Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to water your plants effeciently, plants make matter out of energy while human beings consume much matter to make less matter while producing much waste matter! etc...

I was watering our plants when I noticed that some of
them were still wilting. A little investigation showed
 that despite the amount of water I sprayed on them, 
it was not reaching the roots.The water
 was deflected by the leaves and because it was sprayed,
the water was just wetting the soil's surface.
To solve the problem, I attached a PVC pipe
 to the hose so that the water could be directed to
where it could best reach the roots, the base of
the plants.

Watering plants is a very relaxing activity, a good stressbuster. It is refreshing to see the spray water hitting the leaves; the branches bowing and swaying with it. It's  as if the plants are dancing to show their gratitude. Of course, I am just imagining it; plants don't have emotions. 

Plants are amazing.One day, I noticed that one of my plants had grown too big for its pot. It had exposed its main roots, raising it out of the pot, while the hair like secondary roots have clogged the pot's drain hole, and were already clawing its way to the earth. As if it was reaching for its mother or godparents or something.

As the photo shows, the PVC pipe made it easy for me
to target the root of the tree especially those that are
located at the back of other plants and other difficult to
reach areas. Also, the water is directly fed to the roots
 instead of just spraying which is wasteful.
I noticed that though the plant had grown much larger, the amount of soil in the pot had not changed significantly. It did not lose the amount of soil equivalent to the matter present in the grown plant. A little sense of the common sense told me that plant should have consumed  the equivalent or proportional matter necessary for its present size. It should have consumed the soil, the pot and the gardener! But it did not. It grew without consuming matter, at least visible matter!!! (!!!!!!!)

Guess that's  why they call them producers.

So this meant that the plant manufactured matter out of the energy it absorbed from the nutrients of the soil. It also used energy of the sun to process these nutrients i.e. photosynthesis. There's nothing mysterious about this and any grade school children could explain the process easily.

But as I was watering, I kept thinking about it. Energy, that is, chemical energy and solar energy and other stuffs were transformed into matter.

This is where I noticed the problem. I sprayed water
on thisarea thinking that the more I sprayed the better.
But I noticed that some of the leaves were wilting.
I took a closer and I found out that the water
was not reaching the base of the plant; and with
 this summer heat, the water on the leaves and
on the soil evaporated quickly leaving the inner
under part of the foliage dry.Here, I looked for the  base
of the plant and "injected" the water directly  into the

Let me put it this way, animals, or people grow because they consume matter; they eat.

Let us  consider people.

Imagine the amount of milk a baby has to consume before it reaches its first year. Simple rough mathematics would show us that it has to drink ten times a bathtubful of liquid matter called milk before it grows big enough  to consume semi-solid food. This takes about a few months to a year depending on the genetic make up of the infant.

Another advantage is that I can now water my mother's
orchids without watering a neighbor or two who are
passing by or are sitting on benches below our
perimeter wall. Before, when I spray water,
 I sometimes would hear little voices shouting   "Hey, there's
people here!" 
Now, after the baby's first year, it now developed the necessary biological equipments (called teeth) for it to be able to consume solid food.

Again, simple mathematical calculations tell us that by the time it reached it's teen years, it has already consumed about 30 tons of Gerber Baby Food, 80 tons of rice and other staple foods like potato, veggies, peanut butter, soil, booger, etc. Add to about 50 tons of junk foods.

So, a rough estimate of the ratio is that it would take about 180 tons of assorted matter from vegetables, meat, milk and booger, for the baby that weighs about 9oz at birth to reach its average teen weight of around 80 lbs.

Aside from the consumption of matter for growth, humans also produce wastes. Of course it's only natural since this is part of ecology. Our waste products like urine, shit, fart, etc. are used by the plants, all part of the oxygen-carbon-foodweb system.

It is time to refresh the
leaves by spraying water on them.
But with capitalism and materialism and consumerism, humans are now producing wastes that are toxic and are not part of the ecological system. Where do they go?

Anyway, a person must have consumed about a million times of his bodymass from birth to death and about half of this are waste matter excreted by the body. So, that  still leaves about half a million times his/her body weight...

But plants are different, they literally make matter out of energy. So. of all of God's creations, plants are very special. They produce stuffs and we live off their leaves, flowers, fruits, barks, etc, and we also consume their farts as  well (FYI, oxygen are their waste products).

I mean, Noah even used them to build the ark that would save humanity and some animals for regeneration after the great flood. Plants did not have to go to the ark; they became doormant. After 40 days of flood, and the sun shone on them, they sprang back to life. (How else could it be when God did not tell Noah to bring seeds and stem cuttings into the ark?)

Wonderful eh!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

War games, how to make your own assault rifle, summer memories...

We had a lot of banana trees then. We used to make camps inside
a banana cluster. We laid rice sacks for flloring and re-arranged
the leaves to make a roof. This humble plant is now extinct
in our neighborhood. (Photos taken from the school)
One of my favorite childhood games is war games. 

My friends and I divided ourselves into two teams and at the count of ten we would then proceed to our zones and try to shoot each other with imaginary rifles.

It was a game of teamwork and tactics. For weapons, we used the most abundant material we had then, bananas. We made rifles and pistols using banana stalk. Not content with small firearms, we cut the banana trunks and made mortars and canons, too. Of course our wars were not complete without a bunker and to build one, we stack banana trunks joined by bamboo shafts. 

Cut a banana leaf and pare off the leaves leaving the stalk clean.
Plastic toys were not popular then. China
was still the sick dragon, the sleeping giant of Asia
and her manufacturing prowess was still two decades into
the future. Most of the toys we had then were mostly
made in Taiwan.
During summer vacation, the games could last for weeks. It was not just games, there were story lines taken from World War II movies. 

I still remember the movies that captured our imagination: "To Hell and Back" a movie about WWII hero  Audie Murphy played by Audie Murphy and Kelly's Heroes starred by Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas, the bald guy.

Afternoon TV then was not as crowded as today; afternoons were usually reruns of WWII movies or  Sir David  Attenborough's "Life on Earth" series. It was martial law, TV was regulated. 

Once the stalk is cleaned, cut it in half.
Make a hole near the base of the lower half.
Once the game started, we all left reality and we were transported into WWII European theater were American and Allied forces battle it out with Hitler's SS troopers. We hid, we crawled, we ducked, we climbed trees and forgot lunch and household chores. 

Hunger did not bother us and we never stopped until our parents hollered for us. Some of us were grabbed by the ears while others were slapped on the buttocks, this was normal and child abuse was a thing not thought of by our parents nor by us children. Our parents were our parents and to disobey meant punishment. That's the way it was; of course, everything is different now and not for the better, may I say.

Insert the upper half of the stalk and then bend it to make the
handle. It should be longer for it will  also be the rifle's
barrel. Cut another hole fr the ammo magazine.
There were times we went out of our neighborhood to play with children from the other side of the sitio. Their leader and us (children.like the rest of humanity are tribal by nature) sometimes agreed to do war games, but this time it was held in a larger area with more children involved. Often this lead to fist fight (not me, usually its Tonio), rock throwing and broken jalousie blades. But it was always settled, usually by the parents. That was when neighbors knew each other. Today, I don't even know the people who live a few meters away from us because they are transient.

The rifle is complete and is now ready for test firing.
Our backyard was a rice field. (Today, it's a depressing squatter's colony). We had all the space we needed for outdoors game. Softball league was annually held there.

We also played foot ball, soft ball, hide and seek and tag. 

Compared today, it is sad to see children playing games in small, confined spaces. Also they are now into computers and other cyber games. Physical activities is limited.

Imagination is a wonderful thing. It is what made my childhood very memorable. I believed this is also true with my contemporaries.  The lack of toys was compensated by creativity and improvisations. Not only did we make our own toys, we also created our own reality, a place where everything was possible. 

Our minds were stimulated by natural things that surrounded us. Our house was a banana clump curtained by rice sacks. Our radio was a bubuyog trapped in a matchbox. To turn it on, we tapped the box and out came a buzzing sound, our music. Our food, guavas that abounded in the area. Our drinks, suntan nectar which we sucked and then we twirled to send it off flying. 

Creativity made up for what we lack in material things.

Fun is free. It's all about the power of a child's imagination. We should not kill the child in us. Work, stress, pressure, all these supresses the child in us and in the end, sucess and having stuffs may not matter if we do not have the child's ability to enjoy simple things. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I hate to admit it...The Legal Wife

The fight is on. Will Angel seek revenge by having an  affair
with JCDevera or will she fight for her husband by engaging
Maja in a fight for Jericho's love? Will Jericho suddenly came
to the realizationthat he's gay and he ends up having an
affair with JCDevera?

My wife is hooked on "The Legal Wife", ABS-CBN's new drama. The plot is cliche: a married guy fell for his wife's best friend and they end up having an affair. My wife religiously watches it. Again, I hate soap opera, and as much as possible I avoid it because the stories are cliches. I keep telling my wife, " that's too predictable!" Of course she plays deaf to my teasing. 

Though I do not watch actively, I'm either on the PC or playing guitar or reading, I still catch whiffs of the dialogs and the drama and the next thing I know, I was already asking my wife what just happened.

The series' main draw are the actors. ABS-CBN pooled together its most bankable dramatic stars and billed them in this series. Angel Locsin played the role of a loving wife very well especially when she tries to control her intuitions and allay her suspicions about her husband. 

The fact that many fans are getting angry at him means  that Jericho Rosales is playing his role very well. His portrayal of a philandering husband is convincing from the struggle of ending the affair early on, the lying and pretensions, the shuffling from Angel to Maja,up to the loss of self-control. 

I hope the network don't strecth the
series too far and end up borng the audience.
Maja Salvador's acting, for me, is a little stiff. Her portrayal of a troubled daughter is unconvincing. Maybe its her facial expressions; she's trying to do a minimalist and restrained acting a la Jaclyn Jose but its not working. Maybe it's because I am used to seeing a wacky Maja. But its not a problem, she's one beautiful adulteress and that's enough to compensate for the acting. 

The supporting stars are also big shots in showbiz, so the star power alone is formidable.

Gay theme

There's a little sideshow about Angel's gay older brother. The story can do without it, but I think its a reply to GMA 7's "My Husband's Lover.". Anyway, this is now becoming the trend on TV and I believe its intentional to desensitize Filipino about the issue of homosexuality. So, I'll leave at that.


Expect a new series from GMA 7 with the same theme. This is crazy.

Too early for dirty movies, aerobics, basketball leagues and physical fitness

(Photo from the web.) Exercise is essential to good health.
 I had a former drinking buddy whose philosophy in life was
 to drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die. 
He told me that if you're going to die  you will die. 
Of course, this is true. Exercise may not prolong your life 
(of course it does, but granting the arguement) 
but it will improve you living your life. Imagine you are 
destined to live up to 100 years but you  did not
take care of your health, and becuase of this, you
 suffered a stroke at age 40 that left you a vegetable.
Do the math, you have 60 years of vegetative life 
ahead of you..
My wife and I came home from our morning walk. As usual, our morning ritual is for her to sweep and clean inside the house while I do the yard. I turned on our little radio and started sweeping the fallen leaves and pulling out weeds etc. Then I heard an interesting sound coming from a neighbor's closed door. 

"Ah, ah, ah, yeah, push, push, oohhh!" I overheard. I continued on with what I'm doing while listening to RJ 100.3 FM oldies but goodies.. Then there it was again, " to the left, oh yeah, can you feel it, to the right, ahhhhhh, feels good, right, yeah, do it?" Hmmm...something was fishy. Maybe it was just me and my dirty mind (well it was suggestive!). This time I listened very carefully. I turned the radio's volume off.

I thought, heavens, it's too early to watch porn!  Then I realized that they were watching an aerobics video. The instructor was dancing to a synthbased music (which sounded like 80's porno theme). After a few minutes, two ladies, my neighbors, came out sweating and smiling.

Photo not mine. I like Asec Eric tayag. His media
exposure especially his dancing communicates the
DOH programs very well . His dance for health advocacy is catching on. 
It's good that Filipinos are getting conscious about their health. I think the dancing DOH Asec. Eric Tayag has done a wonderful job promoting physical fitness to the citizens. Our sitio has a free sumba class held everymorning in the open-air gym. And judging from the number of people who particpates, the program is a sucess.

I noticed that there a lot of bikers, runners and walkers going out every morning. The trend is on the rise. Also, it's summer so a lot of students are also taking the time to go out and engage in physical activities.

It's basketball league season. Some of my kababatas and barkadas are gearing up for the Sitio Bayabas Basketball League. They already have their uniforms and some of them have alrady started conditioning for the games by jogging every morning. Though after a few laps, I often see them under the shade talking. They are middle aged for heaven's sake, abs have degenerated to bulges and speed and agility into something else...wisdom, maybe.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Samahang Pasang-Awa

I was eating my breakfast when I heard drum beats. I looked at my wife; she looked back. Boom,boom, boom. Are we being invaded by Nazis? But it was not even a snare drum, it was floor tom with the skin so loose I could hear it rattling.

I did not pay attention; it would go away. But the drum beat, not in rhythm and with an erratic tempo, came nearer. They were shouting and making speeches. I thought, "heavens, this is worse, we are being invaded by Filipino Nazis!"

I couldn't help it so I looked outside: it was a group of teens doing a senakulo, reenactment of the passion of Christ. This was early. Senakulo was usually held on Good Friday.  

They were beating Jesus with a whip. This Jesus was different from the one I knew. He cursed; he was fighting back. The audience was laughing.

Where's Claudia? Where's Claudia? Some of my neighbors were asking where Claudia was. The neighbors were telling the troupe that they cannot do a senakulo without Claudia.

When I was small I used to fear senakulo. The beating of the snare drums and the shoutings were enough to make me pee in my pants. Also, there was this bearded character. He was chained to a centurion and he goes around shouting mad chasing people especially children and when he caught one he lifted them up as if he was going to throw them orbash their heads. This  scared the hell out of me.

I was looking at the cross and I saw the initial PSB. I don't know what this meant.  There are many senakulo troupe and usually their names  have either Krus or Nazareno in them like SPK or Samahang Pasang Krus, Krus sa Nayon, Samahang Nazareno, etc. I don't know what to make of this.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to make concrete pots that are so tough you can use them as lethal weapons

Ten pots and trays. I still have a quarter of the
cement left for finishing touches. I saved a lot of money
considering that a small concrete pot costs around
 200 pesos in garden shops. Also, the effort is engaging and

I know it's Sunday morning and I'm supposed to be in church. It's too early yet, our church service starts at 9. I have an hour and a half.

Last Thursday, out of boredom, I engaged in a project: making concrete pots and tray. Bonsai trainer pots and trays are not bought in garden shops and if you can find one it is expensive compared to terracotta ones.

I asked a fellow hobbyist and he told me that bonsai pots especially the ones for exhibition are made to order and can costs up to thousand pesos. Of course I will not spend that amount for pots and trays. 

My co-teacher, now retired, gave me tips on how to make pots and trays, and I also consulted Dr. Google. Now I make my own. This is the second batch.

Materials:                      Tools:

Cement                         Shovel
Fine sand                      Hammer
Water                            Spatula
Chicken wire                Glass panel (for squaring the edges)

I used moulds. I poured concrete on food trays of different sizes and then let it hardened for a few days. I wiped the inside of the trays with used oil to prevent the concrete from sticking. Here you can see the chicken wire formed to the mould.  Chicken wire (or wire mesh) is necessary to reinforce the concrete. You can do without it but the product will break easily.  For lesser cost I used junked chiken wires. Also, use chicken wires with small mesh for easy concrete application.    
Apply concrete. I used a 3:1  sand-cement ratio. Here I put a stone on the wire mesh because it is resisting. Apply liberally on top first then the sides. Cover the entire moulds with thick concrete and then wait for a few minutes to harden.
Test the concrete first by slicing through it. If it is consistent enough, it does not sag or stick to the spatula then it is ok for shaping. Here you can see I am removing excess concrete by slicing though it, remember the pressure must be inward to prevent honeycombs. To square the edges, I used a glass window panel. This is better than wood because I can see if the edges on the others sides are proportional.   
Wait for a few moreminutes to harden then you can impose the feet. To create the feet, I use a half inch piece of square plywood. I put it on 1 inch inside the top edges. I applied concrete and then sliced off the excess, again the pressure must be inward to the mould.
Wait for a few minutes to harden. then shape. Wait for two days before removing from the moulds. Finishing touches will follow. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Is Jesus too sexy? Danny Trejo as Jesus, anyone?

Is he hot or is he gay? Naahh..just
joking. I couldn't even pronounce
the guy's name. Critics have a point 
in saying that he maybe too sexy for 
the role because it may distract movie 
goers, especially the abs worshipper,
from the central message of the movie.
Anyway, this is supposed to be a
religous and biblically and historically
accurate (or well researched) movie.
But that's the way it is. I have neve 
seen a movie with an ugly Jesus in
it, maybe there is..
There's a new Jesus movie "The Son of God" , and I heard on the news (I think its Inside Edition on Solar TV) that this Jesus was too sexy , or too hot, as the hosts put it.

Of course movie producers don't know how Jesus looked like. The Bible gave no physical description of him. Maybe because it was not important and what was important was his teachings.

Maybe another thing was that Judaism, the faith of Jesus,  implicitly  did not allow any graven image or any likeness to be made; the taboo of idolatry.

Greek philosophers, emperors and other  great men way before Jesus have busts or statues or icons and other representation made for and about them but for the Christian messiah, none. Maybe it was because he was not really that known outside the small Jewish community that had him arraigned before Pilate, or that what happened to him, in the eyes of the ordinary simple folks then, was nothing out of the ordinary.

They ate crucifixions for lunch, so to speak.

But the Bible did describe the actions of Jesus. He was nice and understanding with women. This may not be much to us today but during the time of the messiah, women were inferior to men. They were treated as chattels. (I don't hate Jews in fact I admire them. Gotta make that clear.) 

Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.
Read an interesting book about Jesus and Women
and it showed how Jesus uplifted and liberated women
during his time on earth.
The Jews then beleived that women were the cause of the downfall of men and hence the cause of human misery. (Even Paul wrote about this in one of his letters). I could only surmised that this was based on the myth of the downfall found in the book of Genesis. It was religious misogyny. There were a lot of rules on dealing with women and most of them were discriminatory and derogatory.

Jesus was revolutionary with his view and treatment of women during his time. He talk with them, defended them. Remember that when Jesus was resurrected, he first appeared to three women.

Jesus walked and dined with taxpayers (in today's Philippine setting it's like eating with senators and congressmen, taxpayers were the epitome of thievery and corruption then), he healed, he exorcised demons, he fed the hungry; he showed compassion and love especially to the downtrodden but he could also be tough. He lashed and drove away the temple peddlers, he  cursed and dished out sarcasms to the corrupt priests and religious leaders.

So after reading about good stuffs about Jesus, it is only natural to picture a good looking Jesus. It is only natural to translate internal goodness to external goodness. It has something to do with how we understand good to be. We connect the word "good" with something that is pleasant to look at, pleasant to the taste, to the ears, etc. Our understanding of good is something that stimulates us positively, something that produce pleasant sensations.

Not only is this true with movies, this is true through out much of  history. Jesus has always been pictured as a good or pleasant (long haired, sometimes feminine-ish, sometimes rugged, sometimes haloed, sometimes of different skin color) looking man.

Have you seen your carpenter neighbor? Maybe they dodn't
that different from Jesus.
As to how Jesus really looked then? I will speculate but let us look at the background.

1. He came from a time where life expectancy was 40. Times of wars, famine, pestilence, hard labor etc. So, one thing can be deduced here, he looked old before he was old. He could be sunburned and may not necessarily wear his hair long and he had no access to hair conditioners.

2. He was carpenter. Imagine a time when there was no electricity, no power tools, the metallurgy was primitive so the iron tools were not that sharp and they blunt easily, no plastic and rubber handles so his hands and fingers were not only calloused, they were enlarged and may even deformed by labor, etc. So he was not soft and he may not necessarily be perfectly toned-- as in having perfect abs. He could look like a carpenter. How does a carpenter look like? I don't know, but they definitely don't look like movie stars.

3. He was also passionate and very smart. Its all in the eyes.

Hmmmm...doesn't have much to work with even on speculations.Well, I'll leave it atthat.

If I were to be asked who could be a most believable actor to play Jesus?

You may not agree with me but I definitely would like to See him play it:

I like Danny Trejo and his life story is inspiring. I would
like to see him play Jesus becuase I saw his soft side on
Kick-Ass. He is not your usual Hero but he did play good
guys quite convincingly, if I may say so.

Now I'm definitely in trouble.

But just like Noah the Movie, the Son of God is also a movie. The difference with Noah though is that this movie and the TV mini series from where this was adapted from was advised by scholars and church (Catholic and evangelicals) leaders and the producers are avowed Christians. This mvie is also endorsed by church leaders.

So, there's this orthodoxy thing going with it. But this is still entertainment.

I am sure the "Son of God" ,pirated version, will be shown in the gyms and in the streets during lent here in the Philippines together with the other lent staples:  10 commandments and "The Passion of the Christ."

The Life of Jesus is not a audio-visual spectacle but a spiritual one. It is not meant to arouse  outrage at what happened to our Lord. It is not meant to elicit rage to his persecutor. It is not even there to remind us of our sins. The story is meant to be read and to be reflected upon and to share to us the gospel: the gospel of hope, grace, forgiveness and redemption.

Watch the movie personally I have nothing against it-- I haven't seen it yet--but read the gospel first.

And again, Hollywood is not a good source of Christian edification, the Bible is.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gardening, Radio, Childhood Memories

It's hot. I have to water my plants twice sometimes three times a day. 
This is necessary since they are planted on shallow pots and trays,
so they dry easily. Direct sun is good for the plants. Many are
asking me why I didn't put a net over them but its useless because
these are local species, well adapted to our climate. Also, direct
sunlight helps in miniaturizing the leaves. It's a survival mechanism
to prevent transpiration, the loss of moisture through evaporation
through the leaves.

It's summer and I have been sitting if front of the computer watching on-line movies, FB-ing, Blogging, surfing for articles, and most of the times doing all these things at the same time. If I continue doing this all summer long, I fear I may gain another ton or so that mostly will bulge in my waist. I  wish they would bulge in my biceps or triceps...

So, I turned on our little radio, tuned in to RJ 100 FM, my favorite station, and started doing what I love doing, gardening.

I have some bonsai materials mostly main trunks that I have left to grow wild for while, and this morning I checked them again to see if they are established enough to "operate" on.

     This a kalyos trunk (streblus asper). 
It was too tall and too straight. I only on small
(1-2 feet) bonsai. Moving andbpruning small 
bonsai gives me back ache how much more 
large ones.There's not much to do about this 
so I left it growing wild while figuring out what to 
do with it.Finally, I decided to cut the trunk to 
about a foot high and pencil-sharpened the
top to create a jin (leader).

 One thing about working while listening to the transistor radio blaring out old songs is that it brings back a lot of memories. Radio still works its magic, at least for me. Old songs especially the ones my father loved to play--Trini Lopez, cha-cha, Johny Mathis, etc.-on our old phonograph player transports me back to my childhood.

        I remember a time when radio was the king of the air. Time when TV especially colored TV was not popular then. It may sound crazy, but back then if you have a vacuum tube colored TV, that means, at least to us children, that you are already rich.

         I remember Thrilla in Manila . I was with my father
( I guess with most of the men in the neighborhood) watching the Ali-Frazier fight on our neighbor's colored TV. I was fascinated by the TV, but what fascinated most was how my father and the rest of the boys cursed everytime a punch was landed, it was as if they were there on the ring. They also did analyses about which i didn't care a ting about. Never did like boxing except when a Filipino is on the ring.


The bark is the lifeline of the tree. This is their circulatory system
where all thenutrients from the roots goes up and distributed to all
parts of the plant and where the product of photosynthesis
from the leaves are also distributed.

Anyway, another thing about this material is that the bark on back side was stripped off hence no branches will grow on this side. When I first saw this material, I was thinking of making a formal (or normal) tree but when I turned it around and saw the stripped bark, it's not possible. 

So, the solution is to jin the top and inevitably the stripped side will be deadwood or shari. Bonsai artists use lime-sulfur to preserve and to bleach the deadwood. I don't know where to buy one but if I do, maybe in the future, if it's cheap, I'll use one too.

Re-potted to a trainer pot and then wired. I defoliated
the top branches to stunt the growth and allow the
lower branches to grow faster. This is done so that
the lower branches will be more mature and larger
in size than the upper branches.

Radio was indispensable. It does it all: news, information, entertainment and public assistance. Our neighborhood was a rice field then and the neighbors were not that close then, unlike today, and when it flooded we were isolated, so radio was our only source of information. MBC-DZRH was our favorite station and the station motto was " Operasyon tulong, aksyon agad!." I remember the DJ was Rick Radam and James Bond Pagkatipunan. I don't know if they are still alive but these people help shaped my childhood especially Radam and his Johny Tanggo (Tanga na Gago pa!), the character he created on Radio. Johny Tanggo spawned a movie starred by Chiquito

I put a layer of moss on top for better water absorption
and to prevent the soil from eroding when watering.

  The operation is done. This is stressful to the tree especially the repotting and the trimming of the roots. The tree is now put under the shade for two weeks for full recovery.

Anyway...it's good to remenisce. Brings me  back to a time when life was simple.

    I really feel old.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Oh no its Noah!

There is a new movie that’s causing quite a stir among Christians, a Hollywood film about the life of the biblical Noah. I haven’t seen the movie yet and the copy on the internet is still unwatchable but, being a Christian, a preacher once, and a former Sunday school teacher, I’m familiar with the story.

The reaction was quite predictable. Like I said I’m a Christian and I know when it comes to Bible stories, it is very important to be accurate to the scripture especially when teaching about the spiritual and moral implications of the stories. 

The Bible does not describe Noah's looks 
and for most Christian (well at least for many), 
we have this picture of Noah as a bearded and
with soft features middle age man. This is what 
our Sunday illustrations pictured Noah to  be.
But he could look like Russel Crowe or my neighbor 
for that matter. 

But Noah the movie is not about the Bible. It does not pretend to be. Even the director admitted that he does not care about the religion of the movie, it’s all about entertainment. Isn’t it obvious from fact and experience that anything that Hollywood made whether it is fiction or factual is primarily focused on the box office performance. Yes there are Hollywood biblical movies especially old ones before globalization and internet that seemed to stick to the Bible but we all knew for a fact that it was made not out of Christian conviction; it was made out of sensitivity to the audience and the market that was mostly the (American) Christians.

Of course what offends the Christian, like me (well, I’m not offended), is the idea of relegating Biblical stories as source material for big budgeted movies along with the likes of Greek Mythologies, the Nordic Sagas, DC and Marvel universe, etc. It’s the thought of relegating bible narratives and its message to profane (secular) wisdom literature retaining the moral but removing the spiritual or turning the spiritual into the mythical. I think, this is what scares (and offends) Christians. It’s the thought of Samson being likened to Hercules, God the father to Zeus, the sacrifice of Jephthah with that of Agamemnon’s etc. 

But they did built the ark based on biblical

My advice, watch it for what it is, pure entertainment. Hollywood is not a good source of Christian Edification.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Lenten Things that make lent Lent...

It’s the Lenten season.

There are many things about todos los santos...

There’s the heat.

There’s childhood.

Before, or a few decades back, lent was a solemn and somber season for reflection on the sacrifice of Jesus. I could feel the funeral aura because no loud music was played, drinking and celebrating was unthinkable then, and it was gloomy as if death was stalking us. This was understood.

God is dead.

Tha Amba. We were taught to revere this statue of Jesus lying
down on his death bed. Visual representation is very important
especially to the simple people who does not have the intellectual
 faculty to understand complex and abstract stuff like dogmas and
doctrines.Of course, this smacks of idolatry, but one has to
understand that language is all about symbols and one can think
of this as a symbol, a 3D visual representation. Remember the saying
a picture is worth a thousand words.. Everything must pass
through our senses and this is achieved by representing
concepts into symbols that can be processed by our mind. 
Take a cue from our Lord Jesus, he taught using stories, parables that
can easily be understood by common folk. He did not do abstract
 theologizing (as we know it today, yet there's nothing wrong with it). 
Most of the abstractions and theologizing stuff was done by the
lawyer Paul. Hence, Paul was a mere interpreter of Christ. It' s not
only a matter exegetics and hermeneutics, a little understanding
of perception, anthropology, psychology and sociology helps.
(not that I know about these stuffs, heck, no!)

Parents kept reminding their children not to play too much or get out of the house for God is dead. "Don't hurt yourself, God is dead, your wound will not heal," this from our parents. Of course, this was crazy but back then, when we were still children, this reminder scared us.  Whenever we get scratched or we bumped our head, we would all be worried sick because the Healer is dead, the bleeding might not stop, we might die of minor cuts and bumps.

Bathing on good friday was a no-no; it’s all about forsaking pleasure and commiserating with the suffering of Christ in our won little ways..

I remember when I was a little kid, going home we used to pass this chapel and there’s this life size statue of the crowned Jesus wearing velvet dress lying on a bed enclosed in glass, the old folks call this the “amba”. Aside from the amba, the chapel was also filled with life size statues of the holy family. Every time we passed by this chapel, adults kept on reminding us to be quiet because we might disturb the “amba.” Because this was repeated oft, reverence for the chapel and the statues inside were instilled in us. Even now as a non-Catholic, every time I enter a Catholic church there’s this aura of respect, mystery and hmm…call it holiness that still permeate in my head. (Classical conditioning, maybe.)

The food. 

Todos los santo's national food! Looks so good that it hurts.
My mouth is literally watering.Visual stimulation and
conditioning, he...That crazy Russian guy and his dog experiments is so accurate. 
Thinking about holy week makes me think of ginataang bilo-bilo. If Christmas is identified with ham and queso de bola, todos los santos’ national food is the ginataang bilo-bilo.  It’s the summer season; it’s the season of sweet potato, banana, langka, coconuts and other tropical fruits. During summer, our neighbors would be knocking at our doors asking if they could get coconuts from our trees and we would be repaid with bowls of ginataan.


Great movie. I like Peter Strauss he is a good actor.
His performance in Das Boot is outstanding.
Peter O'toole is Peter O'Toole. (that means,
 I don't know anything about him.)
I was fascinated by Lenten movies. There was this movie called Masada that was being played on TV then. I was not really into the story, I was a child then and all that interested was the fight scenes and the primitive war machines used by the Roman Legion to subdue the Jews of Masada. I was so into it that I even made catapults using bamboos and rubber bands and had the time of my life throwing missiles hitting objects that I imagined was a fortress.

But it only later that I learned what Masada was all about. It was about the Jews struggle against the Roman Empire. Masada was a Roman plateau-fortress that the Jews captured using ruse (like Gideon, maybe) and later became their fortress. It took the Romans 15, 000 men to recapture it by building ramps and using war machines like battering rams and catapults. The fortress was defended by 900 Jews. Great story but a tragic one. The defenders of Masada committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans. Read the link, or better yet, watch the movie on line.

Film showing is now the norm every Good Friday. Gyms, streets, roads or any open spaces large enough to accommodate a large audience.  Anyway more about movies later...it's lunch.