Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Came across this wonderful game from the Nobel Prize website. It consists of sending peace doves to disarm nuclear arsenals across the globe - from India to the US. You can launch the doves using a destination box on the screen.

The catch here is, you're supposed to be well-read on the topic in order to send the dove to the right country on the first try! I was able to disarm 5 out of 6 countries. Not bad for a start. Start playing it here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


HIMALA (Source: UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies )

This entry is based on an article by well-respected medical anthropologist Michael Tan in his January 29, 2004 article entitled “Movies as social capital,” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Read it here.

In 108 years of cinema in the Philippines, there is nothing that can take away from our film makers the urge to portray our current state of affairs as they are - be it about our continued abject poverty, or even the simplest nuances and changes in the Pinoy character.

Looking back 30 to 40 years ago, we've had a wealth of of films that were made during very difficult times and we are glad to still have them today, thanks to the hard work of our archivists (despite the lack of a proper archive) and film enthusiasts. I had the chance of seeing some of them a few years back - thanks to ABS-CBN - and they pretty much convey the same message to us today. Which is weird because this says a lot about how much we've changed as a society.

With my apologies to the film makers, writers and producers, I wish to reflect on some of them here today. Lino Brocka's “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” can be remade into “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Mabigat Ka Talaga”, perhaps pertaining to the growing width of Filipinos secondary to our present lifestyle and habits. One can say that the Pinoys were born and will probably die in – if not of – these fastfood chains, what with our TV sets bombarded daily by their calls to get hold of the latest crispy chicken inventions.

Writer Ricky Lee's “Himala” can be remade into “Himala…Pa Rin” to reflect how much – or how little – we’ve progressed since Nora Aunor portrayed the sad character of Elsa in the 1982 award-winning social commentary by National Artist for Film, Ishmael Bernal. Perhaps it's time to stop waiting for miracles to happen, stop depending on the government for many things, and strive on our own to achieve what we want for ourselves and our family? Toying with a famous saying, if we want to learn how to fish, we must learn how to make use of a net.

“Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon” is just as perfect and relevant if re-titled as “Ganito Kami Noon, Ganito Pa Rin Kayo Ngayon” because the Pinoy life is a cycle of the same good and bad times. Like we always say, “things never seem to change around here.” This is best exemplified by some photos I’ve seen lately (probably taken around the early 1900s) of Manila underwater after a monsoon rain.

It did not escape my attention that “Minsa’y Isang Gamo-Gamo” can have a proper sequel if the recent Subic rape case involving 6 US Marines, (5, depending on whose report is it that you’re reading) is of any indication. Eyewitnesses say that the poor girl was left half-naked by the Marines on a parking lot. If Nora Aunor’s famous one-liner wouldn’t be just as applicable in this case, I don’t know what else will.

Sir Tan finished his article as thus: “More than a matter of aesthetics, appreciating our films is recognizing how they chronicle, even if sometimes in a glamorized or sensationalized way, a nation's trials and tribulations, aspirations and triumph. Films are an integral part of our social capital that need to be preserved with care and transmitted, with pride, across generations.”


And for you, dear reader, an old song from Gine Tan (Grand Prize, 1st ASEAN Songfest of 1981):

Magsimula ka,
batiin ang kay gandang umaga
Nang may ngiti sa iyong mga mata
Sa pagkakaidlip,gumising na!
Ang buhay ay masaya,
palalampasin mo ba?
Iisa lang ang buhay mo,
kumilos ka, gamitin mo
Kung may nais ang puso mo,
mangarap ka, abutin mo
Upang ito'y makamit mo,
magsikap ka, simulan mo!

Friday, November 18, 2005


What better way to spend your upcoming travel plans than by having a nice, no-bumps flight and a cup of Lavazza, undeniably the best italian espresso brand in the world?

For starters, take a look at the much-anticipated Lavazza calendar for 2006. Ah, flying and Lavazza! This is the life! (Click on photos to enlarge)

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I almost cancelled an anonymous phone call yesterday afternoon thinking that Fitness First was pestering me again to sign up for a demo workout (just wait, okay?!). Anyway, I went against my own personal rules and picked it up. Turned out that it was Greenpeace Manila, congratulating me for making it to a shorlist from which a winner will be chosen next week to appear on MTV Pilipinas and join the crew of the Rainbow Warrior II on its next trip to Iloilo City. Yikes! And they leave at midnight midweek next!

I only have my very, very brief essay to thank for this. The topic was on why we need clean energy now. What luck, I thought, when I am about to take up my Public Health masters early next year because my specialty would be environmental health. The timing couldn't be any better. If I am not mistaken, the target sites in Iloilo would be coal-fueled power plants like that in Masinloc (see entry below). I am not sure if Mirant, DM Consunji, or Korea's KEPCO have actually pushed through with their plans down south because if they have, the Iloilo trip will be a memorable one (please don't let there be violence again!).

Anyway, if I don't make it to the top, there's always the option of having dinner with Amanda Griffin (Thanks, Grace!), MTV's face for the Greenpeace campaign, onboard the Rainbow Warrior II or win a nice Greenpeace tee shirt. If it were the latter, please make sure I don't get a pink one like Amanda's. It doesn't match my skin color.


Zambales, PHILIPPINES — A German Greenpeace activist participating in a peaceful protest against the Masinloc coal power plant outside Manila was horrendously beaten by local plant personnel.

Three other Greenpeace activists from New Zealand and the Philippines had stones thrown at them. German Jens Loewe, 36, has been taken to a hospital emergency room. Filipinos Janine Mercado, Pam Palma and New Zealander Debra Gay Pristor have also been taken to hospital with less serious injuries.

Read the rest of the story here on Greenpeace Southeast Asia's website.

Friday, November 11, 2005


If the pink community is smarting over the recent Pugad Baboy strips syndicated by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, it is not showing it. For a group that has been the force behind most of the country's creative output (which by the way provides employment to thousands of people), surely a little show of respect is in order.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


(Photo by

Mom just arrived from an educators' congress yesterday. During the course of our conversation, she mentioned that while a delegate from Samar was speaking, Tagalog-speaking delegates were guffawing over the way she/he said certain English words.

You know, like "poet" can sound rather, uhm, unusual when a Visayan-speaker says it. Ditto for "oil" as "owel". As a Visayan speaker myself, I really do not find fault when fellow Visayan speakers replace "i" with "e". Blame the Visayan alphabet for that or something. A significant part of my life was spent in Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Cebu and I have gotten used to hearing English spoken in the Visayan manner.

Not to start a fight here but it was in bad taste for Tagalog speaking delegates to laugh loudly while the speaker was on the podium. They perhaps need to be reminded that across all subjects but more so in English, Science, and Math, that Samar is currently the No. 1 province in the entire country in terms of profiency?

And poverty has nothing to do with it. Just pure, plain hard work and the occassional tongue twister.


Doctors and would-be physicians in the Philippines would do themselves a major favor by getting a copy of the recent Time Asia magazine. It has a special feature on at least ten (10) doctors from around Asia (the Philippines EXcluded) who have redefined their roles in their own communities.

Perhaps the answer is not leaving the country. It's simply a matter of finding better things to do.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Mom left today for Davao City, my birth place, to attend a national congress of educators until Wednesday. She's attending it in her capacity as National Learning Coordinator of PLAN International. She texted me this earlier:

Her: "Airport is bustling with educators! Flight delayed 1 hour and 15 minutes. Pray everyone will learn and effect change."

"I'm crossing my fingers."

We're not naturally pessimistic, Mom and I, but we are always cautious about certain issues that we are both passionate about - education, for one. The Philippine Educational System must be one of the most studied systems in the world. Back in college when doing my research, I almost always come across a certain Medium-Term plan on education. It seems every administration has one, normally running for ten years or so which is beyond their terms. I've read the education plan of the Marcos period and I found it to be very realistic in the sense that it has identified what the system's problems and flaws were.

In fact, all medium term plans up to the present time have been correct in the identifying the issues: the growing shortage in classrooms and books, the interminable review of the curriculum (the last was made during Secretary Roco's time), and many others too complex to discuss here.

Here's another sad news this Sunday morning courtesy of The Philipine Star: 3 in 4 recent elementary graduates can’t read. Read the story here.

This is tragic news indeed. I've personally confirmed this two years ago during a tour of Southern Luzon and Visayas - from Pangasinan to Mindoro to the islands of Samar and Leyte. Not only they can't read properly (if at all), the level of comprehension is equally horrifying. DEPED must be reminded that reading is NEVER enough. Reading AND comprehension are twin goals that should given equal attention. During one exam in English that I was administering to Grade 5 students, they could read it alright but they couldn't understand what the questions meant. Unfortunately, I had to translate some of these questions and I can see that it was only then that they understood. Although I was aware that doing that would have altered the measurements were trying to get, I just couldn't help it. Naawa naman talaga ako sa kanila. It just not fair. When my Mom was teacher and principal of this certain school, kids in Grades 2 and 3 were already reading the classics!

Also, I am against private donation of textbooks and books UNLESS these answer the need for reading improvement. Most private donations tend to be second-hand items or do not meet the requirements of certain grade levels. I am also against the removal of science subjects from Grades 1 and 2 and incorporating these across many subjects like English and Pilipino. Science is an exciting thing and can be seen and observed everyday even from the classroom windows. I don't see why we can't bring back the fun in school.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Dearest Mom,

I know you've been sick for almost three weeks now. I bet the continous rain during your recent working trip to China has made matters worse for you.

Last night, you asked me if I wasn't worried about you. I assume this question was asked in the context that cancer does travel, and the lungs can be one possible loci for the next growth (God forbid! *knocks on wood*). It has happened to many people, yes, and I know you are scared that it might happen to you.

The weird thing about all this is that we've never really talked about your condition. We were both hospital-bound last year: me for my cholelithiasis, and you for Breast CA IIB. It's been a horrible year for both of us, emotionally and financially. But hell, it doesn't matter. We were lucky to have people who helped us, and hey! We're celebrating another Christmas together like we've always done before.

Allow me to say that I am sorry for always leaving your side during your chemo sessions before. I just couldn't bear seeing you like this - you who have always been a brave, strong woman. Just thinking of the many things you've done in your life - leaving home in order to study in faraway places, taking huge risks and yet achieving the ends despite the weight of the means. Sometimes I think this is not you. This couldn't be you.

But this is you now. This is a fact I should face squarely.

You always ask if I have dreams for both us. Back in college, you always asked if you were part of my long-term plans. The problem with living apart for the greater part of my life is that we've never learned to commuinicate our feelings to each other. You know it too well, and you always say that I tend to keep things to myself. In fact, I do. Not just from you, but from everyone else as well. Somehow, I have ways to deal with issues by myself. I learned all that by growing up and living away from you. Of course I only have you to thank for what I have become now. I have no regrets whatsoever about what we've both been through - and I also remember Nana Noning, my yaya, when I say this. We've survived all these years and guess what, I bet we still have long years ahead to spend together!

And now the answer(s) to your question(s): Yes, I worry about you. I worry about you all the time. And I totally blame myself for not taking clear and definite action on a lot of things in the past 7 years or so. For once, i'm putting it on record that I am sorry. In fact, I've been sorry long enough to put an end to this stalemate as regard my career. I have made medium-term plans as to my own directions in the next 5 years, and I hope to see you retiring within that time frame. Like you know, draw and paint again as you used to do back in Bukidnon.

I do love you, Mom. Things wouldn't be the same without you around, so thank you so much for not giving up on me just yet! Be strong even if I know it's difficult. I'm just here for you in many ways possible. But I guess you know and feel that already :-)

Your son, Dylan

P.S. I found this nice video from the blog my dearest friend, Dr. Greenleaf, who is currently undergoing her chemo sessions.

Friday, November 04, 2005


From The Wily Filipino, i decided to do something silly by Googling my name and appending "needs" after it.

Here's what I came up with:

Dylan needs to go the bathroom
Dylan needs parent(s) who are calm, patient, and kind, who open their hearts and home to home, welcoming and respecting him.
Dylan needs a Pulitzer Prize
Dylan needs some walking tonight, evidently
Dylan needs to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch if it wants to be thought of as a high end hotel.
Dylan needs all the visibility it can get
Dylan needs to hope in this, but falls too quickly to the despair of his namesake, Dylan Thomas, who drank himself into the dark night
Dylan needs justice
Dylan needs a home where he feels safe and secure and that is his forever.
Dylan needs a family who is devoted, able to model appropriate behaviors, and are good listeners
Dylan needs to have some fun once in a while.
Dylan needs a governess
Dylan needs no introduction
Dylan needs to learn communication skills using a picture board (communication device) to help him talk
Dylan needs me to be writing about his book like he needs an armadillo in his cornfield: he doesn’t, and would hardly notice it only by chance
Dylan needs a critic
dylan needs to go live the normal life of a rock stars child: drugs, chicks, and NO MUSIC...


Thursday, November 03, 2005


"Da mihi animas, cetera tolle!"

Was surfing yesterday when I came upon this photo.

Was totally speechless for a sec.

Don Bosco Pampanga was home to me from 1989 to 1991 before I left for Cagayan de Oro to join my Mom, who was then connected with Del Monte Philippines.

The structure straight ahead was then the largest gym in Central Luzon. The one on the left is the chapel where I was once a member of the choir under the direction of Fr. Bobby (?). Then there's the large soccer field where my cousin (then a student at Assumption University) would compete for the Coca-Cola Go for Gold championships.

All is now buried under tons of lahar since 1991.

It is said that to locate the same spot, one should look for the pine trees jutting out of the lahar soil. Pine trees were special to DBA because of its connection to the saint's family name or something. Sorry but it's been a looooog time ago! I used to be so good at this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


God knows how many times I've drawn this logo in my notebooks, between the covers of my books, or wherever there's white space. It's AEROFLOT, of course. USSR's national airline.

Back in Don Bosco, I played some sort of a war game with friends. They were the Americans and I was the leader of the Russian group. Like ridiculous high school boys, we even memorized what CCCP means in Russian (I wouldn't even attempt to write it down) and dug up date on the many Russian inventions that were considered way ahead of American technology. Well, there weren't much because after the Sputnik project, the US started their own space missions which were far advanced than that of Mother Russia.

Ah, the Cold War spirit! We were labeled the war freaks of DBA then. That was back in 1989.

Last year, I saw someone in NAIA wear a red shirt with this logo on it. I almost died. I would still die today if I were to see one again. Fuck, I guess i'm never growing up!