Friday, April 28, 2006

Summer Part 2

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From top (l-r): A cultural show at Tam-awan Village; A bulol watches over the whole village; Anton and Wayne pick strawberries; Red luscious strawberries

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hundred Memories

Hundred Islands was the beach stop for me and my friends this year (first of many many stops hopefully).

I was with R., I., and J.

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We left for Pangasinan on Friday. We sorta miscalculated the hours on the trip, we left at 12 m.n. and thought we'd arrive there at 5:30 a.m. But nope, we were there at 3:30 a.m.!

I. had said that some staff of Mayor Braganza had reserved a room for us but when we were there and sought somebody named "Thelma", Marjorie, the hotel staff, said she didn't know her.(Turns out later on that Thelma was with the boat ticketing office).

"Try Louise,"I told Isao. (Hehehe).

It took a little while before we could find a substitute room. Rey was helpful enough to use the room with 14 (!) beds, which we aptly called "the dorm". Since we arrived there very early, we decided to sleep a little bit and woke up at around 8 a.m. If it weren't for the noisy Koreans, we would have slept the whole day.

First Island

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After breakfast, we set out to check out our first island: Marcos Island. It was a medium sized island with a dash of shoreline. Jann brought banig so that's where we sat and placed our things.

All we did there was drink beer, eat, sunbathe, eat again, sunbathe again until we met Claire, a four-year old Ilocana lovinlgy called "Basang."


You can tell from the color of Claire’s skin that she has spent half a day under the sun and she was obviously having fun. She was oblivious to our arrival. Just a couple of meters away from the shoreline, where the level was not even knee-deep, Claire would “dive” and flap her little feet. And then she would emerge, parting her hair that has covered part of her face, breathe deep and dive again.

Her father, J.R., striked up a conversation with our group and offered Claire’s floater. It was small but enough to carry our bodyweight. It was for babies actually. That’s when we asked Claire’s name. Of course, the little girl didn’t mind us. She was fine having fun by herself.
Claire had four instant yayas and yayo with us. At one point, I asked her if she wanted some sunoil on her which, to my surprise, she liked, never mind if the oil wouldn’t help her much since her skin was already dark.

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After lunch, that’s when Claire really opened up. She was pulling a sea grass so I pulled my pamangkin tricks and pretended that it was hair. Placed the seagrass on her head and said it was such a beautiful and long hair to have on her head. She liked it. And reciprocated. She asked that I kneel down so she could put the seagrass and on my head. When she did, I gamely posed and asked her to pretend she was having my picture taken.

“Picture! Picture!” I said.

“Click!” she responded, quickly opening up both her palms as if to immitate a camera’s flashbulb.

(more, photos on flickr badge)

Afterglow- INXS

Here i am
Lost in the light of the moon
That comes through my window
Bathed in blue
The walls of my memory
Divides the thorns from the roses
It’s you and the roses
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorrow
As i let you go
I will find my way
When i see your eyes
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
Here i am
Lost in the ashes of time
But who owns tomorrow
In between
The longing to hold you again
I’m caught in your shadow
I’m losing control
My mind drifts away
We only have today
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorro
wAs i let you go
I will find my way
I will sacrifice
Till that blinding day
When i see your eyes
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
When the veils are gone
As i let you go
As i let you go
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorrow
As i let you go
I will find my way
I will sacrifice
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
Bathed in blue
The walls of my memory
Divides the thorns from the roses
It’s you who is closest

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The pillows told me what I have been denying. The ashtray, now empty, takes time to fill itself up. Even my stereo plays a different tune: melancholy. The writings on the wall and I couldn't ignore it.

But I shall overcome. Like I have, in the past, and now.

"I've been spiraling," I texted R. "I thought I was over," I thought to myself.

This morning on a newspaper:"Forgive and be healed." R. shows it to me.

"I have forgiven," I tell her.

"... but you have not healed," she completes the sentence for me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

For You, Two Seasons Or More Ago

I like watching people sleep. Particularly you.

It's as if, I am awaiting you from a long journey. And I am selfish. I want to be the first to welcome you when you open your eyes.

It's also like you're being born again and I am your proud mother/father. One look in your eyes and we are connected, a perpetual bond is forged in between.

Or if it is me sleeping, I would like you to be the first one I see. It will be like I never left. Or have come back to home. I nestle between your chin and your chest.

Had that chance once. Some two seasons ago (because in this part of the world, there are only two). Before my father died. After I had died (but I am, right now, slowly being resurrected). When I met you for the first time.

I had that chance once. Only once.

You are awake. And I am left dreaming.

Press Freedom in the Philippines

In the News
from The New York Times.

The Philippines Wages a Campaign of Intimidation Against Journalists

Published: April 3, 2006

MANILA, the Philippines — The Philippine news media, among the most exuberant and freewheeling in Asia, are coming under serious government pressure for the first time since the rule of Ferdinand Marcos more than 20 years ago.

Philippine soldiers patrolled the headquarters of ABS-CBN, the nation's largest television network, in suburban Manila in February.

Along with hints that the government may restrict public assembly, the campaign against the press strikes at the heart of the freedoms won in 1986 when Mr. Marcos was driven from the presidency by a popular uprising.

The pressure involves warnings, watch lists, surveillance, court cases, harassment lawsuits and threats of arrest on charges of sedition. No members of the press have been arrested, although three journalists have been charged with rebellion. No news outlets have been shut down, although troops surrounded several television stations for more than a week recently.

Journalists say the situation is particularly unnerving because of the uncertainty of what is happening or may happen to them.

"I have a number of people on my list," Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said in a recent television interview. "We are studying them."

This aggressive posture follows a one-week state of emergency imposed on Feb. 24 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in response to what she said was a coup attempt involving an array of enemies who have been calling for her resignation.

Since then, the police have broken up several gatherings that were seen as critical of the president and have briefly detained some participants.

The gatherings included an annual celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, in which a congresswoman who opposes Mrs. Arroyo was detained, in the words of the police, "to get her out of harm's way."

They included a mock beauty pageant in which each contestant was to be made up with a mole on her face in imitation of Mrs. Arroyo.

They also included something that at first seemed like a joke — small weekly protests at which participants did nothing more than buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The protesters got away with that one, but on March 19, the same group was dispersed by the police while walking through a park wearing T-shirts reading "Out Now," an evident reference to the president.

Officials have spoken of intelligence they received about planned gatherings in the same manner they have talked about monitoring reporters — vaguely, seemingly counting on the uncertainty to be more intimidating.

The director of the National Police, Gen. Arturo Lomibao, has told news outlets that they must conform to certain unspecified standards, which it will be up to the government to interpret on a case-by-case basis.

He referred to a new catchall regulation that bans "actions that hurt the Philippine State by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people's confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country."

Apparently, the goal of all this is to promote self-censorship, said Maria Ressa, senior vice president for news and public affairs at the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, the nation's largest.

"It's crazy," she said. "You don't know what's happening but you feel they can move on you at any time."

Ms. Ressa has been a leader in demanding clarification of the government's policies toward the press and in filing a class-action lawsuit to bar prior restraint.

"There is definitely fear and uncertainty," she said. "When government officials say, 'We have the power to shut you down, we have the power to look at your content,' it's intimidation."

Editors and news directors say they have prepared for possible searches or arrests by backing up computer files, setting aside bail money and instructing their staff members on their legal rights if the police enter their offices.

The government has singled out in its threatening statements the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a small, aggressive group of journalists led by Sheila S. Coronel, a prominent journalist.

The center's exposés of corruption, presented during congressional impeachment hearings, helped bring down Mrs. Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada.

Government officials have said they may charge Ms. Coronel and members of her staff with sedition, but they are imprecise about who may be charged and on what evidence.

"It's very insidious," Ms. Coronel said. "They say they are studying filing sedition charges. They say they have lists, but they don't say who is on them. This is not how the game should be played. We know our rights, and we should not be harassed by psychological pressure."
Ms. Coronel was one of a group of young women who were reporters and became well known for defying Mr. Marcos in the early 1980's, a time when journalists were being harassed and arrested.

"People went to prison, people died for this freedom," Ms. Coronel said, "and if you give it up it is a betrayal of all the sacrifices that people have made in the past, people I know personally. It really makes me mad."