Sunday, October 23, 2011

DSWD spin fail: CCT is dole out--no more, no less

This refers to Ms. Ana Marie Daep's letter entitled "DSWD's CFW not CCT; it's investment not dole out" (Inquirer, 10/22/2011).

I was disturbed by the fact that DSWD seemed to be annoyed by how CCT is being branded as "dole-out". Ms Daep, OIC of the Social Marketing Service of DSWD, said, "..CCT is not a dole out but a form of investment in human capital...". Well to tell them frankly, the letter was a big sugar-coating fail because CCT is definitely not a "form of investment ek-ek". CCT is a dole out simply because you give the money directly to the beneficiaries, hoping that they will spend it by buying their basic needs all the while knowing that they won't do it anyway. 

The letter appeared as an effort to euphemize the bitter pill that they can't obviously take. Certainly, their definition of the CCT is failing them as their beneficiaries remain jobless and poverty-stricken. A few thousand pesos given monthly can hardly pass as "investment" considering the current state of our nation. Further, we hear news of ATM cards being pawned, the money being used in gambling, vices and not for their basic needs, etc. So where does the term "investment" apply in those situations?

DSWD should call a spade a spade and realize that CCT is a dole-out-- nothing more, nothing less. The DSWD is is just doing a stunt no different than what Wille Revillame does in his show. Funny how the DSWD tries to put a positive spin to it just because they themselves are under the illusion of CCT's grandeur. Again, CCT is a dole out because, as cliched as it is, it does not teach the poor how fishing is done: DSWD is just giving them the fish-- and the fish, still, is not sufficient enough. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning About Manila's History with Carlos Celdran

Entrance to Fort Santiago
After the job interviews I had early last Tuesday (yes, I had figured out my messed up biological clock), Carlos Celdran opened up ten slots for barter trade for his Intramuros tour. Since he's okay for anything, I just brought him kakanin's from Marilao, Bulacan. You have to understand, I have to grab that opportunity  because given my current financial state, I could never afford  the tour. So there I was, 3PM, Tuesday, at the middle of a quite diverse group with two cute American guys beside me (who happened to be me Kalesa-mates), embarking on a journey within the walls of Intramuros.

One thing is evident, Carlos is not the same as any other tour guides. He is not the usual hey-look-at-that tour guide. He is very dynamic and theatrical as he uses the whole Intramuros as his stage. Armed with his rich inside knowledge on Philippine History, his witty sesnse of humor and a couple of santan flowers serving as confetti, we laughed the whole way while learning from the past.

The thing that moved me the most during the tour is about the post-war Manila part. We were in front of the ruins of San Ignacio Church beside what used to be Ateneo Municipal and he asked all of us to take a minute of silence for the 100 thousand lives lost during the Manila Massacre and the Manila Bombing. 100 thousand lives! I didn't have the idea about that! All I knew was Manila was devastated after the war but what I didn't know is that it was the second most destroyed city during the war-- after Warsaw-- and we lost 100 thousand civilians!

Realizing this, I reflected how my current knowledge about our history is actually deficient. I know something about our history but I realized that I do not know enough. Coming from a public high school whose only history came from the distant HS freshman past, we do not have enough time to tackle this part of the history. Extending this thought, there again is the infamous problem on our education system-- and I don't want to go into that.

The Overly Decorated Jeepney. Carlos describes how Filipinos
tends to overly decorate.

There is so much to learn on the two and a half hour-trip. We learned that our "unoriginal" culture makes us exquisitely unique. We also realized that our culture can be summarized by the idea of the jeepney: That we have the tendency to be excessively and superfluously dramatic. You can look at it either in the good and the bad way but the best thing Carlos did is that he let us realized both perspectives. The Filipino culture is such a mixture of all these influences, victimized by its colonizers but then again living the best of both the West and the Orient. Like the jeepney, Carlos showed us another microcosm of our culture: The Halo-halo-- and we ended our tour crushing ice atop of this all-time favorite.
The Halo-halo. Like Halo-halo, the Filipino culture is a mix of influences. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Resorts World Manila presents The Sound of Music

I can't deny the fact that the reason why I am such a theater junkie is because of watching The Sound of Music when I was 6 yrs old. Yes, there is such a thing as infantile amnesia but the memory is still vivid: It was a typical weekend movie night, my Tita Lanie rented the videotape and Tita Liezl was making her own dip made of fresh mayonnaise and a party of mixed onion, garlic and chives (No one could replicate that!).Because of that, here I am right now, finding myself on the floor pretending to die while reenacting's Eponine's death to the tune of A Little Fall of Rain, dancing the choreography of You Can't Stop the Beat, and of course, watching the episodes of Glee again and again.

So it was a rather boring night and I was tweeting how much would I kill to find something that will salvage me from the excruciating boredom. Then the next thing I knew, MomBlogger sent me a DM telling me that she still has tickets for a special private viewing of Resort's World Manila's The Sound of Music. Now you can imagine how exhilarated I was. You see I was almost dying of boredom and there comes Ms Noemi saving my sanity for allowing me to watch SoM live for the first time. Yes, that was the first time I watched the classic musical for the first time.

You've got to love The Sound of Music @ Resorts World Manila. With its amazing cast (Cris Villonco as Maria, Audie Gemora as Captain Von Trapp) , the play brought me back to that exact night 13 years ago. The songs were reminiscent of my childhood and I found myself mouthing every songs. It's funny that I became teary at some point of the play. Maybe because I was seeing it for the first time or maybe because I remembered how Tita Lanie and I were cuddled the night 13 years ago, but one thing is sure: My heart was in great happiness.

My viewing experience would be better though is we were seated nearer. It turned out that Ms Noemi has an awful eyes as mine so all of the faces were blurred (Ms Noemi advises audience to either seat near or bring binoculars). Funny because although they were are blurred to me, I can't help but to be distracted with Maria's wig. She was wearing something like a bleached-lola Dora the Explorer hair. However, you can let that and the pseudo-Scottish accent pass because the nun choir was so chilling and the LED backdrop (the biggest in Southeast Asia) was an astounder.

The Sound of Music opened October 15 and runs for the whole month of October. For ticket reservation call TicketWorld at 811-9999 or Resorts World Manila Tourist/Visitor Hotline at 836-63333, 908-8833. Indeed, SoM is a must watch and it is something one can't just let pass.

(photos courtesy of MomBlogger)