again.

when i graduated and entered a completely different setting from a state university to a catholic private institution, it was a total culture shock. everything is bound and expected to be conservative and strictly follow the rules, line by line. when you need to live by it, i just thought you need to give a different strategy. attack when you're silent and arm yourself with the best intellect that you could provide. then, make a discourse in a moment they least expect it--- drinking sessions.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

mr.goat and the wind giants

"mr. goat and the wind giants,
who blew away the dark clouds that day"
north luzon wind mill project, ilocos norte

sing to me your saddest song singapore (naks!)

i have heard the saddest news in the longest time ever. one of my dearest friends, katrina texted me a while ago and informed me that she only needs to fixed her passport and she's all set to go to singapore. it broke my heart. just a week before, she mentioned to me that she's planning to go there after her teaching contract in the seminary. it will expire by this week. for her, she is only doing this just for the experience of working abroad and it would just be meantime. she told me about the success story of her aunt in that country and how cheap rubber shoes were in singapore. these probably inspired her to take the chance. in an instant i felt happy with how her career life was going. but on the other hand, i felt sad thinking that another dear friend is going on the same country.another close friend, che is also in singapore. she moved to spain first after college to meet her lost relatives. then she went to london to work until she ended up teaching in singapore.then i can't stop worrying about them. while thinking of flor contemplacion. delia magat, smoke-free policies, etc.but seriously, at the back of my head, i am just simply going to miss her. hopefully, i will be able to get used of not seeing and talking to her at least for the time being.

Friday, November 2, 2007


i miss having going out with friends. talking about almost everything under the sun. discussing life, our lives and other peole's lives. laughing, griefing and goofing around.
i miss those days were we never mind the consequences of time ahead of us. it is always the present that matters. it is always what we do that we value and think of.
childish as it may seems, but there happiness rests. happiness not only in the context of pure joy and laughter. but happiness magnified with the outcome of both happiness and grief of each of our life experiences.
lately, i've noticed that my world is beginning to become smaller and smaller everyday. it is just constrained within the spaces of work and my room. i really cannot tell if this is a conscious matter or not. because i must admit that often times, i would reject my friends' invitations to go out. for the very reason that i have already accepted that something has changed and that something is ought to change.