This is a public service announcement

July 31, 2010

Highly unrecommended book – Luis Francia’s A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos

Akala ko ok kasi Philippine history written by a poet/creative writer, or simply put, a non-historian. Pero nasayang lang pera ko.

Bland, stale, unimaginative, pedestrian and in some portions, poorly written even, stylistically stilted by some measure.

There is nothing new here other than what has been already presented. No new research or stories. And the stories are presented conventionally, with old rusty predictable lenses, considering that the author is a creative writer.

I grit my teeth for not knowing any better that such a pompously grand attempt to paint such a magnificently wide historical canvas in so few pages should have made the book suspect – A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos.

(Leon Ma. Guerrero actually devoted an entire book to illustrate the conceptual beginnings of the Filipino identity, first laid down by Jose Rizal.)

Nasayang pera ko kainis. Ang mahal pa naman.

Remembering Cafe Indios Bravos of the ’60s (or where General Hans Menzi furtively asked an unsuspecting painter where to get pot, in a place where a waiter could “parry about literature.”)

July 27, 2010

-Hans Menzi asking for Pot-

(From Caroline Kennedy, a visiting writer then)

After raising a convivial glass or two of his favourite drink, Menzi leaned over towards Alcuaz and whispered, “Do you know where I can get any pot around here?”

The chatter came to an abrupt halt.Some people froze on the spot. Others stampeded towards the loos to flush their own incriminating evidence down the one working toilet.

-A place where a waiter could “parry about literature”-

(From Betsy Francia, who owned the cafe together with husband Henry)

Memorable events at Indios? The night Lorna and Taboy quarrelled at the cafe’s mezzanine gallery and everyone craned their necks to watch their drama, as if it were a Shakespearean balcony scene. Villa or Nick Joaquin would preside at the center table and keep the rest of us in fits of laughter. We had one jam where this Pakistani sufi played his tabla with other musicians and he admonished us how through music we could change our environment.


Our waiters were wonderful – Mang Ben, Cesar (who was like an elegant English valet), would parry about literature sometimes with our regulars …


Someone wrote in the late sixties that so many people dominating the high-brow, entertainment and scenes in Manila then were Indios regulars and alumnae that practically comprised a cartel.

Who were they? Virginia Moreno, Nick Joaquin, Hernando Ocampo, Adrian Cristobal, Andres Cristobal Cruz, Abe Aguilar Cruz, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (I love that sequence and confusion of names), Domingo Abella, Pepito Bosch, Erwin Castillo, Ninotchka Roska, Pete Lacaba, Marra Lanot, Gelacio Guillermo, the Rodriguez family of painters, Greg Brillantes, Penny Patañe, Joe Ayala, Larry Francia, Leonie Benesa, Kerima Polotan Tuvera, Johnny Tuvera, Armando Manalo, Manansala, Lee Aguinaldo, Malang, Ang Kiukok, Aviado, Galang, Tiny Nuyda, Mike Parsons, Jaime de Guzman, Johnny and Charlie Altomonte, Gigi Dueñas, Eric Casiño, Lino Legaspi, Cesar Legaspi, Bob Fox, Eddie Elejar, Tony Fabella, Jorge Arago, Nonoy Marcelo, Willie Sanchez, Krip Yuson, Sylvia Mayuga, even Lino Brocka, Bencab, Laida Lim Perez, Peque Gallaga, Delia Javier, David Cortez Medala, Tita Muñoz, Lucrecia Reyes Urtula, Jose Nadal Carreon, or JoeCar, Recah Trinidad, Lolita Rodriguez, Linda Manalo, Offie Gelvezon, Abueva, Dauz, Bibsy Carballo, Romy Vitug, Mario Co, Joe Joya, Bernardo Bernardo, Sol Jose Vanzi, Ben Payumo, Behn Cervantes, Anthony Juan, Tani Morabe who opened Mango Bay in San Francisco and planned to open another restaurant in Amsterdam, Leo Martinez, Noel Añonuevo, Joonee Gamboa, Danny and Julie Dalena, Freddie Salangga, Joey Smith, Agnes Arellano, Sonny Tolentino, Alex Cruz, Pabs Dadivas, Bing Labrador, Kuku Grewal, Ishmael Bernal, Jolico Cuadra, Prof. Jose Maceda, Mang Amado Hernandez, the list just goes on and on …

Caroline Kennedy said that the place where Indios Bravos was once located is now occupied by Hobbit House. I think she was referring to the original location at Mabini St, as Hobbit House has now moved to MH del Pilar (also a branch in Boracay I heard). I’m not sure what stands now in the place formerly occupied by Cafe Indios Bravos. Perhaps a red light club.

-Sylvia Mayuga’s eulogy to Betsy, or Beatriz Romualdez Francia-

As the revolutionary ‘60s rushed into the ‘70s, her next project to bring the world to Manila – and Manila to itself – would be Café Los Indios Bravos on Mabini Street in Malate, named after the Filipino Propaganda Movement in exile eight decades earlier.

On Filipino writing, explosions, and the local literati

July 22, 2010

What is Filipino writing? Living on the margins, a bygone era, loss, exile, poor-me angst, post colonial identity theft. Tagalor words intermittently scattered around for local color, exotically italicized. Run-on sentences and facsimiles of Magical Realism, hiding behind the disclaimer that we Pinoys were doing it years before the South Americans.

Our heartache for home is so profound we can’t get over it, even when we’re home and never left. Our imaginations grow moss. So every Filipino novel has a scene about the glory of cooking rice, or the sensuality of tropical fruit. And every short story seems to end with misery or redemptive epiphanies. And variations therof. An underlying cultural faith in deus ex machina. God coming from the sky to make things right or wrong.


How can anyone estimate the ballistic quality of words? Invisible things happen in intangible moments. What should keep us writing is precisely that possibility of explosions. If not, what then?


These are the literati of the Philippines: the merry, mellowed, stalwartly middle-class practitioners of the luxury of literature in the language of the privileged.

- Illustrado, Miguel Syjuco

How dare you scorn the explosive I employ?

- Cannibals and Christians, Norman Mailer

Tula ngayong El Nino

March 7, 2010

Gusto kong Maging Tubig
ni Adelito Nefalar

Isuuka sa gripo ng kung kaninong tahanan
Aagos ng walang pakundangan
Ililibing ng walang pangalan
matutuyong di malalaman
Ngunit magpapaligo,
sa katawan
ng hubad na dalaga
Ngunit magpapa-usbong
at magbibigay-buhay
sa patay na kaluluwa
ng batang walang malay.

Sa May ER

March 4, 2010

Ni Randell Suba

ang mga hindi mapanatag
na kaba
habang tahimik
at palihim
na tumatakas
ang mga kamay
ng nalalabing pag-asa.
ang malamig na pagbabanta
ng unti-unting
ng mga alingasngas
ng pagliligtas.
Sa pagtakas
ng pintuan ng paghihintay,
ang nakatalukbong
na pamamaalam
at ang lumalangitngit
na paglisan.

Wonderful originals, wonderful covers

February 10, 2010

The Dark End of the Street

First performed by James Carr which has then remained as his defining piece.

One of many covers – Andrew Strong in the film The Commitment, about a group of English boys aspiring to appropriate soul music. Mr. Strong was only 16 in this film. Sobrang intense. (Nabasa ko somewhere na dito na-discover ang The Corrs).

A more recent syrupy rendition by the criminally sultry Cat Power.

Here Comes My Baby

First sung by Cat Stevens

A quite funky take by The Tremeloes

The Tremeloes live

Cover by indie heavyweight Yo La Tengo. (Album version sounds much better than this one).

Phenomenon (1996)

February 1, 2010

(At 7:18) – After George Malley (John Travolta) learns that he is soon to die.
George Malley: Hey, would you, uh, love me the rest of my life?
Lace Pennamin: No. I’m gonna love you for the rest of mine.

(Nakaka-emo ang galing galing.)

Ending scenes

Gender takes between a ‘social’ and a ‘domestic’ novel

January 28, 2010

Vendela Vida: What do you think is the difference between a so-called male novel and a so-called female novel?

Susan Straight: It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to… How come a woman writes a novel about a family, it’s a domestic novel, but if a guy writes it, it’s a great social novel?

Even if it’s a big huge sweeping novel, if a novel has, at its center, a family, and it has a woman’s name on it, then it’s called a domestic novel. One of my favorite novelists in the world is Pat Barker, from England. She wrote that great trilogy: The Eye in the Door, Regeneration, and The Ghost Road. They’re all about World War I. And she’s written a lot of other novels too. She’s one of the greatest social novelists there is. She writes about war in a social novel, and she writes about this family disintegrating under the pressures of someone who’s mentally ill. Is it a domestic novel, or is it not still a social novel? And Leslie Marmon Silko–look at all the social issues tackled in not just Ceremony but her second one, Almanac of the Dead. It was this huge, Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities-size book. How come when Tom Wolfe writes Bonfire of the Vanities, it’s a social novel?

Excerpt from a The Believer interview.


January 26, 2010

ni Michael Coroza
Ang alak anila’y gamot-pampalimot,
Epektibong lunas sa sama ng loob,
Bisa’y talab agad, lagok lang nang lagok
Hanggang sa manghina’t ang diwa’y mag-antok.

Ano kung mag-amoy tsiko at magpungay,
Ngumawa’t sa kalye’y magpasuray-suray;
Ano kung litisin ng makatatanaw.
Bigat ng dalahi’y hindi niya alam.

Kagabi, nagsayaw pati poste’t bato.
Sambote’ng nabasag sa paghalakhak ko;
Nang tiyan ko’y halos pumutok na lobo,
“Sinuka ko pati ang aking pustiso.

Ay! Sana kagabi nang ako’y masuka,
Napatapon na rin ang ‘yong alaala.


January 24, 2010

-Pare napa-panot na ata ako eh.

Don: E ‘di mabuti. Si Noynoy na magiging kamukha mo ngayon imbes na si Ninoy. Pero nasa lahi naman daw ‘yun eh.May lahi ba kayo?

-Wala naman eh.

Don: Ayos, ‘yun naman pala eh. Ikaw na ang magiging pioneer niyan.

Pare napapanot na ata ako eh.

Edi ayos. Si Noynoy na magiging kamukha mo ngayon imbes na si Ninoy. Pero nas

2010 schedule ng mga holidays

January 3, 2010

(from Ivan Henares as based on RA 9492 and Proclamation 1841)
* January 1 (Fri) – New Year’s Day (five-day long weekend from December 30 to January 3)
* February 22 (Mon) – EDSA Revolution Anniversary (holiday for schools only, three-day long weekend from February 20 to 22)
* April 1 (Thu) – Holy Thursday
* April 2 (Fri) – Good Friday (four-day long weekend from April 1 to 4)
* April 9 (Fri) – Araw ng Kagitingan (three-day long weekend from April 9 to 11)
* May 1 (Sat) – Labor Day
* May 10 (Mon) – National Elections (three-day long weekend from May 8 to 10, make sure you vote and vote wisely)
* June 14 (Mon) – Independence Day (three-day long weekend from June 12 to 14)
* August 23 (Mon) – Ninoy Aquino Day (three-day long weekend from August 21 to 23)
* August 30 (Mon) – National Heroes Day (three-day long weekend from August 28 to 30)
* September – Eid’l Fitr (to be announced, calculated September 10, possible three-day long weekend from September 10 to 12)
* November 1 (Mon) – All Saints Day (three-day long weekend from October 30 to November 1)
* November – Eid ‘l Adha (to be announced, calculated November 16)
* November 29 (Mon) – Bonifacio Day (three-day long weekend from November 27 to 29)
* December 24 (Fri) – Non-Working Holiday
* December 25 (Sat) – Christmas
* December 27 (Mon) – Rizal Day (four-day long weekend from December 24 to 27)
* December 31 (Fri) – Non-Working Holiday
* January 1 – (Sat) New Year’s Day (three-day long weekend from December 31 to January 2)

Ganito Kung Dumalaw

December 29, 2009

Ganito Kung Dumalaw
Mikael Co

Ganito kung dumalaw sa akin ang mga salita:
madaling-araw, hanging nagtatampisaw
sa luha ng lumisang dilim, liwanag
na nahihiya, nagtatangkang kumawala sa tanikala
ng gabi. Madaling araw—
kung kalian pinakamapang-akit, pinakamaputi
ang bagong papel, pinakamaitim ang tinta,
sing-itim ng langit kanina lamang, pinakamalawak
ang kawalan, salimuot, pag-alaala, paglimot.
Maniwala, malubhang karamdaman ang pagtula.
Nagtataboy ng antok, nangungutya, nang-uudyok,
lagnat ng ulirat, kombulsyon ng kaluluwa.
Ninanakaw sa akin ng pahina ang pahinga,
tuwing madaling araw, ganitong nagbabadya
ang umaga, nanlulunod ang ginaw. Maniwala,
dambuhala ang sala sa akin ng salita,
sinlaki ng mga tala kagabi (tuldok sa langit
na inaangkin ang kalawakan), simbigat ng buwan
kagabi (lumulutang sa langit, humihigop
sa mga alon,) singhapdi ng buwan kagabi
(nagnanaknak na pigsa ng kalawakan.) Malupit
na kasintahan ang salita, darating para lamang
makipagtalik, maninigarilyo sa isang sulok ng silid
habang nagluluwal ka ng sanggol na inihihiga sa papel,
nagdurugo ng tinta, pinasususo ng luha. Malupit,
malupit na mangingibig ang salita—
dadalawin ka lamang kung kailan kailangan,
pagkatapos iiwan, iiwan nang parang hamog
sa pagdating ng tanghali, parang asawang
di marunong humalik, iiwan ka nang walang pasabi,
iiwan ka, nalimot na, nilimot,
nilimot nang walang pasubali.

Nailathala sa Dapitan. Nakalimutan ko na ang specific issue number.

Tulang nagmu-multo multo
Tanagang nanundo-nundo

Two videos, many lights

December 16, 2009

Battles – Tonto

The Temper Trap – Fader

Now, this is how you start an album… and end a movie.

November 29, 2009

Sobrang tight nung tunog. Bilog na bilog. Near-perfect. Intro pa lang rock-solid na. Smooth rendering ng dark 80s vibe.

(Di siya official vide0)

Si Joey Fatone kumakantan ng isang buong kanta. Sobrang keso nung last scene, pero wala lang. Hehe

Emotions in transit

November 23, 2009

“I wanted to control it / But love, I couldn’t hold it

Quite possibly the best song and video of the year. Utterly brilliant. Inescapably infectious. Totally Grade A songwriting.

My Maudlin Career, Camera Obscura’s fourth studio album was released second quarter of the year but I’ve only managed to give it a listen over the weekend. At ang ganda ganda ganda as in.

It only looks ill-advised to place French Navy, the album’s tightest cut, as the first song, as it somewhow dwarfs the subsequent tracks.

French Navy – I can’t play the video without watching it for a minimum of five times in a row.

Three reasons why this video is completely priceless;

1. Emmanuelle Chriqui

2. You could actually hear Joey Fatone singing here

3. Lance bass kissing Chriqui…

Out of time

November 12, 2009

Where’s the love song to set us free
too many people down, everything turning the wrong way round

and I don’t know what love will be
but if we stop dreaming now, lord knows we’ll never clear the clouds

-Blur’s Out of Time


Hand On Your Heart

November 8, 2009

Original by Kylie Minogue

Rendition by Jose Gonzalez. Galing.

Parent talk

October 27, 2009

Myla: Nakaka-loka pala pag marunong na maglakad anak mo.

U1: Hintayin mo pag marunong na humingi ng pera.

LSS du jour – Bisyo (ay iwasan)

October 22, 2009


ng Mga Anak ng Tupa

Laspag ang katawan,
Walang ganang kumain, walang ganang matulog
Ganyan ang itsura mo, kaibigan ko
Para kang bangkay, balat at buto

Mahal kong kaibigan, bisyo ay iwasan
Bisyo ay iwanan, bisyo ay labanan
Mahal kong kaibigan, bisyo ay iwasan
May kaligayahan sa kinabukasan
Hoy, hoy hoy

Palagi kang wala sa sarili mo
Sakit ka ng ulo ng pamilya mo
Wala kang naitulong sa paligid mo
Sayang lang ang buhay na binigay ng Diyos sa ‘yo

Pakinggan niyo blockbuster ‘to pramis.

Click niyo link.

Pangarap kong kantahin ‘to sa lahat ng aking mga mahal na kaibigan.

Sana may ganito sa bidyoke.

Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!


September 30, 2009

Nota bene: My phone went nuts from Saturday until about Monday. Busted signal plus malfunctioning battery. Failed to receive a number of messages. If you’ve sent a message and I was not able to respond, sorry.

Pet peeve: Sana lang wag na masyado i-dramatize ang coverage sa Ondoy. Nakaka-asiwa ang romanticized portrayal sa mga victims, sa pangyayari, na nilalapatan pa ng mga music na kundi pang Maalala Mo Kaya eh pang Doomsday soundtrack. Tas ‘yung word usage pa, tsk, di naman ata kasama sa job description ng media ang tumula’t maging makata. As it is, napapakita na nung event ‘yung gravity nung calamity, ‘di na kailangan palabukan pa, sana wag na masyado gatasan. Parang exploitative na ang dating by some measure. Pornographic almost.

Question: Puwede ka bang mag-panic buying, pero kalmado ka lang habang bumibili? :D


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