Academicians critique priest’s book on Aglipayanism

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FR. ERICSON JOSUE is one of few Catholic priests I admire. Besides being bright and hardworking, he is humble and sensitive. We have known each other since our early teens (when he was still so lanky while I was then too fat), and I have always held him in high regard.

While other priests were busy attending parties, grooming expensive dogs, and constructing an ostentatious swimming pool in the Bishop’s Palace, Ericson had been busy writing books. Only in his early thirties, this son of Pasuquin has already published his second research output. “Out of the Depths”, which came out last December, tackles the phenomenal rise and eventual decline of Aglipayanism.

Well-meaning scholars must be given support and due recognition, and so I encourage my students and friends to read the book, if only to generate intelligent and enlightened discourse, a rarity in the Church (and government) these days.

Here, allow me to share excerpts of an interview conducted by students with Professor Fides Bernardo A. Bitanga, who teaches Sociology of Religion in the Mariano Marcos State University. Bitanga is also the new Editor-in-Chief of Sabangan, a social sciences publication in MMSU.

Continue reading “Academicians critique priest’s book on Aglipayanism”

Budding Sociologists tackle the laoagcentralissue

 

Young Ilocano Sociologists at work
Young Ilocano Sociologists at work

INSTEAD of submitting tired academic papers, my students in Sociology of Development are working on a blog (http://laoagcentralissue.wordpress.com).

Using the sociological lens, the blog tackles the complex issues that surround the construction of a mall in downtown Laoag.

My students’ zest in posting entries there is fueled not only of their aspirations for high marks, but more so of their desire to generate intelligent and enlightened discussion on the implications of the mall project to development.

Continue reading “Budding Sociologists tackle the laoagcentralissue”

Bishops’ pectoral crosses go to the highest bidder

Rosales
Rosales

AS A TOKEN OF GRATITUDE, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales last month gave his pectoral cross (that huge accessory that hangs on a prelate’s chest) to someone who, in the cardinal’s opinion, has served the Catholic Church well.

You might be tempted to think that the recipient of such honor is a human rights advocate, or an anti-gambling crusader, or a vanguard of the environment, or a brave journalist, or a catechist who has sacrificed her whole life in the service of God’s vineyard. Well, karikna, don’t give in to such temptation. Yet again, you might be expecting too much of the church. And expectation is a cause of suffering.

Rosales’ pectoral cross went to Felicidad Sy, matriarch of the family which owns the SM retail chain. The Sys handed the church a cash donation that was so big, Rosales, who admits to having “a close relationship with the family”, promised not to disclose it.

Not just one, but two.

In mid-2008, another illustrious archbishop also presented the Sy family his pectoral cross. The Most Reverend Diosdado Talamayan of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, another long-time friend of the family, made the gesture in appreciation of the many cash donations the Chinoy capitalists have given his archdiocese.

Talamayan
Talamayan

There’s nothing wrong with giving gifts. Nothing’s wrong with accepting donations either. I am not surprised that the prelates are receiving huge sums of money, I’m just dismayed that they would come from where they come from. Continue reading “Bishops’ pectoral crosses go to the highest bidder”

Gloria as Obama’s mentor

I almost puked when I saw this morning what I saw on TV.

A reporter asked Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita what Gloria can learn from Obama. As if not embarrassed enough of Obama’s cold-shoulder attitude towards the Philippine president, Ermita replied that the reporter’s question was faulty because it was Obama who stands to learn from Gloria.

What the ….!  As if Malacanang folks are not content that Gloria has messed up our country,  they dream of scandalizing the whole world as well.

gloriaOh my, whatever lessons Teacher Gloria wants to share Obama, she better keep to her jaded, self-absorbed, corrupted self.

Prepared for armaggedon, I am not.  Are you?

‘Gaying’ the Sayamedy: Andrei’s initiation to off-taste humour

(Allow me to share with you this work of Ianree Raquel, my intellectual amiga in the university.  I was there when this “Sayamedy” happened, and I was squirming in my seat.  Right there and then, I decided to write on this outrage.  But Aian wrote about it instead, and I could not have done a better job.  Read on… )

“You want to find yourself? Try humor.”

 

The author
The author

WITH ANDREI, a four-year-old boy I have come to call my own son, I entered through the side door of the Teatro. Seeing the Teatro filled with students gave me a nostalgic feeling, reminding me of not-so-long-ago when I performed, debated, rehearsed, or simply acted as a good audience in this hall, famed for its egg-tray sound-proofing. “Say, ‘May I pass’,” I told Andrei as we made our way through the crowd. I have earlier asked one of my students to reserve front seats for us. “I’ll be with my son. I need a good view,” I pleaded.

Continue reading “‘Gaying’ the Sayamedy: Andrei’s initiation to off-taste humour”

Ubba ni Ama

obama2

Roughly translated, this Iluko phrase means: “Father carrying a child”.

I may be no fan to America, but the greatness of human spirit transcends geography, race, religion, and even time… and so he has my respect. No man has inspired humanity in recent times more than this guy. Continue reading “Ubba ni Ama”

Who is Bob Ong?

bakit-baliktad To say I have been asked this question over a thousand times is not an excess.

Eight years ago, the writer sent me an e-mail asking for my permission for the inclusion of one of my essays in a book project he was working on.

I said, “yes, go ahead”.  I was not aware then how big he was in the Internet and how phenomenal his first book, ABNKKBSNPLAko?!, has turned out.

Bob Ong was so thankful.  He said he had long been looking for me.

A couple of months after, BO e-mailed again to inform me that his book has been published.  He invited me to get my complimentary copy, and the rest is history.

“Sino ba talaga si Bob Ong?”, I always see a sparkle in the eyes of those who ask.   Continue reading “Who is Bob Ong?”

Pockets of redemption

Aside from writing and teaching, my heart also beats for community organizing.  That is why when I was asked to handle the National Service Training Program-Community Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) in our college, I immediately agreed.

Photo here shows a many-kilos-heavier and a-few-years-younger me working with an urban poor community in Metro Manila.  Quite interesting that my advocacy then was on the protection and advancement of women’s rights.

Community Organizing

Yesterday, I did a surprise inspection of my students’ community projects in different barangays across four towns (San Nicolas, Batac, Currimao, and Badoc)  in Ilocos Norte.   These are what i saw… Continue reading “Pockets of redemption”

Kariknas from Toronto wish us good health

thumbs-up Oh, the downside of urban life!

In the away (rural areas), everybody is usually aware of the developments, no matter how trivial, in their neighbors’ lives. The same could not be said of our neighborhood in the Laoag City poblacion.

I did not know that Manong Gerry Lagasca, a neighbor since birth, has long moved to Canada until he visited my blog and sent me an email recently.

In the course of our online correspondence, he mentioned about a noteworthy project our kariknas there are undertaking. A group of Laoag City-born Canadians now residing in Toronto, Ontario has launched a campaign to raise funds for the Provincial Hospital and the Laoag City General Hospital. Continue reading “Kariknas from Toronto wish us good health”

Uhaw sa Katapatan at Kagandahang-loob

I checked my blog statistics and noticed an increased amount of visitors led by google to my site while searching for “Mga Pilipinong nakagawa ng kabutihan sa kapwa”,  “Mga Pilipinong nagsauli ng pera o gamit”, “Larawan ng kagandahang ugali ng mga Pilipino”, or “Mga tapat na tao sa Pilipinas”. You will remember, karikna, that I wrote something about the topic last October: PITAKA NG PAG-ASA: Isang pagpupugay kay Leoncio Pagtama at sa lahat ng tulad niya.

Amid the televised senate hearings on corruption in government and abuse of power that feed our national consciousness today,  Filipinos seem to search for a ray of hope for this benighted land by looking for individuals who chose virtue over greed even in times of great personal need.

Matapat na Ilokano now has a name in Leoncio Pagtama.

My Favorite 2009 Calendar

trix-calendar3

Former UP Student Council Chair and now Ilocos Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Kris Ablan sent me 3 copies of this novel calendar.

More than the visual feast the calendar offers, it is my favorite because of what it represents.

Kris writes in his blog:

The project was actually conceptualized many, many years ago when my dad came out with calendars with his face as the main picture (like all politicians with calendar giveaways).  I thought to myself, “What if people didn’t want to look at your face every day.”  “What if they just wanted to see scenery.”

If a politician wants to be “remembered,” why doesn’t he just put his name at a corner of the calendar and put some worthy pictures instead.
You see, karikna, I have never been a fan of Kris’ father who has been my congressman for most of my life, and who seems every inch traditional and jaded.  But this bespectacled young man represents what a new breed of Ilocano leaders should be: thinking, sensible, sensitive, and virtuous.
I look at that calendar each day and tell myself: Yes, there is hope.

Burgis Conservation

photo courtesy of www.ivanhenares.com
photo courtesy of http://www.ivanhenares.com

OF COURSE, you’ve already read about the buzz created by conservationists regarding the construction of a mall in downtown Laoag. They claim that there are two Gabaldon buildings in the compound where it is to be built, and that the structures must be preserved on account of their historical and cultural significance.

It started when Ivan Henares—a travel blogger, heritage conservationist, and fraternity brod of Provincial Board member Kris Ablan—visited the province last December to deliver a lecture on blogging. Incidentally, he got wind of the issues surrounding the Laoag City Central Elementary School where the shopping monstrosity is to rise.

He immediately blogged about it at www.ivanhenares.com, and his post generated a moderate amount of comments. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading “Burgis Conservation”

isipin mo na lang meron pa, meron nga.

[Ngayong linggo sa aking mga klase sa pilosopiya, sinisimulan naming talakayin sina Heidegger at Sartre.  Tiyempong natsambahan ko ang kyut na tulang ito ni Joey Yusingco, na naging estudyante rin minsan ng bespren kong si Alona Ureta-Guevarra sa Ateneo. (Ang liit nga ng mundo!) 

Merong mga nagsasabi na wala daw kwenta ang pilosopiya, kasi naman, mantakin mo, pati ba naman ang wala ay pinagtatalunan pa.

Wala lang… haha]

Continue reading “isipin mo na lang meron pa, meron nga.”

Dear MMSU

mariano_marcos_state_university

Today, you turn 31.

The past year, one of your children was hailed one of  Ten Outstanding Students in the Philippines.  Also, a mentor bagged the coveted Metrobank Outstanding Teacher plum.

You have produced topnotchers and victors, and brought home a number of awards, but your greatest achievement lies in helping improve the lives of families and communities.  In 2008, you brought home the Most Outstanding Extension Program, besting all other universities in the country, proof that your excellence goes beyond instruction inside the classroom and extends to greater, nobler roles in human development.

mmsu-logo1

In 1978, you immediately built your reputation as the best university in the northern regions.  Today, you wow the nation with your feats.

Happy anniv, MaMaSU.  We love you.

Kampay!

I may have been too busy drinking gulping SanMig Light the past years that I failed to notice one good alak manufactured right here in Sunshine City Laoag.

Discovered it lately through a blog entry detailing  a tambay at tagay night held by YTRIP (a youth-led NGO that promotes sustainable local tourism and responsible travel) in the last quarter of 2008.  The group got several bottles of wine from parts of Luzon and tried, tasted, and drank the night away.

Their exhibits included:

Bugnay (Ilocos)
Basi (Ilocos)
Duhat (Ilocos)
Pineapple (??)
Camote with Pineapple (Banaue)
Tapuey (light) (Banaue)
Tapuey (toasted) (Banaue)
Lambanog (Quezon)
Strawberry (Benguet)
Grape (Benguet)

While they concluded that…

The night’s biggest favorites (the winners!!) were the Tapuey (light), Tapuey (toasted), and the Lambanog. And that the losers being the Strawberry and Grape wines.

duhat-wine4.., the Duhat Wine, according to three tasters, is “the closest to how wine would/should taste like”.

I agree.  Suabe ang guhit sa lalamunan. Sarap ng tama. It’s a bonus that it also offers all the health benefits that red wine promises, i.e. good for the heart, antioxidant, anti-cancer properties.  Yes, it is as good for the body as it is for the spirit.

The delight that is the Duhat Wine is actually a product of careful research and product development conducted by Cormel Foods with the support of the Department of Science and Technology and the Mariano Marcos State University (where I teach).

At  just 150Php a bottle, oh my, das leben ist gut!

Why Sachi should go to UP

(What follows is a letter-cum-essay that was published in the Youngblood column of the Philippine Daily Inquirer some years ago. I am not exactly proud of this. Looking back, I was rather insensitive and immature. But I am posting it here nonetheless as a tribute to UP who has served her country well in the past 100 years. This piece was reprinted in the UP Forum, official publication of the university community.)

DEAR Kuya Henry,

Allow me write this letter to you–a first in many years–as you exert influence on one of the most important decisions in the life of our beloved Sachi.

I have known that after a careful assessment, you have decided to send Sachi to xxU for college. While I receive this news with utmost respect, let me air my dissent and give you my thoughts on it.

I believe that xxU is a good school but I wish Sachi could go to the University of the Philippines because there, Sachi will grow among the best and the brightest, the future movers and shakers of our country. In UP, sure to open before Sachi’s eyes are doors of opportunities that graduates of lesser schools can only dream of. But above all, in UP, Sachi would continue to be the most promising person that she is by nature.
Continue reading “Why Sachi should go to UP”