The barangay, which roughly translates to “village”, is the smallest political unit in the Philippines. As of 2017, there are about 42, 036 barangays all over the country. The barangay captain or chairman, along with his councilors and other officers, leads the barangay.
This post, however, is not about this unique political system in my country. This is not even about the upcoming barangay elections that will be held on May 14.
This post is about the people that comprise the village security or protection force, people who are expected to perform night guard duty, people who act as the local police, people whose duty is to maintain the peace and order in the barangay.
I am speaking about the barangay tanods, which roughly translates to “village guards”.
Why do I write about them now?
As of this writing, the bon odori or Japanese summer festival is taking place at a barangay 2-3 kilometers away from where I live. That village teems with expatriates, mostly Koreans, Japanese, and white people. That village, more economically progressed than the village I live, is one of the villages I pass on the way to work and home.
I am 10 months into my new job and I was one of the unlucky people assigned to the night shift or graveyard shift. Being made a regular employee after 6 months, I was made to join the other regulars who start their rounds at night or around midnight.
Just within 4 months, I endured 6 schedule changes. It was first 9 PM, next 10 PM, 11 PM, 12:30 AM, 1:30 AM, and then 3 AM.
Only one thing did not change: the sight of barangay tanods and a few policemen watching TV at their outpost.
Don’t know if outpost should have cable TV but should not these men be patrolling the streets at those very hours? Probably they were done with their rounds when I passed by the outpost and might have carried out more rounds after that.
Do they? I hope they do and how I wish they do.
In my experience, I had travelled by foot and by public and private transport villages left unguarded and unpatrolled at night. That barangay and the other barangays I pass on the way to work are among them.
What do the barangay tanods have to do with the Japanese summer festival?
On the opening day of the bon odori, on the way home after hanging out with friends, I came across not a few barangay tanods at the street leading to the commercial center where the festival is taking place. Complete cast. In full gear and in high spirits.
It’s not what I see at the outpost every night or midnight on the way to work. When they are not watching PBA, PBO, or HBO, they would be sleeping or chatting. I could not mistake the boredom on their faces or bodies.
I have yet to meet or see a barangay tanod on the way to work at night or midnight.
If they have not been patrolling the streets at night, then I need not to ask why burglary and robbery/holdup persist in the city.
If they have not been patrolling the streets at night, then it’s no wonder why scammers from other cities and nearby towns flock to the vicinity. I was also victimized once and it was night. My aunt was not lucky.
One Facebook friend, who is a critic of government and religion, said “This barangay election, vote for the people the barangay can depend upon, not for the people who depend on the barangay (the office) for their livelihood.”
This 2018 barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) elections, I hope the people will vote for barangay officials who will then appoint the men and women best suited to wear the uniform of the barangay tanod.
Evil runs in the family and in the party
Philippine politicians do not serve the country out of love and in the name of public service but out of greed and lust. This is how poverty gets widespread and evil triumphs in the country. By producing new generations of corrupt and evil leaders, they prolong the suffering of the Filipino people. Evil runs in the family and in the party.
Evil penetrates deep into Philippine society due to the abundance of political dynasties and the popular practice of switching political parties among Filipino politicians.
Stealing the people’s money and putting family members and friends in government offices are not the only things Filipino political leaders are good at. They are also good at changing political affiliations before and after elections.
These people even claim to be patriots. Patriots, my ass! They are tyrants.
They will never give up their lives for the country in an event of an invasion or civil war. They will save their own necks and their own families first… well, that’s the only thing they will ever do.
They know no love and they have no love… for God and country. They only love themselves and their families. They love money, they love power. They love to enslave the Philippines.
Filipino politicians are crooks. I stand by my generalization.
There is nothing wrong with the constitution and the type of government that the Philippines have. It’s the kind of people that rule the country who are wrong.
They will give account on the day of judgment
But it is necessary that they rule the country so the Filipino people will know how evil looks like, how it works, and how it affects them.
It is necessary that political dynasties and political turncoats, sycophants, opportunists rule the Philippines in order for the people to know who their true enemy is. Not poverty, not drug abuse, not mental illness, not environmental degradation, not hopelessness, but them who sit in the different branches of the Philippine government… they who enable them in the first place.
Because of their rule, hope burns alive in the hearts and minds of the true patriots who will one day overthrow them, their families, and their minions.
In due time Philippine politicians, their families, and their minions will pay… with their lives, with their blood on the streets.
The day of reckoning will come and they will taste their own blood on the streets and see vultures feed on their flesh.
The god they worship will not save them. They can no longer hide behind the skirts of their churches or mosques.
Love for God and love for country remain steadfast among the true patriots who are ready to lose everything in the war against the reign of evil in the Philippines.
A glorious day it will be! Genuine love for God and for country will reign once more and corrupt Filipino politicians, their families, and their minions will be no more.
“Love” lost in the proposed new constitution
Lawmakers at the Philippine House of Representatives have proposed to delete the word “love” in the 1987 Constitution, the current constitution, in the move to change the country’s system of government to federalism. The House speaker threatens to hold the funds of lawmakers who oppose federalism.
Philippine Congressmen or congresswomen who support federalism belong to the Philippine president’s party or switched to the ruling party some time after the election… in order to save their political ambitions.
What does this suggests?
This suggests that Filipino politicians have no love for the people they are supposed to serve.
They are in public service not out of love for God and the people. They get into government only for the family name, for the money, and for power.
No God in Philippine government, only evil
They are never for the people, for the country, and for God. The political leaders of the Philippines serve their belly, which is their god.
They use the people to get into public office. They feign love for country to stir the people into electing them. They use and misuse God for personal and political gain.
These people even claim to be Christians or Muslims. You see them how they worship and praise Yahweh, Jesus, or Allah, venerate Mary and the saints, read the Bible or the Koran, or sing Psalms and hymnals.
But deep inside, they serve another god, whom they worship and praise to the fullest once they leave their places of worship.
In the name of God, in the name of their personal savior Jesus Christ, in the name of Allah, they run for public office in order to serve a different god.
They are not in government for public service. They are in government for greed and lust.
The kind of love Filipino politicians have is carnal love and love for money and power.
In the name of the god they worship, they milk the people of their hard-earned money and abuse their privileges and position.
Giving thanks to their god and in accordance to the twisted interpretation of their religious tenets, they claim the country and the people’s money as their personal properties. Evil chooses no religion.
Their corruption affirms that they do not love the Filipino people. Worse, they do not love God. They are no different from the corrupt kings who once ruled Israel.
(To be concluded)
Mocha Uson, the founder of Mocha Girls music group and current assistant secretary for social media under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), unfortunately became the subject of jokes and memes for a reason that should put science and geography teachers all over the Philippines and even her alma mater (University of Santo Tomas or UST) to shame.
Addressing her social media followers and fellow Duterte fanatics while in New Delhi, India for the ASEAN-India meeting that she attended with President Duterte and others, she mistook the location of the popular and currently erupting Mayon Volcano for Naga City, which is in Camarines Sur, instead of neighboring Albay.
Reactions travel fast over the Internet, faster than Olympic medalists Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps breaking sports records. Quick the reaction was, plus the creation of memes that immortalize Uson’s blunder.
As netizens made jokes and memes, her fans and followers defended her. It was just a minor mistake, they said, and it should not divert the public’s attention from serious issues like the Mamasapano Massacre, the Dengvaxia scandal, and the eruption of the volcano itself, which forced thousands of people to evacuate.
A minor mistake? Minor mistake, my fuckin’ ass! It is a world-class mistake. The Mayon Volcano is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Philippines. For its perfect cone, it is one of the well-known mountains and volcanoes in the world.
Mayon Volcano in Naga City? That’s akin to saying the Buckingham Palace is in Edinburgh, the Statue of Liberty in Chicago, Mount Everest in Africa, the Sahara Desert in China, and the Holy Land in Eastern Europe. What next? Taal Volcano in Metro Manila or Mount Apo in Tagaytay?
To err is human, to forgive is divine. Yes, but let not this phrase be misused and abused by Uson herself and her fellow Duterte fanatics. As a member of the populist President’s communications group, she has all the resources – paid for by the Filipino people – to make good research, to gather accurate information. If she is not sure where Mayon Volcano is, she could consult Google, Wikipedia, or Encarta. What’s the Internet for?
It is not a minor mistake. It is a serious one. It is an assault to Philippine geography, although not a serious offense that deserves life imprisonment or the death penalty.
What does Uson’s relocating Mayon Volcano from Albay to Naga prove? The Filipinos’ witticism and sarcasm? Our sense of humor even in the midst of a state of calamity? The power of social media? The need for blogger accreditation?
It is the power of faith, one that moves mountains or erupting volcanoes.
It is President Duterte and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s faith in Mocha Uson being Assistant Secretary for Social Media. It is the diehard Duterte supporters’ faith in her. Above all, it is her faith in herself as a major blogger or social media influencer.
In other aspects too, it is her faith in her boss, President Duterte, and in her legion of followers who will defend her from her bashers, critics, detractors, and many others who oppose Duterte, his drug war, and federalism.
Mocha Uson, the influencer, has faith that whatever she says, people, especially her fellow diehard Duterte supporters, will take her seriously.
Such is the power of faith in its various forms. Faith can move volcanoes. Faith can move Mount Fuji to Moscow and Australia to Europe physically just in time for the Eurovision Song Contest.
To all readers and followers of this blog, Merry Christmas from me to you and to your loved ones.
Thank you very much for reading my my blog and above all, for sharing them on your social media and to your friends.
I hope you and your friends have benefited from my articles and advice. I pray you have learned something new.
I hope I have not only quenched your thirst for new information but also encouraged your creativity and helped you make good decisions.
I would like to apologize for not posting new articles over the past few months. I have been very busy with more.
I have three projects on my back and they are taking most of time and talent.
There are lots of things I have been wanting to write about: the state of Philippine politics, Jpop, MNL48 (more on the Filipina sister group of AKB48), current events, and many more.
Rest assured I will accelerate my progress on their completion so I can get back to updating my blog again.
I ask for your forgiveness and your patience.
Once again, Merry Christmas from me to you!
Hope you will have a wonderful Christmas holiday season!
SKE48 refuses to die even after Rena Matsui (one half of WMatsui) graduated in 2015. It thrives despite decreasing sales and being overtaken in popularity by Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46. Results at the recently concluded AKB48 49th Senbatsu Sousenkyo attest to the resilience of the girls from Sakae, Nagoya.
While there was no upset (Rino Sashihara of HKT48 retains her crown for three consecutive years), the 49th Single Senbatsu Sousenkyo or 9th Senbatsu Election marked the return of SKE48 in the top 16. Led by Jurina Matsui who retained her 3rd place finish, SKE48 landed 5 positions, with 2 in the Kami 7 (top 7):
- #3 – Matsui Jurina
- #6 – Suda Akari
- #8 – Souda Sarina
- #14 – Furuhata Nao
- #15 – Takayanagi Akane
In the 2014 and 2015 editions, the group held 4 positions. In 2016, they had 2 positions (HKT48 had 3). This year, with 5 positions, they attain the plurality and more importantly, the chance to regain lost ground.
Sign of renewed success to come? Since the departure of Rena Matsui, SKE48 has been lackluster. I almost lost my love for Jurina Matsui and company, although she remains as one of my favorite members in the whole 48 universe and SKE48, one of my favorite Jpop groups. I admit the excitement has faded, and they have not released material to my liking.
Or is it that my love for SKE48 is never that strong? That I do not believe in them at their worst? What kind of a supporter that I am? If I can’t support them at their worst, why should I support them at their best?
With the results of the Senbatsu election, I hope to regain my enthusiasm for the Nagoya squad. I hope to renew my faith in SKE48… my interest in their music… my love for Jurina, Ryoha Kitagawa, and Oya Masana.
I want SKE48 to release better material this time. It’s time to make the Senbatsu orange again.
Marvel’s much-anticipated superhero film Black Panther is slated for release next year, and fans can hardly contain their excitement. Moviegoers need something new, something fresh to watch, and it’s not the Avengers or anything that has to do with the X-Men. We’re tired of that.
In the coming days, fans will troop to the cinema halls for Wonder Woman and Justice League. Our piggy banks are getting full. We want to savor the anticipation for the two upcoming superhero flicks from the DC Extended Universe.
About Black Panther, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has just announced the confirmed cast for the film, as what you can see in the photo. Chadwick Boseman, who played baseball icon Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42, takes the lead role of the titular character. Michael B. Jordan, who played the black Johnny Storm in the ill-fated 2015 Fantastic Four, plays the antagonist. Andy Serkis (The Lord of The Rings trilogy), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Zulu, and Taken 3), and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) are among the confirmed cast.
It’s one of the best castings in a superhero film if you ask me. Perhaps second to the Justice League, but nonetheless beautiful… more than beautiful. It’s a description that entered my mind every time I look at the picture, and I can’t be wrong. It’s aesthetically relieving too.
I don’t know if Black Panther is the second superhero film to feature an African-American playing the lead role. If I’m not mistaken, the 1997 supernatural superhero film Spawn was the first. It has been a longtime coming. The standalone Cyborg film of the DC extended universe features an African-American in the lead role, and is expected to be shown on theaters in 2020.
Too bad Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Orlando Jones, and Tyler Perry are never considered for a role in Black Panther or any superhero film. But they’re bigger than superheroes anyway. Of Samuel L. Jackson, he’s got the Avengers.
I can’t wait to watch Black Panther next year. I can’t afford to miss it. But first, I need to watch Wonder Woman and Justice League. Because of Gal Gadot. That’s why.
Word is out that Filipino politicians, many of them supporters of President Duterte, are all set to tax sugary drinks. While I am not against it (because I rarely consume sugar-sweetened beverages), I believe it is unnecessary at the moment. The Philippine government has yet to streamline its tax collection and run after big tax evaders, including eight-division world champion boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is eyeing a compromise with the Bureau of Internal Revenues. Since he’s an ally, President Duterte didn’t harass him much.
The levy on sugar-sweetened drinks as part of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program will not only help increase revenues but also reduce consumption of sugary beverages that contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health related problems. Filipinos die from these conditions because they cannot moderate their consumption.
However, this also means money for corrupt and turncoat politicians and burden for the beverage industry, made up of restaurants, small stores, mall kiosks, sidewalk vendors, distributors, producers, and sugar farmers. As long as Filipinos do not know how to control their consumption of or addiction to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, we need this kind of tax and everyone’s gonna get hurt, especially us who drink sugar-sweetened drinks to relieve our “pain” and “sadness”, if you know what I mean.
But do we need such a tax? For me, I don’t think so. Not now, especially when we still have corrupt, turncoat and incompetent politicians in the Philippine government. Many of them no longer earn the ire of Duterte supporters (“Dutertetards”) because they already allied themselves with the man from Davao City. These Filipino politicians, they are a great pain in the ass, heart, and brain.
And these Filipino politicians are the same fools who proposed a 10- to 30-percent excise tax on beauty products and services (Vanity Tax) and additional taxes on excessive buying of electronic gadgets, which includes smartphones, appliances, and other gadgets. These fools, they are going to tax my two laptops and three smartphones.
Ladies and gentlemen, exercise your Filipino Pride: Filipino politicians are the best in creating additional problems to the people.
Those who walk the road to success look ahead, not back.
Ray Meyer, a legendary American basketball coach, led his team to 37 winning seasons. One year, when his team dropped its first game after 29 straight home court victories, we asked how he felt about it. His reply: “Great! Now we can concentrate on winning rather than on not losing.”
For many people, the word “failure” carries with it a sense of finality. But for the successful leader, failure is a beginning, the springboard to renewed efforts. Leaders simply don’t think about failure. This became clear to us after we had interviewed and studied 90 successful men and women – executives, politicians, sports stars and others – for our book on leadership. Indeed, those who lead don’t even use the word, relying on such synonyms as “mistake”, “false start”, and “setback”.
One of them told us: “If I have an art form on leadership, it is to make as many mistakes as quickly as I can in order to learn.” Another recalled Harry Truman’s famous maxim: Whenever I make a bum decision, I just go out and make another one.”
Fletcher Byrom, retired chairman of Koppers, a construction materials and services company, was asked what was the hardest decision he ever had to make. He responded : “I don’t know what a hard decision is. All I can do is the best I can. To worry puts obstacles in the way of clear thinking.”
William Smithburg, chairman of Quaker Oats, took responsibility for two “mistakes” – the acquisition of a video-game business he has since closed down, and a pet-accessory business he bought and then wrote off. Later he told his employees: “I want you to take risks. There isn’t one senior manager in this company who hasn’t been associated with a product that flopped. That includes me. It’s like learning to ski. If you’re not falling down, you’re not learning.”
While we can’t say the leaders we interviewed hailed their failures, they were convinced they and their people could learn from mistakes. Some years ago, a promising IBM junior executive lost the company several million dollars in a risky venture. Thomas Watson, IBM’s founder, called the executive into his office, and the young man blurted out, “I guess you want my resignation?” Watson replied , “You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent millions of dollars educating you.”
Another attitude shared by these leaders is that they value the adventure of pouring their energies into a task. In each, we found a fusion of work and play. They enjoy what they’re doing too much to worry about failure.
They are walking the leadership tightrope without fear.
From Leaders: The Strategies of Taking Charge, copyright 1985. Published by Harper and Row Ltd, London.
New year, new songs. In my case, there are songs that are the year’s issues while some songs are old gems waiting to be discovered. If I hear them for the first time in any year, I consider them ‘new’ – new to my ears, that is.
Any song that is new to my ears will have fighting chance to land in the list of the best I have heard in a given year. Since I listen to Jpop material, I compiled this Jpop list. I could have come up with a list of all songs I have heard this year but the number of non-Jpop songs I like failed to reach double digits (not even half). I have even left out many Jpop songs from this list. They are all good but not as good as the ones that make it to this list.
The ones I include in this list are all LSS material. They are songs I want to listen to whenever I am in my element or when I turn my player on. In alphabetical order according to artists’ names, I present to you the 12 best Jpop songs I have heard this year:
We Filipinos love fiestas but I wonder how many of us have even heard this song. Perhaps only anime and manga enthusiasts, especially fans of Fairy Tail. This has got to be the most partiest pop-rock song I have ever heard. This is a worthy videoke staple.
AAA, “Lil’ Infinity”
AAA is one of the best pop vocal bands I have ever listened to. Watching them perform in their music videos brings me back memories of pop music groups such as Steps, S Club 7, A*Teens, and Jump5. Their songs are easy-listening and their vocals are more than amazing – they all blend harmoniously. They are a wholesome act.
I’d like to suggest that AAA bring in two more ladies to the line-up, if that is not too much to ask.
Keyakizaka46, “Silent Majority”
This song is one of the three most anticipated 48/46 singles (in my opinion), the other two being from AKB48 and Nogizaka46 (the group’s elder sister act). Keyakizaka46’s debut single impressed me but they failed to deliver on their succeeding singles. Nevertheless, “Silent Majority” ranks second in the best 48/46 songs released this year (again, in my opinion).
Kobayashi Tatsuyuki & Konimi Suzuki, “NEVER-END TALE”
If you are a Fairy Tail fan, you will recognize this as the anime’s opening theme #20. This is Natsu and company’s most powerful opening theme to date. The energy of the song and the vocal prowess of the two artists bring into mind the struggles Fairy Tail endured in their battle against the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros. Listen to this song multiple times and you will really feel the ferocity of their battles, the magnitude of their losses, the impact of their hard-earned victories, and the intensity of their emotions.
Mikuni Shimokawa, “Kimi ga Iru kara”
Fairy Tail’s closing theme #4 is the most soulful of all the anime’s closing themes as if it is being graced by the beauty and melody of Mirajane, one of its most beautiful and powerful characters. The soulful melody and the sweetness of the singer’s vocals give me warmth and I feel it from many angles. From one angle, this is a song to sing when parting ways with friends after a struggle is overcome and a battle is won. From another angle, this is a song to sing to a loved one who is going through a very hard time in life. I imagine this song being sung amidst the sunset.
Nogizaka AKB, “Mazariau Mono”
The aces of AKB48, SKE48, HKT48, and Nogizaka46 combine to deliver what I consider to be the best song out of AKB48’s 10th anniversary single. I cannot imagine the 48 gals donning outfits and dancing steps the Nogizaka46 way. And if you ask me, this is a 46 material, not a 48 one. On the other side, Kojiharunyan is so adorable, don’t you think?
A standout song from the Under Members. I cannot imagine the Senbatsu members belting out this track. In other words, this is specifically composed for the second unit. With its edgy R&B feel, this should become one of Nogizaka46’s signature songs.
Nogizaka46, “Kakikoori no Kataomoi”
Heartbreak songs and songs about unrequited love are best sung by a girl – by the girls of Nogizaka46, that is. This song is better than the group’s another song about one-way love (“Kidzuitara Kataomoi”, their 8th single released in 2014). This one’s not mushy unlike the other one.
Nogizaka46, “Sayonara no Imi”
This is my most favorite Nogizaka46 song now. Nanami Hashimoto’s last single with the group – and their first million-selling single – is the best Jpop song of 2016. No contest. If not, the best by a female act, by a duo or group, or by a 48/46 group.
SKE48, “Sotsugyoushiki no Wasuremono”
This coupling song off SKE48’s 5th single released in 2011 is the thing I need to get over Rena Matsui’s departure last year and forget about the group’s declining sales and popularity this year.
SKE48, “Temodemo no Namida”
This AKB48 (Team B) original has spawned multiple versions but I identify it as an SKE48 song due to its edgy pop sound – and because it’s them I heard singing this song when I was browsing YouTube months ago. I fell in love with the SKE version in one of my most memorable days of 2016.
Fairy Tail fans recognize this as Fairy Tail Zero’s closing theme. The lyrics and the melody of this song perfectly sum up the joys and miracles of friendship and the comfort of companionship. But try to ‘embrace’ the melody and you will feel the pain of parting.
So that’s it, my dear friends! It has been a great year for me when it comes to my music discovery. I believe there are songs that I haven’t listened to yet and I hope to find – and appreciate – them in 2017. Hope you can check out my list for 2017.
Advance Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!