Jun 29, 2010

It's Not the Environment That Will Kill Us by 2012

An Indian guy named Soumyajit emailed me last night asking some information and help in organizing a youth centered environmental organization in India. Their country is leaning towards the consumerist lifestyle so it's more difficult to find people that will join his advocacy.

I don't know what to reply since a) I have a calf-skinned jacket in my closet and I love consumerism, and 2) the same trend outside the universities are happening - people (including the government) get less environmentally involved because there are more immediate concerns that need to be addressed.

If we are to dissect these immediate concerns, one thing we can point out is the lack of land areas for some highly industrialized and service centered countries like Singapore, Japan and Korea.

It's not the environment that will kill us by 2012. It takes a faster and more sinister agent to eradicate a thriving civilization. Ironically, we, through political frictions backed up by weapons of mass destruction, will cancel humanity before we know it.

If we fail to come up with solutions that will prevent further damage to our climate, marine and forest ecosystems, there will be lack of resources - food, water, land...

This will in turn cause international chaos since governments would want to protect their citizen's interests and if worst comes to worst, North Korea (considering it's an island with low sea level) will invade a country which is more elevated and has not been swallowed (yet) by the sea.

In case apocalyptic floods won't take place (since God mentioned he will not destroy the Earth through water), it's the famine and scarcity for potable water that will lead to wars. We will see major power plays between China and the USA (as predicted by Time magazine.)

Humanity always has a way of exponentially speeding everything - making hamburgers and human destruction more efficient.

I guess I can squeeze in traveling India and meeting Soumyajit before my senior year in college ends since we might never know how extreme political reactions may be. Let's not give Kim Jong Il any idea to bomb any country with his "nuclear weapons." He might one day get upset because his daily dose of shisha might not be delivered and the next thing we know, India is reduced to the size of Mumbai.

Jun 28, 2010

Theological Multiculturalism

I believe in the Biblical God as much as I believe in Zeus, Isis, Thor and a thousands of other (dead according to Nietzsche) gods. This might sound like an eyebrow raising statement, especially those who know me since high school, but six years of trying to reconcile different cultures and religions have prompted me with this statement.

I think it's safe to say that I was the prodigy of the religion department back in high school. I spend hours drinking coffee with my religion teacher trying to solve morality (and you can even say) philosophical cases. Can God be seen in abortion or prostitution? Will Christianity or Islam fade like the myths of the Greeks and Egyptians? We answered these questions very liberally relative to being in a Catholic school. It was a good exercise, but I did not realize that questions were starting to pile up unconsciously and force me to go beyond religion and culture, trying to asses what this whole faith means to us.

Richard Rorty said that truth only exists in so far as where there are sentences - meaning we create these truths, these mutually accepted delusions. Truth is not something out there that humanity has to find because more often than not (and you can base these from your own experiences) these truths are dehumanizing - hindi makatao. These delusions aren't bad at all because they help us cope with our day to day activities, which I think is more important. It can go as broad as religion's ability to organize people to as mundane as people calling that hot ball of gas SUN.

Having mentioned that, the reason I believe in all the practices of faith (together with their head deities) is that they prove useful to each individual or group in a particular period of time. I think exercises of religion is relative on each one of us since truth cannot be out there - we create the truths, these mutually accepted delusions. We are formed by different historicity and experiences therefore no one interpretation of the "pagpapakita ng meron" is enough.

My mom and I always have debates every Sunday because I don't want to go to church. She took up a lot of philosophy courses and is a very devout Catholic, so it's always a good debate but she tends to lose sometimes when I use the argument of multiculturalism. And it's quite ironic that the more she tries to convince me to go to church, the more that I realize the relativeness of this whole religion thing.

Amidst all of my pietious abstinence, I have to admit that I am left longing for the presence of God. And it's this personal experience of theological hunger that allows me to conclude that yes, there is a God, but he/she is beyond organized religion or any form of human practice. But we need religion, because we humans are weak. Religion is a celebration of life, of being in a community; therefore is a human necessity.

(Sorry for leaving the thought hanging but the totality of the topic cannot even be captured in a thick volumed book. I just had to write this down while waiting for my sundo in school to organize my thoughts.)

Jun 25, 2010

Something that I'm Really Proud Of

As I was going home from a meeting with some of Ateneo's student government officers/personel for my proposed project, I realized something: I started as a freshman in college without an org and without a plan to join in one.

But here I am, in my senior year, a vice president in a Harvard affiliated org, a representative of the Philippines to an international youth organization where we amend regional policies (allocation of funds, appointment of new leaders...) with other reps from other countries, and by the end of this year, hopefully, I'll be able to organize a nation wide conference where student leaders (most of them in Luzon) will be invited for a gathering to talk about issues that matter - specifically the environment.

And I'm still a one man team. (hopefully by the end of July, I'll have the people that I need.)

I cannot attribute these much to hard work, but with luck, initiative and the availability of opportunities. I was at the right place, at the right time and know the right people with connections. To not say that I'm proud of myself would be a sign of false humility.

To top that off, I still paint and give contributions to an Art portfolio magazine, and I'm still planning to finalize the structure of my novel by the end of the school year.

The number one priority of most of my batch mates right now is to get a good job. I'm satisfied to say that that's the last thing on my mind:)

Jun 21, 2010

An Act of Random Kindness

These previous weeks have been stressful (starting with Fashion Week down to the First Week of Classes.) To top that off, I'm going to have "life changing" meetings this week so I had to reserve a day to have my face repaired - this afternoon was the first time that I didn't cry in the butchering room, so I gave the biggest tip to that lucky lady who's about to retire 2 days from now.

The tip is worth 250.

I didn't give it in cold cash, but a gift certificate from White Hat (thank you to my sponsors!). To remind you guys, I'm lactose intolerant so using that GC would do me more harm than good.

"Hi miss! Since this was the first time for the last five years that I didn't cry because your hands are so smooth and light, I'm giving you this gift certificate. (wink and smile) Keep up the good work! Ano pala pangalan mo?" I wanted her to always attend to me whenever I needed to have my face repaired, but she said that she'll be done by June 23.

How sad:(

She was a bit confused first because I was so perky earlier, but when I gave her the GC, her face lit up! Maybe a lot of people are not kind and generous these days. Deep inside I also felt very happy because 1) I got my face repaired and 2) I made someone happy.

And that happiness cannot be replaced by buying a pair of red leather shoes (i always feel magical whenever i wear them) or tickets for a theater production.

So if you're depressed or stressed, doing daily acts of random kindness will be that caffeine or that tequila shot to give anyone a boost for the day:D Trust me! It can be anything: paying for a car at the toll booth next to you, giving a tired photo copy lady extra tip, or just giving a smile to someone who makes an extra effort to dress up.

I was in Glorietta when this kid was having difficulty using the automatic faucet. I showed him how to do it. An hour passed by and we met again at Power Books and he introduced me to his mom! Haha! He even tried to give me a hi five but I avoided his hands :P Mahiyain kasi ako! Haha!

Jun 14, 2010

San Mig Light and A Cup Of Coffee At the Front Row

Scandalous! It has been said (countless times) that the runway is sacred. It is where designers pour out months of hard work - it can make or break a designer's career. It was the last day of the Philippine Fashion week when there it was, in all splendor and glory, an empty bottle of San Mig Light and a cup of coffee!

I don't know what those people are thinking bringing beverages inside and leaving their trash for the organizers to fix. It's like drinking beer inside a church! There's this unwritten rule in fashion shows that you have to follow, so please people, let us show some respect to the designers.

Speaking of designers, Jerome Salaya Ang really knows how to capture his audience with his exquisite pieces that is very reminiscent of the great Alexander McQueen.

It was a magical moment staring at all those pieces. Every piece punches with so much power and audacity.

My brother and I were also invited to be dressers for the School of Fashion and the Arts. Surprisingly, I got to be the dresser of one of my schoolmates - Tasha.

It was totally crazy backstage. People are stripping and clothes are flying everywhere. A bit stressful, yes, but definitely fun because you get to touch all those fabulous clothes

After the show, we saw our fabulous old friends - the Uy siblings. (left and center)

Not Vince and Liz Uy, but Raymond and Vianca Uy! We have known each other since grade one!

By the way, I was photographed by styleanywhere.com as you see below.

And I also got to meet fellow chictopians: the ever beautiful Lissa Kahayon and the very cordial and fierce Kookie Buhain. There I am with my brother and Onin, the photographer from style anywhere.

After 5 days of non-stop last minute panicking on which outfit to wear, it's finally over. What a great way to end Philippine Fashion Week Holiday 2010! Hope to see you guys next season.

-photos courtesy of stylebible.ph, styleanywhere.com, Vianca Uy, Kathleen Lim and Kookie Buhain

Jun 12, 2010

Message to My AB Lit Freshies

It was three years ago when I was seated in the covered courts - so anxious and confused by the new environment that was college. Everybody was standing in their chairs dancing this Banana song while I was busy fanning myself because it was so humid.

The past 3 days allowed me to be that freshy once again. I saw myself in some of my freshmen who were reserved and at the same time irritated by the heavy physical work (breathlessly running all the time!) for a simple orientation seminar to a university. But then again, no other university does it the Ateneo way.

It was very fortunate for me to be assigned to an AB Lit Block. The world has stories to tell - of tragic romances, of victories in war, of hopes and dreams gone to waste, of the continuing search for people to be human... and it is up to you guys to observe and capture these stories, retell them in your most creative and original way. And hopefully, someday, you may become successful writers - measured not by the many books you publish but the number of people you inspire!

And indeed, you have given inspiration to me and Ian. This will be my last year in the Ateneo and me being your Log allowed me to satisfy that human tendency of wanting to be remembered. I hope your ORSEM was memorable.

Allow me to give you three advices:

1) Keep a blog. It will help you become better writers because continuous writing helps you organize your thoughts, it is a reflective exercise that may come in handy in creating your central themes and it makes you remember more details in daily events. I have kept a blog since high school and I can say with so much justice and conviction that it helped me survive the Ateneo.

2) Grab every opportunity to celebrate the arts, truth and life. The Ateneo has a lot to offer for you to be the best that you can be - MAGIS! If you can be a celebrity, varsity, dean's lister and a JSEC stall owner all at the same time, (Chris Tiu) then by all means, be one!

3) To whom much is given, much is required. Give back to the community and always be grateful for everything. By everything, I mean everything. The Jesuits will teach you to see God in all things - in studying, in prayer, even in abortion and prostitution. You just need to keep an open mind.

Enjoy your four years of stay in the Ateneo! Rizal had his happiest days here. I hope it will be the same for you!

(This was me at the end of OrSem. Super tired but still tries to look decent. Haha!)

And at the end of the day, you can finally say with so much pride and conviction, "ang sarap maging Atenista!"

Jun 9, 2010

Freshy Achays

Imagine me squatting on a basketball court cement floor while cleaning freshly used silverware wrapped in slimy tissue while sweating like a baby hippo. And after all those running and making paypay and payong to the freshies, they'll lecture us that we weren't effective with a fiery language that I dare not even use to our PAID maids and yaya no matter how stupid they are (except my yaya, she's brilliant!). We are VOLUNTEERS! Not SLAVES!

I felt like an alila earlier but everything was worth it for the freshies!

Now here's a problem in our committee that I'd like to zoom in...

No formal bond exists between us VOLUNTEERS and those tyrants so I really don't get why these people have the insensitivity to humiliate people in front of a large crowd. VOLUNTEERS are dedicating their remaining summer break just to serve the freshies as best as they could and what you get after a hard day's work (although there are minor mistakes) are super delayed pep talks that bashes people's efforts for service.

We weren't required to volunteer and we weren't paid. We had to wake up at 5am in the morning and go home with very sore feet and legs and a chance of fever. So very minor mistakes SHOULD be forgiven. They should remind people not to repeat them again, and NOT humiliate and single them out in front of a large crowd and call them GAGO or BASTOS!!!

By the way, I've done my job with flying colors and has been volunteering for ORSEM since I was in sophomore so I have the guts and legitimacy to complain about their verbal maltreatment of other VOLUNTEERS. The past Logistics leaders weren't as barbarous and as un-Atenean as the ones we have now.

And by the way, these "leaders" don't have the legitimacy to maltreat VOLUNTEERS like that because 1) they are very inefficient in meetings. I mean, we waste half of the morning for worthless GDs, and 2) they are very unprofessional! The list of complaints goes on. But no one complained publicly to them! No one's criticizing them, humiliating them in front of a huge crowd.

And to think that some of these VOLUNTEERS are Presidents and officers of Ateneo and other international orgs! I admire these VOLUNTEER'S humility - something admirable and something that can be imitated by others.

I still have the discipline and kindness not to single out names here. On a last note, I just want to say to these people that although they have the position and they have prepared months for this event, they have NO RIGHT to maltreat their greatest resources - VOLUNTEERS. And without us, their preparations will be worthless. So treat your VOLUNTEERS humanely.

Jun 8, 2010

Face to Face with the Inconvenient Truth

It was an afternoon were members from the corporate world, government, church and academe gathered together to come face to face with the inconvenient truth. Al Gore, beyond presenting the problems and solutions, inspired people to get out of their comfort zones and move, and that I think is what we Filipinos need now - inspiration and momentum.

I have always mentioned before that there have been lots of conferences dedicated to information feeding about environmental degradation, but those seminars lacked the charisma and probably the authority of Al Gore. So people get lost. After the seminar, what are they supposed to do?

I was invited before to a movie screening, The Age of Stupid, sponsored by Greenpeace and yes, the material they showed was interesting and informative but it lacks that "K" or that "umph" to keep people going. It wasn't memorable enough. Al Gore's event was filled with memorable elements. One is the price of the ticket (i spent 5,000 from my own money just for this!) and the people who flocked to the occasion.

It was not surprising that President Gloria graced the event and probably with some representatives of president to be Noynoy Aquino. This just shows that the government is serious about following the Kyoto protocol. Actually, the Philippines and the United States are the two major countries that utilize geothermal energy to generate electricity.

Representatives from my own university were also there. I saw the familiar faces of Mr. Guerra the Stat and Finance prof, Ms. Favis the Environmental Science prof, Deans Ang, Vilches and Dr. Dayrit. There were also some people from the student council.

I liked how Al Gore emphasized that our responsibility to the Earth is beyond political, environmental and even economic. He goes back to us as being by products of thousand of years of evolution and we owe to the Earth what we are now. It is a MORAL DUTY because our efforts today for environmental preservation will benefit our sons and daughters and the next generation.

During the Q&A moderated by Cheche Lazaro, things got really interesting especially at the personal question regarding his recent break up with his wife. Apparently, amidst all the formalities and international relations talk, Filipinos didn't forget who they are and a chance to gossip even from the former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner won't escape everyone's curiosity.

PS. I didn't try to go into details regarding his presentation because I'll reserve that for a later blog... and sorry I wasn't able to take some pictures because my camera can't read any memory card.

I'm still back blogged! I have yet to write about the last day of fashion week where I was a model dresser, the classical concert during the Italian National Day, and the French Film Festival where Lady Gagita and Haronce makes another public appearance. Kilabutan sana sila! hahaha!

Jun 6, 2010

Back to the Earth

Last May 28, we launched our website at Tokyo for the Global Ecovillage Network for Oceania and Asia. It's just last week that I was able to check the website because I was busy with Fashion Week and some cultural events. It was great seeing my name together with other reps. from other countries.

So right now, I'm a bit guilty that I still haven't done much for the community in the Philippines. I mean I have visited the headquarters, decided on some administrative international policies (like the budget) and met up with other ecovillage students and volunteers but a concrete project is yet to be seen.

But I have a plan in mind. The Ateneo has two organizations that I'd want to tap because they have the manpower to implement some projects that I have in mind - Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition and a new one (i forgot the name.) I just hope my plan will turn out fine.

Right now, I'm stuck with making the promotional materials for Harvard Project for Asian & International Relations and I just want to make killer promo stuff so that we'd have at least a hundred members by next year.

Jun 5, 2010

Creativity SOS

The yearbook creative photo shoot is just a month away and still, i have no idea who i'm going as. My current idea: Andre Chang, The Mad Hatter or a Virgin Priestess. I want to be unique and to stand out above the rest. Something that I'll be able to pull off naturally - without cheap cardboard or plastic.

If I go as Andre Chang, I must not cut my hear till July (or I can wear a wig), buy as much neck pieces as I can, buy the most flamboyant jacket and sun glasses. I'm just not sure if people will get that I'm Andre if ever they open the yearbook 10 years from now.

(photo from Karl Leuterio)

Here's my brother attempting to pull off an Andre Chang (with a guitar?!) with his friends.

I really like the idea of a character coming from a children's book. I don't have a problem with the crazy suit, scarves and rabbit. I can wear a wig and make a top hat from paper mache. My only concern is its originality.

And I'm just kidding with the virgin priestess. (or masubukan nga)

I'm still not confident if my ideas are good enough. Please help me think of what to wear! This is like one of the most important pictorials ever of my life. Reply with your suggestions. It would be deeply appreciated.

Whoever's suggestion will be chosen will win 2 buy one take one passes for Ace Water Spa worth P1,100 plus discount coupons from Flap Jacks (250), Red Box (500), Pulse Yoga (6 free sessions) and many more.


Jun 3, 2010


I was at the edge of my seat, cross legged, with my nails in between my teeth. It's one of those rare moments where I remove my glasses, wipe the tears and just absorb the brilliance of a masterpiece. I am much humbled to have watched Noy.

It's been ages since I've watched a Filipino movie. The last time was a requirement for a Filipino class. I was supposed to accompany my friend to watch Sex and the City today but only read his email after I bought my ticket for Noy. Yes, I have my laptop with me usually when I go to malls just in case I need to blog something out of impulse - like what I'm doing now.

The movie was able to capture the current predicaments of Senator Noynoy, and the tragedy and fate of Benigno Aquino when he attempted to defy the odds and the gods during his time. It has that spark of Ishmael Bernal's Himala, but more tastefully done and a very now version.

Dondon Santos did a phenomenal job in this movie, he deserves an award and more than that - the praise of the Filipino people for giving us another jewel - something we can be proud of. Coco Martin and Joem Bascon complimented each other with their gripping performance. The movie couldn't have worked with a better duo.

When I watched The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, I was left breathless and demanding for justice and redemption to the chain bounded Jews. This was the same sensation I felt after the movie, but you will realize that there is hope after all that the characters have gone through. And indeed, hope is all we have right now.

(As much as I want to write more, I still have to go to Shangri-La for the opening of the French Film Festival tonight. Check my previous post for the schedule)

Jun 1, 2010

15th French Film Festival

The Embassy of France to the Philippines with the participation of Alliance Française de Manille, CulturesFrance and Shangri-La Plaza has the pleasure of inviting you all to the 15th French Film Festival this 3 - 13 June 2010.

There will be a cocktail reception on 3 June at 6:30 in the Grand Atrium of Shangri-La Mall, to be followed by the opening film "L'Amour C'est Mieux À Deux" at 8pm in Cinema 4.


June 3 (Thursday) -
L'Amour c'est mieux à deux - 8:00pm

June 4 (Friday) -
L'Heure d'été - 12:00pm
La Fille du RER - 3:00pm
La Graine et le Mulet - 6:00pm
Les Bureaux de Dieu - 9:00pm

June 5 (Saturday) -
L'Amour c'est mieux à deux - 12:00pm
Le Premier Venu - 3:00pm
Welcome - 6:00pm
Dan La Vie - 9:00pm

June 6 (Sunday) -
Le Genou De Claire - 12:00pm
Le Beau Mariage - 3:00pm
L'Heure d'été - 6:00pm
La Fille du RER - 9:00pm

June 7 (Monday) -
La Graine et le Mulet - 12:00pm
Les Bureaux de Dieu - 3:00pm
L'Amour c'est mieux à deux - 6:00pm
Le Premier Venu - 9:00pm

June 8 (Tuesday) -
Welcome - 12:00pm
Dans La Vie - 3:00pm
Le Genou De Claire - 6:00pm
Le Beau Mariage - 9:00pm

June 9 (Wednesday) -
Les Bureaux d Dieu - 12:00pm
La Graine et le Mulet - 3:00pm
La Fille du RER - 6:00pm
L'Heure d'été - 9:00pm

June 10 (Thursday) -
Dans La Vie - 12:00pm
Welcome - 3:00pm
Le Premier Venu - 6:00pm
L'Amour c'est mieux à deux - 9:00pm

June 11 (Friday) -
La Fille du RER - 12:00pm
L'Heure d'été - 3:00pm
Le Beau Mariage - 6:00pm
Le Genou de Claire - 9:00pm

June 13 (Sunday) -
Le Premier Venu - 12:00pm
L'Amour c'est mieux à deux - 3:00pm
Les Bureaux de Dieu - 6:00pm
La Graine et le Mulet - 9:00pm

For Film Synopsis: Spot.PH