Search and You Shall Find in My World

28 October 2010

Indonesia suffers too!

That eternally harassing, tantalizing future. Mystery! We will all eventually arrive there - willing or unwilling, with all our soul and body. And too often it proves to be a great despot. And so, in the end, I arrived too. Whether the future is a kind or a cruel god is, of course, its own affair. Humanity too often claps with just one hand. ~Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesian writer

Two natural disasters, no, make that 3 disasters hit Indonesia this week. An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude triggered a tsunami that killed at least a hundred and hundreds more missing. Mount Merapi, the most volatile volcano in that part of the country has started to erupt displacing villages. The natural calamities struck Indonesia in just within 24 hours.

What if it happened to us? (Knock on wood!) Will we be able to recover? 

Let us also pray for them.

27 October 2010

My Sarisari Store: a photoblog not for the fainthearted

We are all captives of the picture in our head - our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists. ~Walter Lippmann, Pulitzer prize winner

Let me say I am living in a world of fantasy. A world where everything is smooth, beautiful and without a hint of flaw. And that is the usual problem with graphic designers. We tend to correct the flaws to make everything Belo-like, beautiful and flawless. Sometimes exaggerating them to make them worthy to be called an eye-candy. Because our clients and audience alike wanted to project an ideal world.

This fact is evident when you scan the pictures posted in most of social networking sites where you are a member of. You see various photographers selling their products of nearly naked men and women with flawless skins, or food pictures all in perfect shape and tones, or landscapes from netherworld you wonder if they were really from that place or not. You always ask if they were real or photoshopped.

We love to see perfection.

But it is also a fact that the world out there is not perfect, full of flaws and sometimes uglier than reality so much so we choose to ignore them. Rare are some photographers who could see the beauty in this ugliness.

I am referring to a photo blog about the real Philippines by a Belgian named Sidney Snoeck. Sid, as I fondly call him, is a photographer living in the Philippines since 2002. I met him in the cyberworld when I was just starting to make my blog, this blog. I haven't met him personally but looking through his works is like knowing him personally.

Of late, My Sari Sari Store, Sidney's photo blog disturbs me because of the exorcism subject. His pictures were artistically done in black and white and I believed they were not doctored nor photoshopped. The pictures give me goosebumps and made me cringed in fear. There is that inner fear, a gut level instinct to cower within me that Sidney has perfectly created. I congratulated him for that.

His recent photoblog on the unfortunate lives of chicks (young chickens) being sprayed with multi-colored dyes brings anger in my eyes. I am not a member of any humane society. I am not also a vegetarian. But seeing what these people do with those ill-fated chicks pains me.

So I told Sidney about my feelings towards these postings and got an answer. With apologies to Sidney, I would like to quote the whole message he sent me so you too will understand why he chose to feature the darker side of the Philippines. Read on-

Hi Edik,

No problem about voicing your feelings about my pictures. You are not the first one... and you will not be the last one. Many people reproach me that I am showing the not so nice side of the Philippines...that I am a bit focused on the dark side of life... that I should show the beautiful beaches and landscapes instead.

I can understand this... but I think there are already many bloggers/people/photographers doing this in a much better way than I can do. And yes, I can see beauty in ugliness (if this make sense to you).

Honestly I like the Philippines... and I love it here. But don't ask me to take pictures of old churches, beaches and food. I think in the end my pictures show my love for this country... I never condemn... I am always very kind with my subjects...

When I saw my first colored chick... I could have just ignored it ... but I said...wait a minute... what do we have here... how do they do this? why do they do this? ... and then it becomes a story...

I met the exorcist in Quiapo during the Black Nazarene... I could not believe my eyes... and then I befriended the guy... trying to understand his life... and I decided he was worth a photo series. I agree this is disturbing... but this happens everyday... so why not document it?

Every day in Blumentritt (Manila)... thousands of those chicks are colored... I am just surprised that I am the first person to really document this....

I guess I have a very open mind... I never really judge anybody... I am interested in people and how they live.

Recently I was in a taxi... the guy telling me he was driving in 12 hours shifts... not earning enough money to feed his family. He got a lot of interesting stories... and I said to myself ... gosh this guy has an interesting life... I would love to make a photo series about him.

Edik, the chicken story is just a joke when I compare it with the stories I need to tell about the people living from the garbage... collecting the chicken bones from Jollibee... eating all those remains from fast food restaurants. The story of those rugby boys... the people of Ulingan... That is REALLY a disturbing issue. (not that I don't care for those poor chicks).

I am not someone who will run away from a difficult subject. If it is happening all around us... I think it is worth to document it. All those anonymous people have a story to tell... they are worth it.

But I am also prepared to showcase the life of an artist, a sportsman or a politician. As long as they have a story to tell.

I have tons of stories to tell... half finished in my memory cards... waiting to be finished. Some stories take me months to finish... so it is not always easy to balance all the stories in the right sequence... It just happens the colored chicks story was finished and ready to go... while my coffee series is not yet finished...

Really... I am not a bad guy ! ;-)

Anyway... thanks again for voicing your concerns. I am trying to take your opinion into account. And I am happy to know that you still visit my blog. Thank you.

No hard feelings at all. Take care.

All pictures are grabbed from Sidney's photoblog.

26 October 2010

My bad: drinking in public despite the liquor ban

I admit I have been bad without me noticing how bad I was.

Last October 25 at past one in the morning, I went to Doy's (Borja Street, Tagbilaran City, a few meters from Brewpoint; telephone 038.501.8724), and had my first bottle of Below Zero Red Horse in Bohol. I drunk all four bottles straight all in the honor of below zero beers in Tagbilaran. They were free, courtesy of Doy's owner.

Doy's is the best place to have videoke with friends in the comfort of their private rooms. I was so comfortable that I publicly challenged the law. Honest, this is not for the free beers I got from there.

On the eve of the Barangay Elections last Monday, I also raised a bottle of San Mig Light right infront of police officers at the Acacia de Bubu, the new place to have barbecue in Tagbilaran. They did not noticed and seemed not to care. Maybe because I am surrounded by beautiful ladies?

I only noticed my transgression with law when I finished all the beers.


 Kampai! Me raising a beer right infront of the police.
See those officers at the back? The girl infront is our picture-taker Chin-chin.
Another bottle for the elections!

Intriguing Galeon Andalucia

Long before Galeon Andalucia docked in Bohol, intrigues were already spreading about its choice of port- Catagbacan, Loon, a small wharf quite unknown to many. Some sectors claimed it was because of the war between Mayor Dan Lim of Tagbilaran and First District Representative Rene Relampagos and Governor Edgar Chatto who have been trading bitter words (mostly from Mayor Lim) last elections and it seems there is no end to it.

When the Galeon docked in Cebu, I never heard of issues like that of Bohol that goes far worst than the trade winds.

Well, you know what happens to intrigues especially when it concerns politics and politicians.

Anyways, the Andalucia is a replica of the first galleons that came to the Philippines during the Spanish regime and lasted for about 200 years. The first galleon to discover the trade route from Cebu to Mexico was the ship that carried Andres de Urdaneta, part of the convoy of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is worthy to note that Legazpi came to Bohol and made a pact sealed with blood with a native chief, Sikatuna; hence, the yearly Sandugo Festival of Bohol.

Galeon Andalucia, so named because it was built in Andalusia, Spain, graced the Shanghai Expo before exploring once again the trade routes it discovered. Manila, Cebu and Bohol were chosen because of the historical importance mentioned above.

Being a Boholano by spirit and blood, I chose to wait for the Galeon Andalucia to dock in Bohol waters despite the open opportunity to visit it in Cebu. Bol-anon jod ko kaajo. I am a true-blooded Boholano.

But while docked in Bohol, I chose to miss the opportunity to get inside the galleon. A million reasons came to mind, among others:

Boholanos are not ready for historical events. You might say I was wrong. When we went there a throng of people from all walks of life deluged the venue so that I could barely breath. They were there to witness history. In my analysis, majority of the Boholanos were there out of curiosity not because of history. Nothing historical came to their minds. They pushed and shoved to show their ignorance. Some went home frustrated, Mao ra diay to? That was it?

Boholanos are not the disciplined kind. In Cebu, people lined up waiting for their turns despite the heat and thirst. I don't know what went on in Manila. But I witnessed both crowds in Cebu and Bohol. And Bohol did the worst. There were no clear instructions at the port. We brought our passes for the event but they were not honored by the guards and the policemen. First come first serve, they said, so the shoving part was justified.

Boholanos are power-hungry. While the common people waited for their turn, the influential people of Tagbilaran (politicians, businessmen, lawyers, the "educated ones", the alta sociedad) used the exit to gain entry right infront of everybody. Worst, they used the police to guide them. 

Boholanos are not concerned with the environment despite the environmental awards they got. Plastic bottles, empty tetra packs, wrappers of many kinds, were thrown in the clear waters of Catagbacan even if there were trash baskets at the haphazardly done "terminal".

And so I just sat on the sides contemplating on the crowd's  mentality and the importance of the galleon trade in the past that paved way to modern trading. I sat remembering that these Spaniards were part of the race that we considered our enemies once. These Spaniards enslaved us for 300 years before selling the whole nation to the Americans. I remembered that for 300 long years we obediently and meekly followed like lost sheeps the orders and caprices of the Padre Damasos on that certain period of our history. Those Padre Damasos who spread hatred and distrust among us natives in the guise of Roman Catholicism, ostracizing the indios that wanted freedom and independence of the Las Islas Filipinas.

Like Dagohoy, I stood, err sat, on solid grounds.

First two photos of the galleon grabbed from Galeon Andalucia album of Bohol's First Lady Pureza Veloso-Chatto. The rest of the photos courtesy of Chin-chin Bretana.

21 October 2010

Revisiting Laguna Garden Cafe

Laguna Garden Café (telephones 032.233.8600; 233.8602) at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu is one of the best Filipino restaurants in Cebu. The ambiance, the food, the service are all excellent.

But when we went there last week for dinner (6-7pm), we could hardly find a table for the three of us. When we were seated, even the service water took time to arrive.

I can see the waiters were working really hard so that they sometimes tend to ignore you. And I found it funny because when you are hungry, you also become confrontational and demanding.

The last time I was there having dinner, the waiter almost stayed at our side, leaving us only to get our orders. But that was 9 in the evening when all of the hungry crowd have been nursing already their full stomach.

So I believe there is a lesson here: Do not go with the hungry crowd, usually at seven in the evening, or else you will lose your diet. Go to Laguna before or after the hungry mass have been fully satiated.

Now let’s eat.

Fatherly duties

The last time I did some fatherly duties was 15 years ago with the birth of Mark Louie. We panicked at that time because his mother, Mercy, suddenly announced she was going to have the baby right there that time.

Fifteen years ago, transportation in Tagbilaran was so slow and sometimes nonexistent so that expecting mothers chose to give birth in their homes with the presence of a trained local hilot (midwife). When Mercy announced she was giving birth to a baby, transportation and midwives were not contacted so we took the roles. Blood and all.

This week I was again rendering a substitute husband to Gilda because Lemuel, her real husband, is working abroad trying to make both ends meet. Only this time, Gilda was admitted to a hospital in Cebu full of sophistication and all. All I did was wait and do some few errands for them.

Baby Gillian Summer came on Monday, October 18th at 2:22 in the morning with us lounging in the waiting area and nodding our sleep off.

A healthy baby for Gilda and Lemuel! Congratulations to you both.

13 October 2010

Mision Cumplida: Viva Chile!

The rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile has attracted millions of viewers since feeding it live on TV and in the internet. The Chilean government surprised the world by putting a camera inside the collapsed mine giving us a 3D vision of what is happening during the rescue. To say the least, the rescue itself is a showcase of Chilean power and grace, something to ogle about from bungled rescue operations done by other countries on things much simpler to do.

Aside from doctors, psychologists, and people who are needed for the rescue, President Sebastian Piñera is very visible in the first attempts and greeted the miners brought up to the surface. Indeed, a very apt and proper way to give moral support not just to the miners trapped inside for two months but also to the whole Chilean nation. 

That's what public service is all about.

Pictures provided by the Government of Chile thru

12 October 2010

Enrico Puno is still standing

“I think that I shall never see
A friend lucky as this Tree.
A Tree who’s twice put to the test
Yet boss won’t let him go and rest.
Blogs are made by fools like me,
But only Noy can save a Tree.”

Enrico Puno (tree in Tagalog, hence, the poem inspired from Joyce Kilmer's above) is Philippines' Interior undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments who is accused by Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz as a recipient of jueteng (illegal numbers game) payola amounting to eight million (8M) pesos a month. He was supposed to be the overseer of the police during the botched hostage crisis that killed 8 Chinese nationals but was never charged of negligence. He is also the shooting buddy of the president of the Philippines.

11 October 2010

Larsian is a big, ugly and dirty place in Cebu

I wonder why people still would like to eat at Larsian near Fuente-Osmeña Circle in Cebu when the place is now ugly and dirty. That place is not worth the visit anymore despite most out-of-towners would insist to.

Last night I went there due to an insistence of a friend. I told him the place is no longer as it was. He said he was hungry. Caught between friendship and foreboding, I chose the former.

When we got there, Larsian was so full of smoke you wonder if they were having a bad campfire or the place was on fire. The smoke was so full that it permeated right through my underwear. I ate teary-eyed.

At the back of each stall, haphazardly washed plates laid stacked with cockroaches running around. The water they used was recycled. By 'recycled' I mean it was used over and over so that by the time we were using our plates, the water had become murky already. There are no running water in that place.

Yes, we paid less than 150 pesos for a chicken pecho, 2 sticks of thin pork barbecue, 1 stick of burnt chorizo, 5 pieces of small puso and 2 bottles of 8oz. Sprite. But like I said, it was not worth it. 

A note of caution if you insists on going there: Be careful with the way they bill you. They always assumed you have eaten the 10 pieces puso they served and sometimes charge you for food you did not order. Ask for a list of what you've ordered.

A further note of caution: The last time I was there, I had a very bad case of diarrhea. 

10 October 2010


In the absence of evidence, superstition. It's a Middle Ages thing. That's my theory anyway. ~Tucker Carlson

07 October 2010

The way to energize yourself is simply by staying healthy and fit

"Why should people be afraid that we use a few small pellets of uranium at the nuclear power plant in Bataan? Don't they know that we're surrounded by uranium? We have the world's fourth largest deposits of uranium. Yes, we're all radioactive -- must be the reason why we have so many faith healers!" ~Imelda R. Marcos

Long before someone asked me to buy this Quantum Scalar blah-blah, I've read in one of the blogs of The Coconuter that this pyramiding scheme of Quantum Scalar Pendants (in his case, the Fusion Excel) is a fake, a scam. The Coconuter has a long standing case still ongoing between them because of his writeup.

These pendants promised a good life, never mind paying a hefty sum, but good life it is, they say. Imagine yourself being freed from stress and fatigue, or arthritis, diabetes, hair loss, or worst, low sexual drive. Think of any illness you can name and the scalar pendant promised it will relieve them because of their scientific breakthrough called quantum scalar energy.

Now I hate when people speak alien to me. It’s one way of deception. To confuse the enemy. Or the client. You will be forced to buy because you are impressed with the way they use unknown terms just like expert doctors. And majority of us are usually misled of sweet talks.

But here is a more effective way to get rid of illness, the natural way. No amount of fused energies, be it coming from stones or quack doctors, can ever question them-

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Let’s admit that these are the last things you have in mind when you think of food. They are the best source of vitamins and minerals that will aid us as we age.

Avoid junk foods. Yes, I love eating burgers and chips. And who is not? Being bombarded daily with their ads, our mind is set to buy them. I say, eat them once a while but not always. Need I say more?

Exercise, exercise, exercise! You don’t have to go to the gym to achieve that. You can walk instead of taking a jeep in going home. Or take the stairs instead of the elevators. Or clean your house. The clue there is to sweat the toxins out.

Drink lots of water. Our body is 80% water so it’s only understandable that we replenish them. But wait, have you checked your water source?

Relax and de-stress. When you have a sedentary job, watching TV is not relaxing. Go out and get some fresh air. If you have the budget, travel. Have a good massage.

Sleep or take naps. It’s not a hard thing to do. Our body needs rest. Recent studies even confirmed that sleeping reduces weight compared to those who have less.

Be religious but not a fanatic. When all of our friends turn their backs on us, we need someone or somebody to turn to even if that somebody could not be seen.

04 October 2010

Hillary Clinton understands the Filipinos

Extemporaneous speech of the US Secretary of State in New York:

Millions of people in the Philippines have left their native land for a better opportunity. They love the Philippines. I know because I know many of them. They try to go home when they can afford to do it. They retire back to the Philippines. They want to be sure their children and grandchildren are raised in the Philippines.

We hope that, Mr. President, the people of your country will be able to make a good living in their own country. And in order to do that, there must be a partnership that creates the conditions for economic opportunity.

I know how smart the Filipino people are. I know how hard they work. I’m not sure there’s any group of people anywhere in the world that work harder than Filipinos.

But let’s be very honest here. Too many of them feel that they cannot progress in their own country. Too many of them feel that the elite in business and politics basically call the shots, and there’s not much room for someone who’s hardworking, but not connected. Too many of them believe that even if they get the best education they can, that there won’t be an opportunity for them, and so they take that education and help build someone else’s economy, very often here in the United States.

Pic from here.

The roadside fish stalls of Siquijor

RH Bill issues and excommunication

The big issue which made headlines nowadays is the possible excommunication of President Aquino if he signs the Reproductive Health Bill. A disgusting move by the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines to create fear in a dominantly Catholic population even if the Bill is still in its final draft. If they can excommunicate the president of the republic, they can also do it to the masses.

The Church has been telling its flock of blind followers that the RH Bill promotes abortion. Never a mention of such in the Bill although the Church considers the use of family planning methods other than the natural ones they promote as abortive.

They never told their flock that the Roman Catholic Church invested about 160,000 euros of Church money in American birth control pill maker Wyeth. The Church even invested in arms making and tobacco manufacturing. So much for morality.

Why is the Church blind to the woes of the common Filipinos is quite fascinating. The Philippines is 74th worlwide in population growth, a not-so pretty statistics to brag about. You can even see the proof everywhere right in your metropolis. Even the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral premises is inhabited with homeless families with children roaming the streets begging.

The RH Bill makes sure the poor among us gets priority attention. Because the poor lacks the knowledge on how to manage their families, RH Bill would hope to educate them. These people should know their rights as a mother, a wife and as citizens of the country. 

It is a sad fact that the inculcation of "Go to the world and multiply" is still being promoted by the Church, even if we can barely breath due to overpopulation. That's hypocrisy!

Question: Why can't the Roman Catholic Church excommunicate their priests who got young ladies pregnant because they were not using condoms? Or their pedophile priests who molest young boys, some of them serving as altar boys? The best they could do is re-assigned some abroad to avoid prosecution.

More readings here:
Cartoon of Celdran bringing Damaso by Vincent Go

02 October 2010


And because of this video, they got noticed by The Huffington Post! And as of this posting 75% of the readers who joined the poll said they should keep performing this stunt.