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Showing posts from June, 2008

Anglicanism's SSPX

GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) just ended with conservative bishops declaring their stand against the liberalism of the First World (read as US Episcopal Church) church in this statement.

For those not very familiar with the Anglican troubles, the Anglican ethos of doctrinal comprehensiveness was sorely tested when the US church ordained its first openly homosexual bishop. This was followed by the Canadian church blessing same sex partnerships in church. The church is still very divided on women priests. Some dioceses and provinces have refused to ordain women. The Anglican churches in Africa,South America, Asia and Sydney had enough. So GAFCON was convened in Jerusalem.

The Guardian reports the formation of the Fellowship of Conservative Anglicans (FOCA) as a result of GAFCON. This is a de facto schism. Evangelical Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney says the move would

"order a situation of turmoil" and help to deal with "the chaos caused in the Anglican chur…

Benedict XVI, Style Icon

The media buzz was probably so irritating to the Vatican that L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican blurb had to make a press statement that the Pope doesn't wear Prada.

That started when almost right after his election, the Pontiff was spotted by the fashion savvy wearing red loafers presumbably made by the Italian fashion house.

Here's what the Telegraph says about it all.

The Pontiff brought back red accessories, the medieval camauro, red copes, red vestments and of course the red Saturno cap. Papal watchers said that these fashion accessories were not worn since John XXIII was on the papal throne. In a visit to an orphanage at Christmastide John XXIII was mistaken for Santa by the poor kids. The Good Pope chuckled and never corrected the error! But for Benedict, only the extremely myopic can mistake the Professorial Pope for Father Christmas.

Succeeding Pontiffs Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II were not fashion icons. John Paul II needed only his face to be The I…

Reflections on two friendship days

The Chairwrecker Mac Esposo reflects on the coming Philippine-American Friendship Day on July 4 with this op ed piece in the Philippine Star.

Mac writes

"At best, Philippine-US relations can be considered a mixed blessing. The US introduced public education here as well as the US brand of democracy which we follow to this day. But if we are to weigh what they gave versus what they took — we will find that they took more than what we could afford to give."

Well for our younger readers that's what colonialism is exactly all about whether it was for the Christianization of the islands by Spain, making the islands in their own image by the Americans, the Japanese idea of "Asian for Asiatics" etc.

Our colonial history is unfortunately a part of where we came from. It is in our best interest and sanity to remember its legacy, which is at best mixed.

That's why I think that it is of childish "nationalistic" spite that the Philippines removed from its calendar…

Chasing after celebrities!

The Inquirer has this editorial about Mrs Arroyo dogged pursuit of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Palace apologists see nothing wrong with that. We could agree. After all in many ways Filipinos are still celebrity crazy and will do nothing less than to get an autograph.

But I have to agree with the Inquirer. The celebrity that Mrs Arroyo is chasing is really not yet the lead star. He still has the real chance of not making it to the White House.

Besides she is the Philippine Head of State. Paying the usual courtesies to the sitting Head of State in the White House is part of diplomatic protocol. Whatever she and Mr Bush conversed in that meeting we trust is in the interests of the Philippines.

But it is really in poor taste to chase the presumptive next White House tenant even if the press says he already has the keys to that house. She could at least wait to see him elected and when that happens then diplomatic niceties dictate she meet with him.

Paparazzis make a living …

Who gets the pogi points from Frank?

Jordan, Guimaras - Political pundits here on the Mango Isle (hey! They are found from the lowliest barangay of the smallest provinces to the elite kapihans of Manila) say that Queen Gloria's refusal (even when Frank has caused a national disaster rather than a regional one like previous typhoons) to cut short her glorious junket to the US of A will cost her much. According to the pundits the one who wins the pogi points is no other than the Veep Noli.

Some have remarked that Noli de Castro once dismissed as a talking news puppet, looked soooooo presidential in leading the national disaster response committee, even more presidential than the Queen herself. This is better than the idiotic product endorsement of some senators. This time I agree with the ballistic Miriam Santiago.

So methinks the biggest political beneficiary here is the Veep. We ask the logical question. Did Malacanang intend this? or is Malacanang the victim of the law of unintended consequences?

Ooops. Did the Queen u…

In Frank's wake.

Iloilo City- University of the Philippines Visayas campus- I arrived in Iloilo City exactly a day after Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) passed north of this city (on the first flight after the airport was reopened). While the storm hit Aklan province, Iloilo City bore the brunt of Frank's rainbands. Water was clearly dumped in the city sinking a majority of its districts in up to 4 meters of water.

The road from the new international airport is littered with the remains of washed out houses and vehicles some of which were completely filled in with mud. Not a few of the cars were brand new. Evacuees line the road and many have begun the clean-up. One resident told me that the water just rose within five minutes leaving them caught unawares. The only good thing is that this happened during the day and if it did happen in the night,the death toll would have been horrible, says the cab driver who took me around.

Iloilo is defined by two rivers and a geography the gives the city its name. Resid…

100 nudes so little time!

Yesterday was a blustery day with Typhoon Frank coming to town (In fact he blew through Manila at around 4 AM the next day). It was also the centennial alumni bash of the University of the Philippines at the Araneta Coliseum. After the usual awards had been given to outstanding alums, we decided to go to the 100 nudes/100 years exhibit sponsored by the UP Alumni Association. All the nudes exhibited were made by UP alums and students. These included works by National Artists Amorsolo, Tolentino, Francisco, Abueva, Manansala, Legaspi, Joya, Bencab and Imao.

The exhibit organizers said that there was an enthusiastic reception of the exhibit from UP alums and students. The artists contributed 116 nudes to the exhibit. Of course the nude theme was inspired by the UP Oblation, the icon for everything the university stands for; academic freedom, nonconformity, daringness and of course, the willingness to sacrifice for noble causes.

The nudes drive home things we have missed out so often. 1) Th…

Happy Birthday Dr Jose Rizal!

This Rizal bust is my most precious heirloom. The bust is my only real link to the Philippine Revolution. It dates back to 1899 during the war of la Republica Filipina against the invading United States of America. My great grandfolks were involved in that struggle to defend the Republic against the new colonizers and some offered their lives "sin duda, sin pesar" as Rizal had put it.

That and only that is the reason why my father before me was not able to and I CANNOT PLEDGE allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, despite the temptations and opportnunities that come with it. I simply cannot do it in good conscience.

I have only one country and that is Filipinas!

Anyway, about 4 years ago, the cat once toppled the bust from its pedestal and voila,while we thought it was made of ordinary stone, the bust was made of high quality marble. No senior members of my family can explain why the bust was painted with enamel paint. When the cat toppled the bust, Rizal's…

What is the best thing that the Philippine state can give a citizen? Thoughts on the Centennial week of the University of the Philippines

Would you believe that question cropped up during my family's Pop's day lunch? In the past table talk of a very serious nature only happened when the country was in crisis. The last time that happened if I am not mistaken, was when Erap was being impeached.

With the economic difficulties every Pinoy citizen faces, the owner of the fancy resto where we had lunch ( my sister's best friend) complained that the trendy set with the cash have stopped at worst, or reduced at best, their patronage of her dishes. The trendies have started moving their business to a popular family oriented chicken joint (once promoted by the late "contrbida" actor Mr Alvarado) worse to a popular noodle serving fastfood joint with a siopaw mascot!

No worries, I told her. While we are indeed trendy, we fantasize that we have the cash. Thus we eat at her resto best, once a year! And that if a discount is offered.

Chances are the trendy ones with the money will find themselves trendy still but wi…

Happy Father's day, Gold at the Ayala Museum

The third Sunday of June is Father's Day. Other countries have their own Father's Day. Wikipedia gives the calendar here. Well it seems that we have stereotyped what to give dear old dad on his day. Why do we have to run to the nearest hardware store every June to buy an electric drill?

In Germany, dad gets all the beer he wants!

But that is just icing on what really dad deserves. It is easy to father but extremely hard to be a father. Fathering is both physical and spiritual.

While dad may not need you to show affection for him, he needs your love and prayers.

Prayer is what makes a father go along the way with you.

Sometimes the fact that you are a father dawns on a man in an unexpected way, like what happened to Indiana Jones in the last adventure. But whether you know you will be a dad, or one day you realize that you are a dad, everything changes.

I extend my Father's day greetings to all fathers, biological ones, foster ones, step ones and of course the Reverend Fathers.


Will the real Lesbians please stand up?

Residents of the island of Lesbos have lodged a suit in the Greek courts to have exclusive rights to use the adjective "Lesbian" to describe themselves. In the BBC World news coverage, reporters interviewed several "male Lesbians who are married to women". The residents of Lesbos say that the word "Lesbian" as it is used to describe homosexual women, insults them. Protesters have unfurled banners saying "If you are not from Lesbos, you aren't Lesbian", "Proud to be Lesbian and straight!"

The most famous Lesbian is a woman poet named Sappho who in her poetry expressed her love for women. The adjective "lesbian"comes from the name of her island. So that's the reason why the residents of Lesbos are up in arms.

Perhaps a compromise can be had. Lesbos residents can have "Lesbian" and homosexual women can have the more accurate Victorian term "Sapphist" to describe themselves. That word fell out of use in …

Tigers in Palawan

The University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) recently announced that scientists working on the Palawan Island Palaeohistoric Project have unearthed the fossil remains of tigers in Ille Cave in the Dewil Valley, El Nido, Palawan.

This is an important discovery on the prehistory and evolution of Philippine biota. The Philippines has long been known known by biogeographers as a fauna that lacks major representatives of Asian animals. While we have a unique fauna, most of these are characteristic of oceanic islands. We have a high biodiversity of rats, since they rapidly evolved in the Philippines with the lack large predators. The largest land carnivore in the Philippines is the reticulated python while the largest aerial predator is the Philippine eagle. That was before this tiger discovery.

Even then palaeontologists have long known that large herbivores such as elephants roamed the larger Philippine islands. Their fossils are often found and are on display at t…

Bombs at the National Science Complex, Notes on the military history of UP DIliman

The Dean of the College of Science, Prof. Dr Caesar Saloma sent us a memo about WWII era bombs at the construction sites of the physics and chemistry institutes at the National Science Complex (NSC). He advises all concerned to keep out of these sites until the Philippine National Police has given the all clear.

When we were doing the urban ecological survey of Diliman, we, the students and I did survey work on these sites! Thank God nothing untoward happened to us!

Nonetheless, I was appointed as faculty point person on the construction of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) building (a thankless job!). I need to talk to colleagues about their ideas on how the building ought to be or look like, engineers and architects and of course the bureaucrats who hold the money. So far the consensus is that it should be environment friendly.

Since the proposed site of the IESM building is just 150 meters from the physics building, it is likely that the site may have bom…

Pilipinas kong hirap!, Woman bishop visits Manila

Today is the movable feast of Philippine Independence. Back in the good old days, Queen Gloria decided in several executive orders to move national secular holidays to the nearest Monday. The idea was that with a longer weekend, people would have time and money to spend, thus adding gas [pun intended!] to the consumer driven economy.

Her Majesty was able to convince Congress and this became law. But people still consider June 12 as the real Independence day.

But that was when people had money to spend. Today we see "Pilipinas kong mahal" posters all over Manila, even in front of the NFA offices and warehouses where the poor line up for hours for cheap rice.

So it is no wonder that today is Paghihirap holiday for a lot of people. The government has said that it can't do anything to stop the fuel price increases.

People have very little to look forward to this Christmas. Gas can end up at 75 pesos or more per liter.

BTW, The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bi…

Only in the University of the Philippines Diliman

While some freshies may have a bit of separation anxiety this coming term, UP is really heaven to adolescents who want to find their own identity. It is the only school in the country that BANS PARENTS! Parents are not allowed to enter certain areas of campus even if they fork out 21 K a sem for tuition for their kids! You won't find a sign like this in any of the private schools! This is good training for life, after all you can't keep on running to Mom and Dad everytime things get difficult, can you?
When I was a freshie, Dad (Law '52) just dropped me off at the steps of Palma Hall on the first day of class and that was it. I was on my own. My first class (7:00 AM!) was English I under Professor Yap and only until then did I realize that I was really on my own. What I can clearly recall on that first day was a dozing Benjie Paras on the back row. Of course Prof Yap wouldn't have any of that! Foul!

My 300th post: Hillary's consuelo, Gloria's "Let them Eat Cake" moment?

The Hillary postmortem has begun! The online blurbs like this one from Belfast, Northern Ireland has this to say. The Hillary Deathwatch in has an image of the sinking Titanic except that the ship hasn't split into two! Most analysts agree that Mrs Clinton herself had become her own iceberg!

Nonetheless the End for Mrs Clinton is here. When CNN political pundits start talking about a possible run at being Veep, a Secretaryship of State, a Supreme Court nominantion then we know that the last rites have been said. But Obama fans are not amused since the campaign between Hillary and Barack has generated a lot of bad blood. The Dems have to ensure party unity now.

Hillary should have bowed out more than a month ago!

Perhaps the biggest consuelo de bobo now in the blurbs is this

"Hillary has opened a lot of opportunities for women. Women have been inspired just by watching her."

Haven't we heard this before? With schadenfreude? My friend from Delaware may be right, s…

Why the bishops need to sign up for Biology 10: CB CP backtracks on GM food, Catholic hypocrisy and the way out

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines's (CBCP) Committee on Bioethics chaired by the Bishop of Malolos Jose Oliveros has this statement expressing optimism that the Vatican will endorse genetically modified foods if just to help ensure global food security.

The statement also says that unless the Vatican says otherwise the CBCP will remain opposed to genetically modified food!

But that doesn't match with the Vatican's neutrality on the issue until scientific data says otherwise. The CBCP has ignored scientific findings and has taken on the politically noisy and media grabbing NGO environmentalist bandwagon!

The Vatican has a much better sense of natural phenomenon and reality than the CBCP. Why can't we have a Pinoy bishop as razor sharp as Benedict XVI?

Nonetheless the bishops and priests really need to enroll in this coming semester's Biology 10 class. Here they will learn that genetic modification is not a new thing and that nature has been doing it s…