Category: culture


By Mong Palatino

Inequality in Philippine society is reflected in the whole stretch of Edsa. Despite its People Power past with its egalitarian promise, the site Edsa is still very much a territory dominated by the elite. In fact, the relics of the feudal past are visible along Edsa. Several prime properties which dot the 54 kilometer highway are former hacienda estates of the old rich. The Cubao Araneta Center was part of the estate owned by the Aranetas. Their relatives (Tuason family) used to own the nearby Katipunan and Marikina. The Madrigals have properties in New Manila, while the Quezon family is the original owner of the PSBA lot today which used to have the best view of the quaint Marikina Valley. Adjacent the Araneta Hacienda is the estate owned by the Ortigas Family. They donated some parts of their vast estate to the government which later became Camp Aguinaldo. The hacienda owned by the Ayalas in Makati was developed in the 1970s and quickly evolved into a major financial mecca.

Read on…

Why skirt the issue of marital infidelity?

How very interesting the way our President and Vice President, as well as many (if not most) of our thinkers, writers, analysts, and columnists are raising their eyebrows at, and trying to rationalize away, marital fidelity as a political issue.

All in all, they’ve given four reasons why marital infidelity cannot, should not, be a criterion in choosing our public officials.

1. Given the sexual promiscuity of most Filipino men and (yes, to a certain extent) women, disqualifying two-timers would mean disqualifying practically all candidates — walang matitira.

2. Many of the world’s admired and greatest leaders were known to have been unfaithful to their wives; this means infidelity does not distract from good leadership.

3. Infidelity is solely the wife’s business. If she doesn’t mind, why should we.

4. History shows that marital fidelity has never been a political issue; by nature Filipinos are permisssive, that is, not puritan in their expectations of public officials.

The first exaggerates. Mayroon namang matitira; iilan-ilan nga lang. Admittedly, at this late date, it may be impractical to insist on clean slates, but at least notice would be served on future aspirants to public office.

The second assumes too much. Just because leaders like Arsenio H. Lacson, Manuel L. Quezon, and John F. Kennedy were also sexually promiscuous, it does not necessarily mean that the excess indulgence in no way affected their leadership styles. That would be saying that their individual performances could not have been improved upon, that theirs were the ultimate in leadership. I’m sure that’s not true.

The third is pure garbage (or it’s the double standard, as usual). In the disco incident that involved Congresswoman LVY, her aggrieved spouse complained in the most vehement terms, by slashing the face of her alleged lover. How did the case go? In Congress the lady solon was accorded the warmest sympathy and promised she would not be investigated. Media (which she accused of sensationalizing and making mountains out of molehills) were actually kind; no one wrote up the stories whispered around about her, maybe out of respect for her sex and office, maybe out of defensiveness (birds of the same feather…) or maybe just because journalists thought it proper to disdain, remain above, such lurid matters. So now she’s running for Senator.

The fourth is absolutely decadent. It’s the same as saying no to any kind of change, who cares if the country is going to the dogs and the pigs and AIDS, never mind if history isn’t all worth repeating.

FROM LEFT FIELD. On “The Big Story” (ABC 5’s version of Public Forum) the other Friday, Professor Randy David actually apologized for bringing up the subject of marital infidelity and, surprise, surprise, most of his feminist guests agreed, declaring it a “non-issue.”

Except, that is, for Bing Pimentel (Nene’s wife) and Nanay Luring (of Samakana, a rural-based women’s NGO) who dared disagree. Infidelity breeds corruption, Bing said, because mistresses are expensive. Marital infidetllity painfully violates the rights of the spouse, Nanay Luring said.

Curiously enough, the feminists of Gabriela and Filipina were unusually cool and detached, as though Nanay Luring’s cause did not concern them in the least. Mulat na ang kababaihan, said Chit Tapales. Relationships are changing, pareho na ang standards for men and women, said Karen Tanada.

It seemed to me they were being plain defensive, choosing to skirt the issue rather than confront it, in the vain hope that the issue will go away, and with it, their many fears. Fear that the marital fidelity issue would distract from “bigger” issues. Fear that discussions would deteriorate to the level of “lip-smacking” gossip. And, even, fear of casting stones. (Baka bumalik?)

*written for my coiumn NOTES OF A TV JUNKIE, Manila Standard, March 15, 1992

OPM is alive!

Katrina Stuart Santiago

Gusto kong sabihin ng simpleng-simple kung papaanong buhay ang OPM. Ang original Pinoy music, ang musikerong Pinoy, ang tugtugang Pinoy. Gusto kong ihagis lang, maglista ng mga pangalan ng mga musikerong patuloy na nagsusulat ng mga kantang original, mula kay Cynthia Alexander hanggang kay KC Concepcion, mula kay Barbie Almalbis hanggang kay Kitchie Nadal. Gusto kong basta ilista ang mga bandang gumagawa ng original na kanta, mga musikerong nag-gi-gig mula 70’s Bistro at Conspiracy sa Quezon City hanggang sa 19 East sa Las Pinas, umiikot sa mga probinsya para mag-promote ng CD, nagma-mall-show, nagtiya-tiyaga sa kakarampot na panahong nabibigay sa kanila ng iilang TV show, nagtiya-tiyagang kumanta kasama ang mga non-singers pero big stars ng bawat panahon. Gusto kong sabihin lang na kapag nakikinig ako ng radyo napapatigil ako sa boses ni Eric Santos, at memorized ko ang album ni Cathy Go, at gustong-gusto ko ang Q-York, at kanina lang may nag-revive na pala ng “Kay Palad Mo” na mabilis kong na-recognize bilang original na kinanta ni Lilet nung bata pa ‘ko.

Read on…

dolphy, media, awards

… the circus that is happening at the Makati Medical Center is not only intrusive but also hints of disrespect. I was at the MMC Friday and Saturday for some medical procedures and I witnessed for myself how media people have camped out in front of the main building 24/7. The media networks have set up satellite units, generators, and multiple camera set-ups. There is no denying that, pretty much like those black birds in Africa, the media people are there in anticipation of bad news. If we truly want Dolphy to survive this latest challenge to his health, perhaps we shouldn’t act like we’re on a deathwatch.

that’s bong austero in “Dolphy, the stereotypical Tatay.”  actually i have nothing against a deathwatch.  when the signs are there, it’s only human to fear the worst, knowing na doon tayo lahat papunta, and medical science can extend life only so much.  but yes, the media can and should keep their distance naman.  konting class naman.  a daily press release should be good enough for the nonce, stop with the vulture-like camp-out, stop harassing eric quizon for medical updates or questions like kumusta si zsazsa, si ganito, si ganoon.  most us have been in a similar situation, we know what it must be like for zsazsa and the sons and daughters, including maricel aka shirley.  the personal details are really none of our business unless or until freely shared by zsazsa and maricel et al, and that won’t be soon.  for now let’s just pray for whatever’s best for dolphy and let’s allow the family what every family, showbiz or not showbiz, deserves — the private space to make the decisions that have to be made, and to deal with the uncertainties and the sadnesses, far away from intrusive cameras and insensitive media who don’t make it easy, rather make it worse, in truth, for a family in crisis.

as for the national artist award, it’s a farce, this clamor for the president to confer it on dolphy ora mismo.  my question is not, bakit ngayon lang ang award (kung i-award man), kungdi bakit ngayon lang ang clamor?  where were all these people and orgs 10 years ago when such an award would truly have mattered to dolphy, and would truly have made a difference.  i’ve said the same of ishmael bernal who was named national artist 5 years after he died.  ten years too late.  why not at the height of his powers, like soon after Himala, by which time he was already recognized as one of the best filipino filmmakers, if not the best, of all time.  in dolphy’s case, ten or so years ago would have been soon after Markova: Comfort Gay, a brave controversial film that wasn’t a box-office hit but which told us in no uncertain terms that there was more to dolphy than the stereotypical this or that.  he was a national treasure by then, and he could have have been more than a comedy king, had we truly appreciated him enough.

so really, this hysterical call for a national artist award, it’s not really as much for dolphy anymore as it is for us who now can’t extoll him enough, trying to make up for our neglect, trying to make ourselves feel better.  sorry, but we don’t deserve it.