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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eraserheads: I Just Can't Get Enough

Today is October 30, 2008

Ok. So it is now exactly 2 months since the Eraserheads Concert. And seems I still just can't get enough of the 'reunion' gaga. Actually, I have had two separate blogs about the eheads, however, I will need to give another one just not to let this interesting fact i've just read from the ULRAELECTROMAGNETICNIGHT blogspot.
My first blog specifically tackles the issue on the sponsorship controversy and how this reunion concert came to a reality.
Well, the concert almost didn't make it because of this controversy, and then there was the tragic death of Ely Buendia's mother days before the concert. But the concert did push through-so the second blog gives an account of some of the highlights and some insights gained on the concert.
However, a lot of the fans are 'bitin' because right after the first set, Ely Buendia was rushed to the hospital due to a heart failure.
So many people wondered-how would it have been if the concert came to Set Second? What would be the next songs? What would be the finale? Will they ever treat the fans with the 'Group Hug' that the fans were chanting?
This Interesting Blog says it all:
We were all supposed to dance the Huling El Bimbo with a fantastic fireworks display. It was going to be the perfect song to end a perfect concert.
I know because my sister said so. She was one of the band's PAs (guess which one!) and was there during the production meetings. On Sunday morning, as we gathered for our family lunch, she told us what was supposed to go down during the Eheads concert.
The first set went exactly as planned, except of course for Ely's collapse. To refresh your memory, these are the songs we heard:1) Alapaap 2) Ligaya 3) Sembreak 4) Hey Jay 5) Harana 6) Fruitcake 7) Toyang 8) Kama Supra 9) Kailan 10) Wag Kang Matakot 11) Kaliwete 12) With A Smile 13) Shake Yer Head 14) Wag Mo Nang Itanong 15) Lightyears
During the second set, the band was to sing ten more songs, in this order:1) Maskara 2) Poor Man's Grave 3) Torpedo 4) Trip to Jerusalem 5) Back To Me 6) walang Nagbago 7) Maling Akala 8) Tikman 9) Spoliarium 10) Magasin
When Magasin was to be played, the screen behind them would have montages of various news and magazine clippings of them. It would flash alternately with shots of the band and audience until the song reached the coda where Ely sings "...ay centerfold ka naaaa...woo hoo-hoo, haaa-haaa" part of the song. Then there would be fire works and a fountain of sparks, going on til the last note of the song. Then the hydraulic stage would be lowered and the band would make a "fake ending".
The lights would then go out.
My sister said the band would wait til the crowd chanted "more". "It would take two beers' worth of chanting "more" she said. Then in the darkness, a very dramatic keyboard solo would be heard, and it would be the opening chords of Para Sa Masa.
The hydraulic stage would rise again and there they would be.After Para Sa Masa, they'd switch into Overdrive. With the crowd pumped within an inch of insanity they were to hit us with Pare Ko. And then we would slow down and reminisce with Minsan.
Finally, they would perform Huling El Bimbo. Again, after the last refrain, at the coda (la la la laaa...) the grand fireworks display would go off, fountains of light surrounding the stage. The next la-la-la parts would see fireworks from behind the general admissions section, and as the song ended there would be a burst of confetti all over the audience.
Then the hydraulic stage would be lowered for the final exit.
Those were the plans for the Ultraelectromagnetic night. It may not have happened as planned but at least we knew they were going to give us a show we would never forget!We asked my sister if the band knew about all these plans and she said they did. In fact they were so excited about all the gimmicks and couldn't wait to party with the audience. "Nag-usap pa nga sila kung may mga kailangang saluhin na kanta just in case (di na kaya ni Ely)," she said.
"And Ely said, hindi, Kakanta ako!"
I'm putting out an order to the Universe that we all get to watch the second set!
--Source unknown
Sana. Sana may susunod pang concert. At kung pwedeng isa pang hirit, sana, magreunite na ang banda.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Talk About Being Dumb

It's one of those dead freaking days when I just don't know what to do in the office (or is it much proper to say- I just don't know what to do other than working these papers out of my sight).

I've been clicking and visiting almost all the 'regular' sites and found nothing worth reading. Inquirer doesn't have any new hot news, as well as GMA; so I'm thinking of one dumb thing to do to pass the hour waiting until 6 so I can hurry off and leave the office. So I said to mayself- why not blog, instead? (Certainly not a good equation; blogging=dumb thing).

Anyway, I have settled to blog about being dumb. Wikipedia defines being dumb as:

"Stupidity, the lack of intelligence. "

I'm gonna need to borrow a few from the list found on Chico Garcia's site to enforce my 'dumb' blog, but of course, I'll have to butt in some of my 'dumb' ideas along the way:

List of the Dumbest Thing You’ve Ever Heard Anyone Say:

(Note: If somehow you've been bored by some, I hope you'll try and reach the last on the list-you'll know why when you get there)

1. - An Eat Bulaga contestant was asked by Joey and Vic: “Ano sa Tagalog ang grasshopper?” Contestant: “Ahmm. . .Huling Hapunan?”
Mycomment: Lipat tayo sa Wowoweeeeeee..........

2. - While watching the news yesterday about a kid killed by a bulldozer, our maid commented: “Kaya ayoko mag-alaga ng aso eh…”
Mycomment: Who let the dogs out???? Who Who Who Who Who????

3. - My cousin at a DRIVE-THRU: “Miss, puwedeng take out?”

4. - Nadia Montenegro promoting her movie: “Please watch ‘The Life Story of Julie Vega’, opening na po on the twenty-twoth of November.”
Mycomment: Paging Cristy Fermin

5. - I was making cookies at home when I ran out of cookie sheets, so I called our maid and said: “Manang bili ka nga ng cookie sheet.” And she replied: “Ano po, solo o litro?” (coke is it)

6. - While watching “Apollo 13″, after she heard the line: “Houston, we have a problem.” My ex-girlfriend asked: “Sino si Houston?”

7. - My aunt was going to the US for the 1st time. She told us: “Nagpapabili ang tita niyo ng ‘autistic’ guitar. Saan ba nakakabili nun?”

8. - In a gameshow. Host: “Ano sa Tagalog ang ‘teeth’?” Contestant: “Utong!”
Mycomment: Two Thumbs up!!!

9. - I had a customer on the line who had a password on his account. I asked for the password but he forgot. I gave him a clue: “It’s a 4-digit number.” He answered, “Uhm…’ROCKY’?”

10. - I overheard a lady place an order at Starbucks: “One cup of chino please.”
Mycomment: Make it two cup of chinos!

11. - I had a meeting with a friend and I noticed that both of us were wearing stripes. He suddenly blurted out: “Uy, stripes din! It’s the color of the day!”
Mycomment: A huh.

12. - My sister said of our neighbor who was our arch enemy: “Mamatay na sana kapitbahay natin!” I told her not to say that, coz it might bounce back to us. Then she said, “Ah ganun ba yun? In that case, mamatay na sana tayo!”
Mycomment: Condolence

13. - When I saw that I got a missed call, I said, “Hey, I got a missed call!” My friend said, “Anong sabi?”
Mycomment: Sikwet....

14. - From the gameshow “The Weakest Link”. Host Edu Manzano asked: “Anong ‘T’ ang ibinibigay ng konduktor pag nagbayad ka ng pamasahe sa bus?” Ian Veneracion answered: “TUKLI!”
Mycomment: Thank you card?

15. - We were reviewing for an exam and we were already dead tired. A classmate said, “Hala, brownout!” Pagtingin namin, nakapikit pala siya.
Mycomment: Kuyuginnnnnnn!!!!!

16. - A call center agent told a foreign customer regarding the changing of the due date of her credit card: “Ma’am, I already changed your monthly period.”
Mycomment: Sisante

And finally, you've reached the last:

17- During a shower party for my friend, the married women were giving tips on the do’s & dont’s of sexual intercourse, when the bride asked: “Hindi ba kasama yung betlog sa pinapasok?”
Mycomment: Three, no, four thumbs up! By now I think she knows.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who goes first?

The filing anew of an impeachment complaint last Monday, October 13, 2008 against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo didn't come as a surprise for me at all.

To me, this is the inevitable.

What I am particularly curious about is: will the Opposition find its way to beat coys or nuisances this time around.

In 2005 and 2006, a known Marcos Loyalist, Attorney Oliver Lozano, successively beat Ms Arroyo’s opponents to the draw by filing of impeachment cases against her ahead of any of the Oppositions who have prepared complaints against Arroyo.

The matter of who files first is deemed important because under House rules, lawmakers may entertain only one impeachment complaint against a president within a year.

However, as we all know, none of those impeachment cases filed by Lozano against Ms Arroyo prospered. Many believe that the move from Lozano actually were "brilliant moves" by the administration in order that a somehow weak complaint would be filed and not prosper. And indeed, the plan worked.

In 2007, a new name appeared in the picture. A certain Lawyer, Roel Pulido filed a rather weak-as-Lozano's complaint ahead of the Opposition again. The "sham complaint", opposition leader Roilo Golez said, was meant to frustrate an honest-to-goodness impeachment complaint. Again, as expected, this too, did not prosper.

This 2008, The complainants tried but failed to file the 97-page impeachment complaint late Saturday (October 11, 2008) at the House of Representatives because its secretary general, Marilyn Yap, who receives such complaints, had gone on a foreign trip.

On Monday, De Venecia and Suplico and their supporters arrived at 6:00 a.m. at the north gate of the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City and immediately signed on the log book to show proof that they were the first to make the filing.

The complainants and media personnel stayed at the guard post for several minutes before they were allowed to proceed to the south wing of the Batasang Pambansa building where the House secretary general holds office.

On Friday, Speaker Prospero Nograles hinted that the filing of the impeachment complaint could also be made through registered mail.

Inquirer.net writer Leila Salaverria accounts for this interesting race of "Who goes first" in the
filing of the 2008 Impeachment Case against GMA:

Waking up earlier than usual, a group led by businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia III filed its impeachment case against Ms Arroyo at the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives at 7:40 a.m.

Lozano wasn’t around yet.

But a copy of Lozano’s own complaint also landed at the House media office. It had a covering letter which bore the stamp of a Quezon City post office indicating the complaint was mailed to the chamber at 8:20 a.m.

A check at 2:30 p.m. Monday showed that the complaint mailed by Lozano and fellow lawyers Elly Pamatong and Evangeline Lozano had not reached the secretary general’s office.

Asked why he chose to mail the complaint instead of going to the House to file it himself—as what the De Venecia group did—Lozano told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone in Filipino: “I wanted to avoid heckling (kantyawan). I don’t want anything like that.”

The battle for "Who goes first" is now over. As lawyer Harry Roque, one of the complainants, implied, "“This impeachment complaint in the House is the real deal unlike the first three. House members have no choice but to accept it or reject it based on merits rather than technicalities as they did in the past years.”

The House secretary general has up to 10 session days to submit the impeachment complaint to Nograles who, in turn, has up to 10 session days to decide whether to forward the complaint to the House committee on justice.

The committee on justice has up to 60 session days to decide whether the complaint was sufficient in form and substance before it could pass it for plenary vote.

What will happen next, we don't know.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blue or Green. Green or Blue

I have always been amused with the unending and ever-in heat rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle. Pit these two against each other on a game of basketball at any given day and you will surely find a jampacked Araneta Coliseum roaring to the top.

Coach Dindo Pumaren (UE Warriors) once said that it amuses him how his Warriors, who just completed a rare 14-0 sweep in the 2007 elimination round of the UAAP men’s competition, have been forgotten in the light of the rivalry.

“Even if both schools are in the cellars, every game will always be like a championship. It’s school pride. It’s all about passion. Their games are just different, their rivalry is different," says Dindo, whose brother Franz is calling the shots for the Archers.

This 2008 UAAP season, The Ateneo Blue Eagles got the edge winning over La Salle via a 2-0 sweep of the Season 71 Finals at the overflowing Araneta Coliseum.

Well, talk doesn't end there, as news after news after news and reactions after reactions after reactions are sure to continue amuse people like me about the famed rivalry.

Raphael Bartholomew, a researcher, writer and lecturer, wrote a very interesting article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 2007 about this extensive fight between the green and the blue.

He even discussed how politicians and other famous personalities, alumni of these two Universities, continue to engage battle.

A Nation's Passion Lives in a Rivalry of Green vs.Blue

Senators, foreign diplomats, cabinet ministers, a smattering of Forbes's 40 richest Filipinos, moviestars and enough professional basketball players to play five-on-five. They are the elite of Philippine society, and they all gather at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to watch the men's basketball rivalry between the universities Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle.

La Salle Coach Franz Pumaren said, "The janitors in Araneta always say, 'If there's an Ateneo-La Salle game, once everybody's out of the coliseum, it still smells good because of the all the socialites watching.'

Ateneo and La Salle are the most prestigious private universities in the country. The question of which institution provides a superior education is a toss-up; the tie breakers take place on the basketball court.

In 2005, La Salle revealed that two of its players had used phony high school equivalency results in their applications, and the team was suspended for the 2006 season.The teams also play different styles, with somewhat different results. The De La Salle Green Archers won four straight national championships from 1998 to 2001 thanks to its vaunted trapping defense.

Ateneo plays textbook basketball, with man-to-man defense and an inside-out offense that relies on post-up moves and perimeter shooting. The Blue Eagles won the 2002 championship, their only title in the last 17 years.

The frenzied crowds are often led by some of the most prominent alumni. Senator Richard Gordon, a former Ateneo cheerleader, is renowned for sideline antics like jumping on the scorer's table to rile up the crowd. La Salle counts the former finance secretary José Pardo and the shipping mogul Enrique Razon Jr. among its supporters.

The rivalry allows Manila's elites to relive their carefree college days, said Ricky Palou, Ateneo's athletic director. "It's the passion they have for their alma mater," he said. "They become immature. They act like kids."

The fans' excessive behavior is matched by the largesse that the alumni lavish on their teams. A group from Ateneo installed the hardwood floor used for the 2000 N.B.A. All-Star Game at the university gym. Not to be outdone, Razon donated about $1 million, which went toward refurbishing La Salle's sports center and financing athletic scholarships.

The heightened atmosphere of the rivalry puts coaches and players under enormous pressure. When Joe Lipa coached Ateneo in the late 1990s, the former president Corazon Aquino, whose daughter Kris is a 1992 graduate, would call Lipa to check on the team's progress, said Ricky Dandan, Lipa's former assistant.

"You can lose to all the other teams, but not to La Salle," Banal said.

When his team defeated La Salle for the championship in 2002, it was "my most fulfilling accomplishment," Banal said, adding: "After that championship it's like the whole Filipino nation knew me. Like if you go to a restaurant, you eat, you're paying your bill, somebody from Ateneo got it already."

But the shame of losing also haunts players and coaches. In the final game of the 2002 national championship series, the La Salle star Mike Cortez missed 11 of 13 shots. Afterward, La Salle students and alumni accused Cortez of throwing the game. Although Cortez is now an all-star guard in thePhilippine professional league, many fans still regard him as a game fixer.

The rivalry has loosened the bond of friendship between the teams' coaches. Ateneo Coach Norman Black and Pumaren won several professional titles together in the late 1980s with the San Miguel Beermen.

"If you're part of the rivalry, you just don't like each other," Black said."Franz played for me and he was my assistant coach, but that has little bearing on what's happening right now. He's the coach of La Salle; I'm the coach of Ateneo. Let the chips fall where they may." ++++++++++

The following article published in the Philippine Star on October 5, 2008, accounts a personal story of an Ateneo graduate who later practiced his profession at the rival school La Salle. This, again, tells of an interesting story between Ateneo and La Salle from on and off the basketball court.

Blue or Green? That is the question
By Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr.

I first heard about the rivalry between Ateneo and LA SALLE through my eldest sister Ling; it must have been in the mid-50s when I was old enough to play with a mini-basketball, but too young to understand the big fuss over the rivalry between the two exclusive schools. Ling was a fan of the blue-and-white, Hail Mary team. While listening to the radio coverage of the games, she cheered for Ateneo and Ed Ocampo particularly, the team’s outstanding guard then. Her ears were glued to the radio set, listening to a broadcaster named Bobby Ng describing the game play-by-play, in good, straight English. She did attend the big games at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, most probably with my elder brother, until the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) games were covered on TV.

My memory of the early TV coverage of the NCAA games is of Green Archer Kurt Bach-mann’s mom brandishing her umbrella from the courtside. I don’t remember now what for. Kurt Bachmann must have been embarrassed by his mom’s display of motherly concern.

The funny thing is that when I was in Ateneo, my sister could not care less about the Ateneo-La Salle games. I guess she matured and got over that stage of idolatry. But a lot of adults, especially alumni of either school, seem not to have outgrown the rivalry which continued when the two schools moved to the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines).

Atenean Richard Gordon, former cheerleader and now a Senator, is a common fixture during a La Salle-Ateneo game. Lasallian Mike Enriquez, popular broadcaster, plays his alma mater’s hymn in his morning program during championship games. The old alumni of these arch rivals continue still to cheer for their teams, competing for bragging rights of being champions.

I confess that I was never fond of basketball games even when I was in college. I did try out to be a cheerleader of the Blue Babble Battalion because I was attracted by the blue-and-white jacket, but I did not make it to the clique. I must have attended two games in my college life; three max. Okay, I was a nerd.

What’s the big fuss? The press is partly to blame. Whenever there’s a game between Ateneo and La Salle, it is always bannered as the encounter between arch rivals, a long, unending rivalry that can be traced to the pre-World War II period. The management of the Araneta Coliseum must love it. The venue will surely be filled to the rafters. The attendance of around 20,000 is close to the population of the two schools. The UAAP board loves it; an Ateneo-La Salle game means a multi-million-peso encounter. It’s crazy to raise the question at all.

Before I continue writing this piece, a full disclosure is appropriate – I finished my undergraduate degree at the Ateneo (notice “the”; it’s not enough just to say Ateneo). I’m a bona fide alumnus, but not a blue-blooded Atenean, if you ask the likes of Mike Arroyo, for the FG, blue-blooded Ateneans are those who finished their primary and secondary levels at the Ateneo.

I’m not an alumnus of La Salle, but I’ve taught there for a little over 24 years, so I’ve developed some loyalty to this school on Taft.

Which side am I on? That’s the question.

Through the years, the rivalry in sports had become heated, and it extended to other fields, like academics and debate. Man for man (and woman for woman, when the two schools became co-ed in the ‘70s), the two schools can match the other school’s leading alumni. Until Ateneo becomes exasperated with the exercise and drops the name of Jose Rizal. That stops the conversation. Lasallians would just say that “Rizal had no choice then; La Salle was established in 1911. If Rizal were born at the turn of the century….”

Ateneo and La Salle were very exclusive schools, especially before the 60s. I remember a cousin who passed the entrance exams at La Salle but failed the ocular visit to their house made by a representative of the school. My cousin’s family lived in an apartment in La Loma, Quezon City. My cousin should have checked the family names of La Salle alumni then. To make a long story short, he enrolled in San Beda instead.

In the 60s, more scholars from both public and private schools invaded the august halls of Ateneo and La Salle and both schools had become less aristocratic. That was how I came to the Ateneo. Soon, the coño boys became an endangered species until the 80s when both schools became more bakya; the coño boys became totally extinct. (I think they moved to the University of Asia and the Pacific.)

Lasallians would argue that Ateneans are more bakya. Need I name names like Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino? But, actually, alumni or near-alumni of either school have invaded the entertainment industry, showing that they are bakya-at-heart. I’m using the word bakya not as a word of derision, but just a word of fact. More and more Ateneans and Lasallians have embraced the hoi polloi by being entertainers.

Lasallians are proven Vilmanians. Two of them even sired children with the Star for All Seasons – Edu Manzano, one of the original bench boys (the students who spent their break-time, and most probably even much of their class time, at the benches in front of the gym), and Ralph Recto, former senator, who is instrumental in guiding the political career of Vilma. Are Ateneans closet Noranians? I don’t know. But Lotlot’s daughter is in Ateneo.

After all is said and done, Ateneans and Lasallians love each other. Before the attack of the coeds in the 70s, how can one explain the Ateneans’ love for Maryknollers, their kapitbahay at Loyola? And the Lasallians’ love for the Kulasas (from St. Scholastica)? After some meditation, I found the answer. It’s the skirt. Maryknollers’ uniform is green and white; St. Scholasticans’ is blue and white. The attraction to the official color of the competitor is a deep-seated love for the other.

La Salle and Ateneo are two illustrious schools. They have produced leading professionals in various fields, artists, and national leaders. But neither school has produced a President. Erap Estrada would have been the first Atenean President, but being an Ateneo drop-out doesn’t count. Raul Manglapus tried to be President, but his Arnneow accent got in the way. The masa could not connect with his “I Speak for Democracy” – kind of English. La Salle’s Jose W. Diokno was “the President we never had,” according to sociologist and political commentator Randy David. Remember Diokno’s challenge, “Why be honest when it pays to be dishonest?”

The closest Ateneo got to the presidency was by being the First Gentleman. We all know now that the FG is more of a handicap than an inspiration to the President. If a bona fide Lasallian can’t be President, being the First Gentleman is the only way to get control of that seat. Vilmanian Ralph Recto is a candidate to this position.

But back to the question, Which side am I on? I’m in a win-win situation. But that’s no fun when watching a basketball game. One must side with one team during a game, especially a championship game; you can’t enjoy the game by being safe. So, did I cheer for La Salle or Ateneo? Let me put it this was – I was more sad than happy at the end of this year’s championship game. I won, but I also lost – big time.

Interesting indeed. However, the latest news have brought sadness to my following this historic rivalry. Reports say that during a bonfire celebration conducted by the Ateneans following the recent championship at the UAAP, some of the firewood used at the bonfire had the names of the entire La Salle roster bannered by JV Casio, Rico Maierhofer and coach Franz Pumaren.

As reports and photos of the incident circulated in blogs and online basketball forums, students and alumni from La Salle, and even Ateneo, branded the act distasteful regardless of the rivalry between the two elite squads.

Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres said none of the school officials "saw it ahead of time, because the wood pile was covered by a tarp against the rain until the time came to light it."

Nebres recently apologized to the La Sallian community for an irreverent incident during the bonfire on the Ateneo campus last Sept. 30 to celebrate the UAAP championship won by the Eagles at the expense of the Archers.

"Despite our rivalries in sports, we are both committed to Christian values and what was done is certainly a violation of values we share," Nebres said in a letter to De La Salle University System president Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, dated Oct. 2.

"Our community accepted [Ateneo's apology]," Br. Bernie Oca, FSC, La Salle's representative to the UAAP board, said Sunday. "We are also awaiting the results of their investigations which they said they will do."

It was like having to remember the famous Dark Knight movie-a battle between the Batman and the Joker, and a seemingly epic love story between the two, where Joker tells the Batman, ""I don't want to kill you. You complete me."

Whoever is the good guy, and whoever is the bad guy depends on whose side you are in. Are you on the Blue Side? Or are you on the Green Side? The epic duel between Ateneo and La Salle will sure to make history after history on the years to come.

The battle continues on the next UAAP season.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Eid Mubarak

This next article was taken from Rom's Smoketalk blog. I actually first read this brilliant piece via the Filipino Voices.com, a collaborative blog of Filipino bloggers focusing on News, Politics, and Social Commentary.

For some months now, the country is once again on the verge of issues and controversies surrounding the GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. However, shortly before the agreement has been signed by both parties (Government & MILF), oppositions surfaced, with the Supreme Court finally issuing a TRO on the signing of the papers.

Immediately after, a series of gun-battle between the government troops and some MILF breakaway groups are on the go, affecting a lot of innocent civilians, and even killing some. Until today, the conflict has not yet been resolved. The situation cooled down a bit in respect for the Ramadan, a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; the month in which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Eid Mubarak
Posted on 1 October 2008
by rom

The headman of the village stood with his head bowed in the middle of the road, an island of stillness as his village erupted in chaos. The marines were coming and everyone knew that they would bring
retribution with them.

Children sat crying in the dirt while their mothers and sisters ran around frantically stuffing clothes and instant noodles into plastic bags. Here and there, arguments broke out about what to take; a prized transistor radio, a broken mirror, a box of love-letters. All the while, the rumble of distant engines grew louder and louder.

The dirt road down the middle of the village ran fluid with women and children. The old men stayed in the shade, their eyes staring off into the distance. Soldiers didn’t hurt old men. Just the young ones, and the village’s young men were already dead or dying in the jungles and the rice paddies.

Suddenly, the noise from the engines stopped. The trucks had arrived. For a second, everyone froze in place gripped by the kind of panic that steals voices. Even the children fell silent.
From the lead truck, a man in fatigues stepped out and looked around. His eyes squinting against the noonday sun. He found the headman right away, and began striding purposefully towards the old man. Behind him, soldiers streamed out of the truck like startled ants. “Sarge!” they shouted.

At the sight of the soldiers, the women screamed and the mad rush to get out of the village resumed. But still, the soldier and his men pressed on. The soldier seemed oblivious to everything going on around him, intent on his quarry, while his men held their rifles close and pointed outwards, their eyes darting this way and that, waiting for ambush. But the ambush never came.

When the Sergeant finally reached the headman, he bowed his head and, over the din of the pounding boots of his men forming a ring around the two of them, said “Abu.”
“Iqbal is dead. I am sorry.”

For the first time, the headman looked up with tears in his eyes. “I should have never let my sons go.”

“I’ve brought the others. I know you will see to it that everything that needs to be done gets done.”

With that, the Sergeant turned around and walked back to the truck, shouting orders as he went. Tailgates clanged as the trucks were opened and the soldiers left behind started gently taking out bodies wrapped in brightly colored blankets.

When the women saw the bodies being carefully laid out on the dirt road, the flow out of the village swirled in on itself, a humann eddy, and slowly they inched their way back towards the trucks. From the crowd of women and the general murmur of anxious muttering, individual voices rose to the surface.




By the time all the bodies had been laid down, the exodus had been forgotten and the wailing had started to reach for the heavens. Most found the men they had thought they would never see again. The others beat their chests so loudly it seemed like they would kill themselves. And maybe it would have been better if they had. Dead, they would not have to wonder what happened to their missing husbands and sons.

Leaving the grieving women, the soldiers quietly boarded the trucks again and soon, the signal to roll out of the village came.

The Sergeant sat in the front of the truck with his eyes firmly on the road out of the village. He imagined Iqbal walking the same road, and fought hard to fight down the bile that rose to his throat. The old man was right, he never should have let Iqbal go. Come to that, the Sergeant shrugged, he never should have let me go either. “Then maybe I could have greeted him eid mubarak instead of having to tell him that my brother was dead.”

The soldier driving the truck turned to him in mild surprise. “Sarge?”

“Wala. Bilisan mo. Malapit na dumilim.”

***Eid mubarak (Persian/Urdu: عید مبارک) (Arabic: عيد مبارك‎) is a traditional Muslim greeting reserved for use on the festivals of Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. The phrase translates into English as "blessed festival", and can be paraphrased as "may you enjoy a blessed festival". Muslims wish each other Eid Mubarak after performing the Eid prayer. This celebration continues till the end of the day, and continues a further three days. It is notable that saying these exact words is a cultural tradition influenced by deep roots of religion in it; however, it is not part of any religious obligations. Speakers of Arabic might also add "kul 'am wantum bikhair."

Eid refers to the occasion itself, and Mubarak is 'may it become good for you'.

This article from Rom vividly describes the drama unfolding in the South. It is my hope that as we read the story, we may somehow learn to open our eyes of understanding in the seemingly unending conflict in Mindanao. And may we all, as Filipinos, though divided in our own beliefs and traditions, unite as one nation in upholding peace and respect with each other.

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