Sunday, July 27, 2008


The final hand-over was fleeting, surreal, and almost too easy.

First, Notebook 1 has been delayed by 7 months. I deeply apologize for being such a pain in the ass of its last 5 pit stops, especially to jobarracuda who got only 3 days to work on his spread. I was just following instructions, Wilfredo Pascual having asked me to follow-through the notebook’s journey.

I initially proposed July 19 as the date of the final hand-over. However, Notebook 1 was again delayed and we moved it a week later on the 26th. Being the Lagalags that we are, we were racing against time: I am preparing for a trip to the US, we have to catch jobarracuda before he goes back to China, and The Dafinator is leaving for Indonesia.

Disappointingly, not many of the Philippine pit stops responded to the invitation for a grand pansit EB. So after a series of text messages and phone calls and flickr mails, we agreed to move back the hand-over to July 24. It was the flickristasindios’ Thursday mamam sessions and they graciously allowed us to piggy-back.

The Dafinator, however, was not sure of making it. Perhaps it will just be a meeting between Notebooks 1 and 2. Worse, it rained. Hard.

On the 24th, I was the early bird at Fat Johnny’s Grill along Timog Avenue but just in time to catch the Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter who was about to leave because she thought she was in the wrong place. jobarracuda was 30 minutes late. The Dafinator made it along with hubby Patrick Paez. We pored over the notebooks, jobarracuda and I alternating in narrating our own stories, Patrick Paez shooting us with a handycam, and PDI’s Jocelyn Uy doing her notes. We took our shots, had some more chika-chikas, before rewrapping the notebooks in their plastic packages (Notebook 1 in what looked like a cream JRS Express pack and Notebook 2 in a red National Bookstore plastic bag). And then it was over.

The Dafinator and the press left; jobarracuda and I joined the indios’ mamam session. Notebook 2’s akumach who recently arrived from Japan came later. Then angrylittleboy also of Notebook 2. I had a grand time meeting the people behind the flickr names. By 11 pm, I had too many beers and felt like crying. I was missing Notebook 2. It was with me for 7 months and letting go was anything but easy.

But the journey must continue. There will be another party to send-off the notebooks to their final journey. And the hand-over was front page on the Inquirer’s July 27 issue.

PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom): (1) The Lagalag notebooks' meeting for its penultimate pit stop; (2) Lagalag meets the press and its last pit stop; (3) jobarracuda (left) taking a call from US-based Wilfredo Pascual while angrylittleboy (middle) and akumach looks on; (4) the flickristasindios' Thursday mamam session, and; (5) the night's performers at Fat Johnny's Grill.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Abet never made it to UP.

His father said yes, they can manage, but his mother was more pragmatic. College in Manila is just too expensive for them. “You should try PMA instead”, she said, “they pay you to study”. Abet crumpled the filled-up UPCAT form and threw it in the banauang. The ball of paper seemed to resist the flow at first, marooned in the small dimples of whirlpools, before the current triumphed and took it away.

Abet never made it to PMA either.

He took the entrance exam and spent several early mornings forcing his 16-year old body to do this much push-ups, sit-ups, and running within this much time. But he missed the cut by a whisker.

Abet never made it to high school that year.

The frustration of UP and PMA was just too much. It was the nascent year of the Samahang Dilim, and they got so notorious that Abet was refused a permit to take the NCEE. “You will only pull down our passing rate,” said the coordinator. But his mother had connections and got him a permit although he was not allowed to join the review classes. In 1987, Abet made history by being the only senior student not to graduate while registering the 3rd highest NCEE score of his school. It made him a legend that is still remembered until today.

He would try UP again in another time with a different name.

But then again, Bertong Langis’ measly NGO salary stood in the way. He was thankful to K who helped him inquire on a graduate course on Philippine Studies but his only moment there would be an overnight stay during the last big mobilization before the great split.

On UP’s centennial year, he finally got a certificate from the university for presenting a paper during an international conference. It came with a centennial key chain too. Good enough. But the fascinating world of Hogwarts would always be tops for him. It gave him his wings and the winds to fly on.

Profile: The UP Chapel

The Univeristy of the Philippines’ Church of the Holy Sacrifice is the first circular and thin-shell domed chapel in the Philippines. Its construction was spearheaded by UP Chaplain Fr. John Delanney (SJ) in 1955 following the design of National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. The chapel is a treasure trove of art work contributed by the following renowned Filipino artists: the murals of the Stations of the Cross by Vicente S. Manansal with Ang Kiukok, the crucifix and the altar by Napoleon V. Abueva, and the floor mural on the River of Life by Arturo R. Luz. On October of 1985, Kabagis Manny Lazo from the Tribe of Lam-ang: Dagite Natutured, Nalalaing, Nabibileg, Nasisiglat of Hogwarts was felled down by a sniper during a demonstration along Taft Avenue. A luksang parangal was held for him at the UP chapel for almost a week before he was brought back to Hogwarts then to Nueva Vizcaya where he was buried as a hero.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


(a-wa) o kodwa u zo-nge li-sa namhlange
(a-wa a-wa) si-bona kwenze ka kanjani
(a-wa a-wa) amanto mbazane ayeza
She’s a rich girl
She don’t try to hide it
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

He's a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
Sing ta na na
Ta na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

People say she’s crazy
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well that’s one way to lose these
Walking blues

She was physically forgotten
Then she slipped into my pocket
With my car keys
She said you’ve taken me for granted
Because I please you
Wearing these diamonds

And I could say oo oo oo
As if everybody knows
What I’m talking about
As if everybody would know
Exactly what I was talking about
Talking about diamonds on the soles of her shoes

She makes the sign of a teaspoon
He makes the sign of a wave
The poor boy changes clothes
And puts on after-shave
To compensate for his ordinary shoes

And she said honey take me dancing
But they ended up by sleeping
In a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights on
Upper broadway
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

And I could say oo oo oo
As if everybody here would know
What I was talking about
I mean everybody here would know exactly
What I was talking about
Talking about diamonds

People say I’m crazy
I got diamonds on the soles of my shoes
Well that’s one way to lose
These walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of your shoes
--- (Paul Simon)


The memory of that wonderful dinner will linger long. The precious gift of old Manila pen-and-ink illustrations by Felipe V. Adriano, Jr. will be cherished. It was the time of my life with a Diamond Class flikrista with whom I claim affinity for the common subjects we try to capture with our lenses. I am honored and grateful. May I reciprocate by dedicating to her several of my photos of existing old Manila churches. It’s not much of a diamond but it comes from the heart.

PACO CHURCH, MANILA. The Franciscans built the first parochial buildings of light materials in 1580 that was probably rebuilt with stronger materials in 1599 by Fr. Juan de Garrovillas (OFM). This was burned down during the Chinese uprising of 1603, rebuilt, burned down again by the invading British in 1762, and replaced with a temporary structure in 1791. Fr. Joaquin Segui (OFM) who built a stone convent in 1793 probably built another church. A new stone church was started to be built by Fr. Bernardo dela Concepcion (OFM) in 1809 while Fr. Miguel Richar (OFM) added a bell tower in 1839. The church was probably damaged during the 1852 earthquake, repaired, then destroyed during another earthquake in 1880. Fr. Gilberto Martin started rebuilding the church in 1881 that was partly destroyed by a typhoon in 1892 before being completed 1896. This was razed during the Filipino-American War and, in 1909, a temporary church was built beside the ruins of the old one by the Belgian missionary Fr. Raymundo Esquinet of the Congregatio Immaculatie Cordis Mariae (CICM). The present church was started to be built by Fr. Godofredo Aldenhuijsen (CICM) in 1931 based on the proposal of Fr. Jose Billie (CICM). It was damaged during World War II and repaired in 1948.

SAN MIGUEL, MANILA. The Jesuits probably built the first parochial structures during their administration of the San Miguel ecclesiastical district in 1603 until 1768. The Franciscans took over the mission in 1777 and in 1835, Fr. Esteban Mena (OFM) was reported to have started building a church. Fr. Francisco Febres (OFM) made repairs and improvements after the 1852 earthquake. The church was destroyed during the 1880 earthquake and rebuilt by Fr. Emilio Gago (OFM) in 1886. It was rebuilt IN 1913 through the patronage of the Roxas clan and was sedignated by Msgr. Michael O’Doherty as a Pro-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Manila after it was inaugurated in 1913.

SAN JUAN DEL MONTE, SAN JUAN. The Dominicans built the first parochial buildings in 1602 that were razed during the 1639 Chinese revolt. These were rebuilt in 1641, razed during the British invasion of 1763, and rebuilt again in 1774. The city of San Juan is unofficially the "Town of Philippine Presidents" having had 5 Filipino presidents as residents namely Diosdado Macapagal and his unpopular daughter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, and Elpidio Quirino.