The Blog and Tour Schedule of Carlos Celdran. A man who is trying to change the way you look at Manila - one step at a time. Telephone: (02)4844945 Text/Cell:(0920)9092021 or Email: celdrantours@hotmail.com

Saturday, November 29, 2008

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

A HOLLER OUT FOR HILTON...

OK. Right now I am in the midst of writing an article on the Manila Hilton for Rogue Magazine. It's been quite a while in the making truth be told (almost five to six months now).

I interviewed it's owners, the hotel's many wonderfully charming ladies from the opening team, and collected a cache of very interesting photos of the hotel in it's heydey from 1967 until 1988, a when Ermita was still the country's premier business address and The Manila Hilton was the center of Philippine high society.

Some have said that the Manila Hilton was the only true 5 star hotel in the City of Manila. They popularized the "lunchtime" fashion show, as well as introduced the concept of in-house art galleries, in-house shopping centers, and even a real Catholic chapel (so you could have a wedding and a reception in exactly the same venue).

And in order to get a feel of the hotel, I actually stayed overnight with my wife, Tesa. And even though the hotel has new owners and name (The Manila Pavilion of the Waterfront Group of Hotels), one room still remains as an evocative time capsule, still trapped in it's narra carved, capiz lit, polyester curtained 1967 glory.

And just for shicks and kiggles, Tesa and I did a photo shoot with some friends to try and capture the glamour and precariousness of the Cold War era. We tried to do make a pa-edgy fashion shoot without well, the fashion. We were kinda going for this architecture-as-historical-narrative blah blah.

Now, let me get to my point. The reason why I am posting this is because I need more data. If anybody out there has an interesting story, an interesting photograph, or an image of an interesting personality that stayed in the hotel. Pleeeease come forward.

I want this article to be a good one, and I am not quite content with what I have gathered so far. I especially need pictures of celebrities that stayed there. I heard that Muhammad Ali, Lynda Carter, Gregory Peck, Dovie Beams, and countless CIA operatives stayed at the Manila Hilton, but I don't have any photographic proof. Architectural shots of the Barrio Hilton by the swimming pool, and the Coral Ballroom would also be much appreciated. And any photo of Ninoy Aquino being whisked away from the hotel by the police a day after martial law was declared will get my eternal gratitude.

Hope to hear from you all soon.

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

My friend Katya and her family just opened up a GORGEOUS boutique photo studio/art/performance space in Pioneer Street in Pasig. It's really near PC Center and H&M. It's an amazing place right out of the movie Blow Up.  It's really one of the most glamorous performance/photo/event spaces I have ever seen in Manila. Go there this Friday.  I know I am. My friend Donna is performing.

WEWILLBEWAITINGATTHETURNING: DANCE + LIVE SOUND PERFORMANCE 

CHOREOGRAPHY / DONNA MIRANDA
CAST / DONNA MIRANDA / RED LASAM / CLARISSA MIJARES
LIVE SOUND / RIA MUÑOZ / ATCHOO ILAGAN

8 PM NOVEMBER 27 (Thursay)-28 (Friday)
PIONEER STUDIOS 123 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City

Counting broken paths in between breath and deeply drawn sighs. Together our bodies traverse the familiar borders of an imagined territory. On the bleeding edges of time, history marks the body. What is left of the traces? As we continue to wait by the tangent of each crossing every glance, heave and exhalation carries an energy contained within. Underneath some kind of rage perhaps? Shadows catching emotions held back in favor of inertia and momentum. 

In this new piece, Donna Miranda and The Lovegangsters beg the not-so-obvious. Heeding incessant calls to shut up and dance. Yet taking the not-so-easy route of restraint whilst writing the contours and layers of its physicality. And because the most violent thing to do is to do nothing, emotions will be put aside in favor of the somber. Peeling away the veneer of myth-making that is burden of dance. Like the potter who tempers clay or the craftsman who talks to glass, breathe is tamed into form that bring silent guilty pleasures. Out of the mold we break. See you at the turning!

The Lovegangsters is an open collective of artists, autodidacts, hangers-on and talkers working in contemporary dance, sound, new media and performance. Established in January 2008 by Donna Miranda as platform to initiate creative frameworks for multidisciplinary intervention and art actions. It seeks to bring together thinkers and doers from diverse scholarly, cultural and artistic backgrounds to re-assert the practical position of art in our daily lives yet also advancing performance studies in the Philippines. It has since mounted performance projects in Manila, Yokohama and Berlin strengthening its links with the local and regional community of artists working in contemporary performance.

Pioneer Studios is a new 224 square meter boutique photo studio and events place catering
to the publishing, advertising and art+design industries.

Admission price: 500 Pesos (Admits 2 Persons)
Cash Bar: Beer, Wine and Soda

Presented by The Lovegangsters in cooperation with Pioneer Studios
For inquiries call 623 7683 or 0926 6635606
thelovegansters@gmail.com 
shoot@pioneerstudios.ph

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LETTERS IN THE BAG..

Just received this letter from a Mr. Dave from Florida, a man who used to work as a consultant in the PopCom of the Philippines back in 1972.  Dave offers a very interesting insight into how population management affects economic development.  He also presents an interesting analysis on why it didn't work in the Philippine setting.  Now remember, his experience is from more than 30 years ago.  I am pleased to know though that a few things have changed for the better since he was here in the early 70's.  Most interesting of all is that the Iglesia Ni Kristo is Pro-Reproductive Health nowadays, a huge shift from their position back then.  Photo above (Crowded Maternity Ward in Manila - Reuters).

Dear Carlos,
Why are South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and now China rich, and why is the Philippines poor? Demography is destiny. The dependency burden is the killer and the Philippines has one of the worst dependency burdens in the world.

Following is my story as a public health practitioner. When I was 36 I had lived in the Third World for half my life, in post-war Japan and Guam and the Philippines in the 1940s and 1950s, in Korea and Taiwan in the 1960s when they were impoverished, and in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Turkey in the early 1970s. I speak from experience. Nothing I say is theoretical or academic.

I am truly saddened that the Philippines has opted to be poor due not to "foreign oppression" but to lack of demographic understanding. I have to start out by telling you that I am old, but that will become apparent as you read through the narrative. My degrees are in Sociology and Anthropology from Cornell, and a Masters in Public Health from Berkeley. My story starts in post-war Japan. I was born before the Second World War. I visited the Philippines and Japan first in 1948 as a US military dependent. In the Philippines I saw a country climbing out of the ashes of the war, at about the same economic level as Japan where I saw first hand the destructive power of the carpet bombing of Tokyo. My guess then would have been that the Philippines would be a rich country in 60 years and that Japan would still be poor. Boy was I wrong!

I was in Asia again in 1954 and 1955, during and after the Korean War, when I was in high school. I noticed then that the Japanese were very intent on exactly reproducing themselves, not overdoing it in the reproduction department. The average family at that time had two kids and they invested heavily in their children. They put all their money in making sure that their children never went through what they had suffered, and they saw that the path to success was to have two children, invest in their kids' education, get them into good jobs and that would be their path to family, community and national economic security. From my first visits to Japan in 1948 to my last visit there in 2007 I have seen a country go from flat on its back to one of the very strongest economies in the world.

From 1967 to 1972, I was fortunate to work as a consultant in two countries where the governments used voluntary programs and succeeded in drastically reducing population growth with some measure of assistance from the international community. These were South Korea and Taiwan (although Taiwan is not literally a country, but a province of China). Their achievement is best measured by the Total Fertility Rate or Live births per average woman in her reproductive lifetime. In South Korea and Taiwan we took the TFR from above 5, which implies doubling every 20 years, to 2, which is replacement level, in a generation. In each country it is now well below replacement level. We did this through massive intervention as I will explain below. I then worked in one country where we failed miserably to achieve the desired fertility reductions, the Philippines, and I can tell you why we failed.

In each country I served formally as the Information, Education and Communication Consultant to the Ministry of Health, Family Planning Division. In each country I also served informally as a consultant to the Ministry of Education, where I helped with curriculum design. I was supported by foundation money.

We succeeded in Korea and Taiwan because there was a strong government push for reduced fertility and we were able to communicate this mind-set to every citizen, including school children and young adults, grown-ups of child-bearing age, and elders. Everyone could look around their peninsula or island and say, "This is enough."

In Korea and Taiwan there was first a trust in centralized government and in the top down process of distributing government largesse. This is an artifact of the Confucian system of respect for the hierarchy. The central government, the provincial government, the county and township and village governments were all saying the same thing. There was no organized opposition from any religious organization and there was no ethnic minority saying, "we are being outbred." Children were surviving at an unprecedented rate, and economies were in transition as people left the countryside where child labor was a plus, for the city where children were a financial burden. Education was free through middle school and everyone stayed in school as long as the family could afford.

The message was clear and repeated in road signs, in pamphlets, in curriculum and on radio and TV - "Girls and Boys are Equal, Two is Enough!" This was a really powerful and shocking statement, putting the word "Girls" in front of "Boys" and saying something so patently unsupported by historical observation, that two children would be enough. The shocking statements were explained by government officials and university professors and other respected leaders telling the media that in the new era you did not need 3 or 4 boys to continue the family name, and to bring the family into the modern era, that improvements in health care and opportunities for education made the two child family viable, and that the land and the economy could support those two children, but not three or more. There were no restrictions against birth control or abortion in either country.

After my success in Korea and Taiwan I was identified as a person who could help other countries through the demographic transition, and I was invited by the Philippine government to serve in a similar advisory capacity, from January 1972. Upon arrival in the Philippines I was asked by Dr. Conrado Lorenzo, Director of the Population Commission (PopCom) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to report on how the experience of Korea and Taiwan might help the Philippines. Unstated in this request was the implicit understanding that there was about $50,000,000 in immediately available foreign aid that could be gotten to support a plan that would have the same effect in the Philippines as we had in Korea and Taiwan. 

My report to the Population Commission was not well received. Population Commission was broadly representative of the Philippine society with representatives from all the major government departments, including health, education, labor, social welfare, housing, etc. They wanted to achieve the replacement levels that they saw coming in both Korea and Taiwan and had brought me in to tell them how to obtain that result. They wanted to reduce the dependency ratio, the number of children that had to be supported by each working family. However, in the Philippines I was able to find 13 factors that mitigated against any such success. The government of Ferdinand Marcos was not universally trusted at every level. There were over 100 separate languages that were coded by the Census Bureau and many of these linguistic subgoups were afraid of being "outbred" by the others, particularly the politically dominant Tagalogs, who were not the numerical majority. 

The Catholic Church was against the program, as was the most vociferous non-Catholic sect, the Iglesia ni Cristo, which was afraid of being outbred by the Catholics. Child mortality was high, health care was poor in the rural areas and the city slums, the gap between the rich and the poor was growing, there were few alternative roles for women besides wife and mother, and everyone had a relative in the US or knew someone who had a relative in the US, so they felt there was a place to send their excess children. 

There was little access to any birth control except the rhythm method, and abortion was absolutely illegal. The PopCom clinics did prescribe pills and insert IUDs but the Church fought this movement through their Responsible Parenthood Council. Free education stopped before 6th grade for most, illiteracy was rampant, rural development was underfunded meaning no lights in the village, there was no adequate social welfare system to help those who did not have large families to support destitute citizens, basically life was a lottery and the more tickets you bought (children) the more likely you were to succeed.

Most telling were the responses in Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys in the three countries. In Korea and Taiwan most people automatically listed the keys to success in the following order:

1. Hard work
2. Education
3. Contacts (mostly school alumni)
4. Family
5. Luck

Filipinos usually ranked the steps to success in the following order:

1. Luck
2. Family
3. Contacts (mostly under the table or overseas)
4. Education
5. Hard work

My report concluded that until the society changed in every way, money sunk into family planning programs would be entirely wasted. That was not what the Popcom wanted to hear, and I was marginalized after that report came out.

Here is the crux of the matter.

In the mid 1960s South Korea and the Philippines had about the same population, about 30,000,000 and had about the same per capita income, around $1,200 per year.

According to the Population Reference Bureau South Korea in mid 2006 had a population of 48,500,000 and a per capita GDP of $21,800, and a TFR of 1.1, implying a population that will eventually fall by 2050 to 42,000,000, a population size which we may assume can be sustained at a high level of economic and social development indefinitely. South Korea has become a Developed Country.

The Philippines in mid 2006 had a population of 86,000,000 and a per capita GDP of $5,000, which is very poorly distributed, a TFR of 3.8, implying a population that will rise by 2050 to 142,000,000. The Philippines has become, in my estimation, a "Never to be Developed Country," not a "Developing Country."

Do you get the difference? Korea went from 30 million to 48 million, increasing by half, and the Philippines went from 30 million to 90 million, tripling in size. The experiment is OVER. High fertility over a long period of time CAUSES stagnation and poverty. Low fertility over a long period of time CAUSES economic growth. Having 3 or more children per woman is suicide.

China's economic success today is due to the lowering burden of a reduced dependency ratio. China has succeeded brilliantly in reducing fertility in a single generation through the One Child policy. China's TFR is now 1.6. Their population is now 1,300,000,000 and will not go much over 1,400,000,000 by mid-century. They are riding the boom of decreased dependency ratio. In the long term it is the dependency ratio that will determine a country's fate, since every added dependent above one or two is a drain on the family and on society. China is already importing Filipinos and Vietnamese to work in their factories.

With this information as a basis, can we begin to talk about effective means for solving the ongoing world population crisis? Countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mexico and sub-saharan African nations still have 5 or 6 kids per woman during her reproductive lifetime. According to Population Reference Bureau the Less Developed World (without China) has a 2006 population of 4,028,000,000, growing at a TFR of 3.4, with a projection in 2050 of 6,545,000,000. That is 2,507,000,000 added mouths to feed in a world that is growing less food, catching less fish, increasing the size of deserts, losing entire fresh water sources, depleting ground water, becoming far more polluted and on the brink of swift ecological decline through global warming. That means we need to somehow accommodate an additional population of young people whose numbers will equal the entire world population in 1955. There is a limit to the carrying capacity of the planet. Are we rats? Who wants to live at the level of quality of life of the Philippine village when you could live like a South Korean or a Chinese?

Population is still the number one problem on Earth, since all other problems stem from the fact that there are just too many of us humans, and everyone wants the American lifestyle. We have pumped up everybody's expectations to an unsupportable level and now we need to face that fact. As Thomas Malthus said, "Nature will take care of the population problem in time, either through adjustments to the birth rate or to adjustments to the death rate."

So, Carlos, how do we proceed? Can the Philippines really afford not to take aggressive action to legalize and actively promote contraceptive use? I am so sorry to have seen this 60 year descent into population abyss for the Philippines when the surrounding countries went to the mountaintop in the same era.

Dave

So guys, remember, STAY VIGILANT. The bill still has not passed.  The Catholic Church is still using their bullying ways to influence some spineless congressmen. READ HERE:  If we let the bishops derail this bill one more time, it will only prove that the Philippines has no place in the developed world and truly deserves to be an overpopulated, underdeveloped, unhealthy, and uneducated nation forever. Oh, and for more on the hypocrisy and homophobia of the Catholic Church hierarchy. Click here.  

And I'll start posting lighter stuff soon...  But it's hard to do so with the debates on the RH bill coming up so soon in Congress. Really, it's the only thing on my mind nowadays.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE CFC ISSUES FINALLY CLARIFIED - POINT BY POINT...


Remember the Couples For Christ Petition against HB5043? You know, the one where they try to mislead people into thinking that the bill can send people TO JAIL just for being pro-life? Well, on a pro-lifer blog, A person named Caffeine Sparks clarifies all the issues for us on her blog. Please send this post to folks who need to know the TRUTH behind the Reproductive Health Bill.

Now CFC = Couples for Christ FFL and afterwards comes the clarification.

CFC: 1. As employers, do you agree to be compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to your employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or fine, for every time that you fail to comply? Section 17 states that employers shall provide for the free delivery of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers more particularly women workers. (Read the Definition of Reproductive Health and Rights Section 4, paragraph g, Section 21, Paragraph c and Section 22 on Penalties)

CLARIFICATION: The bill complements already existing provisions in the Labor Code which mandates employers to provide family planning services and incentives to their employees. The labor code also prohibits employers to deny these benefits to women employees to avoid having pregnancy be a reason for employment termination. The bill expands on these provisions by mandating free RH services and commodities to their employees providing of course that employees request them (Labor Code Article 134 (a-b) and Article 137(a1-a3).

CFC: 2. As health care providers, do you agree that you should be subjected to imprisonment and/or fine, if you fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient’s civil status, gender, religion or age? (Read Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Par 1 to 5 and Sec 22 on Penalties)

CLARIFICATION: The bill's penalties are primarily geared towards preventing health care providers from refusing to offer RH services based on the client’s personal circumstances. Those who refuse to render services on account of religious convictions will not be penalized provided that they immediately refer clients to others with the same facilities. Provided also that the client is not in an emergency or serious case as defined by RA 8344.

CFC: 3. As a Spouse, do you agree that your husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy without your consent or knowledge? (read Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraph 2)

CLARIFICATION: The bill does penalize those who refuse to perform vasectomy or ligation on a person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization. Once a spouse has sought these services, it is assumed he or she has done so in consultation with his or her partner. It is no longer within the purview of the law and the state whether he or she has decided to undergo these procedures without the express consent of the partner. A husband does not own his wife's body and vice versa.

CFC: 4. As parents, do you agree that children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and “safe” sex life as part of their school curriculum? Reproductive Health Education will be mandatory from Grade 5 to the end of High School (see Sec 12 on Reproductive Health Education and Sec 4 Definition of Family Planning and reproductive Health, Par b,c and d)

CLARIFICATION: The bill endorses age-appropriate sexuality education to ensure that young Filipinos have the right information while instilling values for them to exercise responsible decision-making in matters of sex and reproductive health. Section 12 lists the main elements of the proposed sexuality education to be incorporated in school curricula. The bill does not contain specifics on having a “satisfying and safe sex life.”

The following are the general topics to be taken up in sexuality education class mentioned in the bill:

1. Reproductive health and sexual rights
2. Reproductive health care and services
3. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behaviour and sexual health
4. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications
5. Responsible parenthood
6. Use and application of natural and modern family planning to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies
7. Abstinence before marriage
8. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders
9. Responsible sexuality
10. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services

So, yeah. No details on kama sutra.

Also, only teachers who agree to teach sexuality education will undergo training.

CFC: 5. Do you agree that you should be subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting “malicious disinformation”? (See Sec 21 on Prohibited Acts, Par f and Sec 22 on Penalties)

If you answered NO to any of the questions above, then you are not for RH Bill 50433. Read the bill. You will find more objecrtionalble provisions such as losing our parental authority over a minor child who was raped and found pregnant (sec 21, 1, no. 3), reclassifying contraceptives as essential medicines (Section 10) and appropriating limited government funds to reproductive services instead of basic services (Section 23).

CLARIFICATION: In accordance with the law, the bill does not curtail every individual’s right of free speech. To express disagreement or dissent against the merits of legislation is the cornerstone of any democratic society.

HB 5043 does penalize any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of the Act. This includes such acts as claiming that the bill will punish parents who, in good conscience, disallow their children to attend sexuality education class.

Now re: CFC's claim that contraceptives are ALREADY available in drugstores for everyone so the bill is reduntant:

CLARIFICATION: If you are a family of 8 living on minimum wage, family planning commodities will probably not be high on your list.

This country has a lot of things freely available on the market. Unfortunately not everyone has the economic freedom to buy them.

Fact: only 51.6 percent of currently married (and in union) women of reproductive age practice any kind of family planning (please see NSO and NSCB sites).

Fact: The Philippines has a 15.7 percent "unmet need" which means they express wanting only 2 or 3 children but end up having more for reasons such as lack of access, lack of purchasing power or lack of knowledge (again check NSO and NSCB sites).

Fact: the Philippines has the highest maternal and child mortality for a country of its level of development - and also in comparison with its neighbors.

Fact: the Philippines is 1 of 6 predominantly Catholic countries with no comprehensive reproductive health program. The rest have seen the light.

Fact: Abortion is happening whether the Church acknowledges it or not. 475,000+ annually is the conservative estimate.

Fact: Contraceptive prevalence lowers abortion rates.

THANK YOU SO MUCH SPARKS FOR CLARIFYING THESE ISSUES, SPARKS. I HOPE THIS ANSWERS MANY PEOPLE'S QUESTIONS RE: THE CFC PETITION...

Please spread this post.

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THINGS TO DO FOR A BETTER PHILIPPINES...

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY...

It started off as a regular Sunday morning for me. The sun was shining, the air was clear, it couldn't have been a more perfect day for a tour of Intramuros. But when I got to San Agustin Church and saw one of those "We Oppose The RH Bill HB5043" signature sheets outside the front door, things changed a bit. At around ten am, near the end of my run, I saw a bunch of hastily xeroxed "coupon bond" petition papers with the words "We Oppose the Reproductive Health Bill" slathered all over the top. Right there and then, I stopped in my tracks and stared at it. And even though I have seen this petition for many Sundays prior, today was different. It seemed like time stopped and a spotlight washed over me - and the papers.  Flapping in the warm electric fan wind of the church, the list started to taunt me.  Each flap reminded me of all the years and lives that were wasted by the Catholic hierarchy's opposition to "Family Planning". Each flap was a backstreet abortion that could have been avoided if some poor mother had access to contraceptives.  Each flap reminded me of how the Catholic Church heirarchy will once again use heavy handed bullying and the propagation of lies to get their way with cowardly Philippine politicians.

And I don't know what came over me, but the next thing I knew was that I saw a pair of hands -my hands - reaching up for it, tearing it off the wall, and violently crumpling it into a wad. All this in full view of all my guests.  I was so livid, I had to take a break from touring to catch my breath.  And when the red veils finally lifted from my eyes, I realized that I felt, well, pretty good. So good that on my way home, I stopped by Malate Church and tore off the "Say No to RH Bill" tarpaulin banner that was hanging over the side entrance and ripped it to ribbons.

And you know what?  I highly recommend to anyone out there who shares my sentiments that you do the same. The act is absolutely liberating, the satisfaction was instantaneous, and believe it or not, nobody tried to stop me or arrest me.  And I'm telling you, whether it be through the bold physical destruction of the Church's attempts to interfere in politics, or the simple act of enlightening someone who blindly opposes the bill about how misguided they are, it feels wonderful to just let the people around you - and the Church itself - know that there are members of the flock who are not going to be led to slaughter easily regarding this matter.  

Can't wait for next Sunday.

Oh, and thanks Audrey N. Carpio for the lovely article on why Congressmen Should Join Facebook.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!

THANK YOU GAZILLIONS Forbes Magazine (www.forbes.com) and Straits Times (www.straitstimes.com) for featuring the battle currently raging in Congress about the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043).  And how sweet of you to give me the closing remarks.

Log onto the article here and here.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

Just last week, I gave a big shout out to Marie Claire Magazine for their great three page feature on the Reproductive Health Bil (HB5043). Now, I'm shouting once again because of their generosity. Summit Media has just donated 250 copies of the RH issue (above, the one with Judy Anne Santos on the cover) that we are going to slam onto the tables of Congressmen once session opens on Monday, November 10. Hope this shows them that people are supporting this bill, that media has picked up on it, and that it's imperative that they pass the bill immediately.  

And if you haven't yet, sign the online petition now at rhbill.com. Each name is counted and listed and sent to Congress. Spread the word.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

OYE! OYE! OYE!

Just because I annoyingly defend and promote all things Conyo Kid in this town, kindly allow me to plug a Spanish rock concert being thrown in Intramuros.  Standstill, one of Barcelona's edgiest rock acts, is flying into town to perform at Puerta Real Gardens in Intramuros for one night only.  So if you are looking for something really hip and interesting to do next week, forget Greenbelt and Eastwood and head out to the walled city by Luneta Park on Friday, November 14, 2008. The performance starts at 9:00pm.  And best of all, it's fricking free.  I don't know about you, but I'm going to be there.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

LIGHTS, CAMERA, STORE...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...
And it's done. That little room in Intramuros I got has finally been fixed up.  After a couple of months of good ol' hard work, sweat, and spit, the hardwood floors have finally been waxed, the electricals/plumbing fixed, and of course, a chandelier hoisted up on high.  

So allow me to present "La Monja Loca" (The Crazy Nun), the gift store of Walk This Way tours.  Set within a courtyard next to San Agustin inside Intramuros, "La Loca" will sell Filipino handicrafts and pasalubong, postcards, objets d' art, tourist maps, and whatever else. I'm are also collaborating with Barbara's Restaurant to create a little cafe situation right in the courtyard itself and I'm in talks with some artist folks to hold events in there. I want the place to feel like the apartment of an eccentric personality that lived in Intramuros in the last century.  I hope that it could become the grooviest little shop that the walled city never had. Here are some preview shots below (pardon the mess and the crappy product display, I still need help setting up the store and need help finding suppliers of products - it's still a work in progress).

So come on down and check it out.  And for all you folks out there who make cool interesting Filipino stuff that could be consigned, please gimme a holler and let's try to get your stuff in there before my tour groups start crowding the store this holiday season.

LA MONJA LOCA
3a Plaza San Luis,
Gen. Luna Street
Intramuros, Manila
0920 9092021


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

AND THE WINNERS ARE...


Isabelle Ramos, Dodie Householder, Rosa Mia Balolong, Chuvaness, and Straydog.

Congrats, guys!  Hope you enjoy your HAPPY FEET sandals as much as I do! Gimme an email or text to claim the prize.

And for all my American friends out there, get out and vote!  I can't take the tension anymore. I have been watching CNN non-stop for the last two days, my eyes are bleeding.  Let's get this done...

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT.


I have never met this Seige Malvar but I dig his blog.  The observations he writes on his livejournal about the pressing problems of our country are a fantastic insight into what people are thinking nowadays. It seems that a new generation of Filipinos have a more nuanced idea of what is wrong in our society and are letting word out about what really needs to be done to fix it. And who can blame him for thinking such thoughts? The status quo ain't working and the failures of it are difficult to hide. And apparently Siege realized this all while looking at a plastic bag in the supermarket... Bravo for speaking out Siege, Bravo for pointing out that Congressman Abante is an idiot, and Bravo for making sense in your own little way:  

If I were to speak in front of the United Nations right now, tonight, this very instant, I'd tell the Union, that my country's biggest, most serious, and most immediate problem is the Church.

I can change my mind next week, though. I can go back to my original stance--which seems to be everyone's favorite-- that the government and its Armed Forces is the Philippines' greatest oppressor. But for tonight, I'm very much sure of this: everything is the church's fault. Which has been for the past 500 years, if you think about it.

Read the rest HERE...

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