Monday, November 18, 2013

Philippine National Anthem Joey Ayala Version

Photo from Inquirer
The Philippine National Anthem today wasn't made to be the song to stir patriotism in the hearts of every Filipino. Its lyrics came from the poet Jose Palma and the arrangement came from Julian Felipe. Neither was it intentionally put together to be the National Anthem as Julian Felipe created his marching music in 1898 while Jose Palma made his poem in Spanish during 1899. Through the years after the revolution, while we were forming our identity, the current version was ratified and used ever since.

There's a lot of fierceness, pride and passion in the words and music of our National Anthem. Even after so many years of singing and hearing it, the stir of patriotism is always being awakened. Or maybe that is just true to people who don't take the words of our anthem for granted. But at the very least, hearing the national anthem play or singing it makes Filipinos proud in one way or another.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Finding Strength After the Storm

After withstanding the strongest recorded typhoon in history, the survivors of Yolanda showed the heart and spirit of Filipinos. The CNN broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper has been overwhelmed by how we Filipinos are in times of calamity and disaster. There's the good side and the bad side, but what Anderson can't get out of his mind is the best of the Filipino People.

Here's the video Anderson Cooper's report on CNN:

When everything else is taken away, broken, battered, soaked, raw, stripped bare, you see things. You see people as they really are. This week in Tacloban, Samar and Cebu, amidst the hunger and thirst, the chaos and confusion, we've seen the best in the Filipino people. Their strength, their courage. I can't get it out of my mind. Imagine the strength it takes for a mother to search alone for her missing kids, the strength to sleep; on the street near the body of her child.

We've seen people with every reason to despair, every right to be angry, instead find ways to laugh, to love, to stand up, to move forward.

A storm breaks wood and bone, brings hurt and heartbreak. In the end, the wind, the water, the horror it brings is not the end of the story.

With aid and assistance, compassion and care, this place, these people...they will make it through. They already survived the worst. They're bowed, perhaps tired and traumatized, but they are not broken.

Mabuhay Philippines! Maraming salamat for all you've shown us. Maraming salamat for showing us all how to live.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shift: The Call Center Culture Movie

Way back then, I belong to the call center industry. At the time when the aggressive growth of the BPO industry in the country was starting, I was an agent working to help finish off the last few months of college. To say that people in the call center behave differently than those who work in the regular office hours is an understatement. There is a different culture of Filipinos out there, and Shift is the first movie I've seen that "somehow" showed some light to the lives of individuals working in the BPO sector.

The film centers at Estela (Yeng Constantino), a no-boyfriend-since-birth girl working in a call center and Trevor (Felix Roco), a gay senior agent on Estela's team brought closer together because of a mentoring program initiated by their team leader. It is still a story of love, and how the plot ended, its up to you to find out when you watch the movie. But as a teaser of how the story went, imagine a love caught between gender orientation and preferences.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Filipino Spirit is Indomitable

After the rampage and destruction of the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, the sun is out and we Filipinos have started to walk away from the ruins and began to build our lives again.

As the whole world slowly begins to know what happened to the most hard hit areas, a CNN article received a comment that is both awesome and inspirational. I'd rather that you read it for yourself and know how the whole world sees us Filipinos.

We just keep going on and smile. Its what we do with or without the world watching.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pamamanhikan in Aklan

Image from Paolo Denali
The advancement of technology and the influence of global culture have contributed greatly in the changes that happened to our culture and practices. As our lives were changed, so were our beliefs and traditions that little by little were given up. How we do things nowadays have a huge disparity over what ancestors did. The love and courtship rituals, are also affected.

During the time of our grandparents or great-grand parents, in the province of Aklan, love, courtship and marriage is a long and comprehensive process. From selecting a partner until the time the night of the wedding, there are several recommendations on how this has to go through. What stands out is the close involvement of parents in the process, which have a higher influence on the outcome of the relationship. To ask the hand of a woman in marriage from her parents is a make-or-break milestone back then.

See the paper in detail, written by Melchor Cichon which is posted on this page:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Email Question on Anting-anting

I've been getting many emails about anting-antings. Many have been asking me where they can find one or help them in getting some. There are people who seek for protection, for love, for improvement of relationships and and others. Others are just curious, and some are apparently searching really hard. I would like to share one email and my reply to his questions. This was originally written in Filipino, and I took the liberty of translating it in English:

Good Day Pinoy Warrior, I wish to learn where I can get anting-anting that can protect against sickness, calamities and harm. I am a man living in a violent neighborhood and I usually encounter trouble and I fear for my life. I would like to protect myself, and in the future, have the capability of protecting my family. Please tell me where to buy or teach me how I can make one as I heard you can make your own, as long as you understand. I am also interested in getting the anting-anting that can bring luck and wealth. I want to understand how to use it too and know how it works.

To which I answered (also translated to English):

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Inaugural Speech of Marcos 1965

Inaugural Address
His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos
[Delivered at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila on December 30, 1965]

Image from Joselito Angeles

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Battle of Mactan by Pigafetta

From our history books and the lessons in elementary and high school history classes, we all know that a fierce battle happened right after the discovery of the Philippines. We all know that it involved two of the most famous men in our country's history, Ferdinand Magellan and Datu Lapu-lapu and the shores of an island in the Visayas witnessed how Magellan's journey around the world was cut short.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Do's and Don'ts of the Philippine Flag

In accordance to Executive Order No. 179, of 1994, we are encourage to display, in our homes and all practicable places, prominently the symbol of our nation from May 28 until June 12 every year. However, not everyone is aware of the Do's and Don'ts of displaying the Philippine Flag, so it is prone to desecration. As public service, we've come up with an article describing the guidelines of taking care of our Flag.

The contents of this article are sourced from the National Historical Commission Website.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why I Don't Like Going to Church on Sundays

Image from
Don't get this article wrong. I am a former seminarian, a devout Catholic, a faithful of the Roman Catholic Church and knows very well what excommunication means. This is not to encourage anyone not to go to mass during Sundays, but a plea to take note of existing concerns. These are just observations of a Filipino layman experiencing the rite of the Holy Mass.

Spanish conquistadors brought to the country Catholicism, which spread naturally as the colonial reach of Spain got established in the Philippines. These hundreds of years under the Spanish rule cultivated the Christian virtues to Filipinos, reaching almost every inhabited island, which is still evident nowadays just by looking at the number of churches erected. Religion is a very important facet of our identity, and a very compelling aspect of our lives.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Philippine Flag History

"Ang kislap ng watawat mo'y tagumpay na nagniningning. Ang bituin at araw niya kailan pa ma'y di magdidilim."

These are the translated words of Jose Palma, a poet and soldier, to be rendered in accordance with the musical composition of Julian Felipe. The verse talks about the symbols of the Philippine Flag, and what it should represent for every Filipino. Should.

Our nation's flag tells everyone a story, which has been a part of our school's curriculum since the primary education stages. We've grown so used to it that many might have taken it for granted, thus forgotten or just became out of mind. What the Philippine Flag meant for our ancestors just don't mean as much to many Filipinos anymore. Like the flag's evolution, its meaning too might have evolved.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jose Abad Santos. A Filipino Hero.

"Do not cry, Pepito, show to these people that you are brave. It is an honor to die for one's country. Not everybody has that chance."

Those were the last words of a man to his son, about to be executed during the Japanese occupation here in the Philippines. He was the acting President of the Philippines before his capture and his refusal to cooperate earned him martyrdom for the country. His name is Jose Abad Santos.

His face has been immortalized in the 1,000 pesos bill along with 2 other heroes, but his story isn't known to many. Abad Santos was a man who achieved great things in a time of relative peace. He wasn't just a lawyer, but rose to the ranks to becoming the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. His patriotism is just like all the other heroes who died for the country, unparalleled.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Taste of Filipino Cigarettes

Finally, after quite a long wait, more than a year after posting Chasing Filipino Cigarettes, I've managed to get hold of Filipino Cigarettes. It took a trip to the central market of Gapan, Nueva Ecija to get these because they're not available here in Metro Manila. A previous discussion with the makers of these cigarettes didn't really help much, to which they suggested to go to Tarlac to buy their products.

Each pack contains 30 cigarillos, no filters unlike the more popular American Blended ones. Their packaging, wrapped in printed paper, much like the way it was done before during the late Spanish times. Might not be the best way to preserve flavor in the sticks, but who can complain since they cost very, very cheap. One of the brands sells for around 12 pesos.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Anting-anting Making in Mount Banahaw

Anting-anting are among the most sought after mystical objects here in the Philippines during the time of our forefathers, that still persist even today. Deeply embedded in the Filipino culture is the belief in talismans or amulets, rooted from the religious tendency and piety of Pinoys. Since the time of our ancestors, men and women have been searching for various anting-anting, while some have been making these. An encounter with a "maker" of anting-anting at the foot of Mount Banahaw gave more insights on how these things work.