Sunday, October 30, 2011

dress code

toppers katipunan window display

When I read your last post, I asked you if we got to use that title before. You said no, and regardless, that was really the title you thought for the post.

Well, I checked, and we did get to use that title already.

I'll just read between the lines with what happened there :)

Hey, Halloween is coming. We haven't dressed for the occasion for long time.


*Toppers Katipunan window display

Friday, October 28, 2011

Between the lines

Between the lines

Yes, laws can be used to perpetuate injustice. News reports can be misleading, even untruthful. And discourse is not always enlightening.

That's why, when analyzing statements, articles, laws, reports -- whatever the text may be -- it helps to read between the lines. It helps to consider the context. And it's useful to realize the intent of the writers/speakers and not see them as infallible, no matter their claims of authority.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

evil empire

the fort buildings

Long ago when we used to meet at Rockwell, I had this feeling that the isolated tall buildings there were of the "evil corporation" type. You know, the ones the hero has to go to in order to defeat the powerful, scheming villain who just so happens to be waiting inside along with his henchmen and the hero's captured love interest.

See, my mind has been wired on what a villain is supposed to be. They even have categories: The evil corporation, the military tyrant, the powerful dictator, the wealthy drug lord, the secret organization, the religious cult, the powerful politician, the fanatical muslim leader, the mad scientist, the invading alien race.

I for one though, think that bad people have learned from all the revolutions and uprisings that toppled their brethren. They hide in laws, rather than be outright evil in their actions.

The good thing is that the ones opposing them, the good guys, are also evolving in the fight.


*Buildings being constructed at Bonifacio Global City.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Target markets

The Queue


All too often, we are reduced to being target markets. As passive consumers with never-ending "needs" created for us, we are herded like cattle into the fantasy world of shopping malls and amusement zones, so that we hopefully forget that our real needs are not being met. So that we fail to realize who really is in control and whose crimes -- which wreak havoc the world over -- continue to go unpunished.

But more and more people are waking up, and the OWS and other movements are growing everyday. These are exciting times to see what happens when the 99% refuse to be targets and make their demands heard loud and clear.


I believe the children are our future

eva toyfrom-ogie

It’s tough to be a kid nowadays. Especially if you are an Anime character. Chances are, you are the only one capable of piloting huge, lumbering mechas while all the professional adults are just background characters who both support and doubt your capabilities at the same time.

Why is the fate of the world in your hands? Why is the fate of that other world—full of fantastic, magical creatures much more powerful than you—also in your hands?

Well, if you happen to be the target market of such media, you have no choice but to walk the heroes' path for them so that target market of yours can relate with you.

What's that? The only thing these Anime characters want to do is just go to school, watch anime, play video games and somehow get the attention of that cute classmate of theirs? No problem, they'll get to do that, too. And yeah, it's harder than riding a giant, lumbering mecha. Kids can relate to that.


*Evangelion Revoltech toy bought for a steal from toy seller Ogie

Friday, October 21, 2011


Watching "The Farmers and the Helicopters" (2006) by Dinh Q. Le

It pains me to see the incredible cruelty and callousness that people show towards each other and towards those who are most vulnerable in life -- children and animals, especially. And sometimes, I see that same cruel tendency in children themselves, who act out the very violence that they witness or perhaps seems normal to them, and target other children and small animals. Once I had to stop a group of neighborhood children who were pestering a kitten and on the verge of torturing it. On several occasions, I've seen children taunt and bully those they deem as weak or different. Cyberbullying now forms part of our vocabulary, as the internet is seen as another venue for bullying by children (and adults).

How sad it is to see the ugliness of human nature manifest in such young, seemingly innocent faces. It's so easy to sentimentalize childhood, but when I remember it from a more realistic perspective, I recall the complexities of feelings and experiences that we as children encounter even if we don't have the maturity to understand them.

I'm struck, though, by the powerful role that adults have in guiding children. To lead by example is, ultimately, the best way to guide them, especially in times full of violence and conflict, when the lessons of history seem lost on too many. And it is in moments like this one I captured, when an adult (a father, I presume) explains a video installation to a child in a museum, that I cling to the hope that future generations will learn to analyze history and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

And maybe it's just wistful thinking, but I likewise hope that adults in the present will consider how each decision we make -- how each action taken and statement uttered -- affects not just those immediately around us, but also the younger generations who look to us for guidance and form part of our communities.


*Watching "The Farmers and the Helicopters" (2006) by Dinh Q. Le at the MOMA. This video installation featured scenes of the helicopters used during the Vietnam war, the recollections of ordinary Vietnamese people, as well as current scenes of Vietnamese farmers who are now using helicopters (built in Vietnam) to transport farm products for the good of their community.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the saddest sound

woman playing solitaire with dog near ATM

I recently heard what, for me, is one of the saddest sounds in the world: the wails of a kitten, thrown into the street to fend for its own.

Scenes like this remind me of that passage in the bible where god assigns man as the caretaker of all animals in the world. Has man fulfilled this role? Looking back, it makes me realize how the Catholic Church's teachings are too man-centric. The kindness of men, the evils of men. Man's folly, doom, salvation. The list goes on. But does the Catholic Church have any statements on animal cruelty? Endangered species -- god's creations all, about to be forever lost in the world?


*Woman playing solitaire with her dog near an ATM at Roxas Blvd.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How sweet the sound

How sweet the sound

I find it amazing to hear the sounds that birds make, which can be described in so many different ways: chirping, tweeting, cackling, even singing. I love hearing birds in our urban neighborhood -- their lovely, calming sounds which contrast with the roar of tricycle engines, and people talking, yelling, or singing (headache-inducing) videoke.

I wonder, though, how birds manage during the difficult, hot and rainy seasons we have.

The behavior of birds really does say much about the state of the world. I read recently how many bird species are shifting their migratory patterns due to habitat loss and the warming of the planet. As many experts point out, humans aren't the only species forced to adapt to climate change, yet human behavior contributes the most to this phenomenon and its onerous effects.

I hope that somehow birds and other species manage to adapt and survive. And I hope we humans drastically change our ways. It's hard to imagine a world so silent, without the sound of birds and other animals, like a foreboding scene in a film or novel. Which is why, when I take photographs of wildlife, I wonder at the temporal quality of their beauty. Just as with so much that we photograph, we are documenting something that has already passed and will surely change, whether we like it or not.


*Taken during a hike in a desert canyon

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday in Tomas Morato

tomas morator pigeons at flight

Yesterday, I was still thinking of what to reply to you, when I saw these pigeons flying around. I realized that one of the things I associate with floods is Noah's dove messenger, coming back with proof of land and life after the floods the old testament God dished out.

It's a cool imagery. A lone dove, flying solitary amidst a flooded landscape. And where did the crow go, right? Why didn't he come back?


*pigeons at tomas morato

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday in Quiapo

Family outing

What one carries

Market in Quiapo, Manila

Under Carriedo station

Quiapo Church

Indeed, the sun was a welcome sight after two typhoons hit the country. On Sunday, people were out in the streets of Quiapo, buying and selling goods, crowding into church to hear mass, or going about their business. Life seems so normal and uneventful, yet just outside of Manila, massive floods continue to displace thousands in Bulacan and other provinces. Life in those areas has been turned upside down, as people and animals try to survive under abnormal conditions. We in Manila know this, but how odd it seems that while most of us go about our daily lives, not too far away, devastation is affecting so many.