Thursday, September 24, 2015


After all has been said and done, this will not be another gushing tribute to Jerrold Tarog's outstanding film HENERAL LUNA.   Whatever could be said has been talked about and written a number of times so that at this point, two weeks after the movie opened, anything else along that line would simply be repetitive and reductive.

But let it still be said that the overwhelming response to the film will never be adequate.  Its greatest feat is not because it managed to stay in cinema houses for two weeks but because it opened the eyes of the audience that films can be something more than entertainment.  Moreover, audiences also realized that you can be entertained without being numbed by more of the same or given a dosage of laughter anesthetic that somehow deadens your brain for ninety minutes after you dole out two hundred pesos.

On the contrary, HENERAL LUNA was disturbing.  No, it was very very disturbing.  I left the movie house angry and depressed. I was already forewarned by friends who caught the screening ahead of me ... as well various Facebook shoutouts ... that this one movie that will make you remember not only the quotable quotes or the superb performances ... but what it had to say about being Filipino and the betrayal of the intellegentsia in our nation's history. Yes, everything they said was true.  Tarog bitch slaps you silly --- making you confront with dismay, disgust and a lot of anger about what has become of the country because there are just too many politicians and very few idealists.  There are too many platforms but no national vision.

It makes me remember that we Filipinos keep comparing ourselves to the bamboo.  We distinguish its  resilience against the most angry storms and winds because it sways where the strong gusts of wind bring them.  Because of their flexibility, they are never torn about by the strongest of storms.

 True. The bamboo know how to dance to the tune of the heavens thus having stronger chances of surviving such cataclysmic tests.  But then again, the bamboo was never known to be the strongest wood because it is not wood but hardened grass.  And because its consistency cannot match what hard woods are made of, bamboos are prone to termites, molds and rots slowly yet somewhat easily.  

So much for comparisons.  The bamboo is easily corrupted and is not meant for the long haul.

Tarog's film had its compromises.  From the very start, he had a disclaimer stating that this was an extrapolation of fiction with historical facts.  Cinematic license was practiced with great generosity in order to underline the importance of the material's theme.  The point is to show the iconoclastic character of General Antonio Luna --- his temperament, his passion and his conviction which eventually revealed shades of betrayal and treason not from the foreigner as enemy but from his own countrymen.  Compromise, it was and still is called: the law of practicality over idealism, supposed reason over national vision --- the sila versus tayo dichotomy that has long plagued the citizenry of the archipelago.

To fully comprehend all that, Tarog took his liberties.  This was and is still a film, after all.  This is not a documentary nor a historical account boasting of up-to-the-last-detail precision.  Some names were changed to spare the story of diversionary subplots that would have been more interesting and equally relevant --- like the relationship between Heneral Luna and his Ysabel.

The real success of the film goes beyond the shake-up it gave to Filipinos in need of clarifications regarding the history they so easily have forgotten.

It was all about the fact that it took two weeks for people to go out and watch the movie.  It took an online protest not to have the movie pulled out of moviehouses by the first weekend because this was a film worth watching and people should be given the chance to see it.  They may like it or hate it --- but they have to see it.  And it takes almost a miracle for any average Filipino moviegoer (OK, let us not even call them the masa because the D and E crowds do not have the extra cash to spend two hundred pesos for a screening of a movie starring an actor and not merely a star.) to go out and watch a historical movie because audiences prefer the familiarity of romcoms, the abandonment of slapstick comedy or the joys of being a querida.

It took a noise rally from social media and non-stop discussions about the pros and cons of the movie before people finally took a second look and decided, "Sige nga. Mapanood na nga ..." just to be able to join the discussion or to say that they partook of this rare cinematic opportunity.

Movies about heroes of both celebrated and dubious reputations pop up ever so often but Tarog's ability to entertain as well as provoke thought make the work all the more relevant and worth the hard earned money spent on the ticket.  This is not a classroom history movie ... nor was it meant to deify a hero by showing his importance in the scheme of things. Rather, Luna was shown as tragic in his passion, conviction and vulnerability. He was not pushed to the level of the melodramatic or the cheesy ... but rather something comprehensible and reachable to a young audience.

Why it took so long for the movie to pick up shows another problem all together. It is not that we do not have the audience to appreciate movies like this --- rather, it is because we have been deprived of variety being fed with the same menu every week, every month --- so that even the allegedly thinking and spending middle class no longer trust Filipino movies to have anything more than the nutritional value found in junk food.  Then comes a surprise such as this --- and Filipino audiences take time to warm up and realize that, yes ... there are local movies worth your two hundred pesos outside the MetroManila Filmfest when you do not have the sequel of The Maze Runner showing against a local film.

Now at the heart of its second week, Heneral Luna has been pulled out of some movie houses but the ones that still show the film are getting full house crowds and even extra screenings.

That is a good sign. No, it is a hopeful sign.  There is nothing wrong with commercial movies --- as there is nothing wrong with tasty desserts. But it certainly helps a lot knowing that the kitchen can still cook up a delicious main course that keeps you full and at the same time filled with challenges and ideas.

That is Heneral Luna winning the battle.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I am not even going to talk about the issues of the separation of Church and State.  

Everybody has his take on that.  And, well, we know how some have decided to interpret what it means to have such a "separation" of power.

I am not even going to talk about the three hours it took me to get home to the south when I left Tomas Morato in Quezon City at 3:00 PM last Friday afternoon.  Others had worse ordeals.  And, yes, there are those who felt that the protest was perfectly timed to ruin their long weekends.

It was a Friday and a payday and there were sales all over the malls.  People made plans to start the three-day holiday with casual unwinding.  And what they got was a traffic mess that promised to last far more than their plans for the stretch of their work-free days.

I had a meeting scheduled Saturday morning but then I realized that any attempt to go north is an exercise in sublime masochism.  The meeting was eventually cancelled and we had to turn around and go back south after wasting hours trying to go about doing what I was supposed to do for my job.

Yes, it was a bummer. What a bummer.

There were apologies issued by the humongous and admittedly powerful group staging the mass action. 

They said that they were only using EDSA as their venue to embody their rights to protest against the interference of the State with affairs of their church.  

They issued requests for understanding of the general --- since this is a fight that their group was quite determined to slug it out (or, in this case, stand off ) until they get what they wanted. Panginoon ko, hanggang kelan po ba ito? 

But the citizenry did not only react to what the group was doing: they started taking it out on the entire congregation and its leaders.

 What used to be decades of peaceful co-existence seemed to have so quickly deteriorated into irritation until eventually contempt for what others felt was the show of muscle by sheer number of a single institution. 

 Well, taka pa ba tayo? 

 It is because this group was given that sense of entitlement --- down to this very last moment --- because of their political clout.  Our favorite politicos, whether in place of power or aspiring to be up there in 2016, have all given lame or safe or even encouraging statements seemingly beholden to the group.

 Why is this so?  It does not take a genius to know that by sheer number of membership, the group can be a great determinant in the harvest votes that a candidate can acquire in order to win the elections.  Siyempre naman you do not antagonize an institution that can help you harvest votes, right? Alam na natin yon.  Noon pa.  That is why officials from humble konsehals to the upper echelons of importance bow to the authority of the Church's leaders.  And there is nothing strange with that either.  That is why there is a verb called politicking and they are called politicians.

Which is why I am blogging.

If there is anything that disturbs me ... it is not that sorry state of traffic going on right now as I pound on this keyboard.  This is exactly what they want --- to make us feel the disequilibrium in our daily lives brought about by their discontent. 

 Apparently, EDSA congregations have become the template of protest --- and has now been done to death to serve whatever purpose not necessarily of national interest --- but of particular concerns.  

What is more irking is that nothing is being done: no action is being undertaken to change the situation as everybody seems to be fence-sitting and waiting for the throngs to either multiply exponentially until they stretch from Shaw Boulevard to Taft Avenue ...or hope that the rains will not only dampen but douse water on the fire of their collective conviction.

What disturbs me most is how this event has again divided the country --- Filipinos against Filipinos.

Who is to blame? Whoever, whatever.  At this point we can all take sides, but another damage has been done.  And no one seems to be doing anything to even pretend that there is repair.

Am I pissed? Yes, I am ... and when I see memes all over the internet mocking, joshing and aggravating this group because of all the inconvenience --- nay, urban paralysis --- that they have caused, I ask myself: "Where will all this lead to?  How will this affect the relationship of Catholics with an indigenous Christian group?  Just how much more do we need to understand that this not only about this problem or traffic or the garbage they will leave out in the streets.

I try my best to really understand as I know certain members of that Church who are not in agreement to what is happening but would rather keep quiet because --- that is their choice: to be mum and let events take their natural course.  That is why it is equally wrong to generalize that everyone who belongs to the group should be castigated for ruining our long weekend. Hard as it is to fathom at this point, there are exceptions who believe that this is not the right way to solve the problem. 

What is most saddening is that we have reached this stalemate because we can't get our act together as a people. It is again about how destroyed we are in our inability to share a common vision, to work for a common cause, to go beyond our self-interests. Even I am guilty of that. 

But what makes it all the more sad?

There is nobody out there telling us what to do, where we can go ... or how we can handle this beyond testing our patience.  We are all waiting it out hoping that this will all go away ... and that we can have our regular share of nerve-wrecking-non-fatal traffic without having to deal with a couple of thousands huddled together under the MRT Rails.

We all deserve something better than this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Well, it was bound to happen ... sooner or later.  And when it did, it came from left field, leaving everyone shell-shocked and smiling. Almost everyone, that is.

Just my ten cents worth:  Alden Richards should have been a big star by now.

Why? Let me count my take.

First, he has the looks.  Better yet, he has the height.  Some have the looks but not the tindig to distinguish them from those destined to do supporting roles.  Not that being vertically-challenged is a curse to those who intend to pursue careers in front of the camera  (think Danny DeVito ... and, no, I will not name the local counterparts lest I be physically attacked by their fans because I called their idols punggok) but it helps.  It helps that the suit or the gown falls well on a tall lean body. And with the case of Mr. Richards, there are those dimples.

I mean ... who in the world can resist those dimples? There is something on the verge of weird as to how indentations in the cheeks can generate so much swooning and the loosening of underwear garters.  

Second, he knows his camera.  Oh, yes: Alden knows his camera very well ... and it has got nothing to do with his winning Mister Laguna sometime in the earlier part of this century.  The point is that when he does those little waves on tv ... there is a collective sigh from womankind (and the wanna be womankind as well) because they have been charmed.  That's it: he is charming. He is not only good looking but he is charming. Which leads me to the third point ...

Third, he is well-mannered.  There is something of that gentleman in him that brings back the virtues of being decent and educated.  After all, the young man is schooled --- and it shows not only in his demeanor but the fact that it is not a put-on.  As contrasted with a great number of his peers, Mr. Richards is both old school and up to date.  He is old school since he resembles the matinee idols of the past --- when good grooming, right conduct and respect for women mattered a lot.  He is up to date because he can still cut across the young audience while wanting to be mothered by anyone above thirty years of age.

And lastly ... the kid's got what it takes. He's got talent --- and it completely befuddles/confuses/discombobulates me as to why his mother studio never made the most of what he has to turn him into a much bigger star than he has become in the here and now.  What's that? It only took Eat Bulaga two months to turn him into the Bae ng Bayan where he has been around for ... uh, years?  

This was the boy eliminated from a talent search but was brought back to life by the network's management. But then again, the potential was not maximized as he was relegated to the more-of-the-same roles that yielded just-so-so reaction from audiences.  The sad part is that Mr. Richards could have been the next big thing in that network --- alongside Dingdong Dantes and the other leading men who have been in the forefront.  Sad to say, it took an "accident" like co-hosting in their iconic noontime show to reveal to the world that, "Hey, this kid is not just a pretty face. He sells. "

Yes, he sells so much that now everybody is falling all over each other to get a piece of him.

The Universe has a way of providing its own sweet time.

That included Maine Mendoza, now known to the rest of the planet --- including competition --- as the Phenomenal Yaya Dub.

OK, I never got the thrill of Dubsmashing --- but then kanya-kanyang trip so let that be so.  If someone wants to go miming quotable quotes or memorable lines from movies, eh, di fine.  But ever since Ms. Mendoza started dubsmashing scenes immortalized by no less than the unchallenged Massacre Movie Queen herself, specifically in the Rono film, Feng Shui, she had people hitting her YouTube uploads by the millions.

The difference between Ms. Mendoza and about 90% of the wannabe-artistas out there is that she does not need it.  Come to think of it, we are not even sure if this is what she really wanted since the girl is a graduate of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the De la Salle College of Saint Benilde.  Get this: she did her apprenticeship in a food establishment in upstate New York City, OK?  Like the rest of the graduates of SHRM of CSB, she isn't out there to cook burgers or doughnuts.

Her rise to fame is accidental and she seems to be having fun.  Her addition to Eat Bulaga's roster of Kabarkads is a case of absolutely perfect timing.  When she assumed the character of Yaya Dub, much harassed caregiver to Wally Bayola's hilarious Lola Nidora, that whole gang with Jose Manalo and master chameleon Paolo Ballesteros  raiding the baranggays of Manila exploded with a new adrenaline overload.

Yaya Dub and Lola Nidora were enough to generate fresh interest in the 36 year old noontime show but the inclusion of Alden and Yaya Dub's lampungan and kiligan literally brought the house down ... and the ratings flying off the roof.  Just at the time when people thought Eat Bulaga was already showing wear and tear and audience fatigue .... WHAPPAK! Suddenly the planet reversed its somewhat predictable orbit and nobody was prepared for the phenomenon that has become of Aldub.

On their first monthsary, Maine Mendoza found herself on the banner photo of the front page of Philippine Daily Inquirer right above the headline.  Alden Richards is featured in Ricky Lo's column on the same day occupying an entire page of pure dimple power. And people are categorically enthralled by a simulated Romeo and Juliet kalyeserye because of so many reasons.

Others find this banal, cheap and shallow but then the diversity of perception comes from how you look at pop cult phenomena and not how they stand in one's personal taste or order of priorities.

The Aldub phenomenon is taking place because it is happening at the right time and at the right place.

The common reason is that they give good vibes.  They herald the return to innocence.  To fun. To good clean fun that does not involve insulting or downgrading anyone for looks, reputations or whatever.  They are a breath of recycled fresh air because they provide the same template of Cinderella's motif, the Senyorito in the dashing Alden and the portrayal of a rubber-faced yaya in Maine.  In other words, they are a reaction to the negativity that is surrounding media --- with endless news of dishonesty and corruption in politics, the game of thrones in the presidential elections of 2016 and the unforgivable traffic leaving residents of the Metro in a state of nervous breakdown.

Aldub exploded into the phenomenon that it is ... because it provided good and clean respite from the polluted air we inhale by reading the news ... or simply going out of our houses.

People may think it is so mababaw to be fascinated by all these ... but give it some thought and you know it is not.

Nothing happens by accident ... including pop cult sensations.  Everything is a response to a much larger issue.

And all the audience really wanted was a return to good old falling in love.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


There is this thing about travelling abroad that disturbs me.

Although it is lesson enough not to compare how it is out there to what it is really like back here, you cannot help but do so.  There is something almost masochistic about comparing Manila to some places that you visit. OK, let's not get sensitive by using the term better but maybe more advanced.  Whichever way you look at it, you still feel bad.

You ask yourself why it does not even take three hours and when you land at the airport in Hong Kong, it is like you landed on a completely different planet. 

Why do they have trains that go straight into the city from the airport --- leaving you off a few steps from your hotel?  And why is everything so systematic, comprehensible, convenient, accessible ...? (The adjectives go on and on and the ritual of masochism continues.) Why does everything seem to work efficiently?

You also ask yourself why is it that in three and a half hours you land in Singapore --- and it is a city state that is as big as MetroManila but looks like Tomorrowland if you are standing right at the intersection of Taft Avenue and EDSA. 

Well, actually there are many places in Manila that really look like some of the sets they built for science fiction movies.  That is more like from the imagination of Ridley Scott --- Blade Runner country. However, in Singapore everything is seemingly immaculately clean, trees are abundant --- and look, they have trains that work, buses that are efficient --- and throughout the duration of my five day stay --- never encountered a single incident of traffic. 

Maybe I and my fellow travelers were just lucky.  But I really, really was amazed that our coaster never stalled, the taxi cabs we rode never stopped not unless there was a traffic light ... or we got to our destinations.  After a while you sort of miss how it is in Manila when you spend a minimum of two to two and half hours from Muntinlupa to Quezon City on a regular day.  Or that you have accepted traffic as a way of life kasi it is a sign of progress daw. Whatever!

One thing more .... the only litter you find in the streets of the Lion City are leaves from the abundance of trees that seemed to surround you everywhere.  Someone said, "That is because the government plants trees everywhere.  Everything in Singapore is a legislation."

Well, Honey, I do not give a flying eff because the trees look good, it keeps the air clean --- and it is far better than the tracks of pollution you clean from your nose at the end of the day, realizing that half the time you have been sustained by carbon monoxide.

Then of course there is this place called Japan which is a good four hours away and has a world all on its own.

Japan has this thing for efficiency to the point that as a Filipino you get really, really spooked out.

When their train is scheduled to arrive at 10:21 ... then it will be right there at the exact time down to the millisecond. (Subtext: Eh, dito?)

The Japanese are so disciplined --- that everything about their culture is engraved right into their very core.  They move differently. They conduct themselves uniquely so much so that if you are in a restaurant and you hear loud people talking, chances are they are not the citizens of that country but ... well, other nationalities (like us, for instance).

Everyone is dressed differently there that even the homeless look chic.  I kid you not.

Of course on the very first hour I got out of the Kansai Airport in Osaka, I encountered my first cultural blunder when my rather wide behind occupied the entire escalator.  You know how it is: bad enough that your girth was never meant for a stairway which all the while you assumed was for a single file, right?  But then I heard someone at my back saying some from of "Excuse me"  or "Get your fat ass out of my way". That was when I looked back and realized there was an entire line of people I was blocking.  And they did not look amused.

I got it.  There was a fast-track lane and there was the normal file. 

You leave the other side of the escalator free so that those in a hurry can rush up or down without having to elbow their way or shove obstacles.  Eh, how was I to know about that practice when all I know about escalator etiquette is what I trained for at the Megamall?

But it goes beyond escalators.  Or traffic.  Or the fact that people actually follow rules in other countries.  That cars stop when pedestrians cross --- and people queue to ride cabs and buses only stop to pick up and drop off passengers in appointed areas. And cutting somebody on the road is not only considered bad manners but a sign that you come from a long line of apes who can now drive. Whatever.

It is things like these --- such everyday matters for some --- that seem so exceptional for others like us.  And that makes you wonder: why are we in awe when it is so seemingly ordinary and commonplace for them?  Why does it look impossible from where we come from whereas it is just a way of life for them.

And that is when you feel really bad.

You begin asking yourself: why is it that you feel bad each time to you visit a foreign country --- for pleasure or for work --- and you come home wishing that you could bring back some of the things that made life easier from the place that you left?

No, don't get me wrong: indeed there is no place like home --- but home should be better. It is not that not everyone can afford to see how life is outside our shores or time zone: but everybody deserves something better. What is it about them that makes their lives far better just on the day-to-day basis?  Is it them or can it be us?

Have we screwed up somewhere along the way? Or are we going to blame the politicians and the nag-li-lider-lideran?  Whatever it is or may be ... then it must be something not said, declared or flaunted by politicians in their speeches. It should be felt and experienced in order to be validated.

Oh, come on --- it is not only about those running the country. It has got something to do with the people as well.  We get what we deserve ... and we are in the here and now because we deserve it. Or are just smug as slugs to accept that ganito, eh.

It took us three hours and fifteen minutes to fly back from Singapore to Manila.

It also took us two hours and twenty minutes to drive back from NAIA 3 to our place in Muntinlupa.

The moment I stepped out the airport and went back to the road, I realized that indeed --- I was home.  The traffic mess outside the parking lot and the arrival bays in NAIA 3 is of epic proportion because of the construction taking place outside, the sheer volume of cars plying the routes and the lack of foresight/logic/consideration of people who we pay with our taxes to make our lives a bit easier.

(I was just wondering: is this the first Filipino experience any tourist in our country would encounter the moment he stepped out of an airport? More fun indeed, he would say.)

Quietly I told myself that this was where I belonged.  And like so many who have not given up the right to dream, I want it to be better.  Far better than this. And don't give me crap like, "It is not going to happen in our lifetime."

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I finally had to ask via a Tweet this morning: "WTF is this PABEBE? Overload and under-informed" and I got a chorus of replies.

Two suggested that I am better left in the dark --- for the sake of my sanity.

One said I should not even try to find out what it was all about.  But I couldn't help it: everybody is talking about this pabebe-pabebe (that sounds like Dyesebel's mahiwagang kabibe but which I am certain it is not).  In television, everybody makes references, mounts satires and even downright masticates this whole pabebe phenomenon.  And here I was in the dark so I had to find out despite warnings from both friends, strangers and sincerely concerned netizens.

Well, somebody finally gave a Tweeter-length explanation: Yun pong mga teens na pa-cute/pa-baby magsalita sa mga ina-upload nilang videos. (Those teens who act cute/ speak in baby talk in their uploaded videos.) Thanks so much for that, Koj Torre. I did not include the last part of your message because it echoed what twenty five others said in a matter of three minutes of social media time.

I more or less got the drift.  Teen-agers doing goo-goo talk (hopefully not with eyes closing and opening like those spooky dolls that go to sleep when you lay them down) and try to act desperate/terminally/uncontrollably cute to the verge of miming the mentally challenged.  In short,  nagpapakyut.

I thought nothing wrong with that.  It is a time-held tradition.

I know relatively intelligent men and women in their mid-twenties to early thirties suddenly indulging in baby talk just to sound vulnerable, approximate the cuteness of Anne Geddes dolls.  However, when badly executed or performed by the wrong people pagpapakyut would elicit a different kind of reaction from people in the audience.  Gusto mong tadyakan sa pagmumukha. (Translation: You want to give them a sample flying kick right on the face.)  That is, of course, assuming that these are adults trying to retrieve their memories of innocence and vulnerability mouthing, "Daddy, Daddy ... love mo talaga 'ko?" ending the question by puckering their lips. 

Siguro if you are in love, it would not look disgusting. But you must really, really be in love to find that pleasant. Either that, or you are desperate. 

Sigh. OK. Kanya-kanyang trip.  Walang basagan. I was never comfortable with being witness to public displays of affection especially when it borders on the ridiculous.

There is a survival practice to all this: when not in the amused zone, simply ignore. Look away and don't even give a comment.  Pero ang sarap pa ring tadyakan sa mukha.

This follows the same principle that another trend (also derived from the internet of a Filipina transgender in London ) is now being imitated by very visible and impressive local celebrities. This involves the use of a selfie stick and working it in the style that would impress both Ms. Jay and Tyra Banks, sashaying until the pelvic bone is threatened by disconnection or spinal misalignment.  It is ramp modeling in the streets --- but under the influence of steroids or enough caffeine to match the effects of meth.

It is called Mowdel-Mowdel-One-two-three Pak. It was even featured in a special segment in the news showing an ace comedian and a singer/actress sashaying in public with their selfie sticks duplicating the entire act. Hold up your selfie-stick then sashay-sashay-sashay --- then Pak! If you do not warrant attention doing that, then you realize you are in even deeper s--t than Brandy who sang on the subway --- and nobody noticed.

O sige. One more time. Kanya-kanyang trip.  

The things we do out of boredom --- or if only to amuse people who follow us in the net.  After all, ka-boring rin naman if everyday you post those inspirational quotes about reaching the unreachable star or that you treat each day like it is the last day of your life sort of dogma. All those quotable quotes are good --- but like Instagram photos of the food you are eating, your pet dog snuggled beside you --- or even how you look like wearing skimpy swimming trunks (so that the entire world can salivate at the body you worked on for months at the gym), things like that can be so --- you know --- predictable and boring.

And those are two no-nos when it comes to internet presence.

Despite warnings, I finally went straight to YouTube to find out who are these Pabebe Girls. And I watched.

Ah, OK.

O tapos?

There was nothing really extraordinary about the girls --- even when one of them teaches us how to eat --- uh, mamon.  

Actually their looks are not astounding but very familiar --- or regular, just like the children who I used to see lining up O'Farrell Street in Pasay, one of those side streets off Park Avenue.  Yes, there is a Park Avenue in Pasay City. My point is that ... well, these girls ain't no threats to the careers of Liza Soberano or Julia Barretto or Janella Salvador, right? 

They are just regular girls.

They just like talking to the cameras with utmost seriousness that you begin to doubt if these are actually broadcasts from some faraway planet as a result of earthlings now having a close-up photo of Pluto.  

These girls talk to the camera with such dead pan conviction that they could have been reading a teleprompter from the script of The Night of the Living Dead.  I guess they are trying to be cute ... but at the end of the videos, they are actually ... uh, disturbing. 

Somebody said that she got sorta kinda spooked out.

I mean these videos are more disturbing the Comic Con trailer for The Suicide Squad, really.  And to say that these girls stuck to my mind more than Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn really says a lot.  Also include Ang Babaeng Multo who really has a promising career if anyone should decide to do a bio pic of Lilia Cuntapay.

I wish there could have been more: I wish the Pabebe  did not give an instructional on eating mamon.  I would have wanted to direct her eating puto seco, pulvoron, tira-tira or better yet ---atis.  That would have had greater visual impact and dramatic challenge than a --- oh, well --- mamon. I would have also suggested even a two-hour acting workshop to add more angst to the pastry instructional.  After all, that is the heart and soul of being young, sweet and ... pusong mamon.

After all that hoopla, yon pala ang Pabebe. OK. And then what?

But honestly though, I really liked the Elevator Girl and Amalayer better.  At least that had a story arc. At least, for me ... their existence meant something. Even in the virtual world where everyday little girls can have the spotlight aimed at them for their fifteen seconds of infamy.

Monday, July 13, 2015


The restlessness has not left a great number of us --- not only those who work directly or indirectly for media.

The string of most unfortunate events --- all involving minors --- that became the subject of conversation from coffee shops to chat rooms all centered on one major concern: sex and children.

Whether it is the possible misinterpretation of physical familiarity between two boys (given malice by the voyeuristic viewers seeking for something sensational to take place in a social experiment) or the gender issues of a sensitive and extremely intelligent young girl or the discovery of the self by a twelve year old actress --- the results were quite clear. People were hurt, appalled, surprised, crushed.  

And the question that emerges is one and the same: what are we doing to our children?

Let us lay down some very important facts before we proceed --- something that we have to accept as givens so that we do not insist on what is no longer possible or even feasible.

The world has changed as it has always been changing.

It is no longer possible to impose the way we think in a planet that has so changed too quickly, too abruptly and is still changing even at a faster pace.  The generation that we were --- say twenty or thirty years ago --- is no longer the same mindset that rules the kids of today.

The same problems we faced as we were misunderstood by our parents --- is the same dilemma that kids are facing now when they think of us.  

The term "old" has never been so maligned because it is no longer viewed with the same degree of respect but rather with being dispensable.  After all, this is a world where nothing is permanent, nothing is irreplaceable and everything is as good as it is new and not because it is necessarily better.

This is a generation that demands instant gratification.  

It is the remote-control generation where everything can be Googled and that knowledge is the acquisition of facts but not necessarily the comprehension of its value or meaning.  This is the age of the instant ramen noodle, the three-in-one-coffee mix and the electronic cash.  This is a generation that does not know how to wait because time is so precious that they are in too much of a hurry.

What for? Why the rush? Why the compulsion to do things quickly ---as if to rush the years?  Why the need for the here and now, never projecting beyond what can be seen inside a room --- more so, not thinking of the rewards and repercussions of actions?  

Because it is a generation founded on fear: it is the fear to be left out, to be out of sync, to be left behind --- and worse, to miss out on what the world has to offer right to the last millisecond.

It is a generation terrified to be old.

This is how our kids view the world --- because we believe that everything has been made easier and more accessible to them.  The internet has simplified the search for knowledge with the click of a mouse.  They are fed with ideas, images, stories and what have you regardless of appropriateness, relevance, importance or even form. But to them, relevance is relative. 

Perhaps it is this information overload --- the ease by which all these forms and ideas can be gathered that has really messed up the minds of the young in trying to figure out what to do or make use of all their harvested data.

Yet there is repulsion at the thought of what kids are capable of doing nowadays.  The Baby Boomers are now grandparents --- as the Gen X have assumed the parental role and having to deal with their children, the Millennials.  And the Millennials far different from any other generation that came before them.  This is the generation that was born with fingers reaching out for keyboards even as infants --- that whole cluster of digitally-conditioned mavericks whose concept of rebellion is to be different because they can no longer accept anything outdated and forced down their throat.

They are computer natives --- as all the other generations that came before them are computer migrants.

The saddest realization is that the kids have become who they are because of the world that that their parents --- the adults --- shaped, provided and conditioned for them.  In our belief that moving forward in the name of progress/advancement/development --- so much has been forgotten, sacrificed or forfeited.

One of them is compassion. 

When kids do cruel things to themselves, it is because they fail to relate to a much deeper sense of roots to their very being.  

Parents try very hard to understand their children --- as they should --- but there are also those who impose the tenets of their world to the universe of their kids.  They no longer match regardless of effort to tow the line --- and compel their kids to behave in a way they were conditioned by their own parents.

In the age of the selfie, there is a constant need for affirmation ... and asserting one's existence.

Posting in social media is not merely for the sake of posterity but an announcement of one's existence.

Taking a Snapchat video or uploading an Instagram image is to create a sense of belonging to the timeline of life.  

The micro-blogging of Twitter is an up-to-the-minute announcement of one's thoughts, feelings and self-worth.

All these have become so much a party of the daily life of the twenty-first century plugged-in civilization: we have become so connected as a worldwide community --- but so isolated as individuals because everything for us becomes virtual.  This includes human relationships.

And this is the kind of world that has defined the existence of our children.

They are not to blame if they find great difficulty to relate to others because it is a world that takes relationships in the most superficial conditions.  All it takes is a click of the mouse to turn a total stranger into a FRIEND and to be eternally linked top this creature in Facebook.  It also takes little effort to adjust that cursor then click to UNFRIEND or BLOCK someone from the face of one's virtual existence.

That is how our kids communicate to one another and to the rest of the world that is so much larger and more complex.

Thus they are in too much of a hurry.  They want to grow up fast ... by gathering as much experience as possible and getting drunk with the speed of their development like the air that rushes to the face when one sticks out one's head on a speeding car.  They are afraid that time will move too fast ... so they abbreviate their lives with misguided recklessness.

And it is not solely their fault.

The decision may be theirs to choose whatever path to take --- but it is also the responsibility of the adults not only to provide guidance but to give them choices.  

How can there be disgust when a twelve year old girl makes a video of herself doing unimaginable things to her body whereas it is the adults that feed kids with ideas that sexuality is everything in validating one's existence?  How can there be moral grounds when what kids see is how they, at a very early age, are pushed to celebrate their puberty by being sold as love-hungry tweens whose only reason for existence is to get a partner?

(A disgusted parent said, "There is nothing you can see on tv that tells kids the importance of schooling. Yes, they are in school uniforms --- but all they do is flirt and talk about their crushes." I told the parent, "That cannot be helped. That is what sells to the audience. That is what they like ..." to which she replied, "Not everything we claim we like is good for us in the long run."

I told the parent that television is a business and that its principal concern is to sell.  She replied, with much sadness, "Yes, they sell ... but at what cost?"  

The answer to her question is quite apparent.)

It is easier to be harsh on the kids and conclude with a sweeping statement that they are a messed-up generation.

But looking back, the same observations were told of this generation now undergoing a dilemma trying to understand what happened to their kids.

We can only understand them if we also take into account what we have done to this world to make our kids what they have become. And it is only addressing this head-on that perhaps (just perhaps) we can comprehend their problems, empathize with their pain but more so learn to love them ... with much greater validation.

For over above being anything or everything else, they must see us --- the older generation --- to be friends rather than just being people watching and waiting for their next mistake. 

After all, nothing can bring back the world as we knew it --- so we might as well know the world for what it is right now.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Writing is most difficult when you are still on the crest of those emotions that make it necessary for you to do just that --- to write.  Put down your thoughts, solidify the sensations with words and hopefully understand what you are feeling --- why you are feeling this way --- what what you can do with these emotional explosions.

In a single week, both heart and mind are shaken.

Two boys --- one a minor and the other a strapping lad representing the best of what is possible that life can offer --- were shown on livestream television exhibiting unusual intimacy and physical contact. All these were captured, frozen in photographs and replayed as videos in social media --- emphasizing the fact that two beautiful boys were huddled together under a blanket, hugging each other and holding hands.

The audience could not help but drink a gallon full of malice.

In the same week, a fifteen year old girl --- the daughter of two of the most talented, intelligent and beautiful actors any man of theater and media would be privileged to work with --- ended her own life on a rainy Tuesday night. She too was a young actress --- starting out her career and proving that the law of genetics really worked. In that crowded universe of wannabe stars, she was an actress who did not depend on physical beauty to warrant her popularity.

She was her parents' daughter --- and she killed herself.

And before the week ended, the internet (again) exploded with the video of yet another young actress.  She is only twelve years old (I cannot emphasize that enough! ) and yet the minute and a half or so of material that was posted in social media showed her doing things that a fragile little girl like her should not be doing much less on video.

Why did she do this? What was in her mind when she took that gadget, pressed the record button and started doing all these things to herself? Why did she need to record this for posterity or who did she think was her audience for such incriminating material?

Yes, she was of that age of curiosity and experimentation and whatever.  But to see her in that context was, to say the least ---
painful. Painful and humiliating.

It was the same pain as realizing that these two boys holding hands and looking at each other's eyes did not know what the public in that great outside world is now saying about them. Whether these were innocent acts of camaraderie or something that their resident psychologist can explain in so many sentences, the verdict of the public was very clear.  Parents watching the show were appalled. Others were alarmed.  The less deciphering found this to be a punch line for humiliating the two boys with all sorts of accusations and name-calling. 

Of course there was no means of controlling what netizens will record or "screen-capture" from livestream --- but still: the very fact that you put two boys under this situation and left them vulnerable to public judgment is the responsibility of some adult out there. After all ... one of these boys is twelve years old too, for God's sake.  Twelve years old!

In media where perception is everything --- and you are made to believe what you see without questioning how you got to view what you are watching --- thoughts are reshaped according to the dictates of what we receive and accept.  

Sadly, we are so quick to pre-judge, foist our moral superiority. Then we feel appalled by the reactions from other citizens of the worldwide web who say that there was nothing wrong.  There was no sense of violation of showing two boys fondling each other because of the narrowmindedness of the public, the archaic way of thinking and, as a friend said, "Ganyan talaga ang mga bata."

There is that fear that age has completely detached you from reality.  Maybe it is true.  Ganyan na talaga ang mga bata.  Maybe reality shows are meant to disturb and shock --- and that what can be seen in other countries can be far more appalling.  Call us conservative. Call us .. well, Filipinos.  

Despite all our claims of globalization and opening our minds to the tenets of other cultures, there are still limitations we set to our worldview because we are who we are. And that is what makes us what we have become.

And then we ask ourselves, Ganyan nga ba talaga ang mga bata?  At what point in our lives did we lose touch or locked out from their worlds and minds?

Many of us weep for these teen-age suicides.

Just a few months back, a young boy --- also possessing such great promise and unquestionably armed with superior potential --- was scolded and supposedly humiliated by a school authority figure for what was deemed as intellectual dishonesty.  The boy could not handle the pressure as well as the degradation --- and killed himself.

It is too easy for others to pass judgment not only on the boy but also the parents.  But they --- the all too quick to judge public ---- do not understand the pain.  No, they can never understand the pain that parents have to carry when their children kill themselves especially at a very young age.

That was why ... more than shock and sympathy ... there are those of us who feel anger.  Great, deep and throbbing anger.

There are those of us who feel violated because there is this generation that seemed to have completely forgotten the value of their lives ... the temporary lease given to human existence to so easily use suicide as a way out.

It is not even about the code of honor to save face or dignity in the Samurai sense --- but simply because it is a way out.  And it is cool to do so.  The thought is sick --- but what is sicker is why the kids have reached that point to think that jumping off a building or using all their creativity to end their lives --- can be so romantic and  There are those of us who weep because of the sheer intensity of our anger.

We are even more infuriated by the thought that we did not reach out to them.  Was there a chance that we could have prevented an act of self destruction if we only opened our eyes and ears and minds to the signals they were sending us?  Or did they even want us to know what was going on in their minds?

We blame ourselves for what they have become because we did not exert enough effort to understand them.  

Yes, they are different --- these milennials with their sense of entitlement, their need for instant gratification, their restlessness, their materialism, their need to be ahead, ahead, ahead ...only to realize that they are running on a treadmill, panting with nowhere to go.

We blame ourselves because we think we did not love them enough --- but the question is: in this IPod, smart phone plugged-in texting generation, do they love themselves enough?

We weep at that thought too ... and blame ourselves for not understanding who they are because we have made them that way.

No one of sound mind could stand more than three seconds of that video attributed without substantial proof to a 12 year old TV actress.

We do not understand the perverse mind who spread it --- and why this video even exists in the first place.  

We again cry for the kids --- asking ourselves: Why do they do these things to themselves?  Do they not know the risks?  Do they not realize how one moment of indiscretion ... of a very, very bad decision ... can completely shatter their lives?

Something has to be done.

We cannot be adults enough if we cannot institute some kind of change even from our own personal levels. We simply cannot mope and bemoan the situation then tell the Universe that the End Days are coming and let us all prepare for the self-destruct mode.

We must do something.

We should listen. We should not merely hear but we must listen.

It is useless to scream at kids, castigate them and foist righteousness --- but we must listen. And understand.  

Even if we are bleeding for them, we must have the moral fortitude to assure them that in this confused, self-destructive world --- there is still right and wrong.

There is nothing romantic about suicide.  There is nothing wrong with love ... but there is everything wrong with being exploited for and by it.  And there are people who care ... who still care.

We have to reassure the children that we love them.  They can be what they want to be as long as they understand that we are there to tell them what else they can become.

We will always love them in spite, despite and because of the cries we never heard.

Because our tears are also falling ... and the children do not seem to see that either.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Indeed the day was exceptional, even historical, as the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed that it is legal and lawful for two people of the same sex to bind themselves in marriage.

There was great celebration as rainbow-tinted profile photos in Facebook as well as other expressions of support exploded in social media. The Supreme Court action was groundbreaking as this sent signal to the rest of the world that a world power has confirmed the validity of such unions of individuals still considered aberrant and perverse by various institutions and societies.

Together with such announcements come vehement reactions.  Threats of pastors dousing gasoline on their persons and burning themselves alive as signs of protest were --- well, declared --- then eventually retracted.  Reactions from the ultra-conservatives were equally vehement, branding the move as an obvious sign of moral deterioration and even the death of society as known.

There were those who considered the acknowledgment of the union of two men and two women together as a perversion and a mockery of the sacraments, again citing that all-too-tired reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and ushering in all the signs cited in the Revelations.

In all honesty, the only surprising turn of events is that people are still surprised that people are reacting.

There will always be a reaction to change. It is not a matter of the kind of indoctrination that segments of population have grown accustomed --- but it is the disturbance, the isostasy of what is deemed as moral order that generates such violent responses.

And the point is that we must now all just calm down--- and accept.

We must accept the fact that some people are ecstatic --- and others are rabid.

We must accept the inevitability of two opposing forces that will never agree on an issue which is not only based on legality but morality and spirituality as well.

Screaming at each other because of differences in beliefs is the stuff that eventually start petty and end up as wars.

The LGBT Community has every right to be jubilant--- because this is not about the state recognizing that two people regardless of gender can be acknowledged and accredited as a legal personality.  This means that years of being together and acquiring joint properties can now be recognized as conjugal ownership.  This, on all accounts, is very important to protect the rights of individuals as citizens.

Over and above this, the state recognizes that two people have the right to be together --- because they choose to do so because they love each other.

But the conservatives do not see it this way because of the way they perceive the concept of unions.  For them, marriage is matrimony. And, as cited by a Church official ... matrimony is founded on motherhood as two individuals are bound together by a sacrament in order to pro-create.  Oo nga naman. It will take more than a blessing of SCOTUS to enable two people of the same gender to continue our species. Or as a tired joke goes, maybe this is indeed the solution to overpopulation.

Yet before the gay militants go completely ballistic, we must also take time to understand where the conservatives are coming from --- and why they argue this way.  Yes, we do not agree with them when they accuse same-sex unions as a desecration of matrimony --- or the corruption of the nuclear family.  That is because they are talking in behalf of institutions --- and arguing in terms of dogmas that validate the identities of their affiliations whereas gays are simply requesting that they be acknowledged in the legality of their chosen lifestyle.

There is no easy conclusion to this as arguments, condemnations and even juvenile heckling will continue.  There will always be pastors threatening the world with self-immolation ... and there is, of course, Sarah Palin.  And there will be to the other side insisting, "Let us be! Respect us for our choices!"

Both can validate their arguments --- as well as negate the other. Both sides may choose to listen ... but what is sad is when they only hear what they choose to accept.

So what can we learn from all this?

Maybe just that. A little bit more understanding. A little bit more compassion.  A little bit more acceptance ... and not merely tolerance.  And, despite all twists and turns involving the repercussions to societies ... and the world in general --- a little bit more respect for each other.

After all, the arguments that arose from both sides are founded on a single notion: love between people.

And sometimes ... no, often ... argumentation and disagreements are also founded on loving each other.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Hora de peligro.  The critical hour.

I used to remember my Mother talk about hora de peligro as that precise moment when it is OK to panic. Or to resort to doing something desperate because ... well, all the alarms are ringing.

Hora de peligro can refer to almost any thing or any situation. The gist of the matter is that time is running out and you better grab the nearest floater or run to the nearest lifeboat.

At a luncheon with definitely much younger friends, all in their late twenties and early thirties, hora de peligro has never been more fully realized or expressed. It was mainly the dismay of the womenfolk who are alarmingly focused on their biological time clock.


It is almost like the sound of a time bomb in the last few seconds before the big WHAPPAK! 

These ladies, all successful in their various fields of endeavor, were talking about the apparent shortage of eligible young men who could possibly complete their lives if not make their mothers shut up as to when they will deliver the grandchildren to enhanced their senior lives.

Two of my friends hated the pressure.  One said, "It is the year 2015 ... and my parents still think that the only way I can be happy in life is if I get married."

Another one offered, "My father keeps telling me that he and Mama will not be around all the time and I need somebody to take care of me." What is so particularly funny (if not ironic) about that is that this specific friend has gained the awesome reputation of being so bossy that she can literally pluck the testicles out of a man with her bare hands.  Blessed with a very successful career, she really did not need a man to provide her with security. But still her parents believed that she needed a man to take care of her.

"Pagpasensiyahan mo na," I said, "Some parents still have that notion they inherited from their generation that there is no such thing as single bliss."

"Yes," she retorted, "It's a choice between marriage or myoma in my uterus."

That's another issue: all the ladies received that ominous warning that it is also a choice of being a mother ... or suffering from cancer of the ovaries or uterus.

"I am not meant to have children," said one. "It is not that I hate kids ... oh, I love them ... but as long as I am not going to be responsible for them 24/7." I told her she did not need a child --- she should opt for a chihuahua.  And that was when she confirmed why motherhood is not on top of her list --- and she cannot be forgiven by her parents for that.

"They are demanding for more grandchildren as if the eight they already have are not enough," she sighed.

"Give them a Pomeranian pup," I told her. "Better yet, gift them with gerbils."

There is also that threat that the fertility expiration date is nearing maturity.

Unlike men who can still have their jollies even in their seventies, this whole childbearing thing changes the entire equation for women. Despite the years of patience and agony having to deal with the monthly curse, menstruation is still very much a threat.  It is a chord meant to strike fear especially for women who believe that their principal function in the world is to pro-create ... and not make elaborate cross stitch tapestries or concocting the best recipe of adobo for their kitchens.

Another one of the girls said, "My brother is a doctor: he keeps telling me that the moment crosses the age of 30, the difficulties in childbearing increase."

"Yes," agreed Miss Successful Businesswoman, "I hear that from my mother too.  When a woman gives birth late in life, she stands a very strong chance that her genes or her chromosomes are already all screwed up and she might end up having a defective baby."

I was curious as to what was meant by a defective baby. 

"There are chances that you will have a mentally challenged infant if you give birth at a late age ..." somebody explained. No way! I am a menopause baby because my Mom was about 42 years old when she gave birth to me and I do not consider myself mentally handicapped. 

"But there is that possibility," another one in the Forever Bridesmaids Group contributed. "It is best to have your babies when you are still young ... The kids come out stronger."

"Like what age is that? Sixteen?" I said in shock.

Then somebody mentioned about how an actress went through a very trying pregnancy and resulted to tremendous weight gain which she could not seem to shed off. I know the said actress and explained that it was more complicated than just a case of age. After all, the said media personality was not that old to really have issues about giving birth.  

"Ah, but still ..." said one of the ladies, "When you hit past thirty, starting a family becomes all the more difficult ..."

But then what can one do?  The charm of having a career fresh out of college constitutes a greater part of the journey for women in their twenties ... "not unless you have a college sweetheart and you vow to tie the knot right after you are handed your diplomas."

"Hindi na nangyayari yon. Mahirap ang buhay," contradicted Ms. Success. "Besides, hindi na puwedeng iasa mo ang iyong buong buhay sa lalake."

"Oo nga, said another, " Look at what happened to _____. Hindi ba after three years, nabiyuda?"

That set off the alarm.

"Yes. Widowed with two kids ... How old is her eldest?"

And the conversation took a turn about how difficult it is to be married, blah, blah, blah ... to depend on a man, blah, blah, blah ... with each of the girls trying to justify why in their late twenties and early to mid-thirties that they are still single.

"It is best to be practical," volunteered Ms. Success. "You must make it clear to a man that you can go on with your life without him ... and his money."

Valid enough.  And that was probably why most of the girls in this group do not have partners. Not that they never had the chance to be married ... but something went wrong somewhere along the way.

They all agreed that that the even bigger problem than bearing children is that --- they cannot find the right men to fit into their lives.

"Fit into your lives?" I exclaimed. Is this the new Cinderella complex?  Are they sure they wanted real honest to goodness male homo sapiens or comfortable Jimmy Choo shoes?

"No, it is not that.  Men get intimidated by women with ... uh, relative success ..."

"Or even strong opinions ..."

"You mean women who tweet political statements challenging Church and State?" I asked.

Of course, it was Ms. Success who barked: "Oh, come on. Admit it. Men can't stand women with balls."

I replied, "I guess that's because they also have balls ... not unless what they are looking for are ... balls?"

The girls all started to laugh.

Then somebody decided to pick it up to bring the discussion to another level.

"Then again it is also true. As there is truth in that saying ..."

Which is?

"All the good men are either married or gay."

That line has been beaten to a pulp: this generalization that all the men worth keeping for the rest of your remaining days of earthly existence have already been claimed by others or are not interested --- well, not in women anyway.

You see, there is this thing about very successful women. Or maybe even the ones who speak their minds or come out an erg too strong for comfort.  Aside from being branded as saber-wielding testicle cutters, they seem to be in endless argument with the opposite sex to prove that they are equals.  That is the usual male paranoia --- or insecurity: great is the confidence of a man who is not intimidated by a more successful or intelligent woman.  This whole thing of "man on top" sounds so ... uh, eighteenth century ... and even in the eighteenth century they have already unraveled the joys of other positions aside from that.

I explained that married men are not intimidated because they couldn't care less who's playing alpha in the pack.  Besides, married men have already acquired a certain degree of sensitivity to the needs and quirks of women.  Try starting your day with a woman beside you in bed ... and ending it with the same company on the same given space. Married men (or those who are successful at such unions) know the finer art of giving and taking especially in playing the game of sexual politics with very dominant and domineering women.

The weak of heart among the singles give up too easily --- or do not want to waste time trying to figure out that secret equation that one must discover in order to start the symphony of romantic violins.  What the heck, they would say. Move on.  There are more women than men on this side of the planet. You can do without the female geniuses if they still want to play mind games.

But then again, I said: "These men are usually not worth the time and effort either.  They really do not want a relationship.  They just want a quickie. Or the only people they can be involved with are themselves."

Then of course there are the gay men.

"Nowadays," one of the women sighed, "when I got to the gym and see all these guys ... some lean, some buffed ... a number so gorgeous ... obsessed with their biceps and triceps ... I keep asking myself ... how many of them are still interested in women?"

We all laughed. Being a gym bunny myself --- I knew exactly what she meant ... and not that I cared.  I told her that there are all sorts of gays inasmuch as there is an entire spectrum of straight men and women. 

"But why are gays so charming?" another of the ladies asked.

Maybe it is that masochistic side of women craving for someone who they know will not be interested in them despite daring or deed. Maybe it is the fact that gay men do not have to prove anything to straight women that brings about someone more natural, uninhibited and spontaneous. 

"He is not out to impress," I said. "He is just there to be himself. And that really sends you ladies crazy."

I also told them that there is nothing worse than a woman who (out of despair or a calling from the heavens) decides to pursue a gay man in order to change him.  Enough of that illusion that if you love somebody enough then he will eventually love you back.

"May pagka-pathetic naman yon. That is tantamount to begging."

I said it was more of wishful thinking that would lead to real-time frustration.

Then silence prevailed on the table. The ladies were aware that the biological time clock is ticking faster and faster.  Soon the collagen will lose its potency and the law of gravity will prevail. Not all the gallons of Botox or Aptos threads or radio wave non-intrusive treatments can turn time around to make a thirty year old plus-plus woman look like Julia Barretto or Liza Soberanno. That is the way of the world. That is called the life cycle.

So when you miss out the chance to be a mother ... there is no turning back. Not unless you have the openness of mind and heart to adopt a child ... or be a surrogate nanay to all your nephews, nieces and godchildren.

Worse, not unless you opt to have teacup chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers as your children.

Then somebody said out of the blue: "Hay naku. Who says I need a husband to be a mother? Magpapabuntis na lang ako." This was followed by another five minutes discussing who are potential male friends and acquaintances who could be top of the line sperm donors.
That sent everyone giggling.

Yet despite the peals of laughter, the unspoken question that everyone of these ladies had was: Do they really want children?  Are they willing to give up the successes that they have accrued through years of hard work and determination to change diapers, run after screaming toddlers in a mall ... or endure the years of raising,understanding and being strong for husband and offspring?

Is that their real definition of happiness?

Women are conditioned to think that they are brought to this world to be fruitful and multiply.  For some, this is their ultimate cause ... but there are others who feel that motherhood is an option and not an obligation.  And there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Five minutes later we all moved on. The ladies were busy discussing the possibility that Kris Aquino will migrate to the U.S. to raise her sons. The conversation became more animated ... and significant.