Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ika Mo, Wika?

Ano ang gagawin mo kung biglang sinabi sa harapan mo na sa kasalukuyan, mayroon kang katangiang 'di kanais-nais? Malaki ang posibilidad na ikaw ay magtataka, magtatanong, o 'di kaya'y magagalit. Masakit malamang mayroon kang katangiang 'di kanais-nais. (Isipin mo kung sinabi sa harapan mong wala kang nagawang matino sa buong buhay mo.) Sa aking palagay, ang una mong gagawin ay itanggi ang pagkakaroon nito. Kasunod nito, maaaring tirahin mo rin ang pagkatao ng taong nagsabi nito, sapagkat may isinawalat nga naman siyang 'di sana nalaman nang ibang tao. Magtatanong ka rin kung bakit nga naman sinabi pa iyon sa iyo, gayong 'di nga namang kailangan.

Eh paano kung may katotohanan dito? Paano kung karapatan ng taong ito na isiwalat ito? Paano kung, masama man ang paraan nang pagkakagawa, ay kailangan din naman pala talaga itong sabihin, dahil kapag nalaman mo na ito'y may magagawa ka pa upang ayusin ito?

Sa usaping mga naganap sa wika noong nakaraang buwan, nasabihan nga ba lamang tayo nang ayaw nating marinig, nang isang personang ninais na rin nating gantihan?

Nagbunga rin ang pangyayari ng napakaraming sulating bumatikos sa taong ninais nga lang naman ay umpisahan muli ang diskurso ukol sa wikang Pilipino; nakapagpapabagabag sapagkat ginamit ang pagkakataon ng ilan upang iangat lamang ang estadong sosyal at ipagmukhang maalam ang sarili hinggil sa usapin. Maihahambing ito sa isang pulitikong sasakyan ang isang isyu, at sisigaw nang "Karapatan: adbokasiya ko ang karapatang pantao, pambabae, at panghayop."

Sa usaping ito, ang pagganti sa akusasyong "Ang pangit mo," nang "Ang panget mo rin, at ng nanay mo, at wala kang pinag-aralan," ay mukhang maraming sinasabi 'di lamang sa pagkatao nang nagsabi, kundi roon sa nasabihan din. Nababagabag ako sa ating komunidad.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Hi! I have been really busy for the past few months. This semester is my Accounting semester, and it has been taking time away from blogging. I've been a really inconsistent blogger, mostly because I only insist to write about things I feel strongly about. I know our country has a lot to offer in terms of controversial and disturbing stories, but sometimes trying to process these things can feel tiring, especially when you get them all the time.

Pero! Here's some good news! I'm gonna take this chance to thank Candy Magazine for making me one of the judges for their Candy Blog Awards this year. This is my second time judging, and I have been losing sleep over trying to choose the best blog for each category. They are all so good! In all honesty, all the time and effort these bloggers put into their own blogs makes me want to write regularly again. But as it is, I'm still a semi-regular blogger, and I hope that the quality of my posts can make up for their meager number.

One great thing I realized about blogging is that it cannot only be a simple diary. I was talking to my good friend yesterday, and she told me how keeping a blog with all your feelings and sentiments about the day that was, no matter how useless it was, can be looked upon by some as online trash that nobody really cares about. That is one extreme opinion, but it also has a point. Bloggers can sometimes be too self-centered, and the quality of their posts can be ruined. They might as well write their thoughts in their own private journals, to protect the public identity of their blog (if there ever existed such a protection).

Blogs are for everyone, and the most celebrated blogs are reader-centered. Just like commercial websites, magazines, and other forms of media, blogs are also sought for because they offer good entertainment, new knowledge, and brilliant ideas which readers find useful in their own lives. Looking through these finalists' blogs lets me see the varying degrees of this 'reader-centered-ness.' Some blogs try to convey their messages through pictures, while some do through their witty writing. Funny blogs seem to have many visitors too, and have earned their own following. If you're an Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles fan, you might want to take a look at's Nonoy Baclao. Don't mistake him for the Noynoy who's really running for president.) It's funny, especially if you're into the UAAP! has earned its own share of readers too. These blogs know what message they want to deliver. Magaling eh.

So I challenge you to blog in your own time too. Your other-centered brilliance is in demand. You can be a man for others through blogging too.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Independence Day Boxing Country

Today, I was able to watch a Manny Pacquiao documentary on ANC. It was fairly short, and in the short time it was aired, Manny Pacquiao's beginnings as a boxer was given attention, along with his latter wins, and intention to enter politics. The docu was supplemented by boxing analysis and an interview from Pacquiao himself. The video was simply made, and the facts were laid out with no other purpose but to inform viewers about our most successful sports champion to date, perhaps as part of the Independence Day Celebrations of the news channel.

Documentaries like these are normal to the Filipino eye, but what may be real eye candy for some is watching the HBO 24/7 pre-fight documentaries about Pacquiao and his upcoming opponents. This well-produced series covers Pacquiao's training process (along with his opponent), with the purpose of hyping up the upcoming competition. With this purpose, it is ordinary to see thousands of boxing and training clips, backed up by string music from an orchestra, and brave statements from each of the boxing camps. For anyone enthusiastic about boxing (or for anyone into making film), these documentaries are truly well-made, and have beautifully combined information with excitement.

My attention was caught by the beginning of each 24/7 documentary, wherein the each of the boxers' lands of origin are given attention. For Manny Pacquiao's homeland, our beloved Philippines, beautiful shots of General Santos City and Manila were made, pretty much composed of farmland, kids, and slums beneath the urban jungle. I felt pity (mostly because that was how the viewers were supposed to respond to the treatment of that segment) as it was implied by the voice-over narration that Pacquiao came from a really poor family, and that he had to struggle his way to success, and that there little chance of even entertaining the thought of international success as an ordinary Filipino, but Pacquiao was able to reach his present status; today, Pacquiao is worshipped like a god.

Lennox Lewis said the same thing in Pacquiao's Time 100 feature this year (,28804,1894410_1894289_1894356,00.html). "Manny has connected with the people of his home... where he's almost like a god." Truly, Manny Pacquiao's victories have brought national pride and happiness, but as a Filipino, I don't think I ever came to think about imagining him the way Lewis thinks Pacquiao has connected with us.

I understand that these may be statements made to glorify Manny Pacquiao's success through the years. However, when we read write-ups about him and watch different videos concerning his notable career, the 3rd world state of the Philippines, and how it is hard to succeed here, always seems to be the literary and artistic choice for emphasizing this success. It feels like comparing white against a dark shade, just to see how bright white can be. When reading these things from outside the Philippines, I just feel that somehow, these want to make me think that Manny Pacquiao is bigger than his own country.

There's nothing wrong with what's happening. It is perfectly alright for Manny Pacquiao to be where he is. I just feel we have to be aware that for this ebony-ivory device to work in the write-ups abroad, Manny Pacquiao's status has to remain larger than his country. It is important for us to be aware of this in order to note that Manny Pacquiao's success needs to be acknowledged not as the point of real salvation for our country, but only as a big step towards it. The reason most probably that Muhammad Ali's success before as a boxer was never glorified in a Pacquiao sort of way was that America already had so many other famous successes to speak of, and that Ali's was not entirely new, despite his numerous attempts at calling himself "The Greatest."

We have to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving us so much recognition abroad. But we have to be real and true and accept that while his success is also our success, he has every right to claim it, and people outside the Philippines are still free to think that the country is Pacquiao's ebony. Pacquiao's success is an open call to Filipinos to do what we never knew before was possible. With a good outlook for the Filipino future, these literary devices of contrasting great Filipinos against a pitiful Philippines may eventually be ineffective.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nagkakaroon na ng Bagong Identidad ang Pilipinas

Alec Baldwin. Tama ba ang ispeling? Alam niyo ba, sa ngayon, hanggang picture na lang ang makikita natin sa kaniya, kasi, blacklisted siya dito sa ating mahal na Pilipinas? Nagbiro kasi siya nang masama ukol sa mga Filipina mail-order wives, na bawal daw. Nabawasan siya ng mapupuntahan sa mundo, ang Pilipinas. Kawawa naman siya, hindi niya mapupuntahan ang napakagandang bayan natin.

Sa sobrang kagandahan ng ating bansa, at ng mga nilalang dito, nang magkaroon dati ng isang linya sa palabas na Desperate Housewives na “Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines,”  hiningi na naman ng maraming Pilipino (at siyempre, hindi nawala ang political grandstanding) na humingi ng paumanhin ang produksyon ng palabas na ito.  Nakasasakit kasi eh.

Sa totoo lang, ang pinakanakagawa ng ingay na may kinalaman sa pagkakakilala sa mga Pilipino sa mundo ay ang ginawa ni Chip Tsao, isang Tsino, na pagsusulat ukol sa pagiging land of servants ng Pilipinas. Natural, maraming diskusyon muli ang naganap, sa napakarilag na Pilipinas.  

Hindi lang iyan, sa Baguio mismo, persona non grata na raw si Candy Pangilinan, isang Pilipina rin, sa kaniyang pagsabi na tao siya at hindi Igorot (at mukhang nagkamali lang naman siya sa pagsasabi ng gusto niya talagang sabihing 'di naman gaano kasakit). 

Nakikita ko na mula sa libel ng mga rehiyon hanggang sa pakikitungo sa ibang bansa (basta may kinalaman sa media), parang napaka-kritikal ng mga mamamayan sa ating bansa, lalo na ang mga may boses sa lipunan. Kaunting 'di umano'y pagyurak sa pagkatao ng Pilipino, umaaray na, nag-iingay, at humihingi ng paumanhin.

Pagkatapos mapanood ng mundo ang Slumdog Millionaire, siguradong mas maraming nasabing kababuyan na ikagagalit ng India ang nakararaming mamamayan ng mundo. Marami rin namang mail-order wives na hindi Pilipiino. Marami rin namang doktor na hindi magaling na hindi Pilipino. Sa mga servant o katulong, marami ring Espanyol, Amerikano, o hindi kaya'y mga Aprikano.  Totoo rin namang may istatwang Igorot.

Ang pipikon ng mga Pilipino. Iyan marahil ang sunod na maipipintas sa atin, at siguradong susulat na naman tayo para humingi sila ng paumanhin.

Relaks lang kasi. National identity is nourished INSIDE the nation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ang Panitikan, Jologs at Sosyal

Kagabi, nagbasa ako ng isang bahagi ng librong Katha ni Soledad Reyes ukol sa panitikang Filipino. May binanggit doon na may ilang uri ng kulturang popular na hindi agad tinanggap bilang bahagi ng sinasabing "panitikan." Kabilang sa mga nabanggit ang pelikula, ang komiks, mga dulang pangtelebisyon, at mga programa sa radyo. Isa sa mga unang nabanggit na dahilan ng hindi agarang pagtanggap sa mga ito bilang panitikan ay "walang puwang sa kurikulum ang pag-aaral ng kulturang popular." Kulang ang mga batayan para sa masusing pag-aaral noong mga panahong ito, kaya hindi natanggap ang mga ito bilang bahagi ng panitikang Filipino. Nabanggit din na sa elitistang pananaw ng marami, mababa ang tingin sa mga komiks at pelikula. Subalit hindi raw malinaw ang mga batayang "high-brow" at "low-brow" na ito, at napaka-subhetibo. May mga binanggit na ilang akda at likhang dati'y itinuring na pang-masa (sa negatibong konotasyon), na ngayon ay bahagi na ng "mas matalinong" kamalayang Pilipino.

Kahit ano naman ang mangyari, sapagkat ang panitikan ay maituturing na salamin ng buhay, gaano man ito ka-panget o ka-ganda sa ating paningin, ito ay may tunay na halagang magaggamit. Nakaiirita man o nakaaaliw na pakinggan para sa iba ang pagbirit ni Manny Pacquiao sa radyo ng "Filipino ang lahi ko!" sumasalamin ito sa kaniyang kasalukuyang kasikatan, at kung anu-ano pang maituturing na mapa ng panitikan at kulturang Pinoy sa kasalukuyan. Iba-iba ang pagtrato sa panitikan sa bawat panahon, at sa aking palagay, nagbibigay ang mga pagtratong ito ng magandang kulay sa ating lipunan.

Subalit, makulay man ang iba-ibang pananaw ukol sa kulturang popular, ang subhetibong elitistang pananaw ay nakakukulong. Karaniwan, iniisip ng elitista na kapag may taong mahilig sa Pinoy shobis, jologs siya, at hindi marunong tumingin ng tunay na art. May ilang taong matatawag na music snobs, sapagkat pinipilit nilang tanggalin sa kanilang mga buhay ang anumang musikang popular, at pinipiling makinig sa musikang tingin nila ay hindi kilala, mas trip ng kritiko, at mas aral. Sa kahit anong panahon, ang ganitong klaseng pag-iisip ay naging batayan ng katayuan sa lipunan. Kung jologs ka, Wowowee at mga mall show ng paboritong artista ang hilig mo. Kung sosyal ka, Gossip Girl ang hilig mo, Art Gallery ang lakaran mo, at Makati ang first or second home mo. Bawal maging sosyal ang taong walang alam sa tunay na 'culture.' Nakakukulong 'di ba? Upang makilala mo kung ano ka sa lipunan, parang may mga nakalathala nang mga dapat mong kahiligan at ayawan? Mahirap.

Pero siguro, puwede rin namang mamili mula sa dalawang mundo. Best of both worlds, ika nga. Hindi naman yata mahalaga ang iniisip ng iba, basta wala kang sinasaktan, at nananatili kang masaya. Minsan lang siguro talaga, sa ating pakikipagkapwa-tao, sunod lang tayo nang sunod sa daloy. Gaya ng isang likhang pampanitikan, kung trip mo ang 'jologs' ngayon at kamumuhian ka ng mga mayayaman na iyan, huwag mag-alala. Uunlad din ang pag-iisip ng marami balang araw, at magiging katanggap-tanggap ka rin. Iyon ay kung mahalaga pa iyon.