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October 7, 2015

Bongbong Marcos for now declares he is vying for the vice-presidency.

He seems to be setting his sights too low; he should be taking a crack at the Presidency instead.  The competition on that level is relatively weak, indeed, he could be a shoo-in.  But so will it be for the top post in the coming months.

I am betting that Grace Poe, the survey top-runner, would be disqualified eventually, or if not, the vexatious uncertainty of her qualifications for the post would sooner or later be weighing down on her campaign.  Donors would be scrimping on donations and voters too would be looking for someone else, as the cases filed against her gain more traction and clarity.  Being an independent candidate is going to make it all the more difficult for her.  Would anyone truly hedge his best bet on someone who could be declared unqualified in the end?

In the case of Jejomar Binay, the long-drawn out offensive against him on graft and corruption is apparently taking its bite.   In fact, his survey numbers are on precipitous decline and signs are that financing is actually drying up due to the freezing of his assets.  Meanwhile, the threat of arrest due to corruption charges is looming large.  Also, lurking behind are issues of health.   If one pays a closer attention, that old confident swagger too is gone.   The future of his campaign is not looking good.

That should leave the field more hospitable for Mar Roxas, the administration candidate.  But, no, he remains a weak, hard-sell candidate.   Roxas, with all the resources of government backing him up, could not seem to find the right groove to get things going for him,  worse, scandals seem to bedevil his campaign trail.    His lousy track record as a government executive will hound him till the end, no doubt.  Besides, do the people really want another six years of hypocritical “Daang Matuwid” and arrant incompetence?

Of course, there’s also Rodrigo Duterte who can’t seem to make up his mind.  But his popularity is only in the South.

Realistically speaking, the field is still wide open.  Everything remains very fluid.  Alliances are yet being built like a game of musical chairs.  Political parties and groupings, especially the big ones, like the NP and NPC, have not made final commitments yet.  The big players and big donors have their cards close to their chests, like poker players, anxiously trying to figure out the game and their next moves. Timing is of the essence, of course.  If at all, the way things are shaping up is rather inscrutable, erratic, out of the blue.   This is an entirely new ball game, to be sure, with all the unpredictabillity.  Even now, no one seems to be in control or is having an upperhand.     Up to the last minute, Bongbong Marcos  could still jump into the fray for the top post instead.  If he does, the political configuration will change anew.

To be sure, after six years of incompetence, the need of the time is for a President with the executive skills to get things done.  Just as PNoy rose from obscurity in answer to the need for a moral leader as an anti-thesis to one considered awfully corrupt, the time is ripe for one who is competent, someone who could deliver, somebody who embodies the opposite.  Of the leading personalities floating about, Bongbong Marcos seems cut for the task.  He has a track record to vouch for that.

But where are the old pillars and guardians of the Marcos legacy?  For sure, they have gone separate ways since, battered and beaten.  But like that old instinct that must answer to a call because its time has come, it may rise again if summoned to the surface.  There too are the multitude of youth who now see the Marcoses in a different light who could provide the new invigorating force. There are the legions of Filipinos who want a vindication for Marcos. The once formidable Solid North could solidify once again as with other old Marcos bailiwicks.  The Ilocanos would vote as one once more.

He can win.

But then winning is one thing.  Being a good President is another.  Is he himself scared of the job?



October 5, 2015


October 2, 2015

Homobono Adaza,  one of the opposition leaders during the Marcos presidency,  in a piece about revolutions, confesses to a change of heart:

This is a footnote to history. In my last one and one with President Marcos in a wooden and rattan sofa on a passage way at the back of his office, this conversation took place:

President Marcos: “You know Pañero, you should join me for several reasons. First, we both graduated from the UP College of Law. Second, we both dream dreams for our country, Third, you are an ideologue and so am I.” Then, he paused after what seemed to be an eternity, and he continued, “And on top of that we are two of a kind.”

My reply was direct to the point: “I cannot join you, Mr. President, for two reasons. If I join you now what will people think of me – that you bought me. And if they think of me in those terms, I might as well resign as governor because then I no longer deserve my people. Besides, what will happen to your propaganda that democracy exists in the Philippines because of people like me? It will go down the drain. Moreover, there is no royal road to the Promised Land. You travel yours and I travel (mine). One day we will meet there.”

Reviewing the programs of Marcos and their implementation, I feel very deeply today that I should have joined President Ferdinand Marcos in his terminal years. I should have sacrificed my erroneous perception of the smudge in my honor and integrity if I joined him. I should have thought of the country first – even if in the interim some people would have thought ill of me by joining President Marcos.

But I am not God. Like any human being, no matter how brilliant and talented, I also commit mistakes. At least I am honest to admit my mistakes because I hate pretenses and pretenders of all kinds.

Maybe, if I joined him, the history of the country would have changed. But of course that’s a lot of speculations and speculations do not make history.


October 1, 2015

 You have to take notice.  When people are screaming their lungs out and getting hysterical like it is some rock concert of a top artist or a boxing match between Pacquiao and Mayweather, you have to take notice.   When the streets normally choked with traffic are suddenly clear because drivers are taking time out to watch it, all the more so.  I took first notice when it made the front page of Inquirer.   Hey, this must be different, I thought. Now, I may sound snobbish but Pinoy shows, more so involving cheesy showbiz love stories, do not normally get my attention.  Sure, I watch Eat Bulaga occasionally to entertain myself but that show does not qualify as a favorite.  You have to drag me down kicking and screaming to have anything to do with this sort of thing.  But because it made front page, well, I got curious, in a scholarly sort of way, if I may say.      I searched it on Youtube, watched some episodes to orient myself, then, in the spirit of fun and lighthearted exchange, I got me sharing this opinion:

Why do people love Aldub?  Because it caters to our human instinct for love. People are hooked by the sight of the pair who are obviously attracted to one another engaged in fanciful amorous play.  It is not acting, no faking it, it is real. That’s where the magic is coming from.  Who is it who said, all the world loves a lover.

Just my two-cent worth shared over Disqus.

Yet it is true, you could sense it when two people are smitten with each other, even from a distance.  You could sense it too if it’s all acting, no matter how good the actors are.   The genuineness and spontaneity of the act are probably what makes it all spark up…, the sparkle in the eyes, the smiles and giggles breaking out, the face turning red, that all-too-noticeable edginess …On screen, camera up close, those subtle yet unmistakable signs are magnified, there is no hiding it. No, the best of acting could not fake these.  It helps of course that the two protagonists make a beautiful pair, together a sight to behold.

Perhaps too, it is instinctive.  The couple are humans like the rest of us after all, so we feel it too, we relate, we connect in some sort of way, stirring a collective primal instinct for passion and romance, in turn creating a colossal mass of happy, agitated oglers/onlookers shrieking, screaming and all.   Indeed, we Filipinos are not known as hopeless romantics for nothing.

I wonder— is this not somehow equivalent to pornography: pornography is to sex,  AlDub is to Love?  If there such a thing as love voyeurism, this could be it.   And lucky we are for these ‘exhibitionists’ in our midst.

If the screams getting louder and the crowds getting even bigger are any measure, this one is a true social phenomenon.  It is top Twitter trending topic now, breaking records of sort.  It is now becoming a hot topic in discussion circles that even social scientists, experts, and academicians who normally would recoil from such a subject matter are joining the fray.   They are attempting to explain it in so many terms,  from so many perspectives,  employing tortured concepts and theories as varied as there are.

I think it is simply all about Love.  That crazy little thing called Love.


We all know about Love, of course, but talk about it on the intellectual level, we don’t. Love is never a cerebral issue meriting serious scholarly attention.   There are no theories about it comparable to, say, Einstein’s Relativity Theory, or Law of Thermodynamics or Moore’s Law. We do not dissect Love like we do the atoms or the molecules or the light particles.  There is no such a thing as  Science of Love.   We do not seek to know or understand how Love affects or influences anything at all, in the same way  we try to figure out how atoms behave or how chemicals mix to produce another compound or how a new policy could shape the social order.

Yet even by our own mere personal experience, we know Love to be such a powerful force, undefinable but powerful.  Heck, we know that power so well from at least one encounter in our lives especially during our younger years, when it possessed us and ruled our existence.    On a larger extent,  it is said that many a great, incredible feats of mankind are inspired by that power.

Needless to say, there are all kinds of Love.   There is that love between a man and a woman (like the Aldub couple),  there is parental love, love of country,  love of fellowmen…  But we all can agree that Love is indeed a great force all on its own.


If anything, Aldub is a timely reminder about the magnificent power of Love (never mind that intellectuals find it shallow for all the wacky inanities wrapped around it).  Love can do wonders not only between two people.  It does too in other ways in other aspects of life.

Have we not been intellectualizing our human condition too much, we have overlooked the one most powerful force within us?

Spread the Love, say the Aldub fans.  Maybe we all should.


September 23, 2015

He was nearing the end of his term but he wasn’t letting go.   The man was much too greedy for power and, more so, he needed more time to plunder the nation to satisfy his insatiable need for material wealth. There was only one way to go: declare Martial Law.  And declare he did and the Dark Years descended on the land.

In a nutshell, this has been the mainstream narrative since President Ferdinand Marcos fell from power in 1986 after the EDSA revolt.  The anti-Marcos forces regard this as gospel truth, never to be revised.

Rigoberto Tiglao of Manila Times, himself a Martial law prisoner and ranking member of the underground movement, takes an incisive look into those years in a two-part series.  He presents a contrary view that the military and the elite actually supported Marcos on Martial Law and on what truly provoked Marcos.

You could almost hear the rumbling noise of his enemies in chorus:  Revisionism! Revisionism!


September 18, 2015

The following is a long dormant draft. Over the years, it has gone through several rewrites and edits.  It is actually a rewrite of another post on another blog of mine that is long out of commission.    I tarried about posting it wondering if this is its right place.  


It was a dream I had many years ago which remained vivid in my mind to this day, first time of its kind it happened to me.  Later I would learn they have a name for it–  lucid dreaming.   Dreams of flying were recurrent in those days, but this was special.   I was soaring  high up past clouds as usual then taking a loop then a steep dive  then zooming up high again, on and on, countless times, not unlike Superman sans the costume, except that I was going higher and faster than ever, exhilarated like never before.    Suddenly,  as I was among the clouds,   something in me just tuned out,  and as it came, hey, this can’t be real, I thought to myself, this must be a dream!  I realized then that, indeed, I was in dreamland.  Normally, I would wake up in a jolt to find myself in bed but strangely,  that time, I did not.    Instead,  I remained in the realm floating in the sky, surrounded by milky white clouds and the wide blue sky.  Mystified and befuddled, I soaked myself in the extraordinary experience for as long as I could, filling up my senses, like a kid in wide- eyed fascination of a new discovery.   Wow, what in the world is this!    Then as sleep slowly drifted away,  I descended back to earth as if being softly pulled down by it.  As I did,  I willed myself to observe and get an eyeful of the scenery, curious at how things in these parts would look and feel, even smell.    The panorama down below was a vast swathe of green fields that looked so vivid and genuine, with details so sharp and real not unlike wakeful reality that I know from that perspective (on a plane).  Closer and closer, details came rushing into the eyes.  There were the corn  farms, grasslands, brown earth where there was no growth, a lake of water to the right, and a huge tree in the direction of  my landing.   Before touchdown, as I passed by the tree top, I intently plucked out one single leaf.  Finally,  touching ground, I beheld the leaf in front of me both hand spreading it out  and examining the thing in earnest curiousness.   It looked in every detail real as the real thing I ever knew;  “this is real, not illusion!”  my thought exclaimed.

Image borrowed from

Soon, the dream dissolved completely and I was wide awake.   Quickly,  I gathered my senses and scanned my room  for things to test my awareness— and compare.  I stared at the ceiling and surveyed for raw details, the cobwebs and darkened wooden trusses and beams and iron roofing, the capiz windows and the  shadows they form across from the street light outside.  I raised my hands then pinched my skin to ascertain my consciousness.  I grabbed my pillow,  squeezed it hard, and stared as close as I could get to the tiniest fibers of the pillow sack, then ran my hands across the edges of my bed.  I wondered to myself,  they all seemed the same.

Something in me changed ever since.

In another year, a week or two after the burial of my mother, she showed up in my dream.   She was all by herself on a grassy hillside overlooking a river bed where only a stream now flowed and far beyond were greenfields and rows of majestic trees.   Down below, by the foot of the hill, a large building of sort was under construction.  “That one… it’s for new arrivals,”  she volunteered as if to let me know the place was going to be her home.  My mother was at that age when I was a child, though it did not seem to matter then. (  She died way older, withered by a chronic lung disease.)  She said, ” I had you summoned so you  can see for yourself too how it is here, and you would not have to worry about me.”    My being summoned was hazy as  I just found myself by the hillside emerging from the woods nearby.   The part I remember most about this dream though was where she said,  somewhat delighted, “It’s the same here as there, the only difference being, here, you can fly!”   Then, in a while, she sent me off to go wandering about.  ” Go take a good look around if you want but don’t go too far.  I will call you when it’s time to go.”  So off I climbed uphill and came to a clearing where oddly a small airplane was moored among a surrounding outgrowth.   An anomaly in the landscape, the huge steel form was quite worn-out  and rusted but with some shiny silver parts still remaining.   There, I chose to hang around, played like a little boy  jumping high and flying low inspecting the bolts and screws and the openings of the craft.  I was jumping several meters high and flying low just floating about.  At this point I remember slipping in and out of twilight zone but I managed to hang on shifting from curiosity to enchantment.  It did not last very long for soon, my mother called me out, “it’s time to go, son.”  She signaled me to what looked like a small granary a hundred meters away. A casual wave and  I got going.   The outhouse surprisingly opened to an elevator.  It was a wide spacious one that could contain a crowd, but there was only me and one other.  At this point,  I became fully aware that I was in dreamland.  Strangely, I sort of knew somehow that I would wake up as soon as I reached ‘ground floor’.  Meantime, I took a glance at my companion.  He was a  guy of a small frame on a hooded shirt, bowed.   He was not looking at me.  I turned my attention on the walls.   When you know you are dreaming, you get very curious of the details around you.  The walls were glossy white vinyl.  I placed both my hand on the surface, half-leaning, testing texture and permeability, pressing a bit,  if I could force my hand through.  No, it was a regular wall like any wall in the real world I know– solid and impenetrable.  The elevator room itself had no dream-like quality, just a regular box of an elevator but quite a spacious one.  I noticed that my companion was no longer around.   Moments later, as I was about to hit ground floor, I tried  savoring the last moment inside the realm like a moment I wanted to commit to memory.   Finally,  it stopped, the door opened, then the floor heaved and hurled me out,  and out I went rolling!  I was finally awake, in my bed, amused: what kind of elevator was that?!

Most other experiences with lucid dreaming were relatively short and incoherent. The longest I could remember was about going to a village where a relative was living.   I do not know why I was going.  I was walking by my lonesome on a dusty road when it dawned on me I was in dreamland— again.    So off  I went running as fast as I could and soon I was zooming past farms like a wind, dust trailing by.  I ran for miles and miles  on end until I arrived at the village panting.    A few children and adults were milling around at the approach to welcome me.  I knew no one among them, only they wore splendid smiles and I thought smiling children were a joy to behold in reality as in a dream.  The houses were old typical ones made of wood and elevated, like many you see when awake in rural environments, but the neighborhood had abundant crystal-clear water flowing in a wide and deep waterway cutting through the yard.  It seemed customary to take a bath there so I jumped into the water at once with my clothes on and stayed there very long.  I do not remember how this dream ended.

Definitely,  there comes an intensified fascination of the things around you when you know you are in a dream.  You become so observant and extremely attentive of the details.  It has to do with being aware it is all a dream, therefore ‘unreal’, and naturally you get curious at how it compares with the reality you know.    Astonishingly indeed, at least in terms of material quality, dream does resemble reality very much.

There are even short episodes allowing you only a moment to look around.  In one, I conducted a nasty experiment.  I was in a crowd.  I made a fist and bam I hit the guy next to me on the upper torso.  Before I was fully awake, the guy hit me back in the head.

I love solitude.  When circumstances allow me to escape, I take my bike and hie off to places where I can be alone with nature.   There, I would sit down alone in quiet serenity, allowing myself to absorb the sound and sight undisturbed, and often I get lucky nature exposes itself to me in a dreamlike ambiance.

What is the nature of reality, I often ask.

We regard the images of our dreams as some contrivance of the brain, illusions generated by neural firings mixed in a mental soup.  But anybody who had experience with lucid dreaming  will have a hard time to be convinced.  They are all too real, there simply is no way these could be regarded as illusions of the mind. The phenomenon must have a better explanation.

Unless, by inference, reality is also but an illusion itself!

Aren’t dreams giving us hint to the nature of reality?  Lucid dreaming (at least as far as my experience tell me) allows you to experience a rich, resplendent,  thoroughly elaborate, ultra realistic environment, a whole universe on its own as real as reality is,  but one that could as quickly melt away as you wake up to the dimension of reality.   Perhaps, because we get so used to it, we have let go of the mystery.  But something there could be a clue to a bigger one.   For if  attributes of “reality” could be manifested in a dream as it does in the waking state,  what does it suggest if not that an entire universe is possible too in the mind of a man asleep?

Reminds me of  these quotations:

Albert Einstein: Reality is merely an illusion although a very persistent one.

Tennyson:  Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?



September 7, 2015


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