Wednesday, August 31, 2005


SEPTEMBER 1st is BOSAI NO HI or.. DISASTER PREVENTION DAY in this part of the Pacific. I believe this is timely, after Katrina and the Tsunami that rocked Asia last December.

EVERY YEAR, the Japanese set aside a day to conduct a nationwide DRILL involving all sectors of society, at all levels of hierarchy: from the smallest town to municipalities or cities to Prefectural Level. All activities are coordinated with the National Leader with the Prime Minister at the helm. The Program begins at 8:30 A.M. and is synchronized everywhere. Residents are involved and asked to cooperate.

INANG BAYAN needs these kind of program ASAP. LET US LEARN FROM RECENT DISASTERS. I doubt if we have one in place, or something doable which can be tapped anytime, anywhere AT AN INSTANT.

THIS IS TIMELY. Looking at the recent devastation of Katrina makes us feel inadequate in Inang Bayan. Proper coordination, readiness of the government to respond to natural disasters, evacuation procedures, evacuation logistics, information dessimination, food ditribution, basic necessities and more.... are needed to be put in place.

MANY THINGS are needed:

====PLANNING: apparently we need to be armed and forearmed. It is better to be ready than be caught unawares.

====COORDINATION: of concerned agencies to truly implement the plan.

====LOGISTICS: ambulances, other transport, food, water, tents, medicine....the list is endless.

ALL THESE need money. And that is the problem.

IF ONLY the "Pork Barrels" or the Countryside Development Funds so abused by our Tongressmen and Senatongs are diverted DIRECTLY to address basic services, then ordinary citizens like us won't feel neglected.



Tuesday, August 30, 2005



IT does not matter whether you live in Phi Phi Island or in Baton Rouge. It is the same anywhere. No one can beat Nature when it decides to go your way. No one can beat Nature if it pound its fury on homes, both humble and grand.

AMIDST the devastation of Katrina's aftermath, people found time to loot goods. They claim that they need them to survive. The policemen and the guards just looked the other way. Apparently, these people belong to the lower caste of society. Can't help but think: Why pour money in Iraq when there are people in the South who needs them?

POLITICIANS' priorities in government, especially if one belongs to the super-rich, superpower need to address the needs of its citizens. Most of those whose modest homes went with winds complained that when the evacuation warning was issued, they didn't leave. When asked why they did not, they answered they lacked the transport to do so. Which translated to more deaths. Those who remained stayed in the city's sports dome, yet this, too, suffered some leaks.

THESE and many more natural disasters make me think: not because we belong to a third world country makes us lesser mortals than our super-rich counterparts. Nature can leave havoc and devastations unlimited...Look at the tourists destinations hit by December's TSUNAMIs[ TIDAL WAVEs].

LET US BE THANKFUL that God gives us typhoons and not hurricanes.

LET US BE GRATEFUL that God gives us 'HANGING AMIHAN' instead of tornadoes.



YESTERDAY officially marked the start of the 12-day campaign for the snap election in the Land of the Rising Sun. The Lower House was dissolved by PM Junichiro Koizumi following the defeat of his Postal Privatization Bill. He threatened to do so before voting for the bill's passage first week of August. His bill was rejected and so he abolished the existing Lower House the same afternoon. Some 1132 candidates are vying for the 480 seats.

KOIZUMI seems to have been upset when 34 of his party-members voted against his party-sponsored bill. He has since vowed never to support such defiance.

SOUNDS familiar? Hm.... I think so, too. Dictatorial?...I agree.

THE same thing happens everywhere, the Philippines included. What politicians will do in the name of power! But here, Koizumi vowed to step down as PM if his party loses the majority seat in this election which is pegged at 241 seats. In Manila, gma will not budge.

ALTHOUGH I cannot participate in this election [not yet, anyway] I have seen election campaign up close and have been to voting centers the last time they had one for Governor of this Prefecture. Like all other elections in the past, the campaign covers 12 days and posters are prominently displayed at designated boards. Candidates are allowed to place leaflets inside post boxes. These leaflets contain their bio-data and their platforms. Candidates' entourage are allowed in public places, or simply go around the neighborhood with that special-car crafted with PA and a stage on top. These candidates can stop at plazas or malls/supermarkets and make impromptu speeches. Here, individual candidates can make a go of it all. In Inang Bayan, they usually do it in huge "miting-de-avance".

MOST PEOPLE I've talked to, do not care about the postal privatization which Koizumi advocates. What they want is a more secure Economy, the Basic Care Services and the pending Social Security problems of the elderly. It is a known fact that the GREYING of Japan is looming ahead, and as such need more time and energy than having the postal services change to favor private firms. The result of this upcoming election on Sept. 11 will brake or make Koizumi's hard-line position. I hope it does para naman matauhan. Medyo iba na ang stance ngayon, eh. Dati mas OK, pero lately, parang dictatorial ang dating.

ELECTION 2004 is still fresh in my mind. That was my first time to vote. Honestly, I never liked Ms. Arroyo; Neither did I vote for Poe. I didn't trust Lacson either. And yes! I did vote for Raul S. Roco. I believed in his HOPE campaign. But things didn't turn out right.......Alas! We are left with gma at the helm, thanks to "garci" and his magic wand[s].

Ms. Arroyo is said to want by her side people who support her. People who tell her everything she wants to hear, and vow to be with her, no matter what. That is the reason why she cannot get rid of amuyongs, including 'the husband', her partner in crime.

POLITIKA, at 'partisan politcs' ang nananaig sa ating Bayan. Sa halip na BAYAN ang unahin, "PAMPAMILYA" ang nagyayari.



Monday, August 29, 2005



HARVEST TIME seems to come early to some. Lucky, aren't they?

EVERYWHERE I go the harvest scene is repeated. Signs of summer's end?

PADDIES ARE golden. And trucks are busy transporting tractors to different locations. Rental Shops of farming implements are brimming with calls from farmers whose schedule have been arranged months before.

FROM MY window, I can see an old man beaming, perhaps anticipating a great harvest, as he scan his HATAKE [PADDY]. I guess he's assessing the harvest. Soon came the tractor. As he mount the machine, his frail body shakes. 'Where's that son of his', I thought, a bit flustered at the idea why the old man has to do it himself. Yeah...this is the same man I talked to in early spring. That time he was preparing the field for planting. He said something about a son who refuses to be a farmer. What a pity! This old man has several hectares adjacent to ours.

HE FINISHED harvesting in no time. GREAT TECHNOLOGY, indeed! He was able to harvest three hectares of rice in many? I lost count. I didn't look at the watch. was as if he didn't exert any effort at all!

AGRICULTURE IN JAPAN have reached that point wherein they boasts of quality. Quality, because almost all are verry good. Let me tell you about their MEIBUTSUs [DELICACIES]:

===AOMORI apples taste sweeter and better than those in Seattle. ...Same is true with apples from NAGANO.

===GRAPES from Yamanashi-Ken are great for wine-making.

===GRAPES from Okayama are sweeter than sweet to eat.

===UNAGI from Shizuoka are superb!

===TANGERINES from Mikkabi, Shizuoka are the best!

===GREEN TEA, again, from Shizuoka are the most expensive here because of its fine taste.

===SHELLS from Hamanako Lake tastes delicious.

===SUGAR are best from Okinawa.

===KOBE beef are renowned for its quality.

===RICE......ah...the best ones come from up north, they say....but for me, newly-harvested ones =anywhere= tastes specially yummy!

.................and more.

I WISH THESE TECHNOLOGY reach our shores. I KNOW Japan has sponsored many Filipinos via the JICA project to teach our Kababayans about modern agricultural technology. I have talked to some from Baguio. I wonder where they are now. Did they go back and share their knowhow with other Pinoy farmers? I wish in my heart they did...and still do.


WE NEED THEM ...........NOW.

Sunday, August 28, 2005



PEE-POH........ PEE-POH.... goes the siren. Here ambulance cars emit sounds like that. Whenever motorists hear that sound, they willingly, dutifully oblige and yield. They give way in the hope that the person inside that ambulance be saved.

NOT SO in Inang Bayan. I have seen, heard so many ambulance, but none give way. Is it because of the snarled traffic jam in the Metropolis? Can nothing be done to mark some lanes as 'free lanes' which can be used only in case of emergencies? I wonder.... I remember being angry when I saw some drivers in the SLEX who had the nerve to follow the ambulance itself, 'para mas mabilis daw.' One look at his smug face made me lose my temper! Goodness!

I HAVE no idea where we got this attitude. Most Pinoys really do not have that sense of really, really following rules ! Traffic rules and regulations are one of the the most violated ones. Not only does it make chaos of the roads, it also "enriches" the Traffic Enforcers who receive the TONG that people give in lieu of the traffic ticket.

LIKE JUETENG which have been there since before we were born, these traffic violators are here to stay......UNLESS our leaders, especially the Traffic Bureau do something drastic ASAP.

AMBULANCES, FIRE TRUCKS and other basic services vehicles must be given priority. These measures must be strictly enforced . We have enough good Laws to back this up. The only hindrance is the presence of unscrupulous enforcers around. The honest ones have diminished and are things [or men?] of the past. The bad guys have littered every street corner of the archipelago. If ever one finds a good honest one, they are being quite about it, lest they earn the ire of their superiors.

TRAFFIC IN Metro-Manila are congested and it takes about two and a half hour to reach Manila from Alabang. That is, you're still lucky if you find a Taxi that can take secondary routes. If you're taking public transport, then be prepared to sleep for three hours or so.

I STILL dream of a free-flowing traffic in MetroManila. Is this possible?

WHEN WILL the citizens of the country experience such bliss is still beyond the horizon. We cannot see a bright one, yet, nothing is impossible. I believe the Filipino can and will come out of that stupor and work together.

THE GREATEST problem lies in our leaders. They are so engrossed in their own greedy political and personal agenda that the country's problems comes a poor second. The rest of the citizenry needs to change as well. We need to follow rules and Laws as strictly as we can and show the national leaders that if change does not start on top, then we, ordinary citizens can be the model. We can make that change possible.





IT'S A warm day....... the sun brimming with sunshine from morning till dawn. And I am not going anywhere! What am I to do? Alone again... [naturally?].

AFTER CLEANING the entire house, I went out to buy some stuff for my ref. Just the usual: grapefruit juice, milk, bread, some smoked cheese and fruits, not much....

I SETTLED snugly to watch the tube. Let's see....Soccer, Augusta Golf Tournament, Political Debates, Horse-Racing, .... What? Only these? That's when I settled for this annual 24-HOUR-FUND-RAISING PROGRAM. I guess it started last night and will go on till late tonight.

THE PROGRAM is well-planned, perfectly coordinated and ezquisitely executed. People from all of the country's 47 Prefectures have been tapped by the sponsor network. Almost allc elebrities came, except the politicians [I believe they have set some rules as far as politicking is concerned here...and that's superb!].

BENEFICIARIES OF the fund-raising are THE OLD FOLKS, HOME-FOR-THE-AGED, HANDICAPPED, and REHABILITATION FACILITIES for the HANDICAPPED.More special cars for transporting the handicapped and the aged costs double than ordinary cars. These are given to facilities that need them. Some seeing-eye dogs have been allotted to the blind [ and these costs much! I didn't know that....]...and more.

PEOPLE FROM all walks of life donate to this charities. Coin Boxes are provided all over the country: in supermarkets, banks, convenience stores, even Post Offices.

EVEN KOREAN idols such as Pei Yon Jon [I don't know if I got his name right] donated a lift-bus and left his signature on its side. Other Korean idols have graced the program and brought along their CHOKIN-BAKO [PIGGY BANKS], and I must say, rightly so! These Koreanovelas have "infiltrated" Asia, and Japan is no exception.

ONE THING that does not stop to amaze me is the feature on how the handicapped people fight for recognition and to be independent so as not to bother society. There's the blind young boy who played the piano well. Then there's that young man who can't walk, yet attempted to finish a traithlon route. Still there's a 59-year-old Lawyer who had constantly appeared on TV to give his lawyerly advise, who agreed to run a 100-kilometer marathon to help raise fund. CAN ANYONE BEAT THAT? Sa Bayan natin, kapag naging sixty na, ayaw nang kumilos!

ALTHOUGH THE government subsidizes a small amount to handicapped every month, this fund-raising program extends beyond the basic services offered to them. The MR [Mentally-Retarded] or the blind, the handicapped since birth receive some amount plus taxi tickets to augment their allowances and to help ease the burden from the family. But some services, such as special cars/buses that fetch them for that much-needed out-of-town check-up and mobilization and other facilities are lacking.

CAN'T HELP THINKING......IF ONLY we have such mass action taken to help the needy....Yung walang bahid ng kurakot.Yung TUNAY NA TULONG LANG....

ON SECOND thought, lahat halos ng Pinoy NEEDY, db? KAILAN KAYA? MERON NA BA SA INANG BAYAN nga ganitong kaganapan?



Friday, August 26, 2005


THE DAY AFTER the typhoon, people came out of their homes to assess the damage to properties, crops and lives.

TIME TO clean the area. Can't do it all alone, so I just concentrated on the walkway: that path leading to the main case the postman or delivery man comes. The rest can wait for another day... The sun's rays are too intense and I can't fight the melanin war here. Not with what I have. No one can. No one will ever dare.

THE REMAINING hot days of summer are here again... and everywhere, the mercury soared to 33 but here it registered at 36 ++ degrees C! The wind kept blowing from the west: that place where sands and paddies thrive. And I can't open the windows there. The sand may filter in again and that would be a monstrous job for me.

ARRANGED my schedule and upgrade. I was lucky to find the lady on the other side accomodating and friendly. She arranged for my window seat as well. Great!

THAT OVER, I can now concentrate on other mundane things. I still have enough time to go over the entire itinerary if need be. And my baggages are full. I know. I know. BB is still....the best alternative.

I THINK I better go out for that much-needed drive. It has been a long time since I went to OMAEZAKI. Shall I go? hmmmm




Thursday, August 25, 2005


AFTER A NIGHT of heavy rains and strong winds, the sun crept slowly this morning. The typhoon is now headed towards the Pacific, after making landfall at the Izu Peninsula, passing by Tokyo, and neighboring cities.

I STAYED up late. Quite unusual since I am an early bird. But last night I was so worried, I couldn't sleep. I just had to stay up. The wind was so strong I heard the consistent banging of the shutters outside. I was afraid the main TV antennae would give way..... The house stands great, thank God!

THIS MORNING, I woke up to find that the banging has stopped. I turned on the TV and found that a 55-year- old man died some twelve kilometers away. Cause of death? He heard some loud sounds outside his home. He went out to check what it was all about. What he didn't realize was that that sound came from roof tiles of his own house falling. As he stepped outside, he was hit by the falling roof tiles on his chest. He died minutes later. I thought, " what a way to go! Poor soul!"

ANOTHER 45-year-old company employee was hurt when a billboard hit him as he was walked home last night. Same with a 27-y/o from Shizuoka. Good grief!!! And the billboards were relatively small, compared with those I've seen along EDSA.

A THOUGHT popped into my mind: what if... those gigantic billboards in EDSA and elsewhere give way? At the rate typhoons visit Inang Bayan, are those BBs safe? Do we have a controlling body in RP that monitors BBs? I've seen the proliferation of BBs thus paving the way for the uglification of EDSA whenever I pass by that area.

TYPHOONS ARE constant in the Islands. We have been used to it. But what we have not realized up to this time is that the government has not made any effort to address basic preparations to protect the people. In times of calamities, we only wait 'until it is over.' We never make any preventive measures to at least minimize damage brought by natural disasters like typhoons.

DISASTER-PREVENTION PROGRAMS are not instituted. Kung meron man, marahil, ito ay "sa papel" lamang. Meron ba tayong 'INFORMATION DRIVE to let the citizens know 'WHAT-TO-DO' if-and-when disaster strikes? Meron ba tayong designated EVACUATION CENTERS? Meron ba tayong paraan para maipaalam sa mga taumbayan ang paraan para ma-mobilize ang taumbayan sa panahon ng kalamidad?

MALINIS BA ang mga estero/ kanal/ sewage system/ atbp.? Naturuan ba ang taumbayan na ihiwalay ang basura" ang plastik/bote/papel/ atbp.? Nakokolekta ba ang mga basura?

MARAMING TANONG ngunit tila walang sagot. Ang BAYAN ay napapabayaan dahil sa may mga taong ang vtanging hangad ay mapanatili sa poder ng kapangyarihan.

Samantala, patuloy pa rin ang pagdating ng BAGYO sa ating Bayan at sa puso ng bawa't mamamayan.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


BONSAI PLANTS are difficult to cultivate. They need extra TLC, attention and constant trimming. The whole thing becomes doubly discouraging if one is a novice in BONSAI cultivation.

THE FIRST time I've seen BONSAI up close was in last year's Hamanako Plant Festival. It was pure luck that I was able to go with Naoko. She brought home two tickets, actually complimentary ones, given by her boyfriend. She asked me to go and who wants to refuse such an offer?

BONSAI PLANTS from the collection of famous horticulturists in Japan were assembled in a special guarded building. The display included ones from the Imperial Palace which date back from several hundred years ago. As one pass by the collection, "0ohs and Ahs" are common, and rightly so. Almost all on display that day were labeled: the name of the palnt, the owners, and how much each costs. I tell you, some ran as much as several thousand hundred yens! [Translation: kahit ilang Chedeng pa ang kapalit, kulang pa!].

I HAVE never seen such an array of BONSAIs in my life. Not even the ones I've seen displayed at a train station near my place can compare with the exquisite beauty of these plants. The lines were graceful, and each piece speak volumes. One can look at them and feel that inner peace, the tranquility of the surrounding...and the serenity the plants seem to convey.

LOOKING at them, one would not suspect that behind the beauty lies painstaking labor and patience. In fact, some plant lovers vow that BONSAIs are "labors of love". Cultivating a BONSAI is like building a building : one must have a master plan and the tools to put your plan into action. One also needs patience as BONSAIs can survive hundreds of years, if properly handled.

I FOUND that the majority of BONSAI afficionados are old men. And most men are knowledgeable in horticulture. Most men project love of their culture and always sport the Japanese KIMONO. Does this mean that you've got to embrace the culture to be able to grow one BONSAI plant? Hmmm...I wonder.

I WAS thinking along that line when I saw some BONSAI plants in JIJI's garden. There were two, but quite small. Since no one seems to take care of them, I looted these two and placed them in front of my door. I have been taking care of them since.

BONSAIs may be small, but they are big when we count the good things they give the beholder. They give happiness and contentment to the onlooker and to its care-taker. I myself experience serenity envelop my entire being whenever I look at them.

[>>>>MAY ALAM akong isa pang BONSAI na sa halip na kagiliwan eh, kinaiinisan ng lahat. Halos walang EQ at hindi makangiti. Ngumiti man, pilit palagi. Marami ang hindi nasisiyahan kapag nakita ang BONSAI na ito. Sa totoo, nanggigigil ang lahat at kumukulo pa ang dugo ng iba. Palaging nakabusangot at maraming desgrasya sa kanyang 'handlers. Tinaguriang PEKE o FAKE ang BONSAI na ito. Kontrobersyal masyado ang nasa paligid niya.<<<<]

BONSAI, anyone?

I love one!...THE REAL ONE, I MEAN.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



ASIDE from intermittent showers, I do not know if I'll believe what's on the screen: 2 typhoons are looming over the Pacific south of the country! One is heading east along the Pacific. This one might not touch land, thank God!The other one, if winds persist, might go head-on towards our area . Wheew!

TYPHOONS are summer occurences here. The season starts at the same time we have them in Inang Bayan. Every year, Japan experiences an average of 15 typhoons, more or less. As in most cases, the typhoon pattern here is the same: they are brewed and starts over the Pacific, visits the Philippine area of responsibility, then makes a turn and head towards Taiwan, or Japan. Sometimes, these natural disasters go straight to the Korean peninsula or....mainland China, which most, including myself would rather hope for.

WHAT I fear most about typhoons is not as much as the rain or the amount of water it brings, but the STRONG WINDS that accompany each typhoon. Here, winds bring more disaster than the rain itself. This country has great sewage system that water level soon ease up. Unless of course some river embankments have been eroded, then there seems to be no problem at all.

WINDS can create havoc on farmers whose rice paddies may be ready for harvests. Orchard-owners of pears, apples, tangerines, oranges and grapes 0r even vynil houses attests that strong winds have the capacity to ruin everything: from properties, to investments and worse----lives.

TYPHOONS also may come in the form of broken hearts in one's lifetime. Some spend a lifetime to find the man/woman of their lives. Some are lucky to meet them early on. Still others find loving a devastating experience, much like the typhoons brought by nature.

LIFE and TYPHOONS: BOTH humble the souls. Both make us learn about life and living. Both make us stronger: emotionally? ...maybe. But both can make us stronger persons in more ways we can imagine.

I'D LIKE to be able to withstand the typhoons of my life whenever, if ever it comes along. I may cry over something I lost or over someone [I don't know...], but I'll never lose faith in the Great Architect who designs everything here on earth, including typhoons and heartaches. HE will never let us down.

AFTER each typhoon comes clear skies. After each night comes the break of dawn.....

It is always like that.


Monday, August 22, 2005



I LIKE watching good movies. I ENJOY documentaries especially the ones of historical genre. But it never occurred to me that I'd get hooked on TV series! Once a week, I always look forward to two TV series via NHK.

1]. IT IS always a pleasure to watch the series on SAMURAIs. It depicts the realities of the past in medieval Japan. The storyline is based on documented history. With elaborate costumes, props and sets, the viewer is transformed back in time. WATCHING the series makes one feel how people in the old EDO lived: the way they dress, the way women were treated, the kind of food they eat, the hairstyle, almost everything! I LEARN a lot more by just watching these series than by reading the volumes before me. Of course, nothing can compare with the printed ones, but the TV medium delivers more: it can make the needed impact on the young's minds. Try teaching a bunch of kids with the moving pictures and you'll get great results.

2]. I NEVER thought I'd be interested in this one: a KOREAN story about the women who prepared the dishes for the Korean Royal Family hundred years ago. For lack of something good to do, I turned on the tube several moons ago. I switched channels and, finding the shows not to my liking, stopped with this Korean thing. I knew I wouldn't be interested so I started to surf the net, WHILE listening to the Koreanovela. [You see, I always turn on the TV, radio, or listen to Japanese music to saturate my ears with Nippongo. This is part of my plan: to be able to 'catch' Nippongo as used by the natives.] As the story went on, I found myself glued to the tube. "This is interesting!" I thought. Cooking here seems to be an art. Of course there are intrigues along the way, but one can glimpse how it was during that era. It seems similar to the Daimyo's and the Samurai's men: they all fight for recognition and positions. BUT this isn't like the others in one way: they explain the proper cooking, preparation of food, and why, benefits, et cetera. I needed that! I have been following it up ever since. Besides, I have tried cooking the same way these Cooks did a thousand years ago and the result was fantastic! Not only are they healthy, they taste great as well. I feel proud to say that I am learning here....

TV VIEWING must impart something to viewers. Most of what I've seen in Inang Bayan are garbage: slapstick comedies, or just plain chizmiz. Neither am I interested in showbiz balita. I always skip that while in Manila. I don't have the patience to watch these artistas while they make fools of the viewing public...and I refuse to be part of the fools who watch them. I have watched a few talk shows which are real good but find the rest wanting in my search for relevant information. Then there is that 'lady' talk show host who is so arrogant her body language speaks volume. I reject that, too.

TELEVISION PROGRAMS have a long way to go as far as output is concerned. TV Networks are out for QUANTITY [ ratings and money] ONLY rather than giving QUALITY programs.

HOW I wish we have real good shows in Inang Bayan:
--------something that can dessiminate true information to the public;
-------something that viewers will remember for the rest of their lives;
-------something that will leave an impact into the consciousness of the Filipino;
-------something that can go beyond time, and era, and bespeak of a culture that can make a nation proud;
-------something that informs, teaches, instills good Filipino Value.

COME to think of it, do we have responsible TV programming in the country?


Saturday, August 20, 2005



IT has always been LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Uh-uh---- it's not like that, silly! HAHAHAH!!!

YOU SEE, U is for UMEBOSHI or PICKLED JAPANESE PLUMS always take their place of honor in almost every Japanese meal. The pickled plum tastes something like sweet and sour to salty. It is similar to the Champoy na pula in Chinatown. The similarity ends there. Umeboshi is soft [minus the seeds, which others break and eat], watery, sometimes naturally colored red [from the Shiso leaves]. The best UMEBOSHI are made by the old folks who have turned this into a ritual and an art.

UMEBOSHIs are used in ONIGIRIs [ balled rice which contains just anything inside, wrapped in NORI (dried seaweeds)]. I love ONIGIRIs since they are easy to eat, no hassles these ones.UMEBOSHIs are also used in cooking, in sauces for salads, as side dish, and lately,....would you believe?=ICE CREAM! There was this TV program that boasted of tasting UMEBOSHI-flavored ICE CREAM. Cool! I have tasted other concoctions, but not this one. Guess gotta try that one, too.

UMEBOSHIs are said to be a good eat once-a-day. It is being promoted as a health food by all. When someone feels out of sorts, he/she is advised to chew some UMEBOSHI. All attest to instant cure. It is also included in a bowl of OKAYU [LUGAW for Juan!] for the sick, young and old alike. I had this once when I had cold last winter. The soft, salty UMEBOSHI makes one cringe at its taste. Almost all react the same way once they put UMEBOSHI into their mouth. Although salty, it is recommended by old folks. It is by this reason that my OBASAN [AUNT] sent a jar of UMEBOSHI last week.

I HAVE still a long way to go as far as learning HOW to make pickeld plums, but am willing to do just that. The only problem is that the women force of this clan live in far-away KYUSHU. I guess I have to wait for the right time, huh?

But one thing I realized while here in another Land: I LOVE U. U is for UMEBOSHI!



I REMEMBER reading the xeroxed-copy of "THE CONJUGAL DICTATORSHIP" among my parent's files. It looked yellow and old, proof of its era. I was hesitant at first to touch it, since they looked like pieces of draft term paper. Besides, the print in some pages are faded. This "xerox thing" was the fad at that time, since possession of the banned book could translate to treason. So my Nanay had it copied from the original which was owned by a nameless UP Professor. AS SOON as I started reading the first few pages, I found myself transformed to that time. The book [or its cheap counterpart] was easy read that I was able to finish it in no time.

NOWADAYS, youngsters no longer care what happened during MARTIAL LAW. The only thing they 'heard' or 'know' is that martial law was "strict". "That's it?"....I'd venture...As if on cue, everyone else then shift the flow of coversation to other mundane, light conversation. ONE THING I can't stand is the " blehh hehs, and the wehs in most if not all conversation among my contemporaries. Chats never make my day, unless of course, the one on the other line makes sense. I am not sure I'll be able to say this right, but some Pinoys simply do not care!

THE SCHOOLS have not been doing their share in teaching HISTORY and what REALLY TRANSPIRED in the country. The DepEd officials have been remiss of their basic function: to dessiminate basic knowldege and instill LOVE OF COUNTRY. What better way to teach the young than by doing it in the classroom. Some classrooms have been littered by teachers whose colored version of History has made some brains grayer than it was before. I remember a Grade3 Araling Panlipunan teacher. He was Ilocano, thus, he dealt more on the good rather than the truth about Marcos. To some pupils who were easily swayed, this can be the deciding factor. It's a good thing matigas ang ulo ko.

MARCOS may have initiated some 'good' things to the nation, but the good ones were superceded by the bad. Martial law and his "Bagong Lipunan" have been a minus rather than a plus.

SCHOOLS, and the citizenry have oftentimes shown APATHY and lack of "PAKIALAM" about the country's affairs. They have decided to look at the other side and pretend not to see what is happening around them.


DO we still have democracy in the country?

WHY can some people violate the LAW and get away with it?

WHY do most allow such gross violations of the Law by the top leaders of the Land?

WHERE IS garci and Doble?

WHY do some power-hungry ridicule the Law and roam the country scot-free?

WHY are some people related to the dictator been allowed to run for public office?

HOW do most Pinoys show LOVE of COUNTRY?




SAMANTALA, the 'MASA" simply do not care!


TODAY marks the 22nd DEATH Anniversary of BENIGNO "NINOY" AQUINO, Jr.

AFTER spending three years in the U.S.A., Ninoy decided it was time to come home. He was able to get a passport under the name Marcial Bonifacio, a name reminiscent of his incarceration at the hands of the CONJUGAL DICTATORSHIP.

He travelled with journalists on his way to the Philippines. All his last moments were documented EXCEPT that last few seconds when he was asked to pass by the small side exits [usually used by airline maintenance staff]. THAT was when it all happened.

FIRES were heard seconds after he stepped out of the exit. He was accosted by armed men and refusing would be detrimental to all the other passengers. Some of those who were with him insisted they accompany him, but they were shoved by the heavily armed men.

NEWS of his death spread like widfire in all branches of media through the world.This triggered mass action seen all over the country. >First, it was the funeral march from Sto. Domingo Church to Paranaque. My Nanay went to Claro M. Recto Avenue, despite the rains. She waited atop the Bridge near FEU. At that time, we were wondering where she was. We were waiting for lunch at home, but no one would tell where she went. We learned later that she did go there because she wanted a last glimpse of Ninoy's. She jostled along with thousands...because she vowed she has never seen such massive gathering since Ramon Magsaysay's funeral. >Then there was EDSA 1. People finally united against the abuses of Martial Law. People no longer can take it: Primitivo Mijares, the author of 'THE CONJUGAL DICTATOSHIP" disappeared without a trace during Martial Law along with thousands of disparecidos. Anyone who opposed FM were sure dealt with iron hands. The people were afraid while Imelda jet-set around the world, hosted lavish parties and paraded extravagance while the ordinary people suffered.

INVESTIGATION was ordered by Marcos but no definite, concrete result there. This was, after all, conducted by people appointed by the dictator himself. Speculations were high that it was Marcos himself who ordered the murder. Some say it was Imelda, for she was spurned by Ninoy a long time ago. Others still, forward the Ver and his cohorts planned and executed the murder, at imelda's behest. There were even 'leaks' from Palace insiders that Marcos was so angry that Imelda received a dressing down in front of everyone inside Malacanang.

ALTHOUGH the armed men who escorted Ninoy were incarcerated, no one can tell who the mastermind was. Marcos has died, so with Ver, his cousin and trusted aide. Imelda still roams around free: free to spend all the money of the people, free to attend numerous galas around, free to act the way she did some two or more decades past....AND the conjugal dictators' children occupying prominent positions in government.






TODAY, I pay my humble respect to NINOY.






Friday, August 19, 2005


LAST night, the sky was clear, and one can see the full moon shining brightly. Looking at it from my window, can't help but think of these lines:

I SEE the moon,

The moon sees me

Down on the lake by the old oak tree

Please let the light that shines on me

Shine on the one I care.

OVER the mountains, over the sea

Back where my heart is longing to be;

Please let the light that shines on me,

Shine on the one I luv.


THE IMPEACHMENT BEGINS.... 0r so it seems...

WHILE every Juan and Pedro knows that Ms. Arroyo used "magic" to change the result of the last election, the monkeys in Congress are battling for attention. I heard the Impeachment is going ON LIVE. Enough opportunity to grandstand, huh?! What better way to make people remember their names.

WITH "Big Mike" breezing in from abroad, several vital witnesses have recanted their statements, apologizing in public to Ms. Arroyo. Seems to me, these witnesses needs Pidal arround to jack up the pedal. Envelopmental 'pakipkip'/padulas' [whacchamacallit] is said to have started to change hands. PRO--administration team have inundated foras all over the local issues/politics thread of every Pinoy fora around. The offensive is all out.

SURVIVAL is the priority. GOVERNANCE suffers.

The PEOPLE are waiting.


Juan-de-la-Cruz is wondering.....


Thursday, August 18, 2005


I WOKE up in the middle of the night: I heard this spluttering sound.... I realized it was raining [finally!]. Of late, I've been sleeping with my window open to let the wind in on hot summer nights. It was indeed a welcome respite from the humid days [and nights] even if it lasted only a few minutes. Makes me feel like staying in bed a little while longer.

I guess we have to be thankful for little rains that come our way. The real bad news about rains or the lack of it is that in SHIKOKU, KOCHI-KEN's dam has reached 0% level and the populace have been dependent on bottled water for basic needs snce last month.

SCHOOL vacation is nearing its end, so I decided to 'clean a little, dust a little' here and there. Got to have the classroom ready for the kids next Tuesday.

CLEANED the main house as well. Lolo came back from his hometown trip. He brought home lots of 'pasalubongs' mostly delicacies from Kyushu. Got to sort that out later.

Today, promises to be a great day. Signs of summer are still in the air, although yesterday,I noticed that autumn is making itself felt: I was not able to water my garden at 6PM. It was darker than usual. I skipped that chore since I'm afraid of the dark.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


THE TYPICAL JAPANESE TABLE present an array of colors, taste and mouth-watering concoctions.

THERE is the MIZO SHIRU [MIZO SOUP], steaming rice, salad, fish [prepared in different manner: grilled, broiled, steamed, deep-fied, or simply cooked in Japanese O-SAKE [JAPANESE RICE WINE], SHOYU [SOY SAUCE] and MIRIN. TSUKEMONO as side dishes are a must. These side dishes make me enjoy my meals more.

TSUKEMONO or SALTED/PICKLED VEGETABLES are great! The Japanese, Koreans and the Chinese have turned this into an art. They have created the 'proper way' of pickling vegetables. They have to pickle vegetables for the long, winter days.

THE ART OF MAKING PICKLES is quite easy, if there is an elder folk to guide you. The old ones teach the younger generation. This ensures that it would turn out just right. Amateurs like me have started to learn. After several attempts, luck doesn't bear with me as they all turned out unsuccessful.

BIG BOTTLES AND JARS line up every kitchen in Japan. Some real big ones are kept in cool places like the pantry and that special place just under the kitchen floor. These will provide for the household's supply for the entire year.

RELATIVES from Kyushu sent UMEBOSHI [PICKLED JAPANESE PLUM] and RAKKYOU [PICKLED SHALLOTS], Bless them! Knowing I cannot do the process myself, they sent me my supply which have been lovingly prepared by Lolo's ONE-SAN [ ELDER SISTER].

THE LIST of TSUKEMONOs are endless: Radishes, Cucumbers, Chinese Cabbage [Pechay Baguio], small Melons, and more....

AND I love them.


WITH the recent earthquake, the Japanese have been on their toes again, especially those living in TOKYO. TV programs are inundated with reminders to all. Preparations are being finalized for the ANNUAL FIRE DRILL on September 1. This Drill involves the entire populace.

I REMEMBER a GEOLOGIST who guested in one TV program a couple of months ago. He revealed that most of Tokyo and its surround have soft areas, meaning that these areas are more prone to landslide and cave-ins. I guess this revelation has made the price of land in rich Metropolitan Tokyo go down, huh?!

WITH THE MONTHLY community gazzete which is delivered by the Community [similar to our NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION] Treasurer is a reminder for the scheduled DRILL and to stack on food and water, just in case...

PEOPLE HERE live day-to-day WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE to come. When that happens, no one can say. All we can do is to BE PREPARED, like the Boy Scouts. I have all the important papers in one bag, with my OJIISAN's HANKO [ SEAL=equivalent to one's official signature, very similar to the ones used by the Chinese]. Supplies have been replenished.

IN THE MEANTIME, LIFE continues.... and the cloud has helped make it bearable, just for today.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005


BEING A FILIPINA living in Japan makes me feel disgusted at times. This is because of the public perception that ALL Filipinas here are JAPAYUKIs.

CAN'T BLAME THEM, I guess.... MOST Pinays here are. Even those who have married Japanese nationals continue to work in pubs and snacks [a term they use to mean a place to drink, and be entertained] after marriage. But the bulk comes from the Philippines as they seek the "LAPAD" and find the men of their dreams.

BUT THERE ARE THOSE who came here for different purposes. Some came as scholars and has found their mate, like Carmen, a former teacher in SBC Grade School who married her classmate in University here. She is now a Japanese citizen. Then there are more....names of whom cannot be published. There is also Paz who now works as interpreter in Japanese Courts for cases where Pinoys are involved. Add to this list, the NIKKEI-JIN/SANSEI-JIN [SECOND/THIRD GENERATION JAPANESE] to which I belong.

BEING A MEMBER of an organization of Pinays living in my area, I have met a lot of Pinoys: good or bad, maingay or magulo, salbahe o makulay, lahat ng klase! Mas marami ang grabe!

BUT WHAT PAINS ME MOST is the fact that most who come here are desperate in more ways than one. I remember a distant relative of my Lolo who came to me many moons ago. She asked me to answer the telephone call from a foreigner. Knowing that I could communicate both in Tagalog and English, we waited until the call came. Apparently that was not the first and definitely, not the last...until that fateful day...I hope.

The voice on the other end perhaps thought it was my uncle-in-law who answered. So the voice [a girl's] started to blabber in poor NIPPONGO [JAPANESE [the language]] ...and said, "PAPA..KITTE KUDASAI, NEH" [PAPA, COME HERE, PLEASE]. I can't help but react: "PAPA?! DARE NO? [ PAPA, KANINO?] . Then I proceeded to talk in controlled voice [nainis na kasi ako at napahiya!] that she is calling to an old man and that the wife is angry; that she better not call again as she is causing these couple to fight. She answered: "Ganun ba?..Akala ko.." and murmured something unintelligible. I asked for her address. She never gave me one. I suspect she is a BETERANA: an old-timer who knew the tricks of the trade.

I DO NOT KNOW what happened after that. My Lolo's relative-in-law has not been here since.

MOST PINAYS I see in supermarkets with some old Japanese men in tow, are a-plenty. Some have the gall to walk with their arms all over. And the get-up! You can easily spot a Pinay two kilometers away! It makes me feel sick to see how the image of the FILIPINA has been downgraded BY THESE PEOPLE. IS IT BECAUSE OF MONEY? PERA LANG BA ANG MAHALAGA? SAAN NA NAPUNTA ANG PRIDE? NAWALA NA RIN BA YUN? NAWALA-> NAKALIMUTAN! Someone quipped: "Hindi namn nakakain nag pride, noh!"... GANUN BA YUN? HM....GOODNESS!

I HAVE SEEN PINAYS working in factories here. They have made sacrifices and really sweat it out in factories all over this land. They continue to work and live decent lives. Most of them have stopped working 'at night' and show their growing kids that they, too, can assimilate in this society.

I KNOW. I have experienced working in factories of all kinds: welding car parts for Suzuki Cars [from the tiniest to the biggest, I have done that, too!], re-packaging, re-bottling LIPOVITAN, re-bottling vitamins, assembling cup noodles, electrical wirings of cars, LAHAT NA YATA! I was so curious what these factories are all about. I wanted to know what's inside those big warehouses, hence I applied at a brokering agency here. Sad to say, I lasted only a few months as these work are not cut out for me 0r is it vice-versa? Hmmm....My LOLO thinks otherwise: NAMAKEMONO [TAMAD!] daw ako?! EI? What's that again?

LIVING IN ANOTHER COUNTRY wouldn't be as bad if we only live honorably, decently. Let us act properly, and people will respect us. This reminds me of that saying: "Amor con amor se paga= Love begets love." In the same LIGHT, if we respect ourselves, people will eventually respect us. Parang MAGNET lang ang buhay.

PINAYS living abroad must remember that we are reflections of our country. WHEREVER we go, WHOEVER we may be, WE must make it sure that the good supercede the bad.


THE GREAT ESCAPE: Summer, 2005

I HAVE on my desk pictures taken when my students and I had that GREAT ESCAPE. I am sorting them out, in preparation for the resumption of my EIGO-KAIWA LESSONS [ENGLISH CONVERSATION-LESSONS] next Tuesday. I promised to give each of them a copy of that "ADVENTURE".

GREAT, indeed!...and ESCAPE...that, too...that is, from the scrorching heat of typical Japanese summer. No matter where you live, the heat affects everybody: young and old alike.

KNOWING that it is difficult for my students to focus on our lessons and equally difficult for me to teach given these humid surroundings, I decided to spend one day out of my scheduled classes to teach in a different way.

I PICKED the hottest day in late July to take my students out of the classroom and we all went on an 'ADVENTURE' without disclosing to them where we are going.

I TOLD them to leave their bags inside the room and just follow me.

WE THEN left the classroom [ a small room adjacent to my own room, which I converted into my own 'abode' here] and walked to the closest ice cream shop. It happens that the nearest was a convenience store [oh yeah! they do sell soft ice cream here during summer].

I ALLOWED my students to choose what flavor they want and they have to tell me that in English [talk of motivation, huh?!] The have to order them themselves. Of course, I PAY! After all, this is one of those times I have to chip in...the 'other' being their birthdays and on Christmas, before I take that long vacation for the Holidays.

ANYWAY, after eating our ice cream [of course, I have to...even if I am dieting! ..daw!], I took them to a nearby coin-photography booth [the ones used for passports/similar to our Photo-Me]. We all squeezed in and smiled for the camera. Since all cannot be accomodated inside, I prepared for the worse: I brought my own digi-came [digital-camera]. Amid laughters and guffaws, we had lots of pictures taken, each one taking turns to click the button. Lastly, I requested one of the convenience store employees to click the button for all of us.

WE THEN walked back, passing by the CITY PLAYGROUND situated between the store and our classroom. I let them tumble and roam around free at this stage. The area is safe with railings around the perimeter.



Quote to ponder:

"They may forget what you said, But they will never forget what you made them feel."





AND I THOUGHT I was sick this morning!! I sensed something was wrong...very wrong...yet I couldn't place it. Then came the flashing news on the TV screen that says it all: there is another EARTHQUAKE in northern HONSHU [the main island of Japan; the biggest].

EARTHQUAKES [JISHIN] are common in the Land of the Rising Sun. EVERYDAY, reports following the weather forecasts always relay updates on Earthquakes: the magnitude, the epicenter, blah-blah-blah... Goodness!!

THE GREAT KANTO EARTHQUAKE [dubbed so because it happened in the KANTO Region, which comprises TOKYO and outlying cities/municipalities] in 1923 wrecked havoc in properties and killed thousands. It left a lot more people homeless in the process.

THIS HAS MADE government officials focus on DISASTER-PREVENTION PROGRAMS. Since then, Japan has made leaps and instituted preparations to predict future earthquakes, plan programs and systemize the evacuation of residents rendered homeless by these and similar disasters.

HIGH-TECHNOLOGY gives no assurance that calamities of great magnitude be prevented. The least they can do is BE PREPARED ...JUST IN CASE.

CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES have created programs patterned after the National Guidelines. Each year, on September 1, a DRILL ON EVACUATION and SAFETY PROCEDURES is conducted in every municipality/ city all over the nation. The Prime Minister, being the Leader-In-Charge, sees to the overall coordination from his central HQ.

AT AROUND 8 A.M. soon as the siren is heard, all residents must go out in open fields and wait for further instruction. Since all cities/towns are equipped with PA system, communication is quite easy. EACH -KEN [PREFECTURE/PROVINCE] conduct RESCUE OPERATIONS, AIRLIFTING, RAPELLING, BASIC FIRST AID, AND MOBILIZATION.

HAVING FOCUSED on the Tokyo area, the Japanese were caught unawares when the HANSHIN EARTHQUAKE [ OSAKA-KOBE AREA] jolted one cold day in January more than ten and a half years ago. The devastation was so great, even the SHINKANSEN [BULLET TRAINS] RAILS swayed to one side. Again, thousands lost their lives, properties that reached several billions of yens either gone with the smoke or down to the gutters.

NIIGATA-KEN's earthquake made one realize that no amount of technology, nor prediction can withstand natural disasters. Caught on amateur camera was this patch of forestland going down the slopes and disappearing down...down...down....until all you see is a gap between the road in front and the other side. There is a gaping hole in-between. Pity those trapped inside the cars ahead!

TODAY's happening made me realize I haven't checked my bag out. The one supplied by the City Office. You see, each household is given a KNAPSACK which contains one plastic portable water container, a flashlight, aluminum sheet [for cold wintry nights] and a list of things needed for disasters. All the rest in the list must be completed by each household as assurance. It must be placed at the entrance or anywhere easily accessible.

Gotta bounce...better check my bag and replenish the water and the biscuits; put in fresh batteries and add an extra shirt, some face towels....


My headache I feeling the aftershocks?


Monday, August 15, 2005



I HAVE just finished lunch and had banana with my rice, along with some leftovers from yesterday's. It goes well with the spicy vegetable dish I concocted yesterday. Aside from its potassium contents, bananas have loads of vitamins to fill everyone.

I NEVER realized that BANANAS are that good, healthwise, that is. People here troop to the FRUITS SECTION and almost always pick up this prime commodity as they go shopping in supermarkets. There were various TV programs which analyzed the benefits one can get by consuming BANANA all the days of their lives. Old and young alike eat BANANAS everyday. They believe that BANANAS make up for lost stamina. IN MANILA, we always take them for granted; most even prefer the big, " clean, pretty variety" to the small LATUNDAN ones.

IN MANILA, BANANAS are sold by the kilo, here it is sold by the bunch [4-5 pieces per cut]. And it sure cost more....[but of course!].

I ALWAYS pick the ones labeled 'PRODUCT OF THE PHILIPPINES'. Of course there are 'other' BANANAS from other countries: Taiwan, Mexico, & Peru. But I take pride in choosing the ones from the land of my birth. Same is true with other Pinoy products: PINEAPPLES, MANGOES, OKRA, TIGER SHRIMPS [though the last two are seasonal ones].

SABA, or the "cooking BANANA" are sold by the box. This is available ONLY in stores that specialize in ORIENTAL FOOD SUPPLY. Whenever I feel like eating BANANA CUE or "MINATAMIS NA SAGING", I order from its Tokyo main office, and sell the rest to Pinoys who live hereabouts. Alone, I can't consume 10 kilos, can I ?

BANANAS continue to spice the Land of the Rising Sun for decades now. It is found in every home, every supermarket in all cities, towns and islands, big or small. Do we stop and think HOW the lowly BANANA [as we treat them back home] are doing their share to make EVERYTHING NICE, economy-wise? Have you ever thought about that?

Oh, well.....


BANANAS, ANYONE? Gotta have one......


AUGUST 15 marks the end of the last WORLD WAR.

JAPAN surrendered 60 years ago after the devastation that was HIROSHIMA and NAGASAKI. TOKYO was reduced to rubbles as a result of continuous bombings by American forces. KYOTO was spared, along with the IMPERIAL GROUNDS where Emperor SHOWA and his family lived. At least, thousand of year-old castles and shrines were saved: these were true relics of the past. All the rest were bombarded, the ground flat,...smoke bellowing from all over, the residents walking as if they were zombies looking for relatives, and dead bodies lay piled after one another. The air smelt of death!

EMPEROR SHOWA, in a radio broadcast, asked the people to accept defeat.The Japanese knelt as they listened to the his voice, crying and vowing to the ground.

AFTER the war, the OCCUPIED FORCES established their presence in Japan.This was known as the GHQ where MacArthur spent his days as the Over-all Commander.
THEY took the best place in the country. This didn't go as peaceful as some quarters would want to put it. As in all other wars, to the victors comes the loot. There were various reports to support this, but because Japan was the loser, it cannot say anything against the winner. These went on until finally, Japan was left alone [ 0r were they?].

THE JAPANESE vowed to work, and work they did! They have just lost the war...and people had nothing ot eat...nor anything left to make the next winter bearable. My LOLO wore tattered shirts with no shoes, and had to till the land for some tubers [sweet potatoes]. Almost all learned to eat anything that can be cooked. No one dared complain they feel the freezing cold, lest their parents hear them. They were made to feel that making do of whatever is on hand is part of growing up.

DECADES LATER, the Japanese economy rose. They became the economic giant in Asia. This was the result of the onslaught of Japanese way of thinking: work till you drop,live frugally, save what you can, never complain.

GOVERNMENT LEADERS were able to transform Japan into what it has become now. Roads were constructed, bridges opened, buildings rose, security tightened, laws dutifully enforced.
THE WAR left marks these people will never ever forget. It made them realize that WARS MAKE BEASTS OF MEN. They work desperately for PEACE, elusive it may be.

ALAS, sixty years hence....Japan still, receive flak from its Asian neighbors, particularly China and the Koreas. In the past, Japan has repeatedly apologized for the war crimes its forefathers have committed. This was followed so many times, with AID PACKAGES of all sorts to these countries and all other Japanese colonies before WWII.

The issue of the YASUKUNI JINJA [YASUKUNI SHRINE] visit of Japanese leaders, particularly that of exPM Murayama, and now PM Junichiro Koizumi has been blown out of proportion by some die-hard Chinese and Korean protesters. This has also led to the critique of Japanese textbooks currently used in High Schools.The Chinese insists that the NANKING affair and other issues be included in all Japanese texts. ALL THESE have led to numerous protests, violent, mind you!, in BEIJING ang other places.

I BELIEVE this is an INTERNAL AFFAIR of Japan, and as such, must be left alone to do as they wish.

DON'T GET ME father was a meztizo: his mother was a Taiwanese, and his father a Japanese. And I try to look at things from an "outsider's" eyes.

The Chinese & Koreans WANT JAPAN TO 'SHOW REMORSE.' SOME Japanese translate this as "MONEY...AND MORE MONEY!" They say that in the past, the Chinese were so silent because money in the form of war package kept on coming. Nowadays, these money has stopped. And all of a sudden, the booming voice of protester all over China has reverberated in the air.

TO QUOTE ONE [posted in JT forum]:
"Chinese translation for "Action" = "Give us Money"ching chang chong (Aug 16 2005 - 07:40) Because money is the only thing that the dirty Chinese society cares about. Such a corrupt, hypocritical society. No wonder they have no respect for copyright law, ethics, cheating, etc. They only care about getting money no matter how dishonest or unethical the means.
Fine, the J government should just toss them a handful of bills and tell them to just shut the f up. Besides, a handful of 1000 yen bills would probably feed a family of 10 for a year in China."/



Saturday, August 13, 2005


THE OTHER NIGHT, family members all over the Land

welcomed the spirit of the dead into their homes.

They gathered at the gate of their respective homes

and lit wooden sticks. Doing this would make the task

of finding their homes easier for the wandering souls.

This serves as beacon for the souls.

ALONG THE ROAD, men dressed in black and white shirts

with black neckties, and women in black dresses,

walk as they visit the homes of the recently departed.

The HACHIBON or first OBON is done.

This means that it is the departed's first OBON.

This is equally an important ceremony

where the dead is made to feel that they are not forgotten

by the living. Family members, old friends, and neighbors

pay their respect. They bring envelopes which contain money

= a tradition here: it relays the sympathy of the visitors


the family of the departed gives something in return:

face towel, soomen [noodle similar to vermicelli;

this is usually eaten during the summer],

or any little thing.

Meanwhile, THE HEAT continues.....

amidst the O-BON, and the FIREFLIES [HOTARU]

and the SUIKA [WATERMELONS]..........

..............very typical of JAPANESE SUMMER [NIPPON NO NATSU].

Friday, August 12, 2005



and all arroyo's men are up in arms;

each one proving his loyalty to the beleaguered boss....

TO WHAT EXTENT these people go

depends on the 'machinery' of the bosses.

BUT OF COURSE, they have the resources!

AND THE POWER to do as they please.




And all of them are making that 'extra mile' to make a difference

FOR THE BOSS, NOT FOR THE PEOPLE who pay their salaries.


THE power point presentation of michael defensor reminds me

of a COMEDIA, presented to please the Kings' Court.


WHEN will they stop and show HONOR, A LOVE FOR COUNTRY......

....that is, if they still have true Pinoy blood running through their veins.

GOODNESS! THE gall of some who claim to be "public servants"

yet never have implemented anything substantial

to address basic needs of our KABABAYANs.








Thursday, August 11, 2005

IT'S ---- O-BON !

THE EXODUS BEGINS. The TV screen tells it all:::TRAFFIC [JUTAI] all over::::: land, air..............and sea? Oh yeah,....... that, too. The ferries that service Yokohama-Kyusho lines are full; so were the SHINKANSEN [BULLET TRAINS]. Local trains continue to run despite the heavy turnover. People just have to go back to their FURUSATO [hometowns] to be with family members.

IT'S "O-BON" FESTIVAL AGAIN! Every year, from 12th of August to the 15th, the Japanese celebrate BON [women use the honorific "O", hence, they say "O-BON"] FESTIVAL. This is similar to the Pinoy's ALL SOUL'S DAY.

THE JAPANESE believe that on these days, the souls of their dearly departed come back home and be reunited with their loved ones. It all starts with a MUKAERU [coming home] . Family members prepare to "welcome" the souls by lighting wooden sticks in front of their homes. This is done to "help" the souls find their way back. The small fire serves as a beacon. Members stay at the gate to welcome the souls.

THE SOULS then stay with the family for three days. They eat together and family menbers make sure that an extra [or two, depending upon how many have died recently] dish is set aside for the soul[s] to use, just like in old times....

IT ENDS on the 15th of August, around twilight= with the MI-OKURI [the SEND OFF]. This is like saying: "Goodbye for now..."

THE JAPANESE go through all these troubles just to please the souls of the departed. They believe that the souls protect and guard the living, hence they make sure that the dead is treated with respect and dignity. This can be glimpsed at how they offer food or OMIYAGEs[PASALUBONGs] to the BUTSUDAN [ a FAMILY Buddhist ALTAR]. Youngsters find it a very good place to look for good eats, myself included!

WHILE it is the usual 'happening' to go to their FURUSATO [HOMETOWN] during the O-BON, some families make use of the long holidays to go abroad for that much-needed respite. Usual destinations are Hawaii, Guam, Hongkong, and South Korea, the latter for a glimpse of the popular "Fuyu no Sonata" [Winter Sonata] sceneries. I did it twice and I was exhausted I slept for two days after that trip. Though it was an exhilarating trip and I learned a lot from it, this year, I am opting to stay put, in this place I now call my second home.

I OFFERED to 'watch' over the house as my relatives hushed off last night. They brought delicacies from this place as OMIYAGEs. That includes, UNAGIs, UNAGI PIEs [of course!], MIKAN [TANGERINES], O-CHA [GREEN TEA], and more....

THE LAST DAY of O-BON also coincides with the surrender of Japan in the last war. For the old folks, it is a doubly humbling experience, because of that.

EVERYONE EXPECT the usual "U-TURN" peak in traffic when all of them come back to work three days from now

WHILE I SAVOR THE HEAT AND ENJOY BEING LEFT ALONE, even for just a litlle while....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005




I found this out when I applied for work at a YAMAHA Resort Hotel [ang lakas daw ng loob ko, sabi ng Nanay ko... Yamaha kaagad ang tinarget ko ] several kilometers away from where I live.

My Lolo's accountant, who knew a little English, helped me prepare my RIRIKISHOU [BIO-DATA] in Japanese. Bless her!

SINCE my Lolo was afraid I'd never make it, he showed "support" by driving me to the site atop a hill. I never knew the place, nor HOW to go there myself, so I welcomed his "support". At least, I had the "SHACHO"[BOSS/COMPANY OWNER] drive for me. HAHAHAH...

Cool place, indeed! The Resort is enormous, with Golf greens on one side, and a hotel , restaurant on the other. The parking space speaks of its clientele: the moneyed class.

THE INTERVIEW was conducted by the Manager himself and the Over-all In-Charge of the Resort came in. I was in luck, because the #1 Man-in-Charge knew how to speak English! Wheew! What a relief, I thought! They were hesistant to take me in at first, because of my RIRIKISHOU. They read about my alma mater, and somehow, one of them knew what that means. I told them I can do any menial job, if they want me to. I just need that experience to work in a Japanese company. I had the gut feeling I'd be taken in so I answered the questions confidently. And lo! I was asked to report or work after five days.

WORKING with a big company is a blessing! I learned the ins and outs of management, Japanese style. I was first introduced to all employees, given a set of uniform [which is free, and free laundry, mind you! haha!],the company booklet/guide/rules, et cetera, taken on a tour of the facilities, schedule, ......everything!

I LEARNED the basic Japanese AISATSU [GREETINGS] and practiced them at home, PROPER BOWING a must!

I WORKED 5 hours a day, 20 days a month. And it came with free gasoline allowance.

I ENJOYED working with them. It was a beautiful experience, and I will never forget the people who comprised the Management and the Staff.

ONE THING, though: it was located two cities away from my home. The trip alone lasted about an hour one way and since I was already too tired going back home, I felt sleepy one time. Fearing for my safety, I was advised by relatives to resign lest I fall asleep again.

OVERALL, it was one great experience!



HAVING LIVED in Japan for the past decade or so, I have observed a lot about this country and lived with its people. Wise men say "in order to know the people, one has to live among them." Quite true! During the early years of my 'stay' here, I was determined to "know" the people. I was able to travel even to the farthest countryside. I was lucky, I guess to have a grandfather who owns a fleet of trucks. He drives one of them and he often deliver to some faraway prefecture [province]. Oftentimes, I was being left alone all by my lonesome self, so it was a treat, indeed, if he extends an invite for me to join him in one of his long-drive deliveries.

LUCKY indeed, to be able to see numerous town MATSURIs [festivals]. Different town means different Matsuri. How about that?

JAPAN is the land of MATSURIs. And its people are proud of them. They plan these Matsuris way ahead of time. The community gets involved in projects to ensure the conduct of such endeavour will bring success. Nothing is left to chance. Everything is set to perfection.

UNIFORMs, or what some folf here call the 'HAPPI COAT' are a must. Unless some good samaritan provide for these coats [a Kimono overcoat, actually], the participants are expected to buy them themselves.

FLOATS =OMIKOSHI [ which also means portable shrines] are kept in special warehouses owned by the community. Local folks are extra proud to show off their OMIKOSHIs which are considered priceless. Some are said to be 400-500 hundred years old. These are made of strong wood, curved and polished in typical Japanese style. They are taken out, cleaned, polished, and decorated in time for the festival. Kids, mostly, are asked to be part of the musicians on board these OMIKOSHIs. Some dance on the street, as they go around the area. Men and women, kids and old folks shout "wasshoi, wasshoi!" as they push the portable shrine....and that makes the air even more electrifying.

THE YOUNG group [16-35 yrs.old] gets to push by hand & ropes the floats while the ELDERS [those 36y/olds- and above] see to it that everything is ok....and the SENIOR CITIZENS sit in the best area, waiting for the 'official greetings' from the youth as they pass by that special area.

MATSURIs bring to light the culture and traditions of a people. It bespeaks the kind of camaraderie, the unity and the communal spirit of the residents of that area. It instills the awareness of one's roots. It makes a people proud of what they have and vow to continue what their forefathers have started, more than a thousand years ago.

BIG CITIES have big Matsuris. This is true, especially in AKITA, KYOTO & OSAKA. They have numerous floats and converge in the center of the city. Here, the floats are also bigger, and on top of each OMIKOSHI is a young man, who makes gestures as if in a Japanese Kabuki dance. They compete with one another who can best survive the hairpin curve turn. Some have remained triumphant with each turn; some have suffered damages to the floats and injuries to people as a result of that uncalculated turn.

GOOD OR BAD, Matsuris can help boost one's pride of nation. The bad side of it is that when alcohol gets into the scene, brawls by young brats [GAKI- bully] can also happen.



This is a call from a group of concerned citizens. If you agree with this message, please post it on your blog, or e-mail it to a friend. Citizens for Truth is a non-partisan initiative.

An invitation.


August 20, 2005 at exactly 6:00 pm.

When an ordinary citizen steals, would an “I am sorry” be enough?

When an ordinary citizen lies, would an “I am sorry” be enough?

When an ordinary citizen cheats, would an “I am sorry” be enough?

Ask yourself: If you are an employee and your employer catches you cheating, lying and stealing — will an “I am sorry” be sufficient or a “lapse of judgment” be accepted?

Or would you stand to lose your job?

What is our country coming to if we hold ordinary Filipinos to higher and stricter standards than we hold the highest official of the land?

This is not to say that the President of the Philippines is guilty of all that she is being accused of.

It is only to say two different standards of rules - one for the powerful and one for the powerless — cannot exist if ours is to be a truly democratic and pluralistic society.

This is not the country we want. And so perhaps it is time we do something about it.

If you believe, as we do, that it is time for ordinary Filipinos to stand up and be counted in the fight for TRUTH — as well as for Transparency, for Responsibility, for Unity, for Trust and for Hope — then join us in a simple demonstration of our collective sentiments.

On August 20, Saturday, at exactly 6pm, take a few moments to light a candle in demonstration of our collective effort to take this country back from all who have not been true to it and to all of us ordinary citizens - and to be the first step in bringing about the light that will banish the darkness that hovers over our land!

Spread the light. Banish the darkness.

August 20, 2005 at exactly 6:00pm.

CITIZENS FOR TRUTHTransparency. Responsibility. Unity. Trust. Hope.