Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maintaining a Four-Year-old Blog

Ho! Ho! Ho! Never thought I'd be able to input anything in my dashboard again, after it has been hacked for the longest time. Now, after over a year, finally, hackers have been overpowered and got a new password-- might be able to continue all the writing I've started here. Congrats to my blog for being officially, 4 years old now. Who would have thought it would survive the test of time? (cliche). In search of a new topic to write about, what would it be? Any suggestions? Since this is "Mundongnoypi," in your opinion folks--what is the hottest socio-political topic worth pondering about? Keep me posted for I've been out of circulation for quite sometime. =)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Got this piece of information from a VERY reliable source--it appears that the 2009 bar exams has a very low passing rate attributable mainly to the effects of the experimental two-examiner rule implemented for the first time last year. According to this former bar topnotcher, since the total points allotted per examiner is only 50, the allowance for mistakes is also very minimal. To achieve the 75 passing grade, an examinee should not incur deductions from each examiner amounting to more than 12.5 points. How scary is that?

He also confided that the bar results are due to come out sooner than the usual April or pre-holy week schedule. In fact, rumors are circulating on the internet that, this March, the results will be out. Worse, after citing unnamed sources (like me), the passing rate is only 15 % (But I doubt the SC will allow this).

To all the bar examinees of 2009, especially my friends--do not despair. If you know you gave this endeavor your 101% effort, then lay all your fears (terrors, even) on God and He will do the rest. The important thing is you dared to go after a noble dream, whereas so many never even had the courage. My prediction is that there will be a higher passing rate this year than last year's bar exam (20.3%) because for the past two years, there has been a downward trend. I predict a 25-28% passing rate. Bet your bottom dollar (or peso) on that!

Friday, March 27, 2009


The savage brutality of how a young woman by the name of Rebelyn Pitao, aged 20, suffered and died simply took my breath away. In this day and age when human rights are regarded as nothing short of sacred-- a crime such as this is simply inconceivable and unimaginable. But then again anything is possible in the Philippines and so it has come to pass that a young defenseless and blameless teacher shall suffer tremendously and lose her life in the hands of shameless, conscience-less beasts.

I really wonder today how the men responsible for raping, torturing and murdering this girl ever go to sleep at night. What possible reason on earth can they have to justify their actions? No doubt up to this moment, the fading voice of sanity in their tiny minds is still trying desperately to convince them that they did the right thing.

Are they so inutile as to lash out at the innocent daughter rather than the father himself, who is presumably their enemy? What could they have eaten to prompt them to shed their humanity and attack and violate this woman who was living a quiet and respectable life and was just starting on a career of her own? What could have she done to deserve so much hatred? Was it having a father who fought for his radical political and socio-economic beliefs? Is this a crime? Well assuming for the sake of argument it was—then she was better off treated as a criminal because then she would be subject to the privilege of due process like the right to a hearing, Miranda rights etc. It seems she was guilty of something worse than committing a crime, if there was such a thing. Because compared to her, criminals were subjected to a far more humane treatment.

I said this again in the case of Mariannet and I’ve said it before in the case of the teachers who burned to death in a polling place in Tanauan—what kind of a country would allow its women and children to die so horribly? Don’t we have a Constitution? Don’t we have laws to prevent these kinds of things from happening? Sadly, the latest spate of killings only goes to show that the system in place does not work. It does not work because the protective power of the State as Parens Patriae still fails to benefit those who are in need of it the most--the poor, powerless and defenseless. This is a country still governed by men and not by laws. This is a country where brutes and bullies still abound, roaming and causing terror with impunity. This is a country where sweet innocent young women are abducted in broad daylight, loaded into vans to be raped, tortured and murdered and dumped into a ditch.

*photo courtesy of abs-cbn news

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Patriot named Francis

Last March 6, after coming from Robinson’s Ortigas, I was on my way to the ground elevators of the Medical City Hospital to visit my sister (who was confined on the 11th floor due to dengue fever), when a swarm of reporters blocked my path at the hospital lobby. I asked a security guard standing nearby who told me that Francis Magalona had died at around noon that day.

I was surprised at first because to my recollection, it was only recently that I saw him on television—alive and kicking. I, along with a lot of people apparently-- presumed he was winning his “happy battle” because in all the pictures we saw of him, he was always smiling. There never was a moment that this guy looked glum or in pain. Upon confirmation of this news, I was overwhelmed with sadness, not only in behalf of his beautiful wife and children—but because he was a great loss to the Filipino people as a whole.

I spent my pre-teen and teen years listening to members of my generation mouthing every imaginable version of the lyrics of Mga Kababayan Ko everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere--in the streets, at the school grounds, at home. FrancisM inspired and spawned countless young Pinoy hiphoppers from different generations. This was a guy I have never met or seen personally, but in a sense, it was as if I knew him. The rapper, composer, designer, photographer, the artist that he was—but above all—the Patriot.

It is rare to find an artist-patriot in the entertainment industry and FrancisM embodied this enigmatic combination with a compelling sense of integrity, originality and identity. His art was very true to himself and so was his sense of nationalism. Having died at so young an age makes his legacy all the more precious… What a good, great man. What a true Filipino. Disease may have vanquished him but his legacy shall live on for generations to come. His voice and message shall forever ring true. To all Filipinos-- may we never fail the legacy of FrancisM. May we continue it and never let perish…

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Manila Street Scene

Whenever I find my way to the oldest sections of the country's capital that is The City of Manila, it never fails to strike me how different it is, compared it to its more cosmopolitan or contemporary sister-cities like Makati or Mandaluyong and even Quezon City. No matter how many high rise buildings grow in the area, i just can't seem to shake of its aura of rich (bloody?) history. Gives me goosebumps...
I don't only mean the National Library or National Museum but it's in the very place itself--the congested alleys, narrow streets, the way its people speak traditional Tagalog. Took a photo of this visually-impaired beggar impressively singing a sorrowful kundiman, and it just made me feel sad--and at the same time, happy to be able to live and experience it--be in the heart of the nation where our noble ancestors lived and died for freedom and independence...

Manila's Ocean Park

Not as large and impressive as HK's and KL's Ocean Park but still feel proud of Manila's very own Aquaria (which opened mid-2008). At least it's a start for an archipelagic country that previously and ironically never had a marine zoo to call its own...and what a hit! Pinoys just love these sorts of pasyalans, especially the little tots. And along with the feast for the eyes, of course it also offers a treat for the mind. Only P400 per person, it's cheap compared to the whole new world of information and education it could give to your child (super endorse na toh, hehe) and to you as well, in case you've never seen deep inside the ocean! Alas, wasn't able to take lots of pics but here are two pics showing my fave ocean creatures...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Must-read

A Sober Earth Day
By Sylvia L. Mayuga
First Posted 05:44:00 04/20/2008/ Most Read

“The end of the world as we know it,” is how Michael T. Klare, an American professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, describes our presently crisis-hobbled home planet. His new book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, is disturbing but highly recommended reading for realists.

The sooner every last gas-guzzling, fuel-dependent one of us understands the big picture this book projects into the future, the better are our chances for collective survival. As the American journalist Adam Hochschild put it in his review of Klare’s book: “Four centuries ago, as the conquistadors roamed through South America, it was the search for gold that drove the clash of empires. A hundred years later, as the great powers fought over the West Indies, it was the quest for land that could grow sugar cane. Today the key commodity is oil.”

The first hard fact in this big picture is that the era of relatively abundant oil supply is over. The global economic expansion it literally fuelled over the past six decades post-WW II is in fact what created the First World club composed of the United States and its allies in Europe, Asia and the Pacific. That status quo is changing as fast as oil prices are continuing to climb to “peak oil” – over $110 a barrel at this writing, with $20 to $30 a barrel last seen in 2003 receding to the realm of legend.

Part of Michael Klare’s thesis is that the reality of dwindling global oil supply supersedes ideology in ways that capitalist versus communist ideologues could not have imagined 20 years ago. Profound changes are underway in the present economic and political world order, he writes, and everyone, rich and poor, had best be ready for them.

At this point of world history, when more people in the world have learned to want it all, putting on farmers’ eyes would help everyone think over a second hard fact: the close interconnection between producing our suddenly shockingly expensive food and the now severely threatened conditions for producing and bringing it to our dining tables. And nowhere is the impact of global warming and climate change on agriculture more dramatically illustrated than in the recent closing of what was once the largest rice mill in the Southern Hemisphere.

That mill in Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia was processing enough rice for 20 million people worldwide, reports the New York Times, until the last six years of drought reduced Australia’s rice crop by a staggering 98 percent, causing the collapse of the country’s rice production and the closure of the Deniliquin mill last December. That was one of the major factors in the doubling of world rice prices over the past three months, it turns out.

This event also counts “among the earliest signs that a warming planet is starting to affect food production,” just as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in its climate change report last July. It would take science another 15 to 20 years of study and experimentation to link short-term weather changes to long-term climate change beyond doubt, the Times reports. But Australia’s “unusually severe drought is consistent with what climatologists predict will be a problem of increasing frequency.”

The IPCC scientists in fact “predicted that even slight warming would lower agricultural output in the tropics and subtropics.” That’s not even taking into account “newer findings that global warming could reduce rainfall and make it more variable.” The prospects could be worse, in other words, given the increasing incidence of freak weather worldwide.

That this could hurt agriculture to the point of crippling goes without saying. The present food crisis is a foretaste, but this is apparently only the beginning of radical worldwide changes upon us now. One of them, Michael Klare projects, will be a “tidal shift in power and wealth from energy-deficit states like China, Japan and the United States to energy-surplus states like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.” Early signs are already upon us of this shift that will “affect the lives of everyone in one way or another – with poor and middle-class consumers in the energy-deficit states experiencing the harshest effects.”

That means the majority of us, dear readers, so read the rest of Michael Klare’s article summarizing his book and its exposition of conflicting global urgencies – and think of the delicate balances everyone of goodwill needs to strike in their lives, beginning right now.

This is not cheerful Sunday reading, but the best reason to stay with this is that everyone’s little bit would help alleviate the crisis – if not by starting to raise what food one can in one’s own backyard, then by finally making lifestyle decisions to become part of the solution, starting with drastically cutting down on the use of fuel and gasoline. It’s taken 30 years for everyone to feel the urgency of the ecologists’ motto to “live lightly on the earth,” but now we find ourselves standing together under a merciless sun beating down in high noon.

There’s a sound bite from Achim Steiner, president of the United Nations Program for the Environment, in his opening speech to the international gathering on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Johannesburg this week, that’s well worth pondering on Earth Day: "We need everyone's perspective…there is no simple answer to the challenges of twenty-first century agriculture."

That applies to the rest of a survival mode in the early 21st century. There is, however, some comfort to be drawn from the human creativity already at work on new solutions to address our multi-dimensional crisis, from food to energy. The ignorance, greed and heedlessness that brought us to this point are part of human nature, but so is the creativity coming up with solutions to ease a path of radical change from which there’s no turning back. May they catch up with the speed of crisis.

*photos courtesy of and cosmos magazine