Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jueteng in vain

I might as well remove the "a better Philippines" post from my wishlist. It's never going to happen anyway.

I caught the late night news on ABS-CBN a while ago, where GMA said that the jueteng scandal implicating her husband and her son are the worn out tactics of the opposition.

Hmmm....am I the only one who notices this trend? Whenever there are negative charges against the President, or any of her relatives for that matter, they are almost always immediately classified by the administration as: A. destabilization plots or B. tactics of the opposition to divide the country.

On tv, she begged her detractors to help her unify our country. Somehow, her pleas for a unified country, to me, is just plain crap. What she's asking for is for the people to stop criticizing her administration altogether. What she's asking for, is for media to present the Philippines as a shangri-la of some sort, with a booming economy and a peace and order situation we can be proud of. Har har har. What a big joke. And we're supposedly a democratic country.

Public figures are called public figures for a reason. She will be under close scrutiny, both by her followers and detractors ALL THE TIME. Every wrong move she makes, every meal she takes, they will be reported on the news. In her world, the cliche "where there's smoke, there's fire" should be taken very seriously. She will have to hide the smoke, or put out the fire ASAP. In this jueteng case, she did neither.

I have to admit, I am not familiar with jueteng operations. But a few days after the jueteng scandal broke out, a number of people, all claiming to be former jueteng operators, came out on tv, saying that they lost their source of income because of the sudden orders to halt jueteng operations. And they're from Pampanga. GMA hails from Pampanga. Could she not have known about these activities? Okay, given that she'a really busy person, could her son, the big congressman from Pampanga, not have known about this as well? If both of them were unaware, then shouldn't we be very afraid? What other illegal activities does the President not know? What are our local government officials busy with, really?

What I don't understand is this -- where are all the people who started Edsa dos? It's almost like history repeating itself anyway -- the President involved in a jueteng scandal, with witnesses coming out to prove it. The big difference is that there are no people staging another Edsa. Maybe, like GMA, they believe that the country can be unified by silence. If that's the case, then democracy is really dead. No sense wishing for a better Philippines anymore.

Friday, May 27, 2005


For the first time in my whole life, we won't be going on our annual May trip to Antipolo this year.

We don't see the point of going anymore.

Yes, yes, we used to believe that going to Antipolo every year can somehow stop the problems from coming. Or at least, lessen the problems a bit. It's very gullible of us, I know. But it's what we've grown accustomed to ever since we were young. We've never questioned it.

Until now. Because we seem to be getting the most unexpected and unthinkable problems. No amount of thinking could have prepared us for what happened during the past two years.

So, if going to Antipolo isn't going to help anything, what's the point of going? Getting up very early in the morning, driving all the way to Antipolo, braving the May crowd, fighting for parking space -- for what?

I'm just glad the tradition is over.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

If life is a school....

I would be failing miserably in the following courses by now:

Life 201 -- Policies and strategies for a rapidly growing family business
Life 101 A -- Business planning and implementation I (with Liza)
Life 101 B -- Business planning and implementation II (with Mike)
SA 101 -- Chinese Culture and Matrimony
PE 101 -- Physical Fitness

I think I spread myself a little bit too thin this year.

The ironic thing is that two years ago, this would have been what I'd consider my dream -- to be really busy. And now that it's here.... we-ell... I wish I had prayed for a different dream instead. After all, I have many versions of them. There's the filthy rich dream, the restaurateur dream, the baking empire dream, the sexy and fit dream...

I can't really say that I do not like my life now, as I seem to be doing everything I want to do.

It's just that, I wish there was more time. To do the things which do not matter as much but which I enjoy just the same.


I've been to Boracay, and I've been to Bohol. And I prefer Bohol over Boracay for the following reasons:

1. Boracay has its beautiful beaches. Bohol has its beautiful beaches, Baclayon Church, man made forests, the Loboc River lunch cruise, the Chocolate Hills and the tarsier.

2. Less people in Bohol As in.

3. Bohol offers dolphin watching!!!!

4. Food is cheaper in Bohol.

5. No telecom banners greeting you when you reach the shores of Bohol. No loud blaring music either. One restaurant even played the entire album of the Gipsy Kings, much to my delight. (Spellcheck please? I'm not sure why the net spells it as g-i-p-s-y)

The only downside to Bohol is that we weren't able to see the sunrise and the sunset because of its geographical location.

I felt like I wasn't in the Philippines anymore when Janice, our tour guide, told us that one of Bohol's previous governors instructed the people to create a forest with Philippine mahogany trees. Aba!! A local official who cares! The people soon noticed that no animals lived in the forest because of the mahogany tree's bitter fruit, so the governor instructed the people to plant other kinds of trees. Aba! A local official who really cares about the environment!! That government official must have been rarer than the tarsier.

Walking on the floors of the museum of the Baclayon Church was almost like being transported back into time. I could almost see the Spanish friars in their brown tunics walking in the hallways. The wooden floors were still the original molave floors the Spanish friars used to walk on back in the 16th century. The walls, made entirely of crushed corals and cemented with a million egg whites, were the original 16th century walls. Throw in the ancient looking songbooks, priest's vestments, armoires, and piano organs, and you have yourself a very, very eerie Church.

The Loboc River lunch cruise was an entirely new experience for me. I have never had lunch on a floating anything before. I loved the fact that the river was blue green in color. We even caught some children swinging on the ropes tied to the branches of the trees along the river, before splashing into the water. Seeing the children reminded me of our Pasig River, of what a great tourist attraction it would have made if only us Manilenos were able to keep it clean. The Pasig River cruise would have featured a view of the Palace, which would've added to its tourist-ey lure. But the river stinks and nobody cares. So no chance of that happening in the near future.

The tarsiers were ... tarsiers. I love animals, but for some reason, the tarsiers failed to elicit an excited "eeeeh!" from me. Maybe it's because they reminded me of rats, with their long tails. But I'm glad that they are no longer considered endangered.

Aaaah... the beach. Bohol's beaches are a relaxing, calming experience, with the sounds of waves crashing against the shores to keep us company. But while we were in Bohol's beaches, I made an important discovery -- I am
so not a beach person.
I am terrified of anything that moves in the water with me, which includes, twigs, seaweeds and creatures hiding under the sand. While snorkeling, I worried to no end about sharks and sea snakes, in waters that were less than five feet deep. When our snorkeling guide, whom we call Manong (because he did not give us his name) suggested that we feed the schools of fish with bread while we were snorkeling, I was again worried that the fish might bite my fingers, which would leave the scent of blood in the waters, which would attract the sharks. Yesh, that's how an unbeachy person I am. The one thing I did look forward to was the dolphin watching. I nearly cried when we saw the dolphins, with their fins (?!?!) gliding in and out of the water gracefully. Too bad it was almost 7 am when we saw them. According to Manong, dolphins come out to play with humans around 5:30 a.m, when the sun isn't so high in the sky yet.

But, even though I am not a beach person, I thoroughly enjoyed the Bohol experience. It was a refreshing change from the fast paced city life that we are all so used to. For three blissful days, there were no emails to answer, no papers to sign, and no business to discuss. It was just the clear blue waters, the powdery white sand, the bright sun, the candle lit dinner at night, the delicious inihaw na tuna belly, the waves crashing against the shore.... It was just paradise. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

To the most important man in my life (who's not related to me but will be after 364 days or so....)

Warning: Some really mushy stuff ahead.

Two years of being together. More like three, if you count the days when you were still madly pursuing and courting me. Hehehehe....

You often tell me how bad an impression my faithful blog readers must have of you because of my not-so-subtle posts about your unmushiness and all.

So let me set the record straight.

I still don't know why we click so well together. I still don't know why we laugh with and at each other so much. Chinese astrology says that we're supposed to be fighting like cats and dogs all the time. Even Yahoo astrology says that we need to work extra hard on our relationship. Maybe I should check out the numerology part too? :) I really can't say what it is exactly that makes us click together.

But one thing I'm sure of...

You're the best thing that ever happened to me.

I don't need the flowers -- flowers die after a week. The chocolates -- marami ka nang binigay.

I need someone who knows just what to say when I'm feeling low and blue. I need someone to bear with me when I'm being bitchy or just PMS-y. I need someone to watch chick flicks with me just because I'm in the mood for it. Or someone to drive from Makati to Greenhills to Makati again because I'm in the mood for some really good ensaymada.

In short, I need you. :)

Belated happy birthday! Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(Ryan Cabrera's TRUE playing in my mind now)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005



Finally, we have a church and a reception venue. We-ell, the reception venue is still tentative, but the person we talked to assured us that it's almost a sure thing. So, loyal and faithful readers of my blog, here are my wedding details:

Date -- May 21, 2006
Church -- Santuario de San Antonio
Reception -- Century Hotel Ballroom

Sharon, my HS bestfriend, told me that women really become monster brides-to-be during the whole planning thing. Hmm.... I have to agree. Mike and I have been together for a year and eleven months, and we have fought less than five times, and the last two were about wedding stuff and details. To think we have started planning only last week!! First, there was the whole church and date thing. And now, there is the entourage thing. I can't have a married person in my entourage daw, because our lucks will clash against each other. Which means, I can't have Sharon as my maid of honor in my wedding. All the moms balked at the idea of a matron of honor -- Sharon's mom, Mike's mom, and my mom. Good thing Sharon understood the complexities of Chinese tradition. I'm still looking for a way to include her in my wedding. It just won't be the same without her.

Anyways, I have listed down a lot of stuff as preparation for our wedding -- working out, cooking, canvassing of suppliers and starting our small office supplies business. So far, I haven't cooked anything else since the last time I posted in my other blog. The work out thing -- kakatamad. Canvassing of suppliers -- barely started. Small office supplies business -- canvassed one supplier pa lang.

Aba! Biglang so many things to look forward to --
1. Bohol trip!
2. Canvass suppliers (specifically make up artist)
3. Buy stuff for my ke-tseng
4. Biz with Liza
5. Chance to practice my culinary skills

I know half the month is almost over, but I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the remaining days of May. :)

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Wedding Blues

Exactly a year before our target wedding date and what do we have so far?

Wedding date -- none
Church -- none
Reception venue -- none

Have we done a good job of planning? I always thought one year of planning and preparing for the wedding will be enough time for us. The date we chose (May 14, 2006) is sure to be a hot day; temperatures might reach 40 degrees Celsius or even higher. So we want a church with good air conditioning. Apparently, other couples had the same idea, because the air conditioned churches (our requirement) with long aisles (my mom's requirement) are booked on May 14 (MIL2B's requirement).

So now I know why event planning is such a lucrative business. It's hard enough planning for a wedding alone, it's even harder planning for it with our parents. I tell you, getting three couples to agree on one tiny detail is a task that should be done only by a very, very, very patient person, who, in this case, is not me. The way I see it with the three couples planning the wedding -- one couple gets their way, another couple feels ignored / hurt, and the other couple (usually us) feels guilty for not pleasing both sides.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIf I can have it my way, I would choose a date without consulting a feng shui expert. I would book the date sometime in January to early February, because that is the weather I love the most. I would limit guests to close relatives and friends only, and would hold it in the function room of a hotel, with really good food and good entertainment. It would be an intimate event, made even more special by the fact that all the guests are people we actually know.

But back to reality. This is a Chinese wedding. And it is unheard of for Chinese weddings to be (gasp) intimate.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Conscience Part Deux

Our garage now looks like an Indonesian artifacts museum, thanks to that Singaporean/Indonesian/Chinese/Malaysian.... piece of scum that my brother had for a partner in their newly opened furniture business.

The scum scammed my brother.

And when the scum learned that Rich (my brother) knew what he was up to, did he call him up to apologize? To say sorry for stealing from their company? Nooooo..... he insisted he did nothing wrong. After talking with Rich, scum called up his secretary (the one who informed my brother about the scam), and asked her to cover for him.

Again, a perfect example of someone who has no conscience. He just scammed two people (my brother and a college friend) of their entire life savings, and he claims he did nothing wrong?!?! I honestly cannot understand how people can think this way. Do they honestly believe that they did nothing wrong? Or are they just really good liars?

On the brighter side of things, our house is now filled with really pretty lampshades, sconce lamps and other beautiful pieces of furniture! And we have a wall type aircon, one 21" tv set, one plasma tv, two boomboxes, and two standing air conditioning units to boot! All courtesy of that multilingual scumbag. I can actually buy some stuff for my ke tseng here. (Aren't you excited Mike? We can fill up our living room with lampshades in all shapes and sizes!)

Now, I know I have always been vocal about how much I admire and respect my brother. But my admiration for him reached an all-time high when I learned about how he dealt with the situation. My brother had known about scumbag's scam for more than a week now. With how he handled himself, you wouldn't have known how big a burden he was carrying. I only learned about it when I came home last night and saw him and his friend in our study room, talking with the dads. If I had been in his shoes, I would have ranted, and cried, and bitched to no end about it to anyone who cared to listen.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sabi ko nga...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSabi ko nga ayaw ko na magbasa ng diyaryo. Malapit na akong maloka sa kakabasa ng mga balita tungkol sa walang kakwenta kwentang opisyales ng gobyerno.

Ngunit, dahil tuwang tuwa ata akong pahirapan ang sarili ko, binasa ko itong artikulo sa Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Tungkol sa nakakatuwang si Rolando Golez, at ang kanyang walang kamatayang pag-ubos ng pondo ng CIIF. Saan kamo niya ginamit?

-- Sa pagbili ng kanyang Nissan Patrol na nagkakahalaga ng P2 milyon.
-- Sa kanyang gasolina na nagkakahalaga ng P25,000 kada linggo. Kahit na malapit lang ang kanyang mansyon sa kanyang opisina.
-- Sa kanyang pagpunta punta sa Estados Unidos kasama ang kanyang asawa at barkada, na nagkakahalaga ng P6 milyon.
-- Sa kanyang paglaro laro ng golf at pagbili ng membership sa mga mamahaling golf clubs, na nagkakahalaga ng P960,000.

At nang siya ay tanungin tungkol sa mga ito, sinabi niyang kasama ang mga ito sa kanyang ehem...compensation package.

Ang masama dito, meron siyang mga dahilang ibinibigay upang maipaliwanag kung bakit niya KINAILANGANG gastusin ang mga ito. Tulad na lamang sa kanyang mga golf memberships. Aba, eh kailangan nga naman niya ito para sa kanyang mga opisyal na lakad at meeting. At ang kanyang mga pa-abroad abroad? Aba! Hindi ba eh nakatulong naman siya sa pagpapababa ng gastusin para sa produkto ng CIIF?

Eh kung ganon, bakit nalulugi ang kumpanya ng halos P100 milyon?!?!

Aba, hindi raw siya ang dapat sisihin para sa pagkalugi ng CIIF. Ang kanyang sinisisi sa pagkaluging ito ay ang... industriya mismo. Binasa ko na paulit ulit, paikot-ikot. Sinbukan kong baligtarin ang diyaryo, ngunit di ko pa rin naintindihan. Malamang siya lang ang nakakaintindi kung bakit. Kaya basahin na lamang niyo dito.

Marahil, nagtataka kayo bakit ako biglang nagta-Tagalog. Ito ay dahil sa tingin ko, pag nag-Ingles ako ay marami akong maisusulat na mga salitang hindi maganda ang ibig sabihin. Sa Tagalog, nagiging mas maingat ako sa aking pinagsusulat. Kaya Tagalog muna ngayon.

Mensahe ko lamang kay Rolando Golez, maganda siguro kung maintindihan niya ang pagkakaiba ng salitang KAILANGAN at LUHO. Halimbawa, KAILANGAN ng tao huminga. Ngayon, kung ipagpipilitan niyang bumili ng gas mask at gas tank na nagkakahalaga ng ilang daang libo upang huminga, yun na ang tinatawag na kaululang LUHO.



I stopped watching the news a few months ago. It was a conscious effort on my part, as I always feel so hopeless after watching it. The newspapers, I read more for the lifestyle section and my favorite columnist's writings. But that's just about it. I skim the headlines. If it's an article about goings on in the government that I feel is just a whole load of crap, I skip it.

So, while I was in Davao, stuck in a hotel room with nothing else left to do, I channel surfed. I accidentally tuned in to ABS-CBN's primetime news, which featured the following "news worthy" items:

1. The uncle who raped his niece
The niece's whole head was covered with a towel. She was crying and screaming the whole time, threatening to kill her alleged rapist (the uncle). The accused on the other hand, had this smirk on his face, telling the press that it was his niece who offered herself to him, that the niece sexually desires him.

2. The tricycle driver who moonlights as a mugger
The police had received reports about this tricycle driver whose modus operandi includes taking his victims (mostly women) to dark places and mugging them there. The accused has an existing police record, and has been caught many times already, but always manages to bail himself out.

3. The con artist who sells anti-witchcraft stuff
The victim claims that she paid P10T for an anting-anting designed to counter witchcraft spells. Victim said that the suspect never sent her ordered anting-anting, and would always threaten her with witchcraft whenever she tried to follow it up.

These crimes happened in different locations, with different people and different genders. But I noticed, they all had one thing in common. In all instances, the suspects never showed even a tiny sign of guilt. Or remorse. No regrets. No emotions. No nothing. In fact, almost all of them tried to reverse the situation to make it appear that they were the ones victimized. The uncle claimed that he rebuffed his niece's sexual offers, so she's now screaming for his head. The tricycle driver claimed that he is an innocent victim of a frame up. And the con artist claimed that the anting anting had already been sent to her aunt, but since the victim was makulit, her aunt got mad and decided not to send it to the victim, to teach her a lesson.

The fact that people can commit crimes like these, that is not what scares me. What scares me is the fact that they can do it without feeling guilty for their actions. Because for people to feel guilty, they need to have a conscience. And if they have no conscience, then what's stopping people from killing and hurting each other?

Maybe that's the problem with this country -- conscience, or the lack of it. This is a country where it's all right to scam people and run away with their hard earned millions, as with what happened in Bulacan's local animal industry. This is a country where the president's husband spends the night in a room worth thousands of USD to watch a boxing match, while the rest of the country shoulders the cost. This is a country where politicians are free to cheat and steal and kill during the elections, never mind that the citizens' rights to vote are disregarded in the process.

I can go on and on and on about the many conscience-less things that are happening now. Like the never ending murder of journalists. Or the Carlos Garcia case which, predictably, is quiet now. But nothing will change anyway. This post will be read. Newspapers will still report the same load of crap about our government officials. People will still have no conscience. So what's the point of listing them down, one by one? Maybe, it would be better to just accept the situation as it is. Or, maybe better if I stop listening, reading and watching the news altogether.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Is this where our taxes go?

Our secretary told me that while we were in China, a fire hit the grassy lot across our office. It was big enough to cause panic among our employees, prompting them to call our local fire department. Upon arriving at our office, with the fire slowly spreading towards our direction, one of the firemen called our secretary aside, and asked for some "gasoline money" as our payment for the gasoline they used up in driving to our office. Our secretary had no choice. She can argue and haggle with the fireman and watch as the fire eats up our office. Or she can pay the "gasoline money" and nothing gets damaged. She of course, chose the latter.

I can't say I was surprised when I heard this. I have already grown accustomed to the various forms of corruption in government offices. Besides, there was nothing else left to do. The money is already with them, and there were no damages in our company grounds. So I let it pass.

When Liza told me that the same thing happened in the fire that gutted the building of Eliong Commercial, I couldn't believe my ears. The married brother who rushed to the building the minute he heard the news was the one who recounted the story. When he arrived at the building, one fireman approached him and asked for money before they would start working. WTF? Is that the way it's supposed to work here? I mean, I could understand extortion in our factory. But to ask for money when human lives are at stake? Are these people so jaded that they now value money more than human life? How do these people sleep at night?

Got me wondering. How about the numerous fires that hit Baseco compound in Tondo every year? Do these firemen extort money from the people there too? What about the fire that hit the house of Spkr. JDV? Did they even attempt to bribe the speaker? Without this extortion thing, how many fires could have been stopped? How many lives could have been saved?

It just bothers me a lot to know that maybe, if the firemen had acted earlier, one or two more lives could have been saved. Some of the victims of the Eliong Commercial fire were people that went to high school with me. Liza and I found one of them cute (won't reveal who) and even stalked his brother to ask for information about him. And from what I've read, I think he's one of the victims that have been burned beyond recognition.

So the moral of the story is, always have cash with you. You never know when you'll need it to bribe some people to save your loved ones.