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Greatest Achievement February 21, 2013

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When your congresswoman proudly claims that her greatest achievement is that she has only had 3 absences in sessions…

defensive much?

defensive much?

You’d really have to wonder how and why we elect them.

Well, I’m afraid the MMFF is sucking whatever life force is left from Philippine Cinema December 29, 2012

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This is a reaction to the article written by Jose Javier Reyes for The Philippine Daily Inquirer (here’s the link) the meat of which says that “The MMFF is only a film fest by name; it is actually a fiesta. Better yet, it is the biggest tiangge  (flea market) that opens on the day Christ was born. And there is nothing wrong with that.” In other words, the MMFF just wants your money. Film making is a business. Businesses are made to earn money. Period.

——-

I’m really disappointed with what I just read, especially since Jose Javier Reyes IS an award winning scriptwriter and director.

This is the type of mentality that doomed Philippine Cinema in the first place… When producers make movies purely for the sake of profit, they just rehash and rehash stories and plots and characters that they kill innovation in local films. And when you lose that innovative spirit, you fail. This is similar to what happened to companies like HP, Sharp, RIM, Yahoo, and even Sony. Even Apple is suffering from a lack of innovation ever since Steve Jobs died.

While in the short term, producers will make money by making a yearly update to their MMFF franchise, in the long term they are just killing Philippine cinema. How could an industry survive if it only makes money once a year, during the week between Christmas and New Year?

Let’s compare Apple with the local movie industry, before, Apple was a very innovative company, it launched the IPod, then the IPhone, then the IPad. But recently, we have not seen any real innovation from the company, they just upgrade the specs (better screen resolution, better processor, lighter weight, better camera) of each of their products’ successive iteration.  This is akin to local cinema’s yearly iterations/rehash/recycling of Shake Rattle and Roll, Enteng Kabisote, a Bong Revilla film, and an ER Ejercito flick that tries hard to feel indie (but fails miserably). Now back to Apple – with this lack of innovation from the purportedly most innovative company in the world, investors and stock traders are very concerned that Apple would not be able to sustain the company’s growth momentum and become a stagnant appliance company.

Sadly, the local film industry isn’t only stagnant, it is dead. It was prostituted, raped, and then murdered by the same producers that make the MMFF films.  Its ghost haunts us (Shake Rattle and Roll pun intended) every Christmastime with the MMFF, but for the most part, it is dead. Just how dead is local cinema? It’s is soooo dead that ordinary people still have a stigma against watching local movies during any other time of the year except Christmas. Aside from John Lloyd Cruz romantic comedies from Star Cinema and adulterous films from Viva starring Anne Curtis, people just don’t watch local movies anymore. Case in point, I Doobidoobidoo is one of the best local films made this year, and yet almost no one watched it despite the movie’s bankable stars. This is also what happened with other great local films like Here Comes the Bride, Bwakaw, and to a lesser extent, Kimi Dora.

As for the author’s claims that MMFF movies earn a ton of money, well, they earn money simply because there are NO OTHER options available AND people have a lot of cash during this time. I doubt the festival’s highest grossing pic, Sisterakas will have the same box office numbers if movies like Les Mis and The Hobbit are allowed to compete with it. It might still be profitable, but it wouldn’t be that profitable.

It’s ironic that despite the blatant commercialism at the heart of the MMFF right now, the movies only earn that much money because of a protectionist law. Until mainstream producers change this ugly “pera pera” mentality, they will only be able to earn money during the MMFF.

The Lancer Quest: Me vs. the Evil Greedy Sales Agents October 15, 2012

Posted by quiapo in badtrip na naman si pierre, Gripes / Flames / Rants, Musings / Random Thoughts.
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So imagine that I just won Mr. Pogi of the Universe 2012 and I’m planning to buy the new Lancer 1.6L EX GLX variant with my winnings. I’ve been searching online for a nice price and most online listings are at Php 750-778k due to discounts. Now, I’ll be buying the unit, to make the long story short, in cash. I also won’t be getting the LTO registration and comprehensive insurance from the dealer because I’m gonna ship the car to my good friend who’s in Angola so he can sell it there for the price of two Audi QQs.

(Now, don’t imagine the next details because all the following details are true. With the previous paragraph however, only the list price for the Lancer EX GLX is true.)

The problem is that almost all the sales agents I’ve talked to don’t want to give me the list price on their ads because I’ll be paying in cash. They are claiming that the 750k discounted price is only for purchase via financing. If it was, then why do they still post that amount in online sites like sulit.com.ph, Olx, and Ayosdito.ph?

And they don’t want to give me additional discount because I won’t be getting the LTO registration and comprehensive insurance from them. Considering that LTO is about 7k, and compre is another 22k (roughly) so aside from the 750-778k list price, I think it’s just fair that I get another 29k discount aside from the standard discount given by Mitsubishi PH.

In addition, agents say that LTO and compre are considered freebies so there will be no deductions if I opted not to get it from them. Some are even “garapal” that they say that the compre and LTO are on-top of the Php 778k price so to my surprise (and irritation) I’ll be paying more!

Now, that’s just not right. First of all, if all was right in the world and this was a logical world where truth and love and honesty governed, (and Nur Misuari wasn’t so negative on the peace process) the list price for the car should be the same if you get it via financing or cash. The only thing that should change if you get it via financing is that there would be interest involved, so the total paid up price after so many years would be much higher. As for LTO registration and comprehensive insurance, I call bullshit on people that say it’s free. These are items that have verified costs, and if indeed these things are free, then why can’t I get alternative free stuff like a spoiler, a backing sensor, GPS, and reverse camera in lieu of the LTO and insurance?

If Mitsubishi is plagued by sales agents like these and I can’t find an honest sales agent (ala Sodom and Gomorrah) I might just get a boring as stone Altis.

Minekaniko ni Monico: Remembering Prof. Monico Atienza October 7, 2012

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October 5 marked World Teacher’s day, I never really got to take the occasion seriously as I was too busy with work. Fortunately, I read Doc. Margie Holmes latest blog post for Rappler.com and you have to be impressed with the woman’s insights, not only is she a sex therapist, but she writes a great blog tackling the latest social issues, and her writing is full of  good, little known information.

On her latest piece for Rappler’s Move.ph section, Margie Holme’s was discussing Bongbong Marcos, Enrile and their attempts to revise history with their latest statements (a book in Enrile’s case) about their actions/roles on martial law. The blog mentioned Monico Atienza, who was tortured almost to death by soldiers.

He also happened to be my prof for PI 100, or Rizal.

I had his class during an impressionable time of my youth- I was 19 and balancing my youthful idealism and the reality that hyper-idealism won’t get me anywhere in the real world.  It was during the time of the impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada. I fondly remember Prof Atienza going to class during the first day of EDSA 2, almost yelling at us and saying something like “Bakit kayo nandito sa classroom? Doon ang klase natin sa EDSA! Hindi ito panahon ng lecture, ito ay panahon ng pag-kilos!” (why are you here in the classroom, when our class should be in EDSA. This isn’t a time for lectures, this is a time for action!). And with those words, any hesitation I had of joining the protest rallies had been removed.

After his short speech, I joined the rallies, all of them in fact. I was in EDSA from day 1 until Gloria was sworn in as president by Davide.  Whatever hesitation I had before (what if the venue was bombed, what if we got arrested, what if my my mom finds out and kills me, what about my other subjects, Ortigas was too far to go to on foot-and I was wearing leather shoes) was removed from my system by Prof. Atienza’s simple speech. Such was the power of that man and his voice, as it should be, for the man has experienced it all, and that speech just told me to man up and fight for a good government. That Gloria turned out to be a worse president should not diminish the efforts and ideals of college students that formed bulk of the crowd of EDSA 2. Estrada was corrupt, he had to go, and only Gloria was the logical successor.

But now back to Prof. Atienza.  I don’t know how Rizal was taught in other classes, but Prof. Atienza’s class wasn’t a class on history but a class on sociology. I still remember his lectures, not the actual discussions about what happened to Rizal, but how he related Rizal and our ancestors’ struggles for freedom against the Spanish, and how their struggles are still relevant in the present times. And when he discussed martial law and all the hardships that he personally suffered during that period, sometimes even holding back tears as he detailed the types of torture inflicted on him, how the government broke his psyche, it sent shivers down my spine.

To say that he was tortured during martial law is a gross simplification of what happened to him. If I recall correctly from his talks, Monico Atienza was repeatedly beaten to a bloody pulp, his body, especially his head and private parts were hit with steel pipes and 2 x 4 wooden blocks, his testicles electrocuted, he was molested, starved, emotionally and psychologically tortured… every method done to break a man’s will. And in fact, it did break his will for a time as he confessed to our class. And this happened all because he was against Marcos’ oppressive rule.

After Prof. Atienza was released from imprisonment, he went back to UP and if I recall correctly, he was allowed to teach while he was still completing his much delayed undergrad studies. His post-revolutionary life was spent mostly in the university, teaching subjects like PI 100. He was even famous for being a prof that was a sure guarantor of student loans for students that he knew. It was just sad that not all the students paid their loans, and thus some of the unpaid loans were deducted from his salary.

Personally, I knew Prof. Atienza as a very simple person, he was always reflective, he spoke softly in class but was prone to raising his voice and being animated when he was very engaged in discussion. Some thought he was a little grouchy, but I never saw that in my limited time as his student. Or perhaps I was also close to someone in pain and thus understood his occasional moodiness , as he reminded me of my grandfather who was suffering from a terminal illness also around that time. My grandfather taught me the horrors of World War 2, Prof. Atienza taught me the horrors of Martial Law.

On a lighter note, I also remember that he somehow lost my term paper, and he was humble enough to talk to me after class, ask me if I submitted mine, admit his mistake and ask me to resubmit my paper. Not all profs would do that, in fact, some professors would’ve given me an automatic 5 for that and would just assume that I did not submit my paper.

Prof. Atienza and his lectures are some of the big reasons I’ve been getting into online arguments all over the internet about martial law and the Marcoses. While the youth is currently being poisoned into thinking that martial law was a great time for our country, especially by well funded but baseless Youtube videos done by the likes of pinoy monkey pride, and by a renaissance of Marcos supporters (that I fondly call the neo-loyalists), I’ll always oppose those views. I’ll always see martial law as the biggest tool that was used by the Marcoses and their cronies to stay in power, to enrich themselves at the expense of the country, to beat the rest of the country into submission via their dictatorial rule, and to justify all the human rights violations they inflicted.

I was never too close with Prof. Atienza, although I did enjoy his lectures and the small chats we had after class. However, he was one of the professors that left a big impression on me. And with this blog let me honor his memory. Belated Happy Teacher’s Day Sir! May you rest in peace.

Cyber Bullshit – or why it’s more difficult to take on the government with RA 10175 October 2, 2012

Posted by quiapo in badtrip na naman si pierre, Gripes / Flames / Rants, Musings / Random Thoughts.
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Image
Note: I’m writing this on the night before the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act or Republic Act 10175 takes effect.

—-

Well, the title of the law itself is absurd… When you say cybercrime prevention act, should the goal of the law be to prevent cyber-crime or to punish entities that committed cyber-crime? Or are we in the world of Minority Report, and pre-crime is considered a crime?

The sections contained within the cyber-crime law are not for cyber crime prevention, but for punishment of “cyber-crimes” that the law’s authors deem to be so significant their punishment is one notch higher than those imposed by the country’s revised penal code. And the weird thing is that there’s almost no preventive solution to cyber crime that was mentioned in the cyber crime prevention act.

Now, from the title alone, it seems that the law itself wasn’t well thought of, and the details of RA 10175 show that the writing is pretty vague and the writers seem to be out of touch or not fully knowledgeable about the dynamics of cyberspace.

RA 10175 was crafted to put controls into the “brave new world” of cyberspace. Lawmakers have romanticized that the internet was a wild jungle wherein there were no laws, and poor citizens are very vulnerable to attacks on cyberspace. Thus, there is a need to enact laws to protect the citizens, like a new colony that is starting to establish order. The emergence of “cyber bullying” and hacking scares puts some legitimacy for the need of a law on cyberspace. However…

WTF is this BULLSHIT law that they made?!

The cyber libel section is the most controversial of all provisions of RA 10175, and as has been repeated over the internet, it curtails the freedom of speech that all should enjoy. Apart from losing the right to freedom of speech, this law can be used to harass ordinary people to keep their online mouths shut.

A year ago, I discovered edited photos passed on as real images by the Philippine government’s Department of Public Works and Highways in their Facebook page. I posted the photo on this blog, it got re-posted several times on Facebook until it was noticed and became a national topic.

If this law was active then, the DPWH could have filed an online libel complaint against my blog post with the DOJ, and since both of them are government agencies, the DOJ would have probably agreed with the DPWH’s position and shut down my blog.

They could have done this without any trial at all, and they could have done it swiftly, before the news on the altered photos exploded all over the internet. And when the take-over clause shuts down my blog without that issue going into critical mass, the DPWH would not have been correctly criticized by netizens. They could have just shoved a middle finger up my online ass and not acknowledged the altered photo, not to mention that they would have never issued a public apology and “punished” the erring employee behind the altered photo.

And from that, not only was my freedom of expression violated, but I would have been harassed legally, perhaps even financially because if charges were filed against me, I’d have to hire a lawyer. My job would have also been affected and my privacy violated, because they could confiscate my phone, my laptop, and my computer to get more evidence against me. I’d also have to attend court hearings, so I have to take a leave of absence from work.

And if they found porn or any torrents in any of my electronic devices? Boom. I’d be guilty on two more counts of RA 10175.

All that hassle, because the DPWH posted a stupid altered photo on their fb page.

Now, if you aren’t me, if you’re the type who shies away from conflict and wants to live an ordinary peaceful life, you might have thought that “hey, all that hassle isn’t worth it, I’m just going to ignore the government’s stupidity and go on with my life.” And if you did that, imagine how many other people would do that.

And if netizens fell silent because of this law, we’d have that fucking ugly BATANGAS sign on Taal Volcano right now. That’s how stupidly oppressive RA 10175 is.

AAAAAAND lets not forget the other trespasses, such as the one on online piracy. As was experienced in the fight against PIPA and SOPA in the US, this law will target ordinary citizens and make them liable for sharing files over the internet. This is a lazy solution to combat piracy, and shifts the focus from combating those that create “pirated” software with sophisticated means of hiding themselves on the net, to hapless ordinary citizens. Btw, torrents/file sharing per se is valid under our rights to freedom of expression.

And the part on cybersex?! That’s just stupid and prude of Angara to include this when in fact he should have made this section against CYBER-PROSTITUTION. Is having sex a crime? No. So why is cybersex a crime then?! When I read this part, I just felt bad for all the OFWs that are craving for a little bit of intimacy from their partners here in the Philippines. Oh, online porn viewing (and storage on hard drives) just became crimes as well. Because viewing porn on a computer is considered cybersex. Just fucking ridiculous.

This was a law, written by an old guy who doesn’t fully comprehend the internet, with a stupid online-libel section added by a plagiarist, voted into law by senators who didn’t even read the entire law, signed by a president who professes to lead us into a “matuwid na daan” but uses Apple Maps to plot out the way.

Dear Philippine Legislature, I’m very disappointed. I pay taxes, I pay a lot of money on taxes, approximately 30% of my salary on withholding taxes.

I DEMAND A BETTER GOVERNMENT WORTHY OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY.

AND I DEMAND THAT THIS LAW BE NULLIFIED.

Diablo 3 Fever hits Pinoy Gamers (like me) May 15, 2012

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It’s seldom that any gaming news gets covered by the local press, so it was really nice that Interaksyon of TV5 did a piece on the Diablo 3 launch which I and my youngest brother were really looking forward to. They were looking for fans of the franchise to share their thoughts on the launch and the game and I saw their post via twitter. I volunteered to answer their email and they used some of my answers for the piece. 

I’m a little embarrassed though that I’m the only on they quoted… parang hayok na hayok lang tuloy maglaro ng Diablo 3 hehe.

Here’s the Interaksyon article about the Diablo 3 local launch, with a few insights from me:

http://www.interaksyon.com/infotech/diablo-iii-debuts-to-massive-reception-from-gamers-worldwide 

FHM Philippines covers can be racy, but should never be RACIST. February 25, 2012

Posted by quiapo in badtrip na naman si pierre, Gripes / Flames / Rants, Musings / Random Thoughts, Photos.
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Major Update: FHM Philippines has issued an apology and will use another cover for their March 2012 issue. You can see their official statement here.

They have deleted the old cover’s picture from their fb page and with this, I have also deleted the reposted image here as I believe I should not be storing racially insensitive images in my personal blog. I hope that other sites that reposted the FHM Philippines’ “stepping out of the shadows” cover would delete their copies as well. I also hope that our friends from all forms of media learn from this issue and become more sensitive to racial and social issues.

The blog posting per se is still intact below, but without the image.

—–

I was involuntarily shutdown from any gimmicks tonight because my right thigh hurts after I sprained it yesterday, so I was wasting my time on FB when a post from FHM Philippines’ Facebook page caught my eye. I’m a sucker for porcelain skinned girls and I wanted to view a bigger version of the picture. So I clicked on the link and this is what I saw:

(Image Deleted for World Peace)

March 2012 FHM Philippines Bela Padilla Cover
Also when you see it, you’ll shitbrix

I had to squint a little and check the details of the photo. It say’s “Bela Padilla: stepping out of the shadows” with a very light skinned Bela Padilla surrounded by five girls. Of the five, it seems three had their bodies (and face) covered in black paint. Er… isn’t that BLACKFACE?

Now, I was pretty surprised to see this. I know FHM has been criticized as a sexist rag, but do they have to be racist as well?  With FHM being an international publication, I don’t understand how the magazine’s editors and art team would fail to recognize the sensitivity of people to blackface.  Blackface has been a tool of racism in America since the early 1800s, where African Americans are stereotyped and lampooned as several comical caricatures. In the US, as well as in most of the western world, the use of blackface has been very controversial and has been generally limited to satire in main stream media, such as in Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder.

And even without the blackface, the “stepping out of the shadows” theme with “black” girls seemingly worshiping a very light skinned Bela Padilla is pretty racist as well. The photo gives a stark contrast to what people deem attractive/grabs attention as represented by skin tones, with the shadow / unnoticeable “black girls” being mere background to Bela Padilla who’s skin is very light. To me, what this projects is that you can only be noticed (step out of the shadow) if you are light skinned. Now, ain’t that racist?

I posted this reaction on the same FHM post above:

just my two cents: FHM is an international publication and they should’ve been more sensitive to issues on racism. A quick wiki shows that blackface was used to stereotype and lampoon African Americans.

Kung tayo nga, sobrang sensitive natin pag may humihirit ng negative tungkol sa pinoy/Pilipinas, bakit pagdating sa mga african-americans eh napaka-racist pa din natin na napaka-insensitive natin tulad na lang dito sa cover na ‘to. If you don’t want racism to be used against you, be sensitive to other races.

In this day and age, blackface should only be used for satire or social commentary. This isn’t the case in this shoot.

A lot of other netizens have been calling out FHM and their racist photoshoot as well. I do hope that from the negative reaction, they’ll issue a public apology, review their editorial policies, punish the staff responsible for this, and recall the magazine and replace it with something that’s not racist.

Update: someone posted an online petition to recall the magazine issue. If you’re like me and you’re offended (and/or you shat brix upon seeing the blackfaces) , sign it.  http://www.change.org/petitions/for-him-magazine-philippines-to-apologize-for-and-recall-the-racist-march-2012-cover?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=share_with_facebook_friends#

And on the second day of Corona’s impeachment trial… January 17, 2012

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They probably didn't do their homework when they were in school

Goodbye to 2011 December 31, 2011

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2011 was a crazy year, it was a roller coaster ride for me. There were some great and some very painful experiences that I’ve had.

I’ll remember 2011 as the year of great highs and lows for me. The lows were really low: I almost died, I was  a little down for quite a time, I became an enemy of a government agency, I got spied on, got frustrated because my age seemed always inappropriate (I’m either too young or too old), and one day – forever just ended for me.

But there were also a lot of high points. I had a pay raise, I went on an unforgettable adventure – climbed a mountain, rappelled, and jumped through waterfalls in Moalboal, ate a lot of CNT lechon (hehe), was promoted, successfully completed one of the most difficult projects ever designed by our group, due to my utter disgust for government stupidity – I was able to expose a questionable practice by a government agency,  I got quoted and my blog was featured in the Washington Post, ABS-CBN, Tunay Na Lalake (TNL), Spot, the Inquirer (among others), appeared on cable TV via ANC (where I was shaking from nervousness all throughout the interview), was able to travel around the country more, my blog reached 150k hits (but still without me taking any profit from this), was given a very challenging job, hired a few people with great potential, and I was able to assemble my new team that I know I can depend on.

And now that 2011 is coming to a close, I look back, remember, and try to learn from all of them.

Here’s to 2012, to life, to love, to laughter and dreams. May the highs be higher and may the lows be shallow and few Ü Happy New Year everyone!!!

Putting TANGA in BATANGAS October 20, 2011

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There’s a new meme in town, and it’s now being called hollywoodpilipinas, after Batangas Governor Vilma Santos’ plan to put the word “BATANGAS” on Taal volcano like the giant HOLLYWOOD sign in, well, Hollywood California.

Proposed BATANGAS sign on Taal
(image from inquirer.net)

You can check out the details of Ate Vi’s plan here:  http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/79089/hooray-for-hollywood-on-taal-volcano-island

Ate Vi, Mark Leviste, and the rest of the Batangas provincial government just put TANGA in BATANGAS. 

Why they’d want to ruin the perfectly picturesque view of Taal by copying Hollywood is a puzzle to me. Are they turning their council meetings into pot sessions? If I was on weed, then perhaps I’d be delighted by the idea of putting the Batangas sign on Taal Volcano just to troll all the Cavitenos. But I’m not on weed so I’m less than entertained. In fact I’m dumbfounded and shocked that such a lame-ass idea could get approval from the provincial government of Batangas. Iba na talaga ang star power ni Ate Vi.

Personally, I hate what they want to do. They’re reasoning that since Taal is actually part of Batangas, putting a ginormous sign is just the Batangas government’s way of making it known that Taal is theirs. Don’t they know how to read maps??? Can’t they just edit the wikipedia entry on Taal volcano? Why’d you put such an ugly sign on such a beautiful view?

The Hollywood sign became famous because it is in this very famous place called Hollywood. And seriously, without the HOLLYWOOD sign on that mountain, the mountain wouldn’t be as iconic. In Taal, this wouldn’t be the case as Taal has always been iconic with its lake withing a crater within a lake within a crater uniqueness. Everyone will just see that we’re just second rate trying hard copycats (enter Cherrie Gil shoving water up Ate Vi’s face).

I can just imagine landscape photographers raging right now.

Irritated netizens have now started a new meme, photoshopping signs ala “HOLLYWOOD” on local places like Payatas, smokey mountain,  the Hundred Islands, the Spratly’s islands, even the DPWH guys have been photoshopped to Taal. ;p Go to the hollywood pilipinas page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodpilipinas.

p.s. I mean no offense to the good people of Batangas, so pardon the title. To those that might be offended, I apologize. I just think that the plan is stupid. Please elect better government officials next time =)

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