Monday, October 23, 2006

no human being is illegal; images of civil society protest action in NYC

Human rights activists in NYC joined our rally.
More than a dozen police cars lined up outside the UN Headquarters
in anticipation of our protest action.

The United Nations Headquarter in NYC. It's in First Street. Our group gathered in a plaza across the UN to protest migration policies across the globe.
Isabel, a Latina from New Mexico, putting up the great MFA quilt.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

billboards and bollywood on broadway

two bollywood bombshells strutting their stuff on broadway.

when i read the readers' digest report that NYC people are one of the most polite in the whole world I could not believe it because of all the things i see in movies and read in all the news. everytime NYC comes to mind i think of muggers but the reader's digest story was correct, at least based on my encouters with the locals. i was lost several times in the subway and the people are very helpful and accommodating. i guess they're afraid i'm one of the suicide bombers so they were forced to help me out haha

billboards galore on broadway. good thing they do'nt have tropical typhoons there or else MMDA will smash 'em to bits.

my NYC trip (central park west and broadway)

remember the color purple? it's now a musical on broadway. the ubiquitous oprah produces this musical based on the pulitzer-prized winning book. shot this pic at the corner of 53rd and broadway. that meant i walked for ten blocks from YMCA West!

P.Diddy in the house! Billboards in Broadway.

West side of Central Park. Remember Kate and Leopold. You'd see a lot of horse-drawn carriages, T-shirt hawkers, and tons of homeless people. Guess what? QMC Park is way cleaner.

CNN Center in NYC. It's about 5 minute-walk from YMCA West in 63rd Street where I stayed for 8 days last September 2006.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

citizens of hemp republic (scenes of decadence in xaymaca)

hell's belles: mabster, gen, bernice

too much ganja is bad for your health: diego and gus

gimme! gimme! gimme the ganja! (bernice and twisted man)

guess why they're smiling: mabster and tatcee

here comes your (boogey) man

laban?!!! very 80s. hahahaha

jao shall not have other gods before me

Monday, August 28, 2006

save guimaras, sign the petition

It has been more than three weeks now since a tanker chartered by Petron sank off the waters of Guimaras. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the threat of habitat degradation is very high. However, until today the resulting oil spill has yet to be contained. The spokesperson of Petron was even quoted as saying that the oil company can not be held liable for the oil spill. It said that it has no legal obligation to do so. This is truly disgusting! Petron must and should be held accountable for this environmental disaster. Petron should exert all its resources to contain the oil slick and repair the damage it caused to the environment.

Meanwhile, what is the Philippine government doing? According to reports, Gloria is visiting Guimaras to check that tourist spots in the area is not affected by the oil spill! Instead of ordering Petron to do its part in the clean up and meeting with the government agencies to coordinate its efforts she is planning to stay in a resort and meet with the resort owners. What an ass?!!

The spill has already affected the lives of the people of Guimaras whose survival and only means of livelihood depends upon the waters of Guimaras. The government and Petron must act now. Please sign the petition now.

Monday, July 31, 2006

street scenes in Singapore

wow mali!

people everywhere!

shopping! shopping! shopping in bugis street. every effing item is made in china!

Chinese street musicians in Singapore

Me cast in bronze!

Shops galore in Little India

Little India at night

Friday, July 28, 2006

artsy fartsy in singapore

i arrived in singapore on the 24 of June 2006 and went straight to waterloo hostel. my heart sank when i arrived at the hostel; it was freakin awful. oyie's comment was the most appropriate: it was the looooowest of the low! the whole place stinks! the only good thing about it is its location. it's a few steps away from the singapore art museum and other art galleries.

At the courtyard of SAM. At the end of your tour you'll see the above concrete sign. According to the brochure, SAM was formerly a school called St. Joseph Institution, which was founded in 1852. It was founded by 6 La Salle brothers. When the school relocated in 1987, it was declared as a national monument and restoration began in 1992. In 1996, the museum opened. Filipino creativity was showcased in SAM in the exhibition titled 'Of Tides and Times.' Featured Pinoy artists are Tony Leano (Urban Cosmetics), Neil Manalo (The Accuser Suddenly Intervened), Neil Doloricon (Ang Bagong Kilusan ng Paggawa, Contradiction, Rape of Sovereignty, Tutubing Bakal), Pablo Ben Santos (Bagong Kristo), Lazaro Soriano (Maria ng Banahaw), Onib Olmedo (Beauty Parlor and Song from the Alley), and Agnes Arellano's Three Buddha Mothers.

SAM at night. I was fortunate to view the Fiction @ love exhibition which tells how popular culture like comics, graphic design, animation, manga and anime influence modern art. It was surreal. I'm not an art critic but I loved Jimmy's Smiling Fish and Missing My Cat (Taiwan) and Claire Lim's Hidden Ghost (Singapore). Sayang, can't take pics.

art sa bangketa!

this is a former presbyterian church turned into an art gallery

another art gallery featuring aussie artists

sing's premier art venue: esplanade. thirty-minute walk from my hotel. boy, it was a looong walk but it's worth it.

lobby of esplanade

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stop Israeli agression in Lebanon now!

The war in Lebanon between the Israeli government and the armed militias of Hezbollah is raging. It is getting worse by the day. Latest reports say that Israel now expanded its operations on the ground in Lebanon and has thousands of troops across the border. This is a sign that Israel is not backing down despite the pressures from the international civil society to cease its agression. The United States, the only country in the world that has the power to influence Israel, is sticking to its position that the Jewish state has the right to defend itself notwithstanding the fact that it is killing innocent civilians. It vetoed the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. This is like granting Israel the 'diplomatic license' to kill.

The conflict, which was prompted by the capture of three Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hezbollah, is truly deplorable especially with the unjust and disproportionate reaction of the Israeli authorities who bombarded Lebanon everyday with complete disregard to the lives of innocent civilians. Various reports estimate that more than 300 people are now killed in Lebanon due to the constant air strikes by Israeli security forces while scores of Israeli citizens are hurt and several people killed by Hezbolla rockets fired to Northern Israel. The Jewish State, in its effort to force the Hezbollah militants to release the soldiers, also held hostage the entire Lebanese population through land and sea incursion with tanks, gunboats and planes across the Lebanese border and by destroying bridges, schools, mosques, power and water supplies which have no obvious military use. This is clearly a violation of the Geneva Conventions and other international laws.

If the crisis in Lebanon continues, I am afraid that it will escalate into an international war. As of this moment, the Arab countries are agitated. They can not wait in the sidelines as hundreds of their brothers, sisters and children are being slaughtered everyday. Already, thousands of Muslims across the world are holding protest actions calling for a pan-Arab action against Israel. If they do strike against Israel, the US will surely take a stand and defend the Jewish state. An immediate ceasefire is clearly the best option right now.

If you believe that Israel should stop its attacks against Lebanon please send an email protest to the Embassy of Israel in Manila. (Photo from Beirut Lemons)

Below is a statement I wrote for Migrant Forum in Asia on this crisis:

MFA calls for ceasefire in Lebanon; chides Asian governments for not acting fast on repatriating their citizens

Migrant Forum in Asia, a regional network of more than 260 member-organisations, expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. We lament the escalating violence committed by the Israeli government and the armed militias of Hezbollah and Hamas against the civilian population of Lebanon and Israel including the thousands of Asian migrant workers in those countries.

MFA condemns in the strongest terms the actions of Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas. Terrorism, in any kind and form, is barbaric, heinous and completely unacceptable. The potential humanitarian crisis is catastrophic if the crisis escalates further. The United Nations (UN) believes that more than 500,000 Lebanese are now internally displaced and scattered in various refugee camps along the borders of Lebanon. All freedom-loving governments and organisations must act now to stop this nonsensical show of brute of might. MFA calls on the UN to call for an immediate ceasefire and show the whole world that it will not be intimidated by a superpower whose ‘low-key’ response to the crisis is fuelling Israel’s frenzied and vicious attacks on its neighbours. Continuing apathy and inaction of the international community give Israel the ‘diplomatic license’ to continue its destruction of Lebanon. The UN, through the Security Council, must not allow this to go on. It should, likewise, reinforce security in the region by deploying a multinational peacekeeping force along the Israeli and Lebanese border. It must push for sanctions for all those who are responsible for this conflict.

The collective punishment of the people of Lebanon by Israel affects the more than 200,000 migrant workers from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and from countries in the Northern African region. Thousands of migrant workers who wish to return to their respective countries are now trapped in the deadly pit that is Lebanon. We are worried over reports that many domestic migrant workers are left behind by their employers who also took their passports. Many of them are left with no money, food and shelter. We must bear in mind that these migrant workers helped in the reconstruction of Lebanon after the devastating civil war years ago. They surely do not deserve to be treated as commodities only to be abandoned when their services are no longer necessary.

We are also appalled by the slow response of the governments of migrant sending countries to the plight of their people. We cannot understand the delay in the immediate evacuation of those who are willing to leave. After propping up their economies with billions of dollars in remittances the least these countries can do is to ensure the safety of their nationals during crisis such as this. Conflicts do happen and the Asian governments should have seen this one and established an early warning mechanism that will help the migrant workers. As in the 1990 Gulf War and US-led occupation of Iraq, the sending countries seem to be always at a lost on what to do to evacuate their citizens. While it is true that some of the sending countries lack financial resources, there are charitable institutions that can be tapped for assistance such as the International Organization for Migration and the International Red Cross and Crescent.

This recent conflict underscores the need for a quick-response mechanism to protect the rights and livelihoods of migrant workers. MFA recommends that relevant international organisations such as the IOM, Red Cross, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to work with the governments of sending countries and formulate measures that will ensure that the migrant workers are protected from harm and can be evacuated immediately during periods of upheavals and conflicts.

Migrant Forum in
59-B Malumanay Street

Teachers Village
, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel (632) 4333508

July 20, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

happy independence day

photo from manila standard


Friday, June 02, 2006

parokya's children of the damned

I've been to hell and back.

Yes. It is true. Now I know what hell looks like. It is full of sweat-drenched, rowdy ten-year olds and their bewildered parents who are cursed to accompany them to the eternal fires of Hades. And no, Satan is not the overlord of hell. The one who truly is in command is a wafer-thin guy named Chito. Yes, Chito Miranda of Parokya ni Edgar is the one and only Lucifer, Beelzebub or Mephistopheles. He is the Angel of Darkness.

I had an omen earlier that day. My alarm clock slash radio woke me up with Parokya’s irritatingly famous song titled ‘Mang Jose.’ I dragged my bloated body to the shower where I was followed by Chito’s croaking voice. I headed back to my room then smashed the blasted alarm clock slash radio against the wall.

Ok, I admit it. There was a time I enjoyed listening to Parokya. I found them hilarious. Their music was fun. But I can not listen to crap all the time. I guess I just grew up and they didn’t. Try listening to ‘picha pie’ and not pop a vein in your forehead. I heard once that a guy was shot in the face for singing ‘chikinini’ in a karaoke bar. Yes, listening to Parokya can turn you into a homicidal maniac.

Anyway, I was led into the gates of hell by my eagerness to please a Bangladeshi visitor from a non-profit organization based in KL. Tatcee, Mabster and I just wanted to treat this guy to dinner but were forced to meet Iryn in Conspiracy. Guess who was the featured performer that night? Correct! It was Parokya.

And so my torment began.

We arrived at around 9 in the evening. There were just a few people around. I did not plan to stay long but then the Bangladeshi became interested in seeing the band perform. He said that he never get to watch bands in Malaysia. So I decided to stay put and concentrated on getting myself drunk.

Hell's Belle: Beware, she might put you under her spell

Thirty minutes later, I was slurring my words. I stood up, went to the john and slammed the door shut. That was a big mistake. I didn’t know that the darned lock of the door was broken and I was locked inside. Good thing I had my phone with me. I called Tatcee to open the door from her side but she couldn’t. So she asked one of the waiters to get the keys. All eyes were on me when I went out of the men's room ten minutes later. I could hear giggles and stifled laughter. That was the time when I noticed that the bar was suddenly filled with all these kids. Almost fifty percent of the crowd was below 15 years old. And they had their parents with them. Whatthefuck! Was I in a bar or what?

Those kids were running and fooling around like they were in a playground or something. It was chaotic. One parent threatened an obese twelve-year old who was blocking his son’s view of the stage. Pandemonium engulfed the crowd when Parokya arrived and started to mount the stage. It was if the kids were suddenly possessed by malevolent spirits. I noticed the symptoms immediately: eyes rolling, excessive swearing, pulling of one’s hair, uncontrolled fits, and horrible body odors. I was tempted to conduct a mass exorcism but I didn’t bring my bottle of holy whisky, err, water. So I just went back to guzzling all the beer in front of me. But my attention was again caught by their low, murmuring voices. They were chanting something I couldn’t understand. I was suddenly gripped by fear! Was this the part of the satanic ritual where they would offer virgins to the altar? But I am no virgin! The susurrant voices continued. I could not comprehend what they were saying. Perhaps, it was a secret mantra in Latin or Hebrew. No, it sounded like they were chanting something in English. They kept repeating ‘papacolon’ over and over again. The murmurs grew louder and louder. Then, I noticed malefic activities inside the bar! Chairs were flying. The tables were moving. I thought I even saw one boy levitating. These were clear signs of diabolic infestation!

The Dark Prince and his minions!

I ran away as fast as I could and screamed. The only thing in my mind that time was to escape from that place. I’ve read somewhere that proximity to evil persons and places can cause someone to become possessed. Tatcee, Mabster and the Bangladeshi guy ran after me. They caught me just outside the bar. They grabbed me by my shoulder and shook me hard. I looked at their red eyes and knew that they were now minions of the Dark Lord. I tried to scream again but instead loads of purplish-green vomit escaped from my mouth then I passed out. The next day I woke up with a major hangover. Merde.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Vinci Code is bad for your health

You listened to the nonsensical debate over whether it should be shown. You laughed at the congressman cum pastor who said that the movie was the work of Satan. By the way, he looked like a rabid dog on TV.

You read the early reviews which you hated. You told yourself that the critics don’t get it. “They just don’t get it,” you murmured to yourself.

You even bought a copy from your suking DVD vendor only to find out that it was the documentary and not the movie. You contemplated whether to return and throw the freaking copy at your suki’s face. You hesitated. He weighs 250 lbs and is taller than you by 3 inches. Besides, he is a member of the local syndicate and is known as the Berdugo ng Cotobato. Also, he looked really mean with that goatee which is 5 inches long. You felt weak.

Your friends sent you the text message with the supposed code in Tagalog which you forwarded to all the numbers in your address book. This made you miserable because you just wasted 250 pesos worth of load. You realized that your life is pathetic. You are PATHETIC. You derived pleasure from receiving and sending jokes via SMS.

You asked another friend to watch the movie with you. He declined. He said that he read the book and decided not to watch the movie. “Besides the movie is BAAAAAD,” he said. You told your friend that he is an idiot. “How can it be that bad when millions of people from around the world line up to watch the movie? It was the 12th Best Opening Day in Hollywood”, you screamed at your friend. He looked at you in the most condescending way and said: “Get a life, you freak.” You almost fell on your knees when you heard your friend uttered those words. You took double steps backward. “Why? I thought you were my friend,” you mumbled. You felt the horror of being nothing.

You ran away without looking back. You felt hot tears streaming down your face then something hit you. Scrreeeeech! Baaam! Blag! You heard people screaming. Your body ached terribly and the last thing you saw was the poster on the side of the bus that said: “Now showing: Da Vinci Code.” Before losing consciousness you muttered: “Tangina kasing hype yan eh.” Then you closed your eyes and there was nothing but darkness.

Friday, May 19, 2006

yes, i know i'm ancient! don't rub it in

What genre of rock are you?

Old school punk! You just say what you have to say regardless of what everyone else thinks! You're one of my most favourite types of music... You're raw and uncut! You're surrounded by hype...just don't let it make you go insane...
Take this quiz!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The path to dental salvation

"senri no michi mo ippo kara."

That's a japanese proverb which loosely translates as "a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."

This afternoon I took that big, single step to have that confidence, close-up confidence that is. The proverb came to my mind when I visited Mimi the dentist this afternoon. You see my friends and family have been constantly bugging me to visit the dentist and have my teeth fixed and cleaned. Well, overhauled is a more apt term I guess. Yes, I have a very bad set of gnashers! They’re so bad I haven’t had a date for centuries now. Sigh.

Smile you’re on candid camera! (Photo from the BBC)

The culprit for my dental misery: cigarette smoking and all those chemicals I got from drinking soda. Yes, nicotine and coke (the cola!) are weapons of mass destruction for our choppers!

According to Mimi, the carbonic acid from the soda weakens our teeth because it dissolves calcium. This makes it easier for bacteria to take up residence in our teeth. And they (the bacteria) will hole up in there until kingdom come unless you visit your dentist regularly. And I can’t even freakin remember the last time I paid a visit to a denstist.

But Grandmother! What big teeth you have," said Little Red Riding Hood. (Photo from Andrew Skolnick)

So there I was, cavities, tartar, halitosis and all, strapped to the dentist chair for 3 hours for my dental prophylaxis. Yes, it took that long because of all the dirt lodged in my teeth for the past hundred years. Man, it was like being sent down to hell to pay Lucifer a visit!

All I remember was that scritching sound when the dentist tried to rasp off all the tartars from my teeth. Scritch, scritch! Squeak, squeak! It’s like someone is drilling holes in my gums. I tried to escape from the clutches of the MAD dentist but she shoved me back to the chair and slapped me three times to make me unconscious. When I came back to life, the witch was not finished yet! And I could see that she was enjoying it! She was smiling the whole time. The bitch must be a dentist from Auschwitz!

She then barked at me to rinse off all that gross and foul things from my mouth. gargle gargle gargle. rinse rinse rinse. I almost spit all those junk to her face. That biatch! Hehehe.

Finally, after three torturous hours she led me away from the death chamber and handed me the bill. She then looked at me and gave her sweetest smile and told me to be back after a week so she can work on my lower teeth and have them fixed. Jesus Christ! I don’t think I’ll be back in that hellhole. But then this could be my only chance to pick up a date. Oh well.