screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To John, my dearest friend...

Today I woke up in a differently shaded world. I opened my eyes and thoughts were flowing relentlessly. It's been a long time since this happened. A year, to be exact. I realized that it's been a long time since the inspiration to write straight from the heart came to me. Today really is different.

Maybe it's because of what happened yesterday. Indeed, yesterday is a precious jewel I wouldn't exchange for anything. It's a treasure that is so hard to find these days. In the days to come, if there will come reasons to feel blue or rotten, I would surely let memories of yesterday filled with songs, true friendship and pure sincerity fill the space caused by life's real miseries, I'm sure a smile will find it's way somehow. I'd surely be convinced again that the world is really not that tragic, not that rude, not that ironic. And life will be fine again. That's the magic and gift of yesterday.

I'm not sure if my absence the day after would do anything good or bad for both of us. I think it's an opportune moment, at least for me, to think over and write some things that were left unsaid last night (or this morning) so that tomorrow, when you see me beside you once again, every uncertainty would already be as clear as day, hopefully. Besides, this writer can only open his heart fully through written words.

So what was left unsaid last night? Many things, actually. The trip to your place was not enough to cover thoughts that were running through my head, and probably yours, as well. This will... hmm... more or less cover questions that probably are in your mind right now.

Have I really fallen again? Am I really in denial? I would say no, crossing my heart and hoping to die candidly. Seriously, I don't suppose God lets two people meet for bad reasons, and I know He would not let anything devastating happen for an evil purpose.

Yesterday was like a big wake-up call. There's almost 10 years of history to it. This life has been filled with regrets and goodbyes- I've been and lived in various places, spent so many memorable times with people I learned to love and live life with daily, only to find myself one day that I am alone again, with regrets that I have not affected the ones that I've grown with in quite a short time. There are a few who stayed, but most of them left a wide empty space in me that I always wish I would have filled somehow. Yes, that includes my Elmo. I thought almost a month of bliss with him would answer the greatest riddle in my mind and heart. I never really prepared for goodbye, because I never wanted to. Our story never really ended and you know this. Goodbyes are supposed to happen swiftly. If it kills, it should end life without pain. But it's not supposed to be that way- life is cruel. Yup, our goodbye was a very long one. Painful each day, with no escape. The recent months were proof that it did a bigger hole in my soul, moulded with only a few memories of happiness.

The Katie that you came to know was consumed in and by darkness- someone who was almost convinced that life is but a series of beatings till your soul wears out and withers away. You always tell me to see the happy elements of life, but to a woman who was like drugged with life's poisons, happy elements were just temporary. (Funny, I remember you telling me almost the exact same thing once.) You live the daily routine. You go through life's task and lose a day without minding it at all. The writer's Carpe diem was just meaningless.

The happy yesterday could have been just another drug for the next shadowy days. But like I said, I woke up in a differently shaded world today. It does not feel I've fallen, John. As a matter of fact, it feels like being resuscitated from having been fallen. I find myself writing again, John, filled with ideas that left me a long time ago. Yes, the colors that my Elmo took came back, they're home at last. You just don't know how overwhelming that is to me.

It's such a sweet irony that I met someone who shares almost the same fate in my darkest moments. Two people who can't see in the shadows ought to hold hands and guide each other to light, even if light itself may be too far to reach. I believe this is our purpose. Eversince I came to know you more than anyone else do, I have made a pledge that I will be there the day this man would either break or live through having loved someone whom he can't. Sometimes I see you breaking to tears, and I see myself in you a year ago whenever that happens. I do not want anyone living living through that horrible suffering because I know it's hell. This is why I choose to be close to you whenever it happens- hoping to lighten up the burden even for a bit. Your love for your special someone is divine, and I know throwing that away is as severe as turning your back against faith itself. It almost destroys the foundations of your soul, until you find life wilting, which should not be. Having you in my life is a proof to it's contrary, and I wish you'd find proof for yourself later on- may or may it not be from me.

Someday, you'll wake up in a world complete with colors, John. Come what may :-), I hope to be there when that day comes, at least to see the eternal smile that everyone's searching for.

To the question "Has Katie fallen?" No. Truth is, you found a girl who had already fallen. But I'm learning to stand now. It's all thanks to the wonderful you.

Hugs and kisses.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Our Official Stand: The Filomeno Code

Let me start this essay by saying the same thing Dr. Jose Rizal said when he was accused of attacking the Catholic faith. I am a catholic, I was raised a Catholic, and I intend to die being a Catholic.

Let me also begin by saying that I am against the proliferation of pornograhy, most specifically in Philippine Cinema. The reason for this has got little to do with the assumption that pornography poisons the mind of an audience (not that it can't), but because I am against the idea of selling lust and exploiting women to make big bucks out of movie tickets.

But let me make it clear that this does not make my mind narrow about the issue of pornography. There are media such as art work, movies, television, radio, and printed materials, that although deal with the paradigms of sex and violence, do not necessarily qualify to be labeled as obscene and more so pornographic. As for me, something becomes pornographic when an author of a certain media intentionally capitalizes and uses sex, but most importantly, lust to sell his work.

However, sometimes, even cause-oriented groups such as the Philippine Alliance of Pornography (PAAP), can go overboard. In a very controversial move to ban the movie "The Da Vinci Code", a lot of curious minds havebeen tickled and now the viewing public is placed on this dilemma. So allow me to scrutinize some arguments presented by the PAAP spokesman (Aldo Filomeno) in a Manila Bulletin and Malaya article.

1.) The Movie adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code" is the most pornographic and blasphemous film in history.

First of all, what qualifies him to judge a movie that he hasn't seen yet? And even if he did, what makes him say that this is the most pornographic film in history? Has he seen every pornographic movie in history? If he has, then I wonder what is he doing being a leader of an anti-pornography group. Surely, Tom Hanks is no porno star, and I will bet my one month salary that we won't even see him ass-naked in this movie (although someone else did, but it didn't look pornographic to me!). On the other hand, Academy award winning director Ron Howard, is surely not a pornographer. We recognized some ofhis early works in "A Beautiful Mind" and "Cinderella Man". Both films were critically acclaimed and award winning.

How many blasphemous articles has he read? Even Dan Brown himself admitted that most elements of his books were in fact based on pure fiction. Maybe some of his beliefs go against the dogma of the Catholic Church, but doesn't ours also go against the dogmas of Judaism? Or the dogmas of other religion for that matter? As a matter of fact, there are some religions that do not acknowledge the divinity of Christ, much more his existence. It is, of course, blasphemous for a Catholic point of view. But in a country that constitutionaly protects freedom of religion, such arguments are biased and often absurd.

2.) This movie aims to destroy Filipino Values, and the foundation of the Catholic faith.

Definitely an out of line argument here. If MTRCB is to ban this movie for that basis, then I will have to ask why have they allowed other lame-brained Filipino movies to be shown in theaters, that in fact never fails to manage to insult the intelligence of the Filipino audience. Why do they air game shows, reality shows and talk shows, that as a matter of fact, have promoted a lot of false values? So I see no reason why everybody is making so much of a fuss over a Hollywood movie?

Lets face it, most who will watch this movie are those people who have read the book and are familiar with Dan Brown's work. Sandara Park fans will stay away from this movie.

Most of all, if the foundation of ones faith is strong, then there is absolutely no work of fiction that can destroy it. Besides, Dan Brown's book often times has been subjected to many rebuttals. There are also many claims, way before Dan Brown's, that have challenged the dogmas of the Catholic church. But for hundreds of years it still remained the most dominant religion in this planet.

4.) Dan Brown is as evil as Adolf Hitler, and wants us to worship his evil empire. All copies of his book must be burned, and the master copy of the movie must be destroyed.

I don't think Dan Brown ever promoted a sect. Even if he did, it would have been a cult. As of today many cults exists, but again have they managed to destroy the most dominant religion on this planet?

I do not know what common denominator Brown and Hitler has. But this I will say, dictating mature people on what they should and should not read, not respecting the right of people to choose what they want to believe and what they don't want to, and prejudism due to ones religious or political beliefs is pretty much Nazism to me. Come to think of it, didn't the Nazis burn printed materials and other media so they can brainwash the citizens of the places they occupied?

Besides if the PAAP decides to burn copies of the book or the movie itself, wouldn't they be breaking the law themselves? There is such a thing called property rights, which unfortunately for them, the constitution protects.

5.) We should boycott PG-13, R-13 and R-18 movies in major theaters in this country to discourage them to show films that depict sex and violence.

Now I'm wondering if Mr. Filomeno understands why or how something gets to be merited as PG or R for that matter. In fact there are some movies that do not contain a single scene of violence or sex, but still merritt for a PG rating. Take for instance the movie adaptation of some of Shakespear's work, they get a PG rating not because of the sex and violence, but because of the complexity of some dialogs that children may have difficulty in understanding.

Second, it is just stupid for a person who takes a 3-minute scene of nudity as the whole point of the entire 2 hour movie. Take for instance Spielberg's Amistad. The director tackled many paradigms in that movie, slavery, freedom, humanity, friendship, and love. It is one of those movies that engages you to be philosophical, but if all you could remember was the scene showing a completely naked slave, then I think you might want to seek therapy for that.

Brokeback Mountain, Hostel, and V for Vendetta. All of them are critically acclaimed and even award winning movies that they also wanted to ban. I have failed to see the previous two, but I enjoyed V for Vendetta. Mr. Filomeno labeled it as violent and it encouraged "satanism". And I was like... "huh?!" I have seen the movie twice, and not an instance in the movie was the word "satan" was used. Although, the film tackled about church hypocrisy, homosexuality, but most of the attempt to rob people of their common sense by controlling what they see on television, what they hear on the radio, and what they read on the newspaper. I think this is the genuine reason why PAAP is pissed off. If I will sum up all the time length of the fight scenes, it wouldn't even sum up to an hour.
I gained a lot of important insights about this movie (my next essay was inspired by that), one of which was that the most powerful weapons that we have are ideas.

6.) That Mr. Aldo Filomeno is the great grandson of Jose P. Rizal, and Jose P. Laurel, and that he is doing the job of his ancestors, protecting the Christian faith.

I think he shot himself in the foot with this one. I mean what kind of a person in a normal intellectual capacity would write to a respected Malaya columnist, and begin his letter with the claim that he is the great grandson of Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken? Assuming that this is true, does this fact make him infallible about his previous claims?

Has he not read the novels of his great granddaddy? In so many instances Rizal used friars and officials of the Catholic church as antagonists in his novels. They were depicted as corrupt, perverted, and even as sociopaths. For crying out loud maybe he should review history and learn that this was partly the reason why he was accused of a crime worthy of a firing squad in Bagumbayan. But ten bucks and a pizza says that Mr. Filomeno will not allow himself to be shot in Luneta, if it meant banning Ron Howard's movie, and in the process protecting the Catholic faith.

A friend of mine asked me as I was reading that article in Malaya. "Paano kaya nagswiswiming si Boy Blue Filomeno?" "Baka naka-longsleeves jogging pants at medyas." Hey, I wouldn't be surprised.

But one thing I'm surprised is how MTRCB was threatened by a man who introduces as the great grandson of Dr. Jose Rizal..... Then that makes Mariang Makiling his great grandma?

As for me, I've seen the The DaVinci Code for its entertainment value, not for whatever subtle message it has. At the end of the movie, I am confident that nothing about my faith have changed. I believe in Jesus Christ my God, and my Savior. Just as Robert Langdon said- in the end, it still depends on what you believe.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

DOJ goes senile.

Nuff said... but here's more.

"I hope they'll go the mountains. That's where they belong."

So what does Sec. Gonzales of the Department of Justice mean here?

What would our fellow Filipinos from the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley say about this These are places where geniune Filipino culture was established, and this is were it still lives on. What is it with mountains and trash that got stuck in the rotting minds of people like the DOJ secretary?

Whenever I see this guy on TV, I get reminded of the likes of Miriam Defensor Santiago. They used to be good examples in the system. Why do these people let themselves and their dreams go to waste? Does that prove how strong the hunger for money/power is in this country?

Be warned, young Jedis. The dark side still reigns in the Philippines.

My dad's comment about Gonzales: "Parang action star kung humirit. Huwag na lang sana s'yang magsalita kung wala syang matino't matinong sasabihin."

Pinoy Big Bother: The Batasan Edition

80 million audience, 70 days, 5 housemates, 1 house. This is Pinoy Big Bother Batasan Edition. Yes, I mentioned bother, not brother. Because there are times that I simply view these over idealistic militant leaders as nuisances rather than patriots.

I'm sorry at these point you should know that I am not a very big fan of the Batasan 5, Voltes 5, or whatever they would like to call themselves. In fact, I haven't been a big fan of activism lately. But hold up, am I not some schmuck complaining so much about the status quo of this country? So what then makes us different from these people?

Well, for starters, I do not believe that ousting presidents will solve our problems. I do not mobilize mass protests, and cause traffic all over the business district preventing other office employees to make some money. I do not demonstrate in the street and leave tons and tons of mess for the metro aid to clean up afterwards. I do not damage public or private property as a result of mass demonstration and use collateral damage as a convenient escape goat. I do not use my pork barrel to fund mass protests and demonstration against and system that I willingly work for in the first place. And I do believe that at the end of the day, the greatest fight that we have to take to change this country is not outside in the streets, but it is within ourselves and within our offices and classrooms.

You know what pisses me off nowadays? A bunch state university graduates who opt to use their ideologies to actively participate in militant groups. If they believe so much on what they fight for why don't they serve the very people of this country that need them in the first place? Where are all the good teachers? Where are all the good doctors? where are all the good engineers? Because, sure hell, what this country needs more is leadership by walk and not by talk. The youth need to become better leaders themselves by using the knowledge they acquire from school to serve the people of their country. Not by becoming effective demonstrators.

I mean really if Satur Ocampo et. al hated the system so much, why did they opt to become Party List congressmen in the first place? Remember he was one of the people who protested against the pork barrel system. But when he got a seat in Congress he was one of those who refused to sacrifice their pork barrels?

Forgive me for saying this, but for me, the whole fiasco in Batasan is an act of cowardliness. I mean, if the Batasan 5 were so idealistic, then how come they were not prepared to go to jail for what they fought for? Why did they have to hide like rodents inside the premises of Batasan? Yet they would organize press conferences inside Batasan to protest against a government they work for?

And before I forget, who is going to clean up the mess they made in the Batasan in their 70 days stay? Who is going to pay for the overtime dues of the guards that protected them. I work for a state university but I can't even work there past 9 P.M. due to austerity measures. But I will bet my one month salary that the air-conditioning unit was on the whole time they occupied Batasan. So, who's going to pay for the excess water and electric bill. As a matter of fact what resources did they use to fight the government? The government itself! They used the resources of the Phil Government to fight the Phil Government. These people should be ashamed of themselves. Even Ninoy Aquino willingly allowed himself to be jailed to fight for what he believed in.

Teddy Casino claims that they will continue their protests in the streets until the gain the reforms that this country needs. And I'd tell him to use his simple common sense. For 500 years we have been trying to start a revolution, for two decades we have been protesting in the streets. Shouldn't that tell you that the streets will not bring us the reforms that we need? Mass demonstrations have ousted leaders, but have never brought reforms that the country needed. And most of all real idealist have tangible solutions to offer, they do not just create traffic along the major roads of manila, they do not just present useless ideologies. They present tangible, and attainable solutions, and they move their asses so that these tangible solutions make take its effect.

In the far side of this country, in the province of Bukidnon, there exists Bgy. Concepcion. Its way up in the mountains, so high that it is only accessible by a motorcycle called "habal-habal". Its a small community where there is no electricity, no decent water source, and not even everyone can afford a pair of slippers. There is one small classroom there which are handled and managed by volunteer public school teachers, who are overworked, underpaid, and isolated from their families. Yet they realize the need for the people of Bgy. Conception to have a decent education. And because of their commitment to education itself, they take a sacrifice as big as this. They are heroes. This is TRUE IDEALISM.

Somewhere along Commonwealth Ave. 5 party list/militant leaders, locked themselves up inside Batasan complex to avoid jail time for their "courageous conviction" about the Arroyo government. They had press conferences every once in a while to present the drama that was happening inside the batasan complex. They showed the Filipino audience how idealistic they were. Although isolated from thier families, they enjoyed Government/tax payer amenities such as free lodging with air conditioning, telephone, and who knows maybe internet. This is Idealism? Nah.... This is "Pinoy Big Bother; Batasan Edition. Ang Teleserye ng Totoong Politika.

Ahmad. P.S. Happy Vanilla Sky Month

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Emails and concerns

Hello, Katie,

I was looking around and found your site. I read your topics and found them to be interesting. I was born in the Philippines in Pasay but left when I was 3 years old, and was raised in the United States. Needless to say after 24 years I went home for a visit and to my surprise, a lot have changed. The point I’m trying to get across is that I would lend my right hand to my countryman, and yet he wants my whole right arm and at the same time start nibble ling on my other arm. Salamat at tinoruan ako nang pinsan ko mag tagalong, pero bakit ganoon? Is it because I have been away from home for such a long time, that I have forgotten what it’s like to be a Filipino? What are your thoughts on my question? Ms. Torres, if ever you may have, or not have the chance of replying to my question, I would like very much to thank you for your time and please keep up your good work.

::Robert Tailor


Hi Robert,

Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

You know our countrymen are in the midst of crisis right now due to corruption and poverty. In times like this, both sides of the Filipino shows- the good side that lends a hand whenever he feels it needed, and the bad side that creeps within when suffering gets more intense. It's a good thing you are in the good side, but it takes a lot of effort to be and stay there.

The Filipinos, by heart, are kind-hearted people. We are a people of the Bayanihan, of real faith towards God and good customs. Sadly, things may have been better the last time you've been to this country but indeed, a lot has changed since you left.

It's the system that slowly corrupts our fellow Filipino. But I believe a lot is at stake if we are to reverse it. We need Filipinos to open their eyes to what's happening in the bigger picture, so that they may be made aware that the suffering that they experience now is the suffering that is experienced by most except the evil few. By then, they will know that they need to unite, then focus on the real cause of the national crisis...

In other words, change would start with re-educating the Filipino. Not the type of education that is currently applied on public schools (the three Rs), but much deeper. We need to start planting awareness to our kids and teeners, our next generation, of what's true among the false concepts. I believe I've started it through my blog, but still yields little results. We need to find more blogs that tackle almost the same topics, same awareness. We need to show that that we know what they're doing, and they oughtta change their ways.:)


I've been reading lots of emails like this one, and as much as I want to answer all of them, it's just that I had so little time because of work. I hope you guys understand, but I DO read all of your emails and appreciate every one of them. Thank you for keeping me updated of the real heart of the Filipino these days... I miss the Philippines and I pray everyday that God would lend His hand again like in EDSA I to make things better.

From a non-Filipino point of view (Part II)


Never stop trying, I supervisor 54 of your people here in Qatar and have come to know the Pilipino as a hard worker and have a willingness to do just about any thing to earn money for their families. But, I have also looked at the government and realized that the government is not working to achieve a future for the Pilipino people, but simply find it easier to sell your country’s most important asset to the world as cheap labor.

I have spoken many times to the staff about making changes, that someone must speak out no matter how hard it will be and it will be hard with so many of your people unwilling to speak out. A cultural change will need to be made too.

There has to be a willingness on the part of the Pilipino to work together to achieve the goal of success and not through a network of “favoritism.” Hard work, training and skills will build your nation once more into a nation who can be proud to say made in the Philippines.

Don’t give up; I have grown to love and respect many of my staff and to see a young Philippine woman speaking out when so many just say nothing is heartening to me. You are the future of the Philippines and one day more and more of you countrymen will start speaking out as you.



"At the time of day when the light starts to dim and the twilight turns to dark, I remember them all and they all live again."


Michael is a contractor from Qatar who happened to visit this blog one time. Thanks, Michael, for that touching comment. :) -Katie