Saturday, December 31, 2011


Yes, I know. 

Compared to the 34 Books I've Read in 2010, this year is just heartbreaking for my digital library. I can still hear the echoes of their cries for attention reverberating in my head. I'm sorry I've failed you, beloved books. I promise to love you better in the coming year. This time I'll be sweeter, our love will run deeper. Have faith, in me...

(In Obsessive-Compulsive Chronological Order of Completion)

  1. Pretties - Scot Westerfeld
  2. The Girl & the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
  3. Something Borrowed - Emily Griffin
  4. Something Blue - Emily Griffin
  5. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
  6. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
  7. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
  8. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
  9. City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare
  10. If I Stay - Gayle Forman
  11. Where She Went - Gayle Forman
  12. Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson
  13. Specials - Scott Westerfeld
  14. Can You Keep A Secret - Sophie Kinsella
  15. Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick
  16. Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coelho
  17. Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
  18. Room - Emma Donoghue

And because of such a short list, I don't think I can do my "annual" book awards with this kind of line-up. I mean, half the books mentioned is written by the same author, not to mention that 90% of the novels are under the YA category. This has been a terrible year for literary variety. What have I done with my life?? *bangs head to the wall* I blame mobile Internet!

Anyway, there is always next year. With my new iBooks app and its dazzling interface, hopefully, I can work my way to a respectable number before the world ends. ;)

Anyone who know me or have read at least a couple of posts in this blog know that I am not a big fan of religion. I'm a big believer of God but not necessarily any established faith available in the country (or the world for that matter). This fact, however, does not make me immune from being dragged to church almost every Sunday, Christmas Day was not an exemption. 

I want to make it clear that I have nothing against going to church. It's just that I can't find any meaning to these rituals, especially if the homily is, yet again, about some mindless ramble about the importance of the church, the duties of Catholics to their church, how one should go to church more often, be more active in church activities, give more money to the painting/restoration of the church et. al. I mean, I understand that a religious institution, even as big as The Catholic Church, needs support from their flock, but lately, I've been finding these kinds of lectures bothersome. 

For a massive powerful force that offers salvation and hope to millions of people, all I've been hearing recently are these kinds of needy litanies about being a "True Catholic / True Christian". If that is not the case, then lectures about the pathophysiology of the Holy Trinity and dissection of *enter vague religious term here* dominates most homilies I've had unpleasure of hearing. My spider sense could sense the crowd's simultaneous mental snores.

However, the Christmas Mass we went to last Sunday was different. It completely stood out from all the homilies I've heard since I started scrutinizing the words that come out of a priest's mouth. We attended the 6PM Eucharistic Celebration at the EDSA Shrine, December 25, 2011. I didn't catch Father's name, but you just have to to take my word for it, he was awesome.

And because it was Christmas, I expected a story about Jesus in the manger with the animals and itchy hay. I was ready to sneak in a quick nap while standing up (just got off from work before heading out to go to mass) when my subconscious told me that this priest was doing one hell of a job in that pulpit. With an American accent and a voice that could replace the smoothest DJ in Philippine radio, he rambled on with this unexplained magnetic charisma. He first talked about the thousands of street kids in the metro. On how one would eat inside a fast food beside the glass wall and have at least 2 kids staring at you while you much down on your Big Mac, then if you give one a treat, a stampede of other street kids will follow and surround you before you can even plan your nearest escape route. 

Point 1 for father. Good thing to know that at least one of the Catholic clergy acknowledges the existence of street children in the country. With their arguments against the RH Bill, I would have believed that they are blind to these conditions.

Second, he talked about the story of a an older brother sharing to his sibling half of the food he got from a donation drive. Just when the world seems so hopeless with the sight of never ending poverty and suffering kids with bleak future, he said that that image gave him hope. And this was the time he said the words that I never would have expected someone in the clergy would say.

He said that we, Catholics, Christians, have been so convinced, so assured, by our culture and even by our own church that God is always there for us. We have been so complacent and compelled that whatever hardship or suffering happens, God will help us, will not forsake us and thus will make everything better. All we needed to do is pray and have faith. Although this is true, what is lacking in these belief system is that, we have also in us the power to help ourselves.

In the bible, when Mary was in labor with Jesus, it was people who helped her and Joseph find a suitable place to give birth. It was the Three Kings who gave additional assistance to the holy family. Christmas is all about empowerment, he said. It is about us knowing and believing that we could make things happen for ourselves, our lives, and that we can help this country change for the better. 

In the hundreds of hours I've spent inside the church, I have never heard a priest acknowledge the power and the potency of human capability. Normally, sacred lectures like these concentrate on the power of God, our dependence on him, how everything should be offered and lifted up to him, how we are nothing without his saving grace etc. But his speech was different. Although there is God, looking after us, WE, ourselves, have the power to reach for our dreams and change the world entire. We are not as powerless as we thought we were.

People were already singing the Apostle's Creed while my mind was still reeling from aftershock. This is exactly what I wanted to hear from the church. For them to acknowledge that not all things can be achieved through sole prayer and veneration. At the end of the day, it is OURSELVES that we should believe in, that we have the power within us to achieve our greatest desires and change the world entire.

Come communion time, I can hear people still talking about the homily. I can tell that for people who regularly attend masses, this was a breath of fresh air for them too. It got me thinking, as long as there are young visionaries like father who sees reality as it is and steers away from ancient and impractical beliefs, there is hope for The Great (but slowly crumbling) Catholic Church after all.

Merry Christmas everyone!

**Photos from Google Images

Tuesday, December 6, 2011




Sunday, December 4, 2011

Well, not really. But please, allow me just this once to be perfectly incoherent.

The news that my entry "Blood Stains, the Smell of Disinfectant and the RH Bill" has won the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards for Best Single Post has left me stunned for hours now and has rendered me with the vocabulary of a 6-year-old, mostly comprised of the words "wow" and "thank you". 

I was not even aware that it was a finalist. Imagine my shock when I woke up in the middle of the day and read tweets congratulating me for the said achievement while still half-asleep. After 2 seconds of staring disbelievingly at the screen, I checked my email and, 'lo and behold, there it was, an invitation for the awards ceremony at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater, RCBC Plaza on December 3, 2011 6PM, read 2 days late. 

The sad thing about it is that, this year, I vowed that I would attend the event if ever I make it again to the finals. Last year, when an entry of mine was nominated for Top 3 Posts for 2010, I camped in my room and watched the ceremony live via Ustream. The article lost but the event looked so much fun I promised that the following year, I would drag anyone who's willing and attend the ceremony just for experience sake. 

But then, life happened. A crazy graveyard shift schedule, coupled by lack of sleep, absolute confusion on what day it is and my inability to check my email accounts regularly even if my life depended on it made me miss what could have been one of the most memorable nights of my Writer Life. *enter melodramatic sigh here*

Lamentations aside, I'd like to offer my sincerest gratitude to the organizers and judges of the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards. I know none of the members of the committee personally and have extremely limited blogger friends so it was really a huge surprise to find out that the post won, especially against finalists of such high caliber, including those who have won multiple times in the past.

I still cannot believe that a prestigious award giving body has noticed my humble little brain child. It is such a privilege to be a part of your honor roll. A small part of me is even relieved that I wasn't able to accept the award personally and deliver my 2 minute speech because this blogger is still at a loss for words.

Again, THANK YOU Philippine Blog Awards for this awesome day that has yet to start. Please do continue spreading inspiration and distinction to an art form and advocacy many have yet to acknowledge. Blogging has really come a long way, but the road continues on and is filled with infinite possibilities. I hope to meet you guys along the way. 

Winners of the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards (Photo taken from here.)

Now, if only I could manage to watch a full recording of the awards ceremony, get my wooden carabao trophy and Photoshop myself to this picture, my blogging existence will be complete. ;)



Finalists, Best Single Post Category

Winners of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

As much as I am a Twilight basher, I have shamelessly watched all the 3 previous movies and read the novels that came out of the franchise. Why? Just to have the right to have an opinion, mostly. I cannot insult what I know nothing about. Anyway, this was the year that I thought I would not be able to write my annual sarcasm-infused Twilight movie-of-the-year review because of time constraints, but 'lo and behold, here it is. I may not be my usual gritty self because of the crippling pain in my bleeding uterus, but I'll do my best.

For the record, I was not able to read the novel. Even the lure of using a new gadget and reading with my much anticipated iBooks app was not enough to make me endure the childish, whiny and self-centered contents of Bella Swan's thoughts. That, and of course, and Stephanie Meyer's horrid writing. I told myself that the movie was bound to be more interesting than the book, as with what happened when New Moon came out when the film actually made it seem that the literary version has a story to tell.

That said, with just the slightest idea of the plot as told by a friend, here is what I thought about the underworld's newest sparkly blockbuster hit.

First off, the movie started out like a bad fanfiction reenactment. I have read too many fan-made chapters of fluff and smut to know what cheesy plotlessness is and the first 30-45 minutes of Breaking Dawn Part I epitomizes just that. I have no idea which was taken from the book or were just put there for visual purposes, but no amount of cinematography could save almost an hour of teary-eyed parental goodbyes and PG-13 make-out sessions.

Side note: Honestly, what were Bella's parents on when they decided to let their just-graduated-from-high-school 18-year-old daughter marry an unemployed undergrad with a bad case of anemia? I mean, seriously. As far as I know, this isn't the 18th century where the only goal of a women in her life is to marry young and marry wealthy ala Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Moving on, I have to give it up for Taylor Lautner for an awesome performance as always. Just when the audience was getting sick of all the make-out sessions with Bella and Edward on the beach, bed, waterfalls, sofa, beside a chess set, he comes in with just the right intensity before the whole films turns into vampire-themed porn. But seriously, Jacob Black was awesome in this movie, his almost photoshopped beach-ready human body is just as adorable with his cuddly It's-so-fluffy-I-wanna-die wolf form.

As for the plot, I really don't think the book needed to be split into two movies. There wasn't much that went on in this half and I feel that the movie would've have been actually great (action packed and with good pacing) if done in totality. It was not like in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where too much has happened that squeezing everything into one big production without the scenes being rushed is next to impossible. This is a classic example of big companies who want bigger profit in expense of quality and artistry.

Wait, quality and artistry? This is Twilight we're talking about, who am I kidding?

All in all, even having skipped the book, I believe the production has done all that they can with the little they have to work with. It has succeeded again in making the book more interesting even to non-fans with that cliffhanger ending. I may probably end up picking up where I left off, page 10 I think of the Breaking Dawn novel. 

Nah, probably not.

Orchestr-o-meter: C

Monday, November 14, 2011

I have been salivating over this app since it first came out with the launch of iOS4 last year. Having a 3rd generation 8gb iPod Touch, I cannot upgrade to the latest OS because so many people have been complaining of having their devices laggy and unresponsive because the hardware could not take the load. So for more than a year, I've been goggling over colored home screens and beautiful iBooks libraries while being stuck with my non-updated Stanza. 

But alas, here we are, with my new bigger and better device, now powerful enough to handle this most coveted virtual library. 

The first thing that I can say is that the interface is simply stunning. The virtual bookshelf with large cover images neatly displayed in rows makes me want to gobble them up one after the other. I was also able to separate my Read list in another library, sorted chronologically of course and divided into which year I finished them. Yes, I'm a computer files Neat Freak and it translates into iPod files. Unfortunately, this characteristic did not cross over to my bedroom.

As for the reading experience, I like how the everything is neater with this app. The chapters don't get messed up and you can clearly see how many pages you have left to read, a feat Stanza failed on tremendously. In Stanza's defense, I did not update my app for more than a year so I cannot speak for the latest versions, but you get the drift. The paragraphs and spacing are cleaner too, with less irritating formatting errors. For a 3.5 inch screen, these minor improvements are a blessing. 

I still prefer the slide-down-to-dim-screen and slide-up-to-brighten format of Stanza though. The screen adjustments on iBooks are too sensitive for my liking. And it's irritating how the brightness reverts back to its original settings every time the screen is locked and unlocked. This is the OC in me talking, please ignore her.

Overall, I do not regret my upgrade. Hopefully, this striking virtual library will help add some more read novels to my pathetic 2011 list. 

Cheers to the worlds that can only come from words!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's not that I don't like watching local mainstream films in the cinema, it's just that I don't think they're worth the money. I know that sounds a bit harsh but it's the truth. With streaming movies on the Internet and P50 pirated DVDs, at this day and age, you better make sure that you get what you're paying for when watching flicks straight from the big screen. The last local movie I've watched was Enteng Kabisote using a special promo ticket where we got to watch the film for free and sad to say, it's not even worth the P10 we paid for tax.

That said, I still can't believe I got dragged into this movie under the lure of spending time with co-volunteers and staff in the institution I am currently serving in. But surprisingly, for a local mainstream movie, it was pretty enjoyable, or just unintentionally funny, I can't be sure.

The strength of the movie lies in its script, this is an understatement. With a predictable plot (especially the cheesy I-saw-that-arc-a-mile-away-I-can't-believe-you're-using-that-scene-AGAIN ending) and lukewarm to just plain bad acting from its lead stars (Anne Curtis was an exception, she was phenomenal), it is the witty laugh out loud "banats" that people look for in this kind of movie, and boy, did it deliver.

The audience was roaring with laughter a quarter of the way into the film. Kudos to whoever the screenwriter was that thought of these great lines. (I can't remember the characters' names so I'll just put in the actor's names instead.)


Carmi Martin to Christine Reyes: Panahon na para i-pack-up ‘yang si Lucy Torres mo. Ilabas mo na diyan si Gretchen Barretto. Sabi nga niya sa Magkaribal, ‘You want war? I’ll give you war.’ Anak, ako na ang bahala sa red stilettos mo!

Chrstine Reyes to Anne Curtis: Sabi nila, a way to a man’s heart s through his stomach.
Sa ganda mong yan, siguro madami kang alam na shortcuts.

Christine Reyes: Alam mo kasi ang marriage parang exclusive village.
Kailangan mong bantayan para hindi makapasok ang mga squatters.

Christine Reyes: Why don’t you have dinner with us tonight, pa thank you ko na rin dahil kinuha mo ang asawa ko.
Anne Curtis: I’m sorry?
Christine Reyes: Bilang supplier ng furniture para sa resort niyo.

Christine Reyes: Bikini mo ba iyan o balat mo? (referring to Anne’s snake-skin printed bathing suit)

Carmi Martin: Kung ahas siya mas ahas ako! Tahimik pero kapag kinanti – nanunuklaw! 

Christine Reyes: Baka makita mo pang nilalagyan ko ng lason ang pagkain mo. Joke lang. Medyo off yung humor ko lately.

Christine's Friend (forgot the name): Naku. Ganyan talaga kapag galing sa makating dikya, nagmamarka. (Referring to a kiss mark on Derek’s neck)

And the famous...

Carmi Martin: Ang mundo ay isang malaking Quiapo, maraming snatcher, maagawan ka, lumaban ka!

Christine Reyes: Tsaka ano bang mahirap kalaban? Yung putang mahirap o yung putang mayaman?
Carmi Martin: Pareparehong puta lang yun!

My favorite line:

Carmi Martin: Pareparehong puta lang yun! Ang mayaman bumibili ng Hermes sa mall, ang mahirap bumibili ng Hermes sa Greenhills!

So yes, aside from these great lines, there's really nothing more this movie has to offer unless you think Derek Ramsey's sex scene with two different beautiful ladies add weight to the quality of the movie. Still, it's a great flick to watch with rowdy friends. You will all end up making fun of Christine Reyes' dramatic scene in the end and the disgustingly predictable ending. Good times.

(CNN) -- Steve Jobs, the visionary in the black turtleneck who co-founded Apple in a Silicon Valley garage, built it into the world's leading tech company and led a mobile-computing revolution with wildly popular devices such as the iPhone, died Wednesday. He was 56.
The hard-driving executive pioneered the concept of the personal computer and of navigating them by clicking onscreen images with a mouse. In more recent years, he introduced the iPod portable music player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet -- all of which changed how we consume content in the digital age. 
His friends and Apple fans on Wednesday night mourned the passing of a tech titan. 
"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," Apple said in a statement. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve." 
See reactions from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many others
More than one pundit, praising Jobs' ability to transform entire industries with his inventions, called him a modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci. 
"Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the history of modern capitalism," New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said in August. "His intuition has been phenomenal over the years." 
Jobs' death, while dreaded by Apple's legions of fans, was not unexpected. He had battled cancer for years, took a medical leave from Apple in January and stepped down as chief executive in August because he could "no longer meet (his) duties and expectations." 
Born February 24, 1955, and then adopted, Jobs grew up in Cupertino, California -- which would become home to Apple's headquarters -- and showed an early interest in electronics. As a teenager, he phoned William Hewlett, president of Hewlett-Packard, to request parts for a school project. He got them, along with an offer of a summer job at HP. 
Jobs dropped out of Oregon's Reed College after one semester, although he returned to audit a class in calligraphy, which he says influenced Apple's graceful, minimalist aesthetic. He quit one of his first jobs, designing video games for Atari, to backpack across India and take psychedelic drugs. Those experiences, Jobs said later, shaped his creative vision. 
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future," he told Stanford University graduates during a commencement speech in 2005. "You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

I've never been this upset about the death of someone I've never met. 

Steve, thank you for making our lives more magical. You are definitely an inspiration.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs. The world just lost a genius.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In an intelligent and thought-provoking decision, Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona issued a memorandum terminating all "Nurse Volunteer Programs", "Volunteer Training Program for Nurses" and all similar and related programs, in all DOH-retained hospitals.

64666926 DOH Termination of Nurse Volunteer Programs

While the memorandum brings appealing images to mind (the end of nurse exploitation, employment for licensed registered nurses, respect for the nursing profession etc.), the only effects of the ordinance that is evident right now is public hospitals being grotesquely understaffed, patients suffering from inadequate care from overworked and burnt out staff nurses and entry level nursing graduates experiencing What-The-Hell-Do-I-Do-Now? syndrome.

Two-Way Street

It's not all bullying, over fatigue and slavery that envelops a nurse volunteers life. Not every registered nurse gathers used bottles in a kariton to sell at junk shops just to have money for hospital training fees. These scenarios get featured in news programs and documentary reports because it is dramatic and controversial. Truth of the matter is, nurses volunteer because they choose to practice their profession rather than apply in call centers, have fake accents and answer calls from strangers. They do it to gain leverage in this highly competitive job market.  Because let's face it, no hospital in their right mind will hire a newly licensed nurse with zero post graduate experience.

Please do not underestimate us. We are not slaves, we know what we are doing and we are aware of the situation in these hospitals. We are not shackled to the nursing station with big metal chains, forced to administer medications under duress and monitor vital signs at gunpoint. We were not dragged into an institution to serve against our will but we do it because we want to and, so far, we see the favorable outcome of honing our crafts and sharpening our skills.

Add to that the priceless feeling of having a schedule to follow, a purpose to attend to, every day. One of the hardest things in life is to wake up at numerous mornings in a row and not be able to know what to do that day or the day after that. Plus, there is the relationship and unique bond that is formed with co-trainees, staff nurses and even patients that no bum, useless, non-"slavery" day could replace.

One thing I could completely agree with, though, is that we should not be paying thousands of pesos for these so-called trainings when we have already offered our brains, bodies and licenses for free. That long-standing custom, Secretary Ona, should be the one eternally abolished but NOT, yes you read it right, every training/volunteer program in the country.

A Dead End

So, with all due respect, DOH Secretary Ona, what do you propose we, unemployed registered nurses, do now? 

With Nurse Volunteerism / Nurse Trainings now prohibited in DOH mandated hospitals and NO ADDITIONAL BUDGET given for hiring needed nursing manpower, every one suffers. Staff nurses are reeling from the sudden influx of additional work load, patients are neglected from lack of care from the preposterous nurse-patient ratio and fresh graduates now have no opportunity to practice what they have learned in college, therefore lessening their chances of getting hired by hospitals due to inadequate experience.

Forgive me for this, but I think the memorandum is a hasty band-aid approach to a long and complicated problem of nurse shortages and exploitation in the country. It was a decision without due thought of the various elements that made the despicable nursing trade of our country what it is today. The problem is a hideous many-limbed menace and cutting of one arm will only make it bleed and stagger.

So, again, if I may ask, seriously, WHAT NOW?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

There is something fascinating about hard core rock anthems transformed into soft acoustic versions, especially if accompanied by the romantic and pristine sounds of a grand piano. 

That said, I have been obsessed with this piece since early 2000's when I first saw a version of it in YouTube. I couldn't believe that a Linkin Park song can sound so melodic and tender, but unquestionably powerful at the same time. I then found a music sheet on the Internet and after doing some alterations (because the author of the sheet probably thought pianists have 3 hands instead of two), proceeded in learning, memorizing and polishing it so it could be fit enough for public consumption.

This isn't really my best shot, but after recording for hours and almost dislocating my right pinky finger after doing numerous faulty takes, this will do.

More PIANO recordings and back story here:

Or follow me on YOUTUBE:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

When it comes to forbidden love between two unlikely people with contradicting destinies, there's only one legendary couple that comes to mind.

Here is my musical tribute to one of the greatest fictional couples to grace television screens all around the world. Buffy Summers, the vampire slayer, and Angel, the vampire with a soul.

I think every Buffy/Angel fan can attest that in these times of teenage vampire-hysteria, no Elena or Stefan nor mopey Bella and sparkly Edward can compete with the original.

The instrumental Close Your Eyes is composed by Christophe Beck and featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2, Episode 22 "Becoming Part 2". In the heart-wrenching scene where the music is featured, Buffy was forced to sacrifice her one true love's life to save the world. Up to this day, the scene is still regarded as one of the most powerful moments of the cult classic's history.

Sheet Music can be found here:

Friday, August 26, 2011

How fitting it is that in this "Buwan ng Wika" we see an article written by an Ateneo de Manila University student and a columnist on Manila Bulletin online about the flaws and inadequacy of the Filipino language. Understandably, the write-up has raised a more than a few eyebrows, but before we lash out the argumentum ad hominems that will sure to follow once this news hit the pinnacle of internet fame, let us first try to fully understand the writer's sentiments and dig out the naked truths behind the crude almost-insults.

"Language, learning, identity, privilege" 
by James Soriano
MANILA, Philippines — English is the language of learning. I’ve known this since before I could go to school. As a toddler, my first study materials were a set of flash cards that my mother used to teach me the English alphabet.  
My mother made home conducive to learning English: all my storybooks and coloring books were in English, and so were the cartoons I watched and the music I listened to. She required me to speak English at home. She even hired tutors to help me learn to read and write in English. 
In school I learned to think in English. We used English to learn about numbers, equations and variables. With it we learned about observation and inference, the moon and the stars, monsoons and photosynthesis. With it we learned about shapes and colors, about meter and rhythm. I learned about God in English, and I prayed to Him in English.  
Filipino, on the other hand, was always the ‘other’ subject — almost a special subject like PE or Home Economics, except that it was graded the same way as Science, Math, Religion, and English. My classmates and I used to complain about Filipino all the time. Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.  
We used to think learning Filipino was important because it was practical: Filipino was the language of the world outside the classroom. It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”  
These skills were required to survive in the outside world, because we are forced to relate with the tinderas and the manongs and the katulongs of this world. If we wanted to communicate to these people — or otherwise avoid being mugged on the jeepney — we needed to learn Filipino.  
That being said though, I was proud of my proficiency with the language. Filipino was the language I used to speak with my cousins and uncles and grandparents in the province, so I never had much trouble reciting.  
It was the reading and writing that was tedious and difficult. I spoke Filipino, but only when I was in a different world like the streets or the province; it did not come naturally to me. English was more natural; I read, wrote and thought in English. And so, in much of the same way that I learned German later on, I learned Filipino in terms of English. In this way I survived Filipino in high school, albeit with too many sentences that had the preposition ‘ay.’  
It was really only in university that I began to grasp Filipino in terms of language and not just dialect. Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language,derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols. 
But more significantly, it was its own way of reading, writing, and thinking. There are ideas and concepts unique to Filipino that can never be translated into another. Try translating bayanihan, tagay, kilig or diskarte.  
Only recently have I begun to grasp Filipino as the language of identity: the language of emotion, experience, and even of learning. And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda. My own language is foreign to me: I speak, think, read and write primarily in English. To borrow the terminology of Fr. Bulatao, I am a split-level Filipino.  
But perhaps this is not so bad in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.  
It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege. I may be disconnected from my being Filipino, but with a tongue of privilege I will always have my connections.  
So I have my education to thank for making English my mother language.
Source: (Manila Bulletin's copy of the article is not accessible.)
Let's see. First of all, I don't think this is satire. And if it is, then I think it's a badly written one. That said, I think this article is a perfect mix of downright insulting statements and stinging facts.

Let me tell you a story. When I was a kid, I was also barraged with the English language. My parents spoke to me in English, read to me books in English and later on I learned to write in English. I am not kidding when I say I cannot write a passable paragraph in completely grammatically correct Tagalog. I would struggle with our composition writing in Filipino in high school yet the words just flow through me when it was in English. 

Now, almost everything that I write on the Internet is in English, including blog posts, articles, status updates, tweets and comments. I also aced my IELTS exam with two 9s and an 8.5 over-all band score (9 is the highest possible score). 

Am I proud of having a decent command of the English language? Yes. Do I think lowly or make fun of people who can't string two English words together? Sometimes, that I will admit. Do I think of the Filipino language as the dialect of the poor and the unlearned? Definitely, NOT!

Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.   
It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”  

This, my friends, is the language of the rich, with the American accent and the posh cadence with pieces of Tagalog words thrown in between sentences. It's the "Let's make baka, don't be takot" kind of vernacular only heard from the elite. I've had the unenviable chance to actually hear this peculiar language with my own ears a few years back. I always thought the impressions I've heard from other people were just exaggerations, but it was real.

The erroneous thing about these paragraphs is labeling the Filipino language as the language of the streets just because it is the common people who mostly use it. But what about the timeless literature written in this beautiful language? Or the OPM songs that still holds boundless power with their burning lyrics and melody?

Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language,derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols. 

Halfway through the article, I thought we're finally getting through the heart of the piece. That after whipping our dialect to pieces, he would then rebuild it again with patriotic messages that would make the language shine with beauty and grace. But then he followed it up with sentences that I think were both the best and the worst of the piece.

For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streetsIt might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.  
It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege.

Although I do not agree with the writer's sentiments that Filipino is the language of the streets, I do concur that it is, somehow, the language of the learned. 

"Ako Mismo" Photo by Yjanas
Now the painful part. My dear countrymen, let us admit it. How many subjects in the classroom are taught in Filipino? How many subpoenas and legal documents are written in Filipino? How about in the hospital or in any facets of the medical field? How do you translate Caesarian Section to Filipino anyway? What about Engineering terms? Chemistry? Math? Heck, even our educated senators in the senate were arguing recently on the use of the Filipino language during the RH Bill interpellation.

Before we charge at James Soriano with pitchforks and smoking ears while simultaneously proudly baring the patriotic stance, let us first look at the world around us. 

How many public signs in the metro can you spot written in Filipino? What about restaurant menus? Instruction manuals? If you call somebody using your cellphone and you could not contact them or inquire for your load balance, what language is the message in? If Google was set by default in Tagalog, can you actually find your way around without getting confused?

Lastly, how far can you go without speaking a single non-Filipino word in a day?

My point is this. The author may have carelessly labelled Filipino as the language of the streets and the unlearned but we, ourselves, have degraded the language into something undecipherable. Something that would have trouble standing on its own without foreign help. 

Globalization plans, proliferation of call centers training agents to have fake accents, the mentality that English equals Intelligence, Jejemon and text messaging culture have ripped off the glory from our national language. 

Though the article may have the tone and the content to rub people the wrong way, it delivers a semblance of truth most citizens would not dare swallow. I guess until we learn to open our eyes to the facts and do something about it, our own language would still continue on being the second best and indefinite.

And so will our identity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Information on methods and procedure of payment of application fee of the Nursing & Midwifery Council specifically for those living outside Europe.

Payment Information 
By Cheque
If you have a UK bank account, make your cheque payable to the NMC, mark "Account payee only" (if not already printed on the cheque) and write your name, address and NMC application number on the reverse. Do not post-date cheques as we are unable to accept them. 
By Bankers Draft
Make the draft payable to the NMC, and write your name, address and NMC application number on the reverse 
IF you have a credit or debit card you may pay by contacting our advice centre on 020 7333 9333 and paying the required fee over the phone.
Source: NMC Application Pack 1 

Using a IDD capable landline or a cellphone (if prepaid, make sure it has sufficient load) dial 00 44 20 7333 9333. A recorded voice will answer stating that payment of fees can now be made online via NMC's website. If you still want to pay via phone, then stay on the line. 

Payment by credit or debit card via phone:

Make sure to have your PRN number and credit card details ready. If using borrowed card, the owner of the card will be the one asked to supply the card information.

Payment by credit or debit card online: (easier)

Go to their online payments page: , enter requested information and you're done. A confirmation email / receipt will be sent to the email address that you have provided. 

NMC Pack 1

Nursing & Midwifery Council
23 Portland Place, London W1B 1PZ
NMC Call Center: 0207 333 6600

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mideo Cruz's artwork at the CCP has incited the latest war between the wrinkled perspective of the conservative Catholic church and the new-age mentality of a secularism and freedom. 

It seems like, these days, the CBCP is against any kind of liberty may it be of choice or expression. But then, what can we expect from people who live their lives stringently following a book written thousands of years ago and thinks of their own opinion as the voice of a higher being?

Many people were insulted, to the point of throwing threats of eternal damnation and even committing vandalism. Honestly, I would like to think that God was more disappointed with these kind of actions than the artwork itself.

Because, if you come to think of it, God is an all-knowing omnipotent being who created the entire universe. Why would he care about some tiny mortal speck in the galaxy who happened to "deface" what humans believe is his image?

For the record, I think the art is tasteless albeit courageous in its own way in trying to paint a picture of our society. It could be presented with less disturbing aesthetics, I think, but then who am I to dictate what an artist should and should not do?

I would understand the rage and the need for censorship if the artwork was publicly displayed in EDSA like those billboards of half-naked beautiful people. I would actually agree for it to be taken down if that were the case. The difference between EDSA and the CCP is that the former is a public place, where thousands of people pass without restrictions, including innocent children and unsuspecting pedestrians while the latter is... well, can you remember the last time you went to the CCP to look at artwork?

The point is this, people who went to the CCP and had the chance to set their eyes on the controversial images know what they were in for. This is precisely the reason for ratings in movies, so that one would enter the theater expecting to see or not to see explicit material.

The freedom of expression of holding the exhibit inside the confines of the CCP cannot be compared to the erroneous freedom of a man who wants to run naked in the middle of Intramuros. Let us remember, the exhibit is not some scandalous commotion in the middle of Quiapo that would rob people of their right to worship in peace without seeing disturbing material on their way to the confessional booths. It is actually tucked inside the haven of an artists' center and available only to those who are willing to see it. 

This is precisely what I see wrong in CBCP's almighty appeal to close down the CCP. One person's freedom ends where another person's freedom begins. Mideo Cruz has the freedom to create artworks such as these and I have the freedom to view it with my own eyes or not. Where is the evil in that?

And since we're on the topic of "blasphemous" material that would bring forth God's wrath and Satan's incinerating tongues of everlasting flame, I think I found more "insulting" material on YouTube. 

CBCP, I dare you to sue and the creators of these videos. They've certainly insulted this country's fine sensitivities with regards to the pious image of our dear Jesus Christ, far more than a crucifix with condom or a penis ashtray could, don't you think?

10. Songbird (Santana)
Episode: Rumors

There's something about Santana's voice that is just breathtaking in this rendition of an old, almost never-before-heard song that this generation certainly doesn't know. Her heartfelt performance and superb tone just brings me chills.

9. Thriller / Heads Will Roll (New Directions)
Episode: The Sue Sylvester Shuffle

I didn't really like this episode because not only did the plot felt forced but it was obvious that everything was written so it could wrap itself up to the climax of this performance. That said, it was still a great and energetic glee version of a decade's anthem.

8. Last Christmas (Rachel and Finn)
Episode: A Very Glee Christmas 

As much as I find the whole Rachel and Finn love arc quite boring and devoid of any kind of chemistry, this holiday duet brings fond memories of Christmas trees, food and presents every time I hear it play. Also, I love how the intro just screams Glee.

7. Get It Right (Rachel Berry)
Episode: Original Song

Of all the original tunes Glee managed to create, I think this one was the best.

6. Start Me Up / Livin' On A Prayer (New Directions)
Episode: Never Been Kissed

Just kick ass. 'Nuff said.

5. Toxic (New Directions)
Episode: Britney / Brittany

It is in these kind of moments when I appreciate the covers Glee does to previously popular tunes. Remaking pink and fluffy pop song into something that could pass up as Jazz (complete with an equally awesome choreography) reminds me that not all remakes are complete waste of talent.

4. I Feel Pretty / Unpretty (Rachel and Quinn)
Episode: Born This Way

Of all the mash-ups Glee has done in its two seasons, this, I think is the best and the one most people can relate to. 

3. Teenage Dream (Warblers)
Episode: Never Been Kissed

Darren Criss a.k.a. Harry freakin' Potter. Having to explain the sheer epicness of this song is insulting.

2. Rolling in the Deep (Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James)
Episode: Prom Queen

Adele song + a capella + Lea Michelle + Jonathan Groff  = Too beautiful for words.

1. Born This Way (New Directions)
Episode: Born This Way

I loved this video because of the message it brings to the world. I think the t-shirt labels are fantastic idea. Now, if only we could have local celebrities do a number like this, I think the world will be a less judgmental and more confident place.

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