Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pasay City Born and Bred

   "Why are you crediting Pasay City for molding your character?  All of us your kids are just as tough but we didn't grow up in Pasay" a daughter in California asked her mother sounding irritated at her mother’s love of her city.

   The mother answered as follows:

   "In whatever place I raised you and your brothers is just a name in the map.  You can take me out of Pasay but you cannot take Pasay out of me.  A Pasay mother taught you to be independent, tough, and best of all, survivors.  While growing up you saw me do a whole lot of things other mommies from another city would not even dream of doing.  Remember when I --

  • Laid red bricks on the facade of our house, painted the interior and shoveled cement to pave the driveway myself; 
  • Fought with a drunken neighbor in Las Pinas and police were called to settle the issue because I refused to back down;
  • Sued a foreign cult in Cavite for preaching an injurious advice that affected our family’s health.  We lost the case but it wasn’t about winning.  It was about disputing when you know you’re right; 
  • Bossed over taxi drivers and faced corruption when I was a transport operator; 
  • Sheltered an abused woman running from her husband who threatened to retaliate against me if I didn’t give her up;  
  • Bailed out your brothers on two separate occasions, the first one I asked the police to lock him up because he was guilty of a misdemeanor but the police insisted on releasing him; and the other one I fought the police because it was an illegal arrest but then ended up paying a fine for my son’s release with another inmate, a perfect stranger, on a buy one take one deal;  
  • Broke free from a 23 year marriage and still managed to get you through college; 
  • Chased the love of my life halfway across the globe because no age is too old and no place is too far to be with someone you love.
   So whether you like it or not Pasay is in your character, probably the one good thing you got from me."  

Friday, February 14, 2014

On Theories

   The world is full of conspiracy theories that remain unproven.  Foremost on the list is the JFK assassination.  Numerous books have been written and movies have been made on this, confusing the unknown truth with theories.  Amazon.com has 1,817 books on the topic.  One blames it on LBJ, another on CIA rogues and US agents, another one says KGB in connection with the Cuban Missile Crisis and others blame Joseph P. Kennedy, Edgar J Hoover, and of course Lee Harvey Oswald respectively.

   The Philippines has its own, the assassination of the hero Andres Bonifacio.  According to Wikipedia “His death is alternately viewed as a justified execution for treason and a "legal murder" fueled by politics…Historians have condemned the trial of the Bonifacio brothers as unjust. The jury was entirely composed of Aguinaldo's men; Bonifacio's defense lawyer acted more like a prosecutor as he himself declared Bonifacio's guilt …Bonifacio was not allowed to confront the state witness for the charge of conspiracy on the grounds that the latter had been killed in battle, but later the witness was seen with the prosecutors.”   

   In what world is murder legal?  And how can a revolutionary without connection to any foreign country commit treason?  Bonifacio’s murder has only one suspect however that justice was left undone will forever fuel the controversy. 

   Another controversial theory is Evolution from Charles Darwin's 1859 publication, On the Origin of Species.”  This theory is now in question in the light of recent advances in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.

   Darwin himself confessed, “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

   The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word theory as:
  •        an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events
  •        an idea that is suggested or presented as possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true

   “For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.  For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God nor did they thank him, but they became empty-headed in their reasonings and their senseless hearts became darkened.  Although claiming they were wise, they became foolish” (Romans 1:20-22)

See also:
Google It

Friday, February 7, 2014

Blog's 1st Anniversary

   When I saw the video of Paul Williams’ trip to the Philippines I decided to write an article about it.  I’ve always loved his music and now I’ve had a rare view of his interaction with Filipinos.  A blog was born.  

   Initially the blog’s main purpose was to promote the book The Email Ordered Wife, which was launched in the fall of 2012.
   Then came the article about Love at First Sight,  something I have always believed in.  I’ve been told countless times that whirlwind romance never last.  It’s not real.  If that was so, how come after 34 years of his goodbye, I still ache for the man I loved before I even knew his name?  The following article, One Adam for One Eve, is another argument for a similar premise.  The heart is stubborn and persevering.
   This blog gave me an instrument in paying my respect to those who have died my mother, my grandfather, my friend Linda, Tamboy, JoeCar, cousin Rey and to those who are alive like my father, Vilma Santos and Erap.

   Gifts of Mercy, Gifts of Patience and Compassion, See You in Paradise, The Signs, A Colorful Past and Unspoken Prayer are a few of the articles with personal insights from the Bible.
   In March 2013, I posted The Shallowness of Youth.  It gained a few page views till by October it suddenly jumped to the top of the list of popular posts.  As of today it has gained 3,487 page views, of which 3,450 came from Ukraine.

   The Ladies of the Palace is a political statement that was meant to give credit where credit is due.  While other countries refuse to accept women leaders mostly out of prejudice the last three women that marched through Malacanang Palace have made significant contributions to the Filipinos that male leaders of other nations would pale in comparison. 
   The articles The Chicken, Leadership, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Tamboy are all set in the infamous Martial Law years.  Some may question why give tribute to Imelda Marcos then in the same page give that dark side of Philippine history.  I don’t believe Imelda Marcos was personally guilty of the army atrocities.  As for the corruption accredited to her, if the courts backed by her opposition could not convict her why should this lowly writer. 

   The articles Nature’s Water Park, Virtues of Poverty and Dance on the Brink of Death recalls the Philippines’ love/hate relationship with water.  The typhoon season that batters the country every year is what nurtures vegetation and cleans up the air as it bolsters the strength of the Filipino character.

   Somewhere along the way the original function of the blog was lost in the life stories of the women as products of their era.  The many facets of the Filipina unfolds as a military leader Garbriela Silang, a political leader Vilma Santos, as a lover or a wife or both in the same shoes, as a mother, as a daughter, an immigrant, an 8 year old television talk show host, etc.  Thanks to the 11,920 readers from different countries, the filipinathenandnow.com has taken on a life of its own.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Remembering Cousin Rey

 Radio in the 50's
   In Pasay City, in 1955 a home with television was rare.  People had radios the size of a console cabinet.  Movies were too expensive and movies for children played only during the Christmas season.  There were movie theaters that showed double feature for the cost of a ticket.  Joy Theater in Libertad Street was one that showed all Hollywood films.  There was another in the same area that showed all Filipino movies.  The theaters didn’t have air-conditioning and smoking inside was allowed so imagine the air quality during the 4 hours of black and white entertainment (approximately 2 hours each movie).  Snack vendors walked the isles even during the main feature and shout out “Pepsi, popcorn”.  Someone hungry from across the room would call the snack vendor over everyone’s head.  If you were born in the 80’s the preceding sounds ridiculous funny.  But wait!  There’s more.

   How did food manufacturers advertise without television and theater ads?  There were mobile theaters that showed their commercials.  A big van or small truck with a sound system circled the neighborhood announcing a free movie showing on a specific street, on a specific date and time.  Obviously this show can’t happen during the day because like a regular theater darkness was required.  On the evening of the show the street was closed to traffic.  People came out of their homes carrying their own chairs, their snacks and arrange themselves all facing the portable screen that hung on the side of the van/truck which hid huge speakers.  A projector on a stand was set behind the audience and showed either local Tagalog movie or Hollywood film without subtitles.  This proved there was no English movie ever made that a Filipino in any era could not understand.

   During the gaps between the mobile theater and the occasional  double feature movies the children of Ibarra Street were treated to an exclusive entertainment, a homemade theatre created by an ingenious young boy of 13, my cousin Rey. 

Similar home theater characters
   Rey framed white fabric and mounted it on the edge of a table.  A couple of candles behind lighted the screen.  Male and female figures made of cardboard moved with the aid of sticks and strings.  The children audience sat in front of the screen and watched the shadow of characters.  Sometimes it’s a love story and the cardboard characters would actually kiss.  There were fights over a girl when cardboard arms would swing to hit the villain.  Rey narrated the story and voiced the dialogues accordingly.  There were no repeats.  Every show had a different story and set of characters.  We didn’t need television when we had cousin Rey’s home theater.

See also: