This may sound like a shameless ride on the bandwagon and we would understand that. A partner and I are coming up with shirts and canvas bags to be sold among like-minded individuals, friends, and even the enemies at very, very low prices. Call it pathetic defensiveness but the materials are more of advocacy materials than merchandise.

The following are just two of the designs I made. If you feel like suggesting slogans and images, please feel free to drop. Thanks.


Fellow blogger Pat's caulfieldisms is currently on This-blog-is-open-to-invited- readers-only mode. Pat is apologetic. He says something went amiss that just might cause him huge problem, aside from the trouble it brought him now--worrying about the possibility of losing his job and worse, getting sued.

He articulates his ordeal, if it is, in this comment he posted in The Sisters page:

na-trouble ako sa work dahil sa barista diaries series kung san garapal ang pangookray ko sa... coffee shop na pinagtrabahuhan ko at sa mga regular celebrity customers, one of whom got wind of the blog, read the posts and got offended. pero i intended lang naman na maging funny ang series. iniisip siguro ng establishment na 'yun, 'so who's laughing now?'.

so sa mga baklang nag-aakalang nagfifeeling exclusive ako, hinde. i had to block it muna dahil kaso siya.

i would've invited lte or anyone who'd bother to ask bakit pa-invited-invited readers pa 'kong nalalaman pero i didn't think anyone'd care if my blog's still active or not.

i take comfort with the fact na i was able to disturb someone's universe because of what i wrote kaht na im facing (possibly) termination and imminent joblessness.

so sa mga baklang feel magname ng mga actual tao sa blogs niyo, be careful at magsilbing leksyon sana ako.

thank u lyka for bothering to do this at salamat sa popularity ng lte kase kahit alam kong shameful ang haba ng comment na 'to, pinost ko pa ren sha.

nalulungkot akong talaga dahil dito. even then, hot pa ren si rodrigo santoro.

bananas, number mo? Ü
joke lang.



The experience of Pat and all other bloggers presents alarming implications to the free (read: democratic) space given to the bloggers to express whatever they harbor--both emotionally or cerebrally.

In a nutshell, I can sense real trouble here especially that blogs are very fluid and open and opinionated that bloggers, being online journal-ists, can become very mean, anatagonistic, critical, arrogant and all in expressing their thoughts.

In other countries like Pakistan (and china and what else?), bloggers are prohibited from saying anything that can ruin their government's reputation (or whatever that's left). Clearly, it exemplifies how a state attempts to stop people from accessing their critical minds and expressing these through written and spoken words. It shows how a government limited the people's free space.

Pat's experience also exposes the fact that Filipino bloggers are facing a looming crisis--maybe not from the government whose policies are always criticized but from quarters who are as pique-prone as some players in the current administration are. For expressing something, now he is facing his demons and I can only imagine how difficult that could be.

I am not posting this because I want to defend Pat and fuel any justifications which were already made regarding what he did. Much more, I am not here to back and cry with the sensitivities of those who were offended by Pat's expressions.However, I firmly believe that he must not be fired for criticizing his company or his boss and their celebrity customers.

But I guess, all these experiences should serve as a wake-up call for all stakeholders. This is a concern that levels high up, actually more than the concern about how can we possibly get paid out of blogging.

I guess this is one important concern that must be discussed during forums and summits.


My kumare, the Fabulousest diva of all divas, Malu Fernandez--because we are so close--sent me this letter as her official statement on the countless flak and insults and threats she received after writing From Boracay to Greece and calling overseas Filipino workers stinky axe-perfumed Filipino migrant workers.

I am humbled by the vehement and heated response provoked by my article entitled 'From Boracay to Greece!' which came out in the June 2007 issue of People Asia. To say that this article was not meant to malign,hurt or express prejudice against the OFWs now sounds hollow after reading through all the blogs from Filipinos all over the world. I am deeply apologetic for my insensitivity and the offensive manner in which this article was written, I hear you all and I am properly rebuked. It was truly not my intention to malign hurt or express prejudice against OFWs.

As the recent recipient and target of death threats, hate blogs, and deeply personal insults, I now truly understand the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor. Our society is bound together by human chains of kindness and decency. I have failed to observe this and I am now reaping the consequences of my actions. It is my fervent hope that the lessons that I've learned are not lost on all those who through anonymous blogs, engaged in bigotry, discrimination, and hatred ( against overweight individuals, for example).

I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest.


She has been demonized worse than how the United States did it to North Korea in the recent Will Ferrel flick Blades of Glory.

Please, people, give Malu Fernandez a break and stop calling her names. She's rich and she has the right not to like stinky overseas Filipino workers who have been touted as the coutry's modern heroes for sustaining its economy, keeping its survival.

Don't you have hearts? Don't you realize how bad you have been treating her just because she is rich and most of the Filipinos are poor? That's really, really mean and uncivilized. Where did you get your education, hello, because Malu, my new friend, is a graduate of the Moore College of Arts and Design. See, Malu is soshal...you know.

Poor girl but everyone's talking about how bloated she is--a fat truth, they say, that has gone up to her tongue and blocked all her senses, including the one that keeps her modesty.

Stop talking about how her fat-and-muscle expansion also densed her chutzpah that's so all over her, feeding her already inflated ego all the more that the millions of Pinoys working abroad would be very, very happy to see explode.

Boy, Malu Fernandez maintains a fat connection and Malu bashers should be very afraid of this. Her nephew is the good looking senator, whose ticket to the senate was the untainted and unquestionable votes from Mindanao, Miguel Zubiri. Well, Miguel Zubiri is supposed to be her favorite nephew. As in, favorite. Miguel Zubiri is my favorite too.

You people should be very afraid because she might call the Justice Department and demand justice for all the meanness that she's getting for you. She might even call Malacañang, and you will be crying for your mothers. Hey, I can only imagine how you would grasp for survival should the girl snaps-out and decides to throw her weight on you. Watch out, you! Poor!

Really, my heart goes to her and this she owes to me. For crying our loud, send me a bottle of the rare perfumes that you reviewed at the expense of the stinky overseas Filipino workers whose smell suffocated you. Let me try the ones you sprayed on your underarms to prevent the glands from sweating too much or the ones you put on your groin to avoid rashes.

And please, Malu, tell me...you can trust me kumare because we are close friends now. Like, real, real friends. You know, bossom buddies. Tell me...what do you eat? Because you know, you are really lovable. I love your lovableness and I just can't accept and will never forgive those who hate you and call you fat-ass.

Look at you: your cheeks, your lips, your eyes, your chin, your nose...your boobs and folds...everything! Malu, my closest friend now, you are indeed fierce and fabulous!!!

Now, time for the long-held diarrhea. You might want to force your own diarrhea after you read this.


A couple of nights ago, while Davao was surprisingly experiencing a Manila, I was trapped in an orgy--not the sexual one please, but the unmatched indulgence of passion over eraserheads' classics. It was an experience that buoyed me back to the past--the time when I was...well, it's the past, ok?

Titing, the guitarist and not the thing, was unstoppable. He plucked and strummed every eheads song that snapped back into his and the audience's memory.

His only limitation was that he cannot play Tikman, perhaps one my favorites. Memory tells me that Tikman was used as bed for a burger ad. I would have wanted to sing it while the downpour was its peak. Something told me, though, that to sing was not a good idea at that time, especially that the rain clouds broke out when I was midway of Sting's Englishman in New York.

But Titing must get some credits for satisfying our long bottled-up urge over eheads, despite the heavy, heavy downpour that made fun an inapplicable term to describe Davao's Kadayawan.

Check this out. Found this after I listened to Spoliarium.


Several weeks ago, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was foaming, I mean, fuming mad as he warned pirated DVD vendors against the selling of pornographic films. Actually, the fierce mayor more than warned. He threatened. And Dabaweños know it that that when he does, more often these threats cross in bloody lividity some planes--yeah, human body planes.

Just like how he was angered to the hilt by the proliferation of meth in the City years ago (that saw the demise of a number of people whose names appeared on a list of suspected shabu pushers that he announced on TV), the Mayor literally gnashed and putang-ina-ed at the stacks of pirated videos showing very young girls sucking overgrown pacifiers. He cited how these are sold publicly even by young kids themselves.

So he ordered that pirated DVD stalls around the city be cleansed of the Barely 12 vids and all other vids that show human flesh, regardless of sexual orientations and bizarre fetishes.

And came next was the heart-to-heart talk to local pirated video industry players and their advisers. Their studios may not be as glitzy as hollywood but boy, they have their advisers: the community elders and religious leaders. All you need to do is to drive to Quimpo Boulevard here to find them--the pirates, the studious, and their advisers.

But the Mayor is tentacled, and each carries a particular plan that could be fine, plain, gruff, or peculiar.

Calling these pornographic materials a product of sick minds, the mayor prescribed a remedy that might not sit well with moralists and human rights advocates. He invited--well, sort of adviced--the clean pirates to watch the whole industry if they want to be spared of his wrath.

"Ug dili mo gusto maapil, bantayi ninyo nang inyong mga kauban. Ug dili makaya, kay panghuroton ta man gyud mo dihang tanan, dunggaba (If you want to be spared, better watch other vendors. If one is unstoppable, stab him)," he said.

But I'm wondering whether the Mayor is still effective at his scare tactics or perhaps the pirates are just void of fear already that the Mayor's threats and tentacles are no longer working just like before. Why because a week after that, while I was checking on pirated videos along Uyanguren, a vendor asked: "x-rated sir?"


Five photographers. One objective. One issue. One Earth.

To be mounted during the Kadayawan Festival, the photo exhibit will showcase the bio-diversity of Davao City’s upland watersheds and its importance as sources of waters. This also hopes to capture the critical condition of the uplands and show the people’s concerted efforts to live an equitable, gender-just and environment-friendly society.


I thirst. And I surely give it a damn to see that the people of Davao start to unhinge themselves from their own apathy over problems that they consider not theirs. or not theirs yet.

Well, I sneer at those whose concept of fresh water conservation is shortened by the fact that they do not suffer--at least not yet--the water crisis currently experienced in Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon.

Sure we have all the reasons to be happy that now Davao still has its own reason to pride itself of having one of the best water resources worldwide but the inevitable question would be is: until when?

Following is an article I wrote and published by Sun.Star Davao:

The environmental group Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis) has warned that the water crisis now being experienced in Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon could also happen to Davao , a region that prides itself of having one of the best water resources in the word.

But that, according to Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Idis, is not an assurance that the city will be spared from the water crisis that has struck Metro Manila and Luzon knowing how the landscape of the city has underwent rapid and major alterations in recent years.

Esquillo said that people of Davao, although blessed with abundant and clean water, must not be sitting on their laurels because it is not a remote possibility that Davao will also be suffering from inadequate supply of clean water knowing how the watersheds of the city is slowly being encroached by agricultural developments that are reliant on intensive usage of environmentally hazardous chemicals.

“Over the years, we have warned about the wanton destruction of Davao ’s upland watersheds and their surrounding environment by banana and pineapple plantations. We have already sounded the alarm that converting these areas to these plantations spells disaster which we might suffer sooner than later,” she said.

In Davao ’s third district alone, banana plantations is estimated to have reached over 5,000 hectares while pineapple plantations so far reached more than 1,000 hectares. Most of these plantations are on top of recharge zones. A recharge zone is an area of land through which water passes through holes or cracks in soil and rock to fill an aquifer. Deep rooted trees should be planted in recharge zones so that the rainwater can refill the aquifers.

The city is currently sourcing its supply of potable water from the Talomo-Lipadas watershed located at the third district, the same district where thousands of banana and pineapple plantations can be found. Bananas and pineapples have very shallow root systems.

The Davao City Water District (DCWD) identified the Panigan-Tamugan watershed, still at the third district, as the future source of drinking water for Davao . However, even the Panigan-Tamugan watershed is currently being threatened by continuous expansion of chemically-depended monoculture farming.

“The picture of environmental destruction—the destruction of the upland watershed areas of Davao —is so alarming and it’s sad that not too many people in the city care to take a look at it and actually do something to arrest it. We would dread the day where people are starting to care because the problem has reached their households already,” Esquillo said.

Added to this, she said, is the effect of changes in climate happening worldwide which is a cause to worry.

“It is sad that people do not really give too much importance to this and what is more disheartening is that, in the face of this apathy is a government that prioritizes agricultural projects and programs that are oppressive and destructive,” Esquillo said.

Recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the country will be facing a shortage in the supply of freshwater in the year 2010, or three years from now, which will eventually lead to a sectoral conflict.

In its report, the DENR identified Davao as among the many major cities in the country that are currently suffering from a shortage in freshwater supply.

A study made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that at least 431 municipalities outside Metro Manila are waterless now. Locally, a critical number of communities in the second district are perennially suffering less supply of water.

“If we all allow the continuous expansion of these plantations, we can only expect to suffer the worse in the future and we don’t even have to wait for 2010 to see and experience this. In fact, right now, many communities in the city do not have access to fresh water,” Esquillo said.


The red shawl failed to hide the Gabriela print on her tight red shirt that exposed those curves and female protrusions that she so confidently flaunt around, perhaps not really aware of it and if she has been, I bet she would still confidently show them off.

Even her military-colored capri pants did its job perfectly; shaping her just right. Except for the fact that she is a well-known writer (stress twice on the word well-known), her hair—with streaks of whites prominently running from her forehead down— everything about her I was not expecting.

Over the past years, I was an anti-Ninotchka Rosca. She's the woman described to me by a Philippine Daily Inquirer article as someone believed to have the penchant for drama, actually over-drama, that she was rumored to have her name changed from something else to Ninotchka.

I thought of her as someone really officious and dominant and anything else but meek. I thought of her as a ruthless bruha always ready to rip-off the sorry flesh of hell-scared souls. I thought of her as someone I can never stand a minute. I thought of her as someone like Salman Rushdie who, a friend has told me, never talked to people.

I thought of her as someone who would never ever sign reluctant fan’s notebook. I thought of her as someone overrated.

And so I confess: I am the reluctant fan. Actually, a reluctant and shameless fan who thought of not going to Kanto Bar and meet Ninotchka in the flesh but decided anyway to get through into the already thick crowd of women activists, men activists, gay activists, and all sort of activists, poets, writers and journalists.

Sweating perhaps because of excitement, I sat beside Sun.Star Davao’s wonderwoman, Stella Estremera, and Ms. M Roque—while everyone around waited in great expectation for the recipient of the 1993 American Book Award for excellence in literature (for her book Twice Blessed) to finally, er, talk to us. I was there to give myself a chance. No…actually, to give Ninotchka a chance.

She was easy to spot. Had I been somebody out to hurt her, I could have perpetuated such a plan effortlessly. Had I been somebody out to hurt her, I could have just crossed the already crowded room--grabbed her long hair or sprayed her face with capsicum gas until she choked and get a temporary blindness and that would have been sweet and perfect.

But no. I am no longer anti-Ninotchka Rosca although I still believe that she chose the name Ninotchka—name herself Ninotchka—for the reason that it sounded—weird?

And weird how everything I painted of the woman inside my head over these years changed the moment she opened her mouth. I mean, that I am reading her latest book did not change much of my unfair perception of the person but a brief encounter did. Like, while I was looking at her from my table, her back against us, I felt that she was talking to me. Well, her hair, actually.

And so she was there before us--wearing that Gabriela red shirt and a military-colored capri pants and I could not help but think of the definition of the word contradiction. For how can one woman, who experienced the pains of being sent to jail during the Marcos years, wear the color of the dictator’s machinery of oppression and death?

While I was asking myself whether or not to go to Kanto Bar for the Ninotchka event, I was thinking of a number of questions to possibly throw her, topping them was to know how much creativity does one person has to have to ever choose a name like Ninotchka. Or, was it liberating to name oneself Ninotchka?

But everything I had inside my mind turned into a blur when she spoke in a demeanor comparable to that of a—virgin. I swear, she’s so sweet that listening to her speak would make one wonder of how really bad Marcos was to ever jail someone like her. She looked so harmless and she spoke as if she cannot even prick someone else’s pimple…hello!

But of course, back then, she was considered a threat. For how can’t they not be threatened of someone who confessed to not having a life at all? In her opening statement, Ninotchka said: “Walang buhay…I can’t tell you the story of my life or you might be scandalized.”

Then she sniggered.

At the end of the event, I found myself pushing through the still thick crowd to get Ninotchka’s signature. When it was finally my turn, I could not think of anything to tell the woman but this:

“I am supposed to bring a book you wrote but I found out that it’s already signed…can you instead sign my notebook?”

“What’s your name?”

“Jepoi…that’s p-o-i… J-E-P-O-I.”

“What does it mean?”

“It means nothing. I am a Jeffrey.”

And this she wrote: