Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MARITIME PIRACY AND ECONOMIC CHAOS IN OLD MANILA


A
ccording to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center, there has been an alarming surge in pirate attacks worldwide. Africa remains the world's top piracy hotspot, with 24 reported attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria this year.

Recently, Somali pirates seized the cargo ship Faina off the coast of Somalia on Thursday as it headed to Kenya. The Ukrainian-operated ship
is carrying ordnance ordered by the Kenyan government, which ncludes 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks and a substantial amount of ammunition and spare parts.

T
he pirates are demanding a $20 million ransom to release the Faina and its crew. Although the Kenyan government stands firm in its policy not to negotiate with pirates or terrorists, what's on board deeply concerns five nations — Ukraine, Somalia, Russia, the United States and Britain and have been sharing information to try to secure the swift release of the ship and its 21-member crew.

Meanwhile, in America, in its attempt to thwart a shattering financial crisis with major global repercussion, the Bush administration and congressional leaders agreed on a deal to authorize the biggest banking rescue in U.S. history
the $700 billion bail out program.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at its core is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's concept of buying impaired mortgage-related assets from financial firms
giving them cash to replace the toxic debts that have put them in danger or dissuaded them from lending. The plan is to help the firms restore their capital bases as well as the trust that enables them to borrow and lend at reasonable terms. Without this, officials worry that the credit markets, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, would grind to a halt.

An extraordinary week of talks unfolded after Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, went to Congress 10 days ago with ominous warnings about a full-blown economic meltdown if lawmakers did not act quickly to infuse huge amounts of government money into a financial sector buckling under the weight of toxic debt.

These two crises
maritime piracy and economic turmoil in one fell swoop, at one point during the 16th century, similarly roiled in and shocked Manila.

In the early morning of November 4, 1587, in the bay of Augua Segura or Puerto Seguro, now named San Jose del Cabo somewhere in the tip of Baja California, the English pirates led by Thomas Cavendish sighted the galleon ship Santa Ana,
on her way to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Lower California to make a landfall and check her course prior to continuing on to Acapulco.

Cavendish's ships, the Desire and Content gave chase with all sail. It was afternoon when they came up broadside with the Santa Ana
— tagged as the "great rich ship" under the command of Tomas de Alzola. It left the port of Cavite the last week of June, some four-and-a-half months earlier.

The English ships attacked the Santa Ana with full force, killing and maiming many of its men who fought valiantly and refused to surrender. After about six hours of intense resistance and having suffered heavy loses
— with the hull of Santa Ana also sustaining a canon blast at the waterline Captain Tomas de Alzola finally hung out a flag of surrender.

In spite of the the disparity in size of the ships
— the Santa Ana had a tonnage of 700, while the Desire and the Content were of 120 and 60 tons, respectively — the odds of the battle was overwhelmingly in favor of the British. The Santa Ana lacked the necessary artillery and fire power. Cavendish's Desire alone mounted eighteen guns, while the Content had ten.

In a report to the king from Manila, Governor de Vera wrote that the capture of the Santa Ana came as a surprise since the galleon routes were kept a secret and no other but Spanish ships had been sighted on the these galleon routes for years.

Cavendish and his men were all praise, however, for the courage of Captain Alzola and his crew, which included Filipinos, for fighting up to the end.

The Santa Ana carried 122,000 pieces of gold and a cargo of fine pearls, silks, satins, damasks, musks, and other merchandise of the East Indies, as well as ample supply of all kinds of foods and wines. The royal treasurer in Manila provided a more detailed report: the Santa Ana carried 2,300 marks of gold, equivalent to 84.2 pounds avoirdupois; not to mention a large amount of gold that had not been registered. The total sale value of the Santa Ana's cargo in Mexico would have been over two million pesos, which represented an original investment in Manila of more than one million pesos.

The Spaniards in Manila were further infuriated upon fully realizing the extent of Cavendish's depredation, which consequently, created
a severe economic meltdown in Manila. Bankruptcy, poverty and severe despondency were experienced by many members of the city's trading community, including a substantial number of inhabitants and soldiers.

Besides the daring piracy that Cavendish conducted in the waters considered by the Spanish as the exclusive domain of their king, it was his youth (
barely in his twenties) along with an inferior sea vessel manned no more than fifty men who trespassed their domain and got away with it that ultimately left the Spaniards in Manila feeling unbearably weak and inadequate.

During the 250 years of the galleon trade, the sea claimed dozens of ships, thousands of men and many millions in treasures. As the richest ships in all the oceans, the galleons were the most coveted prize of pirates and privateers. Four were taken by the English
— the Santa Ana in 1587, the Encarnacion in 1709, the Covadonga in 1743, and the Santisima Trinidad (the largest ship in her time) in 1762.

The first to fall was the Santa Ana, a prize catch that went to the Englishman Thomas Cavendish. His brazen act of maritime piracy eventually precipitated an economic turmoil that startled the Spanish regime in old Manila.




Related link:

The Filipino Seamanship


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MAMANG MANDARAGAT
© 2008 Señor Enrique

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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:13 AM | 6 comments


Monday, September 29, 2008

ON WRITING AND BLOGGING


"Quiapo deserves a thorough visit from every writer worth his or her salt. I'd begin with a jeepney ride (no cars or taxis, please) from Quezon City of Makati, getting off at Quiapo Church (where you might get your fortune told or have someone pray on your behalf, for a small fee), then walking to Avenida Rizal via R. Hidalgo, Carriedo, or Raon then on to Plaza Sta. Cruz, Escolta, and Chinatown, emerging on C. M. Recto (Azcarraga, when I first set foot on it). Spend some time at Arranque Market, a stationary caravan featuring plump exotic chickens, riotous parakeets, and flea-bitten Persian kittens (and, father up the street, everyone's stolen cell phone, typically if understandably sold without their chargers). Somewhare along the way, eat - preferably in some nondescript but jumpacked hole-in-the-wall with ceiling fans to cool the hototay.

As you walk around, practice sizing up situations and asking yourself 'Where's the story?' or 'What's the story here?' At worst, you'll end up with a bag of details, a literary pack rat's delight, that you can dip into on those still, dry days. At best, you'll come up with a story suggested by the scene at hand."


excerpt from "Writer's Junk"
essay by Butch Dalisay




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Source:

THE KNOWING IS IN THE WRITING
Notes on the Pratice of Fiction
The University of the Philippines Press
© 2006 Joey Y. Dalisay, Jr.


Related link:

Butch Dalisay and Writing Tips - Touched by an Angel




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posted by Señor Enrique at 1:07 AM | 16 comments


Sunday, September 28, 2008

THE FOUNDATION AND GRANT WRITING


"We started our foundation because we believe we have a
real opportunity to
help advance equity around the world to
help make sure that, no matter
where a person is born, he or
she has the chance to live a healthy, productive life."

- Melinda Gates



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000 and doubled in size by Warren Buffett in 2006.

The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty, and, in the United States, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.

The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. Other principal officers include Co-Chair William H. Gates, Sr. and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Raikes. It has an endowment of US$38.7 billion as of December 31, 2007.

The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in the philanthrocapitalism revolution in global philanthropy.

Read more here.



The Grant Writing Workshop by John Silva


My revamped grant writing workshop fits with the new demands of funders influenced by the Gates Foundation.

Funders today want proposals that are brief, that can tell a story, that avoids silly development language (like empowerment) and can convince funders that your goal is to be part of the elimination of the problem. The last point is important. With the Gates Foundation and other large foundations now giving larger amounts and on a multi-year basis, they’d like to see more proposals that not just alleviate or lessen the problem. They’re talking eradication, elimination and making the problem history.

Are you equipped to talk in that language? Given the sort of development orientation we’ve had and not having been challenged to write a proposal to eradicate a problem, we are at a disadvantage.

Well, with thirty years of grant writing experience and having been with the best of NGO’s and foundations in the world, I’ll show you how to write a powerful and winning proposal that will be seriously considered for a grant.

I’m not into theory. I’m teaching three decades of working experience with the likes of Oxfam America, the Ford Foundation, the American Cancer Society and so many others. I wrote proposals and got them funded.

Read more here.



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THE GATE
© 2008 Señor Enrique

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posted by Señor Enrique at 12:57 AM | 0 comments


Saturday, September 27, 2008

THE SUDDENLY BARREN PLAZA ROMA


Mayor Alfredo S. Lim was astonished and alarmed when he passed by Intramuros to see the trees which included six narra and two mahogany trees at the IA-regulated Plaza Roma opposite Manila Cathedral had been cut.

How could Mrs. Bambi Harper, the Intramuros Administration chief, do such a thing? -- he must have thought. Mrs. Harper was not answering her cell phone so the mayor called the police station nearest to the scene of this environmental chainsaw massacre.

It was later discovered that Mrs. Harper was planning to plant about 22 fire trees at the plaza so she had
ten narra and three mahogany trees – all endangered species, as well as 17 fruit bearing trees (neem, mango, langka and atis) cut and transferred elsewhere. However, her failure to announce her intention to do some tree-cutting astounded and irked many powers that be.

Executive director Corazon Davis of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s National Capital Region office wasted no time to file charges against Mrs. Harper -- for violation of Presidential Decree 953, Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Republic Act 9175 -- before the Office of the Ombudsman.

PD 953 penalizes the unauthorized cutting, destruction, damage and injury of trees, plants and vegetation. RA 9175, on the other hand, regulates the ownership, possession, sale and use of chainsaws. RA 3019, well, astounded and irked many of Mrs. Harper's allies.

However, Mayor Lim, a lawyer, read the legal ramifications of this environmental misdeed correctly and cleared Mrs. Harper, ordering City Hall’s legal department to charge instead the contractor, Fer­nando Sim­borio of the Batangas based Green Philippine Nursery Plant, with five counts of violation of PD 953.

Rene Martel, in a Manila Times opinion column claims, "We didn’t hear any verbal thundering from from Davis when DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, in his previous role as Mayor of Manila, ordered (despite an uproar by the caring environmental community) well over two hundred trees to be chopped down at the two historic sites of Mehan Garden and Arroceros Forest Park. And ironically, Harper’s voice was one of the loudest to rail against Atienza at that time."

Be that as it may, poor Mr. Simborio the contractor. He was, after all, simply following what he was ordered and paid to do.

View photo of the shady Plaza Roma here
before its ten-decade old trees were chainsawed.



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THE BARREN PLAZA
© 2008 Señor Enrique

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posted by Señor Enrique at 2:32 AM | 28 comments


Friday, September 26, 2008

ON DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING



Just sitting there doing nothing. And enjoying every minute of it without feeling an iota of guilt about it, either. I think we ought to do just that once in a while as a relief from life's daily grind.

But then again, "doing nothing is very hard to do because you never know when you're finished," said the actor Leslie Nielsen.

On the other hand, according to Jack Haas, a mystic traveler, "Doing is a function of the body. Being is a function of the soul. The body is always doing something. Every minute of every day it's up to something. It never stops, it never rests, it's constantly doing something. It's either doing what it's doing at the behest of the soul - or in spite of the soul."





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SITTING ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY
© 2008 Señor Enrique

Aperture: F16
Shutter: 10/500 sec
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ISO: 400



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Thank you!


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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:02 AM | 18 comments


Thursday, September 25, 2008

NATIONAL ARTIST: LEANDRO LOCSIN


He is the only Filipino architect who early in his career had began receiving worldwide recognition yet he is the only Filipino architect of great importance without any foreign training; strictly a home grown architect, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas.

However, in his visit to the United States, he met some of his influences, Paul Rudolph and Eero Saarinen. It was then he realized to use concrete for his buildings which was relatively cheap in the Philippines and easy to form. His buildings look very modern that many asked if his works were of Filipino architecture.

American writer Mitchell B. Rouda's essay in "Contemporary Architects" answers the question.

"Locsin's architecture begins with sincere introspection , both of himself and his nation. He is very attuned to Filipino living patterns, and has avidly studied vernacular Filipino building. He frequently incorporates common vernacular spatial qualities into his designs.

His nation's tropical climate, for example, has always exerted considerable influence on architecture produced there, and Locsin responds to the weather in much the same way as his ancestors. Large open spaces and few ceiling to floor partitions, frequent use of lattices and other partial partitions, and the expression of the roof as the dominant shape, are all qualities of Locsin's work that have been adopted from the vernacular. An exuberant sense of ornament, detail and architectural intent, contrasted against great simplicity is another characteristic that marks Locsin's buildings, and has been drawn from his own culture."

Leandro V. Locsin was born on Aug 15, 1928 in Silay City, Negros Occidental. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Don Leandro Locsin y de la Rama, who was the first elected governor of the province under the American regime.

The first known Locsin came to Molo, Iloilo from China in the middle of the 18th century. He married a local woman who gave birth to four sons and a daughter. Three of the four sons became priests, and the only son who married had 14 children.
The Locsins, though originally from Molo, eventually played a significant role in building up Silay.

About the middle of the 19th century, a Fr. Eusebio Locsin was appointed parish priest of Silay. Awed by its abundance of fertile land, he invited his relatives in Molo to settle in Silay. Gregorio Locsin, a great grandson of the first Locsin in Molo, came to Silay. He had 13 children, the eldest of whom, Leandro, later became governor.

Silay was the seat of the 1896 Revolution in Negros, and Don Leandro's pharmacy was the meeting place of the leaders. Contributions to the revolutionary fund were coded as pharmacy sales.

Don Leandro was a man of culture with a large library and an impressive collection of recordings of classical music. Locsin who lived with his grandparents since he was four months old, hence developed a love for music. In this setting, Locsin's appreciation for art and music flourished.

He later studied at the De La Salle Brothers in 1935 before returning to Negros due to the Second World War. He returned to Manila to study Pre-Law, before shifting to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Music at the University of Santo Tomas. Although he was a talented pianist, he later shifted again to Architecture, just a year before graduating.

While waiting for the results of the government board examination after having graduated from UST in 1953, Locsin designed ballet sets for Ricardo Cassel. For a local production of of George Gershwin's "Lady Be Good," he designed the sets and also worked backstage. These experiences proved helpful when years later he was commissioned by Imelda Marcos to design the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Locsin's architectural career spanned 39 years. His largest single work is the Istana Nurul Iman, the palace of the Sultan of Brunei, which has a floor area of 2.2 million square feet. The CCP Complex itself is a virtual Locsin Complex with all five buildings designed by him -- the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Philippine International Convention Center, Philcite and The Westin Hotel (now Sofitel).

Locsin was married to Cecilia Yulo, to which he had two children, one of whom is also an architect. On November 15, 1994, at the age of 66, he passed away, the victim of a stroke.

For more on Locsin's works, awards and citations, click here.


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Additional source:
A Man of Vast Culture by Rodrigo D. Perez III
THE NATIONAL ARTISTS OF THE PHILIPPPINES
Cultural Center of the Philippines
National Commission for the Culture and the Arts
Anvil Publishing




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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:46 AM | 22 comments


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

THE BOUNTEOUS THIRD



"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning."

-
Louis L'Amour


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Today marks the third anniversary of
Wish You Were Here by Señor Enrique.
A new year awaits!



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AFTER THE RAIN
© 2008 Señor Enrique

Focal Length: 39mm

Shutter Speed: 1.4 sec
Aperture: F/11
ISO: 200




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posted by Señor Enrique at 2:22 PM | 28 comments


Monday, September 22, 2008

FIESTA SA BLOGOLANDIA


Congratulations
to all the winners of the
2008 Philippine Blog Awards!



And thank you for the
3
Best Single Post Awards!


Me and Tia Inez



Manila's Movie Theaters



Ang Tibay Naman





Of most importance: many thanks to all of you
my friends and readers
for inspiring me each and every day.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat!




I dedicate these three 2008 PBA trophies
to the memory of my brother Taba.




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posted by Señor Enrique at 5:46 AM | 76 comments


Sunday, September 21, 2008

HOUSE BEAUTIFUL


No, this is not the house of my childhood years. Ours was not grand or opulent, though the memory of which I will treasure dearly.

However, in retrospect, the one thing I wish we had in our house back then was subdued or recessed lighting as in this photograph of the Legardas' home in San Miguel, Manila. The ceiling lights that my father favored cast functional illumination, indeed, but fluorescent lighting just doesn't exude warmth.

One of the jobs I had during my early years in New York was as a stock clerk at W & J Sloane's Lamp Department
wherein I learned the art of interior lighting. W & J Sloane was then the premiere furniture store in America that catered to the wealthy. Its window displays alone incited much excitement especially during October's furniture industry market week.

Because of the wonderful mix of co-workers who made it feel like one big family, this store became a second home to me, so to speak, for almost four years. The bunch of fellow students who were also working there made it even more fun; one was Billy, an Irish kid from the Bronx who was our department's technician. A few months prior to his graduation from the New York School of Visual Arts, he taught me the craft of assembling and wiring those crystal chandeliers from Italy and Chekoslovakia. When he quit, I took over his position.

At least two days of the week I was over at the customers' apartments assembling chandeliers. Their Manhattan apartments -- from Park Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East End Avenue to Central Park West --
were a sight to behold. These were the celebrated abodes of Manhattan's old money and the noveau riche (mostly Wall Street's star traders). For the most part, it was like walking into a movie set or right into the pages of Architectural Digest.

One memorable experience was when I had to assemble two humongous crystal chandeliers at this four-level penthouse apartment of El Dorado's north tower on Central Park West. I was there for almost five days. The lady of the house was a handsome blonde woman of no more than forty who resembled Kim Basinger. She was a kind lady who would chat with me for a couple of minutes before she went out around eleven. And just before stepping out, I would always hear her asking the housekeeper to prepare a nice lunch for me, which I would enjoy at the terrace overlooking Central Park.

On the day I had completely finished the job, after calling the store's electricians to let them know that the chandeliers were ready to be installed, I decided to walk out the terrace to enjoy the spectacular view of Central Park for the final time -- from above this penthouse apartment on the 30th floor.

I was startled from my entranced state when the lady of the house walked out to the terrace to join me, holding two glasses of what appeared to be orange juice; turned out it was screw driver. Within a few minutes, I was just as animated as she -- pointing towards the tennis courts inside Central Park where my friends and I played, including the spot we called Frisbee Hill. She, on the other hand, told me about Fredrick Law Olmstead, the man who designed Central Park.

"You must see the park when lit at night'" she said. "Ah, that would be a treat, indeed" I replied. And before I knew it, I found myself embarrassingly declining her offer to stay for dinner. But the second glass of screw driver weakened my resistance; hence, the lady of the house, the housekeeper and I relished a light dinner of tossed salad and pasta out in the terrace, while enjoying the view of Central Park after dark. It was enchanting.

As I was leaving the apartment, she handed me a check which I refused. But she jolted me with a remark, "Young man, in life, you must learn to appreciate and accept praises that come your way." With that I accepted the check as I bid her and the housekeeper a fond farewell. The check was for a hundred dollars!

By the way, the El Dorado at 300 Central Park West is an Art Deco-style luxury cooperative apartment building, which overlooks the Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
It has been associated with entertainment figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Faye Dunaway, Groucho Marx, Tuesday Weld, Bono and Michael J. Fox, who have had apartments there. In 2007, Moby, the singer, put his penthouse in the south tower on the market with a price of about $7.5 million.

Barbra Streisand, Jerry Seinfeld and Calvin Klein also owned apartments in the nearby buildings along Central Park West.

And while working at W & J Sloane's Lamp Department, I had met in person Frank Sinatra, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, Beverly Sills, Neil Simon, Jerry Orbach, Truman Capote, and many other members of New York glitterati. Greta Garbo (otherwise known as the the "I vant to be alone" actress of the silent film era) also used to walk in to browse around but never bought anything. We left her alone.

The W & J Sloane Corporation, which operated a chain of 33 furniture stores in eight states, filed for bankruptcy in September of 1985; blaming over-expansion for its cash problems. The flagship store
building on Fifth Avenue and 38th Street where I worked has been converted to a commercial and luxury residential building.


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LEGARDA MANSION
San Miguel, Manila

Focal Length: 18 mm
Shutter Speed: 1/13 sec
Aperture: F/3.5
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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:22 AM | 14 comments


Saturday, September 20, 2008

ON WAR GAMES AND MAKING MOVIES


Playing war games as a kid, the Japanese troops were the enemy of choice due to the glut of films and TV shows that romanticized World War II at that time. Cowboys and Indians were played sometimes, but Filipino guerillas versus the Japanese troops proved more popular among the neighborhood kids.

These games, however, were more fun when played in Subic because of my aunt's backyard with hills and mountains as backdrop. And most of all, there was the kamalig that we'd use as the Japanese garrison, which was to be invaded at all costs. The ruckus we'd make incensed my aunt and terrified her flock of geese and the chickens in the poultry that we'd get occasionally banned from playing out in her backyard.

Anyway, one morning in Subic for the weekend with my father, an uncle picked us up in his black Ford sedan that looked like an oversized Volkswagen beetle. Actually, I didn't want to go because I'd rather stay with an older cousin who was making a slingshot for me. But then my uncle said something that made me changed my mind: "We're going to where they're shooting a war movie." And suddenly, I forgot all about the slingshot.

This uncle owned some properties in Subic that had become popular to the location scouts of local and foreign movie production studios, including "Apocalypse Now." Once, he took me and my cousins to where Charito Solis had just finished doing an attempted rape scene with Max Alvarado or was it Bino Garcia? Perhaps, Martin Marfil. Anyway, her clothes were torn and frayed, while her face and entire body showed some bruises. She looked dirty as if dragged all over the rice field, but they were just make up. She smelled so nice; the mesmerizing scent lingered long after she'd passed us by. Whatever it was, it smelled better than the perfume worn by my eldest sister Fraulein and her friends. I didn't know the name of that movie. Neither did I see it in the theater.

However, on this particular Saturday, it was a more special experience, for I got to meet the film's stars, most especially its enchanting leading lady. For that alone, I was not to forget its title:
"No Man Is An Island."

When we arrived, the entire cast was lounging around waiting for the camera and lights to be positioned just right. The cast looked at us as we approached the set and the director cordially greeted my uncle. He then introduced us to Barbara Perez and Jeffrey Hunter.

We didn't stay too long because they eventually resumed shooting. The entire ambience -- the set and all those actors in their guerilla outfits and Japanese army uniforms -- were to become the characters and images of my imagination whenever playing war games with my friends or with my toy soldiers.

My eldest sister Fraulein and her friends were most impressed that I got to meet Barbara Perez in person, while my brothers were somewhat indifferent. I guess, they were jealous for not having the chance to meet her. Later on as a teenager, after seeing Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark," I walked out of Avenue Theater thinking she reminded me of Barbara Perez who was just as alluring a movie star as she.

The Eraserheads'
might have immortalized Paraluman in their "Huling El Bimbo", or at least, introduced her to their young fans (the children of Pinoy baby boomers), but nowadays I wonder if many people remember Barbara Perez.

Incidentally, Simon of Video48 had posted a wonderful article on Barbara Perez and the offers of Hollywood that she refused, including some tidbits on the movie "No Man Is An Island. Click here to enjoy it.






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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:59 AM | 8 comments


Friday, September 19, 2008

ON CANDLE BURNING


As I see it, lighting a candle breathes life to unfulfilled wishes and to honor the memory of loved ones long gone whose guidance we seek. But most important, I light a candle to acknowledge oneness with the universe and connection with all living things.

In Manila, the Quiapo Church,
home to the famed Black Nazarene, lighting a candle is not allowed inside or its immediate premises. However, the candle vendors out in the plaza provide a space on their portable stalls for you to burn them.

Binondo Church, also
known as Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo, has a section in the lobby for candle lighting and inside its adoration chapel located at the back; the entrance is right on Ongpin Street.

Although not religious in nature, I find visiting a church -- to take the load of my feet and meditate even for a few minutes, as well as light a candle or two -- a uniquely soothing experience.



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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:04 AM | 21 comments


Thursday, September 18, 2008

GIRL STANDS TALL


"We tripped the light and danced together to the moon."
- David Gates




Related links:

Of Lyrics and Divas - The Warped Zone

The 20 Worst Lyrics Ever - Spinner

Songwriting 101


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GIRL STANDS TALL
Aperture: F8
Shutter: 10/130 sec
Focal Length: 60mm
ISO: 100
Flash: No




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posted by Señor Enrique at 2:47 AM | 24 comments


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DIVINER'S SAGE


Ever since I had posted Nganga about a month ago, the mere sight of herbal vendors of Quiapo nowadays prompts a chuckle. The witty, if not outright hilarious, comments from fellow bloggers made it one of the funniest entries I had posted to date.

I was in Quiapo the other day to buy makabuhay twigs for my mother. She finds them an effective cure against itchy skin rashes. Makabuhay are the coiled twigs at the left side of the above photo; they cost about ten pesos each. She would have them cut into small pieces, crushed, and then gently rubbed against the affected area.

According to philippineherbs.com, makabuhay (menispermum crispum)
contains a bitter principle, colombine, traces of an alkaloid, and a glucoside, berberine. It is known as a febrifuge (medicine used to reduce fever) and is said to have anti-malaria properties. Its leaves are mostly used for certain ailments such as stomach trouble, indigestion, diarrhea, and ulcers. However, it is not for pregnant women, because it can cause abortions. Furthermore, recent studies in the Philippines have found it useful as an insecticide for rice crops. Found throughout the Philippines, the makabuhay vine is considered by the Filipinos and Malay in general as a universal medicine. The name in Tagalog means "to give life."

While paying for my purchase, I was tempted to ask Manang (my herbal vendor suki in Quiapo) if by chance she had any talampunay in stock. But then again I didn't because I had already asked her once before; the first time proved funny, but a second time might be annoying. As I now know, thanks to Noypetes, talampunay leaves and seeds are smoked like cigarettes to assuage asthmatic conditions; however, its sale has been banned due to its narcotic and antispasmodic properties.

However, as I bid Manang a fond adieu, what came to mind was this obscure hallucinogenic herb from Mexico, salvia divinorum. It's once again making the international news circuit as of late. In the United States, this herb remains legal, trendy and not thoroughly studied. I didn't bother asking Manang if she has any in stock, though I wonder if it does exist in the country, especially with the special relationship that Manila enjoys with Mexico.

Until a decade ago,
this mind-altering member of the mint family, or "diviner's sage" as some call it, was largely limited to those seeking revelation under the tutelage of Mazatec shamans in its native Oaxaca, Mexico. Today, it is widely available for lawful sale in the United States -- online and in head shops.

American youths have started favoring salvia over the older Americans' marijuana. In fact, more than 5,000 YouTube videos have been uploaded which depict these youths' thrill-seeking journeys into various altered states of silliness. Some of these videos are archived in this site.

The federal government's study on drug use published this year astonished many: some 1.8 million people had experimented with salvia, including 750,000 in the previous year. Among males 18 to 25, where consumption is heaviest, nearly 3 percent reported using salvia in the previous year, making it twice as prevalent as LSD and nearly as popular as Ecstasy. At college campuses, on the other hand, recent studies on both coasts have yielded estimates as high as 7 percent.

The
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was commissioned by the federal government to develop the first urinalysis for salvia and is now testing 50 samples a month ever since the herb’s presence on military ships and bases has been discovered, which prompted enough concern about readiness.

The surge in popularity of this hallucinogen amongst thrill-seeking Americans may also result to a hastened demise, and worse, undermine the promising research into its possible medical uses as what happened to marijuana.

Salvia is believed by some pharmacologists to open new frontiers for the treatment of addiction, depression and pain; however, criminalization of which would certainly make it difficult to obtain and store the plant, and gain appropriate government permission for tests on human subjects.

As for the YouTube videos, they are now becoming Exhibit A in state-by-state legislative efforts to regulate salvia. This year, in Florida, possession or sale of salvia is now a felony punishable by 15 years in prison. California took a gentler approach by making it a misdemeanor to sell or distribute to minors.




Related link:

Nganga





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posted by Señor Enrique at 5:18 AM | 39 comments


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SWEETENED AND STIRRED


Unlike many photobloggers who post their choiced works accompanied with only minimal technical details and/or a short blurb about the subject and nature of the locale, I am one usually inspired to post images -- including the ordinary and seemingly mundane -- with a short story, news article, work of fiction, evocative quote by a popular figure, or in this particular case, an inaugural address by President Joseph Ejercito Estrada delivered at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 1998.

In the above photograph of my suki candy vendor on Avenida, it was the abundance of sweet candies with their colorful wrappers that brought to mind Erap's speech, which according to
Manolo Quezon, "a masterpiece of mass psychology; of personalistic rule appealing directly to the people; it is the most perfect example of a speech designed to pander to the longings of the masses."

In essence, it was a superbly crafted discourse, saccharined to appease the soured spirit of the tired toiling masses who gifted him with a landslide victory, or in more vulgar terms: a speech akin to a proverbial kiss that precedes the anal trespass.


The following is a brief excerpt from which:

Quote

Six years after Cory Aquino, the foundations of a strong economy were laid. In the six years of the Ramos administration, the economy was paying big dividends to its biggest stockholders. This time, why not to the common people as well, for a change? Must we always measure progress only by the golf courses of the rich?

I hope this message will not be taken badly by the rich. It has always been their turn, and it is also their turn again. For it is the priority of my administration to create the environment of peace and order in which business does well. But, surely, it is time for the masses to enjoy first priority in the programs of the government.

As far as resources permit, to the best of our ability and the limit of our energy, we will put a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and clothes on their backs. We will educate their children and foster their health. We will bring peace and security, jobs and dignity to their lives. We will put more infrastructure at their service, to multiply their productivity and raise their incomes.

But this time things will be different. What wealth will be generated will be more equitably shared. What sacrifices are demanded will be more evenly carried. This much I promise, for every stone of sacrifice you carry, I will carry twice the weight.

This I promise the people. You will not be alone again in making sacrifices, and you will not be the last again to enjoy the rewards when they come.

I ask the rich to take a share of the sacrifices commensurate with their strength. What each of us carries is not our individual burden alone, but the fate of our country that we must all share, and which none of us can escape.

While I ask you to share these sacrifices with me, I will not impose any more on you when it comes to my job as president. The job is mine now and I'll do it.

Unquote

Read the complete speech here.

As for the man himself, Manolo observed, "Like Ferdinand Marcos, too long used to getting his way, Estrada would refuse to accept that the public's perception of him had changed, perhaps irrevocably. He continued to sally forth, pleading that he was misunderstood, maligned, slandered; and yet the old lines didn't work anymore. The more he protested innocence, the harder his supporters worked to prevent what he himself said he wanted: a chance to vindicate himself. The result was his eviction from the presidential Palace as a result of a failed impeachment and a successful Edsa II."


"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
- Lennon & McCartney


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Source:
20 SPEECHES THAT MOVED A NATION
selected and with introductions by
Manuel L. Quezon III
Anvil Publishing in cooperation with Platypus Publishing
Pasig City 2002


Related links:

Judgement Day at Plaza Miranda




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posted by Señor Enrique at 5:23 AM | 14 comments


Monday, September 15, 2008

THE FILIPINO SEAFARERS


Imagine my astonishment when told about these festive-looking boats along Manila Bay; that they're not merely used by the local kids to dive off from, but they actually serve a distinct purpose: as water taxis to ferry seamen from Baywalk to their ships anchored not at the lee of the Manila piers, but out there in the bay.

My curiosity came about when I was taking pictures for my Manila Beach post. From the corner of my eye, I saw this young man -- wearing an orange T-shirt and denim jeans (see above photo) -- nonchalantly boarded one of the boats docked by the seawall. As the boat pulled out, I took a shot and then asked the man next to me where it was heading. It was then I was told about the seamen and the water taxis.

Another surprise came about while I was chatting with a barangay official one afternoon by Ever Goteco on Recto. He said the seamen who are
in between job contracts comprise the largest segment of transient tenants of Quiapo's boarding houses. All along, I thought it was the students who attend the schools within the university belt area who were catered to since the seamen already have the huge Ocampo Pagoda near Bilibid Viejo Street as their home away from home or ship.

The barangay official also added that many local residents generate extra income by renting out their spare rooms (see slide show below). Supposedly, seamen are usually preferred because even if abroad, most continue renting their rooms and simply pay the back rent upon their return. Interestingly, many of these seamen somewhat become the landlords' extended family members.

As for the Filipino seamanship itself, it isn't a modern day phenomenon -- like the
pioneering Saudi Boys of the '70s. In fact, the Filipinos have been a seafaring lot, as well as shipbuilders, since the sixteenth century. They have been explorers of the New World much longer than any group of Asians.

Moreover, there were at least a hundred galleons built locally: in Pangasinan, Albay, Mindoro, Marinduque, and Iloilo, but the majority were built in the shipyards of Cavite. Developed by naval architects around 1550, these galleon ships were three- or four-masted, high-forecastle-and-poop vessels with over 2,000-ton cargo capacity, although most were smaller, with 700- to 1000-ton range. Nevertheless, they were all state-of-the-art vessels with a commanding appearance and almost always heavily armed. Pirates had reportedly captured eight galleons over the centuries, while several were shipwrecked or sank by the ferocious typhoons in the Pacific.

Termed polo y servicios, which means nothing more than slave labor, was used to build these ships. As many as 8,000 Indios called Cagayan were rounded by the Spaniards and subjected to the grueling tasks of cutting trees, converting them to timber, and hauling them to the shipyards.


For over two and a half centuries, some sixty thousand Filipinos had sailed on the galleons. Between 1570 and 1815 alone, every year, two galleon ships sailed from Manila to Acapulco. In the beginning only one out of five crew members was a Filipino native. In the ensuing years, as much as 50 to 80 percent of the entire crew were Filipinos. Although many were Indios, there were also many from the mestizo class. The other crew members were Spanish, Mexicans and Portuguese.

The Filipino sailors who worked on these galleons stayed in Acapulco for three months prior to their return to Manila; some keeping families in both cities, while many jumped ship altogether upon arriving in Mexico, never to return to the Philippines.

Lorraine Crouchett, an American historian, noted that some Cebuanos sailed on the galleon San Pablo when it made its historic first crossing of the Pacific Ocean from west to east in 1565. Guided by Fray Andres de Urdaneta, the San Pablo was sent by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi to find the return route to Mexico and to obtain supplies for his expedition to settle the Philippines.

The route discovered by Legaspi was used by the Manila galleons to travel to Mexico for 250 years. From that period, Filipinos traveled to the New World regularly. And they continued to cross the Pacific long after the galleons were gone.

To learn more about the first recorded landing of Filipinos in California and other tales from the galleon trade, click here.

I will post additional articles pertaining to the Filipino seamen of the sixteenth century and the Filipino-Mexican connection in the future. For now, enjoy this slide show of the various boarding houses in Quiapo.

* Refresh screen to replay slide show!





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I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:55 AM | 24 comments


Sunday, September 14, 2008

MANILA BEACH


It has been more than a year when incoming Mayor Lim ordered his men to clean up Baywalk by demolishing all those shanty-like commercial structures that blocked the view of Manila Bay's glorious sunsets.

Deeming Baywalk a good idea gone haywire, the mayor announced alternative concepts more fitting for Roxas Boulevard; one of which was to convert part of the reclaimed land along the sea wall and turning it into a beach, including the construction of a huge public swimming pool; complete with safe and sanitary waters, not the dangerously polluted water of Manila Bay.

The mayor's plan was to hire
professional consultants: architects and structural engineers who will provide quality designs and create management guidelines to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of the facility once constructed.

Indeed, everyone was delighted to hear about the mayor's intention for Baywalk; not only was it interesting and useful, it was something designed for the benefit and pleasure of the general public. Unarguably, it will rejuvenate Baywalk, which had become dismal and desolate ever since those al fresco cafés and taverns had all been evicted.

But alas! More than a year has gone by and Baywalk remains dismal and desolate. Worse, nothing else has been heard about the mayor's interesting and useful plans. What happened?

Be that as it may, Manileños aren't about to be deterred by yet another promise undelivered; they're making do with whatever is at hand. Thus, they've turned the area along Roxas Boulevard -- from the the U.S. Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club -- into their own idea of a beach-cum-swimming pool despite its murky waters. Call it indigenous cognitive improvisation.


* Refresh screen to replay slide show!




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I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:11 AM | 12 comments


Saturday, September 13, 2008

SHANGHAI HAND-PULLED NOODLES ON RETIRO


It is simply the best I had ever tasted in the entire Metro Manila area. I have been there several times and the chicken has become my favorite, though the beef, dumpling and fish are just as tasty. The broth alone is incredibly scrumptious.

This small, unpretentious eatery is located on Retiro (now N.S. Amoranto Street) near corner Banawe in Quezon City. Telephone number: 732-7061.

Go and try it for yourself!



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Related links:

The Eateries Along Banawe



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posted by Señor Enrique at 9:38 AM | 21 comments


THE MANILA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR OPENS TODAY


These photos were taken today, Friday, at the 29th Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia complex.

With "Words Without Borders" as this year's theme, the fair showcases the largest and most varied collection of literature, textbooks, educational supplements, general references, religious and inspirational titles, self-help books, management books, Filipiniana, coffee table books, popular novels, children’s books, art books, graphic novels, rare and hard-to-find titles, magazines, audio and e-books, multimedia, teaching supplies and services, publishers’ technology, and travel materials.

Besides being able to buy all the books you want under one roof and getting discounts on hundreds of titles, there are planned events such as seminars and workshops, storytelling sessions, book launchings, contests and other learning and fun-filled activities for you and the entire family. Meet world-class publishers, booksellers, authors, writers and illustrators. Watch film-showings, concerts and even your favorite characters come to life. More than 300 exhibitors are participating in this year's five-day event.

For more information, visit the fair's Web site, or call 896-0682 or 896-0661.


*Refresh screen to replay slide show!



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Related links:

MV Doulo's Final Visit In Manila

On Books and Writers





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I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:51 AM | 14 comments


Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.

 
 

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