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Archive for April 2012

After my husband and I had dinner with my in-laws last night, we came across these people, mostly youth pilgrims, walking along major thoroughfares leading to Antipolo.

Youth pilgrims from various parts of Metro Manila on their way to Antipolo on foot

Taken along Raymundo Ave., Pasig City. April 5, 2012. Photo by Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com

Source: Uploaded by user via likha on Pinterest

I learned about these pilgrims about 5 years ago when Mel and I left home (we used to live in the Pasig-Cainta area) and drove on a Maundy Thursday night to Los Banos to spend the rest of the Holy Week with my family.

Anyway, back to last night’s walk-athon, I only came to realize the size of the crowd going to Antipolo when we finally got to the Ortigas-C5 flyover and saw a sea of people occupying almost the entire east-bound lane of Ortigas Ave. extension.

You see, Metro Manila starts flushing out people and their debris starting Holy Wednesday, so by Maundy Thursday you can do cartwheels along EDSA or C5. But it was not the case last night. Major traffic jam along Ortigas Ave., Major, major.

I think this is an un-organized gathering of people, which is the case with religious pilgrimages. What was nice about the whole thing was that police stations and other volunteers had set up water stations for the pilgrims. No politicos and their banners and faces plastered on every water container—well I guess that was true for the areas where we’ve been to (pasig-cainta area).

The sad thing about the whole thing was this:

Massive trash left by Antipolo ‘Alay-Lakad’ devotees

06-Apr-12, 11:43 AM | InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines – An environmental group campaigning for a “litter-free Pilipinas” decried the “massive breach” of the country’s waste law during the penitential walk to Antipolo City that began on Maundy Thursday.

“By sunrise of Good Friday, the ugly mess left by the tens of thousands of mainly youth pilgrims came to full view,” lamented Manny Calonzo, EcoWaste Coalition’s Basura Patroller.

“The unbridled littering during the ‘Alay-Lakad’ has blighted what was supposed to be an act of atonement for wrongs committed or an avowal of faith and obedience to Christ the Redeemer,” he said.

“What happened was exactly an ‘Alay-Kalat’ to the max: a massive breach of R.A. 9003 as if littering was OK and devotees were exempted from observing the law that clearly forbids and penalizes littering,” he observed.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits several acts that could endanger public health and sanitation and the environment, including the littering, dumping and burning of garbage.

Litterbugs can be penalized with a fine of P300 to P1,000, compelled to render community service at the local government unit (LGU) where the act was committed or be required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.

“LGUs would have made a killing in collected fines if only R.A. 9003 and its parallel anti-littering ordinances were duly enforced,” Calonzo said.

“LGUs would have enlisted thousands of warm bodies to help with community cleanup activities such as the removal of garbage in clogged canals and esteros if litterbugs were not let off the hook,” he also said.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted the rampant disposal of trash along the Alay-Lakad routes, particularly along Ortigas Avenue Extension, Sumulong Highway and in M.L. Quezon St. and P. Oliveros St. and adjoining streets in Antipolo City…” 

Read more here

Ok now I found the blog entry i did about these youth pilgrims a couple of years ago.

Other Half and i left pasig-cainta for elbi at 9 pm last holy thursday and while we were passing through mercedes ave, we saw throngs of teenagers walking (in groups), carrying bags and water containers as if they’re going to some picnic in the middle of the night. Other Half told me these kids were bound for antipolo for some kind of panata…going all the way to antipolo church (or some grotto — i don’t know which) ON FOOT! *hithit ng hangin*


(photo courtesy of antipolo.com)

i guess these teens were magbabarkada since they walked in groups. i tell you, andami nila sa kalyeng naglalakad na parang nagpuprusisyon. unfortunately, i wasn’t able to get a snapshot since Other Half was going so fast and all i managed to get was just a blurry photo.

i guess inumaga na sila sa pag-akyat ng antipolo. i muttered to myself, “goodluck na lang sa init ng panahon ngayon.”

i surmise that it’s not really about the panata or because of religious reasons why these kids go through the trouble of walking all the way to antipolo. it’s more about the journey. you know, it’s some kind of barkada gimmick. it’s kinda fun, if you think about it. it’s also a way of getting out the house with permission. a way of getting out of their parents’ way — or the other way around.

anyway, the sight of these people and their quest for antipolo reminded me of what my cousins used to do when we were teenagers. every summer and christmas vacation we went home to our parents’ hometown in batangas to do our thing there — just hang out. we climbed mt. maculot out of boredom, we went down the slopes of the ridge (i.e. lumusong kami) to swim in taal lake or to bathe in the batis where our aunts used to wash their clothes.

(photo courtesy of waypoints.ph)

there was a time my ate, my cousins and my aunt climbed maculot to reach the grotto on Good Friday more than a decade ago—mga 15 years ago. my female cousin suffered from vertigo upon reaching the grotto. so they camped for the night and they had nothing but emperador brandy to keep them warm (during those times malamig pa dun kahit summer).

hmm…come to think of it i also climbed maculot on a Good Friday seven years ago. i chronicled the climb and the article was published by another daily i was “working for” at that time (contributor lang naman ako nun). it was my penitensya at that time. didn’t have the strength to go up the summit so my friends and i decided to go down the next day and head home to elbi. wala lang, nagpakahirap lang kami.

anyway, my cousins and i spent the rest of our summer days in batangas and we planned “gimmicks” with friends like going to the lake (twice) or beach (na hindi matuloy-tuloy) and other stuff that would keep us busy. we formed teams (together with some barkada there) for the ligang barangay and i just end up humiliating myself infront of everybody since i was (and still am) not really a volleyball player (i was really bad at it)…ewan ko ba bakit laging volleyball ang laging nilalaro sa mga barangay.

then there are town/barangay fiestas. barkadahan kaming pupunta sa mga bahay. there was this time my ate and cousin threw up becuase they ate too much. sobra kasing masiba. *guffaw*

and oh, don’t forget about the elections. there was this time we went around town campaigning for an uncle who ran for mayor. he lost. hehehe. it was fun but it sure was a lot of work.

some days we just hung out in my lolo’s porch, eating junkfood and drinking fanta (remember those?). we played pingpong in the parking area or or played the guitar and sang like drunkards until the wee hours. we played cards to while away the time. we laughed our guts out until 3 am with our barkada.

there was this time my ate climbed our aunt’s mango tree with salt and kinfe in her pocket and stayed there the whole afternoon picking and eating green mangoes. then she suffered from extreme (redundant na) hyperacidity and puked all the way home. she could barely eat the following days. she lost a lot of weight that summer. *snigger* that was before the era of kankunis and bangkok pills.

before the advent of cellphones and landlines (grabe wala pang landline doon noon kungdi sa munisipyo) and cable tvs, my cousins and i were dependent on four channels na malabo pa. nasa deadspot kami so our radio was useless to us. unfortunately, my cousin was on a different planet when it came to music so we were stuck with casette tapes of the very best of chicago , lilet (remember her?), and wilson philips that we played to death the whole summer. saulado na namin ang mga kantang yun hanggang ngayon since those were the tapes that we played over and over every morning when we did our chores.

uhhmmm…i think the wilson philips album was mine.

anyway, i had so many fond memories of my sisters and cousins, of our summers and christmases in batangas, manila and davao. my ate and i were just talking about it this holy week. dati di pa uso ang cellphone and email and wala pa kaming mga landline nun (dahil sa PLDT na yan inaabot ng 10 years bago pa kami makabitan) pero we managed to keep in touch palagi and nakakapag-usap kami ng matino like pag may usuapan ng ganito, magkikita-kita talaga kami.

ngayon, we’re just one text or one friendster message away from each other pero — wala…i guess dala na rin ng pagtanda yun…

kaya nga the image of those teenagers — those barakadas — brought back bitter-sweet memories to me because we would not be able to go back to those days and do all those happy and stupid things that we’ve done.

shucks, i’m getting old. *sniff*

Unfortunately, hindi na magandang umakyat ng Maculot ngayong panahong to because everybody’s doing it and and sobrang masikip and magulo dun ngayon. Parang palengke na daw, maraming mga vendors.
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Visit InterAksyon.com for the virtual visita iglesia when you can’t go out and do your real pilgrimage.

InterAksyon celebrates with the whole Christian world the Holy Week

InterAksyon celebrates with the whole Christian world the Holy Week with a virtual visita iglesia, videos of the pasyon and article on the senakulong bayan.

Thanks to: Carmelite Order for the reflections on the Stations of the Cross.

Produced by: Chuchay Fernandez, Veronica Uy, Francince Marquez, Lira-Dalangin Fernandez, Bernanrd Testa, Edvilan Falcon, MJ Maramba, Alex Artillero, Jino Nicolas, InterAksyon.com

There is a video of the Pabasa and Lira writes, “Pabasa combines Filipinos’ musicality, religiosity, patriotism.”

“Da man” Bernard Testa has a photo gallery of the Senakulong Bayan. He writes, “As part of the Lenten Season, the senakulo is among the most awaited part of the celebration, with people vying for the coveted parts in the stage play on the life and suffering of Christ. Who will be Jesus? Pontius Pilate? Mary? Magdalene? Judas? Simon of Cyrene? The crowd who will choose to condemn him?”

So proud of these guys for producing this.

I think this will be our front page until Easter Sunday.

It took me 8 years before I had the guts to emerge from my pseudonym. It’s quite ironic since I’ve been writing for half of my life and I have my name in black and white for many years.

And yet I’m scared of blogging under my real name. What gives?

Is it because in blogging I become the message since I am the messenger and the gatekeeper rolled into one? I guess it’s because I don’t have anything that I could transform into some kind of barrier or screen between me and my readers, critics, detractors, what-have-you. Maybe because the accountability rests on my shoulders alone and no one else’s—no editors, no producer, no president or chief executive.

The trouble also with having my name bandied on a blog is that it automatically makes me censor myself. Last night my sister, who just recently arrived in Australia, told me over Yahoo Messenger to delete some comment I made on Facebook about the nuclear missile testing by North Korea. She said, “you cannot post those kinds of comments because you’re a journalist. You may compromise your credibility.”

At first my initial reaction was “screw you! screw them! This is my private Facebook account!”

But then nothing is really private in Facebook, isn’t it? Look at the “bikini photo” incident with a Catholic school in Cebu and two students.

Are journalists really banned to take sides, to express opinions? Even on Facebook? Can we not say, “stupid North Koreans for making radioactive sushis of us all?” Even in half-jest?

Where do I draw the line? Or am I forever limited to the confines of my paper-and-pen journal at home? Yes, I know, there are numerous journalists out there who have blogs and still manage to go out in the field unscathed. I just wonder how much self-censorship they do? How can they rein in their opinions? How do they deal with accusations of bias and yadda, yadda yadda?

The pseudonym I have allowed me to criticize systems, criticize the government, make fun of personalities, review gadgets, review restaurants, endorse products and food. Can’t I do that using my real name?

If I can’t do that then I guess this blog will only have 10 entries for all eternity.

I really didn’t have the heart to look at the pictures that our photographer par excellence, Bernard Testa, had been sharing with the Interaksyon.com team through Blackberry Messenger. I don’t want to see abused dogs, animals at the brink of death, suffering animals that had done nothing wrong to deserve such cruel treatment from humans.

I told Abigail Kwok, my fellow reporter who wrote about the rescued pitbulls that I am interested to adopt one dog. If I were rich, I want to adopt as many as I could. But I am just a reporter on a journalist’s salary.

Pitbull fighting for its life. Photo by Bernard Testa, Interaksyon.com

70 dogs rescued from Laguna pit bull ring to be put down

03-Apr-12, 12:28 AM | Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines—At least 70 pit bulls subjected to inhumane treatment in a dogfighting arena will be put down Tuesday, as animal welfare groups struggled to find appropriate housing and shelter for the abused dogs.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) disclosed that out of the 246 rescued pit bulls and pit bull mixes from a South Korean syndicate, only a maximum of 50 will be adopted by a private citizen.
The rest will be put down in batches and the first batch, about 70 of them, will be put down Tuesday.

PAWS program director Anna Cabrera said in a phone interview that there is no available shelter big enough to handle these dogs and provide them with food, water and therapy.

She added that subjecting these dogs to euthanasia will be humane and will save the dogs from the risk of being “recycled” into the arena again…

Continue reading here.

Yes, we have laws on animal cruelty and such but these do not have teeth and—as usual—enforcement of these laws are the main problems. My colleague Lira Dalangin-Fernandez tackled this issue, which may have been the main cause as to why these  dog fighting rings continue to operate in this country.

Photo by Bernard Testa, Interaksyon.com

Happy ending in ‘101 Dalmatians’ not a reality in the Philippines due to largely unenforced law

03-Apr-12, 7:30 AM | Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com

“MANILA, Philippines – In 101 Dalmatians, police rescued the dogs and had villainess Cruella de Vil pay for her evil deeds. The movie’s happy ending for the canines, however, doesn’t mirror the reality in the country. It’s because like other Philippine laws that are only good on paper, the 14-year-old Republic Act 9842 or the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) lacks enforcement, according to animal rights advocates.

Anna Cabrera, executive director of the the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), says that despite AWA, the care and rescue of animals are not among the government’s priority. 

Cabrera observes that many cities in the country do not have veterinarians or personnel in charge of animal welfare. And while there maybe growing concern on animal cruelty, people have very little awareness on programs and procedures that promote pet care, according to the PAWS chief…”
Read more here.

And on and on and on…

It really breaks my heart.

…I spent my Holy Friday climbing Mt. Maculot in my parents’ hometown of Cuenca, Batangas. By 3 pm I though I had already died. Exhaustion can play mean tricks on you.

And I wrote about it for the Philippine Daily Inquirer when I was still a their lifestyle correspondent.

Yeah, I was a lifestyle writer. Parang anlayu sa business.

Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas

Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas. Photo by Likha Cuevas-Miel

Why would Luis Manzano run for office? Did his Dad, Edu Manzano, pour all his political frustrations onto his eldest son and told him that he has to be the flag-bearer of the family? Oh, I almost forgot—our governor in Batangas is his mom!

Luis denies running for public office–for now

By Walden Martinez Belen | Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom – 22 hours ago

Is Luis Manzano throwing his hat in the political ring the way his parents, Batangas governor Vilma Santos and former Makati vice-mayor Edu Manzano have?

“Hindi pa ngayon, hindi pa napapanahon. Kailangan paghandaan ko ito ng mabuti. Besides, ang dami ko pa trabaho at projects na dapat asikasuhin,” Luis said at the press conference for his latest movie, “Moron 5 and the Crying Lady.”

Luis added that he will be well-prepared, if he finally decides to run for public office.

“Talagang handang-handa na ako,” he said referring to what he will do first before heeding the clamor of public service.

Luis recalled what his mother did before she became chief executive of Lipa City.

“She studied Public Administration at the University of the Philippines and that prepared her for the job she was about to do,” Luis says.

Luis leads five dim-witted male lead characters composed of Marvin Agustin, Billy Crawford, DJ Durano, and Martin Escudero in the film “Moron 5 and the Crying Lady.” The “Crying Lady” is portrayed by comedian-TV host John “Sweet” Lapus.

“Lima kami na magkakaibigan na hindi matalino, at si John Lapus (bilang Becky) ang matalino kaya kami napakulong niya. We want to clear our name. Magdi-disguise kami para mainfiltrate ang mansion niya so we can so our own investigation.” They want to find out why Becky has accused them of killing her father.

Luis said he will disguise himself as an elderly driver. “Magaaply ako na driver, si Billy naman ay magkukunwang manghuhula, si Marvin ay isang Bombay, na nagpa-five/six, at si DJ naman ay isang magtataho.”

Luis has done comedy in the past so doing “Moron 5 and the Crying Lady” was a breeze. “This movie may belong to the comedy genre but there are also family aspects in it plus drama, kaya maganda and worth watching,” Luis concluded.

“Moron 5 and the Crying Lady,” a collaboration between Viva Films and MVP Productions, is helmed by box-office director Wenn V. Deramas. It is written by  Meldel Rosario in collaboration with Deramas and opens on Black Saturday (April 7) in theaters nationwide.

According to Random Walker a.k.a Noel Reyes, Interaksyon.com‘s stock market columnist, we should have bought stocks last week and sell this week. The Holy Week Effect.

RANDOM WALKER: The Holy Week effect?

Holy Week comes but once a year, marking a major religious festival in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. It also marks one of the longest religious holiday weekends in the country’s calendar, with the non-working holiday kicking off on Maundy Thursday and ending on Black Saturday in which most retail businesses cut their working hours and with a large proportion of the urban population going to the beach and mountain resorts. It is a dead period for the stock market, in other words.

The trading lull actually starts on Monday, as stock traders anticipate the long holiday weekend ahead and, for the most part, stay clear of the market. Amid this slow, lethargic market trading turnout, the overriding thought that goes through the minds of traders can be easily read: “This market isn’t going anywhere; I’ll just come back after the Holy Week.”

That only seems logical, for sure, as far as the individual trader is concerned. For the market as a whole, however, this general way of thinking would be illogical. It would be illogical since the long Holy Week holidays come once a year and, if the market were truly efficient, there would be no such Holy Week effect.

Read more here.


life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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