We can only guess what lies ahead.
Today, we are given choices.
The world is not flat. The world is not round. The world appears flat yet extends like an inflating orb, and I am an ephemeral traveler on its paths. I am far from a full load of worthy souvenirs but I will not make haste. For I am a traveler bounded by a perpetual realm not of this world, not for myself. I am eternal, and I will be home soon.
For those who will be 18 years old and above during the same date, you are constitutionally eligible to participate in the most important right as a free Filipino. This is not only a privilege but a responsibility.
COMELEC has already gone out of its way to entice voters to register by establishing sattelite offices in schools, village halls, and other public facilities. Dapat silang i-clap clap!
Note that this process is crucial since the poll body conducted purging of the old voters' list in order to weed out demised or redundant individuals. They have removed four million names (imagine the possible numbers of "ghost" voters!) in the list. Of that number, only about 400,000 people have asked the COMELEC to include them in the list, as of June. So better check before the deadline on the 31st of October this year!
In the 2007 mid-term elections, there were some 45 million voters but for next year’s local elections, the poll body is aiming to get around three million more voters. [www.inquirer.net]
Shed tears for Tita Cory?
It's our time. Go, be heard and continue to defend democracy.
Four years ago, another blunder aroused collectors and jokers alike.
Remember this version of our 100-peso bill that was circulated Christmas of 2005 during the height of the controversy of our current president's legitimacy due to accusations of electoral fraud? The running joke back then was that this proves that even our printing machines cry out illegitimacy. What a good way to have an effective flyer!
In the medieval times, women were considered subordinates to men. And as Marcos put it, "just a woman whose place is in the bedroom." Today, women are regarded as men's equal; majority of world societies, if not all. They are no joke. They are a force to be reckoned with.
At least for Filipinos, one woman president to be remembered with.
But only today did this fact actually sinked in to me. I didn't even know that her remains were to be brought from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral around noon today--unfortunately, it was news blackout for the sleep-deprived. I walked from my apartment in J.P. Rizal Street and then traversed Makati Avenue going to work this morning; yellow ribbons on every posts and sills along the way. There are people in yellow shirts. There are security details at every corner of Makati CBD. It was raining. It seemed sad and dejected. I was indifferent.
"It is snowing!", a Malaysian colleague called out while, with other people in the office, peering out of the windows. My initial reaction was comical but upon seeing his matter-of-fact face it seemed that it was indeed snowing: flakes of yellow replaced the dampening rains. And with ABS-CBN's DZMM tuned in from a live streaming on one laptop, it became very clear.
Tita Cory is near. She is coming.
I joined the group leaning on the thick hingeless window; after all, we were at the 20th floor. A sea of yellow crowd greeted me from below. As we were waiting, so were they under the scorching sun. It seemed that the sky was in one with the people; rains on a sudden halt. But still open umbrellas can be seen. The person on the PA system desperately asked them to close all umbrellas to no avail. In this country of skin whiteners, this request will surely fall on deaf ears. But as if by providence, an invisible blanket engulfed the sun and the scorching heat joined the rains at bay waiting for one moment to pass. Umbrellas now closed, and then goosebumps.
She is here.
Her flag-draped casket stopped right in front of her late husband's monument at Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas. Jim Paredes' Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo can be heard in the air while yellow confetti continued to fall. It was like a warp speed back into history when people eagerly waited for Ninoy. Now, it was the wife-turned-president-turned-icon. I reckon no one in the post-colonial Philippines had received this kind of accolade and reverence from the people aside from Magsaysay and the Aquino couple.
Tita Cory has been called Tita Cory from Day One. Not even the highest office in the land changed that; she was never called President Aquino. I reckon it's because the Filipino people relate to her in close kinship rather than a political figure plastered on glossy posters. That's why she is loved. She may not have put the country back to the economic pedestal it used to stand before Marcos' plunder. She may not have resolved insurgency from the South. She may have been unsuccessful in addressing the problems of the previous regime. But still people at that moment in that intersection of the financial district still gave their sincere respect to so many is the greatest president we had. This is because of the one legacy no post-colonial president had ever done: genuine democracy. She served her purpose of restoring democracy and of smooth transition from revolution to republic. She could have just stayed home and, instead, consoled her grief-stricken children orphaned by a father. She chose not just to be their mother but the mother of a restarting nation. Technically that time she could have ruled by decree for she was both executive and legislative but she refused to be like the tyrant she toppled. She convened the first Constitutional Convention that drafted our present Constitution. She ensured that every democratic mechanisms of a new government are in place before stepping down. Her allies enticed her to seek re-election since the newly instituted term-limit provision of the Constitution does not apply to her. But she stepped down all the same and she exited with grace (choosing to go home in a Toyota Crown rather than in the government's Mercedes); not succumbing to lust for power. Come to think of it, she can be dwarfed by the modern infrastructure Marcos had built. But what stand out are the things that can never be seen.
I stood behind that windowpane at the 20th floor seeing the thing that was not there before, and I was not indifferent anymore. I was suddenly overwhelmed. I know this is history and this is one her-story not meant to be just witnessed from afar.
I know I have to go down, take the nearest elevator and be part of the writing of our story. This was also one of those times that I wished I never had left my DSLR at home. I am meaning to go into photojournalism, and this is one event that can not go without capturing. At least I have my iPhone, my Indian colleague's Canon Powershot SX110 IS and an unobstructed bird's eyeview from the 20th floor. For the last time, people are drawn to your charisma; seas of yellow carried you to final rest. Vox populi, democracy reflected and defended. With you standing up as our leader. He said, the Filipinos are worth dying for. The yellow ribbon will continue to undulate with the winds; A beacon that lights the path of those
You said, we are worth living for.
Now, both of you are eternal.
bound to your noble cause -- a nation that is truly free.
This was also one of those times that I wished I never had left my DSLR at home. I am meaning to go into photojournalism, and this is one event that can not go without capturing. At least I have my iPhone, my Indian colleague's Canon Powershot SX110 IS and an unobstructed bird's eyeview from the 20th floor.
For the last time, people are drawn to your charisma;
seas of yellow carried you to final rest.
democracy reflected and defended.
With you standing up as our leader.
He said, the Filipinos are worth dying for.
The yellow ribbon will continue to undulate with the winds;
A beacon that lights the path of those
Flashpacking is a neologism used to refer to affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.
A simple definition of the term Flashpacker can be thought of as backpacking with flash, or style. One school of thought defines the flashpacker as a rapidly growing segment of travelers who adhere to a modest accommodation and meal budget, while spending freely, even excessively, for activities at their chosen destination. Another school of thought defines flashpacking as an incongruous mix of 'slumming it' and luxury; of adventurous travel with those on a budget by day and sedate dining and comfortable accommodation by night. Flashpackers have been further defined as tech-savvy adventurers who often prefer to travel with a cell phone, digital camera, iPod and a laptop, although none of these is required in order to be a flashpacker. As with other forms of travel, the term flashpacker is mainly one of self-identification. The origin of the term itself is obscure.
The term also reflects a growing demographic of travelers who are forsaking traditional organized travel, venturing to destinations once the reserve of more adventurous backpackers, and the increasing number of individuals who leave well paid jobs or take 'career breaks', using the time to travel independently, but with greater comfort and many of the gadgets they are accustomed to at home. As a result, hostels are evolving and offering more up-market accommodation to those still traveling on a budget in order to obtain their business. The hostels have realized a need to evolve in order to meet the changing demands of travelers.
Really? And we're supposed to empathize with them? As far as I know, the world has been a wealth wasteland from the day man started to gauge his existence on the mound of gold under his feet. Sadly, only a few can amass an Everest.
When I wrote one blog on the onset of the financial crisis, I thought that the world can go on bankrupt; afterall it was the common term one can hear over the news back then. I thought the money went up in smoke. I stand corrected. A friend of mine dropped a comment on that blog:
Haven't watched those downloads though; I'll save them for later, and maybe for another blog. But interesting to note is the fact that the wealth of the world is still in the hands of these few people. The news on the fall of AIG didn't solicited empathy for long when its top executives went on celebrating with a lavish party of champagne and caviar at the posh St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Southern California, just 2 weeks after US taxpayers bailed out the insurance corporation for $85 billion. It's funny to think–and you don't see me laughing–that Forbes is saying that the world's richest are also a lot poorer. Well, technically they are indeed poorer with the topnotcher Bill Gates' fortune from $40 Billion down to $18 Billion; more than 50% loss. Indeed it's a different and lofty bar and you'll see the rest of the world gazing at the stars, driveling. But most of them, starving. Yes, 50% loss is a lot. So what if Gates lost this amount of money? Maybe those people in the financial institutions that knows how this works might argue that in having a sound business or a healthy economy, one should not have losses in his account books. They might have a point. But then, really, will Gates be unable to pay his bill after he lost that amount? Will he die of starvation? Maybe he can die of depression, but that would be foolish. Now imagine a homeless man with less than a dollar in his pocket and 50% of it is lost, he has been depressed all his life and the only thing that separates him from an impending demise is the will to live; a will that can't be sustained for long with an empty stomach.
Social and economic inequality has been here since time immemorial. Well maybe after the fall of man from the Garden of Eden. And I don't think I can see Utopia in my lifetime. It will be hard for mankind to realize this perfect world where society's central role is played not by money, but rather by the need for transcendence. The world is not fair as we know it today, and it is a reality that greets me every morning on my way to work here in Ghana. I came to this African country as a consultant yet there are a lot of Ghanaians that can be educated to do the same things I do in my work. But I see them in the streets instead. If those Forbes' richest have the monopoly on the world's wealth, I reckon I'm part of a group that has a monopoly on one of the opportunities that can give a better life. Especially now that the world is on recession, companies abroad are somewhat picky on people they hire as expatriates; taking those with more experience. I bet there are lots of monopolies out there. One faction may be covetous of the other's monopoly and the others may go on envying everyone. I envy Bill Gates but envy is a sin.
Monopolies will not last forever; the game has to be over soon.
GMT 0 Accra, Ghana
GMT 0 Accra, Ghana
After years of yearning to go to Africa, Joan’s three-month stint as a Peace Corps volunteer turns sour on Christmas Eve when she is 'psychevac'd' back to the states and admitted to Georgetown Hospital mental ward. The drug required by the Peace Corps to be taken as a protection against malaria is said to cause only vivid dreams, but no one mentions the other side effects of psychotic tendencies, including suicide and murder.
GMT 0 Accra, Ghana
The result? No parasites found. Ok, it was a relief again. But there was a catch. My white blood cells (WBC) count is nearing the higher mark for normal. Learning from my high school Biology, WBC is like my inner army against invaders; in this case, the Plasmodium parasite. Yes, malaria is not caused by a virus or strain of bacteria; it is caused by a parasite (I guess Malacanang can be diagnosed with malaria on its highest stage). The doctor said that this is an indication that something's going on inside me since the immune system is preparing for a battle. To be honest, I was a little skeptical on that diagnosis. But the symptoms are just hard to ignore. Maybe the parasites haven't been released to the blood to infect the red blood cells. You see, malaria in humans develops via two phases: it infects the liver first where they multiply for up to 15 days then they all go swimming in the blood stream. If left untreated, it will result to severe complications. And we have the ever-charming female mosquitos to thank for. So the doctor prescribed me a "treatment" drug. As per its leaflet, the drug is "a treatment for adults, children and infants with acute, uncomplicated infections due to P. falciparum." WTF! P. falciparum is said to be the most fatal and I am having a drug for that??! But then, this specie of Plasmodium parasite is still curable and I thanked God that I am having it (maybe) on its earliest stage. Of all the prescriptions I got so far in my life, this has been the one I really strictly followed: 4 tablets on the first take then 4 tablets 8 hours later (I have to wake up early for this; the thing I failed on other prescriptions). Then 4 tablets twice a day for the succeeding days (it means every 12 hours). The key for effective treatment is proper absorption of the dose so I need food intake first and it is recommended to intake food or drink rich in fat such as milk. If I really do have those bastard parasites I need to eradicate them once and for all. But it comes with side-effects like anorexia (me and less appetite?), sleep disorders, dizziness and cough. Just today I had a half-day work and making myself concentrate on those figures and numbers on my computer screen was great effort. Well, rather than go home in a wooden box.