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mother earth

a happy day to the one and only, mother earth!

p.s. you gotta hand it to her, she’s been around, nurturing us and giving every bit of herself to us for about 4.5 billion years now… grabe, winner!


more days.

i’ve been telling my friends for a few years now that this is one of the best-made lyrics ever. it talks about love of country (and perhaps of another person) but not just any ordinary love…

it is the kind of love that sees beauty in every way. the kind that endures. the kind that makes one free. the kind of love that conquers all but is ultimately conquered back.

lupang hinirang

bayang magiliw
perlas ng silanganan,
alab ng puso
sa dibdib mo’y buhay.

lupang hinirang,
duyan ka ng magiting,
sa manlulupig,
‘di ka pasisiil.

sa dagat at bundok,
sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
may dilag ang tula at awit
sa paglayang minamahal.

ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
tagumpay na nagniningning,
ang bituin at araw niya
kailan pa ma’y ‘di magdidilim.

lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
aming ligaya, na ‘pag may mang-aapi
ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo.

FYI¹. the philippine national anthem is from the poem “filipinas” written in spanish by josé palma in august of 1899. the music was done by julian felipe. the official translation which is in use today and made familiar to all of us was by felipe padilla de leon.

FYI². usage and legal regulation… yes, there is a ‘legal’ way of singing our national anthem. (this bit is taken mostly from wikipedia)

article XVI, section 2 of the present philippine constitution specifies that “the congress may, by law, adopt a new name for the country, a national anthem, or a national seal, which shall be truly reflective and symbolic of the ideals, history, and traditions of the people. such law shall take effect only upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum.”

at present, the 1998 republic act 8491 (the flag and heraldic code of the philippines) regulates the usage of the philippine national anthem. it also contains the complete lyrics of lupang hinirang.

RA 8491 specifies that lupang hinirang “shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of julian felipe.” however, when literally followed, this means that the national anthem should only be performed by a pianist or by a brass band, as these were the only versions that were produced by julian felipe. moreover, because the original version was composed in duple time (i.e. in a time signature of 2/4) as compared to the present quadruple time (4/4), it is uncertain if this will either slow down or even double the music’s speed, making it difficult for singers to keep up with the music. regardless of this, the national anthem is still sung with the lyrics. RA 8491 also states that lupang hinirang “shall always be sung in the national language” regardless if performed inside or outside the Philippines, and specifies that the singing must be done with fervor.

the national anthem is usually played during public gatherings in the philippines or in foreign countries where the filipino audience is sizable. RA 8491 also provides that it be played at other occasions as may be allowed by the national historical institute. RA 8491 prohibits its playing or singing for mere recreation, amusement, or entertainment except during the following occasions:

  1. international competitions where the philippines is the host or has a representative;
  2. local competitions;
  3. during the “signing off” and “signing on” of radio broadcasting and television stations; and
  4. before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theater performances.

RA 8491 specifies fine or imprisonment penalties for any person or juridical entity which violates its provisions. public or government official or employee who fail to observe the regulations of RA 8491 may face administrative sanctions, besides the penalties imposed by the same law. this warning also applies to persons connected with government-held corporations, public schools, and state colleges and universities.

so the next time you sing it, be careful. or better yet, sing with fervor. sing from the heart. you can never go wrong.

havaianas season 2008 dark brown

enough said.

i’m having a major dilemma over something really stupid. should i purchase a pair of havaianas (you know, the rubber slippers!) here or should i just wait ’til i get to brazil and buy them there? after all, they are made in são paulo where i will be a couple of weeks or so from today.

i don’t own a pair and i never thought i’d be compelled to buy one. i told myself that they were too “mainstream”. everybody owns a bloody pair so i made a pact with myself not to join the bandwagon.

when the havaianas trend started in the philippines, i bought a pair of blue nike slippers instead. its price was twice that of a better-than-basic pair of havaianas. that’s extremely expensive for a mere pair of rubber flip-flops. they only lasted for a little over six months. then the straps started disintegrating. ok, fine. they didn’t disintegrate but they did snap. and gone were my pricey blue nike slippers.

enter my favorite über-ordinary ‘spartan’ slippers which i purchased for 30 pesos from a local sari-sari in siargao two years ago. but they too have given up on me.

so when i went to mindoro in november of 2007, i asked my friend misael to buy me another pair of slippers. she did. she got me a pair of ‘hawaianas’ for 42 pesos. i could very well just choose to bring this pair with me to brazil. i don’t mind, actually. but the customs officers might. i’ve heard enough horror stories about people being held captive in foreign customs offices for toting fake LVs. creepy.

so perhaps it’s time to start caving in, flaking out and succumbing to the trend — something i promised myself i’d never do.


a week and a half ago, lottie and i ran some errands and so i had to drive all over town. we passed through cogon market and we were surprised to see people lining up towards a certain store. they were there for nfa rice, i was sure. the queue was definitely more than 200 meters long. with an average of 3 persons to a meter, that’s 600 persons easy!

after all our chores were done, we headed to la cabana to reward ourselves with a nice massage. as luck would have it, traffic was so heavy that i had to go around agora just to get to la cabana. we passed through the market and the same long line struck us as we circled the block. old people with kids along their side, young fair skinned girls talking to each other, dark muscled men sporting their paunches, 12-year olds toting their plastic bags… all of them lining up for that precious commodity. rice.

i personally don’t have a problem with rice. i’m not a big rice fan. but i can eat rice when i want to. it’s on the table during breakfast. it’s there again at lunch. we have it for dinner as well. that is, when we’re not eating spaghetti, bruschetta or some other italian dish. no, i do not have a problem with rice.

my dilemma arises because i think my beverly might have a problem with this rice ‘non-problem’.

let me digress a little. i say ‘non-problem’ because while we’re in a huge food crisis now and there’s a looming rice shortage, the government chooses not to admit having one. the prices have skyrocketed to unbelievable heights. and still, the secretary of the department of agriculture would have us think it’s business-as-usual. it is a ‘non-problem’, riiiiight?

moving on, i suppose this so-called ‘non-problem’ might actually be a problem to beverly and her relatives, especially to baby viva who has just recently started eating rice. you see, they love rice. the entire clan can finish two kilos a day. grace, our trusty househelp, is tasked to ensure there is enough supply of nfa rice for them. so grace lines up almost everyday at carmen market to meet the two-kilos-a-day quota for bev, viv and the rest.

now, if bev has a problem, i have a problem. i love my beverly. it makes me think though… does my love for bev come before the need of the rest of my fellowmen-and-women? does bev take precedence over the hordes of people lining up in cogon, carmen and agora markets?

tough choice. but in a perfect country with a perfect president who pursues perfect policies, i wouldn’t even have to choose between bev and the rest of the people. after all, food is such a basic commodity that it should not even be a choice. it’s a way to survive.

elissa said 21 sleeps before GG…


21 sleeps…

504 1/24ths…

30240 clock ticks…


tick tock tick tock.



i’m at the end of my rope.

i think that i’m done now.

if this was a contest, you win.

and i concede.


i tried to befriend you,

tame you,

scare you,

overcome you,

forget you,

understand you.

but still, i have never even come close…

close enough to touch you

and be one with you.


you are bigger than i am.

you win.



april 7, 2008

8:57 p.m.


kfc, lim ket kai




most of the fish are dead. i think. i knew it wasn’t such a good idea to have fish for pets. especially not that many in one tiny bowl. at least the bowl is now in the sala. it used to be weird seeing it on the dining table. i mean, really, how fun is it to have your supper, composed of rice, fried fish, tomatoes and ginamos (or salted/fermented fish fry and anchovies), with the fish bowl right in front of you? geez. some sick sense of humor you got there.


i had dinner with rina, ravi and tia last night. it was fun. i’ve been wanting to hang out with rina for some time now for the simple reason that we’re both in the same place and we’ve both been here for quite some time yet we never see each other. and i felt that the “bonding time” had to be made on purpose. you know what i mean? bumping into each other at the grocery does not count. neither does seeing each other only during occasions.

so finally, we were able to go out, have dinner and talk. nice.

**now i can cross that off my imaginary to-do list (#27 hang out with a college barkada based in cagayan de oro a.k.a. rina). but then again, perhaps it shouldn’t be a one-time deal. perhaps i should keep it on my imaginary recurring-tasks list. gawd. it shouldn’t be a task. how complicated. life wasn’t this complicated in college. much less, in high school. we didn’t make appointments to bond. hell, we didn’t make appointments to have fun. oh well.

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

on march 29th, for exactly one hour, the world celebrated earth hour.

earth hour, a project spearheaded by the world wildlife fund (wwf), started with a question — how can we inspire people to take action on climate change?

the answer was an overwhelming response from over 2.2 million sydney residents and over 2,100 business in sydney, australia who turned off their lights on March 31, 2007 for one hour. just one hour. earth hour.

with sydney icons like the harbour bridge and the opera house turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. this was a powerful statement against the greatest contributor to global warming — coal-fired electricity. It led to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city.

inspired by the collective effort of millions of sydney residents, the rest of the world joined earth hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

hence, on march 29, 2008, over 24 global cities participated in earth hour from 8 to 9pm. Manila and more than 30 cities nationwide joined the world for earth hour. it is rather unfortunate that cagayan de oro is not among those on the list, but across the archipelago, filipinos switched off their lights for earth hour. malls, museums, offices, monuments, households and streets were plunged into darkness. even the presidential palace of malacañang switched off. dozens of big corporations, such as the sm group, the ayala group, fastfood chains like jollibee and mcdonald’s, smart, globe, and many more, also pitched in.

the switch-off was even supported by local governments including those in pasay, manila, makati and parañaque. earth hour was highly publicized and covered by the local and international media. thousands of articles on earth hour are strewn all over the world wide web.

i, too, joined earth hour. i was 20 minutes late though. i was only able to start at 8:20 because a few hours before, the supreme court released the names of the new lawyers who hurdled the bar exams. i got lost in the list and forgot all about the time. when i realized that it was already earth hour time, i was frantic! i hurriedly shut down the computer and turned off all the lights. i was in such a rush that our househelp Grace, who was the only one in the house with me, thought i had gone crazy.

Then she realized it was the earth hour that was reported in the news. she said, “aw, apil diay ka ana? abi ko sa tv ra na.” because i started 20 minutes late, i felt that i had to make up for it and end 20 minutes later than 9pm. i didn’t want to cheat on the number of minutes because that would have been a cop-out. besides, the idea of earth-40-minutes didn’t appeal much to me.

in the darkness, with only three candles burning, i not only lessened my carbon footprints, i also learned some valuable insights.

first — while turning the lights off for earth hour is a great and noble first step, if we really want to see a difference then we should make earth hour part of our everyday life.

simple things like turning off our lights and appliances while not in use will help us reach our goal of reducing our annual emissions by 5%. There are other suggestions for households too, like switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, using less hot water, and contacting your electricity provider, in our case cepalco, and asking them to switch to green power — a cleaner, more renewable form of energy that does not contribute to global warming.

with the lights turned off, and i was sitting in our sala while grace was seated across me, i could hear different sounds like crickets chirping,dogs barking and cars passing through the highway. amidst the chorus of chirps, barks and honks, grace popped the question which i was avoiding -the “why” question. she asked in her sprightly voice, “para unsa man diay ni? kita man ko ani sa tv pero wala man ko kabalo para unsa ni uy.” I didn’t want to answer the question because i knew it would take up a lot of time but i felt obliged to do so. after all, i thought to myself, it wouldn’t be earth hour if i evaded talking about the earth and its problems.

and so i explained. i had to go as far back as how electricity is made, particularly electricity from coal-fired power plants. she was nodding so i gather she understood. i told her i’d lend her reading materials so she would understand better. But she replied at once without batting an eyelash, “kanang bisaya ha. ayaw nang english uy kay di gyapon ko kasabot.

Hence, the second thing i realized from this experience — that not everyone knows the problems of climate change and global warming. further, not everyone cares about these things. i don’t know which is worse — not caring or not knowing. either way, they both seemed equally alarming to me. i felt that if we really want projects like earth hour to work, it would have to be understood and felt by grace and every other person who outrightly dismisses ideas they hear of or see on tv because they do not think this has any relevance to their daily grind. i thought, perhaps it might be a good idea to translate al gore’s an inconvenient truth to bisaya. and maybe a komiks can be made out of it.

in the darkness, with only three candles burning, i made a mental note to make these my future projects.

after grace told me she couldn’t read and understand english that well, i was prompted to ask her what year she was able to finish in high school. “second year,” she replied. grace has been with us for almost a couple of months now. yet, i’ve never really found time to get to know her better. that night, i discovered that she’s only 23 but she already has a 6 year-old. her child is in siquijor where she is originally from because the parents of the father refuse to give her custody. she once worked at angel chaves complex selling dvd players for a taiwanese businessman. i tell you, she can pick the good dvd players from the lemons and even tell you their wholesale prices.

this leads me to my last point — taking an active role in something, no matter how big or small, may not only teach us about the relevant stuff, it will also give us little pleasant surprises — like being able to hear the crickets chirp, getting the chance to play with melted wax from the burning candles and having an opportunity to get to know another person better.

on march 29, 2008, for exactly one hour, i joined the world in celebration of earth hour.

and in the darkness with only three candles burning, i became more enlightened, i became more purposeful, i became more human.

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April 2008
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