Monthly Archives: August 2007

Bongbong Marcos, first Filipino on the moon

Bongbong Marcos  Doveglion cover

 

FROM High Fly the Honeymoon Nixons, an article written by Quijano de Manila quoting US president Richard Nixon’s dinner speech delivered in Malacañang during his one-day visit to the Philippines in August 1969. The article was also included in a 1977 anthology Doveglion and Other Cameos by the same author.

“When Mrs. Marcos visited the United States in May, 1968, in her party was a young Filipino who indicated a great interest in our space program and great knowledge of it and as a result the State Department sent him to Cape Kennedy to evaluate the space program. After he looked it over, he said he would like to put in a request to be the first Filipino to go to the moon.
“Tonight I have an announcement to make. On the first vehicle that carries passengers to the moon, Bongbong will be on that vehicle. This is just to make it official. And if because of his age he won’t be able to go to the moon, maybe we can have him to on the first vehicle to Mars!”

 

*Bongbong Marcos photo from http://www.starbulletin.com

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Yadda Yadda Yadda

UP Beloved

UP Centennial logo

From a text message sent by Jay Giovanni Bautista:

Presenting the universities in the country!

1. UP – University of the Philippines
2. PNU – Para Ngang UP
3. UST – UP Sana Tayo!
4. ADMU – Ayaw Daw Mag-UP
5. DLSU – Di Lumusot Sa UPCAT
6. FEU – Failed to Enter UP
7. MAPUA – Meron Akong Panaginip, UP Ako..
8. SLU – Sana Lang UP
9. CEU – Cannot Enter UP
10. ST. PAUL – Sana Talaga Pumasa Akong UPCAT, Lord..
11. PUP – Pekeng UP

Happy UP centennial! 😉

8 Comments

Filed under Yadda Yadda Yadda

I’m back (well sort of)

PROFESSIONAL demands, personal commitments, and various other activities which involve lounging about in the apartment in my boxers while half-asleep has prevented me from updating this blog regularly. Besides having written a book—which is currently being edited—in the past month, I have also been preoccupied on the professional front, trying my very best to produce what is, I think, generally considered to be good examples of journalism, which is difficult to come by, especially with an apartment to maintain, a cat to attend to, and various pages to close everyday. Despite these duties, I have managed to add a number of entities to my blogroll—on the right of the page under Links of Some Interest—including the blog of Ma. Luisa G. Fuentes, not related to my friend Art, who has the same surname because Lu-An is a good worker and Art well, is, as I said, a very good friend of mine. Check out other blogs as well, including the blog of a fat feline, and another friend who recently migrated to WordPress.

4 Comments

Filed under Yadda Yadda Yadda

A reader’s lament

Sna Miguel Corp logo UCPB logo

A review of “Long and tortuous road to coconut levy recovery” by Romeo C. Royandoyan
Published by Centro Saka Inc. (Philippine Center for Rural Development Studies)
Copyright 2007

NO question about it: Romeo “Omi” C. Royandoyan has done a lot to advance the cause of the Filipino coconut farmer.
Currently the executive director of Centro Saka Inc. (CSI), a non-government group which, among others, undertakes rural development studies, Royandoyan was among the farmer-representatives appointed to the board of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), thanks to court decisions which ruled that the lender was acquired using funds collected from coconut farmers.
Since farmers technically owned the bank—assets bought using their funds were therefore theirs—they were entitled to representation at the bank’s board, which, in turn, was made possible by the courts and the Presidential Commission on Good Government under the late great Haydee Yorac, shortly after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was swept to power in January 2001.
Although Royandoyan, together with fellow farmer rep Jose Ma. “Joey” Faustino, was later removed from the board—presidents are entitled to change their minds especially regarding Marcos cronies—his commitment has never wavered.
To this day, Royandoyan, Faustino, former general Virgilio David (who was brave enough to expose the coco levy scam during the Marcos dictatorship), and many others remain committed to see that the funds collected from farmers are used for their benefit.
After all, coconut farmers have suffered more than enough.
Besides being forced to pay for heavy levies which amounted to P9.6 billion (as of a 1986 audit), coconut farmers have never benefitted from these taxes.
Instead, through a series of complex arrangements which transferred public funds for private ownership, the levies were unlawfully used by Marcos crony Eduardo “Danding” C. Cojuangco Jr. to buy a bank (i. e. UCPB) and acquire a controlling stake—anywhere from 47 to 51 percent—in San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the Philippines’ largest food company.
Although coconut farmers have won significant legal victories against Cojuangco—in May 2007, the courts allowed the partial sale of UCPB and SMC shares, proceeds of which will be held in trust by the government for the farmers—they still remain uncertain when their protracted struggle will end.
Like any other oppressed, disenfranchised, and marginalized group in this country, coconut farmers and their interests are easily ignored, no thanks to a powerful, influential, and moneyed class whose intentions almost always run contrary to the greater good.
This is probably why Royandoyan decided to author a book about the contentious, complicated coconut levy issue: to let the whole world know about what is perhaps one of the biggest scams in Philippine history, perpetrated by one of the most powerful and influential Marcos cronies.
Entitled “Long and Tortuous Road to Coconut Levy Recovery,” the book, published this year, is the very first volume in what appears to be the CSI’s Rural Development Review series.
However, despite its numerous potentials for dramatic storytelling, the book reads like an academic paper.
Which is not flattering at all.
Nor does it help the coconut farmers’ cause.
Had it been written with the regular reader in mind—regular reader here defined as someone who knows absolutely nothing about the issue—the book could have had more chances of generating support for the farmers. In turn, more support could mean more pressure for government to set things straight, underscoring once more the power of the written word; a power properly harnessed by those who sought to change the world.
Unfortunately, of the book’s 184 pages, only a handful of passages
can be considered as powerful.
Rife with legalese, punctuated by vague sentences, the book’s text drastically lacks in narrative what it offers in the way of substance.
Which is unfortunate.
Instead of interpreting, laymanizing, and contextualizing the many legal and technical concepts surrounding the coconut levy cases—there are eight of them in all, one of which involves an attempt at acquiring a stake in Pepsi Cola—the book in its own obtuse way merely replicates whatever the courts have said, possibly contributing to the readers’ confusion.
Nevertheless, Royandoyan’s book—and CSI’s efforts to such work publicly available—represents an important step towards documenting what may very well be one of the largest crimes in Philippine history.

Leave a comment

Filed under Serious stuff

Entourage: A Review

Entourage screen grab

ENTOURAGE is a wet dream.
Which explains why male teenagers and middle-aged men are falling all over themselves just to follow the misadventures of Hollywood’s fictional Gang of Four—Vincent “Vinny” Chase (Adrian Grenier), fast-rising movie star; Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly), his best friend and manager; Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon); Vinny’s lesser-known and somewhat down and out actor brother; and a fellow which goes simply by the name of “Turtle” (Jerry Ferrara), Vinny’s driver and man Friday.
While James Bond appeals to the typical male fantasy of saving the world and bedding distressed damsels, Entourage—with its babes, booze, big bucks, and belyando spruce—touches their inner Hugh Hefner for reasons both wrong and right.
Featuring cameos of pornstars Jesse Jane and Devon, and other hotties such as Emmanuelle Chriqui who plays Sloan, E’s girlfriend, Entourage has gained a popular yet predominantly-male following despite what appears to be the subject matter’s self-indulgent content: Hollywood contemplating its own navel while taking the audience along to appreciate its excesses.
However, no one’s complaining, even if the Gang of Four—all born and raised in Queens—is sometimes tempted to ditch its New York state of mind.
Despite its displays of conspicuous consumption, unbridled one-upmanship, adolescent power-playing, and gratuitous sex, the show has emerged as one of the most entertaining programs on television.
Too good to pass for reality TV yet too risqué for regular programming, Entourage has proven that a fast-paced, well-written script with a thoroughly conceptualized storyline even without big name stars can attract loyal viewers, boost ratings, and win awards. (But then again, what else can they expect from a roster of brilliant writers which include Larry Charles who wrote for Seinfeld?)
Besides countless nominations, Entourage—whose alternate title is Superstar in my House in Taiwan—has bagged two Golden Globes and the British Academy Television Award as Best International Programme just for this year alone.
And from the looks of it, the awards are not going to stop, if Entourage’s third season—set to premier locally on HBO Signature this July 30—is any indication.
Take the season’s first episode entitled “Aquamom.”
The gang finds no difficulty in looking for a suitable date for the hotshot actor whose movie Aquaman is about to premier in Hollywood. The woman—the most beautiful in the world, according to Vince—is his mother, played by Mercedes Ruehl. Unfortunately, Aquamom, who has never left New York for 30 years, refuses to fly to the west coast to attend the event.
Using his charm and fame, Vince is able to finagle his mother into getting on a plane to Los Angeles for his movie’s premier.
However, once the premier has come and gone, her mother’s fear of flying will be the least of Vinny’s problems.
As he struggles to find a balance between his superstardom and his dedication to the acting craft, Vinny’s agent Ari Gold (spectacularly played by Jeremy Piven) will always be a thorn on his side, pushing him into accepting mind-numbing blockbuster projects.
But with his crew’s support, Vinny would be strong enough to reject scripts from big-time studios, proving that while you may take the boy out of Queens, you can’t take Queens out of the boy.

———————

An edited version of this review was published in the August 2007 issue of Personal Fortune, a magazine of BusinessMirror.

Leave a comment

Filed under Yadda Yadda Yadda