Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Magic in my blood

i used to be the hermit of the basanos, but now... (got this from DinDin, by the way)

You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eleoquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing,
you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Maid Miriam

Just got off the elevator with this goddess:

Ms. Miriam Quiambao

It's like cosmic surfing in the wake of a comet. The luminous beauty can blind you.

What's so Amazing About Grace?

Philip Yancey's writing has a wonderful quality supremely suited to the line of work he has chosen: he can make his readers re-evaluate things they thought they already knew.

Re-reading What's so Amazing About Grace for the upteenth time since I first got a hold of it back in college, I am amazed how little I still know about Grace -- and how Yancey's book clearly presents this often wispy subject.

To read the rest of the review, click here or visit the Fullcup site.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

the hiatus

Like I've always known, it's not really that hard, although it remains a temptation whenever I sit and turn on my PC.

Two weeks to go.

In the meantime, watch this:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Japanese!

Got this from the artistmonk

As the wandering storyteller:

My japanese name is 猿渡 Saruwatari (monkey on a crossing bridge) 聖人 Masato (sacred person).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

As slither dude:

My japanese name is ?? Komatsu (little pine tree) 拓海 Takumi (open sea).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

As Moks:

My japanese name is 猿渡 Saruwatari (monkey on a crossing bridge) 誠 Makoto (sincerity).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

As Mark Isaiah David:

My japanese name is 秋本 Akimoto (autumn book) 直樹 Naoki (straight tree).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.


Dancing to a different beat

Movie Review: Happy Feet

At the concluding parts of the movie, I must admit that there was only doubt in my heart – for how could one penguin, no matter how adorable he is – change events that are so obviously beyond him? How could one penguin change the set ways of humans? How could one penguin affect the whole Antarctic Circle? I would not have acted like Mumble did. He saw a need so he went ahead and tried to do all that he could to do what needed to be done, despite not having a morsel of an idea what he could do. He walked blindly into the unknown – with only the conviction that something must be done. Despite the pre-knowledge that this was a kiddie movie and that the producers would present a suitable resolution, I only had doubt.

To read the rest of the review, click here or visit the FullCup site.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wii kicks ass

There's no other way to describe it -- the title says it all. Nintendo's newest gaming console bitch slaps competition like Marshall's massive hands as he gives Barney the 1st of five officially-sanctioned hits.

(If you don't know the show I alluded to, you really should start getting a hold of HIMYM).

Back to Nintendo's Wii (pronounced as 'we'), while other gaming consoles such as the PS3 and XBox 360 are engaged in pissing contests on the number of pixels rendered and additional,
yet mundane things you could do with the console (such as watching DVDs), Wii leaves them all behind as it delivers a feature looooooooooooooong longed-for and imagined but never-before delivered: kinetic play.

Remember Daimos? Instead of lamely pushing buttons and pulling levers while battling enemy monsters, the hero is instead acting out the moves of the robot -- if he wants Daimos to kick, then he'd have to act out the kick himself. Wii does the same. With the help of a wireless controller that responds to your own actions, console gaming has just been redefined.

Imagine the soft thwack! of the tennis ball as you time your swing perfectly to return the unimpressive serve of your opponent. Maintain your stance and mind your elbow swing as you try a hole-in-one in golf. Carry the weight of the mountain in your swing as you chop off the heads of your enemies. Concentrate when you release that 10-pin when you play bowling. All of these done in real-world live action, baby. It's body kinetics at work, and it's far more satisfying than button mashing.

Like most new technologies, there are several hesitations about the Wii, like the fact that it takes more energy to play. But that may not be bad at all, as we combine exercise and play in a previously unfathomed level. Keep swinging that Wii controller the whole day and your actual swing might just improve a notch. It's easy to use, and everyone -- including those perpetually befuddled on which button to push, can use it.

I won't be surprised if the next generation of this console would have several wireless transmitters to be placed on different parts of the body and a 360 degrees goggle for a whole virtual reality experience. Yeah, that's how awesome this technology promises to be.

So you can have the chance to salivate on your own, you could view this video from the Wii site. Check it out. I like this console so much I'm beginning to believe in Santa again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Moving FullCup

FullCup has moved to its new online home!

Join in the fun! See an extensive collection of FullCup pictures, an update on the weekly messages and music at the Cup, a review of the latest music/concerts/christian books or movies, and a calendar of our activities! visit http://fullcup.multiply.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Review: Hillsong UNITED Live in Manila
21 November 2006
Ninoy Aquino Stadium

When I first heard that Hillsong UNITED would play in Manila, I must admit that I wasn't as thrilled about the idea as my friends were. Not because I didn't like them; there's a reason why UNITED's songs are a staple at FullCup after all -- they're talented musicians and, more importantly, their songs speak to FullCup's young regulars -- but the thought of going to a worship-concert that is predominantly more of a concert than worship initially didn't sit well with me.

To be fair, I have always been a tad uneasy with corporate/group worship. I'm more of a one-man-raging-at-the-storm-and-his-God kind of guy. Even at church, I always sit nearest to the window, eyes closed or locked to the distant sky. As I sing with the congregation, I'm flung light years away -- to a place where there's only me and my God. As some friends who have witnessed the rare tears I let go during worship ask me why I cry, I always give them the same answer: if I can't cry to my Father, to whomelse can I cry? In short, for me, worship is an extremely intimate and personal event. Having around 30 or so people with me is disconcerting enough -- what more with a couple of thousand?

But it was a concert, so I decided to go. Some might say that it's a praise and worship event and not a concert, but that's not being honest -- we came there for the band; otherwise we wouldn't have needed to pay P800 to get in. Ask anyone who argues if they'd pay that much to watch FullCup Project or Alab or any other worship team in the various churches in the metropolis. Yeah, I thought so too.

So I came into the event with misgivings. If it were packaged as a concert, I wouldn't have had any problem, but the event's tagline pegged itself as "the worship night of your life" -- a tall and presumptuous claim by the marketing people, if you ask me. Besides, I believe one of the must-do's of a praise and worship team is to never NEVER interfere with the worship of the people -- either with botched playing/singing or by the 'celebrity status' by the team. If a guy comes to church primarily to hear the team perform and secondly to worship, the whole point is ruined for me.

As concerts go, UNITED did extremely well. From the get-go, everyone in the stadium was jumping up and down, joining in at virtually every song of the line up. Nevermind that the venue was too small, or that the organizers continued their bad habit of overselling tickets, or that the aircondition was woefully ill-suited for the number of people who came, or that five minutes into the concert and the combined sweat of the throng and space constraints of the venue gave an unpleasant smell, or that the LCD screens were ridiculously small, or that the organizer's spokeperson kept using the Name of the Lord to manage the crowd. The band was superb, the audience extremely enthusiastic. As concerts go, we were having a hell of a good time.

Fortunately, 'a good time' is so... pedestrian, compared to the plans of my God. Sometime after the first two or three songs -- just after letting the people scream out their excitement for actually being in a UNITED concert -- the whispers of the Spirit began stirring in the heart. The circumstances might have been far from perfect, but Jesus did promise that whenever two or three are gathered in His name, He will be there. And as He has always been, that night too, He was faithful to His word.

A little later in the evening, the band gave exhortations and clarified the purpose of their tour -- something that the Spirit was already whispering in our souls. Between shouting and praising and clapping, and singing, some of us found ourselves talking with God despite the stars right before our eyes.

God is in control. I was reminded of that last night as I sang along with the Christian's counter-culture version of the Black Eyed Peas, U2, or any of the hottest bands these days. If I believed that God is able to work through my sins and shortcomings, why shouldn't He be able to do the same despite the complications brought by UNITED's talent and fame and the star-struck attitude of the audience?

Somewhere along the way, we found ourselves worshipping, more than joining in on the concert. Suddenly, the songs were not just excellent, they were true. Despite my initial misgivings, I found myself having the time of my life -- like any other time I was aware of my God's presence.

In the end, as one of my most favorite UNITED song goes, my God saves the day, and His Word never fails. My God made a way... it's gonna be all right. A good time is not what He intended, therefore He gave us an amazing grand time. UNITED's passion and performance was able to usher us into communing with our God -- and that, I think, is the highest praise that can be given to any worship team.

Author Notes: This review is also posted on FullCup's new site. It's still under construction, and we'll launch it real soon, but hey, feedback on the new site is welcome Ü

Monday, November 20, 2006

beautiful ones

I’ve always wondered how it would feel to be the face in the billboard. To have a face or physique that could well earn a living. To be able to make the hearts of girls thrum with the merest sight of me, and to leave them giggling and flustered with a simple smile.

How does it feel, to have that power? How much more effective could i be if i had a face like Piolo Pascual’s, which, they say, can make knees tremble and hearts buckle? If I had the height and physique of Marc Nelson, how much easier could my life become?

To read the rest of the article, click here or visit Still Earthbound.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

cabin fever

im restless and nauseous and my feet are raring to go. I can't keep my thoughts coherent and I keep forgetting stuff I'm supposed to remember. I can't keep focus -- it's like a withdrawal for some addiction.

I want to propel myself away.

I'll just walk and walk through Session Road and get lost on many of Baguio's streets. I need that -- I need to get lost. I need the time to wander around and give opportunity to the voices in my head to settle down and organize themselves. I need to pray. I need some decisions.

So if this trip my friends and i are planning won't pan out, I think i'd go on my own. stay in a hotel, get up early, watch the city wake up, walk all day, not talk to anyone, and get lost.

that would be good.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The right to dare You

's recent post came as a shrill whistle violently jerking me from an unnoticed slumber. "HOW DARE I SETTLE FOR LESS?" my mind screams. For wasn't I made for the stars? Isn't my creator mightiest of all? Am I actually saying He's impotent? 'Cause that's what I'm saying everytime I settle for what's not best.

When was the last time I asked Him to move mountains? To silence demons, to raise from the abyss? When was the last time I asked and confidently expected from my father? When did I stop badgering Him for His promises? Why in the world have I allowed myself to believe in my own lies (my self worth, the things i think i would be incapable of doing) instead of taking Him for His Word?

i'm more of a fool than i ever thought i was. Refusing my father's hands to work on me because I stopped expecting Him to do so -- essentially castrating my God on my life as I've settled on what I see in everyday. I call those who turn their backs on Him as imbeciles while I'm here satisfied with scraps when I'm invited at an honored place at His table. I've known myself a liar all my life, and I actually allowed myself to believe in my own propaganda.


I can't wait for You to bring me to my knees and raise my head to the heavens, Abba.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

high calling

a mini-exodus of sorts is happening among the young people of our church, specifically the college students. Some of these young people -- dear friends of ours -- have moved to a student-oriented church, letting go of ministries and without really meaning to, hurting some of the people they have left, and raising confusion among the youth still with us.

I get why they leave -- this 'new' church's main focus is missions and the call of adventure, the very thought of being personally called (me! he called my name!), stirs a passion and bestows a sense of purpose and direction that the youth craves. It is no coincidence, after all, that most conversions happen in college -- this is the time when one decides the kind of person he will be for the rest of his life. This is the time when we ask ourselves the most about our purpose in life and where we want to go.

This 'new' church issues a clear call and provides direction to all those willing to take it -- and it is undoubtedly a worthy calling. To spread the Word of God is a privilege and a duty commissioned to ALL believers. For the love of their God, they are trained to the high calling of becoming his speakers and church builders where worship of the Christ is nonexistent.

For a young man who looks desperately at the huge cosmos and asks himself what it all means and wonders where his place is in this vast mystery, the clear and unequivocal calling of missions is like a blazing lighthouse in the middle of a dark, stormy sea. Here is a clear-cut direction. Here is an evident purpose. In the tempest of confusion that we call life, an unambiguous course -- a clear vision -- is a lifeline we all search for.

Frankly, in the list of options a confused young man can choose in his life, devoting oneself to missions is one of the better calls he could answer.

My church, however, focuses on a more vague, less clear-cut vocation: the high calling of everyday living. We are charged to shine as christians regardless of who we are or where we're placed -- no matter how seemingly ordinary it is. On our jobs, our families, our duties, ourselves. Our task is to sweep the floor, teach children, sell our goods, pray faithfully, be a gentle boss, a father-friend, an honest officer, a cheerful fisherman, a good friend, a diligent student, a law-abiding everyday man -- all done in the way that Jesus would want us to do.

It is a far less... flamboyant vocation. Unlike in missions where the harvest is readily apparent, the fruits of everyday living for Christ is harder to determine. Not a month would pass when a 9-to-5 guy would ask himself if the small cubicle in his flourescent-riddled office is where he's really meant to be and if the stack of papers in his desk really glorifies his God.
To the overwhelmed mother who has to change the diapers of her baby while cooking for her three other children, everyday living can seem more of a burden than a godly calling.

And yet, the Bible says that eternal life is given to every believer regardless of their post. Whether you're a pastor or a barber, you have the same calling -- to worship the Lord with your life. There is no 'higher calling' simply because you are already called to do the utmost: to live for your God.

I get why some of our youth left our church -- heck, i get the same heart pounding desire to drop everything and join missions like they do. I just hope that in time, they realize while it is a worthy endeavor, it is not the only thing they can do for their God. There are no hierarchies here, no question on which vocation is more favored. The command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all of yourself -- wherever you happen to be.

(*photos from shutterstock)

Monday, October 30, 2006

not-so-fresh press

gave up on seeing it in print two weeks after i submitted it, but PDI's youngblood finally printed my article last Saturday. To my legions of fans (yes, that's you, mom), you could (re)-read the piece here.

John says it's badly edited, and he has a point. Osteen's name comes out like a surprise left hook -- all you could mutter is, 'where did tha come from?'

(*photo from shutterstock)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

we all need a nathan

Kevin "the token white guy" recently made a post on the nathan of our lives. and he's right. we all need one in our lives.

come read Ü

sa buong magdamag

ailene's casual mention of a woman singing "yayakapin kita, mahal ko, sa buong magdamag..." propels me to a memory, a wish, a dream of cool nights, hot lights, and a woman singing her heart out, twisting one's soul to pudding. my knees buckle, my breath quickens, and once again, i am among the throng of bodies bumping, watching from afar.

do you remember?

the woman's captivating voice ensnares me, and whisks me away to a room dark, but not blinding; hot, but not suffocating. the rhythm thrums, my head sways, the cold drink makes me even more thirsty, and our eyes meet. careful. uninhibited. calculated. free. mysterious. familiar. she's mine, and she never is.

an unguarded moment and a heady opm that floods me are all it takes to make me remember things i thought i'm past doing: dancing with someone. a kiss worth worlds. getting lost in the crowd. pulsating loins. a heart about to burst.

i love being in love.

(*photos from shutterstock)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

easy days

Yesterday's holiday was a godsend -- woke up to an ethereal peaceful morning and proceeded to play games all day. was finally able to finish both the evil and good campaigns of EA Games' Battle for Middle Earth 1. Next stop: BFME II. (thanks to Glenntot for giving me the games).

Was also able to sneak in episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy. Robyn is so dreamy. hehehe. I'm going to watch LOST later, if i have the time. Thanks to ida for her downloads.

Merienda was fun. Donuts and hotdogs and puto bungbong and isaws. Leah was hungry so we pigged out.

This post is pointless... but so relaxing. kinda like my day yesterday.

let's have more of that, shall we? Ü

Monday, October 23, 2006

talking in shadows

and perhaps it was fitting that we talked in shadows.

because there are things that we do that we keep in the dark. we lie and keep it hidden... precisely because we know that it won't last long in the light.

but we have to. because aren't we more than conquerors of these things? isn't our birthright worth more than this warm porridge, inviting as it may seem while we're ravenous with hunger but utterly worthless compared to what we're exchanging it for?

we drag our skeletons out in the day, painful and shameful as they may be, because we know -- WE KNOW -- we've been purchased out of the dark. So we exorcise our demons, our bondages, our illicit thrills, because as princes clothed in robes as white as snow, wallowing in the muck is an abomination to the King who is in us.

so in your quest of deliverance from these things that haunt you, some things remain. Your King is still with you. Transgressions would need to be exposed and thrown into the abyss. I still stand with you.

it will hurt.
we will bleed.
and we will lose some of the things we cherish.

but we will be free.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

300 to a million

holy crap.

I'm too lazy to research now, but if memory serves right, the Battle of Thermopylae was where these 300 o
r so greeks fought a gazillion persians. Or maybe that's just a million -- but with odds like that, who's counting?

Frank Miller, known for his work in Sin City, tells us that these 300 greeks were spartans -- of course, other greeks were busy philosophizing if a tree that fell in the forest is good for anything than insect condo. Miller's graphic novel is once again translated into a movie.

WATCH THE TRAILER. I swear, when I saw it, I was like, "HOLY CRAP -- THIS IS ACTUALLY HOW MY DREAMS LOOK!" For some reason, they got it -- the lights, the texture, the eerie glow... it's like i'm watching my dreams while i'm awake.

(by the way, I don't have a soundcard in the office, so I don't know the sounds they used in this trailer. but deaf-watching it is amazing. promise.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a flash of joyce

so i was walking along the pathway of the office -- going to the bank across the street to encash a check when i saw a vaguely familiar face. i slowed my brisk canter to stare at the face when it came to me -- it's her -- the "pantasya ng bayan" herself...

ms. joyce jimenez.


at the Network.

most boys my age would agree -- in the sexy star explosion of the late 90s and early 2000s, Ms. Jimenez is one of the few who REALLY put bomb in the often-used adjective "bombshell."

i haven't really watched most of her movies but whenever i walk in a dark, dingy, sweaty Manila street, i remember scorpio nights 2, and i remember ms. jimenez. i traverse these streets, look up to the wooden windows of the crowded houses and wonder if there's a woman up there eating chocolate, dripping all over because of the heat.

in any case, the old joyce and the joyce i saw today looked very different from each other. she's not as voluptous, for one -- losing some pounds but retaining her nice curves. And she was wearing glasses, with minimal makeup and this white flowing dress -- so.... womanly. If i didn't recognize her as the actress, I'd peg her as a pre-school teacher.

A thunder-in-your-chest, hot-like-a-nova pre-school teacher, that is.

in any case, i'm glad she's no longer stripping. and i'm glad she dropped by the office today. jologs na kung jologs, pero astig na makita ang pre-school teacher look ni miss joyce.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Call for Champions

John wrote the first episode here, and i continued the story here. This is the third installment of our ongoing DotA saga.

The light of Elune bathed all of Kalimdor in a soft, milky white light. Malfurion Stormrage [better known as Furion to the rest of the Sentinel] stood high up on a bluff, the north wind carrying his heavy locks to air, taking in the waste that lay before him.

Tsk tsk… the ancient wood elf let out something close to a smile in his mind. Archimonde will never know now how close he was to destroying the Nordrassil, the world tree. Even he himself had doubted what the wisps could do to protect their ancient. But he could still remember the blinding light, the burst of energy that almost set his own mana on fire, and the Dreadlord Archimonde’s scream as the wisps literally consumed him. The Scourge’s irresistible advance was finally stopped. And yet his high-elven gift of foresight knew…

Read the rest of the story here at the Stories that Wander.

Monday, October 16, 2006

To the faithful departed

Cops and criminals:
When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?

Martin Scorsese's The Departed thrums with an excitement -- an underlying rhythm that escalates throughout the movie. There's a beat, an energy, a nervousness, a desperation that carries the viewer right from the first shot and through the film's abrupt end.

"The rats are dead. Long live the rats," says one movie reviewer. And he has identified the core of the film's plot. The Departed is about the 'twins' -- two police officers who take differring career paths that inevitably pits them against each other.

Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) grows under the wing of Frank Costelo (Jack Nicholson) and quickly rises to the police ranks even while feeding information that keeps his benefactor a step ahead of those that plot against him. Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a messed-up kid with with dark familial background who goes undercover in Costelo's crime ring and slowly gains the trust -- if one could call it that -- of the mobster. While Sullivan has the easy smile and funny one liners that puts everyone at ease, Costigan is the angsty, drowning-in-the pressure undercover who has to resort to drugs to keep his heart from bursting from his chest. Despite their differences, however, Scorsese masterfully rendered the film to show the two 'rats' are the two sides of the same coin -- two facets of the same shadow unknowingly circling each other, inescapably headed to a violent collision course.

It is a movie dripping with testosterone, with the interesting addition of showcasing how power is a fickle bitch. Blink and power escapes those who thought they had it -- drowning them in the lies and deceit that they all wove.

While The Departed will not need most of your braincells to understand the plot and to catch the symbolisms and devices (Nicholson's flowing beard to DiCaprio's sprouting goatee; Damon's cold, calculating intelligence to DiCaprio's emotional, instinctive pulls; the psychiatrist Madolyn who 'nurtures' the two lead cops to Nicholson's Machiavellian manipulations), it is an unquestionably enjoyable film. The cast is terrific and the script is superb, but it's the film's electric rhythm that will keep you at the figurative edge of your seats.

Friday, October 13, 2006

We're worth more than what we let on

About 20 years ago, the American James Fallows visited the Philippines and got disturbed with what he found. According to Fallows, the Philippines is “a society that had degenerated into a war of every man against every man.” The Filipino’s reaction back then, upon reading Fallows, was to figuratively burn him at the stake, but recent critical reviews have started to reconsider the knee-jerk reactions to Fallows’ report.

Fallows coined the term “damaged culture” – pertaining to the Filipinos’ attitude towards his fellowmen. He has observed that Filipinos do exceptionally well anywhere in the world – except in his own country. The Filipino is undoubtedly just as talented and as gifted as any American, Japanese, Korean or any other nationality, but somehow, we end up with a backwards country. As a European executive remarked, “You’re such a wonderful people. How did your country end up in such a mess?”

Fallows tries to answer the question with his observation:

"Individual Filipinos are at least as brave, kind and noble-spirited as individual Japanese, but their culture draws the boundaries of decent treatment much more narrowly. Because these boundaries are limited to the family or tribe, they exclude at any given moment 99 percent of the other people in the country. Because of this fragmentation, this lack of useful nationalism, people treat each other worse in the Philippines than in any other Asian country I have seen . . . the tradition of political corruption and cronyism, the extremes of wealth and poverty, the tribal fragmentation, the local élite's willingness to make a separate profitable peace with colonial powers - all reflect a feeble sense of national interest. Practically everything that is public in the Philippines seems neglected or abused."

We see this everywhere. Corrupt officials (not just politicians) are ready to take advantage of anyone to advance himself, if given the opportunity. Our people is engaged in voluntary diaspora. We're willing to screw anyone if it forwards our family's estate -- as if 'taking care' of our family excuses our atrocious acts. Our illustrados are willing to sell us to anyone willing to pay. It seems that we no longer believe in ourselves as a nation.

The author and publisher Franciso Sionil Jose once wrote:

"We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we do not ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good . . . I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse that the intransigence of any foreign power. We are our own enemy. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves."

We are our own enemy. Our lack of belief in ourselves and our willingness to take advantage of any opportunity – even if it harms the greater society – has crippled our systems and ingrained corruption in our roots.

Ala Paredes thinks that our country is jam-packed with culture -- and I agree. Makulay ang buhay dito sa Pinas. But ours has a disease, a cancer eating our nation from the inside.

John calls me a racist
because I seem inclined to antagonize Americans. I think this attitude was triggered by our people's long history of preference for the caucasians over our own countrymen. One time, I overheard an acquaintance, an old lady, speaking to her friend about her niece. Her niece had a boyfriend, but her family was pushing her to choose this foreigner whom the girl met only a week before. I couldn't stop myself, I had to ask, "You're pushing your niece to go for a guy you don't even know?" Her answer was emphatic - "Oo naman no! foreigner yun eh!" ("Of course! that's a foreigner!"). The sad part is, her friend readily agreed with her, and as I have heard this a thousand times before, I suspect most Filipinos would. We pimp ourselves without hesitation and think that's practicality.

I agree to John's label that I'm a racist -- but not because I'm against Americans or any other nationality foreign to us. What I abhor is how our people embrace these colonists, and how willing we are to hate our own. I have no issue with foreigners, or even with Filipinos who left our country for their own growth or to earn a living or whatever. My quarrel is with those who have readily given up on the Philippines (whether or not they stay here) and are so willing to screw everyone else for a few pennies. What I do believe in is that if we are going to stand for something or someone, we might as well stand for ourselves because sure as hell, no one else would do that for us.

If our country has any hope of recovering from this muck we are in, we must believe that we are worth fighting for. We must stand for the should-be-obvious fact that Filipinos -- our own countrymen -- deserve the same respect we so readily give to foreigners. If we have any hope that our nation could get better, we must first heal -- first believe that we are worth saving.

Only then, perhaps, can we start having this 'strong republic' the almighty in Malacañang is raving about.

* photo from fotosearch

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Present that is Pain

Dr. Paul Brand
Detours to Happiness
Chapter 4, Soul Survivor
By Philip Yancey

"Unclean! Unclean!"

Lepers in biblical times were required to say those words to warn other people when they are passing by. Not only did they suffer physical and social trauma, they had to shout that indignity to the world -- and to their own hearts.

Two thousand years have passed and the fate of millions afflicted with leprosy have not changed until Dr. Paul Brand came into the picture. Aside from Jesus, it was only he who was brave enough to touch and treat not only the dread disease, but also the individual souls plagued by leprosy.

Stories say that Dr. Brand was born in the Kollis Hill country of India. His parents were missionaries there who worked tirelessly not only in spreading the gospel, but actually working to help the needs of the indigent in their community. Paul's father was a doctor.

While local people were always welcome in the Brand household, one day three strangers came to the house and received a different reception. Their skin had patches of white, their fingers were but stumps and one didn't even have toes.

In amazement, Paul saw his father put on gloves before washing the feet of the strangers, put ointment on their sores, and bandaged their feet. His mother brought a basket of food for them, but kept well away.

When the strangers left, Paul went to pick up the basket but his mother's shrill "NO!" instantly drew him back. He watched in astonishment as the basket was burned and his father scrubbed his hands with hands with hot water and strong soap, and changed all his clothes.

That was the day that the child Paul Brand first knew lepers. That was the day the child of two loving parents learned fear.


The pain and shame that lepers receive not only from society but also from their families cannot be underestimated. Brand has met thousands of intelligent, delightful persons who were rejected, beaten, and cursed by their own families upon the first sign of the disease. In those days, rare would be a hospital who would allow victims of leprosy to enter their doors. Some doctors would consent to take a look at the patients -- but only from afar. If not for violence, lepers only received fear and disgust wherever they went.

Later interviews with patients of Dr. Brand would testify their cries -- and bewilderment -- when Brand treated them. For the first time in years, here are hands who actually touched them not with blows or revulsion, but with gentleness and intimacy. For a reason that may only be known by Dr. Brand and his Creator, Paul was able to go beyond the thousands of years of fear and prejudice and touch the human beneath the disease.

Dr. Brand was famous not only for the pioneering hand surgery techniques he developed, but for finding out the real reason why leprosy patients go blind, lose their feet, have claw-like hands, and disfigured bodies. Before him, everybody thought that the disease itself eats the flesh of the victims. Dr. Brand discovered that leprosy bacilli only attacks the nervous system, disabling the pain receptors and rendering the victims numb. The victims then injure themselves because they no longer have the most effective warning system ever designed in the cosmos -- our capacity to feel pain. The eye goes blind because it cannot feel its own dryness and therefore doesn't blink; the hand holding a hot pan doesn't let go; the feet would keep walking through the shattered glass because it cannot feel itself being lacerated. The injury becomes worse, and subsequent infections would finish the job.


"If there's a gift that I wish I could give my patients, it would be the gift of pain," says Dr. Paul Brand. While theologians and smart alecks try to figure out why a good God allows pain, Dr. Brand does the opposite -- he praises the Lord for such a wonderful gift. He cannot think of a greater gift for the wondrous human body in this fallen world, he says, than the gift of pain.

Yancey remembers his first interview with Dr. Brand:

How could a good God allow such a blemished world to exist? Brand had responded to my complaints one by one. Disease? Did I know that of the twenty four thousand species of bacteria, all but a few hundred are healthful, not harmful? Plants could not produce oxygen, nor could animals digest food without the existence of bacteria. Indeed, bacteria constitute half of all living matter. Most agents of disease, he explained, vary from this necessary organisms in only slight mutations.

What about birth defects? He launched into a description of the complex biochemistry involved in producing one healthy child. The great wonder is not that birth defects occur but that millions more do not. Could a mistake-proof world have been created so that the human genome, with its billions of variables, would never err in transmission? No scientist could envision such an error-free system in our world of fixed physical laws.

"I've found it helpful to try to think like the Creator," Brand told me. "My engineering team in Carville has done just that. For several years, our team worked with the human hand. What engineering perfection we find there! After operating on thousands of hands, I must agree with Isaac Newton: 'In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."

Yancey writes further: "Paul Brand consulted with Mother Theresa, served on committees with Gandhi's disciples, and knew some of India's traditional 'holy men.' In his own life, however, he chose the middle way of balancing off the material and the mystical, the prophetic and the pragmatic. Older acquaintances in the hospital of Vellore remember him not only for his spiritual depth and sacrificial service but also for his practical jokes, love for marmalade and mangoes, and fast driving. As I emerged from the 1960s, a decade never accused of a sense of balance, I needed an example of someone who lived a well-rounded life in the midst of modern society, not off in a monastery or ashram."

If for nothing else, one could admire Dr. Brand for living a counter-culture life even before that term was coined. Offered with prestigious headship of well-known medical institutions, showered with illustrious accolades such as the Lasker Award, Brand nonetheless chose the life where he knew he was called: with the shamed, with the rejected, with the hurt, with the hopeless, with those that no one else would have -- much like what his Savior did, 2000 years ago.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

leaving the church

this is the latest from my most favoritest writer-pastor:

if you never find a way to leave church, you might have a hard time finding God."

it sounds controversial, and is sure as hell prone to be abused by those who want to abuse it... but hey, read
the post first before dismissing it altogether, all right?

I want happiness from the heart

Selecta spoiled me.

Having a get-whatever-you-want ice cream cabinet in the office indulged my cravings for the delightful concoction. While some people walk around to clear their heads while working, I'll be there -- writing that report/memo/speech/article/paper, rethinking the structure of the piece, and grabbing a cornetto cone as a brain catalyst.

And I'd need a brain catalyst every two paragraphs or so.

Maybe I won't be in a mood for a Cornetto. Maybe I'd rather have the melon Twin Popsicles... or a serving of Very Rocky Road, or have an itch to sink my teeth on the chunky cheese of Quezo Real, or maybe I'd go for a whole pint of Buco Salad... no matter... the ice cream cabinet was open for me, and ice cream is perfect to relieve stress.

And the feast didn't end at the office. I'll tell my beloved Tita Elvie (the 'matriarch' of the office) that i'd bring home some ice cream and she'd say "oo naman!" as if it were ridiculous of me to bother asking. I'd find myself finishing a whole Take 2 tub, or a mango sundae, or heck, even a whole half gallon (if I were really distracted) as I watched TV.

Not a bad deal at all, I tell you.

Now that I left the company, the cravings still come. I'll have lunch at the new office and my throat remembers that little piece of the clouds that used to slide down to my tummy regularly. My tastebuds become my master and once or twice a week, I'll let myself to a Double Dutch Ice Cream Stick and remember.

Like an old man enjoying a brief slice of heaven with a hooker, I muse...

I never used to pay for this stuff.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

you and me

i don't usually post mush here, but there are just some songs that make my heart roll even with just a few beats.

what day is it
and in what month

this clock never seemed so alive

you barrel through my bubble, of course, unmindful of the shields i put up.

no matter how long or how far i wander, you're the one who could make me feel most alive.

I can't keep up
and I can't back down

I've been losing so much time

and i wonder sometimes, just what the hell am i doing
wasting time, goofing around
when i know, without a doubt, that when all is said and done,
all of me is yours.

cause it's you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to lose
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

the world parades itself, and offers me the stars
but you've shown me something beyond all that.
and like the guy who once followed you

i ask,
to whom shall i go?

all of the things that I want to say
just aren't coming out right

I'm tripping inwards

you got my head spinning

I don't know where to go from here

and i stumble and wander

go my way and hurt you
but if i'll be honest with myself
it's me who i'm hurting

cause it's you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to prove
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

because there's nothing in me that's not yours
amidst the world, despite myself,

i'm yours

there's something about you now
can't quite figure out

you want me to know you
but my eyes are weak yet
soon i'll go blind
and see you for the first time

you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to prove
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

so it's just you and me,
just as it was
and how it will always be

what day is it
and in what month

this clock never seemed so alive

till then,
my God, with You, I am most alive.

You and Me

* photo by shutterstock

Friday, October 06, 2006


Astig talaga ang Ghostfighter.

I first watched the series waaaaaaaaaay back in first year high school -- that was around a dozen years ago. Every wednesday night, I'd steal away from my friends and go home early to catch an episode in IBC 13.

Of course, I wouldn't be caught dead watching a cartoon at such an age, but one Thursday, in between classes, I was amazed to hear every guy in my class talking neither about x-rated tapes nor Ultimate Fighting Champion episodes -- instead, they were animatedly discussing Hiei's lightning-fast swordsmanship that ends a fight seconds after it began. Suddenly, it was ok to come out of the closet -- after a season of pretending we're all too old for our childhood pleasures, watching cartoons was cool again.

The series ended, of course, as all good things in this earth are wont to do. But the show's popularity was so much that the program was shown again. I was a freshie in college at this time, and again, I was surprised with the show's widespread appeal. One time in our Art Studies (was this Humanities 2?) class, our teacher assigned us to attend an art gallery
opening scheduled at 7 in the evening. After a breath of hesitation, the class declined and asked for a different schedule or activity. The reason? Ghostfighter's timeslot was set at 7 in the evening. Incredulous, the kindly old professor had to ask again if we -- the whole class -- were actually saying no to an assignment because of a TV show; she couldn't believe a bunch of college scholars were risking a '5' for a cartoon show.

Dubbed in Filipino, Ghostfighter is known for its humorous cracks and notable characters. I could tell you all about the various sagas of the show or how they developed each character, but that would lessen the magic. I was so into the Ghostfighter's story that a girlfriend even drew for me an image of Dennis, the human form of the dreaded Youko Kurama.

Ghostfighter (in Japan, Yu Yu Hakusho) is about the adventures of Eugene (Yusuke Urameshi)
, a 14 yr-old misunderstood boy, who is generally known as the toughest kid in town. Due to some unexpected twist of fate, Eugene dies, becomes a Spirit Detective, becomes the apprentice/heir of a spirit wave master, leads his team to the Dark Tournament, dies again and thus triggers the hidden-demon dna in his body and organizes the first Tournament (in place of elections) to determine who will become the leader of Makai (demon world). Not bad for a delinquent teenager who fears, more than anything else in the world, the slap of his girlfriend Kayko.

GMA 7 recently re-launched Ghostfighter -- making it the show's fourth (or is it 5th?) run on Philippine airwaves. What caught my attention, however, is what I saw in the report from AC Nielsen about the program ratings. I found, to my pleasant surprise, that Ghostfighter was at the 3rd place on the top 10 daily programs -- only behind Eat Bulaga and Daisy Siete, besting Wowowee, Komiks, and various drama shows. It is also the no.1 Anime today, in terms of ratings. I'd show you the charts but I'm afraid Nielsen might sue me for publishing it in the Internet. 12 years, 5 series reruns, scores of other anime shows later, it seems that the Rekai Tantei still kicks ass.

Now, i wonder if there's a DVD of the series in Makati Cinema Square...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

preachings by a jolly old giant

G. K. Chesterton
Relics Along the Seashore
Chapter 3, Soul Survivor
By Philip Yancey

If I were asked to come up with a list of writers I would hope to emulate, I would want to include the name of Gilbert Keith Chesterton on that list. I said "I would want to" because in truth, barbarian that I am -- I haven't read a single work of his.

What I know of Mr. Chesterton is mainly from the numerous times that Philip Yancey has mentioned him in many of his books -- and they were all glowing praises.
Wikipedia writes that Chesterton 'wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic Christian theologian and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist of The Daily News, Illustrated London News, and his own paper, G. K.'s Weekly; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopedia Brittanica."

An impressive portfolio, to be certain, but Chesterton's genius is more appreciated when we know how other famous personalities spoke of him. He often debated with men such as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russel, and Clarence Darrow -- and these giants could not help but respect Chesterton, despite dissenting with his views. C. S. Lewis, perhaps the most influential Christian thinker of our time, calls Chesterton the 'father' of his faith. Neil Gaiman, respected writer and tale weaver, freely credits Chesterton's "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" as an important influence in his own "Neverwhere." Gilbert, a character from The Sandman, was also based on Chesterton. "Good Omens," a novel by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is dedicated to "the memory of G. K. Chesterton: A man who knew what was going on."

Chesterton is widely known for his wit and sense of humor, often employing paradox and 'uncommon sense' in making his point. When The Times asked several noteworthy authors to write essays on the theme "What's wrong with the world?", Chesterton's contribution was as sharp and incisive as an expose is to a scam:

"Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton"

Yancey praises Chesterton for not shirking against humor and showing the world a sight they rarely see: A Joyous Christian. For Yancey, Chesterton was the antithesis of the churchmates he grew up with -- humorless, pallid individuals who abhored learning and could get guilty over watching movies.

In this world where popular culture and faith has drifted farther and farther apart, Yancey believes that the world needs more G. K. Chestertons. For while powerful elocutors such as "Martin Luther King Jr. arises with power and eloquence enough to address both sides at once, Chesterton had another approach: he walked to the center of a swinging bridge, roared a challenge to any single combat warriors, and them made both sides laugh aloud." At a time when debates about faith could fill lecture halls, Chesterton would arrive late, squint at scraps of paper one can hardly call 'notes,' fumble through his pockets, laugh heartily at his own jokes, and charm not only the audience but also his opponent. In a society that takes pride in despising faith, Chesterton seemed to sense that a stern prophet will not work; he therefore took the role of a jester.

Yancey also credits Chesterton for first bringing up the problem of pleasure. While atheists and agnostics hound believers on the problem of pain, Chesterton argues that non-believers have an equal responsibility to answer why pleasure exists in this world. Yancey asks, "
Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and the lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for all the rest of us?" These questions, Chesterton and Yancey believed, lead to the conclusion on the existence of a loving God.

If I could have half the genius, humor and good nature of Chesterton, I would consider myself lucky. In the meantime, I write struggling pieces such as this:

The trouble lies, I think, not with our God changing His mind, but in our propensity to twist what is perfectly acceptable to God and make it detestable. This is the very character of sin – something pleasurable to God horrendously perverted. Eating becomes gluttony. Drinking becomes getting drunk. Sex becomes sex before marriage. Gentleness becomes cowardice. Strength becomes violence. Firmness becomes cruelty. The desire to do what is right becomes legalism.

In our fear of perverting what God has given us, or (perhaps more honestly,) in our effort to look like we’re not sinning, we run away from the wholesome and delightful pleasures that God purposely made to delight His children.

To know where this excerpt comes from, read the rest of the article here at still earthbound.

Monday, October 02, 2006

emotional surgery

saying goodbye is like getting a tonsillectomy. it's painful, it's hard, and you'll puke your own blood due to the wounds you suffered inside. the pain will remain with you even after a considerable time has passed since undergoing tonsillectomy or saying goodbye, and life would certainly taste different afterwards, but you'll do what you have to do, right?

sure, your reasons may be valid, maybe even to prevent further pain and injury to yourself, but getting that cure -- a tonsillectomy or saying goodbye -- could just be as harmful as the injury to begin with.

nobody dies from either activity, but no matter what angle you look at it, after all is said and done about these 'cures' -- the truth remains:

you're less of a person after going through with it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

fights and fables

DOA: Dead or Alive is eye candy all over. It's the chick version of the movie Mortal Kombat (which was uber cool in itself) -- a teenage boy droolfest, if there ever was one.

Don't bother about the plot -- the movie's not really about that. If you insist on reading about the film before watching it, there are numerous reviews out there. But don't let so simple a thing such as the plot stop you from the all the fun.

That is not to say, however, that DOA offers nothing significant. As one review said, DOA is a profound tale about finding genuine friendship in the midst of hardships and competition with no hint of lesbian undertones whatsoever.

But the real strength of DOA rests in the male fun factor. Barely clad hot chicks duking it out in unarmed combat -- it's hard finding something that could beat that. Don't even bother analyzing the story -- you just know they're here for some serious ass whoopin'.

These are my two favorite girls:

Glenn's fascination with Devon Aoki in the fast and the furious escaped me then, but i get it now. She may be typecast as the oriental martial artist, but she sure does ninja princess with style.

Natassia Malthe played Typhoid Mary in Elektra and she's admirable as the silent ninja assasin of this movie. Maybe it's the purple hair. Or maybe the senseless drive in the pursuit of killing Kasumi. Or maybe it's that kiss with Hayabusa (who probably hasn't brushed his teeth in a year). But whatever it is, she's HOT.

If you have some time to spare and you want to laugh out loud to clean, non-slapstick yet totally unintelligent fun, DOA: Dead or Alive (they really had to spell it out ;p) is for you.

========== oooo0000oooo ============

Finally finding out who the adversary was in Vertigo's Fables: Legends in Exile was a BIIIIIIIG letdown. It's just so... wooden for me.

[warning: spoilers ahead]

I mean... maybe it's because my initial take on the Adversary was this every lustful, every hungry, depraved entity bent on destroying every fable as we know it, but I was disappointed in finding out his real identity. And puppet governments?!? why in all creation would he want to do that? It's just too contrived for my taste.

But then again, maybe that's the whole point. Evil doesn't need a reason and our most bitter enemies are usually those that were closest to us. And maybe, as an immortal, the thought of happily ever after is torture in itself. Who'd want to live thousands of years as a mere pied pier, after all?

Fortunately, my excitement for the rest of the series hasn't waned. Ang hirap lang maghintay -- it will take months for every compilation to come out. Why can't every story come to me now? In the meantime, the upcoming 1001 Nights of Snowfall promises to be a treat.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More powerful than the messenger

"I have a dream" may well be the sum of what I know about Martin Luther King, Jr. Sure, I've heard about him before, but all I knew was that he was this civil rights activist who 'had a dream' and fought - nonviolently - for the realization of his dream. Years after his death, the negro now can can sit anywhere in the bus, can drink and eat on the same restaurants as whites, can vote, can enroll in schools, and can have the same jobs as any white in America.

Looking at American history in hindsight, very few of us would condone the uglyblatantstupid racism that the blacks suffered in the past. Growing up with impressive archetypes such as Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Denzel Washington, George Washington Carver, Aretha Franklin, and Muhammad Ali, the idea of blacks being inferior is as ridiculous to me as the idea of the moon being made up of cheese. Martin Luther King Jr. made sure of that.

Much of the world adores King today as the man behind the civil rights movement in the US, as a scholar and as an admirable preacher. Yancey's chapter about King, aside from focusing on all the noteworthy qualities of the renowned leader, also mentioned facts that we usually don't know.

More research pictured Mr. King as a plagiarist, an adulterer and a suspected sexual pervert. He had enemies on almost every front, and was tagged as a card-carrying communist (do they really carry cards? why????), an embezzler, and an instigator of disorder. (I bet these surprised you -- I know i was.)

While some of these accusations can be easily answered as the bitter underhanded shots of people who were unwilling to change their racist views, some of these allegations are undeniably true. Unattributed sentences can be found in Mr. Kings speeches and writings, and a released surveillance tape of Mr. King proved that he had illicit sexual activities even until the night before his death.

What strikes me upon this discovery, however, is not bitterness or a sense of betrayal from a man I was raised to admire, but a sense of wonder and gratitude for a God who is able to work in spite of the flaws of his messengers.

Many people would argue that due to his wrongdoings, King was not of God -- how could he, when he is ensnared in sin? But then again, if I were to remember my bible, the figures we admire there are also the people whom we could so easily condemn. King David had his military leader killed so he could claim his wife. Abraham pimped his wife for his safety. Solomon was a hedonist, Paul a murderer. The apostles were cowards, Moses, a fugitive. Jacob was a deceiver, and Rahab was a prostitute. If there is a lesson that I could get from all these biblical characters, it is that God, if given the chance, can redeem anything and make use of ANYONE. No one is beyond his salvation.

This comforts me, and most of my friends -- the knowledge that His message is greater than the messenger. My inequities might be gigantic in my eyes, but they are nothing -- absolutely nothing -- compared to my God.

* Photo swiped from Mabelvale Magnet Middle School
and from Black History Bookmarks