Friday, November 28, 2008

The ghosts of Christmas past

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

Hi there! It’s going to be another long weekend. Blame it on the many holidays in the past so many months, or maybe the senior citizen in me, I am lost as to why we refrain from work on Monday. Seriously, I’m afraid the day “allotted” for Andres Bonifacio would be just like any other holiday – one where we refrain from work on the first day of the week (thanks to the holiday economics) and something for the pages of our history books.

So they have thrown out the impeachment complaint. While watching the news about the House Justice Committee deliberating on the issue, I imagined Bolante and the euro generals smiling. No, not because it’s almost Christmas, but because for a few moments (fleeting, if I may add) focus was made on PGMAs foes and allies at the house. And yes, it’s not that I don’t like PGMA, but to compare her plight to that of Jesus?

Talking about Christmas (I mean the term). When the former speaker went on cam, err, testified against PGMA, and said all those nasty stuff about payoffs, bribery and what have you, it occurred to me that the ghosts of Christmas past must either be the farthest or what was in his mind (goodness, what am I saying?). I mean yes, he should be the one in the know about interesting details that characterized PGMA’s presidency. But, tsk, tsk, too late the hero.

* * *

The Calbayog City Public Library on Monday commenced their Open House in observance of the National Book Week. Mayor Mel Sarmiento was on hand to formally open the affair. The week-long activity will end tomorrow.

We are pleased to inform all concerned that the library is now fully-airconditioned. The City Mayor has informed the library staff that white tiles and steel racks for the books will be installed soon; and at least 10 units of computers with internet connection will be put in place in January of 2009.

* * *

The venerable La Milagrosa Academy turned 98 years old yesterday. Events for the day included a Thanksgiving Mass led by Bishop Isabelo Abarquez; the Blessing of the new Elementary Building; a Thanksgiving Banquet; and the Procession of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, the school’s Patron Saint.

The LMA Grand Alumni Homecoming dubbed as Rayhak 2008 will be held tomorrow at 1 pm.

* * *

THE CKC-JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during the concert.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Peter Lavendia got married to Lady Avergonzado last Saturday. Msgr. Leonardo Guadalquiver presided over the wedding mass was held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Concelebrating with him was the bride’s cousin Fr. Guillermo Allorro. Reception was held at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week. It’s something I got via email: Signs.

  • Sign over a Gynecologist's Office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
  • In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."
  • On a Septic Tank Truck: “Yesterday's Meals on Wheels.”
  • At a Proctologist' s door: "To expedite your visit, please back in."On a Plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."
  • On another Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
  • On a Church's Bill board: "7 days without God makes one weak."
  • At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."
  • At a Towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."
  • On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
  • In a Nonsmoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
  • On a Maternity Room door: "Push. Push. Push."
  • At an Optometrist's Office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
  • On a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."
  • On a Fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!"
  • At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
  • Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
  • In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
  • At the Electric Company "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."
  • In a Restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up."
  • In the front yard of a Funeral Home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."
  • At a Propane Filling Station: "Thank heaven for little grills."
  • Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck: "Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises."

* * *

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Follow the Law (please)

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


Hi there! It’s another weekend. A rainy one if I may add. But certainly the rain is no match to the heat that characterized the news lately - that we have a new Senate President and that some of our lawmakers are still enjoying the media mileage brought about by the issues on Bolante and the Euro generals. Do we include the usual kidnapping, killings and road mishaps? And Yes, I’m beginning to miss the “away mag-asawa” that make it to the news on national TV.

A few days ago, news had it that text messages will cost mobile phone subscribers only 50 centavos (per text message); and that it stays that way until further notice. Needless to say, this is good news. After all mobile phones or at least texting that goes with it is no longer a luxury. And what did the telcos say? Can they afford it? Some of them gave a safe answer by saying that the promo stays until further notice. Immediately after that line hit the news, a telco announced (no, I think it was more of complaining) that their profits dipped significantly (do we say thanks to the economic crunch?). That their earning was much lower than what they have projected for that certain period of the year. Just the same, if I heard it right, the amount earned is in the billion-peso mark. Whew! You raked in billions (or millions, to say the least) and you still consider yourself loosing much? What if these were normal times for the economy? No need to do your math on that.

Meanwhile from the land of Uncle Sam. Hilary as Secretary of State? That’s travel all the time. And Bill’s reply? Yes! You know in the manner or way that yes is said by people who are into something mischievous. (Smile, it’s a weekend)

And what’s this? Here’s a line I got from an entertainment (section) report from yahoo: “Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend not enjoying prison.” Duh! Need I say more?

* * *

The big news for the week (at least for the LGUs around the country) is the Supreme Court decision declaring 16 citihood laws as unconstitutional.

During last Monday’s flag-raising ceremony, Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivered a message which was in way directed to his critics especially in the region. That message called for everyone to stand up for principles and to follow the law.

Dire ini personalay”, or so said the City Mayor. While the issue on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) remains part of the issue, the case on hand is not about not wanting to have municipalities converted into cities. It is a case of following what is prescribed by the law. He recalled the Calbayog experience. Then Senate President Jose Avelino did not flex his power (as Senate President) and do shortcuts in creating the City of Calbayog. Senator Avelino followed what was then prescribed by the law.

Some quarters have forgotten that it is not the petition of Mayor Sarmiento. It is the petition of all the cities (or LGUs) who are members of the League of Cities of the Philippines led by Ilo-ilo Mayor Jerry Treñas as National President with Mayor Sarmiento as Secretary-General.Mayor Sarmiento further said that we are fighting for the future of the city, the employees and their children. And that he would like to have among his legacies for Calbayog a balanced budget by 2010.

He further called for more vigilance with 27 house bills on the citihood of various municipalities still pending in congress.

* * *

Samar Politics. Board Member Nancy Rosales took oath as the Acting Vice Governor of Samar. She took her oath before Mayor Mel Sarmiento last Monday.

Board Member Rosales was sworn in to the position after Samar Vice Governor Jesus Redaja took oath as Acting Governor of Samar following the 90-day preventive suspension that the DILG served on Governor Mila Tan.

* * *

THE CKC - JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC - Jose Gomez Orchestra will have its Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings! My mother Victoria Ladrero – Ricafort turned a year older last Monday. (Belated) Happy Birthday!

* * *

Let me leave you with something that tells us about one of the sad realities of life. I got this from – of all sources – the Jay Leno show: “Victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is a lonely orphan.”

* * *

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Punctuality Month

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

Hi there! It’s a weekend and yes, we are halfway through the observance of “National Punctuality Month” (put it there. Smile, it’s a weekend.)

A good number of employees are a “year-end-bonus” richer today or in the next few days. Reality check: also a good number of them are not too keen or excited about it. No need to ask why. Es la vida. Or should I say, it happens.

So, finally Mr. Bolante made it to the Senate. As of this writing, they are still grilling him. So, what’s my take on the imbestigasyun? (Start eating your heart out Mike Enriquez, it seems like some of our lawmakers are immensely enjoying their other job) Ah, Senator Miriam, what can I say? You outdid yourself again. Senator Chiz, I guess you made some points. To all the rest, I rest my case.

Move over Hilary. It’s been weeks after the U.S. election and they are still talking about Sarah Palin. You know cowards, jerks, designer dresses, Africa and all. And yes, why did it take Senator Mc Cain days before he went on TV to defend his running mate. I understand he answered that (question) when he appeared on Jay Leno where he said that in the past few days, he slept like a baby. He slept, woke up and cried. Slept, woke up and cried again. Of course it was supposed to be a joke.

Talking about the U.S. elections. CNN reported that approximately 5 billion dollars was spent on the said election. It’s cheap. The same report cited that it’s a billion dollars less than what Americans spent on potato chips last year which was pegged at approximately 6 billion dollars. And they are worried about obesity becoming an epidemic? Whew!

* * *

In observance of the National Children’s Month, the LGU through the City Social Welfare and Development Office will be spearheading a half-day program for the children from the various Pre-School Learning Centers (Day Care Centers) of Calbayog City.

Children from approximately 109 pre-school learning centers from the three districts of Calbayog and three privately owned pre-school learning centers will converge at the Barangay East Awang covered court. They will participate in various competitions which include Quiz Bee, Declamation, Minus-one, Story-telling, Draw and Tell and Folk Dance.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column cointained some updates on Alay Lakad 2008 which I already featured in this blog. In case you missed it, please check my Nov. 12 blogpost)

* * *

THE CKC JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT.

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have their Christmas Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:00 pm.

Proceeds of the concerts will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

I’ll be posting details about ticket prices and sellers in my next columns.

* * *

Greetings to Mr. Joselito “Boy” Gonzaga and Mrs. Basilisa “Basi” Lim – Gonzaga. They will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow. Congratulations and Best Wishes.

* * *

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

ah bonus

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

Hi there! It’s the 10th of November and we are days away to the year-end bonus. Well, that’s based on what I got from TV when it was reported that the budget department has announced the release of funds for the bonus of government employees. But the date of the release is not the point. It is what is being released, err, given out. What is it about bonuses that life has to take an abnormal pace (okey, mode or twist) each time it comes around? I mean why do many of us have to live like there is no tomorrow – shopping, drinking and what have you – during the bonus season. Call me frigid, but I don’t see any sense in it. Do we really have to spend everything the moment bonus is given? Oops, I forgot, we have our individual (and) different priorities in life.

So, Sen. Obama has started to put in place his transition team. Hmm, it’s a far cry from the usual “nadaya kami scenario” in the land of Juan de la Cruz. The scenario happens every three years or each time an election (be it a national or local) happens (although I still need to hear the same thing happening during barangay elections). Back to Obama. Immediately after the election, CNN made a list of priorities for Obama’s foreign policy, and RP was not in the list. Oops, the list was not honorable if I may say. It was that of countries which caused the U.S. headaches – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea (hmm, bad company). But then there was something about other priorities like Asia and the economy. Still, RP was not in it. There was something about U.S. allies in Asia, but ‘twas only about China and Japan. Oh well…

* * *

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento is back from Nanjing, China. As reported earlier, he was there upon the invitation of UN HABITAT to moderate two events at the 4th Session of the World Urban Forum. These events are the “Mayors’ Roundtable” and “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, a high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities.

* * *

During the last week of October, the Parole and Probation Office in coordination with BJMP Calbayog conducted a 5-day Therapeutic Community Modality Training for the inmates of the Calbayog City Jail.

The activity was participated in by 30 inmates. Present during the activity were Parole and Probation Regional Director Arturo Gabrieles, Chief Inspector Ramil Vestra of BJMP Calbayog and Myrna Tecbobolan of the Parole and Probation Office Calbayog.

The training was aimed at introducing to the inmates behavioral-shaping tools that will be applicable to their reformation and rehabilitation.

* * *

I missed something in my column which came out in time for the all soul’s day celebration. It had something to do with a kalag-kalag tradition in my hometown, something which I always write about each time the commemoration of the dead comes around. It’s the 9-day novena prayer for the dead the exact local name for that is something which I still have to find out as it is commonly referred to as “nobena san patay”; and we usually have old ladies do the prayer. So, what about it? Each time the day for the dead comes around, these ladies always get booked (fully-booked if I may say as the feast gets nearer). And this is what makes me smile (my apologies): oftentimes they get fully booked that instead of nine days, they end up with a 9-hour prayer marathon. Whew! But that’s not the end of it. The prayer marathon also includes breaks in between prayers. And these breaks consist of sinugba, sinakugan, and tuba. Now, you don’t have to imagine how the ladies do it halfway through the prayer marathon, err, session. Of course not all prayers ladies (sorry, that’s the only term I can find at the moment) do marathon session. The old ladies are well, old. It seems like no young people are willing to follow their path. Back to the marathon, you may smile or scoff at it, but hey it’s tradition.

* * *

Wedding bells. Renita Ignacio (of Matobato) got married to Robert Young (of Canada) last Saturday. Church ceremonies were held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception was held at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

While we (or the world) is still relishing the feat that Obama did, I might as well share with your something which I got via email (yes, you don’t have to guess. Let me leave this for you to smile about this week. (Sorry about some nasty words or terms. Be warned)

Whether Democrat or Republican, you should get a kick out of this!

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?'
Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The President. Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People. The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.'

So the little boy! Goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.'

The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about'

The little boy replies, 'The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.

* * *

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

What special relationship?

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and America has elected Obama as her new President. Here at home, some kibitzers were quick to say that the election ought to have an effect on the Philippines considering the special relationship between the countries of Uncle Sam and Juan De La Cruz. Common, get real, what special relationship? Wait when the new administration holds office, many quarters will be imploring that special relationship again and again. Okey, we are the only colony that the U.S. ever had. I guess that’s about it. It’s a whole new ball game now. One thing I’m sure of, remember the line a news reporter said on TV: “Pagbahing ng Amerika, Trangasko ng Pilipinas” (or something to that effect). That line has something to do about how the economic crisis in the U.S. can have a great effect on the Philippines. Now that’s a special relationship that borders on reality. Anyway, can’t blame them. The U.S. is “THE U.S.”; add to it the fond memories that our old folks have of the good times (for some it’s the best time) that they had after the liberation; and okey, globalization and other stuff. So, does it explain why the lines of visa applicants at the U.S. embassy keep getting longer?

Talking about lines. When the Americans went to the polls, some reports had it that voters had a common complain: the long lines. Lucky for them, that’s their only concern. They should try voting here (or at least in the non-urban areas of the country). There were also (isolated) reports about shenanigans at the polls. Hmm, these guys (doing some mischief) must have been watching reports about elections in other countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Do we include the Philippines?

Still on the issue about the U.S. election. Erratum on my column last week (October 31, 2008) Last line of paragraph 4: “Well, remember their 2004 election, Florida and the chad?” It was supposed to be year 2000. My apologies.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column contains something about Kit Urmeneta Batalla, the BSP representative during the 2nd ASEAN Scout Jamboree which was held at the Cibubur Camping Grounds in Jakarta, Indonesia. I have already featured him in this blog. In case you missed it, please check these: link 1, link 2)

* * *

We now know who the next American President is. Yup, Obama is the guy who has the unfortunate fate of inheriting the economic mess, the never-ending war in Iraq and other headaches brought about by Dubya’s (that’s Bush dahlings) policies. So, will that historic win mean recovery from the economic meltdown now creeping every crevice of the world? I’ve got no idea (should I add that stocks plummeted a day after the election?). One thing I’m sure of is that I had fun when Jay Leno joked that during the last Halloween celebration, kids bought pumpkins not for decorations or lanterns but as something to eat. And yes, a few days ago in Calbayog, I dunnow if it was due to poor sales (due to economic downturn? or that less people are dying?)? Or marketing strategy? A funeral service provider had a motorcade announcing their services, discounted (and with freebies at that, if I may add). Can you believe that?

Talking about the erratic behavior of the economy, I thought I would like to share something which I got via email: New Stock Market Terms
  • CEO - Chief Embezzlement Officer.
  • CFO - Corporate Fraud Officer.
  • BULL MARKET - A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
  • BEAR MARKET - A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
  • VALUE INVESTING - The art of buying low and selling lower.
  • P/E RATIO - The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
  • BROKER - What my broker has made me.
  • STANDARD & POOR- Your life in a nutshell.
  • STOCK ANALYST - Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
  • STOCK SPLIT - When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
  • FINANCIAL PLANNER - A guy whose phone has been disconnected.
  • MARKET CORRECTION - The day after you buy stocks.
  • CASH FLOW - The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
  • YAHOO - What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
  • WINDOWS - What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.
  • INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.
  • PROFIT - An archaic word no longer in use.

* * *

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

on America's Elite

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

Hi there! It’s another week and it happened again, I mean the same question comes to mind each time the first two days of November come around: Why do people in many (urban) areas commemorate their dear departed on All Saints’ Day and not on All Souls’ Day? Force of habit?And the news is what else but the U.S. election. More on that later.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column contains part of my PR about Mayor Mel Sarmiento's trip to China which I featured in this blog last Friday. For the complete text, please check this link)

Mayor Mel Sarmiento was invited by UN Habitat to moderate two events during the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum which will be held in Nanjing, China on November 3 - 6, 2008. These events are the “Mayors’ Roundtable” and “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, a high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities.

18 Mayors or officials have confirmed their participation Mayors' Roundtable which will be held today. Participants will include the Mayors of Stuttgart, Germany; Kabul, Afghanistan; Grenoble, France; Antsirabe, Madagascar; Sfax, Tunisia; Treichville, Côte d’Ivoire; and the Governor of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, among others.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2008, Mayor Sarmiento will moderate “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, the high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities. Panelists in this event are: Hon. Lindiw Sisulu, Minister of Housing, South Africa; Hon. Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, India; Teresa Surita Juca, Ministry of Cities, Brazil; Maria Rosario Alonso Ibañez, Ministry of Housing, Spain(for more details, please check this link)

* * *

So, what’s with today’s title? It’s my take on the U.S. Election (at least based on what I learned form my Soc Sci Professor at U.P.). I understand the election is characterized by the popular votes and the electoral votes. So what about it? My lesson in (elementary) Social Studies told me that democracy is America’s greatest to the Filipinos; and that America is the bastion of democracy. I always have second thoughts about it each time they elect a President in the U.S. I never took the trouble checking on how their electoral system works, but I believe in what my professor told us in one of our session (and that idea stuck) that the Electoral College was put in place to ensure that the election of the American President remains in the hands of America’s elite. Yun lang.

* * *

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

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