Monday, December 28, 2015

Take A Bow

.:How 'Bout A Round Of Applause?:.

A standing ovation?

For the past thirteen weeks, I don't exaggerate when I say that secular me felt downright blessed to have been a part of "Bara-Bara" as one of its hosts. I've worked with old contemporaries like James Caraan and Red Ollero of Comedy Manila, as well as comedy legends like Leo Martinez and Kuhol, and made new friends in Phoebe Walker, Miggy Marty, Nikki Viola, and Kat Medina. This was, without a doubt, a show I loved doing every single time.

In about an hour, our last episode will air. Well, our last episode for our first season. What I don't know for sure is if we will have another one after that. Either way, I can't help but be grateful for the season that was.

I could regale you with stories about the things going on behind the scenes, of how the cast grew closer with each other with each passing episode, about our foibles and misadventures involving CSG and other hilarious stories that could let you in on the inside workings of a fledgling show that's been trying to find its spot in this world of entertainment that has mostly been unwilling to shine a mirror upon itself if the reflection wouldn't be completely flattering. In doing this, we ended up opening not just the minds of those who watched us, but even our very own minds, as we saw things we never saw before, when we merely consumed media and didn't think of the things that go on behind it. There were issues. Boy, were there issues.

We willingly called out these issues head-on, even if it also meant exposing ourselves to the very same pitfalls, simply because we wanted to open up the minds of those we could touch to the opportunity for critical thinking.

We aren't looking to make cynics out of our countrymen. We aren't looking to make them believe that the media lies while the government is a beacon of truth. We simply wanted them to question everything: yes, even what I say this very moment. Because in that questioning, the seeds of wisdom are planted, and we could all use that kind of healthy skepticism for ourselves: not just so we could be contrarian, but so we could be capable of defending the very positions we hold dear, instead of just saying it is because it is.

I will always be grateful for the opportunities I've gotten because of this TV show, but more importantly, the friendships I've built thanks to it. I would be remiss if I didn't specifically thank GB for having put me in the right place and the right time to be a part of this, thanks to the Open Mic in Uno Morato, and of course, the people behind the scenes in PTV-4 as well. It was an experience I will always cherish and be proud of, and while I fervently hope we would find the sponsors we need for a second season, I will have no regrets if tonight's season ender is our swan song for this show.

For years, I've always wanted to open minds as a mentalist: to unlock the potential of people via entertaining them through feats of mind-reading and psychokinesis and the like. In 2015, I managed to open minds through commentary, and that is something I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to do.

We hope to see you for our last episode tonight. And we hope even more to see you for our first episode for our second season in 2016, if the stars align for us just right. It truly has been a pleasure and an honor to be the host of Bara-Bara: Anything Goes for the past three months. 

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

No Christmas Spirit

.:No Christmas Spirit:.

Not this year, not at this point.

There's been so much good in my life this year, in all honesty, and I hope to write about them sooner than later.

But something has been bothering me lately. And it's been unshakeable.

I spoke with a friend about it: the fact that I hate it when I leave things on a bad note with someone. Maybe they were a friend. Or a romantic interest. Or anything else. But for one reason or another, it just got all messed up, and now, I'm not exactly one of they're favorite people.

Maybe I was misunderstood. Maybe I was taken the wrong way. Or maybe I was being an asshole. It doesn't matter at this point, because it is what it is. A time for me to just accept that I am indeed the villain in some people's stories, no matter how much I think of myself as a good person. I will be. Inevitably. And it's not an excuse for me to keep being the way that I am, but a reminder that I can't please everybody, no matter how hard I try.

And believe me, I try. Really, really hard.

So Justin Bieber is on loop right now as we speak, and here's all I could say on this eve of Christmas. A simple message.

Is it too late to say "sorry?"

I won't qualify. I won't offer excuses. If I have wronged you, and you are reading this, I leave it up to you to accept it or not. If you want to call my bluff, feel free to ask me to coffee and let's talk about it and bury the hatchet once and for all. Or not. It's your call, really.

All I know is that Christmas should be one of the happiest times of the year, regardless of creed or belief. But I don't think that's something I could focus on.

I'm sorry. Not for anything else, but because something is broken when it didn't have to be. I wish I had the chance to fix it, but that chance is not mine to give.

Thank you for indulging me. And a merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Second Chance: A Non-Review

.:A Second Chance: A Non-Review:.

"Pangako, mamaya, huling beses na nating maghihiwalay. Ito ang huling gabi na merong ikaw at ako. Simula bukas, ang meron nalang, tayo. Tayo, habangbuhay. Hindi ka na matutulog mag-isa. At hindi ka na gigising ng wala ako sa tabi mo. At itong mga kamay na ito? Kahit magaspang na,Hindi ka na bibitawan, ha? I will never let go. I will always love you, Basha Lopez Eugenio."

Some questions really did not need to be answered. But don't worry, there will be no spoilers here.

I watched "A Second Chance" because I had to. The first film, "One More Chance," is probably my favorite Filipino film of all time, as shallow as that might sound. The idea of a love lost that could be gained back was something that resonated deeply with me then, as it does now. But in between the first film and the second one, something changed, and that something turned me from someone who could completely feel every single pang of pain Basha and Popoy went through to me being a spectator, outside merely looking in.

Basha and Popoy got married.

If you didn't know this was gonna happen, then you don't need to watch the movie at all.

I can only relate so much to that, obviously, given that I myself am not. But in that one, big, momentous change for the two of them, their pathos has taken on a kind of gravitas that is no longer within my purview. I accept that. People do change, and certainly, fictional people would, even more so than real people. But the moment they exchanged "I do's," I lost Popoy and Basha to the ether, because I was no longer quite like them.

That isn't so much a fault of the filmmaker as it is a fault of having two characters that were so relatable and powerful as Basha and Popoy that living vicariously through them and their apparent rekindling of their romance towards the end of the first film simply seemed like something we could all aspire to. It felt like something that could indeed come our way. The moment they jump into a stage of life we aren't quite in yet, that sense of verisimilitude is utterly broken for me.

But no, this doesn't make for a bad movie. It just makes for a different one. One that recognizes the plateaus of a marriage far better than it has any business doing, but one that unintentionally alienates me because I'm not there at all. Maybe I will be someday. But given just the trailer, they don't exactly make the married life something aspirational now, do they?

Have you ever put off going to the doctor purely because you're afraid of what you might have, knowing that you're probably not well? That's rather how I felt about this whole thing, in all honesty.

When we left our lovers in "One More Chance," it was open-ended, but rather obvious where it was headed: a reconciliation. We wanted to have the ambiguity and our happy ever after despite all the realism in one lovely bittersweet cake and we wanted to eat it. "A Second Chance" jettisons that, and decides we needed to see more, and as much as we wanted to look away, to not force ourselves to ask those hard questions, we are enthralled to because we know we have to know the answer now that the answer clearly exists.

To say that I am not the target audience of "A Second Chance" would be an understatement, but it is also a massive boon to the makers of this film that I still enjoyed it, no matter how I felt like an outsider, trying to find the smallest of vicarious moments.

And irony of ironies, or should I say appropriately enough, I find those vicarious moments in the moments of pain that both Popoy and Basha go through. Because unfortunately, that is all that remains that I have in common with them: not the moments of wedded bliss, but the moments of indescribable pain. Of emasculation and emotional disembowelment. And if there is one thing this movie franchise has been good at, it has always been king at eliciting pain as a reminder that we still live and we still love.

I can ascribe every single profound philosophical idea I have learned and project them onto the film, but that would be merely self-serving and masturbatory and in no way helpful to even myself. I could look at the ennui of married life and take it as a warning beacon, or ask about the existential quandary one faces in the midst of feelings of inutility. In the end, what one could draw is that one feels, no matter how "shallow" the film may be, and let's face it, it is no more deep or shallow than, say, a Kalyeserye, that we are alive, and that there is something rather than nothing.

Especially with love.

It will always remain. It will always be there. And when you love someone who does not, cannot love you, then so will the pain be there. We may call love beautiful, but it is a force of nature, and like any force of nature, it overruns us even when we come unprepared for it.

Because love lost will always lead to pain until one becomes numb. Because that love goes forth and empties itself out, but simply refuses to extinguish itself.

"A Second Chance" is a beautiful masterpiece in mirroring reality. Unfortunately for me, it is not my reality I am looking at, but a reality I find myself denied of. And it is that jarring break from immersiveness, that moment where I simply cannot suspend my disbelief that I am Popoy or Basha up there in the silverscreen, where I actually find myself impotent and inutile and utterly helpless. And that is the moment where I realize that even at its grittiest moments, the silverscreen love story of Popoy and Basha still far outstrips my own: something I didn't feel in the first film, and something that points me to not like the second film as much, not out of a technical shortcoming.

But out of resentment.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Because I Refuse To Be The Goggles

.:Because They Do Nothing:.

Don't be the goggles.

I recently started hosting a television show, and surprisingly, I didn't really spend any time on the blog promoting it. Now, maybe it's because I've been remiss on blogging lately, and it seemed like going on social media and promoting it there in 140 characters or less was far easier than devoting an entire blog entry to it, but this also explains why I wanted to take the time to choose my words carefully before talking about the show.

And that's because I don't actually want to talk about the show. At least, not directly.

You see, when I auditioned for "Bara-Bara," I came into it with a lot of optimism and hope that we could finally have our very own response to "The Daily Show" or "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver." There's a lot of growing pains within the show at the moment, but I still see that happening in time.

On top of that, I'm even working on a "Colbert Report" kind of webshow this weekend in Burger Company, where I finally get to run with an over-the-top caricature for once, instead of the more serious non-character I am on "Bara-Bara." The show is going to be called "Better Late Than Never." It's gonna be a lot of fun.

Anyways, let's talk about what I really wanted to talk about. I think a visual aid is very necessary at this point.

Hello there, Elizabeth Bathory (or not)!

If you ever wanted living proof of how evil can triumph when good people do nothing, look no further than this. It's the equivalent of a German publication coming out with the headline "Hitler did nothing wrong," if you ask me. Or do you think I'm merely exaggerating?

When we were talking about Martial Law during the taping for Bara-Bara's first episode, I had to keep a lid on all my opinions about people who were glorifying Martial Law, because I didn't want to dominate the conversation. It was sobering, really: true, none of the cast were political analysts, but that's exactly why it becomes very unconvincing to any neo-loyalist that Martial Law was really that bad, if we didn't put a concerted effort towards correcting those notions.

When we removed the Marcoses from power in EDSA, we said "never again." We said "not on our watch."

And then we stopped watching.

This week, Bongbong Marcos files his candidacy to become a vice-president. The sins of the father should not by default pass unto his son, but not when it's pretty much an inheritance of millions, maybe billions - of our money, ill-gotten under the cloak and dagger of the Marcos regime.

Really? We didn't see this coming?

The sins of the father should not by default pass unto his son, unless the son willfully denies what his father has done, and chillingly promises to uphold his dad's legacy in the same breath.

The Marcoses are erudite, educated, eloquent, and most certainly empowered. How could they not, when they took all our money to make themselves all of these things? Our money. Taken along with thousands upon thousands of lives, as a matter of historical fact.

Nation,we forfeited the right to attack anyone who thinks the Marcoses aren't so bad the minute we let them creep back in to the point where another dictator himself, the late Lee Kwan Yew, could only shake his head in disbelief. According to him:

"The difference lies in the culture of the Filipino people. It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over twenty years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics."

It is with that fact that we know: we have failed this nation.

When a certain article calls us "uneducated," he doesn't do it merely to posit a false dichotomy (which he's still totally doing, by the way) and paint us as emotional people who have a knee-jerk reaction to anything Marcos. He is calling us out for sleeping on the job. In all the hype of #NeverAgain, we still managed to look the other way for the Marcos cronies, much in the same way Voldemort's Dark Eaters slowly made their way back into the wizard community, all hiding under the guise of being under the control of the Imperius curse.

No shit, Sherlock.

Yes, nation: we have become every bit as complacent as Cornelius Fudge. We stood by and did nothing when Enrile and Ramos made their way back to power, because, hey, they helped us out when we needed them right? We stood by and did nothing when the Marcos family slowly revised the story and made it seem that the ends of the Marcos regime justified the means, and nobody actually paid attention to what the ends were.

We are every bit as competent as a school that specifically had a House whose member's defining characteristic is that they are 99% evil.

We have failed this country, and now, we are slowly but surely paying the price, as if we aren't already are. We took it too easy. We treated them with kid gloves. We thought they were harmless, but all they really needed was the Dark Mark to send them sprawling back into action, and all we could do is look on and wonder what we did wrong.

That's exactly the problem. For most of us, we did nothing. We were complacent in thinking that it would be impossible for anyone to ignore what the horrors of Martial Law truly were. We were self-assured that time wouldn't erase the wrongs done to us as a nation by the Marcoses as a family. We were wrong.

We were mistaken to think that the golden standard were our supposed liberators, the Aquino's, when they were little more than a transition that we should have built ourselves up from. They were the baseline, not the exemplar: yet we confused the former with the latter, and here we are now, disappointed with that realization.

It shouldn't have taken us as long as it has to realize: this was never Marcos vs. Aquino. Anyone who thinks these are the only valid choices to be had in this discussion is living in a very sad world.

In the meantime, we now have a man who insists we shouldn't condemn us for having his father's name, while also demanding we recognize him for the achievements of his own father. He wants to have it both ways, and we're pretty much letting him have it both ways. He wants us to forget the atrocities of martial law, but he wants us to remember the so-called glory years of his father's administration. He wants us to give him a chance to be his own man, yet he quickly proclaims that his dad's era was the kind of golden age he wants to bring back.

And now, his very own running mate, a woman who worked so hard to make us believe she was for justice and against corruption, decided to absolve him of his family's crimes, saying they don't owe us an apology for martial law, while crucifying her political rival over the very same topic. Slytherin, indeed. They slithered back in. After Martial Law. After Jose Velarde. After countless other breaches of trust. We are truly a forgiving people. And a forgetful one, at that.

This is why I refuse to be the goggles. I refuse to do nothing. I refuse to stand idly by and let him go there unchallenged, assuming what he likely believes to be his birthright. I am not Harry Potter, nor Neville Longbottom. Heck, I'd be lucky to even be Argus Filch. But what I will not be is quiet. For when the Death Eaters march in once again, I will at least get to scream out "Expelliarmus" once, before someone inevitably Avada Kedavra's me. I may have taken this analogy a little too far.

I agree with Miriam on one thing: indeed, the Marcoses don't owe us an apology. What they owe us is justice. Justice long overdue. Justice that still cries out to this very day. Justice they have tried to deny of countless victims for so long, knowing full well that the Marcos era was and has always been a family affair. Anyone who wants to pretend it wasn't need only take a look at the facts.

Would you ever elect Draco Malfoy as the Minister of Magic, if you were a wizard? How about Deputy Minister? How you answer to this seemingly whimsical question could very well explain how you feel about the Marcoses, in the end.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Back To The M:TG Grind

.:Or Not:.

Kind of difficult to say I'm going back to the grind when in reality, I have never extended this much effort in Magic: The Gathering before. Only now have I ever actually found myself seriously playing and actually making it far in tournaments like last weekend's Last Chance Qualifiers for the World Magic Cup Qualifiers, or a huge 37-man tournament for Legacy with a foil Liliana of the Veil on the line.

Pictured: hard, nerdy work.

In any case, I've been doing a lot of playing lately, and that's really been paying off for me. Won an LCQ and could have tried out for the National Team, won countless Modern tournaments, did mostly the same in Vintage and Legacy, and so on and so forth. Overall, I've been on quite a roll, and it's been showing in the fact that I've been consistently placing in every tournament I've shown up in, and I'm even beginning to make some headway with Lantern Control, which is really one of the decks to watch right now.

In any case, that's all I could really say for now. It's good to be gaming this much again, seriously.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2 Hot 4 8List: 8 Questions I Always Get Asked About Marriage Equality

.:2 Hot 4 8List: 8 Questions I Always Get Asked About Marriage Equality:.

I try my best to be a moderate when it comes to my personal opinions. Most people know what they are, but I try my best not to be combative about them when I encounter someone who doesn't share the same opinion as I. This blog post will not be as charitable, because I've allowed a lot of people to get in their myopic jabs on the topic for long enough. This hopefully addresses most of those so-called issues they raise.

Here now are 8 questions I always get asked about marriage equality, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling that recognizes LGBT marriage to be on the same legal footing as heterosexual marriage.

8. Why are the LGBT redefining marriage? 

First of all, marriage has been redefined so many times over the centuries that it's not even funny anymore. The idea that marriage is a union of love has been a fairly recent idea. There isn't really a "traditional" marriage, to begin with. Otherwise, all rape survivors will be required to marry their aggressor, just as the Bible stated.

In its current form, aside from the idea of one person loving another person for the rest of their life, marriage is understood to also come with concurrent rights. These rights are the crux of what marriage equality advocates are fighting for. It's something under the domain of the government, and in the case of the Philippines and America, the government is supposedly a secular one. What this means is simple: defining marriage as "biblical marriage," while not only problematic because of how the Bible itself defines marriage, also alienates the people who are not subscribers to the Bible.

TL;DR - marriage can stay the same for your church, but the government, in the interest of equal rights for all, needs to reassess marriage in order to live up to this secular ideal.

7. Why are the LGBT forcing people to bake them wedding cakes? How is this equality?

Oh. You mean that story in America of how a gay couple sued a bakery for refusing to bake them a cake for their wedding, then subsequently got awarded over $100,000 in damages afterwards?

First of all, you might not have read the entire story: this bakery didn't just "politely" decline this couple, they also doxxed (that is, they released the identity and private information) of these people when they complained about being refused service. People gloss over this fact, yet when you realize that the doxxing caused them anguish (they were given death threats) and extended that anguish to their adopted kids (they were also given death threats), suddenly, it doesn't seem like the bakery was fined nearly enough for what they did.

There's nothing "polite" about calling people an "abomination," okay? This is every bit as manipulative as saying that the old lady who sued McDonald's over their coffee was being frivolous (she received 3rd degree burns, not just some booboo someone can kiss to go away).

Also, remember how big a deal it was when people would refuse service to black people? Well, why would it suddenly be okay to refuse service to gay people just because? Are they not entitled to the same rights as black people in the first place?

Nobody was demanding this bakery to get gay married or to preside over the gay marriage of a couple that they already did business with before, prior to finding out about their orientation. That's plain discrimination, and it boggles the mind how people could think that discrimination is okay just because you claim that your God told you so. "God" has "told" people to do the Crusades. "Allah" has "told" extremists to fly a couple of planes into the World Trade Center. None of this was cool. A "lesser" offense hung on the same conceit isn't, either.

6. Why am I being called a bigot for not sharing the same opinion about LGBT marriage? My freedom of speech is being impinged!

First of all, when someone calls you a bigot, they are also exercising their free speech. We see a lot of people confused with that all the time, including certain bloggers who block people who call them out on their hypocrisy when they start cyber-lynching someone.

Still applicable, huh?

Secondly, let's get one thing straight here: your freedom to say whatever you want doesn't mean you are going to be free from consequences. If you lose your job because you went on a racist tirade, I'm sorry, but that's the consequence of you exercising your freedom of speech. Just ask Hulk Hogan, even if I feel bad for the guy.

To be fair, he's too orange to be a white supremacist.

If you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen. The only thing freedom of speech entails is that you won't be arrested by the government for saying whatever, although in the Philippines, we don't even have that level of freedom, since libel is a criminal offense here. Just ask Fashion Pulis.

Don't confuse our Philippine laws with American laws. This isn't an argument about tradition but legality.

Lastly, when you call someone an "abomination," do you even think being a "bigot" is remotely comparable to what you just called an LGBT person? Learn to check your privilege before you make these kinds of complaints, because you're working from the assumption that nothing is wrong with insulting the very being of an LGBT person by calling them an "abomination" all because your "God" "told" you so.

5. So does this mean I can't believe that God doesn't approve of LGBT marriage anymore?

Of course not! You're free to keep believing this, the same way some people still believe that slavery, or women's suffrage, or interracial marriage are all horrible things God would shun, too.

What you can't do, though, is to conflate your religious beliefs with the legal demand for equal rights for everyone, including LGBT people, to marry the one they love, who just so happen to have the same genitals as they do.


Your church can continue to never marry LGBT couples to each other, but if the government decides marriage equality is a thing, you can't pretend that the law has to conform to your religion, because it doesn't work that way.

4. Why does this matter so much to you if you're straight?

Well, wow. I didn't realize that empathy is a bad thing now! Do I even need to dignify this question with an answer?

3. Aren't you afraid of Sodom and Gomorrah happening to us if we let marriage equality happen?

No. No, I'm not afraid of Sodom and Gomorrah, because Canada has had marriage equality for a decade now, and they're doing pretty okay. And why does your God turn into the hellfire and brimstone version only when it comes to gay marriage, but He's all loving and kind and benevolent and forgiving when it's little crimes like murder or rape or plunder? That's mighty selective, don't you think?

You also might want to read up on why Sodom and Gomorrah was actually condemned in the first place. You might be surprised how little it had to do with homosexuality.

2. So what next? We can now do polygamy? Incest? Bestiality? Marry kids off to pedophiles?

Well, that escalated quickly. It's very clear that the premise of marriage equality is that two consenting adults decide to spend the rest of their lives with each other. All three of these words are integral to the definition of marriage equality. Animals can't legally give consent. Kids are obviously not adults and can't legally give consent, either. Consent is fuzzy when there are power dynamics in play with blood relatives, such as mother vs son, etc. In polygamous situations, the transfer of rights is ridiculously complicated, but if the law were able to dynamically adapt, then so long as all parties involved are consenting, why should it be legally disallowed?

Some Muslims already marry multiple women, as it stands. The reason that marriage equality advocates aren't particularly happy about this is that it's clear that the male is dominant in this setup, and as such, implies there's little "equality" to be expected in the first place.

Ultimately, when two gay people marry each other, how would this affect you? It doesn't. So let them mind their own business as you mind yours. Nobody is forcing you to get married to the same gender.

1.If the LGBT are asking for tolerance, why can't they tolerate people who don't want to tolerate them? Shouldn't they give it before they ask for it?

Tolerance of intolerance is self-defeating, and accomplishes nothing. It also reeks of privilege, because here, we demand the LGBT kowtow to our feelings while we refuse to give even a semblance of respect to theirs. The LGBT are fighting for equality. If we can legally marry the one we love, why can't they? If we can stay in the ICU with our spouse as they lay there in critical condition, why can't they? The law is the great equalizer that levels the playing field for when there is an inherent disadvantage for a marginalized class.

This is why it's so ludicrous to wonder why straight people don't have any "straight pride" parades,  because they don't need one. Nobody is oppressing them systematically for being straight. It's also why nobody is particularly impressed when Tim Tebow professes his Christianity. This is the norm. This is the default. How is this a shocker? When people tell him to "keep it to himself," does it ever stop him from professing his faith? Of course not. It doesn't even stop him from continuing to express his beliefs in public, because freedom of speech allows him to keep doing it, just as much as his critics are enabled by the very same freedom.

Not pictured: a fair comparison.

On the other hand, when you see someone like Caitlyn Jenner come out as a transgendered woman (who is still very much into women, by the way), you will see people praise her because it takes guts to do that, and let's not pretend she didn't get any negative backlash for it. She certainly did.

It's all about false equivalence, and privilege. When you have the luxury of living your life normally without people condemning you for the religion you happen to belong to and for the sexual orientation you happen to possess, it becomes difficult to see why it takes courage when someone who doesn't subscribe to the norm has to come forward and express themselves.

In short, Christians, you are not the persecuted class in this story. I understand how nice it is to pretend you're the underdog, but between a bunch of people who get called "abominations" with regularity, and a bunch of people who have to stretch the definition of "oppression" to claim it, I think it's easy to see who's really being persecuted. You're Floyd Mayweather. You're John Cena. You're the '96-'98 Chicago Bulls. Any backlash you get is because people know you're going to win in the end, and there's nothing wrong with that: you're just being who you are.

When the dust has settled, marriage equality doesn't affect you if you have zero plans of getting married to someone of the same gender. So why should it be any of your business if the government, the one that's supposed to protect everyone, and not just you, eventually decides that gay people are deserving of the equal rights they should have gotten in the first place?

You don't get to debate human rights, because they're just that: human rights.

And in the end, in all this hoopla about the "dignity" of marriage, there is yet another oppressed minority being pushed to the side...

What about us single people? Are we not deserving of "dignity," too? Alas, that is a discussion to be had some other day.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Nothing But The Best Wishes For Nonong And Ryan Rems!

.:Shameless Not-Self-Promotion:.

Today is the Finals day for Showtime's "Funny One," and two of my friends and brothers in standup, Nonong and Ryan Rems, are in the finals!

Skelan is probably a sponsor or something.

All I can say is "thank you" to these two guys. Because you couldn't ask for nicer, more down-to-earth, and hardworking representatives for POV standup comedy than these two guys. Here's hoping that the laughs they have earned from the millions (and millions) of people watching them on television will not go unappreciated today.

We can talk about revolutions for standup comedy tomorrow. We can talk about the ramifications and the possibility of this kind of comedy invading the mainstream after over a decade of being branded as little more than "niche" some other time. Today, I would rather simply express my gratitude and support to two of my friends. It's *their* time to shine. Everything else merely follows.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Manila Improv Fest That Was

.:A Belated Look Back:.

I hate the word "Sepanx," but what could be a more appropriate thing to say here?

Admittedly, looking back at the recently-concluded Manila Improv Festival well over a week after the fact seems rather too late the hero, but I don't really mind. When it comes to this blog, I've been writing for myself for a long while now instead of for an actual audience. And that's fine.

Anyways, I think what really stood out about this particular festival is that the sense of community has really brought the people together more than ever. Were there woes and cares within each group? Yes. Were there anxieties about the quality or lack thereof of certain performances? Absolutely. Did that ruin the festival? Not by a long shot.

At the end of the day, everyone came together. Everyone gave it their best shot. Everyone had memories to recount about the Festival, and most of all, everyone is absolutely looking forward to the next one.

I could give you a blow by blow account of my favorite moments from the entire thing, but given that I'm the 8List guy, I may as well boil it down to 8 things that really stood out for me, on a personal level...

8. The Music Workshop

I will never forget Dave of the Beijing Collective for as long as I live, and one of the main reasons is probably this particular workshop. There's nothing like taking a bunch of people with a ridiculously wide range of musical skills. I have to say it was pretty memorable to be creating great music on the fly, and I can't wait to put that to use.

7. The Non-Performers

Random pictures I still managed to find. Yayyyyy.

Made a few new friends within the Festival among people who went to watch or cover the whole thing, or at least to take part in the workshops, but wasn't actually part of any of the improv groups. In fact, when it came to getting to know them, Dave (he figures a lot in my Festival memories this year) actually spurred me on to do something I don't normally do. Jury's still out on the outcome of that one, but needless to say, I've gotten that monkey off my back, at least.

Also, Tomato Kick was an awesome venue for all our crazy after-parties. No doubt, no doubt!

Special mention to Miles, who kept me company for most of the Festival during the latter half!

6. Reconnecting!

Two years ago, the Manila Improv Festival allowed me to make a lot of new friends. Seeing them again in the Festival allowed us to pick up where we left off. Whether it was enjoying the comedy stylings of the Pirates of Tokyo Bay, or just catching up with Taichung Improv who really got me into improv wayyyy back in the day by giving me my first taste of performing it, to the fact that Dennis of Taichung is a dead ringer for Jeremy Renner, to PLI's insanity, to finally hitting it off with Dave and Liz and Jay of the Beijing Collective, to seeing a super-polished Zmack! to... man, I'm bound to forget people here, but whatever. It was awesome!

5. New friends!

The Improve Company from Singapore! Bacolod Improv Group! Dulaang Ateneo from CDO! These guys are just a few of the new people I had the pleasure of getting to know over the course of the Festival, and I can't help but think how great it would be to see them again soon. Who knows? Maybe I could swing by SG sometime this year...

4. SPIT continues to lead the way!

It's easy to say that without Silly People's Improv Theatre, this entire thing would not even have existed. With 13 years of experience under their belt, I can't help but be thankful for the kindness they have shown Switch Improv over the years. Thank you, SPIT! We couldn't be more grateful for everything you've done to bring improv to the people.

3. The PiP Show

Now kiiiiissssss!!!

I never heard of "slow comedy" before these guys came along. They pretty much defined it with their performance right off the bat! While most groups can get frenetic and that pace works wonders for them, these guys were just so chill. It was really just something for the ages, and every lady in the audience was practically screaming when the two of them actually kissed onstage. And yes, one of them certainly looks like Heath Ledger. Glad you noticed.

2. The Impromafia

Making me an offer I can't refuse!

Whether it's their two-man show or their three-person Disney-esque musical that they actually debuted at the Festival, Brisbane's pride and joy, the Impromafia, were simply phenomenal. It's hard to determine which I liked more: the fact that they brought something we've never seen before to the table, or the fact that Luke reminded me so much of G.R.R. Martin. Well, let me choose both, then!

1. My home team

Still making a scene wherever we go.

It's been three years, but let's face it: when the chips are down Switch Improv has always had each other's backs. There's pretty much nothing I could ask for more in this world of entertainment, where years of loyalty can be forgotten in an instant because of petty egocentricity and ridiculous entitlement. I get none of that from Switch Improv. All I get are a bunch of people who care. Who care too much than to stay complacent. Who care too much than to say nothing. And it's that caring I've come to associate with the world of improv, and why no matter what, I get sent to a happier place when I'm there. 

I don't need perfection or unbridled harmony. All I need are people who care. And that's why this team came together in the first place.

While I wish I could have been far more detailed in recounting my fond memories of the 2015 Manila Improv Festival, all I know is that it was definitely one for the ages, and it reminds me why I've always loved the improv community that Switch has been a part of for the past three years.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

.:That Sinking Feeling:.

There was so much I wanted to talk about. With how the Manila Improv Festival ended the other day, I was still feeling this kind of elation that was all over me, but I guess these things really weren't meant to last, were they?

Now that I've snapped back to reality, I realize I have to get away from it all for a while. I've been burnt out by the world of standup. I've worked too hard in the world of improv. I have very little left in me to keep going, and I know that I have to stop. Breathe. Think. And slow down.

There's so much I have to do next. There's so much I have to cover next. But ultimately, the great equalizer is the fact that I have hope, no matter what the circumstances are. Or I had it. I don't know. It feels like it really refuses to stick with me, so here I am, just dealing with another fallout I never counted on.

I've always been awkward. I've always been shy. Despite being a performer by trade, there's just something about trying to approach people and making myself known, that attempt at breaking the veil of anonymity, that terrifies me. Because while I like being applauded when I'm onstage, I also like my moments of quiet when I need them. Approaching people tends to jeopardize that.

So it came to pass that I saw a moment enter my life, and I didn't want it to pass me by. With a knowing nod from my friend Dave, I made a leap of faith. I said some things I don't normally say. I did some things I don't normally do. Not for any hope or agenda. Not for some misguided sense of entitlement that this would yield results. But only because I wanted to make sure I didn't let the moment pass me by. I didn't want to sit down there and ask myself if I could have. 

I had to, you see. I really had to.

It seemed right. It seemed like it was the best way to go about it. And as I've always been, I was wrong. In as quickly as it began, it may have fizzled out just like that, too. And I don't even know where to begin picking myself up. Not for anything, but because once again, I blew it. I ruined it for myself. If I ever wonder from time to time why I'm not happy at a particular point in my life, the reason usually just so happens to be myself. And it disgusts me.

So where do I go from here? Do I get a do-over? Or are we simply going to go with "no take backsies," and that's that? The worst part of this whole episode is I can't even blame anyone but myself for it. I blew it. I screwed it up. Because as always has been the case, my stupid mouth has got me in trouble. I said too much again.

So I'm sorry. I'm sorry I blew it. And if this chapter has to end as abruptly as it begun, I guess I just have to live with that.

Is it too soon to say these things? Is it too soon to feel this way? I can't help but have that sinking feeling that it isn't. This is merely just the latest in a successive string that affirms the pattern. It's not too soon: it's in fact too late.

But please... if you ever asked me why I did what I did, I just need you to know one thing: when something comes into your life and you feel something you've never felt before, when it inspires you to do something you've never done before, when it calls you to say something you've never said before, then there's something there.

I may no longer ever find out what that something was, but it was there.

Bakit ko iaasa sa hangin? Bakit ko ipapaubaya na lang sa tadhana? Sa bagay na hindi ko makita o mahawakan? Bakit hindi ko hahabulin, aamuhin, lulundagin, kung maaaring pagsisihan ko ang paglampas ng sandali?

Pasensya na. Sawa na akong kumiling sa kapalaran.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

After The Dust Has Settled From ToyCon 2015...

.:Didja Miss Me?:.

Well, I missed you.

I haven't blogged in months, and it's easy to understand why, what with all the places I'm writing for professionally. Recently saw my work not just in the 8List, but even in UNO, my consultancy, and a few other places I didn't expect to end up writing for. It's been a whirlwind. A whirlwind that went undocumented like a huge gap in my life or something, but a whirlwind I really have to be thankful for, regardless.

Toycon 2015 is pretty much the perfect point for me to (try) jumping back on the blogging wagon, because it was definitely a great experience hosting Toycon after being out of circulation in the cons circles for a while. And what a way to come right back! First off, I was paired with a debuting host in Rence David, who is a natural onstage!

Something about this year's Toycon was just so positive, so smooth-sailing, that it really felt so easy to just jump onstage and do our thing this year. The audience was unbelievably hot even after Alodia and the cosplay competitions were already long done, which is something I don't think I've ever experienced before.

On top of that, the segments really did bring the goods to the crowd! You had something as simple as the Minions showing up onstage causing an immediate feeding frenzy...


You also had the dance number by Doraemon, and the rambunctious Damulag...

The mascots were pretty huge.

Then you had, of course, the cosplay competition(s), and even I got in on the fun, for once...

Follow the buzzards, 'Arry.

Considering that this was Toycon's swan song in Megatrade Hall, it was pretty clear sir Cholo, sir Vic, Az, and the rest really pulled out all the stops to make it a very memorable event. It was pretty fun when Alodia even went and challenged the audience to beat her in Mortal Kombat X at her booth. I would've taken her up on the challenge, but alack and alas, hosting duties were in the way.

And, oh, a couple of fun facts:

1. Ashley's "Thinking Out Loud" cover was played a total of 12 times on Saturday and Sunday. This was still significantly less than the amount of times you would hear the Ed Sheeran original on the air during its peak.

2. "Watch Me Nae Nae" was used onstage for skits and performances a total of 7 times in two days. I learned to hate the song about the second time in, although the metal version almost makes up for it. Too bad nobody used that.

It was a great time reconnecting with old friend and even making a few new ones. It's also fun to note that #TitoJokes were all the rage over the weekend, and pretty much anything we did during Saturday and Sunday went over well with the crowd. Heck, I even went back to basics and did some magic for that evening.

But my personal highlight that didn't involve cosplay at all? It must have been when the boys from Philippine Wrestling Revolution showed up.

Ken Warren has better things to do than pose for the camera.

So yeah, it was definitely a great ToyCon, and something I'm very proud of, as far as hosting gigs go. I'm really grateful for the opportunity, and catching up with old friends like Kristell (who gave me an awesome Superman Hoodie!) and Lizette really only made things even better.

.:And The Rest?:.

It feels like I'm in a state of flux, what with my consultancy wrapping up, and having people question me after years upon years of consistent behavior. I would laugh if it weren't so pathetic.

There's so much going on behind the scenes in my life lately. It's hard to sit down and write about it all, if only for the fact that over the years, I've learned to keep more to myself, but I've also decided not to really care about my Livejournal nearly as much while doing it. There's a whole host of things to look forward to, and the future is bright. Ultimately, if people are going to burden me while I reach for the stars, then I would only find it easier for me to just unburden myself of the people and things holding me back.

For now, I'll leave it at that. It's a wonder I even got to blog at all this month, so that's something to be grateful for, at least.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whoah. It's Been How Long?

.:So... Life:.

I haven't been writing here for so long, and it's a bit embarrassing already.

Anyone still reading this probably knows what I'm up to, though: I'm still doing comedy at Burger Company every Thursdays (alternating between standup and improv), and I've also been doing consultancy work for the past couple of months. It's been very good, and I've found myself really discovering that after years of shying away from it, I am not half bad at management work at all. But yeah, that's neither here nor there.

There's still the 8List, too. That's been pretty fun. And when I find the time to breathe, you just know the Cracked thing is looming in the wings.

In the meantime, I've discovered that I really, really like wearing Erick Rowan's sheep mask...

I follow the buzzards.

That creepy-looking sheep mask has been getting me so much mileage lately. I don't particularly think I'm gonna end up wearing it for my website when it finally goes up, but whatever. I really, really like it.

And, oh, that shot of Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe there was taken during their second Murder Mystery night, where I came as a Space Captain.

Of the Space Loveboat, I guess?

It was a great event, although for the second Murder Mystery in a row, the murderer managed to get away with the crime. I even did a bit of rules lawyering that night, just to see what would happen, and it's pretty funny how Jay Mata set the precedent that he was going to willfully ignore people who did that when it comes to awarding achievements. At least, we don't have to worry about people doing that to "win" in future installments of Murder Mystery, right?

But yeah, I've been talking about Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe mainly because one of the biggest shows of Switch Improv is coming up there soon. It's something that is near and dear to my heart, having been a huge fan of "House Of Cards" for the past three seasons it's come on. After all, 2016 is coming. We have to choose wisely.

Move over, Winter!

So yes, if this premise interests you, please, please, please, come on down this May 19 for one of the most ambitious shows Switch Improv has ever done. We're very, very proud of this.

Overall, as you can see, life has been pretty good. Just... don't ask me about my lovelife, if you know what's good for you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spanks, But No Spanks

.:Spanks But No Spanks:.

So sometime last week, I conducted an interview with a former member of the local BDSM scene, and put the story up on the 8List. It wasn't really a comedy article in the strictest sense, but I tried my best to put a balance between telling people BDSM isn't a sick and perverted activity in and by itself, while fully recognizing that it isn't exactly a low-risk endeavor, either. The funny thing is, I didn't even bother naming the community, even if that's far from a secret. I wanted people to make up their minds after being given information that was neither mollycoddling the lifestyle nor outright condemning it.

Next thing I knew, I was suddenly informed that I have ruffled some feathers. And based on what the FetLife thread had to say, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I interviewed only one person, and I painted a lot of broad strokes based on that.

Funny, you would think they would say none of this stuff happened, rather than to say it doesn't happen as often as I make it "seem." It's almost like someone there looked at the #GamerGate playbook for defending themselves against accusations of harassment and misogyny, and decided that those guys were doing such a good job.

I figure it's pretty safe to say that I didn't destroy the local scene's reputation that, based on their reactions, was apparently sterling before I wrote my list.

"There's more to us than meets the eye!"

After all, everybody just wants to do their own thing in peace, and that's cool, but when not an insignificant number of people are inspired to get in on the action thanks to Fifty Shades Of Grey, I find it necessary to put up even just the most rudimentary of introductions to what goes on in the community. And I would be loathe to give just a positive piece when there are so many risks people need to be made aware of first.

You want a positive-slanted version of my list? Go to Cracked, and they'll have you sorted out by most of the unfair mischaracterizations that the subculture has to put up with on a regular basis. Inasmuch as they laugh at how someone as thoroughly uninitiated in their subculture could look at what seems to be the simplest things to them and just find them "shocking," I guess it's safe to see that they're equally uninitiated with the 8List and Cracked culture of having titles that don't 100% match the content of the list. Not every Pinoy-themed list on the 8List will deal with things that are exclusively Pinoy, but neither will every list in Cracked even make sense in light of the title they end up getting after their fickle-minded title guy changes the article's title around thirty times in the day.

Be thankful we haven't found the need to resort to Buzzfeed-style clickbaiting, where we tell you "8 Things You Couldn't Possibly Have Guessed About The Pinoy BDSM Community (#3 Will Blow Your Mind!!!)." Yet.

I can make jokes all I want about how the BDSM community wants to hurt me now, and not in a sexy way, but that would be me overestimating the significance of what I've done. With less than 2,000 views on the list as of this writing, I think it's safe to say that more people cared about what I had to say about Gloria and Amal Alamuddin, which, admittedly, thoroughly surprised me.

To me, it's rather simple: you can argue with me all you want that it doesn't happen as often as I make it seem, but given that I never gave actual numbers, that's a matter of perception, and you never disputed the validity of what I had to say, merely frequency. And with that in mind, if a single instance of rape ever happens because of the lapses that exist that clearly weren't denied, if trust and consent are turned into punchlines instead of the most important foundations for any relationship and especially for a BDSM relationship, then that is one rape too many, and those are two punchlines too tasteless, even for me.

Does every single writeup need to be this happy-happy joy-joy fluff piece about how totally fun and welcoming the BDSM community is? You can get that stuff in so many places! You can also get the polar opposite: the ones who decided to condemn the BDSM subculture as "immoral," nearly everywhere else. I didn't want to offer either extreme. I wanted to offer something a little more even-handed than that.

"Don't mind me. I'm just hanging around."

And just like the Xian Lim fans who think I didn't defend him hard enough because I pointed out that his fans insulting Governor Joey Salceda and calling him names wasn't helping anybody, I don't think I could have pleased everybody unless I decided to go full submissive and write a piece singing the praises of the BDSM community. But why would I do that if doing that meant I would have to ignore the things I find very problematic about the current situation?

Is my source "unreliable?" Why? Do you think my source would feel the need to lie about her experiences and how unpleasant they were? You might say that her experience isn't representative of the entirety of the community, and even I would probably agree with you, but you can't dismiss the stuff she felt and experienced as fiction, because it did happen around her and to her. Argue about degree or frequency. But you clearly are in no position to argue about validity, and by extension, reliability.

Or maybe I'm just after attention? Oh, please. I have all the attention I could ask for when I poked fun at PNoy's mishandling of the Mamasapano encounter. 250,000 views as opposed to what? Under 2,000 views for the BDSM article? Please. Don't flatter yourselves. I wrote it because I saw it was worth writing about, and you can keep trying to shoot the messenger, but that only adds "argumentum ad hominem" to your litany of logical fallacies, starting with "no true Scotsman," moseying off to "ignorantio elenchi," all the way to rampant strawmanning. And leave us not forget the countless non sequiturs littered in those arguments. All because you think I "generalized" when it was pretty clear that if you read past the headings, all those conclusions are qualified and not left to stand without further clarification.

And sure, you can call me a "bad journalist" all you want, even if at no point do I purport to be a journalist. And you can call me a "narcissist" all you want because you decided to take my writer profile on the 8List at face value (Hint: my dogs are named Cassie and Furby. My cat is named Boris.) instead of realizing I was being facetious. You're entitled to all of those. In turn, I'm perfectly within my rights to point out that I have every right to interpet the data I'm presented with in a way that is appropriate, which I can say without trepidation I have done.

'Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it.

Nananananana come on!

This isn't the first time I've been given pretty stern feedback about one of my 8Lists, even someone messaging me privately to warn me that I really got some people riled up. I've received death threats before, which does make you wonder if it's only a matter of time before I end up telling one dick joke too many. That's got to be an achievement of some kind, being killed over a sorta-comedy article, right? I'll at least have that on my tombstone or something.

Straight to the point.

I'm not here to tell you whether or not the BDSM subculture is for you. All I could ever do is tell you the experiences of one person who opened up to me, and you can see for yourself whether or not those risks are acceptable to you. Obviously, everyone's experiences will vary. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with consenting adults engaging in BDSM. But like I said: if your only foreknowledge about BDSM came exclusively from Fifty Shades Of Grey, then you know as much about the subculture as much as an elephant knows how to do a backflip.

Nice try.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Micetro: Survivor Meets Whose Line Is It Anyway?

.:The Micetro:.

If I moved a bit closer, I would look even fatter than I already do.

I don't think I've ever felt happier to be in the improv scene than I did during last night's Micetro.

It wasn't because I came in second, with the extremely talented Ariel Diccion rightfully winning the Micetro that night. It wasn't because I had a breakthrough night where #hugot became the order of the day, and in telling the truth, I was connecting with audiences in ways I never have before as a comedian, whether in standup or improv.

It was because after the first elimination of participants to the final six, four of them were from Switch.

And therein lies the rub: as Gabe Mercado himself put it, even winning the Micetro doesn't necessarily mean you're the better improviser. But getting that far in Micetro means that Switch Improv is here to play, and here to contribute to this burgeoning improv community in its own way.

After all the growing pains of Switch Improv, the most important statement we could make is "we're here to play." Whether it's within the group or with the rest of the improv scene both here and abroad, it's that willingness to just throw yourself out there that really marks the turning point for our group, and I couldn't be happier.

There were times where playing was something we feared. Oh, no! Could we remember the rules? Could we memorize our lines as we're asked to reverse our scenes? Could we make a scene without just standing around like aimlessly talking heads?

Recently, though, a lightbulb collectively went off in our heads, and we realized that asking "could we?" was the wrong question. The right question to ask was "why couldn't we?" and then we proceed to not answer the question. Ever, because apparently, we could.

And yes, it's obvious we have a lot more growing to do as improvisers, but the growth we've managed in recent months really showed how hard work pays off. A few months ago, I was never comfortable with making myself feel so vulnerable onstage, with everyone seeing me for the bag of issues I can sometimes be. But that's my truth. I am a self-aware Reader's Digest, with possibly even more issues, but it's that self-awareness that allows me to learn from it, and impart what I learn from every misadventure my life inadvertently finds itself in.

You had to be there. Even if I put the entire show on video, it wouldn't do justice to the moment that has already passed, when a chance reference to "cheesecake" in the middle of a conversation about Sugarfree led to a perfect retort. Or when "sexism" gave way to "gender racism," because improv isn't about being always correct. Or when a person who only took improv workshops debuted in impressive fashion in front of a live, appreciative audience for the very first time. These were moments that you could never quite recapture again, but they will remain in the memories of everyone in that room for a very long time.

SPIT. Switch. One And A Half Men. The Katipunan Improv Collective. Anthony from New York. It was a night where improv utterly lived up to its own name, as nobody watching that night knew if the people playing onstage have been playing with each other for years or only for the first time in their lives. Everyone was in sync. Everyone was about making their partners look good. Everyone was about building something. The so-called star players weren't just scoring 30 in a night. They were dropping 20 dimes and collecting 20 boards, triple-doubling their way to making everyone onstage look great, and not just themselves. And yes, I can safely say there were 13 star players that night.

But allow me to dwell on my #hugot night, not because I managed to become the runner-up Micetro for the night, but because everything I drew from that night came from, believe it or not, a good place. It came from a place of hurt and hope. A place of shadows because you need light in your life to find shadows. A place of despair and optimism. And it was through Switch improv that I felt a kind of trust in laying it all out there with my improv partners and the audience, without fear of rebuke or exploitation, but only in perhaps touching someone's life in that manner. Maybe they would laugh. Maybe they would hold back a tear. Either way, that connection comes from something deep within all of us, and that is the magic of improv.

When I was left heartbroken earlier this year, I was hurt. Angry. Devastated. But it was the first time in my life, where I looked forward to rebuilding myself instead of just wallowing in misery and self-loathing. So each time I drew from the most bitter of moments in my recent history, it wasn't me reliving the pain so I could just stew in self-pity. It was me laughing in the face of it, because I knew I was better than that, and I deserved better than that. It's in all of us: the pain. The pessimism. The cynicism. These are part and parcel of us, but in channeling that energy towards telling the truth, towards telling the world, "this is real, this is me, and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now," we create something beautiful from that morass of wretchedness.

So thank you. Thank you, Switch, thank you, SPIT, thank you, Ariel, thank you, Agnes and JR, thank you, Katipunan Improv, thank you, One And A Half Men, and thank you, Anthony from New York. Thank you, "One More Chance," thank you, "English Only, Please," thank you, "Starting Over Again," and thank you, "That Thing Called Tadhana."

And yes, thank you, to the people who broke my heart, and I don't just mean that romantically. The people who have hurt me have only proven the saying that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and I will keep on keeping on. And I say this with no hint of regret or even ill will towards these people. For the chips on my shoulder, for the monkeys on my back, for the fire in my gut, thank you.

If there was one thing I have won last night, it was my never-ending battle with being my own worst critic. That, in and by itself, is something I treasure from Micetro night.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015



Insert penis joke here.

It's easy to rage and to hate the president not for what he has done, but for what he has not done. To say that the legacy of President Noynoy Aquino is one of omission would be a massive understatement.

For the longest time, I have been nothing but even-handed with how I would critique the president's performance. He was handed a huge responsibility, practically on a lark, after his mother died. Mistakes will be made. This is natural and par for the course.

What I never expected, though, was his apparent inability to correct these mistakes. And his uncanny talent of repeating them throughout his term. And true, nobody will probably ever accuse him of the same kind of horrors Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was routinely battered with, but his obstinacy and refusal to do even the most common-sensical of things in the face of crisis speaks volumes about his woeful lack of leadership qualities.

There is an upwelling of outrage against PNoy lately: one that simply cannot be handwaved any longer. It is an upwelling of people who felt betrayed after they were told that they were the boss. It is an upwelling of people who believed with all their heart that the son of Ninoy Aquino and Cory Aquino could not possibly be so backwards that he would practically disgrace the not-even-blameless names of his own parents – despite the fact that Kris Aquino is already running around as a realization of this possibility.

And in the infinite wisdom of the palace, they decided to dismiss this upwelling as “microscopic.”




Which leads me to ask... what the hell are you smoking?!? Let's assume for a minute that this anger fomenting over the president's sins of omission truly were microscopic. Does this in any way invalidate that anger? Does saying only “a few” people were peeved at what PNoy did or did not do mean that these few are absolutely wrong? Do we not protect the majority and the minority alike? Or do we only give a damn what most people are saying?

It didn't matter at all if only one person felt put off by what PNoy did, if that one person had a valid point. Especially not if that person were one of the men who almost did not live to tell the tale of what happened to the #Fallen44. Or if that one person were a family member who did not choose to wait for the president anymore. Or if that one person was someone who was supposedly the “boss” of this president, as his own words indicated.

To this very moment, there is this sense of impunity and even smugness emanating from the Aquino camp that you can't help but notice. After all, even at his worst approval ratings, he is still leaps and bounds better off in public perception than Gloria ever was, once she assumed the presidency. But therein lies the rub: setting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as your bar is so ridiculously and insultingly low to the Filipino people.

We expected better than that. Much, much better. And let's not mince words here: we were promised that by the president himself. “Daang Matuwid” was supposed to be a battlecry to right the wrongs and to change the system from within, but it became clear early on that this attempt at righting the wrongs affected only those on the wrong side of the party line. If somehow, you were on the president's good side, you can be every bit as terrible as you want, but a slap on the wrist for you is already pushing it.

So when the Palace says that this anger is “microscopic,” it doesn't change the fact that this anger is valid. Neither does this change the fact that the anger is not microscopic, by any means. When my 8List alone gets 200,000 views and an unprecedented number of outraged comments whether or not they understand the real intent of the list, then you can't just ignore numbers like those. And that's just me. Imagine how much more mileage other more established writers had as they eviscerated the president for a job not done.

To put this in perspective, only about 5 of the 400 or so 8Lists currently published on the site have ever broken the 100,000 barrier. When something hits that number on the site, you just know it hit a nerve somehow, for whatever reason. When 200,000 people direct their outrage towards one venue, nobody would ever call that microscopic.

What is microscopic, though? Is it the viewpoint of the Palace? Is it their “mercy and compassion,” which only highlights how utterly meaningless the Pope's visit was to them, no matter what they ay or do? Is it Mar Roxas's chances of winning in 2016? Or is it PNoy's odds of finding a date this February 14?

I don't give a damn. Because all I know is that this anger and this outrage is not microscopic and to dismiss our grievances so cavalierly is a slap in the face of the people our president claims to be his “boss.” And I will keep on harping on that point until I turn blue because he said those things himself, and no matter how much he can try to handwave that statement as merely a figure of speech, he can never undo going back on his word as unequivocally as he has when the Palace decided that there is no need to care what a “microscopic” number of people feel – not because their points have no merit, but only because they aren't “significant” enough.

This is something you would never say to your boss, no matter how small the power she holds over you may be.

And ultimately, when you say that hundreds of thousands of people being angry is merely “microscopic” in scale, do you not subsequently imply that the deaths of a “mere” 44 policemen is even more “microscopic?” Do these lives somehow not count?

If so, then there is no discussion left to be had: this is not the mentality of a statesman. This is simply the kind of thinking of someone who has successfully fallen for his own hype.