When I tweeted about what an awesome experience it was for me to have my biometrics done in the comfort of a shopping mall and wished I could vote under the same conditions, I did not expect the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to take me seriously.
Well, Comelec did last November 3 and we can now vote in shopping malls for the 2016 national elections.
There are 39 million Filipinos between the ages 18 and 35. There are 40 million Filipinos on Facebook. The hashtag #AlDubEBTamangPanahon got over 41 million tweets, setting a new Twitter world record. And we only need around 20 million votes to elect the next president of the Philippines.
How do we harness all that energy being poured by Filipinos into social media to change the country? By telling and sharing good stories that connect people to one another.
While we are preoccupied with who’s running and not running for president in 2016, Playboy, the glossy men’s magazine known for its nude centerfolds, has decided to stop publishing images of naked women on its pages.
It looks like pictures of naked bodies of women are no longer as profitable as it used to be. As Playboy’s chief executive Scott Flanders said in an interview with the New York Times: “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
And here I am thinking that it is because the world is starting to take women seriously and are now seen as more than just their sexual body parts. It turns out it’s just business, after all.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many etiquette guides for women — telling them how to behave, what to think, and where their place in society is — but there are hardly any such nonsense for men?
Take for example the “Etiquette for Mistresses,” the best-selling book penned by Jullie Yap Daza and now made into a Chito Roño movie. The first rule is: “Know your place. You are not number one.”
It might as well be a rule for all women, not just mistresses. Because if we look at the behavior of and listen to some traditional politicians from the ruling Liberal Party (LP), women exist for the pleasure and entertainment of men. Yes, they can even be “gifted” to politicians on their birthdays and on their anniversaries celebrating many years of public service.
If Heneral Luna does not win the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 2016, it will not matter. Because I already know it is the best. And I don’t need American validation for it to be true.
Heneral Luna is a movie that is beautifully crafted — conceptually, technically, and politically. It has high production values at the same time it has integrity in the sense that the filmmaker, Jerrold Tarog, told the story as he imagined it and the final product came out resembling his vision of it going in.
In a “Behind the Scenes” interview, Tarog, who also co-wrote the screenplaywith Ed Rocha, shared that his inspiration in making the film about Antonio Luna was to show what Nick Joaquin noted as the tendency of Filipinos to attempt to build something together but end up collapsing and being in pieces. And Tarog was able to tell that tragic story beautifully.
It is really more fun in the Philippines. Especially when it’s election season. And it gets even more fun when there’s a presidential election. Add the fact that the Philippines is considered as “the social media capital of the world,” expect all that fun to go viral quickly.
This week, it was very amusing for me to see presidential candidates Mar Roxas and Jojo Binay reveal a bit of their true selves through social media. Roxas with his “Happy Anniversary” greeting to his “fellow veterans of the Zamboanga siege” on Facebook on September 9 and Binay and the trending tweets with the satirical hashtag BinayBwisitsUPLB after he got roasted during a forum on governance, transparency and social transformation at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) on September 15.
Like most Filipinos I have been baptized under the Roman Catholic religion, the default religion in this country. It’s the religion my parents and their parents belonged to. They did not have to think about it or choose among many other options out there. There was no doubt in their minds that their child will be raised a Catholic. I can imagine it is more of a struggle for other families whose members have diverse religious beliefs.
The recent news involving the conflict within the ranks of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) highlighted the role of organized religion in the lives of people. I have always wondered what it is like to be a religious fanatic; to have this uncritical zeal and obsessive enthusiasm related to one’s own devotion to a religion. So I watch with fascination how this INC drama is unfolding.
I miss those days when everything in Davao City was only five minutes away. I grew up in Pardo de Tavera Street, which is practically in the center of things. It’s walking distance to schools, to the hospital, to People’s Park (it was still PTA then), to Central Bank. It’s one AC jeep ride away to the city center and I can just walk to San Pedro, the city’s main street, in case there’s a transport strike.
So the concept of driving my own car — in fact, the whole idea of having a car in the first place — never appealed to me. And that is why I never learned how to drive.
I have watched and listened to a fair share of State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) given by many presidents. I have even helped draft a few of them in the past. They’re all written in a way that would put a positive spin on their administration and give people hope that things are better under their leadership and that the best is yet to come.
But the kind of SONA delivered by President Noynoy Aquino every year is different from the rest. And I cannot help but wonder if his writing team is composed of teleserye (soap opera) scriptwriters or if he borrows writers from his sister Kris Aquino’s television show. Or maybe his SONA is simply PNoy’s true personality shining through. And that personality reveals a cacique mentality.
It has been said that the most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. That is a famous quote from Lord Acton in “The History of Freedom in Antiquity” (1877).
Mahatma Gandhi also said: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
On that note, I am so proud to be living in a city that knows the difference between ordinary criminals and true revolutionaries.