9/11

11 09 2013

It was one lazy evening spent drinking with friends.  TV was just playing in the background.   All of a sudden, CNN flashed some breaking news about one airplane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers. And then another one crashed into the other tower.  Whatever degree of drunkenness I had that evening dissipated as I sat down transfixed on the TV.

Devastated was an understatement of how I felt.

2,996 deaths.

Have we become so enamored with power that we could easily kill another just to keep it?  Can we no longer take not being agreed with? Have we become so desensitized that another person’s life to us no longer carries as much value?

It’s been 12 years today but we are in no way closer to achieving peace than we were back then.  I am not in the US but remembering the events that unfolded from that day on still breaks my heart.  I am in the Philippines where war has lost its novelty.  I hail from the south where bombs explode and it only makes the local news.  It is sad that our wars are mostly internal.  Today, people in Zamboanga City fear for tomorrow.  At any given time,  someone could die and it could them. For what? Brothers fighting brothers for reasons all feudal but dressed differently.  Does it justify anything?

No.

As nothing makes sense to me and as hope changed its name to chance, I can only whisper a prayer to my God.  Let there be peace on Earth.  And let it indeed begin with me.

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Of Politics and Genealogy

4 12 2007

I grabbed these two blog posts from my friend Todd’s blog.

The original titles of the two separate entries are: RP Politics: A Family Affair and Tangled Webs of Families and Intrigues respectively.

They’re a tad too long for those who do not have the patience to read stuff like this but instead of separating these entries, I decided to enter them as one, hence the length. I find this very interesting. I hope you will too.




RP Politics: A Family Affair

In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines an independent and sovereign state and became this nation’s first president. A century plus three years later, his cousin, Gloria M. Arroyo, rose to the same position when Joseph Ejercito Estrada was toppled from power through the event known as People Power II. As it happened, Erap, too, was Gloria’s relative. In fact, in a complicated and Byzantine manner, almost all of our former leaders were related to one another, in one way or the other. Allow me to extrapolate.

Emilio Aguinaldo’s first cousin’s, General Baldomero Aguinaldo, great-grandson was Cesar E.A. Virata, the first and only Prime Minster of the Republic of the Philippines.

The Virata family, through marriage, is connected with the Acuña family. One Acuña married a scion of the Roxas family. The product of this marriage was former President Manuel A. Roxas, whose son Gerry Roxas was a former Senator and whose grandson, Mar Roxas III was a Trade and Industry secretary and currently a Senator of the Republic.

Also, due to his dalliance with Juanita McIlvain, former Miss Universe Margarita “Margie” Moran Floirendo just happens to be President Roxas’ granddaughter.

“President Manuel Roxas’ wife, Trinidad de Leon, was the daughter of former Senator Ceferino de Leon. Sen. De Leon’s brother, Jose, married Dona Narcisa “Sisang” Buencamino, one of the most successful movie magnates in her time. Narcisa’s first cousin’s son was Philip Buencamino, who married Nene Quezon, daughter of President Manuel Luis Quezon.

Further, another scion of the Roxas family was Margarita Roxas, whose marriage to Antonio de Ayala produced Trinidad de Ayala. Trinidad later married Jacobo Zobel and started the legendary Zobel De Ayala family.

Some of the minor branches of the Zobel de Ayala family married into the other aristocratic families of Manila. The Aranetas, Ayalas, Elizaldes, Prietos, and more. Through the Roxas family’s connection with the Aranetas, former Tourism Secretary and beauty queen Gemma Cruz-Araneta is also related to Pres. Roxas.

It must also be remembered that Gemma Cruz’s paternal great-grandmother was Dona Maria Rizal, the sister of our national hero, Jose P. Rizal.

Gemma Cruz’s mother, Carmen, remarried Mr. Angel Nakpil, the nephew of Julio Nakpil, composer of a version of the Philippine National Anthem, who in turn was the husband of Gregoria De Jesus, the “Muse of the Katipunan.”

Gregoria de Jesus was also the widow of Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio. Similarly, two of Gemma’s first cousins, Paz and Maria Cruz Banaad, married Bienvenido and Roberto Laurel, respectively, relatives of former Vice-President Salvador “Doy” Laurel, son of President Jose P. Laurel.

Two branches of the Araneta family further married presidential daughters; the first one being Juan Miguel Arroyo, whose second cousins are Aranetas. He married then Ms. Gloria M. Macapagal, daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal. Of course, GMA is now the country’s Chief Executive. The second to marry a presidential daughter was Greggy Araneta who married Irene Romualdez Marcos, the youngest child of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and Imelda Romualdez. The Araneta-Marcos marriage further stretches our already complicated family connections.

A maternal grandfather of Marcos, Don Fructuoso Edralin, was a cousin of Gen. Antonio Luna and his brother the Filipino national artist, Juan Luna. Juan Luna in turn married Paz Pardo de Tavera, of a rich and powerful Spanish-Filipino family.

Ferdinand Marcos’ grandfather’s sister, Crispina Marcos, married Hilario Valdez. Their daughter, Angela Valdez, married Ambassador Narciso Ramos, father of Fidel V. Ramos, also a President of the Republic. Narciso Ramos, after becoming a widower, married Alfonsita Lucero, whose father’s maternal family, the Birondos of Argao, Cebu, married into the Almendras family of Cebu and Davao.

Alfonsita’s fourth cousin, William Birondo, married Kukit Tecala, whose uncle, Pedro Tecala Sr., married Sofronia Almendras. Two of Sofronia’s siblings married into political families. Her brother, Paulo Almendras, married Elisea Durano, the daughter of Demetrio Durano and progenitor of the Durano family that has ruled Danao and Sogod, Cebu for many years. A prominent member of the Durano family is Ace Durano, a former representative and now Tourism Secretary.

Another cousin of Alfonsita, Dr. Procopio Lucero, Jr., married Gliseria Gullas, sister of politicians Jose and Eduardo Gullas.

Still another fourth cousin of Alfonsita is Hilario Davide, Sr., whose son is Hilario G. Davide, Jr., a former Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court.

A son of Paulo was former Senator Alejandro Almendras, whose marriage to a Bendigo of Davao City connected them to the ruling families of Davao: the Banggoys, Palma Gils, Lizadas, Nograleses and others. The current House of Representative Majority Leader is Prospero “Boy” Nograles from Davao City. Senator Almendras’ brother, Josefino, married Rosita Dimataga, the sister of Leonila Dimataga, who in turn was the wife of President Carlos P. Garcia.

One of Sofronia’s sisters was married to an Osmeña, thus linking them to the family of President Sergio Osmeña. Most of President Osmeña’s male descendants have become senator, governor, mayor, Representative, and councilor at various points in time and his family remains the premier political dynasty of Cebu: Tomas is the current mayor of Cebu City; other members of the family who held or are holding political offices are Jing-Jing, Emilio “Lito”, John, John-John, and many more.

President Osmeña’s half-sister was Doña Modesto Singson-Gaisano, the matriarch of the affluent Gaisano family of Cebu City. Modesta was a progeny of Don Pedro Gotiaoco, whose other descendants include Atty. Agusto Go, President of the University of Cebu and Honorary South Korean Consul; John Gokongwei, Jr., a great-grandson of Don Pedro Gotiaoco and the owner of Cebu Pacific, Robinson’s Mall, JG Summit, and many more; and the Sy-Gaisano family, who operate chains of shopping malls all over Visayas and Mindanao. A grandson of the brother of Don Pedro is Andrew Gotianun, who owns FILINVEST Group and East West Bank.

Imelda Romualdez’s marriage to Marcos also brought in many famous personalities. Imelda’s daughter, Imee, currently a member of the House of Representatives, married Tommy Manotoc, whose mother was related to a wife of Genny Lopez, whose own nephew Beaver married Jackie Estrada, daughter of Pres. Erap Estrada.

Her own niece, Marean Romualdez, daughter of her brother Gov. Alfredo Romualdez, married Thomas Pompidou, the grandson of the French President Georges Pompidou.

Imelda’s first cousin, Senator Danieling Romualdez, married Pacita Gueco of Tarlac. In an ironic twist of fate, Pacita Gueco happened to be the first cousin of the Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

Of course, the Aquinos themselves have allied with many political families, and a scion of the Aquino clan was Senator Eva Estrada Kalaw, one of the Philippines’ very first female senators.

Ninoy’s marriage to the heiress Corazon Cojuanco also allied his family to another political dynasty. Corazon Aquino, after her husband’s heroic death in 1983, later became the country’s first female Chief Executive. Her maternal family, the Sumulongs, have also produced several lawmakers. The Cojuangco family, on the other hand, owns one of the oldest-existing haciendas in the country today, and the Cojuangcos control many of the country’s business enterprises.

Two Cojuancos, sons of Cory’s cousins Ramon and Eduardo, respectively, married (sic) Rio Diaz (Charlie Cojuanco), sister of former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz and Gretchen Baretto (Tony Boy Cojuanco). Gretchen’s sisters are Claudine and Marjorie, themselves married to actors. Cory’s niece, equestrienne Mikee Cojuangco, married Dodot Jaworski, son of basketball legend and Sen. Robert Jaworski. Senator Jaworski, on the other hand, married Susan Bautista Revilla, daughter of Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., whose son Bong Revilla was a former governor and Senator. This connection, no doubt, extends this family tree to most of the country’s movie personalities.

Clearly, this Byzantine illustration of family connection is proof of the intricacies of Philippine politics. In this short presentation we have already linked no less than 12 of our 14 Presidents, one Prime Minister, two former Miss Universe winners, several senators and many other personalities, political or otherwise. We have even connected our “Philippine Family Tree” to a former French President! Imagine what further research into the other family trees could reveal?

Philippine politics, undoubtedly, is a family affair.




Tangled Webs of Families and Intrigues

What do President Arroyo, Ping Lacson, Erap Estrada, Imelda Marcos, Danding Cojuangco, Ace Durano, and Nerissa Soon-Ruiz have in common other than all being involved in the Davide impeachment, one way or the other? Well, they all also happen to be related to each other, in one way or the other.

President Gloria Arroyo, alleged to be behind the Davide impeachment, is married to Mike Arroyo, of the infamous JOSE PIDAL CONTROVERSY, whose own grandfather, Jose Maria PIDAL Arroyo, married a Lacson, who also happens to be related to Senator Panfilo Lacson, whose KURATONG BALELENG case has been reoppened by Davide. Mike is similarly a second cousin of Aranetas, whose one member, Greggy, is married to Irene Marcos, daughter of Imelda Marcos, also having recently received a negative SC ruling on her SWISS ACCOUNTS. Irene’s sister, Imee, married Tommy Manotoc, whose mother is related also to the wife of Geny Lopez, whose family has recently also received a blow from the Supreme Court because of their MERALCO RULING. Another Lopez, Beaver, married Jackie Ejercito, daughter of deposed President Joseph Estrada, whose ouster was legalized by an SC ruling declaring GMA’s presidency constitutional in 2001. Meanwhile, Imelda’s first cousin, Danieling Romualdez, married Pacita Gueco, first cousin of Ninoy, whose marriage to Cory Cojuangco made related him to Danding Cojuangco, another recipient of a negative SC ruling, this time on the COCO LEVY FUNDS. He is similarly related to Rep. Teodoro, his own nephew. Imelda’s marriage to Ferdinand Marcos goes on to relate her to FVR, who was Marcos’ 2nd cousin. FVR’s stepmother’s, Alfonsita Birondo Lucero vda. de Ramos’s, fourth cousin William Birondo married an Almendras, who is in turn a cousin of Ace Durano, a signatory of the impeachment rap against Davide. Another fourth cousin of Alfonsita, James Lucero, married Nazarena Soon, the sister of Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, another impeachment signatory. It seems really astounding that all those involved in the Davide impeachment are related, but what’s more astonishing is that they are all also related to the man they are trying to persecute. How? Well, FVR’s stepmom is also the fourth cousin of the embattled Chief Justice, both coming from Don Agustin Cristobal Bayot of Argao, Cebu, who is both their great-great-great-grandfather.

Who says genealogy is boring?





Die Hard 4.5–One More Spoof, Bisaya Edition

25 10 2007

Yet another spoof from the same funny Ozamiznon

Warning: 

May be offensive to some.  This is just a spoof and should not be taken as anything otherwise. 

This is in Cebuano and I believe I can’t do justice to it by translating it to any other language so…

Watch at your own risk.





Troy–Yet Another Spoof, Bisaya Edition

25 10 2007

Warning: 

May be offensive to some.  This is just a spoof and should not be taken as anything otherwise. 

This is in Cebuano and I believe I can’t do justice to it by translating it to any other language so…

Watch at your own risk.





Harry Potter–Bisaya Edition

25 10 2007

This is a Harry Potter spoof from a fellow Ozamiznon.  Way to go, Bai.  Hehehe.  LMAO gyud.

Warning: 

May be offensive to some.  This is just a spoof and should not be taken as anything otherwise. 

This is in Cebuano and I believe I can’t do justice to it by translating it to any other language so…

Watch at your own risk.





Blasphemy!

7 10 2007

Yep, blaspheme some more.  I abhor members of the clergy who hide underneath their cassocks.  I, not only, pray that they be roasted and re-roasted in hell or wherever for the crimes that they commit here on earth, but I also pray that all the prosecutors who use twisted logic to exonerate these offenders—sexual offenders at that—be dealt with the same punishment. 

While rejoicing over Pacman’s victory, I read about the dismissal of the case of acts of lasciviousness filed against Cebu Archdiocesan priest, Fr. Benedicto Ejares.  Having come from a family of lawyers, I can take acquittals and conviction as if it’s just another weather forecast.  But my evening was completely ruined upon reading that the prosecutors dismissed the case on the contention that the defendant’s actions of toying with bra straps and touching the students’ arms and backs and of embracing them are matter of routine and habit, and that such body parts are not even “private”.  The prosecutors even went on to describe the priest as not an ordinary being but an alter-ego of Jesus Christ!  Such travesty!

Twenty minors complained but only seven submitted sworn statements.  Apparently, these were not enough to convict an alter-ego of Jesus Christ.  If we live in a world where priests can freely touch our not-so-private parts while administering sacraments and where prosecutors let them be because they are no ordinary beings, then I don’t know where this is leading to anymore.  Next time, if a priest is in some TV series in the US, I won’t be surprised if we’d hear lines like, you’re so lewd, you must’ve come from some seminary in the Philippines! I know it’s not an isolated case and it’s not something that has happened only in the Philippines but I’m not sure if we have convicted any sex offender who hails from inside the church.

Read more about this bull here or here.

I am not one to judge.  I have lint in my eyes too.  I even have many friends in the clergy.  I know not all of them are bad eggs.  But there are simply those who are disgusting.  For a time, my involvement in various radical groups, has brought me closer to one particular religious order that was supposed to have taken a huge part in the Reforms of the Catholic Church but my oh my, if it’s not a gay priest, it’s a father who has fathered someone somewhere, or a priest who has a girlfriend.  And they don’t even get sanctioned by their own superiors! 

…And with prosecutors thinking like that? I’m not sure about you people, but I think the world is coming to an end!





Ang Kabayo–The Sequel

27 09 2007

I remember one story that my mother (and my father, and my sisters, and my brothers) told me about a Boy Scout camping-related incident that happened sometime in the late 60s. 

You see, my siblings are lucky because they went to school together, with only 2-3-year intervals between them.  Not only did they have one another then, they also had tons of our relatives so you can just imagine all the fun that they all had. I was born a million years after everybody left grade school.  

So one time, my eldest brother finally broke into the initial stages of getting into the world of men–as a cub scout.  He belonged to the same troop as one of our cousins.  One of the highlights of getting into “scouting” was going camping.  They excitedly went about with the preparations and one of those involved creating a troop flag.  My dad is the best go-to guy for logistics but when you need art, he’s awfully useless, so they went to the next “man”–my uncle.  He was my mom’s cousin and he could draw very well. 

For some reason, fathers get really excited when their sons get into the Boy Scouts.  I’m not very sure of this but in our town, it’s like a rite of passage.  My mom used to be really active in the local chapter of the Girl Scouts in our town when I was a kid.  She’d told me hilarious stories of the crazy things that they did over overnight camping and whatnots.  She was around 50 when she stopped going to GSP meetings. My other older sister, Nang Maya, had her share of GSP stories.  My other sister, Goyen, (we have a 12-year gap between us) was a multi-awarded girl scout in grade school.  She had that sash that was full of badges.  She’s the only one in the family that has that.  And it was really complete.  I remember looking at her picture when I was a kid and wishing that I’d be like her too.  The dream ended when I couldn’t even catch up with my groupmates when they’d run really fast after they filled their bottles with water when we were asked to fetch some.  I suck at outdoor activities big time, save perhaps for flirting.  LOL.

Going back to the story, my uncle was very excited for his son.  So he bought a new white sack–the one that is used for rice, not the kind that they use for flour–and a black permanent marker.  This happened in the late 60s, ok?  The son, my cousin, asked his dad, “Pa, drowingi mig kabayo, kanang nawng sa kabayo gyud. [Pa, draw us a horse, the face of the horse.]”

And so my uncle did so.  It was as if some surge of energy enveloped him and he happily drew a beautiful portrait of a horse’s face.  it was complete with the mane and all the other details.  When he was all finished with it, he gave the sack to his son.

My cousin said, “Pa, suwati dayon sa ubos ug Goat Patrol.  Kanang dagko tanan. [Pa, write Goat Patrol right below it. In capital letters.]”