Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sensuous Malakas at Maganda by Culture Philippines of Ontario 2010

Alvin Gutierrez and Krisilda Pagaduan as Malakas at Maganda

Culture Philippines of Ontario (CPO) together with Dr. Victoria Santiago & Associates presented Malakas at Maganda (The Philippine Legend) at Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. The show was CPO’s community offering to celebrate its 25th year anniversary.

The legend tells of how the thousand islands in the Philippine archipelago were formed out from the battle between the god of the sky and the goddess of the seas. The Northeast Wind “Amihan” interfered to stop the fierce battle by taking the form of a bird.

Malakas and Maganda is conceptualized by CPO’s director and choreographer, Ms. Eno Mescallado - Kalash. Eno has brought CPO to participate in international dance festivals such as, Mondial des Culture Festival in Drummondville, Quebec and International Moerberke Festival in Belgium. CPO is asking the community to attend the Philippine Pavilion during Carassauga’s festival of Cultures from May 28-30.

Kalash was lead dancer with the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company before coming to Canada. She joined CPO in 2002.

“Our 25th anniversary presentation will be an exciting dance and musical presentation that will showcase the birth of the Filipino people, from (their) inception to the present generation of Filipinos,” said event chair Luz del Rosario, before the show. And it was. The title of the show refers to the Filipino legend regarding the birth of its people. Malakas, or strong one, was the name of the man while Maganda, which translates to beautiful one, was the woman’s name.

According to del Rosario, together they possess the “two traits which make the Filipino unique among (their) Asian neighbours - their strength and resiliency despite a lot of adversity and trials which come their way, and their beauty, which is reflected in their surroundings.”

The show also gives Filipinos the opportunity to learn about their heritage, organizers say.

“The Filipino community has to know more about their country and its culture and to develop an appreciation of their people’s experiences, creativity and aspirations,” said CPO president Alex Coronel.

The show ended with dance numbers to the music of Michael Jackson’s two songs.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to Karen.

This is her sister Ann.

The Good Life

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens

If you ask a lot of people, you will probably get a consensus that the year 2009 was a dismal year. Everybody couldn’t wait for 2010 to arrive and hope that it will be a better year. Well, last November 27 brought a bit of good news from the United States when the start of the selling season showed positive signals. Sales were up slightly than last year of the same day. It is what they call Black Friday, so-called because they hope that sales on that day will signal that the end of the year will put them “in the black.” In accounting terms, it means they will end the year profitably instead of a loss.

In our case, we were not talking about sales at the end of the year but natural disasters. We probably lost count of the number of storms that battered the Philippines in the last three months of 2009. All we remember is Ondoy, which was the first storm that submerged the capital. And before the country even recovered from it, other storms arrived to add to the misery. Filipinos all over the world, including Toronto, mobilized to send help in every way they can. And Filipinos everywhere opened their hearts and their wallets. After all, we are not “poor” here in Toronto.

Fr. Regulo Imperial of Prince of Peace Parish in Scarborough, said our definition of poor is different from other countries. Here, even if we have airconditioning, heater, water and basic necessities, we consider ourselves poor. Maybe it’s because we can’t afford to go on vacation. Or maybe because we can’t afford to replace our 10-year old car. In other countries, poor is when they don’t even have a house. Poor is when they don’t even have food to eat. So, worrying about airconditioning or a vacation is not on their list of worries. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” I am sure they will not believe that we still have problems now that we’ve left the Philippines. But let us remember, we were like them once. We believed that our problems will be over once we are here and earning dollars. Compared to the rest of the world, including the poor people in the Philippines, our problems don’t really amount to a hill of beans.

Having said that our problems are not that big, there are times when it is us here in North America that needs help from our families back home. In the United States, some unemployed Fil-Ams are being helped by their relatives from the Philippines to tide them over these difficult times. It is probably not the first time it happened. I have heard a story of a reverse-remittance 10 years ago when I started this newspaper. The media is probably just reporting it now and connecting their story with the recession. When the person abroad recovers financially, he or she will be sending money back home again on a regular basis.

Bicolanos in Toronto breathe a sigh of relief that Mayon volcano did not blow up as expected. When the new year kicked in, Mayon volcano simmered down and evacuees returned to their homes. Last December 19, the Bicol Canada association, led by Rafael Nebres already anticipated a busy start for 2010 for Bicolanos in Toronto in anticipation of the Mayon volcano eruption. Now, even as Mayon simmered down, Albay Governor Joey Salceda warned villagers returning to their farms on the foothills of Mayon to remain wary of lava flows or heavy rains that could dislodge volcanic debris from the slopes. In August 2006, the eruption caused no immediate deaths but the following December, a passing typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from the mountain’s slopes that left 1,000 people dead.

Nevertheless, the storms put a damper on the spirit of Christmas 2009 and was celebrated on a sombre note in the Philippines. People’s houses are still submerged three months after storm Ondoy. Then, add the Mayon volcano becoming active at Chrismastime and you understand why people were not as festive as before.

It is now March and big organizations are already gearing up for a busy summer. FCT, PIDC, Kalayaan, Making Waves will be having their events. Add to that is the new event being planned a company called JRem.

In May, Philippine elections will be held. We can only pray and hope that whoever gets elected will run the country honestly, efficiently and just.

Naku Ha!


A Filipino couple killed a Filipina househelp in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, a rumour spread that the couple were scheduled to be beheaded and asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to assist the couple. WHAT! I wonder who started that rumour, if one really existed. DFA said Saudi is still finalizing the murder charge. I am just wondering why Migrante wants to fight on behalf of a killer couple. It never stopped Migrante from finding suspects guilty before being proven guilty if a Filipino was the victim and the suspects were non-Filipinos. So, why fight for the suspects in this case just because they are also Filipinos? If Saudi sentences them to life imprisonment, and Saudi agrees that they can spend their sentence in the Philippines, is Migrante going to celebrate victory for fighting for the life of a murdering couple just because they were Filipinos? Hmmm...Isn't Migrante an organization that works to protect the right of Filipino workers abroad? When did they include murderers?


In another entry to his facebook, CNN Hero Efren Penaflorida wrote this about Angel Locsin - "For more than five years I have been praying FOR her. This year I am now praying WITH her! It is worth all the wait. TRULABW8S! [True love waits!] Thank you Lord!!!! ;)" Stay away from this guy angel. If he did not post this messages in his facebook, I would advise Angel to be his girlfriend even for just two months. Then, after two months, and he already got into your pants, break up with him. Based on my computations, two months is equal to 8 weeks. If you two had sex once a week, that would have been a minimum of 8 sex sessions for the duration of the relationship. Masaya na siya. After dating you and you two break up, he becomes attractive to other women. Your reputation gets a boost because you also date a fellow philanthropist, not just hunks and rich sons of politicians. However, because of Efren's entries in his facebook, I will advise you to hide from him and or avoid him at all costs. He sounds like a stalker. You are one cabinet away from a hidden camera. Baka ma-Hayden-cam ka, sige ka. By the way, Angel already told Efren that she just wants to be friends because she did not want her showbiz world to ruin the reputation of our CNN Hero. In other words, just friends. Sa madaling salita, binasted na kaagad ni Angel.


They recently executed a British national who smuggled 4kg of heroin. Britain, the European Union and family and friends says he suffers from bipolar disorder. The anti-death-penalty organization Reprieve said it had medical evidence that Shaikh believed he was going to China in 2007 to record a hit single that would usher in world peace. It said he was duped into carrying a suitcase packed with heroin on a flight from Tajikistan to Urumqi. Now I am confused. Uh...what! Shouldnít his family doctor have said something publicly? Is he a singer? How do you record a ìhit singleî that ushers world peace? How do they know it will be a hit? Critics says that with China's growing economic power, it is ignoring world criticism. I believe China already had the death penalty long before it became an economic powerhouse. And with itís population acquiring wealth at a fast pace, itís drug problem will only increase. Just look at the United States. By the way, did you notice that the US did not get involved in trying to stop the execution? This will not be the last execution in China.


Senator Bong Revilla influencing the medical body for the suspension of Hayden Kho's medical license is over-reaction. Kho did not molest Halili in his medical clinic. They agreed to meet in another location and had consensual sex. Kho should have been charged with breach of trust. If he really wants to fight for women, why doesn't he go after rapists who videotape their crimes, with their faces clearly visible in the act with their victim/s and then posting it on the internet. It is an easy job for Revilla. These criminals already provided the evidence.


I was watching the news about a couple and their baby who followed their GPS when it said that they can cut 40 miles if they used a back road. They ended up stuck in the snow in their SUV for 12 hours and they canít get a cell signal. If they decided to use a back road, couldnít they tell before they went further that the road was unplowed? Or did they think that their SUV is the solution to all snow problems? If I saw that a back road had more snow than the highway, Iíd turn around before going further and go back to the highway. I don't care about what the GPS is saying. After all, the GPS cannot see what I am seeing.


Four councilors from Balete Batangas have been suspended for bribery. I am shocked! Are they sure? I am in disbelief. I mean, of the thousands of councilors in the Philippines, they only caught 4 for bribery. Well, I guess, if they caught them all, that's thousands more who will be suspended. Those thousands will potentially add to the number of thieves on the streets that the police will have to deal with. After all, how will they earn money? Ehe. Susamaryosep. Ano ba itong nasabi ko? San Lazaro de Santa Ana racetrack. Ehe again.


I will be honest. What few pages this newspaper (Little Manila Confidential) has, I put photos of my advertisers first sa mga events. They pay for my bread and butter. It is annoying when you are arranging a photo-op with VIP's and your advertisers, may susulpot na strangers sa picture-taking ninyo. I repeat - STRANGERS, meaning, I don't know you. It is OK if they are on the side- madaling tanggalin. Mahirap kapag nasa gitna sila. Mahirap i-photoshop. The more people there are in the picture, the lesser the size of the the faces become. If it was up to me, I'd tell the photo-op-stranger-crashers to get out of the picture. But the problem may arise if they claim they are friends with one of my advertisers. Let me be clear. I am only referring to arranged photo-ops - not the ones where I take candid photos na nandiyan na lahat.


When you join a new publication as a columnist and you have a business, it is expected that your business will have an ad in the paper. But I have seen a newspaper where a businessman was one of the columnists but his business did not have an ad in the paper, not even 1/8 size. Bakit kaya?


Enrile claimed Villar tried to bribe him. He turned it down. Now, Enrile is telling Villar that "not everyone can be bought." Baka may continuation iyong sentence na iyon. Maybe, the continuation is "for that price. Taasan mo pa." Ehe, susmaryosep. This is shocking. Imagine this - "Enrile" and the phrase "not everyone can be bought" in one sentence. Shocking, hindi po ba? By the way, why is he revealing this now when the supposed offer happened sometime last year. I love it when people making accusations are vague about time and date. The conversation daw happened at a Japanese restaurant in Makati. Next thing you know, Enrile will be saying Villar paid cash. Wala nga namang record of when and where they were there.


A friend of mine said that marriage should have an expiration date. Then, I read an article on the net in a Filipino newspaper where a woman overheard a group of men talk about the same thing. Well, the upside of a marriage with expiration is that if the kids are asked about their parents that "they did not renew their contract," instead of saying that they got divorced. Interesting...hmmm...If Warren Beatty hears this, he will be outside the kulambo. Warren Beatty used to believe that when a woman reaches 40, he should be able to exchange them for two twenty's.


When talking about Sarah Gernimo's lovelife, she and her family make it sound as if they are talking of arranged marriage like in other cultures. Kulang na lang sabihin ng magulang ng mga lalaki, "I will give you three cows for your daughter." Ehe ano ba ito? Boyfriend lang ang pinagu-usapan, hindi pa po kasal. And Sarah is saying that she will have her first boyfriend at 25. At that age, she is already an old maid. We are already in the 21st century. Ako na lang ang i-boyfirend niya kasi iyang bulaklak niya, tuyo na naman. Kahit diligin mo, makunat na. Baka ang inaalala ng mga magulang niya, mawala ang cash cow nila.


When I told Dr. Solon Guzman I cannot shake his hands because because I might infect him because I have diarrhea, he dismissed with "Sanay na kami diyan." He told me he and his wife Dr. Josephine were just in the Philipppines and she also suffered from it caused by iced tea from a restaurant. Dr. Vicky Santiago then told them of a friend who went home with her also to the Philippines and she told it nonchalantly, "E di ayon, dalawampung beses bumalik hanggang sa mawala." Those were the good old days when you don't expect a pill to cure your medical problem in a split second. Nowadays, we expect Imodium to cure it in a split of a second. Sadly, sometimes, even the best medicine take time to take effect. Kung minsan, hindi ko alam kung nagwo-work. Kapag nawala, you assume the medicine did it's job.