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Monday, August 30, 2010


The country's commemorating the National Heroes Day today, also exactly a week after the bloody tourist bus hostage at the Quirino Grandstand. So much public outcry came (and is still coming) on the heels of the said mishap that left eight Hong Kong nationals dead, particularly blaming the local police and the government for being 'too late the hero.'

Call me apathetic, but I do remember having regarded the situation trivial upon seeing the news on TV that early afternoon. Others actually thought the same. My officemates and I, during our coffee break, never put a thought on the safety of the hostages but rather on their need to eat and to use the loo. We trusted the authorities to handle the crisis well, as much as the 20-odd hostages believed that they would go safely back home at the end of that day.

The situation oddly seemed so easy to deal with. The hostage-taker Capt. Rolando Mendoza, a dismissed police officer, though appeared to be armed did not look like he was capable of killing or even hurting his captives. This was further affirmed by the survivors who said Mendoza did tell them early on that he did not intend to hurt anybody and just wanted to have his case be heard again in the court, for him to be reinstated in the service and be able to receive his benefits. He was also plausible enough for releasing at least nine of the hostages amid the requests for him to do so. These actuations of Mendoza somewhat told us that this guy was indeed willing to be cooperative, which, if considered otherwise would have sounded like an underestimation of him. Nevertheless, for the hostage crisis to last for virtually 12 hours let alone for it to end in a carnage was unexpected yet very wrathfully disappointing.

Now, different groups point out who's at fault. The media was partly censured for not having a set of rules in covering hostage crisis as the hostage-taker turned out to be closely monitoring the live broadcast news on the bus's TV. Interestingly, I heard someone opined that TV networks should have had a delayed broadcast of the news then. Not a moot point, I guess.

About three to four years ago, if I may digress, our class conducted a lecture on hostage crisis management as a final requirement in one of our major subjects. It was basically for us to know what role media has in such situations. We invited a police officer, a Manila's finest, to give the talk. His introduction was that of a hypothetical question: Two brothers are arguing over who has the right to have the one and only banana placed by their mother on the table. If you were the mother, what would you do? If I remember it right, our guest speaker was the very same person who tagged himself as the self-imposed negotiator during the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident. Right, it was Yebra. I also remember him explaining this 'stronghold' stuff, which is the cordoned off area where the hostage-taking actually takes place. I do hope my memory serves me right on this: the media is not allowed inside that 'stronghold.' Not ever.

The PNP, on the other hand, was atop the list of who's-to-blame for being inept on crisis management, therefore adding weight to the force's burdens nowadays. Pardon me for including this here, but the same 'someone' (opinionated eh?) also remarked that the local police instead are highly skilled with containing strikes and the like, being exposed to such great a deal of political and social affairs during the preceding administrations. Whereas, likewise during those times, they were not appropriately trained to handle hostage crisis. On this let me add that we ARE NOT actually new to these things, having witnessed them on the news — or, for some to 'have been at the right moment at the right time,' even personally — in the past. Now one wonders why we still have not learned and improved.

Deemed as a sign of contempt for what happened, the Hong Kong government issued an advisory urging its people to refrain from all travel to the Philippines. Consequently, flight bookings to Manila from mainland China and Hong Kong were down, as cited by some newspaper reports. Needless to say, the tourism-related firms, even in just a short span of time, swayed to losses. It's very saddening, however, that some Hong Kongers took it out on our common people, the Filipino domestic helpers working in Hong Kong in particular (rational thinking is not in abundant supply lately, don't you think?). On a personal note, I do find it very rude that some folks had even bad-mouthed the President's seemingly always-smiling face. Even that?!

Nobody wanted such tragedy to happen. These unfortunate events could happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime. It's just that one happened in our place, to us. Let's just pray for the repose of the fatalities' souls and for everything to be 'OK'. Then let's move on... to making another news, but this time, a literally good one.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010


"Let go of the things you cannot change," I'd read somewhere, somewhat an advice I painfully took — I let him go, or rather, the feeling. I admit I still miss him sometimes and still feel this ancient pain I only feel when I think of him, but always beat back the thought (I call it just a 'thought' now). I don't want to expect he feels the same way for me; all the same, my pent-up feelings for him allowed my creative juices flowing, and for that I was grateful. I decided to publish here on my blog one of the versed compositions I have written out of this suppressed love for him, treating it as a sign that I am finally letting myself to be heart-free.

(Heads-up! The following is a lackluster display of poetic abilities. Spare me the critical evaluation please!)

Love songs seemed to pass me by;
They never sang to me, I wonder why.
Could hardly feel their meanings
since every line just passed my hearing.

As I trailed each love songs' parade,
keeping with the tune, following the beat.
Pretended to hear more, when I barely listened.
Not knowing one day this piece would be played—

You are my love song, humming so softly.
You are my love song, my heart sings with glee.

Now every love song says hello,
always sings for me wherever I go.
With every line strumming my heart
And this voice in my ears keeps on crooning—

You are my love song, a beautiful sound.
You are my love song, my favorite melody.

As you lull me to sleep each night,
Chorus of good morning to a day of zest;
I play you back a thousand times
and keep up with you like an LSS—

You are my love song, forever playing.
You are my love song, the music in me.

My life's singsong, that's what you are;
Humming to myself than sing it out loud.
Been praying one day you'd hear it, too.
Before my heart hears a song that's not you...
Monday, August 02, 2010


I was a victim of a pickpocket just two nights ago. My 'five-month-old' cellphone, a birthday gift from my father, was robbed from the left pocket of my pants during the time when I was so engrossed with the racing game I was playing in an arcade whose name I won't mention.

I often heard stories about it before, but for the longest time brushed off the possibility that such felonious act would actually happen to me. I had always maintained an alert stance every time I went to public places. But as the cliche goes, "There's always a first time in everything."

I've been actually ruing about what happened since that day, and the first time I was going to sleep without my dear cellphone by my side was really a mental torture. I could hardly take a shut-eye that night and when I did, I would jump out of bed and think, with a heavy heart, of my stolen mobile phone and of what happened prior to the robbery incident. I keep blaming myself, thinking why I let that lapse in judgment (as I call it for the lack of a 'better' term) occur and make me an easy prey to sneak thieves. I blame myself for my decisions that led to my misfortune that particular night. A friend, though, in a sincere attempt to quell my exaggerated sorrow, even let me compare his similar experience to mine. And I can say, despite the fact that both of us had been victims no matter what, I was objectively speaking the 'more alert' one, haha.

Kidding aside, there are things to learn from this first-time experience:
* Enjoy your time while at public places but never be too at ease with your surroundings. Constant vigilance! (to borrow it from Harry Potter series' Alastor Moody).
Had I handed over my cellphone to my sister who was just right behind me before playing and didn't feel content that something valuable was 'obvious' in my pocket that time, the guy would have no chance to perpetrate the misdemeanor against me (and hopefully against no one, though that was 'hoping against hope').

* It pays to be obnoxious sometimes. That is when strangers bump into you or may it be any ilk of physical connection, whether intentionally or not, react, as if you're puzzled, startled, annoyed, etc. by the unexpected gesture.
I was in fact pestered when the guy started pushing the machine's token slot on my right side and even saw from my right peripheral view that his body bag was already atop my right leg. I actually thought his 'actions' were rude, but preoccupied as I was that very moment, I decided to think that his token must be stuck and he did not deliberately put his bag on top of my right leg. I should have listened at once to the instinctive voice in my head telling me, "Look at him! Look at him!" before it petered out.

* One should not place valuable things together in one place.
To make this story a tad more disappointing on my part, let me tell you that along with my stolen cellphone was my favorite limited-edition pouch (a need to emphasize that eh?), my 'longest-serving' spare SIM card, and P250. In fact my brother teased me for being 'so generous' that I also 'gave' the 'guy' money to buy prepaid load.

* Of course, it's not that it was unworthy of importance, but at any rate be thankful that you were not hurt or physically threatened because any material thing would never equate to your life in the slightest.
Haha...there's nothing more I can add to that, besides to keep a promise to myself that never will I allow such to happen to me again. How I wish I could really keep that one!