I think I just said I don’t normally write about politics in my blog, but this caught my eye. I really think it should catch yours too.

A person named John Silva who describes himself as “a writer, a fundraiser, and an advocate for the arts and heritage preservation” just started a campaign blog, and I’m including the first .jpg file from that blog here to help him in his campaign. If you want to read on, there’s more in his blog. Click on the image below to enlarge.

I grew up in a pretty liberal UP Diliman household and my parents never censored what my sister and I watched or read. If we didn’t like what we saw or read, we simply didn’t watch them again. It was a bigger deal arguing about having to sleep early after dinner because there was school the next day. If we didn’t understand what we saw or read because we were too young, we returned to them later to figure out if they made better sense once we had a bit more maturity. Or if we appreciated them at all. I guess we were lucky, because when we asked questions, our parents tried to answer as well as they could and not patronize us just because we knew less of the world.

People I know/knew who were either oppressed or repressed in different ways while growing up tended to go to extremes in behavior, rebelling. Ran away, got pregnant, got others pregnant, did drugs, became petty and mean, or became too uptight, took things too seriously, or did a host of other sorts of things that kept everyone awake at night with worry. We all suffer from hangups, but when the government starts telling us how it’s not all right to look at things prevalent and pervasive in our culture and media, it’s like we’re being PARENTED all over again. It’s ok if we were children, but majority of us in the voting population no longer are.

I knew some Singapore kids going berserk while studying in Australia. Very intelligent, but had lots of gum in their cabinet drawers, and no condoms. Out every week at the clubs in their best, most expensive finery, whining about not having Filipino maids (yes, and in my face, at that. They think I’m universal Chinese) and on the look out for a white person to date. As though those were the things that mattered. No offense, Singapore might be an economic tiger, but it has talented youth who chafe under the bit.

We have more of a choice. To stay, watch and learn, or to walk away because what we see doesn’t suit us or our needs. Our behaviors are our choice. As adults we have responsibility over them, and should be accountable to our loved ones if they are affected. But this bill, if not rewritten, will just keep Filipinos ignorant and immature. We may not be aware that we are slowly being shorn of our right TO KNOW.

If you tell me that [enter starlet’s name here]’s billboard bikini pictures will contribute to a population explosion, why… you’re right. That’s because in this country it’s easier to pay for a movie ticket than it is to get FULL EDUCATION ON SAFE SEX AND CONTRACEPTION. Or even get access to family planning options. Don’t even get me started on sexuality and women’s reproductive rights.

[And gee, who do you think perpetuates this attitude? No, I’m not bashing the Catholic Church. Perhaps people themselves perpetuate it unconsciously. I’m just saying that people believe one thing and yet close their eyes to problems on earth in THIS life caused by faith that the life after will be better. This life is just as important. Not all people who define themselves as religious practice their belief with a moral purpose. They do things by default — virtuously mouth what the parish priests say — but don’t really listen — so that other people will think well of them. This doing things by default is what causes a lot of anguish. The road not taken is always the harder road.]

You have a choice, so if you agree or not with this Anti-Obscenity Bill, I would rather that you AGREE to at least read more about it. Or take a step and contribute your opinion instead of letting the politicians who are supposed to be serving your best interests do it by default. “Our best interests” is something they would have to define first.


Went first thing upon opening yesterday.  Runs from Sept. 12-14 only.  It’s at the Convention Center building (SMX) of SM Mall of Asia.

First things first:

1.  Bring enough cash because there is NO ATM inside this building.  You have to walk outside to the supermarket area and withdraw there, so make sure you bring an umbrella.

2.  Visit the loo before entering the fair.  Otherwise, there are conveniently located toilets outside the trade halls and also inside, in the middle back.

3.  Also, if you want to conserve your money for books instead of food, eat beforehand.  Or you can buy from Albergus Catering, which does offer really good value for money food, with tables and waiters!  You line up and pay, self-service.  The waiters clear your table so the turnover is quite efficient.

We chose from the “Guest Menu”  where, for P130 (exclusive of drinks), I recommend either the Roast Beef+Pancit+Rice meal or the Fish in Basil Cream Sauce+Pancit+Rice meal.  Drinks are around PhP 40/can softdrinks or C2 iced tea.

Now, to the books:

1.  If you went to the National Bookstore booksale last month, it continues here, with 20% off on all regular priced items, and bigger discounts for selected items.  Cash and credit transactions.  You can use your Laking National card here too.  Promo items for every PhP 1000 purchase.  I got a Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” promo messenger bag!  Quite useful for putting all your purchases in.

2.  Same discount structure at Powerbooks. Some books you are looking for in National but can’t find in that booth might be available here. You can also avail of an outright purchase Powerbooks Powercard for PhP 100 and claim the discount card after 3 weeks at the Powerbooks branch nearest you.  Cash and credit accepted, as well as BPI Express Payment.

3.  Goodwill has lots of lovely children’s books!  Lovely discounted prices as well!  Cash and credit too!

4.  Anvil Publications has imported and local publications on display, also with wonderful discounts. Local publications are available in bookpaper or newsprint.  Cash and credit accepted.

Please watch out for my friend Jag Garcia‘s book (written with colleagues Melanie Casul and Michael Kho Lim) “Media Kit” volumes 1 and 2.  Great basic textbook for people who want to learn how to make effective audiovisual presentations or have ambitions to become scriptwriters or filmmakers.  Well-written, simple and concise.  In this age of digital information, this is one affordable information resource to always have by your side.

Another recommendation:  This is the time to take advantage of adding to your Ambeth Ocampo popular history collection!  Start with “Rizal Without His Overcoat” and go through each of the national heroes in Ambeth’s list.  If you buy his books you get a bottle of Claude Tayag’s “Claude 9” brand sauce free (random flavor)!

Yet another:  The late Doreen G. Fernandez‘s book of food essays, “Tikim”.

5.  Best Value For Money Filipiniana booth:  Bookmark.

I got a “Field Guide to the Common Mangroves, Sea Grasses and Algae of the Philippines” by Hilconida Calumpong and the Smithsonian’s Ernani Menez for my uncle Joey who is the barangay captain of a tiny Negros coastal town featuring a DENR-recognized mangrove sanctuary.  It has glossy full-color photography, which sold for an unbelievable discount price of PhP 250 (regular price: PhP 400).  Super sulit geeky Pinoy science book for an international audience.

Also available:  “Marine Reserves in the Philippines:  Historical Development, Effects and Influence on Marine Conservation Policy” by former DENR Sec. Angel Alcala for an even more unbelievable sale price of PhP 100!!!

Splendid selection of Filipiniana available.  Fantastic pictures and paper quality.  The coffeetable book “Philippine Ancestral Houses” edited by Gilda Cordero-Fernando is available in paperback for PhP 1000!!!  (That’s actually reasonable, folks, because the hardcover edition is worth at least PhP 3-4000 and is a collector’s item.) I thought it was out of print.

6.  Check out other university press favorites, University of the Philippines Press and Ateneo de Manila University Press.

7.  Other booths are specialty books and feature some seriously scary prices so just think that they are actually targeted at school libraries and not the ordinary consumer.

8.  Not books, but next to the stage there is a booth for Pilot pens and pencils.  I recommend for all those with an office supplies fetish like myself the Pilot ENO 0.7mm mechanical pencil which has erasable colored pencil refills!!!  I got one, plus red, green and blue refills (3 colors, one pack).  Other refill colors are light blue, lavender, pink, apple green… so yes… indulge…

Honestly, one day is not enough.  If someone offers you a free pass valid until Sunday (tomorrow), get them!  Only your wallet limits you.


People have their pictures taken with celebrities.  One night, tipsy at a friend’s mom’s bienvenida party near Don Antonio, I met Boggart.  I couldn’t resist having my picture taken with him.

Yes, the name matched this huge dog but only in appearance.  The demon-incarnate-looking Boggart stuck next to me like a KITTEN all night, of all things.  When my friends and I first met Boggart, we were wary.  “Boggart likes to run.  So don’t run,” Harold’s mom said.  Beside me Ana and Jopet sort of laughed nervously.

She should have said, “Boggart likes to run outside if he finds the front gate is open.”

She should have added, “Boggart the 3-year-old Doberman thinks he’s a Labrador puppy.”  Dober-marshmallow is more like it.  Boggart was overjoyed to meet new friends!  Good thing he wasn’t the sort who jumped on you and murdered your clothes with muddy paws.  He actually went to obedience school.  And graduated.

Boggart wasn’t actually Harold’s mom’s dog.  Let’s say the house came with the dog when they bought it.  Alas, I must say Boggart is useless as a guard dog.  He loves being petted and having his ears scratched and back stroked.  I like that he doesn’t sneak food from your plate when you’re not looking, because his head already comes up to the height of the table.  He does beg and put his paws on your knees.  And look at you with meaningfully while the following thought runs through his head:  *barbecue! o dearest master’s friend! be kind and generous to your little Boggart!*

Harold was amazed that Boggart and I got along so well.  I’ve always loved dogs, although it depended on their personality.  Boggart is quite… affectionate.  Ana and Jopet were quite happy to sit on the far side of the gazebo.