Category: Opinions


Anti Planking Bill of 2011

Never really been a fan of planking. Once my own 2-year-old daughter did something similar to planking and I found it funny and amusing.

I did not teach her to do it but it was something she probably saw on TV. If she decides that she likes doing it, just for the heck of it, I will not stop her, just as long as it is not done with stupidity in such a way that she will expose herself to harm.

Yesterday there was a transport strike in the Philippines and some members of the militant groups who participated used planking in their protests. They used it as a means to redress their grievances. They planked on the roads thereby causing obstructions to motorists.

In response to this, Rep. Winnie Costelo of Quezon City proposed Anti Planking Bill of 2011. This immediately caught the ire of netizens and it was even a trending topic worldwide.

For someone who studied the laws of the Philippines, I am aware that we have many inutile laws in the country. And here comes another one…

I find the bill preposterous not because I feel its trivial. I just think that there are far more important matters that merit the attention of our Honorable Congressman.

The bill does not provide clear criminal and/or administrative penalties. It calls for the corollary drafting of implementing rules from the DepEd and CHED. That in itself for me is absurd. It again seeks material time of these two offices in order to curb planking.

While I understand the sentiments of Rep. Costelo that there are dangers attributable to planking during rallies, it doesnt necessarily call for a specific law that would penalize it. We already have existing penal laws that can address this in case the planking is deemed alarming to others. And if these activists bring harm to themselves by planking, its their call and they subjected themselves to it. But I do not think it is that serious a matter for a lawmaker to instantly address.

The country needs more concrete laws that will address serious problems. I cannot even begin to enumerate our problems (it requires one post per problem ). And honestly, planking is the least concern of any Filipino.

The RH Bill, though certified urgent by PNoy has not been passed into law yet. Some also pushes for Freedom of Information Bill, the Divorce Bill and the review of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. These matters surely weigh more than planking, don’t they?

Having lived outside the Philippines for almost a year now, I have seen that there are major flaws in our laws and in their implementation.

So please Rep. Costelo, focus on these first. We hope that you can focus your time and attention (and the country’s resources!) to more important matters than planking.

Massage at Home

I first tried body massage some six years ago and after the first try, I instantly fell in love with it.

I used to have home service by Jojo. He’s gay and he does all things for us. My mom used to pay for it so I would text Jojo weekly for our beauty regimens. Jojo would give us foot spa, nail treatments, hair treatments and a massage. But after moving from one house to another, we lost touch of him.

I loved his services because they were given to me right at the comfort of my own home and I can have them anytime I want to. No lining up, no need to dress up, no need for travelling to and from.

Then I discovered a Spa in Banawe, Quezon City. I forgot the name of the Spa but it was very affordable. My dear friend Chubby and I would go there almost every week, if budget allowed us to. Evlyn Spa, as Chubby reminded me the name, is right in front of Bench Fix Salon so our Banawe trip would usually be for hair and body treats. I even had the chance to let my hubby try it and he loved it as well.

But when I became pregnant, I had to take a rest from my weekly massage. I promised the therapists that I will be back as soon as the OB says that I’m okay to go.

But since we now live in Mandaluyong, a Banawe trip has become tiring for me and hubby. We have tried nearby spas but we didn’t get to like them as much as we loved the Banawe Spa.

Months after giving birth, on our way home, I saw a sign in Makati that says “Massage at Home“. I got the number and told hubby about it. Hubby, as always, was ecstatic about it and asked me to try calling the number. At first I was hesitant because it might be a phony massage service or it might be run by a syndicate of thefts. We tried it nonetheless and it turned out none of our fears were true.

In fact, it was the other way around! We had a great time such that we would have it as often as we could (weekly, if possible). We have tried different therapists and recently got hooked on Ella. She has been with Massage at Home for many years now and I can personally vouch for her. Not only is she good at massaging our stress away, she is trustworthy and you can sleep all throughout and not worry about your any of your things getting lost. I especially like her Foot Reflex and Full Body Massage. All my body pains and stress are relieved when I get my massage from Ella.

She is the very first person Ira said “Hi” to. On that night alone, Ira said “Hi” to her approximately ten times. Up until now, Ira likes waving at her and now that she can walk around the house, she imitates what Ella does to us by joining in the massage. At the end of the session, Ira would end up with oil in her tiny hands!

I personally recommend Massage at Home. Therapists are always on time and they have many therapists who are of service anytime you want. The only time that their therapist failed to show up was a day after Ondoy (which was understandable). I prefer getting it at home because I save a lot of time and money. Hubby and I need not dress up just to get oiled after. Right after having a massage, hubby and I snooze off to la-la land because we don’t have to travel home anymore.

Massage at Home is located in Makati and they specifically cater to home service. They offer Full Body Massage, Foot Reflex and all other types of massage, and even Facial, as Ella said. They are open daily, from 1PM onwards, and you can call them at 742-1829.

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*This is not a paid advertisement but rather a personal recommendation from a satisfied customer. 🙂

The country is currently swamped with news about the hostage crisis which lasted approximately twelve hours yesterday. TV reports and even internet articles are more or less focused on what happened last night. Personally, I feel devastated. It is even ironic that such tragedy happened at the very place where our current president was inaugurated.

I may not be an overly patriotic person, but I love my country to pieces. And its disheartening that one man’s personal quest now has trampled upon the entire nation’s reputation.

I pity those Hongkong nationals who only wanted to enjoy themselves and visit the Philippines. I pity the members of the assault team because of their unintentional shortcomings and their seeming lack of equipment and/or tactics. I pity our country who must suffer economically because of all these. We can continue to speculate and rant all we want, but lets just be glad its over.

There is no else to blame in this saga but the perpetrator himself. If he had problems with the justice system or if he feels he have been backstabbed by the police service, he could have held hostage all the corrupt officials for all he wanted, but he should not have dragged the lives of innocent people to the mud he is into. If he felt he is in hell for what happened, he should have stayed there and spared others.

Many nasty remarks about how the police handled the situation are being said. But I think they did what they can, maybe not enough, but they did what their trainings taught them. I have several policemen for clients and I sense they are not adequately trained too. The fact that they lacked equipment is not likewise their fault. It is the entire system that falls short of what police service must be. But to personally attack those police officers who happened to be on duty yesterday is in bad taste. I commiserate with the families of those police officers who could have felt like dying seeing their loved ones face death like that.

I don’t know what else is left of yesterday. One thing’s for sure though, lives were unthinkingly broken last night. Even those who survived the ordeal now have shattered lives. I cannot imagine seeing people being shot in front of my eyes. For sure, a lifetime of therapy cannot alter that.

I am hoping that no person can ever think like PSI Rolando Mendoza, ever again. He knew what he was doing was a mistake, but he wanted to prove that he is mighty and that he can hack it. But it is human nature to fail, to go through problems. But the world must not stop when that happens. When he lost his job, it was not the end of the world. His life did not begin and should not have ended with him being a policeman. He could have sold pancakes for all we care, but his ego was just too big for him to handle. If there was a mistake in how his case was disposed of, killing people surely would not reverse it.

I don’t know how this happened. Dang! Even the Ms. Universe 2010 hype has been stomped upon by that hostage crisis. Suddenly, Police Senior Inspector Rolando DR Mendoza is more famous than Maria Venus Raj. Maybe this is what he wanted, after all. But at whose expense? That part he may not have mulled over too much. He was just too keen in getting what he wanted, at the expense of people who did not even contribute one bit to his plight.

Now lets move on Philippines, there are so many things to do. Lets pray together for those broken lives, including that of Ronaldo Mendoza.

The Thursday a week before last, a good friend asked me if I still wanted a reservation at Fontana Leisure Park. I said yes, but due to budget constraints, we plan to go there August or September. She surprisingly said the Villa is free and that I would only have to pay for a meager sum as maintenance fee. So with just short notice, the whole family except for my eldest brother stayed at Fontana last weekend. Even if hubby and Ira just had fever that week, we simply could not resist the offer. But that’s not what my entry is all about. So fast forward to my real topic.

After a fun weekend, we arrived home Monday afternoon, just a little past 5PM. Before we left, we had to close the water meter because hubby involuntarily messed with the shower handle, thus the leak. Our doggie Buster was reeking with his pee and poo combined (ulk!) so we had to wash him instantly. I asked (our newest) Ate to open the water meter. She came back and simply said “nakapadlock po”. I thought she was referring to the railings around the water meter, so hubby said he will be the one to do the honors.

So there came hubby to open, and voila! The water meter was indeed padlocked! By whom? Our good ole’ service provider, Manila Water. I have always taken pride with the fact that our area has good water service.  Even in the latest issue of water shortage in the metropolis, we were not a bit affected. But on that particular afternoon, I wanted to strangle to death whoever caused the padlocking of our water meter.

I immediately went to check our bill and we all realized that we missed the due date of our bill. This month’s water bill was a disaster because we had a flush leak, so there was somewhat a thousand percent increase in our regular bill. Yes, almost a thousand percent! But that’s another story, of course.

I called up 1627, the customer service of Manila Water. A friendly Abigail answered the line. After some verification questions, I went ahead with my complaint. I lamented that they (whoever did it!) shouldn’t have padlocked our meter considering there was no one to give consent because not a single soul was home. Much to my dismay, she retorted that it was SOP that when there is a disconnection notice for a certain customer and their people go to check if it has been paid, and there was no one at home, they will disconnect it. That answer fueled my fire inasmuch as I said they are public utility service, with full emphasis on the last word. So I said, where is the service? For all you know, the customer died. Or someone from his family died. Or he had an accident. Or whatever. It would have been more prudent for them to come back the next day to check if that customer still hasn’t paid.

I told her I have a one-year-old baby and a sick father who cannot stand, even just for a night, without water. I told her further that we have work the next day, and how do they suppose we go to work? Without a bath?

She kindly suggested that I can pay through any 7-11 branch and call them again to request for the reconnection of our service. Dear Abigail assured that it can be reconnected even at night. Okay, I thought.

I asked hubby and my brother to rush to the nearest 7-11 and pay our bill plus the reconnection fee. I told Abigail that I am paying that stupid reconnection fee under protest, just so I can have my service back.

After 10 minutes or so, our bill was settled. So there I was dialing the same number with a different agent answering my call, this time it was Catherine. When I gave her the details of my receipt, she went on to say that it is “possible” that our service can be reconnected that day, with a maximum of five days. Its like the devil got into me after hearing the words “possible” and “five days” that I shouted, “Five days! Do you know what you are talking about!” She went on to show empathy on the line by apologizing for the inconvenience. I said no. Do not give me the empathy spiel coz you do not have an idea as to how I feel. I said I used to work in a call center, I don’t need the damn spiel.

I asked Catherine if she has a baby. She said no. So I said, then you don’t know how I feel. We do not have a single drop of water. I need my service back. I told her that Abigail assured me that it can be done so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I further told her that if they do not remove the padlock in an hour, I will have to remove it myself. She said I shouldn’t do that lest I pay a penalty for doing such. I laughed at the idea of the penalty and told her that when they disconnected my service, it was because I reneged on my obligation to pay on time. But now that my obligation has been fulfilled, I have every right to access to my water service, so in an hour, whether they are there or not, I will have my service back, and I then I hang up.

After about thirty minutes, we heard the faucet in the bathroom running. They didn’t bother to buzz and tell us that they are reconnecting the service. Anyways, I didn’t care anymore just as long as my service is back.

I have usual bouts with these customer service people. This usually happens with my phone service, especially when DSL connection is a problem.

I commiserate with them because I, too, have been a call center agent once. I know how it feels to deal with an irate caller. And yes, I try to talk to the agents as pacified as possible. I just hate it when they tend to give me BS and spiels, which I know they have memorized over time. I especially hate it when one agent promises you one thing and another agent says its not possible. I have had these a hundred of times already and I am sick of it.

Nevertheless, we had a happy ending. We got our service back and we were all happy. I plan to write our provider about this nonchalant treatment of their customers.  My neighbor told me that they saw these people who padlocked the meter and she informed them to come back the next day as no one was home. I understand these people are merely sub-contractors, being measly paid for every water meter disconnected. I perfectly understand too that as customers, it is our own lookout to pay on time. But when no one is home, shouldn’t you think again and come back the next day? Who knows what happened to these people. Even MERALCO doesn’t cut services that way.

I don’t know. Sometimes the word “service” has no meaning anymore. Sometimes business is more important than true service and these utility service providers tend to forget why they exist in the first place.

I’ve had it for stand-up comedians abroad who lash out on Filipinos and then apologize thereafter.

As a Filipino, I watch the bouts of Manny Pacquiao and cheer with all the Filipinos with his every victory. That’s because I am a Filipino and because Pacquiao, admit it or not, is the best fighter this generation has seen.

But my admiration for him stops there. I do not live my life breathing day and night because he is great boxing champion. After his every fight, my life goes on. My admiration for him starts and stops at boxing.

Conversely though, I do not malign him for his lack of education or for his seeming stubbornness to seek for a congressional seat. I do not laugh at his dreams of becoming a politician. That’s his dream. It is up to the people of Saranggani to make it come true. If he pursues his dream further by seeking a senatorial post, or any post which will require my vote, then thats another story, and he can surely count me out.

But to make a sweeping statement that we, Filipinos, do not have lives outside Pacquiao is outright rude. To say that we will die of desperation if Pacquiao loses is much more demeaning.

Oh well, who is this Adam Carolla anyways?

To give him due credit, I surfed the  net to check on him. I do not want to say anything about a person I don’t have a clue about. Turns out that he is not so famous after all. I did not see anything spectacular about him or his career. Up to this day, he is struggling to make himself known. He even got booted out after his 4th dance in Dancing with the Stars. In fact, I didn’t even see a very famous TV show in which he was a part of. He is nowhere near Conan O’Brien or Jay Leno.

This is the reason why he is riding the bullet. He wants a piece of attention. Now he got it — only with so much bad taste.

We may be struggling as a country and we may be embedded with so many problems but we get by just fine. It is true we honor Pacquiao, but that doesn’t make us a bad country — which has nothing else better to do. We just happen to appreciate the prestige he gives us. Come on, who would have thought this man from a faraway province can rub elbows with Hollywood stars? It is really kind of surreal. But he worked hard for wherever he is now. He just doesn’t hit hard. He has the discipline none of us will ever have, and that’s what made him a champion in its true sense.

I have seen many foreign nationals fall in love with our country and with our people. I know that many foreigners have seen the richness of our heritage and culture. I also know how other countries admire Pacquiao and his boxing skills. One man’s unpleasant opinions on us will not and cannot change that.