Friday, March 23, 2007


23 March 2007

I had to disembark from the jeepney that carried me on my way to Avenue Square a while ago because of the heavy traffic that had prevented our vehicle from moving for a good deal of time already. I thought I could reach my destination quicker while afoot than staying inside waiting for the traffic to roll sensing that it was not an ordinary traffic jam that I usually run into along Magsaysay Avenue; one that usually does not take much time. Peering through the windshield, I could see more vehicles than I earlier suspected already trapped in an unsightly bumper-to-bumper situation down the road. There was also some noise ahead that's not common in the area. I knew there was 'something' out there.

As I approached Avenue Square, my hunch was confirmed. I moved past more jeepneys and trucks loaded with people wearing colorful shirts that bear the faces of people we also often see in the television these days (via their own advertisements which contents - and promises - are either too-good-to-be-true, too-'cute'-to-be-taken-seriously, or too-corny-to-be-even-watchable), on political posters and streamers that are all over us again, and in every possible medium assaulting our senses and well, I dare say, our sanities. The flags were up again, being waved relentlessly. There were a number of brass bands too atop trucks playing varied tunes aside from the already loud and annoying speakers playing some ubiquitous jingle and extolling candidates. Joining the spectacle were vehicles that were covered (or should I say vandalized?) with campaign posters and other materials. The huge number of people marching, cheering, and waving placards whom I encountered earlier at the city center leaped into mind. And then, I overheard a lady whom I passed by on the side of the road inquiring: "Haen si Cesar Montano?" (Where is Cesar Montano?).

And so, it is already here, I thought with a sigh.

The 'circus' has arrived in Naga City.

Kapit mga kapatid.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Reality You Could Overlook -- At Your Own Risk

To whom it may concern:

"all that is gold
does not glitter,

not all those who wander are lost..."

- JRR Tolkien

Don't tell me you have not been warned...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

People and Conversations (1)

I always say that one of best things that could happen in a life's journey, no matter how arduous and depleting it may become, would be the great people you can meet along the way. Because with these people comes a profusion of unforgettable experiences and lessons that will leave indelible marks in your life - and in the process, makes life more meaningful and worth living.

I am blest to have met a lot of these outstanding and unforgettable human beings who have surely contributed to what I have become as a person and what I wanted to be in the future. These people, whom I can visualize now in my mind in what appears to be a lucid montage of faces and images straight from the recesses of my memory, are my life's indubitable treasures. And what is amazing about this is that I did not have to meet all these people personally. Some of them came into my 'radar' via a bedtime story, an epic tale, a theatrical play, a case study, a blog post, a news item, the grapevine, an awesome film, an essay, a song, and a book to name a few.

But it is still best to be able to hobnob and hang around with these people. The past days, while I could not find time to blog, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with some of them. I believe one of the most memorable of these encounters has to be my serendipitous conversation with Dr. Danny Gerona during a quiet Sunday morning while having coffee in one of the coffee shops downtown. I was already enjoying the quiet and the hot drink for a good half hour when the highly respected historian, intellectual, and professor arrived. I was a former student of his in Social Philosophy back in college so the salutations were quick and immediate. What ensued after the usual greetings was an intense and very interesting conversation about politics, culture, philosophy, life and career, of course history, and even blogging and some famous personalities, but with him doing most of the explaining and I, the questioning (which I did not mind at all). I got to express my thoughts also though about the topics but I was more interested on what he has to say about the same. And boy was I treated to an overwhelmingly engaging and thought-provoking punditry!

I also learned a lot of interesting things about the man, like having thousands of volumes of books already in his library (and no way, according to him, he has plans of slowing down as far as collecting and reading books is concerned anytime soon); about him not reading the newspaper (he said, in effect, there's really nothing worth reading from it) and fiction (for some reason that really brought the house down but I do not want to divulge here lest I wish to stir up some hornet's nest among fiction lovers); about him being a relative of Atty. Leni Robredo, the elegant wife of Mayor Jesse, but finding himself in a more closer professional relationship with the Villafuertes, political rivals of the Robredos here in Naga City and Camarines Sur; about him having been offered a juicy position by a leading university in Manila only to be persuaded (again) to stay here in Naga and at the Ateneo de Naga University (good for Bicol and the Bicolano student!); and about him being more open now to the idea of utilizing the internet for his pursuits.

With that, I asked him to try blogging so that he may be able to reach and 'educate' more people especially about the rich history and culture of Naga City, in particular, and the Bicol region, in general. It would also be great, I thought, for many of us to hear him expounding on the many important issues affecting us all today.

Well, if ever that happens, I'd like to believe that he could be the next important, if not the most important, Bicolano blogger aside from the few ones that we already have in the blogosphere right now. In this light, he shared to me some very striking insights about some of the more essential bloggers, writers, politicians, and other personalities of our time and their works, like blogger Manolo Quezon, political analyst Alex Magno, opinion-writer Conrado de Quiros, the Villafuertes, Mayor Jesse, some senatorial candidates, and even GMA, the president.

In politics, I found out that we share the same dismay about what have been happening in the political arena lately which flaws and downsides I wish not to discuss here anymore because first, I presume that they are already a common knowledge, and second, I do not want to be depressed again.

Anyway, I asked him what, in his opinion, could possibly be done given the present political quagmire that we find ourselves in today and he said that, in effect, the desire for genuine reforms and the wave of change should start from the people, especially the masses, that constitute the biggest chunk of our population. But to achieve that, they should be more educated, according to him. Asking Professor Danny further as to who should take up that responsibility, he said the schools and universities could play a very crucial role. But what about the media? I inquired with the belief the media could also make a difference in this situation. The problem with the media, he said, is that, sadly, it is now so corrupt.

To be continued...