Friday, August 22, 2008

mga manash, baklesh itish, feel nyo?

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend. So, what’s with today’s title? Well, I was feeling kinda nostalgic about my days in U.P. and among the memorable moments I’ve got (read: opposite to the memories of the dreaded anatomy and microbiology classes) was one article in the Philippine Collegian entitled just that (I mean today’s title). Along that line I’d like to say: Gays rejoice, the pink lingo which is more often than not referred to as just that – gay – and therefore should remain in the pink world which most people would refer to as nothing different to a world characterized by being unconventional which many further define as simply abnormal. Pardon me, but pink is all over the place.

So why should I be devoting one column on the pink lingo? Well, blame it on the latest issue (should we call it fiasco?) that hit the judiciary, thanks (should I add: but no thanks?) to Manolo Lopez and Winston Garcia and their respective cohorts (how’s the term different from conspirators?) Anyway, the issue is all over the place and you ought to know, otherwise, you must have over-extended your fishing expedition.

When the CA investigation commenced more than a week ago, it meant that CA Justice Jose Sabio and businessman Francis De Borja had to be in one place. And then and there the word “dedma” was uttered by the justice, referring to the snobbery on the part of Mr. De Borja. I suppose the good justice said the word just to lighten up what can be considered a tense situation. Alas, came the news that his attention was called and that he was reprimanded for uttering the word.

Well, I did not take my time to listen to the reason as to why the justice was reprimanded. I guess it’s for the plain and simple reason that it (the term “dedma”) is so gay, and thus it has no place in such an honorable place and for honorable people. Be that as it may, I still say pink peso spenders rejoice! Gay lingo, or at least a word from its colorful collection of vocabulary has been elevated a notch never before imaginable. (smile! It’s a weekend!)

* * *

And while we are on the issue about the pink world, try reviewing that BBC, yes BBC report on Saisaket, a place in Northeastern Thailand. So, what about it? No, it did not mention anything about elephants, the royal family or Buddhism. It’s about their comfort rooms. The people are so civilized (or maybe educated, no, open-minded is more like it) that they have one for male, another for female, and hold your breath, another one for gays. Yun lang! (oops, again, just wanna make you smile this weekend)

* * *

Tidbits of local history. So, you think the crisis on rice is something new? Think again. Let me give something which I got from the October 1911 issue of the Eco de Samar y Leyte:

- The shortage of rice on the provinces has been relieved this week by distribution of the staple at different points. 2,000 sacks have been sent from Manila to Catbalogan for distribution in the Samar Province.

- France (French) authorities have forbidden further exportation of rice from Saigon. Saigon rice is now at a premium in Manila. Number one Luzon rice is quoted at 12 pesos a picul and ordinary rice is 8 pesos and 20 centavos having risen 20 centavos a picul since Tuesday.

- The price of sugar in Manila has risen from 11 (pesos) to 13 (pesos) for 100 pounds during the past month. One of the highest prices for the staple known in the local market.

* * *

In celebration of the Calbayog City fiesta, the City Government thru the City Arts and Culture Office will be spearheading the HADANG Festival 2008. The said festival is slated to run from September 5 to 7, 2008.

Among its highlights is the Grand Streetdancing Competition on September 7. The competition is open to all Festival / Cultural groups in Samar. The grand prize is One Hundred Thousand Pesos. Interested groups may get in touch with the City Arts and Culture Office at (055) 209-16-46.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, August 15, 2008

a world at peace

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend. A rainy one I should say. But that should be no big deal, it’s sweldo time and that’s what matters.

Weeks ago, TV viewers around the world were treated to the good news about the butcher of Bosnia being brought to The Hague. A few days ago, we were treated to the spectacle of the Chinese opening the Olympic games (I suppose anti-Chinese groups call that spectacle a diversion, you know, the issue on Tibet, human rights and what have you).

While the friendly competition among the world’s best athletes (well, as far as we see or hear in the news, it is friendly competition), competition of a different sort is being reported in the news: Georgia and Russia (hmm, reminds me of the Reagan’s U.S. and Granada, that nation no larger than Samar Island); and on the homefront, trouble in the Southern Philippines (my apologies, but what else is new?). Do we add in Darfur and Zimbabwe and Iraq and Afghanistan? Man never learned. One TV reporter said it right by saying that war does not result on who’s right, it’s always on who is left; and there was this memorable line from the Oliver Stone movie Heaven and Earth: Wars produce nothing but cemeteries, and in the cemeteries there are no winners or losers, only dead people.

So, is it a case of man never learning lessons of the past? I don’t think so. If my memory serves me right, my soc sci professor gave a very interesting analysis on the art, err, business of war. Yup business. There is money in war. You take it from there.

* * *

There is a war of a different kind going on in another part of the globe (well, it’s kinda near our part of the globe). It’s that friendly sports competition called the Olympics. Forget about the athletes, most of the gold medalists will end up rich with money that can outlast their lifetime.

How do you explain the issue about the cute girl lip-synching her part during the ceremonies? On the other hand, it was a spectacular spectacle (hindi ba redundant?) of telling Chinese history and of that country’s great contributions to civilization. And indeed they succeeded in telling that to the world in a span of three hours and in one giant venue using all those high-tech gadgets and what have you.

Now take this, did you notice that many parts of the ceremony had participants flying in midair in harnesses or whatever, the highlight of which was the torch bearer hanging on his side striding in midair to light the torch. Ahh, it’s that part which tempt me to say that the present Chinese culture is not one characterized by pirated stuff, but one that has the touches of or greatly influenced by John Woo and Jet Li. (Smile! It’s a weekend!)

And the Philippine Olympic team. I understand there is a cash prize of one million (in pesos? or in dollars?) for an Olympic gold medal. Whatever the currency is, there is something bothersome about it. Kasegurista man san naghatag. You think it’s a solution to whatever is ailing Philippine sports? If ever it is, it’s not a long term solution and if I may borrow a line said by a friend of mine, it’s a blind shot.

* * *

Local history. Last week, I featured in this column a report from the August 21 1920 issue of the Eco de Samar y Leyte. It was about the death of the first Bishop of Calbayog. Let me give you an account on the funeral of Bishop Singzon. The event happened exactly 88 years ago tomorrow. That account written by someone who took the name of PEOPE was entitled: The Funeral of Mgr. Pablo Singzon. My corrections / comments are in parenthesis.

“His precious body was removed from the epsicopal chapel to the cathedral last Saturday afternoon and buried last Monday morning, August 16.

If my pen could only transmit to the ears of my readers like when I speak and if I could only describe exactly the mourning of the faithful sons of these two sister provinces (Samar and Leyte) for the painful lost of our most Illustrious prelate Mgr. Singzon I could better express and transmit to my kind readers, but, though my pen is unusable to do so owing to the scarcity of my language, I would only limit to tell with the following description:

In the sorrowful afternoon of last Saturday, the precious body of our old and beloved Bishop was solemnly removed from the chapel of the episcopal palace to the cathedral headed by His Illustris the Apostolic Delegate Mgr. Petrelli, the Auxiliary Bishop Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang attended by the secular and regular clergy, the Paulist Priests with the Seminarians and collegians of Saint Vincent of Paul College, the Rev. Mothers of charity with the college girls of Medalla Milagrosa, the pupils of the public school, the prominents of the town (prominent Calbayognons?) and a great crowd of pious of different societies. The corpse was placed on a gorgeous and splendid tomb around which hanged different crowns with symbolic flowers as mementos of love and sadness. Then began the ceremonies, after which His Illustris the Apostolic Delegate faced to the public with a smiling face and addressed words of great significant like when the father advises to his sons. In a humble tone he said: “This symbolic crowns of flowers which perch around that magnificent tomb will soon be withered and disappear; but there is one thing that I would recommend you all and which I think (is) the best (way) to show your love; and that is to offer a confession and a holy communion for the better and eternal repose of the soul of our old and beloved Bishop”

The day was sad so (were) the hearts of all the loyal sons of the diocese, for if it is true that it is painful for the sons to lose the fathers from their eyes from whom we owe their precious lives it is true also that the lose (loss) of our old Bishop causes us pain and sadness, because in him we owe gratitudes (gratitude) so as (does) the country too. It was Monday – the day designated for funerals by His most Illustris the Apostolic Delegate. In the morning of that day the funeral strikes of the church bell began, the painful sound of which seemed to penetrate and awaken the sleeping hearts of the people. In the episcopal throne there was seated His most Ilustris the Apostolic Delegate, in his right side was Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang the Auxiliary bishop, in the presbyterium were the deacons and subdeacons of honor with the Seminarians; around the tomb were the representatives of the secular and regular clergy. What a sublime and painful occasion it was! The harmonious voices of the famous Aurora moved the hearts of the people into a painful feeling; the gaily song of the singers leaded (led) by the Paulist Priests caused to swell the palpitation of sadness among the crowd. The funeral oration was charged to R.F. Pedro Pampliega whose eloquence called the attention of the public. In his oration he touched the life history of our lost and beloved prelate and the meritorious labors he had done in his diocese. After the episcopal mass said by His most Illustris the Apostolic Delegate the precious body of our beloved pastor was taken to the burial place which is located on the left side of the episcopal throne. Tears rolled down from the eyes of the crowd whose hearts were touched with a painful feeling! MAY THE SOUL OF OUR FATHER IN CHRIST REST IN PEACE.”

* * *

The Social Scene. Zoie Casaljay Bernate, the newborn of John Rey and Salita Bernate will be baptized today at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympics and money-making

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! First things first. Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento will turn a year older today. Happy Birthday!

* * *

Today is the feast of St. Clare. It’s another week and yup, in the next two weeks, sports enthusiasts will be glued to TV and what have you observing (and absorbing?) everything and anything that is offered by the greatest show on earth, a.k.a. the Olympic Games which opened to much fanfare last Saturday. Ahh, I loved the lighting of the torch. That was indeed something. But nothing beats the drama of the Barcelona games, remember the archer lighting the torch via an arrow he shot from the ground? Anyway, we wish our athletes well.

* * *

So, what’s with today’s title? Much has been said about the game, and one that caught my attention was Businessweek’s account on security preparations, and well, some issues on the side. If I may feature a few lines from that report:

Even as the likes of McDonald's, Adidas, and Coca-Cola spend millions of dollars trumpeting their affiliation with the Beijing Olympics, a different group of multinationals is less eager for the spotlight. China is spending some $6.5 billion on security for the Games, and much of that has gone to foreigners. But given the sensitive nature of those contracts—and a skittishness over being perceived as supporting China's authoritarian government—these companies are often reluctant to discuss what they're doing or how much they're making. "We want to avoid answering sensitive questions," says a staffer in the Beijing office of Panasonic, which has sold surveillance cameras for use at the Games.

That doesn't mean these companies haven't been aggressive in courting business. General Electric, IBM, Honeywell, Siemens, Panasonic, and LG have all won major contracts providing security technology for the Olympics—one of the biggest security-business opportunities ever, and a shot at lots of ongoing business for those that get in early. The Chinese are laying out more than four times the $1.5 billion that Athens spent on security in 2004, says the Security Industry Assn., a Washington trade group.

The hefty increase is due in part to the immense size of the 2008 Games. Beijing alone has 31 Olympic venues; six other cities—the most ever for an Olympics—will play host to soccer, equestrian events, and sailing. In attendance will be 10,000 athletes, 30,000 journalists, and more than 80 heads of state, including George W. Bush and France's Nicolas Sarkozy. "Hosting the Games is, in the context of the U.S., like having two Super Bowls every day for 16 days," says Harvey W. Schiller, chairman of New York risk consultant GlobalOptions Group and a former executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Beijing's legitimate concerns about terrorism also are behind the big spending. On Aug. 4 two men attacked a group of policemen in western China, killing 16 of them. So China has deployed 34,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers and more than 75,000 other security personnel to keep an eye on the Games. Anti-aircraft missiles are in place around the "Bird's Nest" stadium, the centerpiece of the Olympics. And Beijing's airport was scheduled to shut down during the Aug. 8 opening ceremonies in the stadium. "Safety is our top concern here," Vice-President Xi Jinping said while touring Olympic venues on July 21.

* * *

So, what’s my take on the games? There is money and the chance of making money in the games. Surely, gold medalists will be in for something more aside from the honor or accolades – the chance to endorse products and earn dollars, millions of it – and that’s where the real fun will be.

On the money spent to stage the party, I won’t say that it could have been better spent somewhere like helping the poor or helping the environment or promoting peace. I don’t think it can help. Evita (or, the composer) was right, or at least being realistic with this line from the musicale: “(the problem) from war to pollution, no hope of a solution, even if I lived for one hundred years.”

On the other hand, the green-eyed monster in me (read: drooling with envy) can only look at the stars and hope for the day when the country of Juan De La Cruz could do the same thing that the Chinese did last week. In the meantime, while we can’t do what the Chinese (or any Olympic city for that matter) did, let’s look for Gold, or well, I guess, Bronze will do (hey! It’s the Olympics!).

And yes, world leaders flew to Beijing to party, err, wish their athletes well, I’ll have my take on that next issue.

* * *

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Councilor Monmon Uy and Angie Llever. They got married last Saturday. Fr. Bloi Guiuan presided over the Nuptial Mass which was held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. The groom walked down the aisle with his mother and Congressman Reynaldo Uy. The principal sponsors included Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Vice Governor Jesus Redaja, BM Pamela Fortaleza, among others. Reception was held at the TTMIST Socio-Cultural Center.

* * *

Let me leave you something to ponder about this week. I got this via email (and yup, it reminded of one of the issues in the U.S. elections. This poem was nominated as the best poem of 2006, Written by an African Kid:

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray
And you calling me colored??

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Death of a Bishop

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend. I would have wanted to focus on the “birth pains” being experienced by MIAA at Terminal 3. Well, it happened at Heathrow and Hongkong, so let it go.

And the Olympics? It’s all over the place, so that one I also have to let go.

But I can’t let go of this announcement (you can read that as greetings):
Councilor Monmon Uy will be married to Ms. Angie Llever today.

* * *

So, what’s with today’s title? Nope, no bishop died today. Or this is not a detective story of solving a mystery murder. Just wanna grab your attention on what I (or the history buff in me) got from some archival records. Let me take a few moments of your time today as we recall some sad moments in the life of one of the leaders who have served the
Diocese of Calbayog, in his case, the Catholic faithful in the islands of Samar and Leyte.

* * *

A few weeks ago I mentioned in this column about receiving photocopies of the issues of the
Eco de Samar y Leyte. I thought it was a bundle of issues only from 1911-1913. Later on would I find an issue on August 14, 1920 and the English section contained an account on the death of the first Bishop of Calbayog. It’s the year (of the Bishop’s death) that made me wonder.

If one is to check the portraits of Bishops at the Bishop’s House in Calbayog (which many locales fondly refer to as the
palacio), a plate beneath Bishop Singzon’s portrait states that he was Bishop of Calbayog from 1910 – 1922. And checking on his tombstone at the Cathedral, it stated that he returned to his creator in 1923. This obviously needs more checking. In the meantime, let me share with you (in its entirety) what I got from the Eco de Samar y Leyte.

* * *

That particular issue on
August 14, 1920 had this as its headline in the English section: “MGR. PABLO SINGZON, FIRST BISHOP OF CALBAYOG DIED LAST TUESDAY MORNING

Taking a cue from that headline, it meant that Bishop Singzon returned to his creator on
August 10, 1920. That’s 88 years ago this Sunday. Let me give you the details of that report which was written by someone who went by the name of PLOPE.

“It was a melancholic and sorrowful Monday at about six o’clock when our Illustrious Prelate Mgr. Pablo Singzon in the modest parlor of the Episcopal palace was attended by his familiars among whom was
Dr. Tomas Gomez. His weary respiration and the paleness of his face moved the hearts of those who were present and caused them a painful feeling of separation. The pain of his sickness was becoming more and more painful which called him to stay in bed.

At 10:00 o’clock p.m. when Mgr. Singzon found out that he did not feel a better repose nor even a rest from the pain of his sickness in his bed, wanted to sit on a chair – the chair where he received the spiritual consolations last November when he was attacked severely by the same sickness. In this chair he decided to die. Tears that roll from my eyes prevent not my pen to communicate my pain!

When the clock knocked its eleven strikes Mgr. Singzon was becoming weaker and weaker. From the neck of our illustrious patient hanged a bead of
rosary, the escapulary of the Third Order of Saint Francis and theMiraculous Medal. Around him were his favorite Auxiliary Bishop Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang, RR. FF. Jose Diasnes, Teodoro Robredo, Luis Egeda, Dr. Tomas Gomez, RR. FF. Pedro Pampliega, Santos SaldaƱa, the Seminarians Bernardo Bacsal, Lesmes Ricalde, and behind the chair were RR. FF. Felix Sabenicio and Crispin Singzon. It was indeed a sorrowful occasion! All those who were present observed firmly to the patient and watched his movements whose weary and painful respiration cooled their hearts. Mgr. Singzon was not as active as he used to be: his activity, attention and application were changed: Mgr. Singzon was transformed struggling between the existence of life and death.

Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang his Auxiliary Bishop and who had never left him read the profession of the faith, the recommendation of the soul; whose voice in the midst of that tranquility and in the midst of that struggling pain called his attention to listen. Rev. F. Jose Diasnes neared to the patient by order of the Auxiliary Bishop to give him a confession. How great and how sublime is to die in the name of the Catholic Religion, though in the midst of pain.

The illustrious patient was losing gradually his movements the coolness of his body began to cover him with its veil, his paleness was becoming more and more pale. Then all those who were present knelt down with lighted candles before a crucifix near the patient and said the following words:
“PROFESU ERE ANIMA CRISTIANA”

Mgr. Singzon gave up his last breath in the morning of the sorrowful Tuesday when the clock knocked its 3:20 strikes” (PLOPE)

* * *

This it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

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