Thursday ∗ 28 Jan 2016

Ai Weiwei, beyond Western claims

Though it was apt to kick-off a year with the promise of writing more about art, and hopefully more about art outside of this country (haha!), with the first Ai Weiwei exhibit in China, something that I happened upon when I was there in September, and rebelling against the very fixed and strict schedule set for the media group I was with. So I got in a cab and asked in my Chinese-English (which is really just English with a hopefully successful Chinese accent, haha), to be brought to 798 Art District, 30 minutes away without traffic, a wonderful wonderful space for art and creativity, and art selling, inevitably.

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Monday ∗ 04 Jan 2016

Tita Baboo, 1948-2015

In September 2014, I met Tootsy Echauz-Angara for a Metro Society cover story (with Heart Evangelista and Shalani Soledad). My interview with her started (as I try to with any subject) by establishing a connection between us. In this case, it was easy: I called her mom Tita Baboo, who supported my nanay’s book on EDSA and put out money for it without hesitation, who had (with Tita Laida) fed me so well on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Baguio in 2013, smarting as I was from a hit… Continue reading »

15 from 2015: kultura

I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 04 Dec 2015

december 3: count

“7 years old.” It surprised her how easily that rolled off her tongue, like the truth that it is, like the lie that it is. The unsaid is her sanity. It seems careless to risk a nervous breakdown with strangers. Besides, the lie is only in the telling, not in what is told. She is seven years old this year. She would be. She would have been. She could have been? She might have been. She would have been. The… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 15 Nov 2015

Of silence, Paris, the Lumad

The month’s been long and it isn’t even over yet. Much of my mind and heart have been taken over by Lumad stories, ones that we rarely hear about first hand, and so it’s been critical (at least for me) to hear the Lumad themselves speak. But of course this came with the realization of distance. How far is a land like Mindanao to Luzon, how far is Surigao, Davao, CARAGA, SOCCSKARGEN, from Manila. If the silence that surrounded the Lumad killings are any indication, it could… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Nov 2015

Lumad, first

Work kept me from visiting the Lumad Camp in the University of the Philippines Diliman early in the week. On Tuesday evening, their second night, I arrived close to midnight to bring a cash donation for the camp’s food fund and some medicines from a doctor. Feeding 800 Lumad at P50 pesos per head is P40,000 pesos per meal after all. From the moment I heard that they were coming, this was what I wanted to raise funds and get… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 30 Oct 2015

Meet the Lumad

I hear that the Lumad communities who have been in UP Diliman the past week will be transferring to Manila in Liwasang Bonifacio on November 1, and staying there at least until November 12. What I say in this essay stands still. And I hope that we all realize how these Lumad have traveled four days to get here, and are camping out in Manila for reasons far larger and more urgent and important than we can even imagine. I hope… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 06 Oct 2015

Poe and Pinoy cinema #Eleksyon2016

On election season, it is clear when we’re hearing nothing but pa-cute and pa-media mileage, not just because we must be critical of everything we hear, but because usually it is in these instances that candidates slip up, revealing precisely how little they know of the subjects they speak of, and how they presume — they imagine! — that we will believe anything at all that they say.

Sunday ∗ 20 Sep 2015

letter from China 1

A trip to China at this point in time can only be embroiled in questions about the crisis that is the West Philippine Sea dispute. But also it is about everything that we know of China from third world Philippines, where global news means Western media, talking about China and Asia using a gaze that is far from objective, and always necessarily – and maybe inevitably – about protecting the interests of the world-power-that-be, i.e., America. There is nothing like… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 11 Sep 2015


I’ve been away, in a place with no social media and a schedule packed so tight there has not been a lot of time for the internet. This was September 6’s RadikalChick column published in The Manila Times, on the killings of Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Bello Sinzo in Surigao del Sur, and the violence inflicted on their communities there. For more information on the #StopLumadKillings campaign, please click here for Tonyo’s website. *** While De Lima was partying*… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 27 Aug 2015

Women. Freedom. Rakenrol.*

Tres Marias made up of Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua and Lolita Carbon will be having a concert at the Music Museum on September 4, Friday. I have no idea what it’s going to be like, but having seen these women on stage, and reading this piece from 2012, tells me it’s going to be quite a show. Click here for tickets! It would’ve been a random night over at 70’s Bistro, though it was so wrong to even imagine that to be… Continue reading »

The portrait of a columnist as plagiarist

It has been confusing to say the least. But also it has been quite fascinating, this whole case of Ducky Paredes versus the broadsheet Malaya. Because it’s such a public display of what goes through the mind of a man who has been accused of plagiarism, and the kind of defensive stance he’s decided to take. How the decision to turn this story around — in fact get ahead of the story — and claim that one had been oppressed and un-paid, therefore that would explain whatever actions he was… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 17 Aug 2015

The Mar Roxas site does an EDSA Uno #Eleksyon2016

So I went to, to find out all the good that Mar has done, because all that’s in my head is what he did to Kenneth Cobonpue etal, and what he did, or did not do, in Tacloban post-Haiyan. And what do you know, now I’m just flattered. Because I managed this project that was EDSA Uno Dos Tres, written by da Stuart Santiago, with cover by Mervin Malonzo, art by GU Stuart. The MarRoxas‬ site sure does imitation… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 14 Aug 2015

The real state of the nation*

The President talked about the decreased number of poor based on the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) pegging the number of poor at 26%. According to Rep. Colmenares, this is based on a poverty threshold of P58 pesos per day. This is to say that for matuwid na daan, a Filipino can live on P58 pesos per day. That’s P58 pesos for food and non-food expenses, including electricity, water and housing, transport expenses, and sending one’s children to school.

Tuesday ∗ 11 Aug 2015

Identity crisis #Eleksyon2016

Between the wrong use of the word CHAROT by the Presidential spokesperson Erwin Lacierda, and Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas and wife Korina appearing at a gay power concert; between UNA’s Jejomar Binay having one too many spokespersons (Tiangco, Remulla, Salceda, Ilagan — talbog ang three-headed monster that is PNoy’s communications offices), and the consistent inability to handle criticism and media spin better; things are getting more and more confused and confusing, two candidates into the 2016 Presidential elections. 

Wednesday ∗ 05 Aug 2015

The burden of the unexplained #Eleksyon2016

The burden of the unexplained has fallen on Presidentiable Jejomar Binay, mostly because he declared his intention to run for President so early. This opened him up to the ongoing Senate Hearings that have villified him and evolved from the Makati City Hall Parking Building II to his alleged involvement in deals to enrich himself via the various posts he holds: from head of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, to Housing Czar, to ex-Mayor of Makati. And so now there… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 30 Jul 2015

Jim Paredes: The burgis as bastos

Ever since this open letter from 2011 I have not found the energy to make patol Jim Paredes at length. Maybe because I just stopped following him on Twitter, and ignored his Facebook all this time. Maybe because the world is a more intelligent place if I do not have to listen to the Jim Paredeses of this world. And yes, I was able to keep it this way even throughout this PNoy Presidency, when Paredes revealed himself to be nothing but loyal… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 22 Jul 2015

Parental guidance #OhNoGracePoe

Because apparently in order to run a nation, what is most important is who our parents are and how they brought us up. Apparently, the good that the parents stand for is necessarily the son’s and the daughter’s. Never mind that we are all more complex than that, and apparently for Grace Poe, never mind that so often throughout PNoy’s administration (and across Kris Aquino’s career), it has been said that his parents must be turning in their graves.

Saturday ∗ 18 Jul 2015

Traffic!* #LiberalPartyGovt

I’ve lived in this country all my life, grew up commuting between Mandaluyong and Quezon City to go to elementary school, Mandaluyong and Pasig for high school, lived in QC near UP Diliman for college and the first jobs I held after graduation. It took forever before I learned to drive myself around the city, and while that had its perks, I enjoyed taking the MRT to go see exhibits on Pasong Tamo, or whenever I needed to get myself… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 16 Jul 2015

Say Chiz #Eleksyon2016

Because for whatever reason the President and the Liberal Party have no shame in telling us all that they are trying very very hard to get Mar Roxas and Grace Poe to come together as one team for the 2016 Elections, it also seems imperative that we point out who’s the biggest free rider of all: Senator Chiz Escudero.

Sunday ∗ 28 Jun 2015

Success: #BuhayMedia

I had read about the stories of the members of the Talent Association of GMA (TAG) Network with sadness and frustration, compassion and anger. I could not believe that this institution, this high profile media network, could be so unkind to its workers of 5, 10, 15 years. I could not believe that the same space that I thought had treated me well enough for three years (or so) as a regular contributor for GMA News Online, had decided to treat its… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 22 Jun 2015

Don’t make pakialam my hashtag!*

“This is why Kris Aquino’s tirade against an Instagram follower was utterly surprising; I also can’t believe how media tended to side with her on this one. <…> This is the same woman who has spent much of her TV career “making pakialam” people’s lives via intrusive questions in talk shows. The same woman who “makes pakialam” people’s lives for a living, as she endorses every product imaginable and tells the public: this product is what YOU need in your… Continue reading »

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