Ay, supot!

THE AFTERNOON RAINS in past days reminded us that summer may be ending soon, which means time is running out for the ritual of passage that is male circumcision (“tuli” in Filipino and “kugit” in Ilokano).

Various  groups, ranging from media organizations to the Philippine National Police to civic and religious organizations, sponsor their respective “Operation Tuli” projects which intrigue foreigners because the Philippines is one of the few countries left in the world that insist on  penile mutilation.

A month before I entered sixth grade, my brother Herry accompanied me to the then Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital to undergo almost every Filipino child’s very first surgery which, medical practitioners now agree, is done for reasons not medical. Continue reading “Ay, supot!”

blogs to visit

I would like to share with you, dear karikna, two links that you might want to click:

Treasures of Ilocandia (and the world) —  Edwin Antonio is arguably the most diligent of all bloggers in this part of the world.  I often wonder how he finds time to do what he does.

The blog features Iloko culture, Philippines traditions, places, festivals and other celebrations of life in the country and the rest of the world.

Blauearth — Just visit and find something that will interest you, maybe make you salivate.

Let’s continue to build a vibrant culture of blogging here and elsewhere.


Thank you, Lolo Melo

AT 78, he should either be a couch potato or a jetsetter, enjoying the fruits of his lifetime of honest labor, but no, Jose Armando R. Melo, endured stressful days and sleepless nights, making possible our country’s first automated election amidst doomsday prophecies.

    The 2010 elections was not perfect but it is now largely perceived as credible. Many of Lolo Melo’s critics now say ‘sorry’. Yes, many complain about having to wait for a few hours to be able to cast their vote, but think of what this lolo had to endure. This Comelec chairman had the energy of a teenage skater.

    I never thought I’d live to see the day when candidates would concede defeat a few hours after the precincts closed, but I did. And thanks to our hero.

    Which makes me believe that the mandatory retirement age of 65 for government employees is cruel. For instance, many state university professors who are still in the pink of mental and physical health are forced to retire and either retreat in oblivion or move to the private sector. If Lolo Melo can run a national election, a historical one at that, why can’t a 65-year old teacher continue to share his wisdom to the young?

    Now, let’s get to know pambansang lolo better. Continue reading “Thank you, Lolo Melo”

The better Kris

KRIS—the better Kris, the sincere Kris, the brilliant Kris, the wonder boy, my valued friend—did not make the cut for the congressional race.

    He fought the good fight, but the people chose someone, and it’s not him. We should see Kris Ablan again in the public sphere. It would be a very big injustice to good government if he does not come back.

Kiss and kick

PERFECT. At clustered precinct No. 6 located at the Ilocos Norte National High School, the election went as okay as it could get. All 597 voters, accounting for a 72.4% turnout for Laoag City’s Brgy. 3, were able to cast their ballots without trouble. There were no rejected or spoiled ballots, not one. Poll watchers did not observe any irregularities, too.

    Kudos to Mark Anthony Tomas, the youthful chair of the Board of Election Inspectors, and his team for a job so well done.


    THUMBS DOWN to the polling center at the Agripino P. Santos Elementary School in Laoag City. All three precincts were located on the second floor. Handicapped voters and senior citizens, including my parents, had to take steep, two-part stairs.

    There were many classrooms on the ground floor.

Goodbye, Kris!

REALIZING HOW BIG a liability she could be, Kris Aquino promised to leave the country if Noynoy bags the presidency. “.. I promised Noy that if he does win and I’m a cause of stress for him and his presidency, I’ll gladly take my two boys and live anywhere,” showbizlandia’s Queen of All Media said during the campaign.

    Given Aquino’s landslide victory, it is time to make good that promise, a number of Facebook users, growing in thousands each day, demand. I’ll help you pack your things, offered a young girl from Pasuquin. A teenager from Batac, for his part, offered to lend a hand in the despedida party.

    And this is not without reason. Even before his brother is officially proclaimed, Kris is already causing division when unity is the order of the day. On national TV, she keeps on making snide remarks about provinces that did not go for Noynoy, and promises projects for districts that delivered the votes. So trapo, trapo, trapo, the opposite of the good governance mantra of his brother’s campaign.

Goodbye, Kris, and good riddance.

Dear Ate Charo

TAWAGIN MO na lang ako sa pangalang Herdy, dalawampu’t walong taong gulang, mula sa Laoag City.  Bunso ako sa limang magkakapatid at buhay na buhay pa ang aking mga magulang, pero hindi ito tungkol sa buhay ko.

My life is rather dull, uninteresting.  I do not starve, I am not adopted (and would not care if I was), and neither am I a hermaphrodite.  You see, my story is neither bizarre nor a tearjerker, not the type that would make it to  Maalaala Mo Kaya.  No, this is not about me, it’s about you.

I am pretty concerned that you would allow your good self to be bullied by the rude, arrogant, know-all, aesthetically challenged animal that is Willie Revillame who recently pressured ABS-CBN, a media giant under your leadership, into firing Jobert Sucaldito.  He threatened to resign if this was not done.

Jobert, in his radio program, criticized Willie for ridiculing the contestants on Wowowee.  Case in point, the show recently invited students who barely passed (pasang-awa) in school.

Why that he could have discussed this with you in private but that he chose to air his childish concerns on live, worldwide TV?  It’s not, of course, because he was too busy campaigning for Manny Villar,  who also exploits the poor for personal gain, that he can’t find time to talk to you personally, it was simply because he is Willy.

And Willy is a man whose vocabulary does not include respect.  He can disrespect an icon of democracy as the whole country mourns her death, he can disrespect you as he disrespects his contestants, as he does his co-hosts (he sacked one simply because she had a boyfriend), as he does his viewers, as he did his battered wife.  That is his uncanny talent.

“Why did they invite those who had low grades, why not those who excelled?,” Jobert asked, rhetorically I suspect as you and I already know the answer: Willie needs people he can laugh at, ridicule, toy with the way he laughs at, ridicules, and toys with Pokwang, Bentong, and his scantily-dressed dancers.

Willie, borrowing the term Joey Salceda used to describe GMA, is one lucky son of a *^#$@.  By promoting a culture of mendicancy, Wowowee caused the death of 70 impoverished Filipinos who lined up for an entrance ticket to the show’s first anniversary at the Ultra in February 2006.  Willie, who, in act of extreme callousness, insisted that the show must go on that day despite the tragic deaths, was the target of public outrage.  But the wrath against Willie only lasted as long as the Filipino memory could go, which is very short, and so Willie survived, and so the show went on.

In August 2007, he reportedly rigged Wilyonaryo, one of those games that psychologically torture poor contestants.  He survived the fiasco, but only after shedding, yet again, his patent crocodile tears.  The 49-year-old host may have been manipulating the show for years, we suspected.  But to jail he did not go. He, on the contrary, went on to build his palaces.

Just last year, he challenged ABS-CBN, as he did lately, on air, to choose between him and Cory Aquino, whose funeral cortège was shown in a live feed in a small box within the Wowowee frame.  ABS-CBN removed the live feed, and Willie was happy.  The public was outraged.  The public forgot.  Willie survived.

Willie says he is not afraid to get fired because he is good and he‘s sure other networks will quickly get him anyway.  “Bakit, iisa lang ba ang channel?”, he snorted in an interview.  He is confident that ABS-CBN would not dare axe his show because it has been bringing in a lot of dough.  That is a very dangerous mentality, Ate Charo, as Papi now sees himself as sort of god, untouchable and without fault.  You do not want to want to continue to breed such a monster, not under your nose, er, not under your prominent mole.

Or he could be thinking that the vast riches he has accumulated over years of ridiculing and insulting the poor are enough to let him live a life of comfort.  But he maintains this frame of mind, his wealth will vanish as fast as fast as his wives and girlfriends do.  Morally bankrupt, he can end up economically destitute too because last time I checked, Karma is still law.

Yes, Willie has, so far, remained invincible, but his continued success is our prolonged tragedy.  Now he makes you choose between him and Jobert.  The good choice is clear, albeit difficult.

Willie glorifies his show as “programa ng bawat Pilipino,” but this only means one thing.  Either he is delusional or I am not Filipino.  Hallucination is more like it as Willie claims that the top Philippine destination for TFC subscribers and foreign tourists now is neither Boracay, Ilocos, nor Palawan,  not any of nature’s wonders, not any of our historical sites, not anything else but Wowowee.

Please please, Ate Charo, do the country a favor.  Sack Willie.  Willie sucks.

And while at it, you might as well ban in your network Lito Camo, author of trashy songs like Otso-otso, Dododo Dadada, and Boom-tarat-tarat, less he continue to make others believe, as he made Willie believe, that the main tool of a singer is not good voice but thick face.

If you must do the right thing, Ate Charo, please do it now, less we forget again, less Willie Revillame survive, again.

In advance, I say: Congratulations!



My list

POLL officials suggest that, given the volume of voters per PCOS machine (1:1000), a voter should spend eight minutes at most in the actual shading process on Election Day, hopefully on Monday, May 10. I am thus doing a great deal of discerning now, and here’s what I have so far.

President: Noynoy Aquino
Vice President: Jejomar Binay


I am decided to vote for the following:

  1. Acosta, Neric — LP
  2. Drilon, Frank — LP
  3. Hontiveros, Risa  — LP
  4. Marcos, Bongbong — NP
  5. Maza, Liza — NP/Makabayan
  6. Roco, Sonia — LP

I am yet to choose six from the following eight candidates:

Bautista, Martin  — LP

Biazon, Ruffy  — LP

Guingona, TG  — LP

Lim, Danny  — LP

Lacson, Alex — LP

Ocampo, Satur — NP/Makabayan

Ople, Toots — NP

Osmeña, Serge — Independent/LP

Party List

Ang Ladlad