Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Resort/Tour Info

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In a bid to prove to people that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is safe, tourism officials are now opening up the single highest concentration of national debt for curious lookers, vacationers, and tourists.

While I get the idea of having a nuclear plant for a tourist attraction, I can't wrap my head around the idea that doing so will prove the plant safe, given that the plant a) has never been activated and b) is more than 30 years old. That's practically tantamount to having people sit inside those ancient propeller planes in Sangley Point to prove that they're still good to fly if there's enough political will.

From the pictures, the BNPP is still in good condition. Good enough to tour, but I'm not really sure whether its good enough to house materials that can melt the face of a man and pollute our national waters for the next thousand years. Two different things really. Entry ticket is 20 pesos and tourists get a tour of the enormous concrete structure that sits 18 metres (60 feet) above the ocean on a mountainside.

Anyway, apart from the nuclear power plant daytour, they are also opening up the beach beside the plant. They also converted the nearby Environment monitoring station into a barracks-style villa that can house up to 45 guests (although I have my doubts on the capacity) including a room that can house 7 guests for 2700 pesos (Cheaper than Sogo Hotel's budget rooms). These prices are probably going to be adjusted for the demand, which I'm sure there will be a lot of. Because hey, we paid for it, we will be paying for it for a very long time, we might as well see what we got in exchange, right?

I'll be updating this page with more details as they come out, including the opening times, contact numbers, booking info, and how to get there.

Greek Debt Woes

Monday, June 27, 2011

2800 years later and Greece is once again the center of the world. It's amazing how globalization has ensured that I have to pay attention to what some Greek solon decides to do with another country's money that can't be any more related to me than I am related to, say for example, Lady Gaga. And yet, here I am. Here we are. Where is Kevin Sorbo when you need him?

Curtain Calls

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Originally slated for publishing in an issue of Statement that never came. (updated  to include the latest addition to the growing list of stars joining the role call in the biggest show 'up there')

Public Static takes a look at the legacy of the comedians who up to their last moments refused to go quietly into the night.

On and off screen

Cipriano Cermeño II, more popularly known as the albino bisayan comedian Redford White, has been one of the enduring icons of Philippine comedy for almost three decades. Since his debut as a skinny Filipino version of a famous Saturday morning cartoon character in the movie Hee-Man: Master of None, Redford White has starred in dozens of movies and almost as many TV shows. His trademark of croaky, high-pitched whines and facial expressions that could be recognized for miles a way were guaranteed sources of laughter, even in this age of sophisticated humor.

Little known to many, Cipriano was in fact a quiet, timid man off the camera who used his onscreen character very professionally. Outside the set, his friends see him as a serious mild-mannered man who, as coworker Eric Quizon describes him, "a man who believed in his craft and valued his work." During his final days, many friends from the industry who visited Redford were surprised to see him laughing as heartily as he did on camera. True to his calling, Cipriano left with a good laugh from him and those around him.

Through thick and Thin

For many years, Palito has appeared in a lot of comedy films and is one of the most recognizable actors when it comes to comedy. Known as Reynaldo Alfredo R. Hipolito, Sr. in real life, Palito started doing comedy as early as the 60's up to the mid 70's when there was a general decline in comedy. Palito hit the peak of his career during the boom of comedy films in the mid 80s. It was during this time that he starred in a number of major roles in movies, most of them cheekily named, like Rambuto and James Bone. Palito is the textbook example of slapstick self-deprecating style of humor that is pervasive in the humor industry even today. Later in his life, Palito laid low from the movie industry and starred in independent movies such as M.O.N.A.Y. (Mistaeyks obda neyson adres Yata) as lately as 2007. He also continued to routinely play with his band Palito n d Gang every Tuesday on one of Pagcor's smaller casinos in Manila. He also occassionaly appeared in the local music scenes such as this year's Muziklaban. After coming home late one night last April, Palito was rushed to the hospital due to stomach pains and died five days later due to lung complications from his long history of smoking. 

Timeless Comedy 

Perhaps it is impossible to discuss Pinoy-branded comedy without being able to refer to what we Filipinos collectively call the Comedy King, Rodolfo "Dolphy" Quizon Sr. With a career spanning seven decades, with more movies, acts, and awards than any comedian in the country, or quite possibly the world, Dolphy has not only managed to establish the image of the genre of comedy in the Philippines - he has also managed to become its enduring avatar. Unlike other comedians, Dolphy remained active well through his twilight years, taking his brand of comedy beyond just work but as a mantra of living. With his span of presence, all current generations of Filipinos will be able to attest to his legacy of laughs, and sharp-witted words. Three years ago, Dolphy was diagnosed with pulmonary disease - one which caused him to go back and forth the hospital many times, and understandably reduce his participation onscreen, until his demise this year.

From a long vanishing list

Cipriano, Quizon, and Reynaldo are not alone. They join an ever growing list of comedians who have passed on and left a legacy of films and shows that helped define the preferred humor of an entire generation. Rene Requiestas, Cachupoy, Pugo, Panchito, Pablito Sarmiento, Jr. (Babalu), Ricardo Castro (of the Reycard Duet fame), Tommy Angeles (Mang TOmas of Home Along d' Riles) are just a few of the more recognizable names of the comedians that have departed since the glory days of the 80s and early 90s. Looking back, very few people from the heydey of self-styled pinoy comedy movies are still in the limelight today, including Joey De Leon, Andrew E, Jimmy Santos, and Vic Sotto. It's a sad affair to see the lot of these people go, who despite all the criticisms of the straightforwardness of their schtick, have left and undeniable mark that lingers on even with the movies today. 

Legacy of Laughs

Together with the comedians of their time, these actors worked with prevailing themes of underdogs going against the norms of society. The protagonists serve as the butt of most of the jokes and almost always live a laughably dismal life. Through the course of the movies, the heroes are given a chance to redeem themselves, beat the bad guys, and learn a lesson or two at the end. Albeit formulaic, these movies proved to be simple, easy to relate to, easy to digest, and at the end of the day, entertaining for the majority of the audience. Brevity is the soul of wit, and the simplicity of the plots prove to be it's most brilliant factor.

The typical comedy movie serves as a container of the Filipino way of thinking when it comes to humor. The sometimes somewhat brutal side of showing ugly people getting beat up over and over again, the blunt insults, the slapstick, probably painful situations the characters are consistently exposed to, and the self-deprecative attitude show a culture of making fun of what's otherwise unbearable. The cruel but honest sense of humor is invoked and elaborate in these films. It might sound too much to the uninitiated - but it does work.

There is depth, however, for those who meant to look. An article made by Benito Vergara on comedy movies of the 80s raised various points generally tackled by the movies. One common recurring theme in these movies, according to Mr. Vergara, is the apparent lampooning of western icons from Rocky Balboa in Rocky Tu-log, to Rambo in Palito's Rambuto. The iconic movie Istarsan starring Joey de Leon and the late Rene Requestas proved to be one of the most successful movies that worked with this trope - and in this way, the common crowd can find a more relatable version of the more famous originals, and brings them closer to what might be seen as a higher status for them.

For all the rhymes and reasons of the workings of comedy movies, bottomline is for the most of us, they were funny and they still are funny, even after some jokes have lost their relevance. As part of the generation that grew up looking at these movies for entertainment, nostalgia or not, they were completely entertaining. 

The Next Generation

The fading of stars from the last generation, however does not mean the fall of the industry as a whole, much like the folding of the comic industry in the 70s, the slack of comedy movies (or all Filipino movies in general) from the previous decade created a craving for Filipinos to see one of their favorite genres back in the big screen. The past few years have shown an increase of comedy films produced, and possibly even more in the coming years. This new wave of Pinoy comedy films are spearheaded by both the remaining golden actors from the past and the new artists, most of whome who have been shaped by those talented few, those unforgetabble silverscreen clowns, whose lifelong arts have left their mark in film history - how to make the Filipino forget their problems even for a short while and for what it's worth, 

Laugh the good laugh.

Random Thoughts

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why do some people (mostly old people) take forever when withdrawing money from an ATM? Now I'm not too sure about how they do it but from the amount of button presses they're making, they could probably have activated the entire nuclear arsenal of America already.

Smallville is in it's 10th season. 10 SEASONS. That's 10 years. If Clark Kent was 17 when Smallville started, he'd be 27 and still living with his parents, cozy with not being superman, not having his uniform, and not having a career. What the fuck.

We should probably start building roofs made from vulcaseal already. That product should sell well. You can pay my consulting fees after I've turned you into overnight billionaires already.

Why are people surprised with the abundance of water lilies (or hyacinths if you feel like being a dirty hipster) in our rivers? It's not like they just landed one night to astound us with their presence the following morning. If that were the case, even I'd be picking my jaw up from the floor.

When Noynoy congratulated La Salle in its 100th year earlier this month, he mentioned two achievements the institution has done for this country: Let Lozada stay in La Salle Greenhills, and let the Namfrel use the CSB gym - two achievements which were basically done by letting people use campus space. As far as sociopolitical contributions are concerned, those have got to be the laziest achievements ever. Animo!

Governments Should Be Run Like Corporations

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court affirmed with finality the dismissal of three officials of the Public Estates Authority (now the Philippine Reclamation Authority) implicated in the cost padding of the P1.1-billion, five-kilometer President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.

So let me get this straight. Our bureaucratic red tape has gotten so bad that to fire three fuckers for screwing up on the job, it involved the highest judicial body in the country, 9 years (the filing of the complaint was in 2002) and 15 pages of reasoning? The only way that sort of effort for firing somebody can be justified is if we're firing somebody like Dolphy from the position of King of Comedy. Or maybe the Pope. Maybe. But these guys - these guys are MANAGERS. You know, a position a few steps above that guy who serves your hamburger in McDonalds.

Whatever happened to the good old "GET THE FUCK OUT YOU USELESS CUNT," way of thinking? If you have somebody under you who is acting inutile, shouldn't it be your god given right to replace that person? Take for example Virgilia Torres of LTO. Innocent or not, she's in hot water - and let's face it, the LTO hasn't been run this bad since the time horses were the only things plying our roads. People are clamoring for her resignation. Her resignation. I can't seem to wrap my mind around that idea. We're paying for this person to work, and she doesn't do as we please, and then the best we can do to replace her is to ask her to step down? Is there any other job in the world were that happens?

To be fair, the Japanese companies never really fire people. They shift useless people around like I shift dirt in my apartment when I have no dust pan. That's to humiliate people and then they finally man up and resign. Not here. If there's anything we can learn from the case of Merceditas Guttierez, dignity is not a prerequisite of life, however low. It sometimes makes me wonder how she manages to sleep at night without having to hire somebody to knock her out cold with a baseball bat every time.

Fire people. Our government and our leaders (those who matter, anyway) should start growing balls and kicking other peoples'. Hell, if we can't trust them, make the public do it. Let's have a show like Showtime where we get to vote out one official per week. We'll show nominations on Sunday, give them a week to state their case and a week for us to text in our votes, and then on Friday, Toni Gonzaga and Lucky Manzano will announce who will get escorted by the ever manly KC Concepcion who will punch the guy in the gut and drag the carcass away to be fed to Vina Morales for dinner. The proceeds of the text messages can be spent to support the rehabilitation of our nation's most endemic life form - Noynoy Aquino's hair.

It'd be the perfect show, and then we can use it to replace other shows so we won't have to put up with that show filled with hispanic-looking actors playing the role of protomalays. What's the name of that shit again? Amaya? Maaan I hate that show.

Classic Filipino Games Revisited

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A few years back, I did a piece on why the older, more traditional games are better than the cheap, made-in-fucking-china alternatives that are being shoved down our throats by cartoons. Granted that you did not grow up in a sheltered environment like the Manila Juvenile Correction Center, you probably know that we're just scratching the surface as far as games go. Here are some more traditional Filipino games that are worth mentioning, focusing on games that don't need anything to play other than friends.

1. Cops and Robbers/Agawan Base
The two games are somewhat similar, in the way Robin Hood and Expresident Arroyo are similar in that they have the same mechanics (rob the rich blind) but have different end goals (the former gives back to the poor, the latter robs the poor blind afterwards). Each team has two bases. In Cops and Robbers, the cop team get to catch robbers who leave their base, while the robbers try to free their caught bretheren by reaching the cop base without getting tagged. Why the robbers would want to venture out of their base at the start of the game in the first place is beyond me. It must be a kid thing. In agawan base, both teams are cops AND robbers, with the person who left his base later having the power of a "cop". This usually leads in disputes as to who left the base last, but is quickly settled with a nice, clandestine punch in the gut. A game that has more than 15 people in each team is the best kind, specially when 12 people are already caught and then somebody tags the enemy base and causes a jailbreak. Absolute. F'ing. Chaos. Just the way we liked it.

2. Luksong Tinik
This game tests the ability of kids to jump as high as they can, by leaping over the hands and feet of a player placed vertically on the ground, on top of the other. First person who trips replaces the guy who is risking breaking his fingers and toes so the others have something to jump over. Last person who trips is usually the guy who jumps shittily enough to crash on top of the unfortunate limbs. As the person who needs to provide the "obstacles" need to use both is feet as well, that person will have to do it sitting on the ground, and everybody agrees this is a very shitty game to play outdoors during the rainy season.

3. Luksong Baka
This version of the leaping game solves the risk having your fingers trampled by your overgrown classmate who probably shaves twice a week, and replaces it with the issue of having your spine broken when somebody the equivalent of the national animal of burden leaps over you and plants his hands on your arched back. Arguably harder than Luksong Tinik due to the higher obstacles set, luksong baka also features different types of "asshole" tricks such as deliberately burying your fingernails on the back of the obstacle or just fucking ramming the shit out of the poor guy. As with luksong tinik, first guy who fails to vault replaces the obstacle.

4. Patintero
Admittedly, Patintero does require drawing/vandalism implements to draw the lines where the defending team can stay at, but then again, that'd be underestimating the creativity of really bored children. Here are some of the line-drawing substitutes I've seen through out the years:

- Broken plant pot shard
- Yarn
- Water drawn using a coke liter bottle
- Fat crayons
- Virgin blood [disputed]

Depending on how the lines are drawn, they can either start disappearing before even the first round ends (see water-based lines), or they can be so hard to remove. Some of the lines drawn by Rajah Sulayman as a kid are so well drawn, they're probably still visible today, to baffle our archeologists. (Headline: Ancient Filipinos had minature parking lots) Patintero is a lot like boxing, understandably always in favor of the faster player a with longer reach. Also, this has got to be one of the best Filipino sports to bring in the trashtalking. Since you're going to be facing your opponent face to face within barely an arms reach, anything you'll say will be on a personal level - and unlike the game of Trumpo, the opponent will not be holding a sharp rusting nail in his hand.

Red on Twitter

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

If you promise to follow me on twitter, I promise to stop secretly following you home every Thursday night.

How To Solve EDSA Traffic

Monday, June 06, 2011

I am writing this article to address one of the largest problems plaguing the main thoroughfare of Metro Manila - Sharon Cuneta's EDSA posters. No! Wait! I meant traffic! My mind slipped! Sharon's posters are large, but they're hardly a problem. Unless they start falling on people, of course. Then we'd have real issues, such as should we still consider Sharon crushing people with her ass a joke? (probably not, but it's worth debating)

Anyway, the past few months, various measures have been introduced in an attempt to declog the overloaded road, from the reintroduction of the color coding scheme, to the catching of colorum buses, to the removal of any bus that has the name or face of Claire De La Fuente in it. So far, it hasn't really been working.

Of course so far, the issue has been that there are far too many buses that ply the route everday and that there are never enough passengers to fill all the buses up, which causes them to wait longer, which causes lanes to get blocked, and causes the private vehicles to get snarled in traffic. Makes sense, but then again, we can also reverse the idea.

I remember before when I was still working in my last company, I'd go to the MRT Guadalupe station every night and see the problem in a different light. "Holy shit," I thought, "we sure have a lot of signboards with half-naked men. The foreigners must think the entire nation's ga... " WAIT! That' s not it! I meant "we sure have a lot of private vehicles!" Yeah, that was what I was thinking. For real. So yeah. Anywaaaaay...

What if the issue is that there are too many private vehicles filled with people who could in turn fill the buses that are parked on the side of the road? If the buses were utilized more and the private vehicles would occupy less space, there'd be less waiting time for the buses and there'd be less ball-punching traffic every night.

There's the argument that buses are asshole drivers, but as a driver I often think that for every "FUCK YOU AND YOUR CLAN" that I utter at a public vehicle, I do so at three private assholes vehicles. Because it's true. The number coding? How many vehicles are using NBI carplates? JOURNALIST carplates? LAWYER carplates? You never see these infernal cheating devices in buses. You dont see a "BUSSDRIVER" carplate in front of a bus. You just dont. It's the private vehicles that tend to cheat more. More specifically, it's those oversized SUVs. I hate those with a passion.

It makes sense. Private vehicles are the bane of EDSA. But why is it that we hardly pinpoint private cars as the culprit? Well most of the lawmakers aren't fans of buses other than the ones that they privately own. I bet Toyota and Honda are in it too. We're probably the only country in the world where there's no mechanism to remove old and poorly maintained cars on the road. It's not uncommon to see cars that are third, fourth, and fifth hand, some of them initially purchased from the first batch of Spaniards that landed in our country some 400 years ago (you'll know them by their carplates that start with the letter Ñ )

Most countries put penalties in trying to make a car stay on the road past its effective life. I know coming up with rules that will exclude some cars from being used in the country's roads paid for everybody (except for Lawyers and Doctors who refuse to file proper taxes and homeless people) seems unfair. But that's just life. The public transportation system is there for a reason and it's not that it's being overutilized - it's underutilized and mismanaged.

And the next time somebody who drives a car to and from school/work starts bitching about EDSA traffic, tell him to commute. He'd be contributing to the solution in so many ways, not to mention that by increasing the pool of commuters he's minimizing the odds of some other commuter getting hit with a falling Sharon Cuneta billboard.

Statistics worth both ways.

No Comment

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ever noticed how, guys can complement each other's articles of clothing with only the minimal level of care whether or not their praise will be interpreted as homosexual advance? Nice shirt, buddy. That is an awesome cap. or "Whoah, those are killer kicks man." It's all good. That's some brotherly love right there.

One thing you never ever hear anything about though is what is essentially the largest article of clothing you usually wear: your PANTS.

There's no easy way to do praise pants. I mean, there's no easy way to do it without sounding like you dig other guys.


You wanna know why? Because there's no part of the pants that doesn't hint that you were looking at parts of another guy no straight guy would dare even lay a second's glance at.

Leg, buttocks, or crotch. Take your pick.

Like if you notice the guy's belt buckle, that means there's evidence that your eyes were wandering into the groinal homolust territory. Even the pants label is just a few inches of the "oh wow you were totally checking my ass out" region.

That's probably why nobody ever knows about what kind of pants are fashionable. They're the taboo of men's clothing, next to underwear of course, but you get the point.

No pants? No comment.


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