Monday, April 26, 2010

The presidency is a position of trust, so I am voting for someone I can trust. It's that simple.

A lot of people I know have already made up their minds on who to vote as president. If you truly believe, as I do, that your choice for president is the best person to lead our nation, I respect your conviction. I would expect nothing less from Filipinos who truly care what happens to our country. If your choice is informed, if your heart is at peace, if the person you are voting for is someone you would follow to death should the need arise, then so be it. But for those who still have to make that choice, or for those who have made tentative picks but are still willing to entertain a small seed of doubt, I beg leave to present my case for the man I think is most deserving of my vote.

The Reality

Under different circumstances, the person I would have voted for is Dick Gordon. His qualifications can be summed up in 5 words: Subic, Wow Philippines, Red Cross. The man's leadership skills, vision, and passion for service are unquestionable. Now here's the sad reality: he will not win. Maybe in the future, when Filipinos are smarter, when we have all learned to distinguish performance from personality, Dick Gordon can become president, and a deserving one at that. But today he will not win.

A vote is not a roll of the dice; it is a weapon, it is a strategy. And I feel that, considering the close competition of those at the top of the surveys, insisting on voting for a good man who will not win is terribly unwise. I do wish Dick Gordon had chosen to run for vice-president instead.

The fight for the 2010 presidency is now really just between four people: Noynoy, Villar, Gibo and Estrada. I wish that were not so, but if we do not accept reality, we lay ourselves open to its dangers.

The Road to the Presidency

Many Filipinos I know and respect are voting for a different candidate from my own. Among them is my mother, whose vocal support for Gibo is the reason why I have not, until lately, openly campaigned for my own choice of president. While my father and sister are voting for Noynoy, some of my other family and friends are voting for Villar, and others, I'm sure, are still swayed by Estrada's charm. We all have different reasons why we support one candidate and not another. I respect that. But now I must explain my vote, and to do that, I have to explain why I am not voting for the others. Sorry.

Joseph Estrada

Let's start with Erap. Those looking for experience alone need look no further. He entered politics in 1967, became senator in 1987, and was elected president (without the help of Garci, I might add) in 1998. If you count experience by the number of times people were convinced to vote for him, Erap is your man. And that just goes to show that experience, as a qualification, is unreliable. Jueteng. Jose Velarde account. Boracay mansion. Laarni Enriquez, etc., etc. Unexplained wealth. Need I go on? In 2001, I was among the many who took to the streets when his impeachment trial was turned into a joke by his allies. Since 2001, I am happy to say, I have not actually lost my mind yet. I have no desire for Malacanang to turn into the Playboy mansion again.

Gilbert Teodoro

Supporters of Gibo have a slogan: "I think, therefore I am for Gibo." Well, I have thought about it, and thought about it well, and I am not for Gibo.

If you really think about it, there is just nothing in Gibo's qualifications that would make him the best person to lead the country. His supporters boast of his experience, but he entered politics as a congressman in 1998, the same year as Noynoy, six years behind Villar, and a good 31 years after Erap. Administration loyalists want Gibo to continue Pres. Arroyo's "good work." Since Gloria's declared wealth, since she became senator 17 years ago, has grown by 2,000% (that's two thousand percent, in case you missed it the first time), I sincerely hope no one gets to continue that kind of work. Some Gibo fans are just enamored with his ability to fly a plane, but all that tells me is that he is tall enough to meet the height requirement and rich enough to pay for flying lessons. Not exactly the same criteria that need to be met by a president.

One of the things that Noynoy Aquino's detractors always say about him is that he has done nothing significant since he entered public service. For my part, I, too, cannot specifically name anything Gibo has done since he entered public service. (Can you?) I did not even know he existed until he appeared in TV ads for the National Disaster Coordinating Council -- an agency that, by the way, does not need advertising. His supporters have since accused Noynoy and Villar of spending too much in campaign ads, but let's not forget that before that schmaltzy "Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa" ad of Noynoy's came out, before Villar's catchy tunes and well-produced videos were released, there was Gibo and his public funds-funded NDCC ad.

Manny Villar

Manny Villar's is a rags-to-riches story. His ascent from Tondo slum kid to one of the Philippines' richest men is the foremost reason why a lot of people are voting for him. If he can do it for himself, he can do it for the country.

But will he? At what cost?

There are many reasons why I am not voting for Villar. Here are just a few of them:

1. His ads are misleading. And they were designed to be so. You would think, looking at images of poor kids in garbage dumps singing "Hindi bawal mangarap ang mahirap," that Villar himself was as poor as that. He was not. His father was an inspector for the Bureau of Fisheries and subsequently held a director position in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. His mother was a shrimp and fish vendor at the Divisoria Public Market, but if you think "market vendor" necessarily means "poor," think again. I have relatives and classmates who live quite comfortably on their parents' public market earnings.

2. Granted, while not exactly impoverished, Villar was not born an Ayala. Or even a Cojuangco. Let's just say that he was relatively poor. Tell me this, then. How does a Tondo kid become a viable contender for the presidency? By eventually becoming rich, right? By working his way up the political ladder? Well, then. Answer this. In the current business and political climate of the Philippines, can someone, who had very little financial and political capital to start with, really go on to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the Philippines, without bribery, compromise of principles and favors to repay? Forgive the long sentence -- it's a simple question, and the answer is no.

3. Villar himself says, in one of his ads, that if he really wanted to become richer, he would have just gone back to business. His supporters say that the millions he is pouring into his campaign does not make sense financially, and that therefore it is not a business move, and that therefore he is not in it for the money, that he just wants to serve. But that is not exactly true. There is nothing like easy money. (Ask Gloria.) There is nothing like putting yourself in a position where you can control infrastructure, influence policies, direct loan releases, and intimidate the competition, all under the guise of serving the people. Villa knows this, we know this, but he thinks we are stupid enough to believe he would have just gone back to business if he was just after money. Well, are we?

4. I call it the Baby James phenomenon. This is what all the ads, all the songs, all the big-name endorsements are for. Repeat something long enough and it will start to appear true. The slogans will start to sink in, subconsciously or otherwise, proof of which is that his adversary's own nephew is shouting out Villar's name. Villar's campaign is high-budget PR at its best. You think Manny Villar is the best candidate for president. But do you really think so?

5. Willie Revillame. Dolphy. Manny Pacquiao (and his groupie Chavit Singson). If we are known by the company we keep, what does that make Villar? (Aside from rich.)

Maybe Villar can make the Philippines prosperous. I'm not saying it is not within his abilities to do so. But again I ask: at what cost?

For me, though, Villar's strategies took an appalling turn last week, when Andal Ampatuan, Jr., the man undoubtedly allegedly behind the Maguindanao Massacre, held a press conference inside jail and "endorsed" Noynoy Aquino for president. This, just one week after he was spotted wearing the orange baller identified with Villar's campaign. Ampatuan's announcement initially numbed me -- how could Noynoy associate himself with such a monster? But the more I thought of it, the more the "endorsement" seemed unbelievable. Ampatuan may be evil, but he is not stupid. He knows he is one of the most hated men in the country. If he really supported Noynoy, the best thing he could have done was to keep it quiet. But he didn't. He called for a press con in jail. But who controls jails? Who has the power to allow a press con inside a jail? Who is a known friend of the Ampatuans? Who just ordered the release of two Ampatuans? And yet the administration has not been supporting its own candidate, Gibo Teodoro, as of late. Who is suspected to be making deals with the administration? Who stands to benefit most from whatever backlash Ampatuan's "endorsement" would have on Noynoy's bid for the presidency? And then the frightening question: How did he get Ampatuan to do that "endorsement?" What promises would a mass murderer be interested in? And even more important, if he wins, what kind of a president would a man be, who makes deals with philanderers, thieves and murderers?

Why I Am Voting for Noynoy

By now it should be obvious who I am voting for, and that is Noynoy Aquino.

I don't believe that having heroes for parents qualify a person for the presidency. I don't believe that one person can rid the entire government of corruption. And I don't believe for one second that getting rid of corruption, even if it were possible, would put an end to poverty in this country.

What I do believe is this: I need a leader I can trust. I need someone whose hands have not been stained by corrupt deals and politicking. I need someone who has enough leadership experience but who hasn't yet sunk into the Philippine political quagmire.

Some say Noynoy has done nothing. The more accurate observation would be: he has not sought the spotlight. There is a difference, and it is an important one. Read "Noynoy Aquino, out of the shadows", a report from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

A lot of people resent Noynoy for riding on his parents' popularity. But let's not forget that before his mother died, and public clamor rose for him to take on the presidency, Noynoy had no intention of running for the highest office in the land, at least not in 2010. Noynoy was content to stay in the sidelines and do his own thing. Until Cory's death reminded us that honest, principled, good-intentioned presidents were still possible. With that in mind, some of us looked around for an honest, principled and good-intentioned man, and our gaze fell on Noynoy. We asked him to run, he hesitated, thought about it, prayed about it, and then with resolve said yes. Why do we resent him for taking on a challenge that we ourselves laid on him? Isn't this what we wanted? A good man to run for president?

It's true: Noynoy is popular because he is an Aquino. But if that means that he has had no need to be a media whore, if that means that he has not had to compromise his principles to go up the political ladder, if that means he has less political debts to pay, so be it. I would still rather have him for president.

As long as people are lazy, as long as people are irresponsible, as long as people go on having ten kids while on a monthly income of zero, there will always be poverty, and there is nothing that a president with outstanding business acumen can do about that.

But when we do decide that we have had enough of subsisting on one meager meal per day, when we decide to go to school and study hard, when we decide to work until we're tired to the bone, when we decide not to squander our earnings on vices but save instead for our children's education, when we decide to maybe set up our own small businesses and create jobs for our fellowmen, we will need our government to be there for us. We will need our government to be fair and just, to spend money where it is needed, to create projects where they will most be useful, to cut the red tape, to plug the leaks in the system. Most of all, we will need a government that will do what is right, at all times, at whatever cost, and inspire us to do the right thing. And for me, the person who is in the best position to make sure that that happens is Noynoy Aquino. Business geniuses can be tapped, people with superb organizational skills can be brought on board, but the presidency is a position of trust. Noynoy is not a perfect man but he is the better man, by far, and the one who most deserves to be entrusted with my vote and my country.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

chief macliing dulag

The summer before senior year in high school, a few friends and I joined an environmental work camp organized by the Visayas Network for Environmental Sustainability. We immersed ourselves in forest and river ecosystems, built rock weirs (and other stuff that I've now totally forgotten...sorry Ags...hehe) and had tons of fun. It was there that I first learned about this man.

Chief Macliing Dulag was a tribal chieftain in Kalinga province and is remembered for his efforts to resist the Chico Dam project. He took his place in our work camp manual alongside such revered names as Chief Seattle, and it made me proud to learn he was Filipino.

"One story tells of how the respected pangat was invited by then Presidential Assistant for National Minorities (PANAMIN) chief Manuel Elizalde to a high-end hotel and offered him a thick envelope.

"Macliing reported[ly] replied, 'This envelope can contain only one of two things – a letter or money. If it is a letter, I do not know how to read. And if it its money, I do not have anything to sell. So take your envelope and go.'" (GMANews.TV)

It's a story that makes my heart swell with pride. But what I really remember most about Macliing Dulag were the words quoted in our manual: "You ask us if we own the land and mock us, saying 'Where is your title?' Such arrogance of owning the land when you shall be owned by it. How can you own that which will outlive you?"

April 22 is Earth Day, and it's the perfect time to re-examine our attitude towards the land, the sea, the sky, and all the creatures with whom we share our planet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Malapascua 103

The main beach in Malapascua Island is called Bounty Beach, which is where most of the big resorts are located. I'm not sure exactly where it starts or ends, but the good thing about Malapascua is that the resorts haven't put up fences. That's probably not legal, anyway, but that hasn't stopped the resorts in Mactan from doing it. In Malapascua, you can walk the entire stretch of white sand.

You can. But it won't be easy. The sand is so soft, your feet literally sink with every step. It doesn't matter because you're not in a hurry anyway. Unless you're carrying two enormous bottles of water.This is where the boat from Maya docks.Just a few steps away is the Maldito Bar, which is popular with the beer-guzzling crowd.Go counter-clockwise and you'll be by a big blue resort named -- all subtlety thrown out the window -- Blue Corals Resort.Next you'll find a resort in the midst of an identity crisis. Originally named Blue Water Resort, it was forced to change its name because someone else had already called dibs on "Blue Water" so now it's just Malapascua Beach Resort.Cocobana Beach Resort is one of the more popular accommodations in the island. Mind you, sometimes I can't really tell where one resort ends and the next one begins, so if I get some of the photos mixed up, mea culpa.
One of the resorts that I really loved [passing through] was the Sunsplash Resort because they had outfitted their beach front with low dark wooden chairs with white cushions. It had an outdoor-coffee-shop-by-the-beach sort of vibe, which I really loved.

Anyone who has ever studied anatomy will then go "Wat da --?!" but the resort next to Sunsplash is really, truly, honestly called the Hippocampus Beach Resort.

And then there was this long, long stretch of beach with unassuming cottages and a lone sign that simply read Dano Beach Resort.

At this point we were all huffing and puffing because of all the stuff we'd been carrying from the boat. We had heard that food in Malapascua was ridiculously expensive, so we'd brought our own provisions -- gallons of water, ready-to-grill meat, bottles of soft drinks (and some not-so-soft drinks), utensils, a rice cooker, the works.

If you do want relatively reasonably priced food in Malapascua, people in the know will point you to one place: Ging-Ging's Flower Garden, a restaurant at the back of Cocobana. Friendly advice, though: don't go there if you're already hungry. If you order corned beef, you will have to wait while they find a cow, slaughter it, corn the beef, cook it and serve it. At least that's how it seemed to me. We had to wait almost an hour for our food to be served, and there were just three other tables with people in them. And they are not on the beach, so you don't even have a view to enjoy while you wait (and wait and wait) for your food -- your only entertainment will be the sound of chickens clucking in the background. I had insisted on going to Ging-Ging's because I'd heard their mango pancakes were just super, but I wished I'd just gone for the mango pancakes at Exotic. The P30 I'd saved on the price just wasn't worth the aggravation.

You can never stay on a bad mood for long in Malapascua though. The sun is just too warm, the sand too white, the water too inviting. And, if you remember, bad moods, stress and all those other annoying facts of life are why you're in Malaspascua in the first place -- to escape from all that. Life can get crazy sometimes, and it's fun, memorable moments with friends and loved ones that can keep you [relatively] sane.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Malapascua 102

Malapascua is such a small island, one can go around it in 30 minutes or so. At least that's what I was told before I got there, and when I arrived at midday, I took a nap and looked forward to a leisurely late afternoon walk along the Malapascua coastline. My starting point was the beach just in front of Mike and Diose's Beachcottage.Just next to Mike and Diose's -- owned, in fact, by Mike and Diose themselves -- is the Aabana resort. This is where the team stayed. The entire beach house is only P2,000 a night, air conditioned, with an American breakfast for two people. Each additional person is provided an air bed and breakfast for just P150 each. There's cable television, a fridge, a bathroom with a water heater (that didn't heat, that time we were there) and an attic. The attic itself is like a whole other room and can comfortably accommodate 4-8 people (depending on your definition of comfort). The downside is that they charge you for electricity and they don't tell you about it beforehand.
And then there is the Malapascua Exotic Island Dive and Beach Resort. The name is a mouthful, so the locals simply refer to it as "Exotic." Apart from its PADI programs, Exotic offers guests a peaceful atmosphere (admittedly occasionally broken by shrieks from people staying at Aabana -- you know who you are), seagrass-free water, hammocks, and beach chairs by the dozen. Fan rooms go for P1,200 a night. No breakfast, but they do give you welcome drinks.
One hour and hot sandy feet later, I still hadn't gone halfway around the island. Moral lesson: Thirty minutes "or so" can mean anything from thirty minutes to thirty days. Or so.

Still to come: the rest of the resorts and restaurants that I spotted in my aborted attempt to circumnavigate (if the term can be applied to trudging through soft sand) Malapascua island, where not to go for breakfast if you're hungry, and other similarly life-changing Malapascua trivia.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Malapascua 101

White sand, hot sun, green waters, and heavenly mango pancakes. It's summer in the Philippines, and nothing says fun in the sun better than Malapascua island. Touted as Cebu's "little Boracay," Malapascua is a small island off the northern tip of Cebu. And I do mean tip -- it's a four-hour bus ride from Cebu City to Maya in the town of Daan Bantayan. Nevertheless, people keep coming to Malapascua because the diving is great -- the island, for some people, is synonymous with thresher sharks -- and because the smaller crowds mean that it is quite possible to have that stretch of white sand all to yourself, even on a weekend.

How To Get There

Until my dream of a subway train stretching from Daan Bantayan to Santander becomes a reality, you will have to get to Malapascua the way I did last Saturday: by bus.

Buses for Maya, Daan Bantayan depart from the Cebu City North Bus Terminal at regular intervals. Most people would recommend getting on a Ceres bus (they are reputedly safer and are colored bright yellow -- you can't miss them), but I took the Rough Rider bus (the name speaks for itself) and lived to tell the tale. Northern locals say there's a bus to Maya as early as 4 AM, but what I can say for sure is that there are already several buses waiting to go to Maya at 7 AM. Make sure the signboard on the bus says "Maya Bagay" or "Maya via Bagay."
From the Maya port, outrigger boats will take you to Malapascua island. There are boat trips scheduled every half hour. However, if there are only a few of you, say, on the 11:30 AM trip, the boat captain might decide your collective fares (it's P50 per person) are not worth the fuel it will take to bring you to Malapascua. So the trip gets "cancelled" and you all are then carried over to the 12:oo NN trip. And so on, until there are enough of you taking the trip. If you don't want to wait, you can charter a "special trip" for P1,200 and a boat will take you to the island ASAP.
At both the Maya and Malapascua ports, if the tide is low, the outrigger boats (or "pump boats") might not be able to get near enough to shore for you to step aboard directly. If that's the case, smaller boats called "tunda" will take you from port to boat, or vice versa, for P10-P20 per person. Even then, expect to get wet up to your ankles, and maybe up to your knees, so leave the pants at home. (And besides, it's summer!)

More, later.

Friday, April 9, 2010

almost alice

It sometimes takes an imaginary world to bring out the real person. In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the Hatter looks at Alice with disillusioned eyes and tells her she's lost her muchness. In defiance of that observation, Alice sneaks into the Red Queen's castle and steals the sword that will help her slay the Jabberwocky, all the while still thinking she couldn't do any of those things to save her life. The fact that she does all of those things anyway gets Absolem to change his mind from saying she's "not hardly Alice" to telling her she is "almost Alice."

Have you ever had the feeling that you're less than what you used to be? Because I have. I sometimes feel that growing up has meant fading, and making a living has meant postponing life. I've tried to fight that -- tried to tread the road less traveled, tried to do things my way -- but sometimes it feels like a losing battle.

Lost my muchness, have I?

We'll see about that.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

girl needs prayers

I would like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to please pray for me.

I really, really, really want to win the Citi Visa Swipe Your Way To South Africa Promo.

I know it's a long shot -- it's not even a standing-in-half-court long shot, it's more of a shot-from-the-locker-room long shot -- but miracles have been known to happen occasionally.

I did try to think of football-related metaphors, but I couldn't come up with one. Probably because I'm not that fond of football. Nevertheless, I really, really, really want to go to the World Cup because:

1. It's in South Africa, and I've always wanted to go on a safari. Going to a stadium full of rabid football fans -- in South Africa, no less -- is kinda like going on a South African safari. And who knows, maybe I could take a side trip and go on an actual safari. Citi Visa is giving away $1000 in pocket money. Uh huh, in addition to plane tickets and hotel stays.

2. I like festive atmospheres. Nothing says festive like being in a stadium with face-painted half-drunk hooligans supporting their home teams, singing songs, and just being raucous. Just as long as nobody throws up on me 'cause that's a sure way of ruining face paint.

3. Did I mention there's $1000 in pocket money? I could even not go and I'd still have a thousand dollars in my pocket. But why should I not go? It's in South Africa! It'll be festive!

So please start praying. The draw is on the 14th of April. Thank you. ^_^

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The customer is always right. Right? Wrong!

Today I received an email from my boss reminding me of these rules for customer service:
1. The customer is always right.
2. If the customer is wrong, go back to rule number 1.

This is actually a quote attributed to Steve Leonard. Whoever he is, I hope he goes to heaven, because I can just imagine him in hell spending eternity taking calls from irate customers. ^_^ The actual phrase "the customer is always right" was either originated by Marshall Field or Harry Gordon Selfridge (remind me never to work in department stores), but the idea supposedly comes from "the customer is never wrong," which was coined by Cesar Ritz (or in hotels).

Well, bully for the Leonards, Fields, Selfridges and Ritzes of the world. I think, though, that I'm sticking with: if you're right, you're right; if you're wrong, you're wrong; and if you're a customer who insists that you're always right, that just tells me you know you're wrong, deep down, and you're just too stubborn to admit it, or too stupid to see it. It's disgusting that right or wrong should depend on who's paying for what. If that's the "real world" then I don't think much of the real world and I'm not playing along.

There have been several attempts to make this policy a bit more palatable to employees. There is "the customer isn't always right, but he is always first" and "the customer isn't always right, but he must always win the argument."

To borrow from Hagrid, "Ah, go boil yer heads, the whole lot of yeh."
I really should be sleeping, but there's no way I'm missing Lennon-McCartney week on Idol. ^_^

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Say No to Gravity

There was a period in our lives when my sister would play this song all the time. Like, all the time. But I've never been able to fully appreciate it until lately.

"Defying Gravity"

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes... and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I am defying gravity
And you won't bring me down!

I'm through accepting limits
'Cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you won't bring me down

A lot of times this year, I've felt weighed down by demons -- depression, despair, expectations, responsibilities. Having too much on my plate and keeping too little for myself at the end of the day. So this song has been like an anthem. Music and words have been my lifelines of late, and somehow...I feel like I'm finally surfacing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

meeting the S's

Have I mentioned that I got engaged last Christmas? I don't think I have, but if we're Facebook buddies, you probably know already. While transferring files yesterday afternoon, I saw these photos again and thought them worth posting.

These photos were taken when our families had dinner together and discussed the engagement and the wedding preparations and all that.

One of the things that I'm sure most brides and grooms-to-be worry about is whether their families will be able to get along or not. In that respect, I think, Aivan and I have been lucky. Our families have different ways of doing things, but thankfully none of us have scheming siblings or parents who keep looking down their noses. It's kinda scary, getting all these instant relatives, but, well, I have a million relatives so at least it'll be scarier for Aivan than for me. Haha!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

and that is the sound of edith hamilton turning in her grave

I've watched two Greek mythology-inspired movies in as many months -- and when I say "inspired" I mean that the characters' names were taken from the ancient Greek stories. The characters' characters, the plots, everything else appeared to be fair game.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is about a modern-day demigod, Percy Jackson, a son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. Zeus accuses Percy of stealing his thunder bolt and threatens war if it isn't returned. Zeus, in the myths, is never really known for his logic, but even so, why Zeus, in the movie, would jump to such a conclusion (my-thunder-bolt-is-gone-so-Poseidon's-son-must-have-taken-it) is still a mystery to me. Another thing that just didn't make sense was Percy's mom's explanation of why she chose to live with a smelly alcoholic (to disguise the scent of Percy's blood...good grief). And in a museum scene, Percy is told that the statue was that of his namesake, Perseus, so why (oh why) was Medusa still alive and thriving in Aunty Em's Garden Emporium?

Speaking of Perseus, I watched Clash of the Titans today...and it didn't make that much more sense either. For one, the title was totally inappropriate, as not one Titan makes it past the five-minute mark. For another, they totally butchered Perseus' story. Probably the only thing they got right was that Perseus did cut off Medusa's head (and not Percy Jackson, centuries later) but the reason wasn't even the right one. I don't get why Medusa couldn't turn the Sand Demon to stone but could the Kraken. Or how Io managed to watch over Perseus all his life. Swam beside the wooden crate bearing Perseus and Danae? Perched on a cliff while Hades dived on Perseus' family's boat. She was that good a stalker but she didn't sense Acrisius coming up behind her?

Then again, if I really expected what are essentially action movies to bother too much about accuracy and plot development, I probably don't have that much sense either. ^_^ My opinion? The movies were wastes of time, but if you had time to waste, and free movie tickets to redeem, what the heck, go for it. ^_^

the old man and his paperback

A couple of weeks ago, a neatly dressed, white-haired old man hailed the jeepney that I was riding. He stepped inside and took his seat, and I noticed he was holding a paperback -- a legal thriller from the looks of it. As the jeepney resumed its course towards Ayala, the old man found the page where he had tucked his bookmark and resumed reading.

The scene struck me for so many reasons.

For one, I never would have thought of an old person reading a legal thriller. I mean there's really no reason why they shouldn't, but when I picture old people reading, I would probably picture them with a newspaper in hand, or some other reading material that is useful and informative. Shows how much I know. I guess bookworms grow old, too, whereas reading preferences don't have to change with age.

What really got me thinking, though, was this: why would an old man read a paperback right then and there? Reading could damage his eyesight (or at least that's what old people tell me when I read in a moving vehicle.) The book wasn't that important; it wasn't something that couldn't wait until he got home. And it wasn't one of those long journeys where you fend off boredom with books. I mean, again, there was no reason why he shouldn't...but...why should he?

And I guess the only answer is: because he wanted to. Because he didn't want to wait until he got home. Because some things are too good to put off. Because every moment counts, and you can either wait for a better time, or you can decide that the right time is right now.

If we had crashed that day, that old man might have been the only one among us who could truly say that he died while doing something he loved.