Whatever happened to the 2007 Palanca?

I don’t even know if my entries to the 2007 Palanca Awards — a short story and a fiction for children (both in Filipino) — managed to get the attention of the judges. Many times I imagined how their jaws dropped in disbelief while reading the stories written by a pathetic guy who had had too much time in his hands to scribble trash and idiocy. Sorry to disappoint them, but I'm planning to send them another maisterpiece. That's how stubborn I am. If I lose again, no pressure and regrets at all. At least I tried.

I'm quite surprised myself at how enthusiastic I have become in this stuff. I can attribut this to my Creative Writing subject in college, in which my professor was Rogelio OrdoƱez. He opened my eyes to the works of Filipino fictionists such as Edgardo M. Reyes, Rogelio Sicat, Dominador Mirasol and Efren Abueg who all co-authored the “Mga Agos sa Disyerto,” one of the best short story anthologies in the history of Philippine fiction. And that “emancipation” opened the door for reading more works of Filipino fictionists including Lualhati Bautista and Rosario de Guzman-Lingat, eventually introducing me to foreign fictionists such as Hemmingway, O’Henry, Chekhov, Asimov, Maupassant, etc. Perhaps to satisfy my ego, quench my literary thirst or just to express myself — I don’t know exactly why I have been drawn to write short stories recently. Anyhow, I take it as a good justification to my staying late at night and my harboring weird concepts after concepts — in short, pagtulala sa isang tabi (laugh). I have no idea whether this enthusiasm is for short or long term, but wouldn’t it be nice to write when you’re brimming with ideas? It would be a total waste not to put all those ideas into written forms — however bad one may think those are. The thing is, it’s fun to dream and create a world from your own viewpoint and then virtually “realizing” them through writing fiction. ^_^

Anyway, the list of winners for 2007 can be found in Carlos Palanca website, or you may go to the new Philippine online encyclopedia, Wikipilipinas. It’s an encylopedia that uses Wikipedia’s format under GNU Free Documentation License. I have already registered in the site and made some contributions (editing, writing, etc.), all for the glory of sharing information and knowledge. Like Wikipedia, Wikipilipinas is a cool and easily-accessible site; although one may find some information missing or inadequate, it’s only normal for a young site which is fed on information contributed by volunteers, so I guess some criticisms against Wikipilipinas are uncalled for. Remember that Britannica Encyclopedia once criticized Wikipedia for plagiarism and content issues, stating years ago that Wiki lacked significant information and authority. Wiki was young that time, barely a year old. But what happened after some years? It has now millions of articles that provide helpful information to everybody, nth times more than Britannica or any other existing encyclopedia for that matter! Moreover, Wiki decided to make its source program open, so others may copy and use it for educational purposes. Why did they do that? It's because they want people to use their software to spawn some new knowledge sites like Wikipilipinas, all for the sake of expanding an open and free online reference.

I believe that nobody has a monopoly over knowledge, and the question of redundancy of informative site only dwells in the minds of illiberal and envious people. Wikipilipinas is a fine and welcome addition. Besides, it is free!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | 3 comments
Last Sunday, Kuchi and I went to a Chinese restaurant in Cogeo to celebrate my godson’s 2nd birthday. Before that, we had had one of those heated petty quarrels that seem inscribed in BF-GF relationships. But just like always, we had patched things up so quickly that we forgot the whole thing when we got in the restaurant. In no time things’ become so mushy again. The affair was impromptu and the assigned host didn't come, so my godson’s mother---a single mom---needed to drag a teen to do the job. Without preparation and forethought of what she’s going to do with the improvised program written in a piece of paper, she tried to entertain the crowd, mostly children, with game after game, until she ran out of ideas and turned the affair into a singing contest (laugh). And then the owner of the restaurant tried to make the affair a formal one and convinced one of the godparents to give an inspirational speech, sort of a toast, and I was singled out to do that. Although most of my friends said that the speech was inspiring enough to get the attention of people, I realized that some of the things I said were ridiculous. Besides, I told the crowd that my message would be short; instead, it went long, about 3 minutes, with 1/3 of it went to a boring, corny introduction. Afterward, we went to the Robinson Metro East with some friends to look for something to give to another friend of ours, Hector, who is getting married on September 29. Most of my friends and classmates have been settling down lately, I notice. Well, Kuchi and I have already talked about it ourselves and have decided to do the knot-tying thing next year (yay!). We are now preparing for it, and we want to do it without busting our tight budget. But the cost of everything is really blowing us away. Well, that’s just the way marriages are, no matter how you try to make it simple and inexpensive. But we just hope that, in the end, money will not be a headache. We are now saving up. Remember the last time I said I might scrape a living and eat boy bawang for lunch? That may happen LOL. Anyhow, to all the people out there who are generous, the donation box is already open and waiting for you LOL.
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Bank accounts and checks were presented, big-time witnesses surfaced, alleged accomplices apprehended, bail petitioned thrown out — one would indeed be led to believe that President Joseph “Erap” Estrada is guilty of the charges of perjury and plunder. I was led to believe that, too. So when the SandiganBayan issued the verdict just hours ago, finding Erap guilty of the plunder (acquitted in perjury), it didn’t came like an ear-splitting, roaring thunder to me. Or at least to me...

Guilty. I pity Erap. Pero ang batas ay batas...
ERAP IS GUILTY. But is it the END?

Before this verdict, I'd been thinking of two political scenarios why Erap would be found guilty. The verdict will be a substantiation — or nullification — of the Edsa Dos . Consequently, this will be a question of Arroyo Administration’s legitimacy. If the verdict is not guilty — and Erap would be acquitted — then it would mean that the military and businessmen-backed “revolution” was wrong. Why would you unsit a president because of false allegations? It would be a clear “power grab” by civil society, the Church and political groups. If the verdict is not guilty, then Erap should still be the president today.

On the other scenario, if he is found guilty, he would be “martyrized” by his loyalists who account for more than 50 percent of Metro Manila residents. Apart from that, if Erap do not accept presidential pardon, people who are not loyal to Estrada or those who do not consider themselves pro-Erap may easily switch support and give sympathy to Estrada. A mob with a huge number of pro-Erap supporters could easily “politicize” the AFP and, as a chain effect, could repeat the same Edsa Revolution used to topple Erap.

But the verdict has been issued. I'm no lawyer, but I believe an SC's reversal of the Sandigan Bayan’s decision would illicit legal consequences as it would contradict former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and the company’s acceptance and validation of GMA’s presidency in 2001. Therefore, it is either Erap goes to jail and serve the remaining reclusion perpetua punishment meted out against him, or he accepts presidential pardon GMA would give him. But Erap just stated in public that he will not accept presidential pardon if convicted guilty and is ready to serve his sentence in Muntinlupa. But would millions of Erap passionate supporters let him go to jail without a fight or show of force, in legal way or in mass actions?
Monday, September 3, 2007 at Monday, September 03, 2007 | 7 comments
Yesterday, I accompanied Tatay to the Riverbanks Mall where we bought a digital karaoke surround amplifier. He finally decided to return the other amplifier at home which we had just borrowed from my uncle. Honestly speaking, I don’t see the need to purchase an amplifier. I mean we don't have a mobile/sound system business or anything. Sound coming from TV or CD/DVD component is enough for me. But Tatay wished to have our golden voices heard hundred feet away from our house while we sing, and I figured it’s not bad an idea after all (laugh). The only catch was that he had me pay for the amplifier. He was just taking me for a ride! What a wise guy. Good thing we didn’t look for an expensive amplifier... or I’d be spending the next days eating Boy Bawang for lunch. “Basta maganda ang tunog at malakas, okay na yun,” my old man said. The one that we picked was a bit bigger than a car stereo and a hair’s breadth better than my uncle’s amplifier in terms of size and looks (of course, size and looks don’t really matter in sound quality). If I recall it right, the nutty brand is Meque. Of all names you could give to a piece of technology.
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