Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did You Just Diss Lea Salonga for Her RH Bill Advocacy? You're NOT Getting Away with It!

Someone named Noel Hernandez posted on Lea Salonga's wall saying something that really ticked me off!

To quote him,

Noel Hernandez :

"For a great singer, too bad, she hasn't got a clue about the true effects of the RH Bill: to institutionalize promiscuity into our legal system. With all the free contraceptives floating around and encouraged for use by everybody, we are practically telling our young people, adolescents and all to have sex and not worry about anything. We might as well say goodbye to virtue."

May 24 at 10:09pm

I got very angry at this.  It's not just about the bill anymore, but it's because Mr. Hernandez was saying something negative about a person who voluntarily allowed herself to carry the burden of becoming the RH Bill ambassadress (for free) for the love of her country -- no less than Lea Salonga.  And here you are, whoever the heck you are, saying she "hasn't got a clue"?  Wow!  The nerve!

After swinging my head from left to right to left to right over and over and over again, I responded very calmly saying,

Ludwig Bon Quirog :

"Oh, dear... another one of these. The religious rants about God's will and what not."

Sunday at 6:51am

I was rather calm about it since I noticed people were already engaging in an argument with him.  I saw his shallow responses and I didn't want to be redundant by restating things that other people have already said in the thread.

However, he addressed this to me,

Noel Hernandez :

"Ludiwg, Like I said, if you have nothing intelligent to contribute better shut up. Your comment is totally insipid (if you know what the word means)."

Sunday at 5:53pm

Right.  Is it just me or was that some sort of insinuation that I'm not capable of contributing something intelligent?  Well, I regarded it as a challenge.  The parentheses were uncalled-for.  If I know what the word means, huh?

This was my response,

Ludwig Bon Quirog :

"I know what "insipid" means, thank you. I know a lot of words, for that matter. I do have a couple of intelligent ideas to contribute, but I'd rather not get myself into an argument where I will be reiterating the same things over and over again. I've been doing that for the last two years and I always end up getting called names and told to "shut up and go to hell." That's where I perceive a conversation like this is headed. Frankly, expressions like that don't affect me since I don't hold belief in such things. However, I find it pathetic that the bases for arguments from the likes of you are rooted in religious morality (something which is subjective), suppression of modern ideas, insistence in the lack of necessity for sex education for hypothetical reasons such as "it will lead to promiscuity and sexual irresponsibility (which is, in fact, already happening and is the very thing the bill is aiming to combat)," rejection of contraception because "it's tantamount to abortion (which is false)," and "it's going to hasten health deterioration (says your research narrative which doesn't contain any reference citation)". 

"We don't need to argue about this anymore. 

"You hold belief in your principles and I hold belief in mine. I also respect your opinion when you state that Lea "hasn't got a clue," but I have to state my own opinion to counter that in a plain statement that doesn't require reading between the lines: You're wrong about Lea. She knows more about the bill than you ever will. 

"You can beat the drum all day about virtues and hypothetical scenarios of what the RH Bill "practically" entails such as the so-called institutionalization of promiscuity, as you've very rationally put it, while we, the pros, continue to advocate informed choices and progress through proper education. Promiscuity is something we can't suppress no matter how virtuous our institutions are. Like Lea said, if young people want to have sex, they WILL find a way -- even if someone comes up with a law requiring parents and guardians to perpetually ground them! 

"I will not argue with you, Noel. I'm avoiding redundancy right now -- on my part, at least. We both know what arguments we're going to be tossing at each other, so it's best if we examine them in our heads rather than create a long brouhaha of words that will lead to insults. 

"To quote Lea again, "no one has a monopoly on God, and no one is privy to the fullness of His will." True, religion has its place in this debate -- just like in every other aspect of life for those that hold one. However, that place is in the heart. That place is in the core of the being. Single-sided religious arguments have NO place in a conversation that affects people who hold varying beliefs -- especially an entire nation."

about an hour ago

Now, I don't know how you're all going to take this.  I don't know if you're going to appreciate it or feel negatively about it.

I don't know how Lea herself is going to feel about me quoting her, but the urge to respond this way was brought about by how staunch an advocate I am for the bill.

Anyway, Lea, thank you so much for being on progress' side.  I hope you don't mind me borrowing so many of your statements.

I want the bill to be passed -- for the Philippines, for the land, for its citizens, yes, for all of us.

Let's all say the mantra together:

I support the RH Bill!


Another RH Bill Argument Scenario

Before I begin, let's recite the mantra:

I support the RH Bill!


On May 25th, a cousin of mine tagged me in a photo showing a hypothetical diagram of the expenses the nation would incur if the RH Bill is passed.

It bore the caption, "And you think the current form of the RHB is sexy?"

I responded in a way that somehow initiated an argument.  No, not with my cousin, but two other people whom I didn't know.  I don't know if you're going to like how it turned out, though.  I'm not sure I do.  I'm posting it here for public viewing purposes.

And, oh, while I was responding to most of BP's early arguments, I was watching Glee's final episode -- something that holds more of my interest than arguing with antagonists.  I know I could have done better in some points.  I have so many more things to say now, but, alas, they've gone silent.

In the morning, I had to check it before leaving for Dumaguete City and typing arguments almost caused me  to "no show" on my trip.

This entire thread is unadulterated.  I did not edit it in any way except for the spaces, font size, and boldface.

You can click on this LINK if you wish to see it -- if you have appropriate permission.  Maybe you'd be required to add my cousin as a Facebook friend first.

Ludwig Bon Quirog:

This diagram is still purely hypothetical... the point is, I want this to happen and we can beat each other up about it for sixteen hours, I'm still going to argue that it's beneficial and practical because it's biggest aim is to proliferate EDUCATION. The issue on distribution is not the whole point of it. If you're going to bomb it because it's the most logical thing to whine about, fine. Be that way. I'm sticking to education because that's what it's primarily all about. This is for the eleven women who die everyday. This is for the midwives who fight to battle ignorance. This is for the pauper who knows no other recreation but making children. This distribution issue is subjective and can be amended when it's being discussed in a productive manner. If you're just going to pick on the whole issue endlessly because of it, you're not going to amount to anything.

I'm just saying.

May 25 at 5:51pm · Like ·  2 people

Alistair Jephte Migriño Caseñas:

There are parts of the current incarnation of the RHB that raise a couple of red flags. Like I once said, I'd be amenable to it when those red flags are eliminated. It's the EDUCATION that we can concur on, Kuya Lud. You know that.

May 25 at 11:24pm · Unlike ·  1 person

Ludwig Bon Quirog

:D But I'm not against contraception either... if it's for those who need it, then be it. Certain limitations just need to be set. STRICT and STERN limitations... especially regarding disbursement of funds. as long as the money that's currently being funneled into corrupt hands gets where progress is attainable, meaning a newly married poor Juan won't have to live life with 12 hungry children, then I'd be proud to say "my taxes paid for some of your condoms."

May 25 at 11:30pm · Like ·  1 person

Alistair Jephte Migriño Caseñas

Which is where the bulk of the red flags are found. Funds tasked by Jose for the RHB could be used for other long-term aspects such as education, infrastructure, and what have you. Taxing Juan to pay for Pedro's condoms... For one reason or another, I smell a rat.

May 25 at 11:33pm · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

Hey, like I said... as long as it helps him start. of course, the limitations include stipulations of it never becoming a "forever" thing.. it's just to help him start the husband's job.. because if he derives productivity from income and education while not having to be burdened by more than one child at early marriage (assuming the woman was impregnated before marriage, as is the usual case), he could afford his own condoms later.. and by education, the woman will learn her choices (not getting pregnant if not desired/planned).. so she could do her part in generating income.. yes, there will be rats... but they will have to die at some point as in a heavily controlled scenario with a well-built infrastructure (as we want to put it), rats will not have the opportunity to reproduce... ^_^

May 25 at 11:39pm · Like ·  1 person

B.p. Betterphilippines

just wondering, is there no other way to provide rh education?

May 26 at 1:28am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

can't the government just use mass media to promote rh-related information?

May 26 at 1:29am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

The gov't actually can. but we need concrete programs here.. we need hands on participation in this by people who know what they're doing... the government is now refusing to sit and watch things happen--leaving people to each his/her own.. we ought to be more supportive now that something progressive is underway... it is polite to argue specifications, but to suggest killing the entire bill on grounds of moral brouhaha is just sad... we can't afford to just watch sparks fly after releasing some sort of mass media program... progress needs to be calculated after input... also, there are baranggays in the country that don't have access to mass media..

May 26 at 1:34am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

perhaps the government should consider providing radios to those isolated barangays.

May 26 at 1:37am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

i'm not against the idea of providing rh information and making it more accessible. i also support population manage for the simple reason that a managed anything is better than an unmanaged one. however, i would like to see a better version of this bill.

May 26 at 1:39am · Unlike ·  3 people

Ludwig Bon Quirog

then again, that isn't hands-on, is it? It's a lazy attempt at educating people... the government doesn't expect people to actually listen to jargon over the radio.. are they supposed to simply imagine how a condom works or what it looks like? most poor people are complacent... that's why we need to reach out to them with education first.. hands-on education... and then technology can come later... several households don't even have access to electricity..

May 26 at 1:40am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

If an impacting suggestion is to be made by someone, I believe they're willing to listen.

May 26 at 1:41am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

there are radios that operate on energy from a dynamo.


the gov't should provide health centers manned by people who can provide not only medical attention but relevant info. i don't think this version of the rh bill is needed for that.

May 26 at 1:43am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

then suggest adding and subtracting based on logic.. and readily available resources should be considered, too..

as I've said, it's not the radio issue, it's the hands-on part... people can't just imagine how things work... especially those without basic academic education.. they need people to be there to show them things..

I agree with your statement that health workers should be authorities on relevant info, too... the centers should also be readily able to provide resources such as contraception.. on a limited distribution basis so people won't end-up dependent...

In my opinion, the bill is good.. but, like the state of the nation, it needs some work.. that's not impossible to deal with.

May 26 at 1:48am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

may i ask how is it good?

May 26 at 1:50am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

Because it is for progress through education on reproductive health... a good use of taxes for population management, for a change, instead of most of it being funneled into the pockets of bamboozling public officials...

it's a counter-measure to ignorance... a way to explain to people, especially women, that they actually have choices... it's for the welfare of the 11 women who die everyday due to pregnancy issues.. it's for those who have fallen victim to the circumstance of poverty.. it's for the packed lying-in centers who have 2 women in one bed because of too many births and lack of space.. it's for the barrio family's 6 hungry children who had to exist because their parents didn't know any better..

yes, we have mass media, but general technological advancement for many remote areas is a far-fetched idea.. we can't just expect people to listen, we must go there and speak to them where we are sure we will be listened to.. the provisions of the bill entail that..

May 26 at 2:02am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

aren't those the goals or objectives? what i'd like to know is how the those things will be achieved through this bill?

May 26 at 2:14am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

people being more educated about choices.. a better-managed population because of lesser women getting pregnant all the time.. ergo, better resource management... lesser people getting sick.. lesser child mortality rate... more productive educational system because of the more manageable number of students coming in (in the long run)... a bigger chance at everyone actually getting educated because there doesn't need to be any competition...

May 26 at 2:18am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

that's the projected effect. can someone please explain how the bill, once enacted into law, will actually work?

May 26 at 2:24am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

look... I'm a huge optimist about this... a supporter.. a staunch advocate.. I am someone who wants this and will fight for it.. I have broad ideas to answer your question with since I've also asked them myself... I've gotten pieces of information from people who are as positive as I am... the programs I spoke of in my previous answers were part of the infrastructure... however, I would only be giving you second-hand information if I take the liberty of doing a blow-by-blow since I'm not an authority... if you really want to learn, ask the authority... Lea Salonga is on twitter.

I will now finish the final episode of Glee. haha!

May 26 at 2:50am · Like

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

‎"just wondering, is there no other way to provide rh education?" - there's this thing called a ... school

May 26 at 2:53am · Like ·  3 people

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

the diagram is hypothetical - so is the effect of the RH Bill

as Hans Rosling - Swedish statistician Extraoridnaire who works with TEDTalks pointed out that based on empirical data - "raising the quality of life reduces population growth" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpKbO6O3O3M&feature=player_embedded

May 26 at 2:56am · Like ·  1 person

Ludwig Bon Quirog

This is all hypothetical... what makes the difference is that I'm optimistic about it. No single principle holds the absolute truth. Different approaches work for different situations.

Raising the quality of life cannot be summoned as a solution if there are way to many people to cater to. We have a population problem and we need to deal with it in an educative manner that can reach out to everyone (IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL, because NOT EVERYONE IS IN SCHOOL) so we can, afterwards, then go on to create life quality-raising programs and watch the sparks fly on their own. Until then, we cannot stay in denial and stick to the same system that we've had for so long. It isn't working because people have so many opportunities to be complacent. There is no law that serves as an affirmative action to benefit those who are underprivileged of such resources and information. This is just a small step forward.

May 26 at 3:32am · Like

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

So you just want free condoms and don't want to raise quality of life?

Are you saying the Philippines shouldn't raise its quality of life and just settle for condoms?

Yes? No?

May 26 at 3:54am · Like

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

as Hans Rosling - Swedish statistician Extraoridnaire who works with TEDTalks pointed out that based on empirical data - "raising the quality of life reduces population growth" -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpKbO6O3O3M&feature=player_embedded - it's not hypothetical - it's FACTS :)))

May 26 at 3:55am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

Do not insinuate words that I'm not saying. I merely pointed out that we need to address the population predicament ahead. I also pointed out that no single principle holds the absolute truth.

Besides, that's not all the RH Bill is about, anyway.

Spearhead a bill or at least proliferate an idea that *speedily* raises the life quality of 90+ million people in this country of ours with such limited resources we have and such kind of dire situation, and I'll start putting one of my eyebrows down.

May 26 at 7:17am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

Don't steer the argument in a direction which makes it seem like all it's about is population control because, mainly, it's about reproductive health education for ones with lack of access, choices, and women's welfare (before, during, and out of pregnancy context).

May 26 at 7:30am · Like

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

Spearhead a bill or at least proliferate an idea that *speedily* raises the life quality of 90+ million people in this country of ours with such limited resources we have and such kind of dire situation, and I'll start putting one of my eyebrows down. -

knock.... Consti reform anyone? Remove the 60/40 :)

May 26 at 8:26am · Like

Warlito Nobleza Vicente

the bill intends to reduce the population - if that's not population control - what is?

May 26 at 8:27am · Like

B.p. Betterphilippines

optimism is a good thing. i like it too, but i think the debate over the rh bill is getting nowhere because the whole thing seems to be marketed as the solution to a wide range of problems, which i think it really is not. i think this is the very reason why in most discussions about the bill the goalpost seems to be moving all over the place.

May 26 at 10:28am · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

‎"if that's not population control - what is?" and I never said it isn't. I basically said it's not only about that.

May 26 at 5:27pm · Like

Ludwig Bon Quirog

BP... well... that's your opinion and I respect that.

May 26 at 5:27pm · Like


Monday, May 23, 2011

My Response to Some Preposterous Antagonistic Statements by an Ignorant Idiot

Yes, I just branded him with a name.  I don't care.  That's what he really is, anyway.

A couple of days ago, a friend asked for help in engaging in a discussion about the RH Bill.

In the thread, there was a certain man whom I noticed was such a staunch advocate against the RH Bill.  Why?  Based on what I've read him write earlier--as in before I came in--he says:  morality; pro-creation as the sole purpose of sex; Upholding the Roman Catholic institution's idea of what pro-life is; because contraceptives are designed to kill.  The list goes on.

I got so irked by his obtuseness and ignorance that I typed this long palaver of a response.

I wasn't able to resist pointing out what he really was:  an incorrigible fanatic fundamentalist who attacks senseless minute words with no position in claiming detail rather than presenting logical arguments.  He branded me a childish name-caller.  I got annoyed and realized he was doing that to divulge from the real discussion because he had nothing sensible to say as a retort.  I eventually stopped responding.

Anyway, the following are my responses.  The underlined PINK statements are my explanations as to why I responded as such.


Oh, you (yes, you)...

You can rant all you want about your religious stance and be obvious to the world about being in denial that it's the 21st century, but you can't deny the fact that we are about to hit 90 million very, very soon.

Are you just going to let people go on and on and on and on making children without educating them about the consequences? It's not a secret that the people who have the most children are those who are paupers to begin with. Aren't you wondering why? Are you going to say corruption? No! It's lack of education! Politicians can straighten up and give everything they have to these poor people and nothing is going to change because they aren't armed with the right stuff in their pathetic noggins about what to do with their resources. The RH Bill is about education.

Now, yes, let's talk about procreation and life because that's what your last statement was all about. Let's say procreation happens and a human being gets born into this world? What then? How will he/she be fed if the parents have 6 other children to feed first? And on the subject of life, what kind of LIFE will this child have? A one with a very degraded quality? A one with no quality at all? Death could knock on the door very quickly, you know. Now, if you say you reject RH education, you're saying you uphold this kind of situation! Yes, no matter how much you deny that you are, it's still akin to that. Where's your love for life? Where? And where does the RC church's respect for its sanctity come in? Do tell me.

Let's move on to the subject of contraception and whether or not it kills. Take the scenario of semen splattered on a blanket. That's basically what contraception does. It prevents the union of the egg and the sperm cells. Where's the killing part there? It doesn't exists! Are you telling us you feel sorry for the sperm cells because of all 40 million of them, not one was able to make it to the egg? And that the woman has to menstruate again and put that perfectly good egg to waste? Is that why? Are we a numerically threatened species? The "killing" contraceptives that you so intelligently speak of are abortifacients. Why you're stuck on abortifacients, I don't know. They're not happening! They're not being promoted by the RH Bill and you should know that.

You can hit that gong all day and rant about your beliefs, but they will not change the fact that we are in need of concrete action against poverty. This is, for that matter, a hindrance to the corrupt system as well since all those millions of unused funds that get funneled into corrupt pockets will now be used to fund the proliferation of the RH education.

Talk about contraceptives later! That's not the primary aim, but that's what you hammer on because it's the only thing the Roman Catholic hierarchy can present a legitimate and seemingly intelligent statement on. Well, guess what? Contraceptives are tertiary in this issue! What this is about is education! Education for couples, education for and protection of the welfare of mothers, education for those who are old enough to start asking some very sensible questions (so we can provide answers to those who are curious). The antediluvian habit of lying to your children is wrong and it's tantamount to courting disaster.

If you fear a scenario where 10-year-olds will be taught how to use contraceptives and condoms, you're not sane! That's just not going to happen!  This is an intelligent bill initiated by intelligent people, and that scenario is dumb! There's just no way!


Because he said I was ranting...

I'm not denying the fact that I was ranting. It's what I was ranting about that makes the difference. I'm just saying.

Because he asked if contraceptives kill...

You're putting the question this way: "Do contraceptives kill (prevent life)?" This in quotes was his statement. You can't play it like that. Killing is different from preventing life. If I prevent life by not allowing the union of the sperm and egg cell, that's not killing. You can play semantics all day long and you'll still be getting the same thing from us.

I'm not asking you to rest your case. In fact, I'm not asking you to do anything. I'm merely pointing out to the world the shores of your arguments. You know why I say shores? 'cause I can bathe in it without drowning myself. It's just not deep.

Because he said the average children of poor families is 1 to 4 from what he sees in places...

From what you see in places? 1 to 4 children? Where have you been going? And you're insinuating I watch too much TV? Wow! Blaming my youth, huh? Now, who's generalizing?

Because he asked me where I base my arguments and told me I watch too much TV...

Where exactly do YOU base your arguments?

He ridiculed my analogy and attacked the detail when it was insignificant to begin with.

And talking about the semen on the blanket. If you can't stick your brain to such method of comparison, I can't help you there. I only said it's a similar scenario of waste. I never said it was exactly THAT.

Because I said "If you fear a scenario where 10-year-olds will be taught how to use contraceptives and condoms, you're not sane," he automatically assumed I said he wasn't...

And I never called you "not sane." Geez, sensitive much on that? Go back up and read it again. Unless you're thinking about such scenario (up there)... Then you're probably right about me thinking you're not sane.

Because someone said "Wow! Very good," as a compliment to my long palaver.

You're just jealous about me being called "very good" since you haven't merited such a statement and you probably feel that, for what you're doing, someone should put a gold star on your forehead and give you a pat on the back. Not happening.


The following in quotes was my statement that led him to insinuate that I called him not sane.

"And if you're thinking about a scenario where 10-year-olds will be taught how to use contraceptives such as condoms, you're not sane!"

- So you really are thinking that way? Are you the bull's eye of fanatic obtuseness that my arrow has struck? Read it again. I said you're not sane if you think this way. Do you?

Because he asked me where I have been...

Where have I been? I've been in slums talking to people. I've been in remote areas advocating dialog with poor people who don't have access to regular resources. On average, those families have 5 kids. And if we say 4, do you think that's too little to consider? And do you know how many children there are in a regular elementary public school setting? Do you think 50 is too little? Yes, there is a need to allocate funds for building new class rooms. But why is that? Because there are just too many of us.

I'm not saying these children aren't blessings. They exist now and they should be cared for, but you cannot deny that most of them are products of irresponsible parenthood. My heart bleeds for the children who need to get up at 5 in the morning to do this and do that and get cooked under the scorching sun to do manual labor because they have to help their parents feed their siblings.

Once or twice every month, I visit a certain place in Bohol where people are in such kind of living condition. Parents who seek transient employment just to get a little milk here and there; 5 children; NO HOUSE! There are literally hundreds of these breeding all over that place with early marriage and the machismo tradition of I-am-better-than-you-because-I-have-more-children-of-my-own. Because they don't know any better. Because the RC church tells them that using condoms is a sin.

What's a bigger sin? Using condoms or leaving your child hungry? Let's not mention the fact that because this happens ever so often, children get sick and the parents fall into more debt (sometimes life-endangering).


Because he was starting to pick insignificant words from my statements and playing semantic...  I got irked about his immaturity at such an old age and decided to let him be since the argument was obviously not productive anymore.

For lack of sensible things to add, he ridiculed my words.

You're incorrigible, Manolo. Go fly a kite. Swim in the shores of your own ideas because that's all you're going to be doing for the rest of your life.

I have my sanity to lose in this kind of internet conversation. You obviously don't. I'd rather do this with a person who doesn't play semantics to get his way and one who actually knows how to read. That's another thing you don't do very well.


The RH Bill is for progress through education. You can beat the keyboard about your twisted and fundamentalist views on morality until your fingers get necrosis. That's all you have to say, anyway.

While we work for progress out here, you can stay in your cave and preach there--with your fellow fundamentalists who just love a good power play.


This is me getting annoyed to the point of utter disgust.

Typical... When your kind doesn't have any valid logical arguments, you resort to threats of excommunication and so-called eternal damnation. Wow! You are epic that way! And let's also mention the play on semantics regarding contraception being technical killing. Nobody really cares what the word connotes. We all know what it means.

The fact is, this is going to happen and your weak retorts won't do you any good. Deal with it. I'm not going to sit here and respond to your redundancy any more. I have better things to do. Good luck fighting your fight.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Young Lady's Tribute to the Beauty and Magic of Music

FOREWORD :  This was published in the May 22, 2011 issue of the Bohol Chronicle in the Lifestyle Section as a feature article without a byline so people would, for all their lives, wonder who wrote it... except for those who read my blog, that is.  I'm saying this because, yes, I wrote it.

What's awesome was the fact that we didn't need to pay a single cent to have it published.  I'm certain they haven't seen anything like that in long time and, as fellow lovers of art, the section managers were very happy to take it in--consuming an entire page.

Anyway, here it is.


What would an average 16-year-old girl want to do during the hot summer days of March through May?  Get a tan at the beach?  Hang out with friends?  Spend on popcorn and movies?  Go on excursions with the family?  Maybe burn hundreds of pesos at the arcade to get prize tickets?  Or go for karaoke at Time-Out, party all night at Lazer, Club Atmospheres, or Martin’s?  For some, the list would stretch to include other mundane things, but for one girl, there was nothing mundane about this summer.

Alec Cristi Migriño Mende spent her summer practicing over five hours every single day—training her fingers to reach for the right keys, memorizing and internalizing classical music pieces, sacrificing a huge chunk of daylight hours which she could have spent basking at the beach with her Canadian cousins.  An imposed predicament or self-laid challenge?  When asked, she needn’t open her mouth to give you an answer you could understand.

Yes, there were questions and doubts about whether it was someone else’s or her own love for music that caused her to push herself to take on such an endeavor.  However, these doubts all vanished last Tuesday, May 17th, 2011, at the Grand Ballroom of the Metro Centre Hotel, when Alec Cristi played solo in front of an audience of well over a hundred people in a premiere recital dubbed A Young Lady’s Tribute to the Beauty and Magic of Music.  Her swift fingers alternated on two pianos, completing ten classical music pieces that ranged from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and C.P.E. Bach of the Classical era to Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, and Camille Saint-Saëns of the Romantic era, to Richard Addinsell of the 20th century modern era.  She even took on two pieces written by two famous Filipino classical composers—Francisco Santiago and Francisco Buencamino.

When was the last time Bohol saw one of her own children holding a classical music solo concert in her soil?  The most recent that comes to memory was also a premiere piano recital held in the mid 1990’s which starred Rose Dale Abapo, daughter of Atty. Tomas Abapo Jr and Atty. Roselima Cuyno Abapo, who were also present in the audience last Tuesday.

The hall was packed with some of Bohol’s intelligentsia—family and dear friends of Alec Cristi.  It even had its share of international audience members.  Other than Filipinos, there were Canadians, Britons, and Americans.  These were people from various walks of life—from students to independent artists to lawyers to judges to businesspeople to economists to agriculturists to priests to doctors to marine biologists to engineers to politicians and all sorts of public servants.  We were even favored by the presence of Bohol’s busiest man—an uncle of Alec Cristi who happens to be our very own provincial governor, Atty. Edgardo Migriño Chatto, who gave a short speech to honor Alec and the beauty of music.  It was a real treat for many, to count this as one of a few privileged occasions, hearing him speak not as a politician, but as a gentle and caring uncle talking to his niece—a real family man.

In the course of it all, nobody minded if Alec Cristi had committed any mistakes.  Nobody but she, her teacher, and few other virtuosos present could tell, anyway.  There wasn’t a hint of stress on her part when she sat down on that bench, removed her high-heeled sandals and started striking the keys.  It was like her body danced to the rhythm of the music.  With eyes closed, her fingers knew where to go and she hit each key with such precision.  You could see raw emotion and passion in her movement as the instrument relentlessly filled the room with the messages of the great men who composed such pieces from centuries and centuries ago.  Each piece was akin to a ride on a time machine and a visit to the inner dimensions of the self rolled into one—perfect for those in the audience who sought inner peace.  And why would we be surprised?  She has had a great tutor.

Alec Cristi learned such method of playing while under the tutelage of one of the living greats—Bohol’s very own Maxelende Ganade—whose words are sung each day by Boholanos the world over.  This woman is the very person who translated the Bohol Hymn to our very own vernacular language—Binol-anong Bisaya—turning it into what we now call Awit sa Bohol.  And for all her contributions to the field of music in and out of the province, she was honored in the same event with a small tribute.  None of it would have been possible if not for her guidance.

It was truly a night for music lovers—a very proud one at that for Atty. Peter Emman Mende and Judge Olivia Migriño Mende, Alec Cristi’s parents, who have been with her every step of the way.  It is no secret that both of whom have great influence on her and have inspired her to love music just as they do—possibly even more.  While Judge Olivia, or Bing as she is fondly called, possesses a golden singing voice that when listened to is a reward in itself, it is Atty. Peter, the father, who is the primary root for her love of the piano.  When asked, she answered, “Growing up hearing him play the piano every morning inspired me to take it upon myself, too.  It was when I mustered the courage to go near him to hear the instrument better when I got my first set of basic piano lessons.”

In an evening of music with histories that elude most people alive today, no one was left ignorant as this unique premiere recital saw two hosts of ceremonies—a master and a mistress, if you will.  Before each piece played, Joyce Fe Migriño Caseñas, Alec Cristi’s aunt, and Ludwig Bon Migriño Quirog, her first cousin, read a précis to tell the audience members what they were about to listen to—ensuring that everyone was well informed.

There were four other artists who came to play that evening.  While Alec Cristi was on intermission to rest her fingers, the evening also saw Jes Mari Josef Migriño Mende and Aivilou Noelle Migriño Mende, her younger sisters, play Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, from the German Baroque era, in a beautiful violin duet.  Dave Matthew Marmita Dumaluan and Kurt Benedict Nazareno also had their share of stage light during the second intermission in a guitar duet—the only non-classical pieces of the evening.

With all the beautiful music that Alec Cristi’s fingers produced, it came as no astonishing matter that she received two standing ovations.  What was surprising was the fact that pieces that caused everyone to rise from their seats to applaud her were the ones composed by the Filipino greats.  On the first occasion, it was for her solo rendition of Souvenir de Filipinas—a world renowned very hard-to-play piece which Alec Cristi had perfected at age eleven during her fifth grade recital at the Holy Spirit School.  Her reprise of the piece caused everyone to get on their feet for well over a minute, complete with whistles and howling from an audience that was obviously bowled over in awe.  The second occasion when everyone stood up was the finale that saw her in a duet with Bohol’s living musical legend, Maxelende Ganade, in a rendition of Inday.  This answered questions as to why there were two pianos on stage.  It was obvious perfection.  Such harmony and coordination earned a well-deserved standing applause—a perfect piano tandem to culminate such a glorious evening.


Monday, May 16, 2011

RH Now! We Need It!

What's taking too darn long?
I want RH Bill passed!
I want it passed NOW!

Why are there so many dumb people in the world who refuse to understand that this (RH Bill) is something progressive?

For that matter, why are there so many people against progress?


And what's this argument about rejecting the RH Bill because it means X would be taxing Y to buy Z's condoms?

What?  Would you rather have X tax Y and have a huge portion of Y's money get funneled into the pocket of some random corrupt politician while Z lives in poverty with 12 hungry children?

Now why would that happen?

Here's why:  Because, aside from the fact that he's a pauper who doesn't know anything and has nothing better to do, he didn't receive proper reproductive health education and family planning tips.

Why again?  Because the RH Bill is being suppressed by certain institutions who still believe it's the 19th Century.


Use that noggin!

And don't be a douche bag about this!

Any questions about it?
Wanna debate?
Wanna learn?
Wanna get educated?

Talk to me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


"Is this a Catholic sectarian group? We may only accept Catholic groups."

This was the response of a certain POC for the retreat center beside the Augustinian monastery in Tabalong, Dauis, Bohol, when I inquired for accommodation and facility rental prices and told him that the Theosophical Society was considering the venue for its national convention in November.

I responded with a plain "No we are not.  Thanks, anyway," but that wasn't quite what I wanted to say.

Well, sir, I do respect your decision.  I understand that it's left to your discretion to deny people from availing of your services.

I'm wondering if it's really against company policy for you to accept non-Roman Catholic groups.  After all, a friend of ours did hold her birthday party there and it wasn't a Catholic group.  Sure, majority of the people there were Catholics, but there was nothing that branded the whole thing as a Catholic event.  I'm going to look into it.  Of course, since you've broken my heart and I've already erased the name of the place from the list of possibilities, there isn't a hint of a chance that we'll ever be spending it there.  I just want to find out what the real score is because I'm really bothered.

I mean, YES to a birthday party and NO to the TS?  Come on!

You know what my take on this is?  I think you were merely threatened by how Theosophical Society sounded.  I think you're one of the many typical fundamentalists in this world who fear things they don't comprehend.  And how could you when you don't take time?  How could you when your minds are so darn closed and fixated upon things you've been fed with since you were born?

Sir, I don't hate you for denying us, but I can't help but judge you as an individual.  No offense meant.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deeply Moved

Glee never fails to move me.  Nobody can present a reasonable argument against the statement that it's definitely one of the best things that have been introduced by prime-time television programming.

From a personal point of view, there are a number of things that make the show as awesome as it is.  First to mention is the cleverly woven repertoire of borrowed songs by yesterday's and today's great artists.  Secondly, the storylines reflect today's life, which makes it very easy for people to find resonance in them.  One could say, "hey, this seems like a chip from my life," and if you haven't found yourself a good denouement yet, it presents viable options.  And then, most importantly for me, it's the valuable character-reshaping lessons we get from them.

Glee is as optimistic as it is realistic and I'm glad they're making it that way.  It's a truth that not everyone in this world lives on equal footing, but positive attitude brought about by positive media can help alleviate the distance and teach people to gaze beyond differences.

If your're not that fortunate today, who says your life has to suck forever?

Whatever country you're in and whatever music you listen to, you'll learn a thing or two from Glee.

Trust me.  You will.