Monday ∗ 23 May 2016

a shred of truth?

Could it be true that Malacañang staffers have been ordered to shred documents, with no explanations, and with no written memo, a little over a month before the President of matuwid-na-daan steps down?

Napaka-exciting naman! What is being shredded, and who exactly is squealing it to the media? I mean for all our complaints against Rappler, I don’t think they’d come out with a story were their sources not credible and reliable. And they are correct when they say that government is not allowed by law to be destroying any documents at all, as per RA9470.

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Sunday ∗ 24 Apr 2016

The urgency of the environment #Eleksyon2016 #EarthDay2016

I had started on this series on the environment – from urban development to climate change – because the early press releases on today’s debate declared that the topics would be about disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, health care, education, and fighting corruption. Since last Sunday though, I’ve heard otherwise, and if the grapevine is correct it will be a free-for-all (yet again!) as far as topics are concerned. Also, if my news is correct, today’s #PiliPinasDebates2016 will include a… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 23 Apr 2016

Climate change and matuwid na daan #Eleksyon2016 #EarthDay2016

Each candidate for president is talking about development and change. From those big concepts, they will reveal that what they mean by development is infrastructure and investments, towards job creation and poverty alleviation. None of them though are talking about the construction of roads and better public transport as connected to air pollution. None of them are talking about urban development as interwoven with reducing our carbon footprint.

Environment, development, cities #Eleksyon2016 #EarthDay2016

The most important platform a Presidential candidate must have is one for the environment. It is the one that they need to be clear about, that they need to work on beyond imagining the environment as mere resource that should be, must be sold, like we have no choice. Here is where we need to hear a pro-people stance, one that will dare say no to big business, irresponsible mining, illegal loggers, oligarchs and transnational corporations. A real platform for… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 22 Apr 2016

Leading by example #Eleksyon2016

I’m pretty sure Malacañang knows it, we all know it, and even the voting masses can see through it: that when the Palace uses public money to talk dirty about Mar Roxas’s political rivals, that in fact, it is doing the classic foot-in-mouth. So when it says the next President must “lead by example,” one cannot help but ask: so what kind of example has this current administration been for all of us the past six years? If they’ve been… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 21 Apr 2016

Divorce and freedom #Eleksyon2016

Triggered by The Rundown 2016, an ABS-CBN News Channel and UP Economic Society program that aired live on January 29, here is another issue that one must take into consideration when deciding on who to vote for. The Rundown asked the first batch of its Senatorial candidates about their stand on divorce, and to have had only one senatorial candidate say yes to divorce among the many who were there, is just utterly disappointing. Of course the show’s format was… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 20 Apr 2016

The Lumad and mining #Eleksyon2016

If there is an issue that should be part of the decision to vote for anyone at all this coming elections, it is the Lumad killings, and the injustice that those who survive continue to live with. Thousands of Lumad are in evacuation centers, living off lugaw if there is food at all, away from the productivity of caring for their land, away from the schools that nurture their children, away from their homes. The bigger picture we are looking… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 06 Apr 2016

Tungkol sa kultural na paggawa

Walang pagkilos na kultural na hindi nababalot ng kontradiksyon. Kontradiksyon ang eleksyon at ang pagsampa ng kahit na sinong artista sa entablado ng sortie. Kontradiksyon ang pagsusulat bilang hanapbuhay para sa pulitiko. Kontradiksyon ang pagsusulat ng opinion column para sa diyaryong pagaari ng big business o oligarkiya. (AKO)

Thursday ∗ 31 Mar 2016

don’t believe those surveys #Eleksyon2016

Elsewhere in the world, election surveys are held against the light, and assessed based on where it is done, whose bailiwick(s) it chooses to survey, and how the survey is conducted. In the Philippines, it is the media enterprises like ABS-CBN and Rappler that commission or do their own surveys, justifying the practice instead of questioning it.

Tuesday ∗ 29 Mar 2016

Social / media bias #Eleksyon2016

If I were the Liberal Party, I’d be congratulating myself. After five years they have successfully dumbed down public discourse, selling us the true, the good, the beautiful about matuwid­ na­ daan, making us believe that it is all we need, handling criticism and crises via spin, always using notions of anti­corruption and transparency to respond to anything at all.

Tuesday ∗ 15 Mar 2016

#womensmonth2016: censoring our words, our bodies

the trailer of the movie “Ang Taba Ko Kasi,” a trailer that has been online since February 1, a good month and half ago, has been deemed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) as unfit for public exhibition. lead actress Cai Cortez posted the MTRCB decision on her instagram, obviously and understandably exasperated by the decision.

Sunday ∗ 13 Mar 2016

#womensmonth2016: those darn shoes

while elsewhere in the world the discussions for women’s day and women’s month 2016 have been on the level of celebrity women’s bodies and slutshaming, role models and raising our young girls, in the Philippines we have a government that cannot even pretend to know what women need, much less what we want.

Wednesday ∗ 17 Feb 2016

Pacquiao self-destructs

we knew it was coming yes? i mean Manny Pacquiao was always coddled and forgiven, he could do no wrong. this is what we tend to do for anyone we declare hero. because in a nation in dire need of some good vibes, some wins in the midst of too many losses, we make heroes out of, and i paraphrase Pia Wurtzbach here: basketball stars, beauty queens, and boxers.

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… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 25 Jan 2016

Blaspheming against the bul-ol

There is no looking at Ronald Ventura’s work without having in the back of my head that $1.1M dollar record-breaking sale at the 2011 Sotheby’s auction. In 2012 it seems he’s also had a good run at art auctions such as the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong last last year, which shouldn’t be a surprise really. Between the interest in Southeast Asian art and 2011’s record-breaking sale, it would seem strange if Ventura were not to ride that wave. It… Continue reading »

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.

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