Friday, October 30, 2015

Bibliobisyo- Beki Books

Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata by Ricky Lee. 4/5


Had so much fun reading this. Isang baklang impersonator ang naging manananggal at ayon sa propesiya siya ang magliligtas sa Pilipinas. Lahat na yata ng elements ng nagpasaya sa Para Kay B ay nandito din. There’s not sad moment or day when you read this book. It may seem to be a light read but it’s very compelling as well- from personal issues hanggang national issues- lahat yan idadamay sa libro ng master screen-writer ng Pilipinas.

Rampa by Prof. Danton Remoto- 3/5


Bright, Catholic and Gay by Prof. Danton Remoto- 4/5


Collections of the professor’s essays and articles. He is one of the brightest writers of our time and an incredible soul that will never be overcome by any bigot our evil power in politics. He wrote about the gay culture, psyche, and social importance. Yes, after reading this, one can realize the social value of LGBT. Every decent hetero being and members of our federacion must grab copies of these books.

Currently reading-

Born to Run by James Grippando and The Master of St. Petersburg by J.M. Coetzee 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bibliobisyo and Some Goodreads so far...

La Regina Scalza (Roughly translated as The Barefoot Queen) by Ildefonso Falcones. 2 out of 5.


Spanish writer Falcones impressed me with his books The Cathedral by the Sea and La Mano di Fatima (Fatima’s Hand). But I was really disappointed with his latest novel. It was so boring! Or maybe I lost the momentum. Nevertheless, I didn’t like the idea of a novel about the lives of 16th century gypsies. I hate gypsies. I know I am being such a racist, but if you were an immigrant also in Europe, you’d think the same way too.

I won’t go any further. It’s too boring.

Invisible by Paul Auster. 4 out of 5.


Auster’s novel really mesmerized me. The impression I felt when I read his Oracle Night novel is the same sensation I felt when I read this one. A promising poet meets this French guy Rudolf Born and his sexy companion Margot. All went well until the harmonious ménage-à-trois was suddenly disrupted by the sexual tensions among them and a crime the French guy committed. It was the incident that would change their lives and the people they love. From incest, sexual discovery, literature and passion- prepare to be shocked (I was a bit shocked by the incest thing) and be engaged to this masterpiece.

All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell. 4 out of 5


Third of the Scarpetta series. Cornwell is one of the finest crime-thriller writers of our time. And she is the only one that I truly worship of all writers of her genre. In fact, I only read her books of this genre. Dr. Kay Scarpetta investigates the mysterious deaths of couples but their bodies leave no trace of the killer. Until the body of a US legislator comes up, her career and investigation are once again hanging on a delicate balance. Thrilling, exciting and really creepy. Never read this book in an isolated parking area.

Insectissimo by Lourd De Veyra. 3 out of 5


Only three because in this moment, I’m not really in the mood for poetry. Nevertheless, reading this interesting book is a great experience. It’s like eating pieces of Lourd’s grey matter- sharp flavour, scrumptious, and mouth-watering. He’s a master of words and the poems encapsulate his cool attitude. I find him really sexy. With this book, kung nagkataong babae ako, magpapabuntis talaga ako sa kanya sa sobrang admiration.

The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall. Perfect 5!


A historical novel about Valentina Ivanova, the famous and beautiful pianist of the rich Russian society, and her love with a Danish engineer in the years before the Russian revolution. I read this book at the time when I was raving and hooked to Downton Abbey series. Perfect combination. A story of true love that goes beyond wealth and rank and noble titles, a love that defied even the revolution. Can’t wait to read the sequel The Russian Concubine.

Stupid is Forever…More by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Perfect 5!

Are you frustrated with our politics? Are you sad? Grab a copy and it’s gonna make you smile all throughout the week. That, my friends, is the Miriam Magic. A compilation of her pick-up lines and her inspiring speeches. I just wish I could have her sign it, just like my copy of her first book.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some Thoughts of A Brain Marinated in Whiskey Overnight, Or How to Write the A Thousand-Word Stupid Essay After A Colorful Conversation Over A Series of Shots of Liver-Burning Drinks, or In Vinum Veritas and How I Would Regret It Tomorrow

You ask me if I agree with what Nick Joaquin said in his essay “The Heritage of Smallness”, and here’s what I think- yes, it is true. He wrote the truth about our people in the 60’s, and when you read it now, it seems to be written for this age. And we have read the truth which was supposed to set us free. Then why are we still chained to this heritage? Why are we where we are now?

How far have we come as a nation? After many decades since it was written, have we overcome this smallness mentality?

Joaquin wrote about our peculiar traits and how we deal with the issues of our daily life, and how we deal with other matters as a people- from our economic principles, urbanization and development, political culture, and even art and culture.

Let’s start with our economic and financial principles. If there are a hundred streets in one town there will be more than a hundred sari-sari stores. The ever venerated virtue of buying in tingi is prevalent, deeply rooted, and shows no sign of dying down. The omnipresent sari-sari store that has been there since the childhood of our ancestors is the proof of our unwillingness to expand, or apathy in business, or perhaps the fear of going beyond our financial capacity due to ignorance, henceforth, we settle for mediocrity, to something that can provide immediate solutions to our daily needs.

He mentioned our hallowed patience with the use of inconvenient vehicles such as the jeepney- another product of our ingenuity and at the same time the proof of our failure to go beyond the needs of our forefathers after the Second War. Since our liberation, we haven’t replaced our jeepneys with anything that is more efficient, or even our system of transportation has never evolved. 

Now that I mentioned it, let’s talk about the ever growing monstrosity of Manila’s traffic, or that of Calamba, Los Baños and San Pablo City. Words are not enough to describe its indecency, and our disregard to employ a decisive and effective action to solve the problem. As long as it is not expensive, or as long as we are able to get up early to face the two-hour traffic and reach our destination that is simply 5 km away from home, we will stick to the system. Joaquin, in his essay, was describing the same thing, but he described what was happening in the 60’s.

We have an MRT that is the cause of a cue so long and gruesome, the liners are so cramped  it should be considered crime against humanity.

As for urban development, the government keeps on chopping apart regions, towns and provinces. And even now, it’s the same trend- a strategy to generate government funds and to be able to govern efficiently over districts and towns. Towns and provinces, ideas introduced by colonizers, are downsized to baranggays once again. An urban devolution you might add.

It’s the same thing with our pop and contemporary culture. Joaquin said that Filipino authors have mastered short story, and that there are few novelists in his time. What do we have now? Cheap stories written by insignificant pretentious Wattpad pseudo-writers, list of best-seller books that includes that of Liz Uy but no books by F. Sionil José, some write-ups by radio or TV personalities about frivolous things.
And don’t get me started with Philippine mainstream movies that are not anymore about the stories written by screenwriters, but more like a 120-minute product endorsements with special participation of a son of an anomalously famous tactless self-proclaimed queen of media.

It seems like I am only repeating what Joaquin wrote. But that’s the point- I am repeating this because we have a very small memory storage and we keep on forgetting certain lessons of our past because of one thing that surely sums all of our dilemma as an individual and as a people- we are a people with a short-term vision.

We do not appreciate the benefits of long-term investments. We do not see the decline of intelligence because we are entertained by foul mediocrity in literature and culture.

They say it’s because of our ningas cogon attitude. But ningas cogon attitude is the result of our present-oriented mentality. The concept of future is not part of our labour, finance and political cultures. It’s an alien concept but a favourite rhetoric.

It causes us to be divisive in politics and in governing. Instead of subduing a people under one command, we choose to rebel against an authority, split it into many factions and rule over that small portion of power. And this is why we have political dynasties in each province- households of power ruling over their little realms, pursuing their own little vision for their own little territory. And you ask why we can’t reach a future goal as a nation?

Despite the fact that this heritage of smallness is deeply rooted in our psyche and culture, it doesn’t mean that it is a hopeless situation. There are significant signs of progress- a generation of young urban professionals who are starting up smart and long-term investments; indie movies; new breed of writers who are proficient in Filipino, English, remarkable creativity and originality, and impeccable mastery of grammar and spelling; the long-term economic reforms of Gloria Arroyo that became fruitful during the Aquino administration; a breed of young political leaders who have the right set of principles and priorities.

As long as there are signs such as these, the descent towards the abyss of nothingness is hindered.

But is there a cure to our social malaise? Of course! It’s education and openness to innovation. The ilustrados and the learned men in the past who had epic visions of the future of a free people and a free nation understood that they had to battle against smallness, and that they must have a wider scope in their fight for the freedom of the archipelago. It was because of education, of having seen things beyond the borders of their little baranggays, of having compared what they have that we don’t and acquiring such techniques and bring them back to where they came from, so that they’d be able to grand things.

It is high time that we stop treading the earth under the shadows of mediocrity. It is time to get up not as a baranggay, but as one great nation.

Rainbow-Colored Post Scriptum

There was the US Supreme Court Ruling in favour of same-sex marriage, and then came the big Yes of the Irish vote.

These are the events that troubled the highest ranking ministers of our community, prompting preachers to deliver bitter tirades on how such acceptance and such tolerant, or permissive, laws would lead human society to ruin. From the pulpit, their golden mouths conjure images of fires and brimstones falling from fiery skies. They preach with so much desperation as if the world was one step nearer to the end of days because of gay marriage.

Their rhetoric is so desperate and pathetic, saying that the gay community has demanded too much rights and privileges that soon, they will be banned from expressing their opinions against same-sex marriage from the pulpit, and that the church will be forced to accept homosexuality. The word that they kept emphasizing was “forced”.

It’s funny how the so-called righteous act as if they were bullied by our people, when all my life I was bullied by God’s preferred gender. Throughout my life I have seen how our people were tormented, ridiculed, mocked, molested and even slaughtered by those human beings who are now asking to be protected from the people they oppressed.

Those men and women of God speak of walking in the light and in truth, but among them there are those who live in the shadows of fear and live a false life that is warmly accepted by those Jesus-freaks. It’s the religion of hypocrisy.

Indeed it is all hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is preaching God is love, and you try to convert a gay man so he can become straight. But the gospel was not about turning gays to heterosexuality. It’s more than that. It’s about the need of men, whether gay or straight, to repent of their sins; mankind’s need to be saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Yes, all have sinned, because a straight man is no better than a gay man.

Hypocrisy is when you open the doors of the church to our people only to rub in our faces your belief that my kind will provoke God’s wrath and the world will be plagued by all kinds of miseries. And yet none of you denounced the greed of the powerful that has driven companies and countries into the black hole of financial crisis. In fact, holy men supported morally and financially a Christian political leader who prayed at night thanking God for blessing his company while the gap between the rich and the poor widened- and the rich became richer while the poor became poorer. Is that a Christian virtue- depriving others of human rights and encourage the greed of capitalists?

We didn’t start the fire. It was your own undoing. We did not force anything upon you. We are humans too. We get hurt and we are fed up of all your hypocrisy and tyranny. We fought the good fight. We are still fighting. And we will fight every battle, and we will overcome because good and love will always triumph over evil.