Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2010

For my choices for 2010's Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs,  I am nominating blogs from the SoCCSKSarGen area: 

1. Gandaeversomuch.com
Because Orman is Your Royal Gandaness, that's all, thank you!
2. http://alexiscee.blogspot.com/
A young college grad whose blog is worth emulating.
3. http://kikaymuch.me/
Donna Mae Congson's beauty tips are practical and doable for women as well as for men.
4. http://marcopolo.i.ph/
This travel blog lives up to its name, Boy Palaboy!
5. http://gensangems.blogspot.com
The scientist in the kitchen chronicles her life in Gensan
6. http://nanardxz.blogspot.com/
An interesting blog by a young South Cotabateno
7. http://one-south-cotabato.blogspot.com/
A blog that promotes South Cotabato as a tourist spot and as a business destination
8. http://nicethoughtsnthrills.blogspot.com
An OFW's blog on her life with her family in exotic Thailand
9. http://pinoymomtalks.blogspot.com/
Cathy Madueno-Bolodo shares her joys, frustrations and advice on honing this skill called motherhood.
10. http://akosirabsky.blogspot.com/
A young man's blog of his life as a teener and as a college student in Gensan.
This contest has the following sponsors: Events and Corporate Video, Budget hotel in Makati, Pinoy Party Food, Copyediting Services, PR Agency Philippines, Budget Travel Philippines, Send Gifts to the Philippines, Black Friday Deals, Roomrent - units for rent, Search Profile Index, and Corporate Events Organizer.

I Remember

I remember it was NOT the main headline on the evening news of RPN9,  a TV station sequestered by the government during Martial Law broadcasting then in General Santos City via domestic satellite (DOMSAT). We just  finished an early dinner and had gathered in front of the TV set. I was standing when it came on. The news anchor, grim-faced as he read the news, plainly said, Ninoy Aquino has been shot dead. Then, a blur of images made me sit down on our worn sofa. The minor disturbance outside the Manila International Airport, the sad faces, the military men in their johnny-come-lately stance, the media frenzy, Doy Laurel being interviewed. . . Suddenly, the gathering twilight seemed darker. I felt claustrophobic as I twiddled with the collar of my t-shirt. What I saw on TV chilled me to the bones and ignited a spark of anger within me. I was 27 then and on my second year of teaching at a local Catholic college. The date was August 21, 1983.

Ninoy, the man in white, dead on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport
The days and weeks that followed were minimally reported on TV so I had to rely on the mosquito press, a term for the alternative press which reported widely on the Aquino Assassination in spite of the dangers posed by Martial Law. Leading the pack were Mr & Ms, a lifestyle magazine that came out with its tabloid special issues and Malaya newspaper.

Ninoy as thousands saw him during the wake at Santo Domingo church
The wake at Santo Domingo church in Quezon City was filled with people who lined up to pay their respects to Ninoy Aquino. Cory was a picture of a grief-stricken widow. The burial was awe-inspiring as the cortege wound through the streets of Metro Manila while people showered yellow petals and confetti on the truck flatbed carrying Ninoy's casket.
The massive turnout for the burial of Ninoy Aquino
In General Santos, the general atmosphere was nonchalance, at least on the surface. But there was a sense of purpose and urgency as people awaited the arrival of the mosquito press publications which sold like proverbial hot cakes. Articles and photos from these were photocopied, reproduced by way of mimeograph machines and distributed to friends and others in churches and meetings of civic organizations. After more than a decade of  government propaganda, media control and censorship under Martial Law, the people's need here for the truth was that palpable. These publications stoked a fervor that would eventually find expression in the People Power Revolution in 1986.

I wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published in Mr & Ms Special Issue dated December 9, 1983:
I've been following closely your "specials" since you came out with the follow-up No. 1 issue to the Funeral Coverage. In General Santos City, there's always a mad scramble for copies of your "specials." Encouraged by the special attention you give to letter writers to this series, I decided to write you about a very strange coincidence which happened to me. Just a few minutes ago, I was going through my file of posters/chord guides from Jingle Chordbook Magazines when I was struck by a particular one. (Please see the attached copy of said poster.) One page illustrates the quotation of David Russell: "Martyrs Set Bad Examples" with a comic strip-like drawing of someone named Andres (Bonifacio as in Marcial Bonifacio, the alias used by Ninoy Aquino for securing a passport?) who was apparently shot from the back as the bullet was shown piercing his chin (looks familiar?). I don't remember which issue of Jingle Chordbook Magazine it came with, but I am DEFINITE it was before August 21, 1983, probably two months earlier! The coincidence is nothing short of uncanny. This must be what it feels like to have a deja-vu. And it gives me the chills now as when I saw the DOMSAT coverage of the assassination three months ago.
The following year, a reader, R. Canlas, confirmed what I wrote and said that the issue where it came from was the one with Adam Ant on the cover.

What I read in these publications continued to stoke the spark of anger in me. It was a time of re-educating myself. A time to undo what Martial Law did to my young life. I remember and still continue to remember.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Find: Paul Simon Lyrics 1964-2008

Paul Simon: Lyrics 1964-2008

Whenever I go trawling for books at National Book Store and Book Sale, I'm amazed at the serendipitous moments when I come across books I've been looking for (most of which are not of the bestseller variety) or books I never expected to exist. So it is a pleasant surprise to find Paul Simon's book,  Lyrics 1964-2008.

I immediately browsed for my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs and saw this page: April Come She Will. Sheer poetry!
April Come She Will, the lyrics are sheer poetry!

And Mrs. Robinson, composed for the film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. I always sang along this song when it was played on the radio. I saw the film in my 30s because I was still too young to see when it was first  shown in a local cinema. The book is replete with photos too!
And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

The Sound of Silence, a lifesaver of a song
The Sound of Silence is a deep song. I remember getting distracted by these lyrics during my teenage rebellion years in college:

"And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence"

Reading these again after all these years made me realize how timeless the lyrics are.

It's interesting to know the genesis and metamorphosis of some songs composed by Simon
Still Crazy After All These Years. Now this is one song, I'm going to be singing in my twilight (not THAT Twilight, silly!) years.

Graceland in draft and final forms
Graceland is one song I'm belatedly appreciating. I admit I lost interested in the Simon & Garfunkel duo when they split up. In recent years, I've rediscovered Art Garfunkel's vocal artistry and the genius of Paul Simon's lyrical songs.

At P99 for this hardbound book at National Book Store, it is indeed worth all the memories made and yet to be made in the span of my life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Robinsons Place Gensan - Newfound Oasis

On September 30, Robinsons Place Gensan will celebrate its first year in General Santos City. Its full-service mall sits on a floor area of 32,700 square meters that boasts more than a hundred national and local shops on top of its anchor stores: Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliances, Robinsons Movieworld and Handyman-Do-It-Best Home Center. 

For almost a year now, Robinsons Place Gensan has given the people of SoCCSKSarGen its signature Robinsons Mall Experience by emphasizing the tagline: MAS MAGANDA DITO in congruence with the city's brand Magandang Gensan.

As for me, the Robinsons Mall Experience was put to the test from the months of February to May this year when power interruptions in these parts lasted up to 12 hours a day. Being a self-confessed computer geek, my online productivity was severely curtailed by the power outages, at first. Then I found out that Robinsons Place Gensan offers absolutely FREE Wifi access mallwide. Yes, you read it right, ABSOLUTELY FREE WIFI ACCESS MALLWIDE! And it's the FIRST to offer such here in Gensan!

At the height of the power curtailments, we were experiencing an alternating 3-hour outages schedule. And so, during those hours when we had no electricity at home, I would be bringing my laptop to Robinsons Place Gensan to do my online work. Or when there's no pending online work, I'd spend the time watching movies at the plush Cinemaworld, browsing the books at the National Book Store,  exploring the various items at the Handy Man or walking around the wide lobby with my grandkids and nieces while having a taste of the various snacks offered by the food stalls scattered strategically inside the mall. The kids just love the rides and games at Quantum. We have discovered an oasis in Robinsons Place Gensan where we take refuge from the heat and inconvenience of the power outages.

Now it is common sight to see young people doing their mobile surfing/Plurking/Facebooking and yuppies with laptops and netbooks in the mall food court, restaurants and al fresco dining strip at Robinsons Place Gensan. It is also an added bonus that the supermarket hours have been extended to 9:00 p.m. (where they also accept debit card payments) as well as the presence of three ATMs that dispense cash all the time. The atrium features activities and shows for free. It is not uncommon to get a glimpse of your favorite TV and movie stars on  weekends or special occasions.

Robinsons Gensan indeed delivers "easy, breezy and better shopping" for its clientele. I always tell my friends and colleagues that I feel at home at Robinsons Place Gensan. It is where I feel welcome and can hang around with people I like and love. It is an oasis where I find comfort and solace from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Your Royal Gandaness and Me (Close Encounters of the Gandaeversomuch! Kind)

Your Royal Gandaness and me. Pansinin ang kanyang "naughty finger." Heheh
There's simply not just ONE best/unique experience with Orman Manansala 
who is a multi-hyphenated person: 
blogger-banker-dog lover-foodie-brother-uncle-bossing-
bahala na si Batman risk taker-cinemaphile-
friendship-life of the party-kabalen-event organizer-
alumnus par excellence-plurker-benefactor-ninong sa kasal at binyag-
 martir sa ngalan ng love-abo eklabo.

I hope ang sumusunod na close encounters ko with Ormz will do justice 
to the blogger, the man and the friend. 

Ormz and I are still in the getting-to-know-you stage in our friendship. 
It has its share of humps, potholes, and smooth lanes 
as we both cruise around it.
Nagtatrabaho na ako nang gumradweyt si Orman sa hayskul.
(Sa edad, mas malapit si Kuya Avel niya sa akin.)
Ang unang close encounter ko with Ormz was
noong kailangan kong i-defend 
ang aming group business proposal
sa harap niya sa NDDU Graduate School.
Tumatak agad sa akin ang kanyang Taray Factor 
at galing sa pagkilatis ng mga proposal.
Magkakilala na kami pero hindi pa close noon.
Ngayon, happy na ako na close na kami dahil sa
constant plurk at blog events na aming pinagsamahan
at hindi ko pinapangarap na maging closer pa sa kanya
kasi ayon kay Ormz reserved yun sa mga kaaway niya
(Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer).
Your Royal Gandaness and mascot
Hi Gandaness! ang greeting ko sa kanya pag tiniteks ko siya,
otherwise, hindi niya ako tiniteksbak.
After siya nagbertdey last year
may nakita akong tinitindang napakalaki at napakabigat 
na brown frog cement sculpture na inorder ng iba pero
di na binalikan kaya binarat-barat ko 
para may advance krismas gift ako sa kanya.
Agad niya itong bininyagang Official Mascot of Gandaeversomuch!
Nilagay niya ang brown frog sa kanyang munting balkonahe
para may kasama sila ni Chad habang pinapraktis niya
ang monologue ni Juliet:
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
 Hindi ko lang alam kung hinahalikan ni Ormz ito
para ma-transform at maging Prince Charming niya.

Sa pagkakakilala ko kay Ormz (so far),
na maging personal anthem niya ang kantang ito:

I am what I am
I am my own special creation.
So, come take a look, give me the hook or the ovation.
It's my world that I want to take a little pride in.
My world and it's not a place I have to hide in.
Life's not worth a damn till you can say, hey world, I am what I am.

I am what I am
I don't want praise, I don't want pity.
I bang my own drum, something gets noise, I think It's pretty.
And so what if I love each feather and each bangle.
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Life's not worth a damn till you can shout out loud, I am what I am.

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses.
I deal my own deck, sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces.
There's one life and there's no return and no deposit.
One life, so it's time to open up your closet.
Life's not worth a damn till you can say, hey world, I am what I am.

Pag dating kay Ormz,
it's not Take It or Leave It kundi
Take It and Love It!
Your Royal Emoness
Ormz can be Funny, Out, Loud, Brash and 
(Uh oh! eto yung B-word na ayaw banggitin ni Mandi sa sinulat niyang profile ni Ormz)
(May isa pang B-word na bahala na si Avel ang magkuwento sa inyo
na may kinalaman sa mga sirena at dagat.)
Sa mga hindi pa close sa kanya,
ang pagiging funny, out, loud, brash o bitchy niya lang ang naaaninag nila.
Pero sa kanyang quiet moments,
lalong-lalo na sa emo ones,
nasusulyapan ko ang isang Ormz
na gusto kong yakapin 
at tawaging little brother (little daw o!)
kaya lang leeg niya lang ang masasalikupan ng aking arms.

Lagi niya tayong napapatawa pero
may mga pagkakataon ding napapatawa ko siya,
at bumubukal ang kanyang tawa mula sa sa kaibuturan
ng kanyang umaalog-alog na tummy
 at sasabihin niya sa akin:
Funny ka talaga, Bert!
Hindi ko makakalimutan ang kanyang halakhak (buhakhak),
nang minsan pinaalala ko sa kanya:
Ormz, remember ang luha pag natuyo, nagiging muta.
Your Royal Gandaness's peborit komport fud

Syempre, pag si Ormz ang kasama ko,
mawawala ba ang culinary (kain/habhab) moments?
Pero kahit na ano ang gawin ko,
hindi talaga ako makasabay sa kanya.
Nakakadalawang subo pa lang ako, simot na ang nasa plato niya!
Sabi ko nga sa kanya: Ay, In-inhale mo ang fud!?!#
Pero kahit ano pang disheses ang ihain kay Ormz,
peborit comfort food niya for all-time ang Otin (Odong with Tinapa)
na nakapiktyur sa itaas.

And so, Your Gandaness, Ormz
here's my toast to one year of Gandaeversomuch!
I look forward to more years in our blossoming friendship.
And here's my wish for you!

I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this
I wish you love
And in July some lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
I wish you health
But more than wealth
I wish you love . . .

Photos courtesy of Avel &  Orman Manansala.