24 years and worst than ever

Category: By DuNi
I was already 10 years old in 1986.  I was a bumming grade-schooler when the chaos started at exactly the 7th of February during that year.  It was Election Day and majority who exercised their right of suffrage complained the whole day.  Days had passed and a lot of surprising events led to what we generally call People Power Revolution or EDSA Revolution.

Before 1986 I was contented even with a mere peso in my pocket.  Would you believe you could spend that with gulaman, a piece of monay, and a couple of candies?  They say that life was hard but jeepney fare was below 1 peso. 

In 1965, the president then was a visionary. He built roads and bridges throughout the country including a generator with an electric power capacity of one million kilowatts (1,000,000 kW), and water services to eight regions and 38 localities.  Twenty years after, the man was merely reduced to a decrepit, corrupt, and power-hungry dictator, struggling to keep a failing economy and besieged by the opposition group for his numerous atrocities and human right violations.

If there was a legacy to remember in 1986, it should be the resilience of the people to have a united front fighting for hope, sovereignty, and nationalism.  Everyone was proud to be a Filipino, irregardless of class and distinction.  The rich were rubbing elbows with the poor at that grand celebration in EDSA because we have shown to the world how to lead a revolution without even firing a single gun.

And 24 years after that fateful day, we are worst than ever.  We simply do not have anything to celebrate anymore.  There is another economic crisis intentionally hidden by the government itself to deceive people that our country remains strong.  Our network of roads are either dilapidated or leads nowhere except to the lands of the oligarchs.  Our one and only railroad network became at one time a dumping place for unnecessary trash and human shits inside plastic bags.  Our tollways, power lines, water lines, and basic services are owned by big private corporations.  Instead of the government providing basic services to the people, the people are at the mercy of those scrupulous corporations, who have indirectly influenced and dictated the country’s policies after 1986.  After EDSA, our military personnel became great businessmen, our businessmen became influential autocrats, our showbiz entertainers became adequate politicians, our politicians became great entertainers, and our leaders are procrastinating and just waiting for their Return of Investments hidden on some secret deals somewhere with some investors.

When Fidel Castro and company won the Cuban Revolution, one certain revolutionary shouted “We won the revolution!  Let’s go home!” to El Commandante Che Guevara.  Che then answered with a straightforward reply: “No, you idiot! The revolution begins now…”
24 years after EDSA, where are we right now?  What is there to celebrate in EDSA?  Do we still hope for the better for this country even while doing nothing?  Or do we still hope that we experience another EDSA Revolution-like scenario?  I believe it is too late.

Today we are celebrating EDSA day.  We are reminded of the spirit of EDSA 1986.  Yet, since 1986, EDSA is the most pissed main thoroughfare in the whole world, one of the dirtiest street, and one of the most smoke-belched street in the world.  What is there to celebrate for???

February is also Hot Air Balloon month

Category: By DuNi

I have always looked forward to February not because it is the month of love but for something much hotter than hundreds of intimate lovers on a romantic evening.  I hate PDA's, and I prefer to be affectionate and romantic in private.  So frankly, I am not anticipating a romantic February, but instead the feeling of excitement goes for the Hot Air Balloon festival.

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival is the country’s biggest aviation event that started around 14 years ago and is held annually during the second week of February.  I remember around 5 to 8 years ago, we would always see those hot air balloons in the sky early in the morning while I was bringing my son to school.  We weren’t attending the event then, we were just admiring them fly near my son’s school which is just a short distance from where those balloons take off.  It was exciting to see those colorful balloons racing to the sky as high and as far away as they can.  Seeing one might just be as ordinary as it can be, but seeing almost 25 of them lined up early in the morning sky is altogether a different experience.  And seeing them up close is a once in a lifetime chance.

And so three years ago, I went to see the Hot Air Balloon Festival officially.  I paid for the entrance fee, and I went inside the festival grounds.  I was not just admiring them from outside the Clark perimeter which I usually do, but that time I attempted to get as close to the balloons as I possibly can.  It is a four day-whole day event, and the main attraction are the colorful hot air balloons, which unfortunately, you can only see during their early morning flight at 5 to 7 in the morning and at the afternoon which is the day’s culminating event.  But in between the time where the hot air balloons are in flight, the whole festival in busy with other activities like the numerous exhibits, games, photo-ops, flying exhibitions, paragliding, skydiving and even kite flying for kids and enthusiasts.  The event was used to be held at OMNI Aviation grounds, but with the influx of increasing spectators, they transferred to the nearby and bigger Air Force Grounds right at the edge of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport runway.

I have been attending the festival for the past 3 years.  This year may not be altogether different from the previous years, but still it is something to look forward again.  Perhaps there may be a different sets of balloons coming from different parts of the world (I miss the square Whiskas, by the way), or they may be the same sets from last year.  Nevertheless, I am still looking forward to this year’s event, and a nice green grass to picnic while watching the colorful balloons up in the sky.

Oh… by the way, have I told you that they glow in the dark?

Noontime Syets...

Category: By DuNi

It has been more than a week since I engrossed myself into watching local channels.  I don’t have a cable connection in our room at the moment, and I plan to be connected before the Formula 1 season begins.  I am definitely looking forward to Michael Schumacher’s comeback into racing, but as of the moment, I have to endure those boring stuffs the local networks can offer.

Aside from an overdose of product advertisements, info-mercials(they are not campaign ads as they say) by politicians who dreams big in the coming election are lording it over at high noon.  We cannot blame them since strategically, this is the best time of the day to be visible in the television.  Majority of the masa crowd are glued at the top 2 shows since both are able to give a glimpse of false hopes about improving daily lives by merely taking chances in winning instant prizes instead of working hard enough to earn.

Whatever show you choose to watch, whether it is the longest running noontime show or the number 1 killer show(ULTRA stampede, in case you have forgotten), both shows seems to have common elements in them; sexy dancers, large amount of cash prizes, humor, and the most important of all, the drama.  Most of the time, the show could not seem to justify giving away large amounts of prizes unless the contestant is not suffering enough from poverty.  It’s disturbing in a sense that people line up patiently, sometimes even as early as 4 in the morning, just to have a chance to join these contests, and yet they have short fuses when it comes to other matters like city hall documentations, licenses, loans, payment of bills, and other important transactions which are usually done in a hurry with a lot of help by bribery or in aid of fixers.  While I heard a lot of complains during the COMELEC registration, I haven’t seen anyone complain of long lines in a contest.  And as what I have heard on the ULTRA stampede years ago, the people are coming towards the venue instead of escaping away.  I’ve always thought that stampedes happen when groups of people flee from the place of conflict, and yet here in the Philippines one stampede happened while the crowd was forcing themselves further into the venue instead of running away.  And yes, let us not forget the drama: whether the family has nothing to eat, nothing to sleep on, no money for education, no means of paying off health services, etc.  I wanted to join but I am discouraged since probably my reason for joining is that I am qualified to join.  First, I have to make up a good dramatic story: something about a favorite dog that died because I wasn’t able to feed it because I was poor would not even suffice.

I have always preferred Eat Bulaga over the other.  Well, the show has been part of the daily lives of the Filipino for three decades.  I am only a few years older than the show.  I already know how to operate a television when the show started, so I pretty much knew how the show has evolved as time went by.  And besides, nobody can beat Joey’s quirky mind when it comes to inventing most of the parlor games they play in Eat Bulaga.  The rival show host even had to record an album composed by a novelty song composer just to compensate on his lack of talent.  Mr. De Leon was way above him – a singer, a composer, a painter, a writer, and a collector.  I love his collection of shirts and jackets, and I always look forward in seeing whatever statement shirt he wears during the time that I watch the show.  Well, the other is also a collector – of Ferrari’s and sexy girlfriends, that is.  Both have been known to be offensive in some ways with their humor, but Joey can ably squeeze himself out of those insults with style while the other tactless loudmouth had to deal with it by insulting the rival show.

Lately there is a game portion that sickens me.  There is a greater chance of getting the jackpot prize since they would just give the jackpot prize anyway.  This is not really a game of chance, since winning the jackpot prize relies merely on your chances, although being the contestant also relies on how good their chances are.  And even if you merely won the lowest prize given away, at the end of the hour you’ll still be given all the major prizes as long as you re-live your dramatic life of poverty in front of the cameras.  If we scrutinize closely, this has all the markings of political gimmickry.  The orange theme, the check, the background song – aren’t those similar to one of the presidential aspirants’ campaign?  I can tolerate those politicians with their fake crusades in their ads but giving away money in a game show is too far, even if they fully deny any involvement with the said contest.  I am not blind as what they would want me to be, but I can clearly see from the deception they have created, and I will keep reminding myself of this matter come election time.

Television had its finest and worst hours.  It even shaped the course of history for this particular country – sadly - down the drain.  We had always relied in the television to influence our way of life.  We relied so much that we even turned our back in our customs and traditions for the sake of progress.  Before the television was invented, people would wake up early in the morning to plant crops so that they’d have something to eat come supper time.  Now, they would wake up early in the morning to have a chance of winning and getting instant money so that they would have something to eat by supper time.

Television changes lives.  I admit.  It’s scary, though.