Archive for September 2009
And with that I mean rise up from their horrendous ordeal that washed away their homes, their possessions and their loved ones.
I set up a Paypal account for our generous friends in Manila and abroad who would like to help our struggling kababayans in Rizal. Our family and our history is rooted in this province so this is the LEAST you and I can do.
In the true spirit of transparency, I will post how much money we’ve collected on a weekly basis. And you, Lala, will post how that money was spent. This way, our generous friends will know that their hard earned money is going to something constructive.
Let’s make this one count!
More updates on this 18 month old’s speech development.
In the playroom, Mikel got a hold of his sister’s school bag and started dragging it around with him as he walked around in a big circle. Every time he’d pass me by he’d wave and say, “buh-baiii”. So I took the opportunity to encourage him to speak some more.
Lala: Mik! That’s a bag… say, bag?
Lala: No, it’s baaag.
We’ve also been trying to teach him to say his name. This happened in the car this week.
Lala: Mik, if people ask you, what’s your name, you say, Mik-Mik!
Houston, do we have a problem?
As the summer is winding down (boo!), I thought I’d share with you some shots taken during my bike rides. These are various photos accumulated through the summer. Here are some shots taken from the Upper West Side while riding through the West Side Highway.
This is a shot of George Washington Bridge before crossing it to go back to New Jersey. Yes Lala, I crossed it!
And here is a pretty picture of the city while on GWB. It was a beautiful day as you can see.
Now check out some shots from the other side, Joizey Side.
This next batch was taken while inside the city.
The fountain below is also in Washington Square Park. When Dinky Boy was a student of NYU, he used to sit around here during breaks and eat the Adobo that Florence Nighting-norms used to prepare for him.
That’s it panist! Just wanted to show you the sights from my bike : )
A few days ago, I had a great debate with our dear and brilliant friend, Flower. It was fired, it was informed and more importantly, it was fun! I welcome discussions like these not because I am a highly opinionated bitch loose canon (Don’t laugh. You are too!), but really because it pushes me to question the things I hold true in my mind. Our discussion centered on the candidacy of Noynoy. I particularly liked this dialogue because it forced me to question why I’m hands-down supporting this man.
It can’t just simply be because we belong to the same yellow-clad tribe. Nor am I supporting him because “if not him, who else?”. Are we just hanging on to the high brought about by the inspiring life and death of his mother? Are we just waxing nostalgic, trying to relive those shining yellow days of yore? These are questions I am certain you, yourself, are asking. After giving this a LOTof thought (hey, what’s a girl with no iPod to do in the train?), I think I know why I want him to be our next president.
Before I tell you why, I want to first give you a snapshot of our country’s dire situation. Let’s start with corruption. It’s rampant and brazenly done by those in power. In the 2008 Consumer Perception Index submitted by Transparency International, the Philippines scored a 2.3 (0 being the most corrupt and 10 being the least). We don’t even need an index like this to believe it. I mean who isn’t talking about the clip below? Nuff said.
Also, we have a highly divisive society and a severely fragmented political system. As a result, any effort with the purest intentions to rebuild our country will be mutilated because everybody wants to push their own agenda, because everybody wants a piece of an already depleted pie and well, because we all just can’t seem to get along.
We don’t have a substantial middle class. Why is it important to have one, you ask? To put it simplistically, if you have a growing middle class, that can only mean a shrinking population of families below the poverty line. Expanding the middle class means facilitating the emergence of a real working poor. Which leads me to my next point: Poverty. Where do we begin? While the poor are probably not getting poorer, their lives aren’t getting any better either. We learned in Theology of Liberation that because there are no real pockets of opportunities that come by their way, we can expect that their children and perhaps their children’s children will live in the same dire conditions they are living in now.
We learned that children can’t focus on learning simply because they are hungry.
We learned that due to the lack of legitimate opportunities in this country, poor women are forced into prostitution and worse, slavery!
So you see, Lala, to put it lightly, we’re in a bit of a pickle here aren’t we? Whoever we elect to be our next president (capable or not) has a lot of fixin’ to do. Can Noynoy fix this all and more in 6 years? Can he eradicate corruption, de-fragmentize our society, create a bustling middle class? Can he alleviate the lives of the poor? Probably not. But neither can Gilbert, Manny, Cheese, Erap and anybody else audacious enough to want to be president. Not in 6 years. Why? Because they are not Superman and we shouldn’t burden them with that unrealistic expectation. Not Noynoy, not anybody.
We need someone to create real conditions for real and sustainable change to manifest. We need someone to be able to unite, to mend, to lead an alarmingly fragmented and wounded society. We need someone to bring democracy to the poor so that they may accelerate to be part of a growing middle class. For me, this someone is Noynoy.
SIDEBAR: I refuse to use the word HEAL because in 2001, with her hand on the Bible and in front of a hopeful Filipino People, GMA carelessly promised to heal our land. She failed miserably.
But I digress, back to Noynoy. So what’s his platform? Apart from declaring that he is heeding the call of the people, what is his plan? He said it himself : “to make democracy work not just for the rich and well-connected but for everybody”. For the cynical, this sounds like a mother statement overflowing with fluff. But it actually makes sense. Making democracy work means making everybody free, giving them options, giving them the freedom to chart the direction in their own lives. You do this by giving the poor jobs, by extending credit to them, by educating them, by providing them with assistance and tools so that they will be empowered enough to make good decisions. Guess what? The Benigno Aquino Foundation does that already! He’s got honest people with the skills, the expertise and the resources to launch this on a much larger scale. This is how he is going to build a vibrant middle class.
Does he have the charisma to unite a people? Well he is slowly uniting political parties and thats a very good start given how shy and unassuming he is. Politician’s are setting aside their own ambitions to rally behind him. A feat that our current (and capable, i might add) president cannot seem to do. Is that not charismatic enough? And because he is known not to compromise his values, we can believe that he won’t be selling the island of Mindanao in exchange for support! This is the same charisma that will unite a wounded society.
Let’s not get lost in past achievements, laws passed and education because he’s got all of that already. But let’s face it, even the most capable and brilliant also fall prey to the evils of power and corruption. We are a nation with great potential. Its been proven many times before. Unfortunately, we are also a sick nation. And before we can even start talking about progress we need to make sure that we are well first. That’s Noynoy’s job. Baby steps.
One of the great aspects of a democracy is that it allows us to get to know the candidates and to make an informed decsion. So I say let’s give Noynoy a chance to prove himself. Let’s see how this very exciting campaign will pan out. Let’s give democracy a chance.
POST SCRIPT: Gilbert Teodoro seems to be the buzz these days. His credentials are very impressive but I’m looking for more than just a Harvard Law degree to make the cut. So just as I’m appealing that we all give Noynoy a chance, I’m going to give Gilbert a chance to prove himself in the campaign. I’m going to keep an open mind. But until I’m convinced otherwise, I’m going with the guy in yellow.
…Then this one would tell you that the intense coloring on these hills is completely natural and brought about my millennia of mineral sediment collecting on them.
It was just all so pretty I had to post it. If you want to see it in the flesh (or in the rock), just head on over to Gansu Province, China.
I thought you might like an update on the speech development of my tubby little boy.
Lala: Mik, say thank you.
Mikel: Mamam! (Taps chest which is the sign I invented for “thank you”)
Lala: Thaaaank Yooou…
Lala: Hey Mik! Can you say Lighting Mc Queen?
Mikel: (stares at his mother somewhat blankly)
Lala: Come on… say, Liiiightning…
Mikel: Tai tei
Lala: Liiight Niiing
Mikel: Taaai teiiii
Fortunately, there are more promising words…
Lala: Mik, that’s the aircon. Say, air con.
I know that the foliage in this part of the world have yet to turn orange and eventually disappear before you come out of your cave. But I thought I’d take a chance and send you my wish list this early on to avoid the rush hour. After all, I’ve been a good girl…
While those boots are cute, what I really really want for Christmas is that custom made fixed gear bike from Urban Outfitters built by Republic Bikes. I understand that I may not know how to ride fixed gear bikes (which I will spend time talking about in my next post), but I’m willing to learn. And how can you resist the bright colors of these custom bikes? So chic! Check it out.
Don’t you just love the bright aqua fixed gear chain and the mismatched colored side walls? Here is another variation.
So what do you say, Santa? I promise I will be nice rather than naughty and I promise not to fight my mom…heehee (love you, mom!).
This is all I want for Christmas. And if my promises are still not enough, I can trade in Rocio’s two front teeth…if she still has ‘em! : P
The purpose of my visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex was really to see the memorabilia of this man.
Yoko Ono worked with the museum to present a more political, more impassioned and a more human John Lennon living in the city he loved, Nu Yohk! He loved new York and he loved New Yorkers because he felt that like him, this city was always on the go, on a mission and this city’s people allowed him the space to live normally, to be himself. And so it was here that he got to live the way he wanted: as an artist, as an activist, as a family man.
This exhibit shows us never seen letters, video footage and art work of John Lennon. Here’s one of his drawings, Lady Liberty dressed as a man with her fist up in the air. Its supposed to be some symbol against racism.
Here is a draft of one of his songs, The Luck of the Irish.
SIDE BAR: A few years back The Beatles’ Apple Corps and Steve Job’s Apple Inc. settled a decades long trademark dispute. Just thought I’d share in case you were wondering about the Apple stationary used above.
Back to Lennon. Below are the list of songs John chose to include in the Double Fantasy Album – his last.
And check out his green card, which he finally got after numerous deportation orders as a result of his anti-war opinions. You can imagine the tons of mail the immigration department received asking them not to deport this rock & roll icon. Even the mayor of NYC wrote a letter! All these letters were on exhibit.
I was struck most by how he recognized his need to be more in touch with his feminine side. In one of his writings featured in the museum, he said that being in touch with this side made him feel more natural, more real. He also mentioned how his ego got in the way of appreciating Yoko Ono more. His iconic song, IMAGINE, for example, was really inspired by Yoko Ono’s book, Graprefuit. He admitted that it took him a while to give her all the credit for this song. After reading this, it struck me, here was a man who wasn’t afraid to admit his shortcomings. show his vulnerability and demonstrate his infinite capacity to love. Inspiring, don’t you think?
I shall end this post with a video I grabbed from CNN. It shows Yoko Ono giving a tour of the museum. Check out the video walls filled with footage of them as a family. Here you will see that decades after that horrendous night, she still grieves.
While I was moved by this exhibit, I actually expected more memorabilia, more stories, more inspiration. But with a man like John Lennon, perhaps more will never really be enough.
So what’s to do on a wet and gloomy Saturday in the city? Visit a museum, of course! I had always wanted to see the John Lennon: New York City Years exhibit in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in Soho. So that’s exactly what I set out to do.
What I thought would be a few hours of paying homage to John Lennon turned out to be MORE than a few hours paying homage to Rock & Roll as a whole. This post is the first of two parts. I’ll tell you all about the John Lennon exhibit in my next post.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was an awesome experience ! And well worth the $20 some dollars I was at first reluctant to pay.
As you enter the museum, you are ushered into a waiting room that is lined with the signatures of artists who have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.
Each of their music is played in the background and their names light up when their songs are played as you can see in the picture below.
After a few electrifying minutes, you are asked to move to another room that simulates a concert arena where you are treated to watch a video montage on the evolution of rock & roll. You are also shown very rare footage of various artists performing. Indeed it was a treat! We were all screaming as if we were watching these artists live! They get you so immersed in the experience that you literally forget where you are!
Now that they’ve gotten you all pumped up, they give you these Sennheiser stereo headphones to use as you begin the actual tour. The cool thing about these headphones is songs are wirelessly transmitted to you as you walk around the different galleries.
You are then led to a room filled with hi-def screens that show different artists and their roots and influences. Here you learn how U2 was very strongly influenced by all kinds of visual artists or how Eric Clapton’s unique sound was derived from blues artists like Muddy Waters.
As you pass each screen, the music transmitted to your headphones correspond to the artist you are watching. If you were in the picture above staring at the Rolling Stones screen, you would be listening to their music through your earphones. And as you move from artist to artist, the music changes. Cool, huh?
The next gallery features all kinds of memorabilia. From Elvis Presley…
…to The Beatles…
…to Bruce Springsteen…
Of course they had to dedicate a space to the legendary CBGB on Bowery Street, which unfortunately no longer exists.
Great stuff! This place is eye candy for all the rockers out there and a haven for trivia-crazed people like you, me, your Dad and Dinky Boy ! I highly recommend this to anyone who has a profound appreciation for music. After visiting this museum, you will realize how rock & roll is really the foundation of yesterday, today and I’m sure, tomorrow’s music. It’s timeless and universal. I guarantee you that you will walk out of there with a bounce to your step, as I did!
Of the almost three thousand people who died eight years ago today at the WTC, do you know who is considered to be first casualty?
It was this lovely looking man…
Doesn’t he look like your dream lolo? Or a saint with that back lighting?
Well, when I learned of his story, he was a saint in my eyes.
Fr. Mychal Judge was the first body to be pulled out of the rubble after the towers collapsed.
So what was a Franciscan Friar doing at the WTC? He was ministering to the firemen of course – as their beloved chaplain.
He was a native New Yawkah of Irish descent. His father died when he was young so as a kid he used to shine shoes near the St. Francis of Assisi church and from then on he pretty much knew what he wanted to do with his life.
His congregation adored him – for his charm and authentic spirituality. A good indication of this would be that he had an appointment book that was full at least a month in advance. He was always chasing the sirens of ambulances, police cars and yes, fire trucks – ready to bring people to God when they most needed it.
On 9/11 he rushed to what is now Ground Zero. He prayed over the injured and dying – and he entered the lobby of the South Tower where a make shift command post had been set up. There he administered last rites and gave strength to the rescue workers.
It was said of him, that he was always photographed doing whatever it was he was doing. And this turned out to be true till the very end. You might be familiar with this iconic image of that dreadful day…
The firefighters had such respect for this man of God, they took Fr. Mychal to the nearest church, lay his body by the altar and covered it with a sheet on which they lay his stole and his badge. They said a prayer for him and headed back to Ground Zero to do their work.
At 9:59am when the South Tower fell, Fr. Mychal left this world for the next where many believe he continued to minister – by welcoming the “newbies” to God’s kingdom.
He is my hero of the month for September.
(I can only wish to have known Fr. Mychal personally. Here you can read about him from someone who knew and loved him well).