No, sir, we are not peaceful

Asked about his thoughts on Eddie Gregorio’s murder carried out recently by motorcycle-riding men in Laoag City’s business district, Mayor Michael V. Fariñas said what any common politician is expected to say. He called the shooting of the 28-year old lawyer an “isolated case.”

Firmly believing that “the situation in the city is still peaceful,” the father of the city may have had the best intentions in mind. He wanted to keep an atmosphere of calm and sobriety among a people still distraught over someone so young, so brilliant, and so promising to be so dead.

What perplexes me though is his succeeding statement, “A crime can happen anywhere, anytime.” In broken Iluko, he continued, “no agplano iti maysa a tao, hanna a pilien whether in the morning, lunch time, malem wennu rabii.”

An average student of logic would not miss the inconsistency in the mayor’s pronouncements. First he says the incident is an isolated case and then concedes that such crime can be planned and executed anytime, anywhere.

The mayor gave two contradictory statements which cannot be both correct. If one is true, the other must be false, and vice versa.

I buy the second statement: crimes can happen, and in fact they do, anywhere murderers decide to, even here in Laoag. Continue reading “No, sir, we are not peaceful”

Young, brilliant, promising, and dead

“AS STUDENTS and professionals, where are your eyes focused? Are they just focused on things ephemeral, temporary joy or happiness? If this is true to your life, I tell you are missing a lot. You are missing the greatest undertaking under the sun. You are missing the path to your prepared great destiny.

“When I was a kid, I had a vision… to be a lawyer and at the same time a doctor. I wrote it on the wall of our house using charcoal (uring), I was even scolded by my mother because that writing destroyed the beauty of the wall in my room. It seemed impossible for me to attain that vision because we live in a far-flung area. My father finished only grade 3 and my mother finished only 2nd year high school. They are both farmers. However, that vision pushed me, moved me and energized me.

“Immensely blessed, I graduated as magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science and then law, leading batch 2002 and law class 2006 graduates of Northwestern University. I managed to do well in academics even as I served as president of the Supreme Student Council. I reaped the bounty of my toils which made my family so blissful of my academic achievements.

“I am in the graduate program to soon earn a doctoral degree. I have my own business and a job. I am telling you this not to say that I am intelligent, but to tell you that there is indeed an equal opportunity for everyone. No matter who you are, your family, status, or the educational attainment of your parents, you can succeed.

“When the opportunity knocked on me, I grabbed it. I tell you, opportunities had been knocking on to you and are still knocking on to you even this time, grab it now and for sure you will all become prosperous and successful.”


What you have just read are excerpts of a speech Eddie Gregorio delivered before an audience of students and young professionals two years ago. Continue reading “Young, brilliant, promising, and dead”

Church unwittingly endorses vice; notes on the sacred and the profane

(Note: This is an improved and elongated version of an earlier post)


SOMETHING CAUGHT my eye when I visited the Catholic church in Batac recently. Among the souvenir items they were selling at the parish office was an ash tray imprinted with the name and logo of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish.

While I would not say that smoking is evil and that smokers are baaad folks, I feel uncomfortable with this apparent endorsement of the vice.

“It would have been perfectly okay if it were a candle holder, but an ashtray?!?  And the name of the Blessed Virgin is even there.  That’s so off,” say my friends who were shocked to see the item. Continue reading “Church unwittingly endorses vice; notes on the sacred and the profane”

Hail the Marunggay Fairy and her green leafy wand

The Marunggay Fairy during the launch of Malunggay in the City in Metro Manila
The Marunggay Fairy during the launch of Malunggay in the City in Metro Manila

TRC Director General Tony Ortiz and MMSU President Miriam Pascua enjoy malunggay ice cream

TRC Director General Tony Ortiz and MMSU President Miriam Pascua enjoy malunggay ice cream

During a TV shoot for "Negosyo, atbp." aired on NBN
During a TV shoot for "Negosyo, atbp." aired on NBN

Everyone who enters Laoag City via the Gilbert Bridge is welcomed by a humungous “M” sign. The golden arch is trademark of a global food chain that is home to fatally cholesterol-laden food products including French fries, fried chicken, and burgers.

Somewhere in the city, however, another big “M” is gaining ground, slowly but surely, thanks to a lady who has extensively researched on, developed, and commercialized a greeny wonder. Continue reading “Hail the Marunggay Fairy and her green leafy wand”