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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carlos Celdran's Brush With Damasos

"Do these modern Sadducees have  the biles to call for people to violate the dignity of the country at the behest of their own hypocrisies?"

Does anyone remember the character of Padre Damaso in Noli Mi Tangere? He is the powerful friar who wields his power and could get anything what he wants as portrayed in the novel by Dr. Jose Rizal. Today, his character is resurrected as the slogan used by artist, celebrity and tour guide Carlos Celdran in his desperate attempt to get Filipinos to think and realize how much heck of a meddler the Catholic Church is in the affairs of the state. This church's so-called pro-life stance  is the most illogical and dumbest rationale it perpetually maintains that has ultimately caused millions of lives mired in absolute poverty.

Carlos Celdran as of posting time still honeymoons with an entirely strange experience in a stinking jail cell in a Manila Police Station. He was apprehended by  police for interrupting in the middle of a homily at the Manila Cathedral. Quoting witnesses, Celdran held up a placard in the middle of the mass that  has the name "DAMASO" written on it. In his cell, the guy offers his apologies for the method used in interrupting  a mass but no apologies for the message he wanted to convey. Celdran's feat of the day signals only a prelude to  more daring and conscientious peaceful 'civil disobedience' in the coming days. With his Facebook account bombarded with support from thousands of Filipinos, it is not an impossibility that the Catholic Hypocritical Church is on the verge of real battle with their disbelievers.

The recent trip of President Noynoy Aquino to the US paved the chance for US State Secretary Hillary Clinton to personally admonish PNoy to give his countrymen a chance to get out of the abysmal poverty because she believes we are a nation of smart and hardworking people yet poverty hinders us from moving forward because of lack of opportunities and the reason is our ballooning population. And I commend the administration of PNoy for its unrelenting stand on pro-choice as far as family planning is concerned.

With all the decays inside the Catholic hierarchy and its irrational meddling with state affairs, I don't think they still have the moral ascendancy to even suggest a possibility of civil disobedience. Their blood shooting up at PNoy's so-called 'immoral' and 'disobedient' conduct for supporting pro-choice approach.  Do these modern Sadducees have  the biles to call for people to violate the dignity of the country at the behest of their own hypocrisies? Oh yes, they are trying very hard to divert the issues of pedophile priests that hound their ranks. And what about excommunicating the sitting Philippine president because of his support for responsible parenthood? Is this not a glaring manifestation of an evil lurking in the linings of their robes? When did they realize they own the key to the gates of heavens?

It is without doubt that the number one reason why the Philippines is a very poor country is because of its enormous population. How many statistics, reports, documentaries and surveys could substantiate that  poor families who have multiple children do not actually want to have many children? And what has the government been doing all along to curtail population growth? Nothing! How many times will I howl on this site that our past governments that were effectively castrated by the Catholic church have become complicit to the aggravating woes of its citizens? It's quite encouraging though, that this present administration  sensing the urgency of turning the table against the Catholic's pro-life stance, seems unperturbed in its own belief that the interest of the citizens at large reigns supreme against the whims of a handful of spiritual hypocrites.

That wouldn't be much of a surprise if in the coming days, the CBCP announces that PNoy has been excommunicated from the Catholic church. If  PNoy only realizes that he will be extolled by the whole world if he gets excommunicated from the sinister and manipulative church, then it would be a source of joy for him. This is the snare that these hypocrites have been employing to scare Catholic members because they think they are losing their chances of salvation if they get disconnected from this religion. Wake up Catholics! You have been misled by this mammoth evil for centuries. Search for the truth and you will be freed from the bondage of liars and hypocrites.

I am writing this post in support for the cause that Carlos Celdran has been bannering all his conscious lifetime. This is also in support for the Aquino administration for its brave stand in heeding the call for responsible parenthood to be the best way forward, and nothing else. The Reproductive Health Bill should be given another chance in Congress. Now na!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Of Politics, Religion And Abandoned Babies

"What priorities amount to being more important than a grumbling stomach? Which is more important? Contraceptives or food so that they live another day?"

It seems tossing  babies or fetuses off creeks or garbage bins has become a trend nowadays. This prompts us to ask where is the compassion of a mother for the life that came out of her? No matter what the circumstances are, mothers have no right to abandon their newborn to die and just get away with their crime. I don't know how these mothers could live with the fact they killed  innocent lives from their womb and still go on with their 'dignities' intact. One recent story about a newborn baby left in the plane by his mother that has gained the nation's condemnation is one strong example, that mothers can afford to abandon their babies in order to save their own reputation. Luckily for the Gulf Air baby, he survived the ordeal.

Fetuses wrapped in plastic and thrown in  creeks, newborns struggling to breathe beneath the piles of garbage and some left in the courtyard of churches are no breaking news that could jolt our senses, not anymore. They have become mundane scenarios in our daily browsing with national news, because they are everywhere. Despite NGOs and foundations coming up with programs to help mothers with their unwanted pregnancies, many choose to do the shortcut and the easiest. It is heartbreaking to see newborn babies left to die in the cold and from insect bites beneath smothering piles of garbage. Their only crime - they are accidental babies. Some are born out of wedlock, and others born to  families with  multiple children already saddled with poverty.

‎"Babies (some are dead) found near churches and garbage" too bad, using condoms and contraceptives is a sin. better to find dead babies?, says  Facebook shoutout of Atom Araullo, an ABS-CBN broadcast journalist. He knows it and every ordinary Filipino is aware of it, that the Philippine government has ceased giving out free contraceptives for couples because of the Catholic church's  'pro-life' stance, hence  the use of contraceptives is a 'sin'. Curiosity aside, what has the Catholic church something to do with the affairs of the state? It's pretty much obvious. The state and the Catholic church  are the twin powerful entities that conspire to keep the citizenry in submission by drowning them in absolute poverty.

Let's take solace to the fact that the Philippines is a secular society where almost everything is deemed permissible. But despite that bent on secularism, we banner to the world our 'supposed' reputation of being the only pre-dominant Christian nation in Asia. I think it's about time that Philippine History books should be revised and stop misleading our children that we are what we claim to be because we've never been what we believe we are. Unspeakable crimes have been the most tangible proof of this insanity, and that cannot be denied. These fetuses and dead babies wrapped in plastic ironically found in church premises are unconsciously being offered to the Catholic church as gifts in recognition for its 'pro-life' stance, that resulted to countless unwanted pregnancies and ultimately dead babies. And why fault the government as well? Let's not forget that the power-monger and influence-wielding Catholic church has many of the top politicians under its mercy in every election. This church is capable of playing king-maker and can even throw out members from its fold. And what politician would ever love this to be under his belt?

Poverty in most cases gets the blame. That is true. Married couples who wished not to add another burden to their already heavy loads resort to abortion or worst, leaving them to die in garbages or drown in rivers. In most cases, juveniles who engage in pre-marital sex and cannot contain their lusts and end up getting pregnant, are the most likely to commit such crime. So why not use condoms and other form of contraceptives to avoid the consequence?  Good thinking. And what priorities amount to being more important than a grumbling stomach? Which is more important? Contraceptives or food so that they live another day? Gone is the dispensation when contraceptives are readily available for free in every barangay health center throughout the country. In most documentaries done by media, most families with multiple children complain of inability to buy contraceptives because of poverty. This has been a vicious cycle that sees its existence perpetuated. And we all know what and who ordains this evil among us.

I pretty much don't see the logic behind the rationale that using contraceptives is a sin. If the Catholic church cannot enforce morality within its ranks, how in the world can they enforce the same to its members? They further contend that doling out contraceptives is an encouragement to promiscuity. I am not saying that the youth of today is totally bereft of morality and sound judgment. It is amenable that our world today is ruled by media and the internet. The ordinary adult and child has an easy access to lewd and explicit sites that are not government regulated. And there are popular celebrities who engage in casual pre-marital sex to emulate. Here, danger lies in the absence of moral values within the family unit. The responsibility always comes from the parents or guardians to instill moral values in their children. Because no matter how we scare them away from the pitfalls of promiscuity, they even tend to be gravitated into it because of lack of guidance and sense of fear. In the absence of role models in the family, the Catholic church should step in with its role of vigorously initiating values-formation programs that would impact our youth morally and spiritually, rather than vigorously campaigning against the use of contraceptives even for those who do not want to bear children.

By saying so, I do not concede that this has become a lost battle just yet. It's just the reality that is hard to swallow. If the Catholic church decides it is winning the battle against 'immorality' per se, then they should think again. It's only a matter of priorities. Bloating cases of abandoned babies (some are dead) plus mounting abortion cases as against easy access to contraceptives for every adult to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Because morality cannot be enforced in a democratic society at large, it is still a matter of personal conviction. Even if you are fed daily with free contraceptives and you stand firm on your resolve, you cannot be swayed by any of these temptations. But for those endowed with raging hormones and in no way cannot control their lust, they should have an option whether to be responsible or not. Because at every conclusion and consequence, the ones who suffer are the individuals who have acted irresponsibly. And the role of the Catholic church? They will be quicker than anyone else to condemn when babies are found dead or barely alive. They will care less whether innocent lives are being killed everyday as long as they remain unperturbed with their 'noble' cause of depriving responsible adults, the means to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Thanks to both our self-serving leaders in the government and the Catholic church, this evil conspiracy waged against the poor is clearly winning its own battle. It is ironic that the state that is avowed to protect the well-being of its people becomes complicit to the crime of perpetuating their woes.

In hindsight, the death of the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress has also signaled the death of the poor's freedom of choice. Apparently, the most marginalized sector will always be at the receiving end of the demise of 'morality' in the government. With the Catholic church's success in its lobby to kill RH Bill in Congress at the expense of greedy lawmakers who thwarted its passing into law, the trend of babies abandoned in garbages signals an era extended to infinity. And with the state unable to uplift the lives of its poor citizenry because of massive graft and corruption, the poor is left with nothing but their dignity. But where is dignity when you hear the cries of hungry little ones and unable to feed them? Ah, the hungry will always have his way. Maybe an impetus to criminality? By the way, the hungry knows no dignity for it does not exist in their vocabulary. Not anymore.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jason And Rischel's Eid Wedding In Obhur!

"There could be no better timing than holding it on the first day of Eid, when every soul is animated by the partying genes in them."

They say you don't reside in Jeddah if nary you've been to Obhur. Down to the advent of  genetic age, the right pronunciation remains debatable. Some say it is Abhur, but who cares anyway? The place is far from being abhorrent. It is famous for its long stretch of beaches and dotting private resorts that cater to exclusive parties and any kind of gatherings. Jeddah has been my abode for almost a tenth of the century, but never had I ventured  the place once. Well, the trend has seen its era broken  last Thursday. Not a coincidence, it was a wedding reception for one of our classmates at TCI. There could be no better timing than holding it on the first day of Eid, when every soul is animated by the partying genes in it.

Rischel the bride is one of our classmates at TCI. Her better-half is Jason. The couple finally had their moment after five years. The wedding reception was fabulous and well-organized. The venue was huge for a party, complete with rooms for 'special guests'. The dancefloor was more than enough  to handle loads of prowling party-hungry guests.

All my TCI classmates were invited, but only a handful came. The seven who got to attend were incidentally the most talented from the class (lol!) except for this one who doesn't glamorize squirming on the dance floor. ( Sorry absentees, you didn't get to show off your wares and so the talent-less label.) We consequently missed out on the program emceed by one of our classmates as an incentive for arriving late. First off, the wedded couple danced, paying tribute to tradition as guests and friends scrambled to steal the limelight, dear notes fluttering their way into the couples' dainty outfits. ( Not a bad idea though to defray a recession-plagued wedding outgoes.  I'm grabbing an FB pic of Benjie, a classmate donning a note on the couple; I'm just damn curious about the color,  he purposely had it taken blurrily, hmmm :-))

Blame it on the Saudi norm, the sight of men and women gyrating as if there's no tomorrow provided a bit of a shocker to me. I've never seen for the longest time men and women mopping around the floor together in an intensely libidinal passion. Normally, you don't get to see women disrobed  in a public place. And here you see order is restored. So, it was a real party atmosphere in every sense of the word. Disco lights elevated the reveling moods interrupted only by an occasional trip to the buffet table to refuel. Foods were sumptuous. Desserts were in abundance. If you came flauntingly in your scanty belly, well think again. You did not come to deprive yourself of the heavenly, after a month of conforming to the adoptive 'dawn till dusk' rituals. It would be a huge anomaly not indulging in as much as your tank can hold up. [Hey, before the glutton label comes up, we were discreetly refined! (bawi agad).]

What made us TCI students even more at home (apart from the food), the couple had assigned one private room exclusively for us. The room was spacious with three beds and the ambience was relaxing. Some unsuspecting guests did attempt a blind invasion, as many crammed through the aisles but were promptly fended off by the boldly-printed warning - FOR Total Care International Students Only. Understandably, guests came in multitudes that after a merciless ambush of the buffet table, they came in scrambling poaching for nests to 'de-stress'.

Fronting our  room was the singers' lounge. Those with vocal pipes to flaunt, get to show off their homesick-driven talents, and the 'wailing' souls did not appear to tire till the sun started to grumble. I had to be content with video-recording the exploits of my classmates of whom three are legitimate singers ( yes, they can carry a tune hence the label 'singers', joke only folks :-))  Khrisnan the humongous bundle of talent, (literally) wiped the crowd off their feet with his Mariah-ness belting prowess. Jhun, the 'kuya' of the group revved up the night with his flamboyant  rendition of big ballads. And Jay, whose singing style is more current crooned us with his mastery of America's materials. And one big revelation, Gerry got to wow us with the remnant of Comaneci's influence in him. :-)  It was no botched Swan Lake choreography, he just owned it, and the night too. That was very funny of him. He really stole the show!  Best buddies Emil and Benjie were the most camera-savvy. They were all over the lens, and inseparable too.

Time to grow fins and scales. It's splash time! The pool was rather suppressed and narrow, but enough to drown a dumb duck. It was less busy by then. The water was lukewarm. And photo ops too for those least concerned of their extra baggage! That's why some refused to shed their tops including me ha ha! Well, if it's public, anything of the ridiculous does not help one's self-esteem. Oh wait, perhaps that answers the riddle why Khrisnan refused to dip his integuments in the pool? (joke) Then customer traffic slightly became congested and so the group settled on the shallow part. Unable to hold lesson review as earlier planned, Jhun our group leader who happened to be a college lecturer randomly picked questions to throw at us. As expected, I did not answer anything. No time yet to browse my notes. I still maintain my penchant for cramming on the dead hours. Don't know why. :-) '

'Twas around eight or past when we decided our energies already drained in the pool. After rinsing, the group simultaneously suffered a post-bath syndrome. The remedy? A last trip to the buffet table where only cakes and sweets survived the gory frenzy earlier. The only suitable edible left was the 'papaitan' that tasted so good; the secret maybe is hidden  not on the condiments but from its oily soup that could drown your heart with fats. But then again, nothing is spared when you  too are in a frenzy to stuff your rioting parts. Sounds gruesome? Not at all, we still handled it with finesse befitting a guest. :-)

Time to pack up. Eyes turned anomalous red. The venue looked as though it just survived a great commotion. And there's not much we can do. Perched at the aisle leading to the door, Jason said his thank you's as we bade him. He has a kind heart. But the bride was nowhere to be found. She had to disappear early to report for duty, I heard. So, no reprieve for the chaos of the day at least to rest on her wedding day? Truly, Rischel is one strong pragmatic woman. Hats off to both of them.

As our tiny car can only seat five people (I mean leaner ones), I don't know how Khrisnan and Jhun managed to keep up with lean Gerry. Off to the winding Corniche road, we spotted yet again perfect photo material and raced towards it for pictorials. And down the steep-walled rocky beach, we ventured dipping and photo ops again! It's no longer fun when the sun threatens to burn your epidermis, and so home is the next thing in mind. One by one we dropped our loads to the delight of our tiny toy. Gerry was quick to get down to check his FB status ( I found out later). Khrisnan wasn't already talking when we dropped him, he could have fallen asleep by the alley, I'm afraid. Jhun was doubting if he would still be facebooking or not. And just yesterday, Benjie's shoutout was not cool, something scary happened to them on their way home? Will try to find out on Friday. On the positive, everyone had a blast. Food and fun, adventure and bonding moments, and another few days left before the holiday ends. Eid Mubarak to all!

Watch the video HERE!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Telemoney: A Pain In The Neck

"Rather than choking in rage, it's rather appeasing to vent my anger on this page."

I can understand the frustration of the thousands who flocked to Telemoney Remittance Centers these days, and I'm no stranger to chaos that defines the kind of customer service for which they are notoriously known. It is the month of Ramadan... fine! No one disputes the slothful demeanor of some (if not most) of their personnel when attending to a queue of 'nuisance' clients in front of them. Forget that they are customers - the sustaining life-giver behind every robust yet arrogant commercial establishment. But with time, the customers have learned to adapt to its 'ultra-excellent' style of customer (dis)service.

I too understand  that most Telemoney employees are obsessed with the Eid holiday that they forget it is not holiday yet. Does anyone from among them bother to give a taunting glance at their own work timing that they deliberately violate and insult  their clients? By the way, who would give a damn if the waiting clients fry in the sun outside with neck arching imploring their mercy? When the boldly-printed work timing flauntingly reads to be 1:30 pm as closing time, I think arriving at exactly twelve noon did not warrant us to be shut at. Yes, I don't forget that they pray five times a day, and if they miss out on one, their 'rewards' in heaven will be in jeopardy. But for my neighbor's sake, the next prayer time is still at 12:30 pm.! No one would stop them if they leave their chairs and proceed to grab their halos and enter their own 'holy of holies'. But at least, those who have come on time should be dealt with respect and accorded humanity.

A case lost. Sound virtues refuse not to fade, just yet. I proceeded to ask the Osama-resembling security guard in my best Arabic if they will open after prayer time. He nodded in the affirmative, very assuredly. Prayer time ends at 1 pm. Another agonizing 30-minute sunbathing is tolerable, not a threat to life nonetheless. Half an hour is a torture, but to see the lovely Telemoney door opens, is a reward for the patience of having to wake up much earlier than usual and ignoring the merciless Arabic sun. I couldn't be more confident knowing that those who fast in their Taliban-esque goatee are not capable to lie (at least from dusk till dawn). Those already inside were herded out. Time to get inside too. At last. Just my second trip to Telemoney Hera'a in two days, yesterday was a mission impossible. The crowd just didn't let up. You stay for a good five hours or you miss your work which is a big no in Ramadan. But before the glassdoor got to our grip, the goatherd shunned us and announced that we be back at 9:30 pm. I was dumbfounded in disbelief! I started to rage inside and others before me had to rebel in a profanity-laced fit of revenge albeit in vain. The alibi sounded immensely incredible. There was only one teller serving. Wait, they're not insane! They're but slothful bloated-bellied incompetent stinking butt over brain walking s**t! Enough to say that I get consolation from my own page where my rage is vent on these fec*l residues that they are!

The Telemoney management could have thought better of improving their services during Ramadan. Complaints and seismic reactions from their loyal clients (in my case I have no choice) have become too uncommon because of their incompetence. They must have forgotten that they transact with humans. These humans are people, with jobs to keep, with families to feed and not to be treated like ill people needing alms from them. It's no easy thing to do skipping work multiple times and them not respecting their own policies and rules. It's not our fault if in the midst of the customer stampede their other Mr. Teller suddenly gave birth. And if their lone teller gets tired easily, because he is not used to the stench from the crowd, at least they could have warned the parasites outside in the sun, that their door was not pleased to take in more beyond their own terms, and not promising to open the door after performing their revered rituals. Nine in the evening is not an option though for the majority of us who came in the morning for obvious reasons.

I am not alone in the same predicament. We are many but I don't find solace from that.  Most of us will have to settle after Eid holiday to send money to our families. And I begrudgingly see it as wasted time and resources. Rather than choking in rage, it's so appeasing to vent my anger on this page. Should not be reacting this way, if not an urgent case. Certain financial obligations have to be met in an appointed time and another visit to the nearest pawnshop could be the last recourse. I have learned a lesson the hard way. To them it's no big deal, it's a way of life. Shame on them!
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Silay City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

Some of the photos above courtesy of Arnaldo Arnáiz Díaz

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