Saturday, September 12, 2009

I just realized...

...that I haven't updated this blog in a long time. I don't know what to put here anymore; it used to be a place where I put these things:
  1. thing I wanted to share/pass along
  2. thoughts about sports
  3. thoughts about politics and issues
  4. book reviews
  5. various kwento about love life
#1 has been pretty much replaced by Facebook; there's no more need to share links here when it's just as easy to post a link and a quick thought on the Facebook wall. #2 went away after I started Fire Quinito.

I've been doing a lot of #3 elsewhere, for the PCIJ and for FHM. It's odd, FHM's managing editor for the web contacted me about writing for the site, and I thought I was going to get to write about hot babes; instead, my articles for them have been about politics: political speeches, a Cory Aquino tribute, and a Ninoy Aquino tribute. In between, I was able to write about basketball and music.

I still pinch myself about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work for the PCIJ. A few months back, the whole staff drew lots for potential presidential and vice-presidential candidates, with each person keeping tabs on his or her candidate for a later feature. I drew Noynoy Aquino, and at the time we all figured it would be easy since he was a long shot candidate. Show what we know.

My feature on Noynoy was the first big story I wrote for the center, and it is perhaps the biggest story I'd written in my life, ever. Let me point out, too, that our editor is so mind-blowingly good. The final piece is about a thousand times better than my drafts, just because of great editing. I'm grateful too that the spirit of the story was retained, and my voice was unchanged. If you'd been reading me, it's not hard to figure that I wrote the story, even if you didn't see the byline.

The story was published by the Manila Times, and also posted by GMA News and ABS-CBN News. So that was nice.

(I also wrote this cheeky blog post after Mar Roxas' announcement last week, if you're interested in this sort of thing.)

I'm embarrassed to report that I haven't been doing #4, writing about books, as much because I haven't been reading books as much. The last book I read was Nick Hornby's Slam, a light breezy read, which is just about the only thing I have energy for reading right now. Hey, I'd been reading up on Senate bills authored and filed by Noynoy.

Oh, and happily (or sadly), I don't do #5 anymore. This month, I will have had a blog for 10 years now. Took me long enough to figure this one out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Hayup talaga si Conrad:

Me mga nagsasabi na hindi naman tayo nawalan ng tapang, nawalan lang tayo ng paki. Gano’n din ’yon. Kaduwagan din yon. O higit pa ro’n. Dahil ngayon hindi ka lang takot mamatay, takot ka pang mabuhay.

Bukas, maraming mga pagtitipon-tipon sa paggunita ng makasaysayang Agosto 21. Isa na dyan ay ang prayer rally sa Ninoy statue sa Ayala na gaganapin sa ika-3:00 ng hapon hanggang gabi. Na ang hiling ng mga organizers ay kung maaari ay magsuot ng dilaw ang mga tao para ipakita ang pakikiramay, pagpupugay, at pakikiisa kay Cory. Hanep din tayong Pinoy ano: Dilaw ang kulay ng kaduwagan sa ibang bansa, dilaw ang kulay ng katapangan sa ating bansa.

Pwede kang sumama rito at sumigaw ng “Tama na, sobra na, palitan na” para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak mo. Pwede kang sumama rito para magsabi kay Inang Bayan, “Hindi ka nag-iisa,” handa rin kaming mamatay nang dahil sa ’yo, at higit na handang mabuhay nang para sa yo. Pwede kang sumama rito para ipakita na hindi pa nawawala ang katapangan sa bayan ko, binihag ka, ang dugo ng mga bayani ay nananalaytay sa mga ugat mo.

O pwede kang huwag sumama rito dahil ang bukang-bibig mo ngayon ay hindi na “Hindi ka nag-iisa” kundi “Bahala ka sa buhay mo.” Pwede kang huwag sumama rito dahil marami ka pang mahalagang gagawin, kagaya nang manuod ng “G.I Joe.” Pwede kang huwag sumama rito dahil mas okay sa yo ang maging patay kahit buhay pa kesa maging buhay kahit patay na. Pero kung gano’n:

Mag-isa ka.


Friday, August 07, 2009


By now, everyone should have watched or read Conrado de Quiros' beautiful elegy for Cory, and if you haven't, go read it here. His column the next day went into further detail about his conversation with Cory at his mother's wake, and is just as good a read.

But I finally found his column from last November, I guess even before he and Cory became friends. It was just after the election of Obama, and he wrote:

Can we produce our own Obama?

Well, I do not share the pessimism of those who say none of the “presidential aspirants,” remotely carries the spark. That is looking at the wrong place. We did have a Cory Aquino long before the US had an Obama, and she did not come from the ranks of the “presidential aspirants,” or “Ferdinand Marcos’ successors” as they were called then. She came from far afield, “an ordinary housewife,” as Marcos derisively called her, a “walang alam” [ignoramus] in contrast to his being a man of experience, just as McCain tried to belittle Obama as someone without experience. Well, having no experience in wreaking evil, or being party to it, is the best qualification there is in a situation like that. Cory became the symbol of someone who quested for justice, who longed for an end to the oppression. Just like all of us. “Hindi siya nag-iisa.” [She was not alone.]

I don’t know that we can have another Obama or Cory. I do not discount the possibility; darkness has a way of compelling light by the sheer need for it, though as Obama, Cory and “Lord of the Rings” show, light has a way of coming from the most unlikely places. Abominations are not ended by kings and elves and wizards, they are ended by lowly Hobbits, who are least impervious to the temptations of power.

In any case, “Obama” doesn’t have to take the form of one particular face or person. It can always be an idea. The only thing to thank people like George W and Gloria for, if you can thank them for anything, is that they make you want change, even so radical a change as driving you back to your fundamental roots or condition as a human being. If Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has done us a service, it is to show us a tyranny that can make us shout, “Never again!” and truly mean it. It is to make us crave the kind of “radical reforms” Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and several other bishops were calling for last week, the kind that “conquers complacency, cynicism and apathy.” It is to make us see the face of utter evil and rediscover the need for unrelenting good.

Darkness does make light bright.


Thursday, August 06, 2009


I know everyone's a little Cory'd out at this point, but I just wanted to point everyone to a bunch of stuff I wrote about the former President. Here's a report (with video I took) from the ground at Ayala Avenue, when Tita Cory's remains were transferred from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral. I also wrote a Cory feature for FHM (yes, FHM--I figured you wouldn't miss it because you go there to read the articles, but on the off-chance you did). Then today, my article on Cory and Edsa from the point of view of a People Power Baby, was posted on the PCIJ blog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I didn't have...

...much of a weekend, after working on the formatting of the SONA articles uploaded on Saturday and Sunday, and the additional tweaks for the interactive graphic. I did manage to write a couple of things for Fire Quinito, about the last couple of games of Powerade Team Pilipinas and the UP upset over Ateneo.

Today was a fun day, with the SONA going on. I stayed behind at the office while most of my colleagues got to go out to cover on the field, but I had a fun time manning the PCIJ twitter desk. It was just me and our executive editor, Malou Mangahas in the office, and she actually got pretty into it with the Twitter thing. Awesome. I love how the updates weren't particularly different from the updates I do on the Fire Quinito twitter feed.

(Sample tweet from me: "Angelique Lazo to Sec. Peter Favila: 'Happy SONA!' Happy SONA?!")

Also loved how the media completely embraced the social networks for this event: SONA was second on the trending topics list this afternoon, while GMA News and Sun Star rolled out impressive streaming coverage of the event using different social media tools. Nice.

Oh, and I also spent the weekend researching and writing my first piece for the FHM website. I was hoping it would somehow involve boldstars, but alas! It was about political speeches, in time for today's events.

In the piece, I quoted an excerpt from a Ninoy Aquino speech (which is available on the Internet in nine parts, starting here). I would recommend watching the whole thing, if you have the time, but again let me post my favorite part here:

I am a human being, my friends. I have suffered eight years of imprisonment, I have suffered loneliness like no other man has suffered loneliness in my life, I have been away from my children and my family, and I am financially ruined after eight years. It is only instinctive for a man to look for his peace. I debated with my mind, and I debated with myself, and I debated with my wife and my children whether I should go back to the arena of combat. I felt that I have already earned my peace, I have done my best, I waited for seven years and seven months, and the Filipino people did not react, and they would even give me the impression that they love their chain and their slavery. What can one man do if the Filipino people love their slavery? If the Filipino people have lost their voice and would not say no to a tyrant, what can one man do? I have no army, I have no following, I have no money, I only have my indomitable spirit.

But the letters kept pouring in, and they said, We waited for you for eight years. Will you now abandon us?

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Grading Gloria

The PCIJ has been publishing stories ahead of today's SONA all weekend long. The past two days, it looked at her SONA promises and looked deeper into the numbers behind her economic record.

Today, Dr. Benjamin Diokno, former Estrada budget secretary and current UP economics professor, wrote a perspective piece looking at Gloria's record, and handed out grades. As most university professors are wont to do (heh), his piece is long and full of facts and figures. I stitched together this interactive graphic for Prof. Diokno's grades.

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