BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, January 27, 2008

what I did this morning

Journalists file P10-M class suit vs gov’t

For threats to press freedom

By Nonoy Espina
First Posted 13:21:00 01/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Journalists and media organizations filed Monday a class suit seeking damages against the government for threats to press freedom.

The suit, which also seeks a preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order against further threats and future arrests of journalists, was filed at the Makati regional trial court.

It seeks P10 million in damages that the plaintiffs said was intended to drive home the point that it would be “costly for those who would abuse the power momentarily entrusted to them by the sovereign citizens of this land.”

The case is an offshoot of the arrest of journalists after government forces put down an attempted uprising by mutinous soldiers who occupied the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City last November 29 and subsequent threats to carry out similar arrests if media refused to obey government orders.

The government officials named as respondents were Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and military and police officers.

Among the organizations that initiated the filing of the class were the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Press Institute.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

at the surgeon's mercy

The surgeon's room looked eerie, dark and lonely. Most of all, it looked old, as if thousands and thousands of surgical procedures have already been done in the room. Who knows? Some patients may have survived, some may have died. But there was no smell of death. Only the fetid smell of medicines and anesthesia.

It was my turn on the bed. There was no time to say no. The surgeon, old and almost bald, reminded me of my grandfather. He didn't look scary, just intimidating. He exuded the aura of someone who has been around and has done almost every surgical procedure.

Mine was a minor, minor procedure. But still, I cried. I cried like a child. I cried as if I was going to give birth again. I cried when he was about to inject me with pain killers. I cried when I saw the needle. I cried as the dreaded moment came -- the tip of the needle slowly and mercilessly grinded into my skin.

But I needed the anesthesia, no thanks to my low threshold for physical pain. Fifteen minutes later and several muted screams of pain after, it was over. I now have a bandage over my head and hope that when the wound heals, everything will be back to normal.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The morning after

So this is how it feels the morning after. Last night, I emptied the tiny room that had been my second home for nearly five years. For months, I had been preparing to leave. Last night, left without much choice, I finally pulled out the two remaining bags of old books covered with the thickest dust.

It's not easy. Datelines Bookshop after all, had been my second home for nearly five years. Its walls witnessed too many experiences which are all partly the reasons I am my own mold now. The inner room, for instance, saw and heard the best and worst --the laughter, the tears, the endless nights of both joy and pain.

In this place, I've met some of the greatest men and women. I have had the pleasure of seeing artists, journalists, writers, poets, cultural workers, pilgrims and drifters while their time in this wonderful haven I co-own.

But most good things come to an end. This was no exception. I, albeit painfully, finally said goodbye to the bookshop. I had no choice. Responsibilities have been forgotten. Promises were broken. Cowardice got the better of us. Commitments were not honored. The passion fizzled out. Love flew out of the window and last but not least, a business partner's wife got in the way.

Like most goodbyes, however, this one isn't for good. Someday, somewhere in this great big universe, at another dateline, it will again be possible.

In the meantime, thank you to each and everyone who joined the journey.

Dilimania (an excerpt from Butch Dalisay's January 7 column, Philippine Star)

There’ll be a lot of stories being told about UP this whole year, and the university would like to hear yours, if you have an interesting one to share with your fellow alumni and the world at large. As part of its Centennial celebration, UP is putting together “100 Kwentong Peyups,” a series of columns which will appear in major Philippine dailies throughout the year. All past students of any of the University of the Philippines’ units are invited to submit their stories. Submissions should:

1. Be a maximum of 1,000 words;

2. Be a personal experience and written in the first person;

3. Be emotionally engaging — funny, sad, scary, etc.; and

4. Make the connection between the story and a life lesson that serves you well today.

5. If possible, please include an old photo or scanned memento.

Please include your name, college or unit and course, and year you entered UP as well as your email address. If you remember your Student Number (who doesn’t? mine’s 70-02858), that’ll be even better.

Send your submissions starting today to 100kwentongpeyups@ You’ll be notified via e-mail if your story has been selected for publication or for use in other Centennial celebrations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

UP naming mahal

Happy UP centennial to my classmates, sisses especially my batchmates, teachers, mentors, friends and most of all, to special friends I met in UP.

Mabuhay kayong lahat! Here's a wallpaper from J.B. Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Can there only be one The One?

Over ice-cold juice one afternoon, in the dimly-lit Mogwai studio, filmmaker L.D. and I discussed relationships and the constant struggle to maintain one.

With more than 40 years of experience backing him up, L. argues that love and happiness are nothing but concepts. Just a state of mind. Ultimately, in the end, L. insists, we are all just alone in this world. We do not own anybody's heart or soul. Finally, he says, there can never be just one The One.

Reality bites. L. has a point. His advice: Fall in love and give your all before it's too late.

Now if only loving is as easy as watching a good movie.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

que cera, cera

I stopped making New Year's resolutions because I haven't been able to keep them so I have instead an 08 list of things I want to achieve this year. No grand illusions...just keeping my fingers crossed.

1) TRAVEL LIGHT - I'm going to travel lighter this year. Each year is an opportunity to throw away excess baggage. Carrying less, filling life with only the things you need, is always the better option.

2) WRITE MORE, WRITE BETTER - There are lazy days and there are lazier days but I'll try to keep them at the minimum this year. Hopefully, I'll churn up better stories this year for the sake of my readers, editors, the good newspaper I work for and more importantly myself.

3) WORK, WORK, WORK - Work to me is a constant adventure. There's no reason to go slow or to do less this year.

4) SAVE FOR THE NEXT STOP - Last year, I did Bacolod, Malaysia (twice), Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. I wonder where my next stop is but I will definitely save for it.

5) BE A BETTER MOM TO MY DAUGHTER - It's a work in progress. I'm a first time mom so I hope to learn and do better.

6) TO LOVE AND TO GIVE MORE - Who was it who said that when you lose yourself to love, you will find yourself? Que cera, cera.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

In a span of only twelve months, my life changed tremendously last year. Some were too much to take, some were just too good to be true.

But it was also one of the most painful time and all I can offer is one big sorry to the people I've hurt. I will never know how much pain I've caused you but I hope that someday, at some point and somewhere in this great big universe, you shall find the courage to forgive and forget.

I'm doing the same to all those who've hurt me and continue to hurt me.

But in sum, I'd consider 2007 as one of the most eventful and happiest times of my life. There is so much to be thankful for.

To all of you, a great big hug and great big wish for a great big new year.