Friday, December 25, 2015

Buhayin natin ang mga pangarap ngayong Pasko!

Reel Times' Mga Kwento ng Pagibig episode aired on 27 December over free channel Channel 11. Replay will be aired on 1 January Friday 10:30 AM.

Playlist on youtube

Friday, September 18, 2015

15 Things I like about the movie Heneral Luna

1. The laughter of John Arcilla
2. The musical score of Jerrog Tarog
3. Production design and costume. Authentic but unobtrusive
4. Assassination scene in Cabanatuan
5. Binondo family flashback
6. Jose Rizal encounter
7. Drinking dance of Heneral and Isabel
8. Cabinet meetings
9. Support groups: their capability, dedication and loyalty to HAL
10. Guitar solo and poetry of HAL
11. Stoic, calculating but scheming Emilio Aguinaldo
12. Seeded thought that brilliance comes with eccentricity
13. Inferred message that we deserve what we get
14. Mascardo and HAL and Felipe Buencamino and HAL showdowns
15. Implied humanization of Goyong as a sequel by the same production team

Friday, June 05, 2015

A Band of pickpockets in Naples Italy and in Rizal Avenue Manila Phil

Sometime this year, I caught on National Geography channel a video on pick pocketing in Naples, Italy. American Bob Arno, a pickpocket himself immersed himself in the pickpocket capital of the world to witness the techniques of professional pickpockets. Pros operate as a group (in twos or threes) and are well coordinated. They use diversionary and distracting techniques. Person assigned to pick the bag or picket is skillful.

From a video I suddenly was a witness to a band of pickpockets operating. Live from Rizal Avenue while seated on a bench facing the sidewalk, I saw how they victimized the unaware Filipino. Like the band in Naples, they operate as a group. They prey on their potential victim from a vantage point.  Upon spotting an easy and a loaded target, action begins.

Detailed is my account.

There is a band of pickpockets operating at the strip between Soler and Katubusan streets (before Gonzalo Puyat st.) along Rizal Avenue. This is between National Bookstore and Save More Supermarket. Numbering about 20, they come in all ages, sexes and forms. The men are typical of the profile you spot in Recto dressed in shirts and shorts. A number of women are toothless, some fully made up. Youngest must be about in early twenties and the eldest in their forties. From about 11AM to 1PM in broad daylight, I witnessed them pick the backpacks of more than 20 passerbys. Seated at the steps just below Padi’s Point spotting from National Bookstore at the North to Save More Supermarket at the South, they pry on their prospects and quickly mount their operations. They target only those with backpacks slung at their back with protruding zippers and with handbags loosely hanging. It did not matter if one was walking solo, with someone or a group, a student, a middle aged foreigner, a shopper or an elderly. The more inattentive with a bag at the back, the better a prospect they are.  Once candidates are spotted, action begins. Sometimes, only 1 would go at times 2 and even 3 depending on what they see. It is team work seamlessly done. Some come from the stairs; others suddenly show up from the side street or another corner. Done quickly, it starts with spotting their victim, walking with him or her, groping the bag with their hands for the object, opening the zipper, picking the item and pocketing it or relaying it to the next pickpocket walking with them. In seconds, it is done.
Most of the time, they are successful. But there were a handful (about 3) who noticed just at the nick of time looked behind. Fortunately, both parties casually walked away. Those who were aware they were being robbed did not confront the pickpocket.

Be conscious and vigilant. Some tips:
  1. Men should keep their wallet in tightest pocket.  Better if placed in a corded pouch and tucked under the pants. Carry your bags in front and tightly hold on to them. Bags slung from the back are easy targets as you will not notice a groping hand especially if you are in motion.
  2. Do not expose phones, wallets, expensive jewelry.
  3. Be suspicious of persons who tail you. Divert immediately.
  4. When you catch them stealing, it is best not to confront. Just walk away. A band operating has backers and protection.
  5. Walk briskly.

Young lovers walking hand in hand are easy preys as they are unmindful of their surroundings while leisurely strolling.

Ingat lang palagi.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

View on the past from the current

Transitioning from Gov Gen to Uncle Sam at Fort Santiago
Carlos Celdran of Walk this Way tours says, "there are no grand edifices in Manila unlike other sites in Asia as the most solid foundation sourced from earth prior to the Spanish rule is adobe." Prior to the colonization of Spain and with a scarce population, the most solid structure is made of bamboo.

The landed's house greeting visitors at Las Casas
Mt. Samat honors the men who fought the war. It remembers the atrocities of world war two fought by the gallant Filipinos, Americans and the Japanese. The commemorative site attempts to heal the wounds reminding today's
generations of the pain and sacrifices our forefathers went through to earn our freedom. The historical landmark at 555 feet above sea level in Pilar Bataan is marked by a cross designed by Lorenzo del Castillo and Napoleon Abueva.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is place and life in the colonial Philippine era, “a place where we can trace our heritage, re-live our past, and partake of our culture.” Through viewing and appreciating the structure of ancestral homes from different parts of Luzon and from the distant and recent past, Filipinos take “pride in the past and hope for the future.”

A bahay na bato.  Starting with moving houses of wood,
they have not progressed to moving houses of stone
and lately even churches
Pinto is a sanctuary in the city to experience the fullness of life and to recover.  Dr. Joven Cuanang, a neuroscientist, art collector, owner of Pinto Art Museum says in creating the Antipolo museum “every part of our body should be stimulated.” The experience of a 4-hour immersion in Pinto opens doors. And in appreciating the landscape, the works, architecture and collection, in the collector’s words, “you sort of heal yourself.

A restored church at the coast of Bagac, Bataan
Healing the mind, body and spirit at the Pinto Museum
Four tours provide us a perspective on the past from the current. Carlos’ tour starts at Fort Santiago in Manila and ends at San Agustin Church and at Plaza San Luis. Mt. Samat is at Pilar Bataan, three hours away from Manila via the Olongapo Road or the NLEX/ SCTEX (North Luzon Expressway/ Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). Las Casas is a creation of Architect Jerry Acuzar buying heritage houses, disassembling the parts, reconstructing and restoring them back in this site along the coast of Bagac, Bataan.

Pinto is in Grand Heights, 1870 Antipolo City.

Texture of greens and natural wood
Cordillera in Antipolo

Where every part of the site is an attraction and a visual feast
Sites visited were appreciated better the places because of the personalized annotations of Leo Gregorio at Acuzar and Andy Orencio at Pinto. Both were knowledgeable and authentic advocates of the works of their masters and passionate in imparting the messages. The tours took about 3 hours each to complete which was leisurely paced.

Entrance at Pinto with artists' names engraved

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Alternative mobility between SM North EDSA and Katipunan/Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City

To get from one point to the other covering about 11 kilometers one:

  1. Drives taking either Xavierville Avene to Quezon Elliptical Circle or Katipunan to Tandang Sora. About P 75.0 in gas estimated at 40 minutes in 1 ride.
  2. Rides the LRT2 from Katipunan station, disembarks at Araneta Center Cubao, transfers to MRT to North Avenue. Roughly 30 minutes for about P 30.0 in 2 transfers with several meters of walk. .
  3. Commutes in a jeep from (1) Katipunan to (2) Aurora to (3) EDSA to North Avenue. About P 25.00 in an hour in 3 transfers.

Map lifted from Rappler
Now with COMET (City Organized Managed Electric Transport), it takes just 1 ride to cover SM North EDSA via North Avenue, Mindanao Avenue, Luzon Avenue, Tandang Sora crossing over Commonwealth Avenue to Katipunan. Ride is about 45 minutes for P 20.00. You need a card bought at P 20.0 with a pre-loaded value of P 20.0 tapped  upon entry to ride this 20-seater electric powered jeepney. Interval per ride for now is 30 minutes. Ride is smooth, ventilation breezy. It doesn't emit carbon dioxide but you are exposed to other vehicles' emission. End-to-end is one loop in areas not covered by mass transport. There is a GPS which tracks the transports' movement, a CCTV for security, an electronically inputted passenger head count and movement and a wifi.

1st trip is at 6 AM, last at P 9:30 PM.  Terminal at the SM North EDSA is at North Avenue. There is no stopping terminal under the Katipunan flyover. You need to catch it on the road for your trip to North EDSA.

This alternative public transport in a new route is one way of beating the Katipunan traffic. One just sits down safely assured and charged fairly whichi is measured accurately. Like the jeepney fare, minimum charge is P 7.50.

Rappler article

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Suffering Man

Cross at the Manila Cathedral
As humans, we experience joy in living as well as pain.

When we are in pain and sense helplessness, remember compassion, with passion. We are assured that Christ understands. That is the mystery of redemption when Christ became man to experience the passion.
Cross at the grandstand
Suffering to us is symbolized by the poor, elderly handicapped, individuals separated from family, the helpless, victims of natural calamities and the lonely whose human dignity is compromised.

Burdens are further made more difficult in general by society due to social inequality and the denial of support from fellowmen, institutions like church, bodies, communities and the government.

Like the challenged, all of us as ordinary mortals face through struggles as well. There are times we face difficulties and go through moments when there are no answers. Faith tells us to look up to Christ as he understands. Allow Him to surprise us.
Cross at the Cathedral altar

Faith opens us up to hope. As Filipinos, it is our deep faith that gives us a profound dignity. Most of the time we recover. When we overcome, it validates the promise of redemption.

Continue to commune with God in prayer and to the communities through action.

Pope Francis State and Pastoral Visit Post Mortem Reflection 20 Jan 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In silence

 In total silence, all you hear is the splatter of the rain when a moment of silence was asked against the backdrop of the native mat and the statue of the Mother and Child.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Not comfortable of giving dole outs to the marginalized, the poor and to the disadvantaged or those denied of human dignity?

The poor, the elderly people, the over seas worker, people with disability are handicapped in living their life to the fullest. They are the focused target of the Papal's visit advocating to extend mercy and compassion to them. Are we comfortable in extending help to them?

Michael Tan in his column on Translating Mercy quotes Fr. Soc Villegas on the 4 levels of helping people. 1st is to pray for them, 2nd is charity which includes the dole outs. 3rd is developmental or self-help which I interpret as enabling and lastly is liberational tackling structures that affect poverty. In words that we can relate to, it still translates to "Nasa Diyos ang awa, na tao ang gawa."

When a young boy selling rags lining up to see Pope Francis at Roxas Boulevard upon arrival was interviewed by reported Sandra Aguinaldo of GMA News’ State of the Nation, he said why he wanted to see the Pope, “Para gumanda ang buhay naming dahil pagod na po akong naghahanap ng makakain para sa amin.” His sincere view depicts 3 levels of the model; he is already doing a remarkable task by selling which is self-help and has asked for prayers to liberate them. I will pray for this young boy and wish he goes to school, enjoy his childhood, finish school.

While waiting for the Pope to return back to the Nunciature from Tacloban at the corner of Taft and Quirino Avenue, I was in a company of strangers with diverse backgrounds: There was an aggressive party of a mother, grandmother with a daughter who managed their way to a good vantage view of the pope’s entourage by climbing on the steel railing at the expense of the crowd behind them. There was another exploitative teenager girl who denied a senior citizen her seat and her vantage who lined up two hours earlier than her. On the other hand, there was a young family of three from Palawan who flew in the day before, traveled from Cavite bringing their luggage with them patiently waiting at the road for whatever view is offered to them. One needs praying, the other party needing assistance and a structure to enable them. Two apparently are enabled but lack the compassion.

Helping is a journey that passes through levels until one becomes self sufficient. To help others is a challenge. But when we realize what compassion is, which is acknowledging and emphatizing with one's suffering, why withhold help when we can?

Not to forget that we too also go through moments wanting for help. Pray for us too!