Tuesday, 4 June 2013

City of Fallen Angels

City of the Fallen Angels
This is the red light district of Angeles after the pullout of the American military personnel twenty years ago, leaving behind an ever popular sex industry, military patrons now are replaced by tourist from Korea, Middle East, Australia, Europe, Asia and the US that come for one thing only, cheap thrills and meet some fallen angels. They come in all ages, sizes, shapes and colors, but nothing is stronger than the color of money to help fuel their desires for the night.

 It was a slow Saturday night along "Walking Street" in Angeles City.
Fallen angels has to do the move to catch the attention of would be demons for the night.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Telling the truth can get the journalists ‘killed,’ and so with their insufficient salaries.

Telling the truth can get the journalists ‘killed,’ and so with their insufficient salaries.
by Roy Lagarde

As local journalists join the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day, an official of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) detailed some issues journalists are facing that can only their bosses could address.

For PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino, the country cannot even talk about press freedom “if we don’t discuss this situation.”

According to him, many journalists especially in the provinces are underpaid “and not paying them properly is one way of killing them.”

“If you don’t create a helping environment for journalists, you are slowly killing them… not just because their foes are gunning them down but even the systems are killing journalist,” Sebellino said.

“If you don’t give them sufficient salaries, you are not just killing the journalists but also their families,” he said.

According to him, a “tangible resources” for journalists could also prevent corruption in the media industry.

“It’s really one way for journalists to refuse bribes. In the media industry, there is one that corrupts and there is some that is corrupted,” he said.


The safety of journalists, Sebellino said, is a fundamental pillar of the universal and inalienable right to press freedom.

In the Philippines, he noted, journalists are often assigned in “hot spots” sans the guarantee of their right to work free from threat of violence.

“The question is before you were assigned there, is there a safeguard for you to do that? So that when you report, you’ll go back alive,” said Sebellino.

“We need leading journalists to tell the story but we want them to go back alive,” he added.

Apart from their sheer right of being paid an honest peso for an honest day’s work, journalists also need to stand together to reassert the stature of their profession.

“It’s not always that ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’ The mere fact that a journalist shows that kind of passionate work, there must be a proper remuneration for that,” he said.

Not so rosy

A group of journalists and photojournalists in Metro Manila on Friday marked the World Press Freedom Day with a kite flying activity at the UP Diliman in Quezon City as a symbol of rising against impunity and killings.

This despite a media landscape that is “not really good,” Sebellino said.

“I will not say that it’s deteriorating. I would say that it’s still a very unfortunate situation in the Philippines. From the past administrations until now, it’s all speeches that they will look into our problems,” he said.

“The not so rosy picture of the state of the press freedom in the Philippines only shows that the government needs to work more to protect press freedom,” said Sebellino.

The state of press freedom in the Philippines remains lamentable, according to the recent impunity index of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJP) said that the 55 unsolved cases of journalist murders reflect a "terrible record in combating anti-press violence".

An international press freedom group, for the fourth year in a row, has ranked the Philippines the third world worst country in the world, after Iraq and Somalia in terms of unresolved journalist murders.

A report recent report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the Philippine government has also failed to make arrests and prosecute those responsible for the killings.
Photojournalist from PCP commemorating World Press Freedom Day at UP Diliman, open oblation ground on May 3, 2013

Thousands joined the Labor Day protest in Manila on May 1, 2013 despite government statistics showing an increase in GDP, about 27 million people in the country still live below the poverty line.
Around 200 farmers from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac arrive in Caloocan on Friday, April 26, 2013 the third day of their Lakbayan to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to demand the implementation of genuine land distribution in the Cojuangco-owned hacienda as ordered by the Supreme Court over a year ago.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Aliwan Festival 2012

The best dancers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao came to celebrate cultural diversity in the heart of Manila at Aliwan 2012, a showdown of Philippine festivals, over the weekend.

Now on its 10th year, the Aliwan Festival features a cultural street dance
competition, a parade of floats, and the Reyna ng Aliwan (Queen of Aliwan)

The grand parade that traversed Roxas Boulevard from Quirino Grandstand to the Aliw Theater at the CCP Complex saw the best Philippine festivals—composed of dancers and floats from different areas—compete.

Tribu Pan-ay of Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo was adjudged Aliwan Festival's Grand Champion, a grand slam win having won the title for the third straight year. Second place went to Buyogan Festival of Abuyog, Leyte, while the Pintados Kasadyaan Festival of Tacloban City, Leyte won third place.

The Pamulinawen Festival from Laoag City won the best float, with Lingganay Festival from Alang-alang, Leyte placing second and the Sagayan Festival from
Parang, Maguindanao named third.

Fred's Revolucion_ Watering Hole for the Urban Warrior

BEING at Fred’s Revolucion is like going back to a time when the cold war was raging and revolutions were the in thing. It calls to mind a scene from the 1970s movie “M.A.S.H.” whose battle-weary soldiers guzzled up after a hectic day on the war front.

Only this time, the arena is the concrete jungle, and Fred’s customers are modern-day warriors who battle stressful workdays and maddening traffic, among other problems.

Fred’s Revolucion is owned by photojournalist Jose “Derek” Soriano who has covered his fair share of wars, activist Red Constantino who waged wars of his own, and their friend, business news editor Gina Abuyuan. Coincidentally, all three happen to have a grandfather named Fred, hence the restaurant’s name.

When the owners are behind the counter, a friendly Labrador named Gizzard welcomes customers and hangs out with them.

Fred’s chef is Soriano, who finds cooking more satisfying and rewarding than engaging in the current local political and media scene, and whose style of cooking is influenced by his numerous travels on assignment in different parts of the world.

Describing Fred’s cuisine, Abuyuan said, “Our food is cooked more for the taste, rather than the health.”

At Fred’s, customers chill and enjoy brews and food that don’t burn a hole in the pocket. Crowd favorites include dishes like the Split Banger and Mash, sausage that is sliced and served on top of mashed potatoes and gravy. Fred’s has its version of Fish and Chips—fish fillet and fries infused with crispy dilis. Bagnet Blachan is deep fried pork served with spicy bagoong dressing.

Fred’s also has weekly specials like the Chicken Chop on Mash, Chili Garlic Ribs, Smoked Boar and Salsa, Ho Chi Wings and the delicious but sinful Tres Amigos that could put the weak-hearted on the emergency room list.

Opened in August of 2011, Fred’s is one of the more popular establishments at Cubao X, the arcade that used to house the Marikina Shoe Expo. Fred’s has become a favorite hangout of artists, photographers, writers and other wacky characters this part of town.

“I like the crowd, the laid back atmosphere with the right amount of ambiance,”
said Wing, one Fred’s habitués.

Customers who have grown fond of the place have started pinning memorabilia on the wall such as old photos, currencies from around the world, posters, flags, hats, shirts, and the like.

Fred’s has also played host to the works of the country’s best photographers like Geric Cruz, Rick Rocamora, Gil Nartea and Soriano himself.

Fred’s Revolucion is located at Shop 66 in Cubao X at the Araneta Center in Quezon City. The area is quiet during the day with only several galleries and old memorabilia shops open.

It starts to come alive around sunset and could get jam-packed during weekends. For those who want to be pampered, Fred’s on weekends won’t be your cup of tea—it’s for the city-weary who don’t mind not being waited on, and simply seek a respite from the urban war zone.

Veteran Photojournalist enjoying a cold brew at Fred's (L-R) Melvyn Kalderon, Rick Rocamora, Pat Roque, Ray Panaligan, Luis Liwanag and Gil Nartea

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Holy Week 2012

THE village called Kapitangan in the town of Paombong in Bulacan is a known pilgrimage site that teems with devotees during Holy Week, particularly on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. 

It is where Catholic devotees engage in self-flagellation, with a few going to the extreme of having themselves crucified as an act of repentance and sharing in the suffering of Jesus Christ.

This year, five men and a woman were crucified, among them 51-year-old Sonny Bautista, a person with disability. Bautista hails from Hagonoy town, has been mute since childhood and has been crucified for 14 years now.

After his crucifixion, Baustista explained why he goes through the painful the ordeal every year. He simply wrote on the wall with his finger, "Para sa kasalanan ng tao (For the sins of man)."

The Catholic Church looks upon crucifixion or flagellation as part of popular religiosity practiced by people who pray for a particular need or who believe they sanctify themselves resorting to such practices. The Catholic hierarchy discourages such acts, yet its call against what it describes as "popular religiosity" goes unheeded.

The Church allows Holy Week activities that are consistent with the teachings on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Church leaders say it is enough to remember the life and death of Christ during Holy Week through fasting and abstinence, prayer, the giving of alms, reflection, and repentance.

The yearly event at Kapitangan has attracted thousands of spectators, including foreign tourists, curious to see firsthand people who endure pain in the belief doing so cleanses them of sin.

But while penitents believe their souls are cleansed, the Department of Health (DOH) warned them their bodies are magnets for infection that could give them more than a Holy Week agony.

"Due to the unclean process being practiced, crucifixion and self-flagellation may cause infection or worse, tetanus, to the penitent. Tetanus, we have to remember, could result to death," noted DOH—Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Program manager Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy

Another attraction this year at Kapitangan was Precy Valencia, a faith healer and the only female to be crucified. Asked for an interview after being brought down from the cross, she said that she was no longer "Precy" but had turned into the incarnation of the Child Jesus or Santo Niño.