Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I Think You Ought To Know...

.:Kel Fabie: From Khan To 10:.
Allow me to spare you so many words. I will be performing on my 10th anniversary as a mentalist this coming October 22, and I hope to see you there.
All the info you need is right there in the poster, and if you wanted to see a trailer for the show, knock yerselves out by clicking here!

ee y'all this October 22! Tickets are available at Ticket World by next week, at the latest!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"You And Me Against The World?" What's This? High School?!?

.:"You And Me Against The World?" What's This? High School?!?:.

When you love someone, you will fight for them, and you will do anything for them. Yet in the middle of doing just that, sometimes you wonder how insane the people around you can actually be.

And that's what I'm contending with right now, among other things.

Sometimes, people want to see nothing but the worst in you, and the doctrine of charity gets tossed away in favor of the worst possible interpretation of your actions. Unfortunately for them, that says a lot more about them than it does about you. Even then, if it keeps happening often enough to you, it does leave a mark, and it really can ruin your day.

I'm at a point in my life where I should be okay and I shouldn't be bothered by these issues anymore. Unfortunately, they still do, and it never ends, really. From bullies to antagonists, we all have these people in our lives who only ever seem to show up to make life unpleasant and ingratiate themselves towards us.

I've been happy for months with Hun, and yet looking at things now, it seems like there are forces at work that refuse to let that happiness remain. And it drives me insane when I think about it, because I don't even know why there's a bee in their bonnet yet again, and why I have to put up with it when they certainly weren't what I signed up for in the first place.

And in between a major hurdle like that, you are then reminded of people who assume the worst of you, who think you're capable of things you wouldn't dream of doing, all the while oblivious to the fact that they really don't even deserve the time of day but you're just too polite to just tell them to bugger right off. It's exhausting. It's depressing. And yeah, maybe this whole post is indeed becoming a cry for help.

There is something that is patently ridiculous about having to deal with soap opera shenanigans in this day and age, and to have to play along with it. It boggles the mind why I have to put up with it, and why I have to be subjected to it from these people.

And here's the most amazing thing about it: much as I want to be all "woe is me" and think I'm some kind of victim the universe is crapping on at this very moment, I can't help but realize that none of these people who are really stressing me out right now are actively victimizing anyone. They're assholes, yes, but they're oblivious about being assholes, and think that whatever the hell they are doing is perfectly just and normal, even if it is decidedly not so.

And that's why here I am, still having to fight for the love of my life like it's a page taken out of a high school romance pocketbook. This is why I still have to deal with stupid people who don't get it when you want to just let sleeping dogs lie, and are oh so vain, they probably think this post is about them.

This is why here I am, dealing with issues in the most creative of ways: writing obtusely about it, and then attempting to sleep it off.

This is why here I am, still wondering when the peace of mind I thought I'd finally earned from just walking away instead of putting up a fight would ever actually come.

C'mon, guys: you already won. Just leave me be, will ya?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Galing At Peugeot

.:Galing At Peugeot:.

So I was supposed to talk about the French Film Festival, because, you know, film. Awesome. But here's the funny thing: I didn't get to catch a single movie from the festival, and instead hung out with the fine people from Peugeot, because they were talking to me about the Festival so much, it almost felt like I was there. Almost. But with more cars and fun anecdotes. And less of the plodding navel-gazing most French films are known and loved for. You don't criticize a French film for being plodding and navel-gazing and all thinkpiece-y: you applaud them for it.

Pictured: more excitement than most French films. Again, not a knock against French films.

The funny thing is, I don't even drive. If I did, I'd have been doing it while by now. And I always had a soft spot for European cars. The problem with European cars I was mostly aware of, though, was that maintenance would be a bit more difficult than the usual Japanese cars whose parts and spare parts are readily available, and boy, do European cars cost a world more money than their Japanese and even American counterparts.

And then next thing I knew, I was introduced to Peugeot by my relatively new friend, Nikki. And what I discovered about this French brand floored me, because while I'm not a gear freak and I can't tell you the first thing about cars, I definitely share a lot in common with the average pedestrian who can't help but gawk when a beautiful car drives past them, because chances are, I am that average pedestrian gawking when a beautiful car drives past me.

So beautiful, I insisted on holding the camera at all times, so no, you won't see me by the car.

For starters, a trip to their showroom immediately killed the impression that European cars were all super pricey and hard to maintain, with price ranges that are shockingly competitive with the popular Japanese and American brands here, Peugeot not only boasts of the same kind of quality we've come to expect from European cars, but even the touted best diesel engine in the world. So not only do you get great quality, but the gas and mileage are pretty high up there, too.

I was really enamored by their sports car, although given that I don't drive, it would probably look awkward if I hired a driver to drive me around in it. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I'm inclined to guess people would assume we're dating, because that's normally how it works when you're driving around in a sports car with two people in it.

"Pare, open-minded ka ba?" Meet the Peugeot RCZ.

The fact that they discontinued the RCZ and what I saw in the showroom was perhaps the last of its kind just made me realize that this was indeed a collector's item, and one of the sleekest, most elegant cars I have ever seen. I know what I like when I see it, and the experts have told me enough about what goes on under that hood for me to appreciate that indeed, this is definitely a fine specimen of automotive technology.

Overall, I've been amazed and impressed, and while I'm no gearhead, I knew what the right questions to ask were when it came to what I needed in the event I ever needed to purchase a car. After all, with all other things being equal, including price, apparently, why wouldn't I go for arguably the number 1 diesel engine in the world, and all the prestige that comes with the name of Peugeot?

And that's really the main selling point of Peugeot to me: you are buying into an honored French automobile tradition, and you are doing it at a downright steal for what that brand means to the general public. And as if that weren't enough, they're currently offering promotions if you act now and get one of their rides, so don't tell me I didn't warn you that there are tickets to Valuetown to be had.

Speaking of "value," Nikki swears she fits into the trunk of this car, and another person like her! Mmmmmm! Okay, maybe we shouldn't give John Wayne Gacy's fans any ideas.

Again, I don't drive yet, and I'm anything but an opinion leader when it comes to cars. What people who know me can attest to, though, is that I have a huge love affair with European cars, and Peugeot may be currently the apple of my eye with its sleek style, multiple offerings for all walks of life, prestigious name, and unbeatable price point, considering said prestigious name. To me, that's more than good enough, and once I inevitably purchase my first car (by then, I hope I know how to drive because I would, as I earlier stated, hate to ride in the passenger seat of an RCZ), I'm inclined to make it a Peugeot.

And if you are, too, feel free to get in touch with Ms. Nikki Cheng Peugeot's Business Development Officer, via her mobile, 09175646119. You just might get a special discount if you act now and drop this blog's name! 

I don't really do this much, so yeah, I find it a big deal to be writing about a particular brand, and no, I definitely wasn't paid for this. I wish I were, but that's not really how I've worked as a blogger these past 14 years, so why change now?

And, oh, here's one more thing: the piece de resistance - the Expert Tepee, which is a 9-seater MPV, and the very ride that Ms. Jaclyn Jose experienced as she cruised her win to a Cannes Best Actress plum recently. It's a thing of beauty - as long as John Wayne Gacy's fans stay far, far away from it.

Squint hard enough, and you'll see my reflection there.

So yeah, that was how I spent my time a couple of weeks ago: enjoying cars like a normal male person, which isn't typical of me. The thing is, though, with how crazy life has been for me these past few months, what constitutes "normal" at this point for me, really? I might never know, but as far as I'm concerned, I can keep going as long as I have faith in myself. Much in the same way Peugeot has faith in its time-honored tradition of excellence.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Via Negativa, Or Why I'm Abstaining

.:Via Negativa, Or Why I'm Abstaining:.

I was supposed to write about something else, but on the eve of the elections, this seemed very important to talk about.

I am abstaining for president this coming elections. This was not a simple conclusion I came to. In fact, throughout the campaign period, I was trying to find a candidate who can sway me otherwise.

Unfortunately, none of them have managed to do that.

I have a Vice President (Leni Robredo), and I have two senators I will fight for (Susan Ople, TG Guingona). Anyone else, I am ambivalent about at best.

But I'm sure, given how many people have decided that they respect anyone's opinion unless it's "I abstain for president," that a lot of people are wondering how I arrived at that conclusion, and why I'm sticking by it after a couple of months that I could have changed my mind.

If we wanted to find the perfect candidate from a pool of candidates, how do we find them? Well, one can do it by looking at their merits, and then adding up the one with most merits, but that doesn't really settle the question of perfection, right? To find perfection, you had to find someone who lacked imperfection. It is the concept of via negativa: a process of elimination in order to find the best. After all, if something has an imperfection, how can it be perfect at all? Only through a process of elimination can we find what we are willing to put up with.

Obviously, we cannot expect perfection from our candidates. That is why we instead need to look at our own personal deal breakers, and see what is the worst that we can accept. From there, and only from there, can we proceed to look at the merits, if any. I recognize other people may do it backwards, but for me, I have to start with what I cannot accept, before I go with things I actually like about the candidates.

For example, I cannot accept a candidate who would cite scripture as an excuse for persecuting homosexuals, especially when they would say that they should be put to death. I do not care if they brought us international pride by winning boxing championships or if they pushed for the abolition of the pork barrel.

Not pictured: Senator material.

On the other hand, while I don't like political dynasties, I am willing to give a guy who believes they're okay a pass so long as they're Dick f'n Gordon. Officially, there's a lot more nuance to that, but you get my point.

Or his *point,* for that matter, if you know what I mean? #IpasokSiDick

And that leads us to our five presidentiables.

1. Mar Roxas

The Tito joke, personified.

I could not overlook Mar's apathy and his inability to relate to people. If a president does not know where I am coming from, how can I be sure that he will understand me when I want to be heard? The past six years has been a painful exercise of tolerating the Aquino administration in its own echo chamber where they can do no wrong. Despite the good they have done, I cannot, in good conscience, allow that to have "continuity." There is insensitivity here, and it does us no good to just call the people who feel shortchanged or are suffering as merely "haters," when we should at least listen to their plight first.

I also cannot tolerate cronyism, especially the kind that gives people like Abaya or Purisima the ability to keep carrying on as if they have done nothing wrong, or at least haven't been particularly competent at their jobs.

He's not helping, either.

2. Jejomar Binay

The only thing transparent about him is his barong.

Binay's allegations of corruption are so glaring and so difficult to ignore, and his attitude of impunity towards it is what I find unconscionable. This is a man who will ignore any criticism far worse than the Aquino administration ever did, and that is alarming. I don't think I need to explain my stand on him much, do I?

Jejomar Binay will not be beholden to you once he wins. Let's leave it at that.

Nor his kids.

3. Grace Poe

Needs more denim jackets.

There are only three oh-so-basic requirements for president: you are of age (40), you are literate, and you are a Filipino.

I don't care about Grace Poe being adopted. I care that at some point in her life, she actively renounced being Filipino. You might think this is shallow, but this is not, because how much lower can the requirements for president be, in the first place We don't ask them to have completed any form of education, we don't ask about their health and well-being, or their financial status. These three are as basic as they get, yet Grace Poe can hardly meet them, and purely in principle, could never meet them.

That she is also likely to just continue being Danding Cojuangco's puppet is something I simply cannot stand by, either.

4. Rody Duterte

I can almost imagine how something as innocuous as this 
photo would make diehards scream, "Bayaran! Bias ka!"

I don't care about his cussing, much less if it were directed to the Pope. I'm a bit worried, but I can even understand why he is sympathetic towards the NPA, so even that, I can sort of handwave. I do care about what he says, though, because it encourages some of his followers to demean women, gay people, and people with disabilities. I cannot just handwave that away. You can say that he has done so much in terms of laws to protect these people, but is that enough of an excuse to actively break that protection when it's him doing the talking?

But even that is debatable. We all have some nasty opinions that we might shake off when the going gets tough, but the fact remains that he has actively promised a lot of killing in the effort of cleaning up this country. I am not a criminal. I am not a pusher. But in Duterte's promised land, nothing prevents a cop to one day think I looked at them wrong and insist I am a criminal or a pusher, giving him more than enough reason shoot me dead on the spot.

Or were we all going to magically assume that there are no crooked cops in this country at all?

The fact is, I value our civil liberties and our rights too much to want to give them up on the altar of peace and order.

The altar of Mystica, on the other hand...

5. Miriam Santiago

Was she in the same library as Binay was?

Oh, what could have been! I didn't care about the cancer. And then she backed Bongbong Marcos. That, my friends, was a betrayal of principle that I couldn't stand. Oh, sure, she backed Erap. And then Gloria. But the Marcoses? I can't even.

If the word "sayang" ever made its way to the dictionary, this picture would accompany it.

.:And So, We Come Down To This...:.

And with all that in mind, none of the candidates could ever hope to convince me to vote for them, because they hit dealbreakers I wasn't willing to compromise. I am but one vote, but on May 16, that #abstain (technically, a #Seneres2016 vote) will be heard because if I want change, it starts by not lowering my standards. Because ultimately, change comes from within, and all our leaders can do is to facilitate that change.

To everyone else who feels compelled to abstain, I remind you that there is no shame in doing so. Some people might say that we are abstaining because we do not have any principles to stand upon. I am saying right now that the opposite is true: I  am abstaining precisely because the principles I stand upon are more important to me than a single candidate.

There is nothing wrong with you having different principles from me. I fully accept that to some, Duterte's willingness to "do what is necessary" is a good thing, and not a bad thing. Or that Mar's being out of touch cannot overshadow the great stuff he has done. Or that Poe's citizenship is a non-issue compared to what she brings to the table. Or Miriam's intellect and need for funds for a national campaign outweighs her unholy alliance with BBM. Or that everyone is corrupt anyways, but Binay showed he can do well, thanks to (wait for it...) Makati.

Unfortunately, there would be all sorts of things wrong if I am willing to give up my principles just so I have something to shade this Monday. I refuse to, and that is my right. Abstaining is a choice, and it is not the same as not having voted at all.The sooner people can respect that, the sooner we could stop thinking that every person who is abstaining is simply undecided. You are wrong. I am decidedly not undecided. In fact, I am very sure that we, the Filipino people, deserved better. And just because we aren't getting that this 2016 doesn't mean I will cede my right to say so just so I can vote for a sub-par candidate in my mind and heart.

If one is unwilling to settle just to find their one true love, why would we settle just to find the next person to lead this country for the coming six years? I believe we deserved better, and I make no pretenses that such a position is loftier or more enlightened than anyone who has decided we have a worthy candidate among the five. It is simply one that I have arrived at after lengthy, careful consideration, as most of you reading this right now surely have with your own positions.

We have been thrust by the people running for power into a climate of fear: fear of continuing the ills that this government has demonstrated in the past six years. Fears of the change to come that it might undo the democracy we have fought so hard to win back in 1986. Fears of a seemingly ever-rising crime rate that belies real numbers and magnifies only the worst among us. Fears of an economy crashing down with the prospect of uncertain territories with a president the international community is derisive of. Fears of cheating. Of thievery. Of lies. Of death.

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself." - Marvel Comics

Nation, the real enemy has always been fear. Because in giving in to the fears manufactured by the political machinery, we have ended up fearing our neighbors, thinking them to be monsters or morons. They are not. They are our countrymen. And our countrymen should never have been our enemy in the first place.

Tomorrow, vote as your mind, heart, and conscience tells you. Not the surveys. Not the pressure. And by Great Caesar's Ghost, not the fear. Fear is the enemy. Not ourselves.

And that is why, in the face of all manner of opposition, I choose to abstain from voting for a president in 2016. Because I have more faith in the Filipino people than I do in these five individuals.

I am most certain that my faith was not misplaced.

"Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, 'no, you move.'"

- Sharon Carter, Civil War (2016)

Friday, April 01, 2016

Caught In A Bad Place...

.:Caught In A Bad Place...:.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about the worst possible person at the worst possible time?

I just did.

I'll spare you the details, but it was a mortifying experience, and I'm still experiencing the fallout to this very moment. But like some stupid clickbait post, the reason why I was thinking of said person at said moment might surprise you. Immensely.

There was once a point in my life when someone did a number on my self-esteem. Every single amount of hubris I had was turned into crow, and I ate it. Hard. It was fine, at first, because it grounded me. But then, it seemed like it became sport. I was being knocked down a few pegs with regularity and with motivation behind it. Needless to say, it wasn't fun, at the very least, and it started to eat away at me and how I saw myself.

I hardly ever spoke about it because the source of this was someone who meant a lot to me. I simply didn't want this person to be put in a bad light, and I figured that it was on me to regain the self-esteem I lost, since I shouldn't have allowed this person to take it from me in the first place. But it never quite came back. And there are days I still feel inadequate or lacking in some shape or form.

Fast forward to the present,

This person was weighing heavily on my mind, and the name came up at a most inopportune moment. And it's not an excuse for that kind of horrid timing, mind you. But it's just a confirmation that indeed, the self-esteem has never come back. Because quite sadly, that has been the only context for the longest time when my thoughts would dwell on this person.

And it sucks, because it gets in the way of the present. It sucks, because it affects everything in so many ways, and you can't help but feel doubly bad because you: 1. dwelled on the past, and 2. you let the present get adversely affected.

But what can you do? What can you do except to admit that you are having difficulties at present because of what happened, and now, it has caused damage in more ways than one? What can you do except to accept the plain and simple fact that you need to exert more effort than what you have to prove that you are worthy of where you are today?

I could apologize. I could grovel. I could break down into tears. But if I don't move forward, then what is it all for?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Leave The Memories Behind?


So recently, my laptop's hard drive crashed, and with it, all the data I've backed up from my phones for the past few years. A bit unfortunate, but that's how it is, really.

As an emotional packrat, I've always hated the feeling of missing out on archiving important things I've done in the past. Off the top of my head, my backup contained my first and only time of headlining a standup comedy show, as well as that time I did my John Hendrix jokes right in front of John Hendrix. Those were definitely great moments, and I would have loved revisiting them from time to time if I had the chance.

Unfortunately, everything I could have done stupidly the day my hard drive crashed, I did. I worked beside a bunch of powerful magnets. I didn't ask for the busted hard drive after the repairman replaced it. I didn't press the issue when he told me he tossed the old hard drive in the garbage. Overall, it was a sequence of errors, and now, this is the spilled milk I'm supposed to cry on.

But then, in writing about it, I choose not to. I choose to remember it fondly, but to no longer dwell on it.

There's been a lot of things going on in my life lately that has forced me to do spring cleaning. And while some of it has been good, a lot of it has been bad. Nonetheless, emotional spring cleaning does the heart good, and should be a better thing for me to do than to, well, persist in trying to hold on to things I shouldn't be holding onto any longer.

.:The Turning Point:.

A few weeks ago, some people who have been pretending to get along with me for years finally reared their real selves and demonstrated quite clearly that they never want me to be one of them. That's fine, really. I just wish they didn't waste years of their time pretending to like me when they apparently never did.

Ultimately, I just try to live my life in a way where I don't step on anybody. If people dislike me even after that, I can't really help it anymore, whether they're just being haters or they think they have valid reasons in their head for doing what they do.

These are just some more memories to leave behind, really.

Through all of this, I just need to take the higher road, and not fight back when I don't need to. Through all this, I just have to keep showing the same kind of treatment I've always shown in the past. I don't need to drop pretenses because I was never pretending.

In the end, if after all of that, I am still despised, that is no longer my fault.

I know I could say so much more. I know I could even launch an offensive. But why would I have to? They made their choice. I am making mine. And my choice is to be above the needless drama that some people create just to remind themselves that they're still alive sometimes.

It's simple, really: if I give nothing but respect, I find it difficult to accept being disrespected in return. There's nothing onion-skinned or hypocritical about that, is there?

.:More Random Thoughts:.

I never thought long-distance relationships could be hard, but I guess that's only when you consider one half of the equation.

Nonetheless, it's worth it. I hate talking about my relationship because there's this feeling that it's all so ostentatious, but I haven't felt this happy in a long time, and it's hard keeping a lid on it.

Thank you, love. As insignificant as this blog post might be, I'm just glad things are really working out well for the both of us.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

She's Leaving On A Jetplane...

.:Don't Know When She'll Be Back Again...:.

A while ago, Hun went through the sacrament of Confirmation, and she was asked at least thrice by different people if she was doing it to get married. I didn't even know that was a thing.

In the past years, I've really avoided writing about my lovelife. I guess it's because I've been avoiding giving myself a chance to be mushy here in my blog, as I seem to be asking for it in the event things don't work out and I end up backtracking over my posts some time later.

But you know what? I don't care anymore, because it's my blog, and they're still my memories, for better or worse.

The past few weeks before Hun headed off to the States have been wonderful. Unexpected, even. Things fell into place, and I couldn't be more grateful. I couldn't be more grateful to feel loved and cherished.

Especially after this.

Who knew that courting friends and family was this challenging? Oh, wait. I always knew that. That's why I shirked from it back then. This time, I didn't. As socially awkward as I am, I realized that if I wanted to make a difference, I had to do some things differently. So I did.

I can't speak with absolute certitude about the future, but what I know is that I incrementally bettered myself as a human being each step of the way to get here. Is this it for me? Is this the one? Only time can tell. What I know though is that I believe this could very well be it, and I should treat it accordingly.

Whoever said love isn't a choice but merely a feeling ought to rethink that, in all honesty. Ayoko magsalita ng tapos, pero masaya ako ngayon. At masaya rin siya. Yun naman ang mahalaga, diba?

I guess that's why even if she's half a world away as we speak, I'm still happy. I know she and I may be apart physically, but our hearts remain beside each other. It also really helps that traveling and communicating despite the distance has never been easier than it is at present.

And to think that it all started from her watching Switch Improv in Burger Company by pure chance. You never can tell when things would fall into place. You really can't.

When I went with her family to bring her to the airport, I was exhausted. But fulfilled. I didn't sleep at all, but I wanted to see her off. And though I'm not entirely sure when I will see her again, one thing is for certain: all of these changes, all of this hurly-burly and insanity, it's all been worth it, and I can't thank her enough for coming into my life.

Thank you, Hun. You're really a keeper.

... and the woman of my dreams, apparently.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Three Stars And A Sun!

.:Three Stars and a Sun: How To Sing #NeverForget For Two Hours:.

Allow me to make this very short and sweet... if you haven't yet, you should be watching Three Stars and a Sun in PETA Theater. There really is no other way to say it.

Greetings from the Mirror Universe!

I'm not going to bore you with a review here, but needless to say, 3 Stars and a Sun reminded me exactly why the PETA of old was considered a political activist during the Marcos era. While "Rak of Aegis" was entertaining and definitely a great musical, 3 Stars was all that, and downright subversive, as it attempts to challenge the notion of power and the perpetuation of a cycle of power-grabbing that leaves the empowered paranoid and the disempowered disgruntled.

It's not just a musical: it's a harsh lesson on history, and how forgetting history dooms us to repeat it.

It's not just a musical: it's a soulful tribute to patriotism, and it took the form of Francis Magalona's music, which has always been patriotic at its very core.

It's not just a musical: it's a cynical yet hopeful lens put upon the dynamics of power and Philippine society, and a reminder to us that Filipino Pride comes from within, and not from how many Mexicans Pacquiao has dispatched in the ring, or how many times Lea Salonga stars in Broadway or Hollywood.

I profess to have my misgivings over "Filipino Pride," but this play stirred it within me, because it showed me what I am personally capable of : the ability to make things better. The ability to put to use the freedom granted unto me.

For anyone who wishes to blame the spectre of EDSA for whatever perceived ills we go through today, the message is clear: why blame a stretch of asphalt when we had 30 years to make good on our freedom in the first place? Freedom never promised us anything beyond freedom, after all.

While watching the musical, I was absolutely enthralled by the story, even when stripped of its allegorical value: who knew that a sci-fi musical could be done, and done well? To posit a third world war, one that was a nuclear disaster, and to posit life in a nuclear shelter that houses only a select few that ended up dividing into two classes, and to infuse all that with the timeless and always-relevant music of Francis Magalona, is to put together a masterpiece that mixes history with recent pop culture and presents a package that can easily be enjoyed on so many levels.

Admittedly, while watching it, I felt a mild pang of regret because I wanted to audition for the musical, but who cares? Whether or not I was there (and I probably wouldn't have made the cut anyways), getting to watch the finished product was what mattered, because it can truly stir you in ways you don't quite expect.

When people say, "wow, that's deep," there's an air of pretentiousness that normally comes with uttering those words. 3 Stars and a Sun doesn't attempt to be pretentious or even unsubtle about its metaphors and allusions, yet still achieves a depth few contemporary pieces of art can match without compensating for their paltriness with pretentiousness.

The message is deep, because it is deep within us: the Filipino is only as powerful as we collectively act as Filipinos, and for as long as we divide ourselves among different lines in the sand, we will remain easy pickings for the vultures who have so much yet leave so little for us. It isn't a revolutionary cry of taking the Triangle and turning it upside down, but of taking the Triangle, and creating unity from within.

And while China steps upon our territory, and while threats from within and without threaten the very fabric of Philippine society, we learn to fight the many battles on many different fronts, as our heroes no doubt did. We learn to look at them and never forget, not just the good they have done, but the mistakes and weaknesses they fell prey to, lest we repeat the very same.

To never forget is not to be mired in nostalgia or historical cynicism, but to be more cognizant of how we go to where we are today. To never forget is to appreciate the Filipino spirit, with all its idiosyncracies and failings, not blindly, but lovingly. To look at what is wrong with us and correct it, instead of rebuking ourselves ceaselessly.

Otherwise, we would be too busy fighting from within to know that from without, we are hopelessly surrounded. But both battles are no less important to fight.

 A happy battle, no less.

3 Stars and a Sun, ladies and gentlemen. Watch it. Enjoy it. And if on some level, it stirs that patriotic spirit in you, find it in yourself to put it to good use. Dahil nasa palad mo ang kapalaran.

Dugong inialay para sa bayan, sayang naman ang kanilang ipinaglaban...

Monday, February 22, 2016

2-Hot-4-8List: 8 Stupid Ways We’ve Been Defending Manny Pacquiao

(2Hot 4 8List are lists that for various, often obvious reasons, need to be published on a personal capacity, rather than as something that de facto represents the website I love to write for. I hope you enjoy it, because whether or not they ended up on the site, I still worked pretty hard on them, minus the epic graphic design you've come to know and love from the 8List.)

.:2-Hot-4-8List: 8 Stupid Ways We’ve Been Defending Manny Pacquiao:.

Manny Pacquiao is a boxing legend, and a man who has nearly single-handedly put the Philippines on the map. He has used the millions of dollars he has earned to give houses to his constituents in Sarangani. He is a devout Christian, and a renewed husband and father who seems to have left behind his past of gambling and carousing behind in favor of Bible studies and family time when he’s not training for his next blockbuster fight.

Sometime last week, almost all of that fell to the wayside when he was quoted as saying that same-sex relations were “mas masahol pa sa hayop.” Multiple rebukes  and Nike dropping its sponsorship deal later, the backlash against Manny isn’t even done yet. He currently runs the risk of disqualification due to the unfair media mileage he gains from his next fight, which none of the other senatoriables can hope to match. Furthermore, former pro wrestler Dave Batista did not take too kindly to Manny's words, and the guy frigging calls himself "The Animal."

If you’re a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao, you might be appalled at this point how far things are going south for him, or maybe even thinking that he will be blessed in heaven because people who are persecuted for their faith, according to the Bible, will be rewarded.

Except if you actually take a moment to read your Bible, you might disagree with that, too, because Matthew 6:1-3 is pretty clear about that... 

1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,…"

It seems like a no-brainer to defened a man who fought his way out of poverty and brought us so much pride as one of the best boxers in the world of all time. Unfortunately, his past achievements do not grant him a pass for any stupid shit he might do, because why the hell would it?

Here are 8+1 specific ways people defending Manny Pacquiao air out their ignorance...

Honorable Mention: "You are bigoted towards bigotry. That makes you a hypocrite."

Logical Fallacies Involved: Tu quoque, ad hominem, non sequitur

First of all, allow me to introduce you to the realization that policing my tone is bullshit. If Manny didn't police his tone for the benefit of the LGBT, why should I? I will be as abrasive as I want, not only because he didn't earn me being nice to him when he spoke that way, but also because being nice never won any revolutions. The suffragettes didn't get their vote without a lot of protests. The black people in America didn't get emancipation without a frigging civil war, and they had to fight a bunch more just to get equal rights, too. We didn't drop Marcos like a bad habit by asking him nicely, and the EDSA revolution was as "nice" as revolutions can get, but we sure didn't do it "nicely" just because nobody got killed. It's not like those chants against Marcos were positive slogans of encouragement for him, were they?

Secondly, my intolerance of intolerance isn't an act of hypocrisy, because doing the opposite would be an act of cowardice. When a bigot says they hate a race or a gender, they do so with no logical reason behind it (no, the Bible in and by itself is not enough as a logical reason, by virtue of it being a book of faith). But when someone rebukes a bigot, they do so by arguing using logic and reason. Just because some people may act purely off of emotion does not erase the fact that the vastly overwhelming amount of dissent has been based on the logical counterargument that contrary to Manny's beliefs, animals indeed practice homosexual behavior. Factually correcting Manny isn't an act of bigotry now, is it?

As someone on put it succinctly:

"A bigot is someone who makes generalizations about a group of people and then acts on a hatred of that group of people. To act inhospitably toward such a person is not bigotry, because it does not involve generalization (emphasis mine). It is, rather, a reaction to the hatred of a single, particular person. Such an act, by definition, is not bigotry."

Lastly, if the word "bigot" upsets you so much, then why does it surprise you when the LGBT gets upset about being told they are "masahol pa sa hayop?" Have you considered that for a moment?

P.S. It also doesn't make me gay if I support gay marriage any more than supporting saving the environment makes me an eco-bag.

.:8. “You’re being oversensitive.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, ad hominem, double standards

Just because an issue may not be important to us does not mean that it isn’t important, period. Some of us care about animal rights. Some of us care about the environment. Some of us care about human rights, of which LGBT rights clearly falls under.

Everyone has rights, okay?

If it alarms you that so many people were up in arms and so angry, please realize what was said. It was a comparison that likened the LGBT to being “more savage than animals.” Those were fighting words. You do not say those things endearingly. You do not say those things in a friendly manner.

Yet why is it that while people go out of their way to not make a big deal about Manny’s words, when the LGBT and their allies respond, people go out of their way to make a big deal about the responses? Suddenly, people who were okay with hurting the LGBT weren’t okay with hurting Manny, as if only Manny was deserving of protection.

Manny is a multi-millionaire. Even if every sponsor he currently has pulled out on him, he would still have a lot of money to live with. Meanwhile, the LGBT are fighting for little more than basic rights all of us straight people already enjoy. I hope you can appreciate the difference of what’s at stake here.

If anyone's being oversensitive, it's the people being all up in arms for Pacquiao as if he can't take it. He's rich, he thinks God is on his side. I'm pretty sure he'll be fine. Meanwhile, the LGBT constantly finds the church trying to take them away from the anti-discrimination bill because the church apparently needs to be given the legal right to discriminate against them.

.:7. “We have other issues to worry about, like China putting up missiles on our disputed territories.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: False dichotomy, strawman argumentation

People can care about more than one issue at a time. To say that someone talking about the Manny Pacquiao issue doesn’t care about China, or Syria, or ISIS is to create a false dichotomy where we can only care about one issue but not the other.

What exactly are we gonna do about China, in the first place? Oh, right. We don't really have solutions. We just want people to stop talking about Manny. Silencing! Wonderful.

Not even Heneral Luna is sure what we're supposed to do about them.

This realization that we can care about multiple issues at a time actually goes double for how we should vote during the elections. If the one and only issue you go by for electing your officials is whether or not they want to deny gay people their human rights, then you might want to expand your criteria a bit, because even if Manny Pacquiao’s politics agreed with you 100%, why would you want to vote someone who almost never went to work to do the job he was elected to do?

.:6. “Hindi ba si Miriam din, anti-gay? Diba sabi ni Rizal, mas malanasa pa tayo sa isda kung hindi natin mahalin ang sarili nating wika? Bakit hindi kayo galit sa kanila?!?”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: False dichotomy, faulty analogy, strawman argumentation, non sequitur, argumentum ad absurdum

You will notice that most people who got angry at Manny were willing to set aside the gay marriage debate in favor of calling out his choice of words. Miriam did not use the kind of cutting words she is known for using when the topic was about the LGBT. This is because the LGBT and their allies, in trying to keep the peace, can and do respect opinions to an extent (even if really, they shouldn’t, if the opinion is woefully misinformed), even if their opinion is clearly being disrespected by the very choice of words of the people on the other side (protip: calling them abominations and Sodomites would never endear you to them.).

As for Jose Rizal, what he said was a statement about one’s love for the language. Whether one uses Filipino or not is a matter of choice, not an essential component of one’s being, and if it were, hey, who am I to stop anyone from being pissed at Rizal, right? When one says that homosexuality is “mas masahol pa sa hayop,” it means that the very being of a person (remember, you can’t choose to be gay any more than straight people chose to be straight) is being insulted.

Again, those are fighting words. You don't get to sugarcoat them now just to pretend he was being endearing about it. That's about as logical as saying "with all due respect, fuck you." May "due respect" naman, diba?

Don't make Yosemite Sam mad!

.:5. “Tama naman sinabi niya, eh! Nasa Bibliya iyan.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Appeal to authority, double standards, factual errors, cherry-picking, non sequitur

There are a lot of things wrong according to the Bible…

Shall we prohibit slavery or shellfish? Let’s go with shellfish.

Yet people will go through amazing lengths to excuse all these other behaviors, kesyo Old Testament, kesyo context, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, it seems only they can do that (hence, a double standard), because once someone points out the context of Sodom and Gomorrah, or points out that the only thing mistaken as condemnation of homosexuality in the New Testament was actually about shrine prostitutes, and was never a direct quote from Jesus, who literally had nothing to say about homosexuality in the Bible, they magically insist that people should take the Bible on face value.

Pictured: face value.

As we can see above, let's not forget that it's Manny himself who just loves quoting Leviticus when he points out that the Bible says gays should be put to death, so he's clearly not discounting the Old Testament for his argument. But then, how does he weasel out of Leviticus 20:10, if that's the case?

10"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death."

Well, that's awkward. But, hey, that’s not the same, right? Only one side can look at context when cherry-picking which laws of the Bible should still be followed.

And, oh. Manny was also factually incorrect when he said that no animals engage in homosexual behavior.  If we made a bunch of 8Lists featuring these animals, it would take around 200 lists before we’re done.

Lastly, even if it were in the Bible, it’s irrelevant. Let’s be clear about one thing: there is a separation between church and state. Churches are free to never marry gay couples due to religious freedom and the separation clause. However, this also means that if the government decided to give equal rights to the LGBT on the topic of marriage, then the churches have no say on this. As they shouldn’t. The marriage we speak about here is a legal, civil procedure: not a religious ceremony. Please do not forget that.

We can't keep making up excuses for Manny Pacquiao while we keep making excuses against doing right by the LGBT who certainly are also made up of productive members of society. Why do we afford so much special consideration for Manny while we deny the LGBT the most basic of human rights? Because we don't like what they do with their sex life? That's pretty fucked up, if you ask me.

.:4. “Tingnan niyo: yung marriage ang ‘masahol pa sa hayop,’ hindi yung pagiging LGBT. Ang problema sa inyo, hindi kayo marunong umintindi.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Faulty semantics, cherry-picking, double standards

This argument is ridiculous because of one plain and simple fact: Manny’s justification for calling something “masahol pa sa hayop” was that animals did not perform these things. If he meant marriage as “masahol pa sa hayop,” then it would be ridiculous, because straight couples get married too, but no animal actually ever gets married. No, really. Look it up. Animals getting married by their own volition? Not a thing.

Not pictured: the part where it was the dogs' idea to get married.

What does this mean? Well, this only means that, regardless of the full interview that supposedly “explains everything,” Manny was not in any way equivocating when he made his statements. It was pretty much gay sex to him which was “masahol pa sa hayop,” which again emphasizes the disturbing fascination LGBT detractors have over what happens in LGBT bedrooms.

You can insist on context all you want, but demanding context only weakens your point further: he is answering a question as a senatorial candidate, and not as a pastor. That was the context of the question. If he knew the difference between the two like any decent politician ought to, then he would know better than to compare the LGBT to being worse than animals, because no matter how much you try to sugarcoat his words, those words were fighting words. You don't say shit like that to people and expect them to just smile and say "yeah, you're right. Mas masahol nga ako sa hayop."

.:3. “Bakit nung binabanatan siya at ang kanyang nanay sa comedy bars, narining mo ba siya magreklamo? And why are you so bigoted against bigotry? Isn’t that being hypocritical?”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Tu quoque, ad hominem, false equivalence, hasty generalization,

If Yeng Constantino can say that not all Christians are like Manny, surely, it is easy to point out that not all LGBT are Vice Ganda. Vice Ganda is not the be-all and end-all of the LGBT community.

No, really. He's not.

And even if Vice were, that does not invalidate his point. That he jokes about looking like a horse doesn’t mean that it’s okay for people to now call him “masahol pa sa hayop” because of what he does in his bedroom.

Furthermore, the difference is pretty clear: Manny’s statements inform his legislative agenda, and are clearly a perpetuation of the continued ignorance of the separation of church and state in this country. A joke in a comedy bar will not achieve anything remotely like that anytime soon. It is the sheer impact of such speech that explains why so much more weight is placed on what Manny had to say. He is running for the Senate: he, of all people, should know better.

You really cannot argue that those two things are equivalent to each other, because they clearly aren't.

.:2. “Crab mentality! You are suppressing his freedom of speech and his right to an opinion, especially after you made Nike drop him as an endorser.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, red herring

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of said speech. In fact, the backlash Manny is receiving is proof that freedom of speech exists, because these other people are now using their freedom of speech to refute Manny’s assertions. Some might even say that Manny’s speech is no longer even protected speech because it could fall under “hate speech,” which, I admit, is debatable at this point.

Opinions aren't magic. Just because you claim something is an opinion, and just because you claim this opinion was formed by the Bible does not mean that it is beyond question and beyond criticism. It does not follow that your entitlement to an opinion means you are also entitled to not being met with any form of dissent for your ideas. Nuh-uh. That's not how this works.

Imagine if life had traffic signs for logical thinking.

It is also not “crab mentality” to want to rebuke Manny Pacquiao for his rampant homophobia. Ano yun? Kesyo “hero” siya, hindi na siya pwedeng pagsabihan? Hindi na siya pwedeng magkamali? Oh, please. The problem with this country is that we put too many people above scrutiny just because they've done something for us. No, they don't get a pass. Why should they?

Nike is not the government. And at no point in dropping Manny did it mean that Manny can no longer say what he wants, because he clearly still does. Manny Pacquiao’s freedom of speech is guaranteed insofar as people also have their freedom of speech to call him out on it, insofar as Nike could also use its freedom of speech to distance itself from Pacquiao.

This goes double for the people who are expressing their none too charitable opinion about Manny right now. Manny had his turn. Why do we want to deny everybody else their turn? Or do we only want freedom of expression for ideas we agree with, while others should remain censored and silenced?

Whether they did it for humanitarian or economic reasons is besides the point. Nike just did it: just as people who don't like what Nike did are free to burn their shoes. It's a free country.

.:1. “He is being persecuted for his beliefs.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, red herring, ad misericordiam

You will notice that so many candidates also do not believe in legalizing same-sex marriage. If you listen to the  interviews, you would notice that most senatoriables actually share that opinion. Yet only Pacquiao was crucified the way he was over it. Why is that?

So oppressed, you guys!

This is because he was the only one who went the extra step of comparing the LGBT to animals. He was the only one who decided to include something decidedly hateful: a slur on a group of people not even for something they chose to do (I would have no qualms calling, say, ISIS, as a bunch of terrorists, but I wouldn’t lump all Muslims with them), but for what they are.

Yes, what Manny said is a slur. Please stop trying to pretend it isn't. You can say a person is black or a person is a n*****. They are both factually correct, but one of them is a slur while the other is not.

It is in going the extra mile to hurt these people, going out of his way to extend a message that is divisive and painful, that Manny now gets all the blowback he is getting. It doesn’t matter if he is a great humanitarian. It doesn’t matter if he brings Filipino pride. He is also human. He is also prone to error. And it falls upon us to correct this error, lest we turn Manny into a sacred cow who can do no wrong. This is especially dangerous when we realize that as an aspiring Senator, Manny Pacquiao is supposed to represent all of us, LGBT people included, and yet he doesn’t see these people as equal to him while representing them. He even sees them as worse than animals, if his words were to be believed.

Correcting Manny’s perceptions and of those who agree with him won’t be easy. Some might try doing it nicely, as not a few have. Then again, as Manny himself has demonstrated, not everyone feels the need to get their point across nicely. I obviously don’t. Not today. Not when I see so many kids who feel worthless because their boxing idol told them they were worse than animals. Not when I see suicide cases elevated in the case of the LGBT, because people refuse to acknowledge that words do impact people, even if they're "just words," and especially if they're "just words" of both a boxing icon and a potential legislator who will not work for their welfare, if at all.

In the end, Manny was not persecuted for his beliefs. He was persecuted for being an asshole. A religious asshole who does a lot of charity work yet has repeatedly demonstrated he is not fit for Congress, much less the Senate, yes. But an asshole, nonetheless.