Thursday, December 16, 2004


For the second (or third) time in a span of six months, I beheld the news of a woman climbing atop a huge billboard and threatening to jump because those whom she sought help from turned a deaf ear to her pleas.
It might be the fad of the moment, that billboards, aside from being mediums for endorsement, also became the medium for a personal public outcry. Indeed, it is a very effective attention grabber. Climb atop a billboard threatening to end your life will ensure your 15 minutes of fame. Law enforcement and media will immediately come to your "aid."

But sad to say, it should have not come to that. The latest story is a mother trying desperately to find her daughter who was spirited away by her allegedly abusive father. The woman who climbed a huge billboard at a train station in the metropolis reached as far as Pampanga, will the littlest of resources, in her vain search. She sought the help of the police and media. And what did she allege: that the police laughed at her and the media ignored her. I can only infer as to her state of mind then. There she was, hungry for lack of food, tired from a continous four-day search, at her rope's end, sought the help of those who should have helped her - or at least listened seriously to her cries, yet was rediculed and ignored.

Maybe if I were at her shoes, desperate to find a child most dearly loved, then ignored when I cried for help, maybe I would also climb that billboard; only so that I can get the seriuos attention I then need. Maybe sometimes what people need is just a listening ear and a little empathy for their pleas. It is just sad that these people had to climb atop a billboard ad to get that needed attention that they so desparately need.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The death of "Da King"

It is with great surprise that I found myself affected with the sudden demise of this contemporary Filipino icon who could have been President. It is not a surprise, however, that the people who have been touched by this man, individually, personally, or through his screen personage, grieve because of his death - grieving as if a family member died. Few men or women could share in such adulation.

He was the perennial action star. He was for most Filipino not just a reel but a real hero. It came to a point in his carreer that his character must not die in any of his films or else moviegoers will riot inside the theater. It came to a point in his carreer that a film viewer would literally draw his gun to shoot at the character projected on the screen that is about to "shoot" his idol. Such was the impact of this man. Bit players, stage hands, movie crew and personnel attests to his kindness and genorosity. More than a handful individuals were personally touched by this man; most of them having that faded photograph of themselves beside their idol. Such memento is treasured more that most material possession.

Throngs literally cried and not a few came from far away places and spent a considerable sum just to see his embalmed remains. As family, friends, and fans confess that they still cannot believe him dead, I found myself in empathy with them. Somehow, at the back of my mind, where hopeless hopes reside, I believe him not dead, that all this is a dream and at the end of this all, just before the credits are to be shown, he will rise up and proclaim himself alive.

Alas that cannot be so. I bid farewell to "Da King."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Pag-asa-a (with apologies to Ms. Tomas)

The Philippines weather bureau, PAGASA ("hope" in English), has been notorious in mispredicting the weather. When they say that it will rain, you can bet that it will not. When they say that the sun's going to shine, especially during the rainy season, best to bring your umbrella. The good thing is that, since the PAGASA has gained that notoriety, one can still reasonably project the weather, just do the reverse.

Now this is the clincher.

The Department of Education normally uses PAGASA storm warning signals to declare whether or not classes in different levels should be posponed due to inclement weather. Sometimes the President also relies on PAGASA storm warning signals to suspend work in government offices. Now when these two coincides, (PAG-ASA declaring a storm signal of 2 and above and the DepED and/or the Government issue cancellation of classes and suspension of work), leave your umbrellas and raincoats behind and have a picnic, stroll, or just head for the mall.