Thursday, October 25, 2007


Once in a while, I get a glimpse of some dark abyss impossible to fathom. The awesome sight gets darker and deeper as the years go by but beholding it only serves to deepen my respect for people who have the courage to make the final plunge and those who choose to remain. It doesn't matter, really, which choice one happens to make because one choice is always as good as the other. In this world of binary opposites, life is almost interchangeable with death, beauty with ugliness, light with darkness, and so on; depending on where you happen to be standing at the moment.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blogging Mindanao!

I often think of a blog as a kind of a mirror. We see in it our very own reflections, the images we allow the world to see, so that we tend to be fidgety and choosy about it, revealing only parts, instead prying open entire lives, to tell our stories. So, it's not surprising, then, that an online diary often comes out embellished, sanitized, when posted on the worldwide web, so different from those diaries we lock up in our closets at home, those keepers of our most deadly, unhappy secrets; because whether we like it or not, there is still that part of us we hold back; that part of us that remained locked up, that part of us we do not want the world to see.
In the end, I could not help wondering whether that virtual reality we have created in our blogs and in the blogs that we read, is nothing but a mirage.
So, I decided to join the first Mindanao bloggers' summit to find out if the Mindanao bloggers I only meet on cyberspace are also people of flesh and blood, and not made entirely of words. I'd be glad to hear them laugh, talk, chatter, argue, fight each other while we eat, drink, meet new friends, fall in and out of love as fast as we can, get hurt, go home bruised, bloodied and happy, because these are stuffs that real life is made of, the life where the virtual world springs from. I'd like to hear the speakers talk about both the technology and the joys of blogging, the economics of this joy, the identity and identities of this imagined community of bloggers, who seem to closely identify themselves with this hotly-contested geography and political arena called Mindanao.
Thanks to the usual suspects who organize the event and the sponsors:
Join the Club!, Dimsum Diner,Councilor Peter LaviƱa, NoKiAHOST.COM P5/day webhosting ,, Davao Food Huntress, Globe Broadband, Act for Peace, Web Design Philippines, Lane Systems, Snap Graphics and Sign, Orange Country, Web Developer Philippines, Eric Clark Su, Swiss Deli Fwendz Diner, Artcom Printing Services and Cubepixels Design Studio. So, see you all at the summit!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lovers of Light

What's Wrong with the Devil?!

I chanced upon the Devil one day, talking about "the environment" inside an air-conditioned room full of people and I thought he made some sense.
He said something like if the law only worsened the human condition, then we have to ask why that law had been there, in the first place.
He kicked off his slippers under his chair and because I was at his back, I marveled at his unwashed soles as he kept crossing and uncrossing his feet while making his point. Right there and then, I began to like the Devil.
When the talk was over, it was lunch. I happened to fall in line next to the Devil, who turned around half way when he got his plate and saw the identification card on my chest. “Are you from the Philippine Daily Inquirer?” he asked, surprised.
I nodded.
“So, are you going to write about this?” he motioned to the hall where we just came from. “Maybe, yes,” I said, and was about to ask him why but he already turned away, mumbling something I could not make out.
The Devil was very tall, and surprisingly, a Caucasian, but the way his face flushed, I suspected, he must be saying something like, “Be sure you understand what you’re writing about,” or, “I hope you won’t add something to what I said,” or, “Don’t you misquote me, you should not be allowed to write anything here,” or, “No media is supposed to be here!”
Things I used to hear from other similar gatherings before.
It was such a pity that he was already moving away and I could not make out exactly what he said.
I was already seated at the table when a servant sent by the Devil told me to get out because the event was not supposed to be for the media.
So, I got up feeling so stupid, lost my way trying to find the elevator, then, heartily took the stairs down seven floors as I pondered upon the power that betrayed the basic fear and weakness of the Devil! He had the maze of structures to surround him, he had the power to employ (and exploit) people and control their minds—and yet, how pathetically insecure the Devil was! [Anyway, why would someone wall himself up behind horrendous physical and psychological structures if he were not afraid and needed to feel protected, in the first place?]
I came up with several hilarious conclusions about the Devil as I finally reached the last flight of stairs:
The Devil was paranoid.
The Devil was afraid of the media!
Because he was afraid fo the media, the Devil must be very obsessed with his image.
I conjure an image of the Devil looking at himself in the mirror, worrying about his looks! Something must be terribly wrong with the Devil!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bad Karma

This morning, I set aside my unfinished stories on Ramadan, the Human Security Act, (and many more that I could not mention for fear that doing so might stop me from writing them); I’ve foregone the pleasure of re-reading Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Zahir,” and “The Aleph” (which in the past few days have intoxicated me) or Edwin Mullins’ “The Pilgrimage to Santiago,” which I had started and abandoned a few months ago, or, Starhawk’s “The Spiral Dance,” which I found switched in between the rotten copy of Hendrik Willem Van Loon's "The Life and Times of Rembrandt Van Rijn" and Italo Calvino's "Difficult Loves" on the shelf of an obscure bookshop!
Worst of all, I turned down Dasia’s invitation for coffee--which is very rare, it happens only once in a hundred years!---because I had earlier promised Mandy I will attend that forum for her.
Only to be told---after half a day of listening to the speakers masticate about mining inside an air-conditioned room---that I did not have any business to be in that forum. They invited Mandaya, not me.
I was kicked out, so to speak, by people who did not even bother to explain why my name (instead of Mandy's) appeared on the attendance sheet (and it was not Dava Maguinda, I swear!) and why I had to waste precious hours before they could tell me I was not wanted in the first place!
But okay, it was over and I'm not going to wallow into it!
I was only there “to fulfill an obligation” and did not want to engage in any sort of “intellectual masturbation” about mining and the “indigenous peoples,” anyway, when the “indigenous peoples”(except one) were not even around.
Besides, I don’t really believe that there is some kind of a middle ground on such issues as mining. If you talk about mining and you tell me, we can just pose questions without making any strong statement for or against it--I’d surely feel very uneasy just sitting there, keeping my seat extra-warm without even bothering to ask: Are you deluding yourself? Are you pulling my leg? Or are you fooling the people?
So, I was just too glad to get out of there as fast as I can. They also told me I could not write anything about that forum, something that I never dream of doing so in the first place. For, except perhaps, for lawyer Marvic Leonen, who made perfect sense to me, are they really worth writing about?