Saturday, December 03, 2016

MMFF movies and no Enteng Kabisote, Shake rattle and Roll, and Mano Po! My Gawd!

I am not really fond of Filipino Movies except maybe the bits and pieces of ST movies of the late eighties and early nineties, which due to the testosterone over production, made it irresistible for me and my friends to watch cut and spliced scenes from various ST movies on beta and VHS tapes.  

I guess one reason I never fell in love with our movies is Hollywood, the cinematography. Movies are primarily visual and this is where Hollyood movies are good at. They could produce blockbuster movies about nothing yet sell the movie based on the power of its eye popping special effects and catchy soundtracks.

Growing up watching movies filled with crawling ants and amoebas floating around the screen, which I thought then was OK, instilled in me the idea that Filipino movies were bad, especially when compared to American films.

But despite this, I missed old movies because of the nostalgia I feel whenever I see these old movies being replayed on TV. time travel. But its telling that the Philippine movie industry has no plan to restore or digitally enhance these old movies. 

Anyway, I heard on the news that some mainstream, money making, blockbuster and microcephallus causing movies were off the MMFF's list and instead the festival focused on the artsy, alternative and indie movies. This is an injustice especially to the Filipinos who love these movies, this according to an actor who produced one of the movies. Baahhh, I say. 

But this step taken by the MMFF is telling. I could only theorized that even the most objective member of the festival organizers realized that movies with sequels running into the decades is an indication of  artistic atrophy. How many sequels does it take for a movie to exhaust its logical continuity? How many sequels before it turned into the surreal-mind numbing zone of inanity and insanity? How much lime is there in a piece of lemon?

The formula is simple, if it made money this year, it would in the next and the businessman in these producers have one primary goal, the box office at the expense of artistry and creativity.

I guess the MMFF got tired of this. Anyway these are the MMFF entries:

  • Sitsiritsit
  • Birds
  • EJK
  • Manila Scream
  • Mga Bitoon sa Siyudad
  • Mitatang
  • Mono
  • Passage of Life
Nope, I have no plans of watching any one of these. No PBB yet.

Ever the SM and why I even bother with this post...

I feel a sense of loss when this facade was changed to the
blue and grey color of SM malls. I don't why this place did
not make money but the moment the place opted to allow
trinkets sellers and pirated stuff vendors inside the mall
it became the air conditioned tiangge which sells stuffs you
are not supposed to find in malls.
I have been reading a lot of rants and grunts about the traffic in Ortigas Extension nearing junction Cainta. The object of the hatred is the newly opened SM east Ortigas. The place used to be Ever Gotesco Ortigas but it did not make money so SM bought the place and renovated it to the SM east Ortigas Mall.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what's wrong here. In fact, my dog could very well figure out the culpas here (I'm not talking about the whote stuff found inside the foreskin of the male genitalia here, I'm referring to the faults).

Go figure!
Ortigas Avenue has been widened to eight lanes (I think) four on each side. The widening was done to ease the traffic jams and to accommodate the growing number of vehicles in Rizal. Since most of the remaining acreage in the province has been converted into residential subdivision and industrialized zones add the growing numbers of squatters (or to be PC, informal settlers) that migrate to the province due to its growing industry and proximity to Metro Manila and what you have is what you got. 

I like the old Ever Gotesco facade.
But the road widening stopped at the Cainta, Junction. The eight lane road is connected to a two lane that then branch out into the  ortigas extension and the Bonifacio Avenue leading to downtown Cainta, the bottle neck. And the rest is a classic case of cause and effect.

Anyway, when Ever Gotesco closed shop, the traffic eased up a little bit. Aside from the vehicles going in and out of the mall, there was also a significant decrease in pedestrian traffic. But now that SM East Ortigas is now operating, the bottkeneck plus the private vehicles going in and out of the mall, plus the pedestrian traffic, add the jeepney terminals that automatically pops up in malls, what we have is what we got.

Anyway, I propose a very simple solution, let's stop going to SM malls because in the end our patronage keeps this traffic generators in business. I mean, to think that we promote Henry Sy as a business guru and yet his business is doing this to us, the amount of pollution, lost time, stress, materialism etc. is it all worth it? Shetland.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Siomai my love for you

I was on my way to the old Taytay public market to buy lunch when I had the irresistible urge to buy
siomai from this cart. 

Since the two kilometers of main road in dowtown Taytay has been under rehabilitation and the traffic diverted, the place has turned into a street vendor's paradise and one big parking lot.

I saw about five or more of these carts, about one every ten meters and they are selling like hot cakes.

They offer various flavors: pork, beef, chicken, shark's fin, and Japanese. These siomais cost 15 pesos for four pieces. Cheap.

I have tasted the pork and the beef and to tell the truth, I could not tell the difference.

While chewing, I was thinking of words to describe the taste and one that came to me up was paper. But as I continue on, there seemed to be traces of meat but not that meaty, more like a shrimp-ish taste and the texture was pasty.  

The siomais were sprinkled with fried garlic which did not taste like garlic. In fact it had no distinct taste. Definitely it's not garlic, at least the garlic that I know of. Just like the siomais, it tasted like crunchy paper, I had the suspicion that this stuff, due to the texture, was made of grated coconut meat, dehydrated and then fried but the absence of the coconut taste denied it. So, I could only imagine what these stuff was.

Poured on top the crunchy garlic-not-really-garlic was the chili sauce which was a teaspoon of cooking oil with fried chilis floating on it.  It  was an attempt at chili garlic sauce that failed miserably. The soy sauce was obviously diluted with water and finally there's the sliced calamansi and tooth pick to finish the serving. But to tell the truth, after much thought about it, I like the stuff and at 15 pesos for four pieces, don't expect much.

After the siomai, I walked to where my motorcycle was parked and I saw this deep fried breaded liver. I cannot resist walking passed by the pedicart without spearing one and dipping it on the vinegar sauce. I just have to take a bite.

Of course, I cannot help but think about the saquce. I was thinking about the number of people who have dipped and re-dipped their fried liver in it and the thought of other peoples saliva mixing with the sauce. According to studies, this common dipping sauce thing transmits infectious diseases like kissing.

Aside from the sauce, I was also thinking about the liver itself. Did the liver came from freshly slaughtered animals or did it come from "double dead" animals. So all these thoughts stopped me for a while and made me think but then the smell and the...I couldn't resist it.

Street foods could very well kill me.

My EDSA III experience and stuffs about the anti-Marcos rally

  It seems that the anti-Marcos people are trying to spark a movement (snowballing is what this is called, I think, though we don't have snow here, ) to reverse President's Duterte's decision to allow the burial of Manong Ferdie in the LNMB.

I was watching the news last night and I was a thinking, here we go again, is this another EDSA in the making? To tell the truth, I have grown tired of rallies and I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way because these demos cause horrendous traffic jams. Though my only experience in joining one was during the pro-Erap's EDSA III when me and my friends went to Ortigas in support of Erap, I could say, that demos or rallies or whatever you call them is not for everyone.

It was an experience that will never happen again. I mean, the effort and the energy spent to support someone who I did even knew personally and would never care for me, the discomfort of being surrounded by thousands of people behaving like one mindless mass was enough for me to say, hey, that was stupid!

Image result for eraps edsa

We were young (not that young really, I guess the better description would be: we were bums then and had nothing better to do) and it was really a spur of the moment decision. We took advantage of the free jeepney rides provided by politicians to transport people from Rizal to the rallying area in Front of Robinson's Galleria. There were rumors of free food, which there was, and drinks (ice tubig) and of course there was the curiosity, the experience.  But in all honesty we thought that Erap was the hope of the masses and wedid vote for the guy. We later found out that most people in the rally were INCs. Curious as we were, we did not really belong there. 

The morning after, saw the video footage of the violence and the arrests in Mendiola,  I realized how foolish our actions were considering that we almost went along with the march to take Malacanang. Not worth my life.

Anyway, to the present.

Rallies are being held in opposition to President Duterte's decision to bury Apo Marcos at the LNMB. It seems that the Marcos-not-a-hero movement is expecting their rallies to snowball and culminate into a nationwide "people's movement" with enough number and decibel to change the president's mind.

Judging from the number and the composition of the rallies, I predict that the movement will fizzle into a moist fart in a few days. Of course, I could be wrong.

Here we go:

Renato Reyes and his group. I don't personally know this guy. All I know about Mr. Reyes is that every time I turn on the TV to watch news, his face would be there spewing out statements in pure Filipino in that UPish manner in a cadence that I could only say was trademarked by professional demonstrators. Listen to him and his comrades talk, check the rhythm, check the volume, check the angry neck veins and arteries, and look in their eyes, they're all clones. 

It seems to me, that he and his group would rally for any reasons under the sun. But I'm not saying he and his group is bad or evil, it's just that with the way he hugs the headline, I can only opine that he is up for a congress or a senate seat like his predecessor Teddy casino and his ilks. 

I saw former senators Saguisag and Tanada speaking in the Black Friday rally yesterday. These
guys are the real McCoy, genuine freedom fighter who fought and suffered during the martial law era. But I don't think they have the influence like they did during the eighties and the nineties. But seeing them in the rally, I think, gives the rally a bit of credibility especially to those who knew these two ancient ones. But I don't think they could contribute number to the movement.

College students. My daughter is a second year college student at the PUP. One of her first experience with rally is when a professor asked them to attend an activity only it turned out to be a protest of some sort. I am not saying this is the norm but there are professors who give "considerations' to students who join rallies.

According to estimates, majority of the anti-Marcos are college students. This is not surprising, college students have always participated in rallies knowingly or unknowingly. What is confusing is the lack of GnX and Ys, the middle agers, who are the connecting generation between the Millennials and the baby boomers or the senior citizens who truly experienced living under martial law. Why is that? I guess the GenX, doesn't give a damn that much. Our generation have been through a lot of EDSAs and seen a lot of political dramas that I think we are better off doing something else. speaking for myself of course.

 A lot has been said about this photo, but honestly, grade school pupils? 

Again, I don't care about Marcos. He is now buried at the LNMB, a national shrine where K9 are also buried. Whether Marcos is a war hero or not, is another thing which the anti-Marcos should take to the court to settle the question once and for all and they'd better be prepared to be disappointed.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pampahiyang and my New bonsai project and how its done

I stopped making new bonsai projects about two years ago because I lost materials. One reason was that I had become too busy with work and the other  was that I think I had become sloppy with the handling of the materials, overconfidence, maybe. 

So, I took a step back and let the "malas" or bad luck run out before I begin another project.

This is my new material a tugas (vitex parviflora), a variety of molave prevalent in Mindanao. I ordered the material before the long Halloween  weekend and it arrived three days later, Wednesday. It had been in shipping transit for almost a week but the outstanding packaging assured that the material was well hydrated and according to the supplier, could last ten days without dying.

How to do bonsai. The process is really simple.

Let's clear something before we begin, I am not a bonsai expert. I am a simple hobbyist who have no relevant training to speak of nor did I won in any exhibits. I am simply sharing what I know and my  experiences. 

1. Unpack the material and then wash with mild organic soap like Perla. This is necessary to remove fungus, lichens, molds and other organism that are present in the bark and the soil that could develop and hurt the materials while in the "resuscitation" stage.

 This can be done later, but I checked the viewing side of the material. A little imagination is needed here to visualize the growth of branches and foliage and to show which angle of the tree would be the best for viewing. But the primary consideration, at this stage, was the trunk, things like, movement, tapering, etc.

So, I rotated the materials 360 degrees, looked at it near and far. And this is also a good time to work on the trunk and stump branches (or abang) to remove what is unnecessary liked crossed branching because it will be very difficult to work on it once branches and foliage has grown. So, you can work on those stump branches or you can turn them into a deadwood.

But you could also wait later, Personally, after some heartbreaks of removing branches only to realize later that it was necessary, I  now prefer to work on branches when the foliage have grown and I could see an outline. Remember, removing branches is easy but growing them back takes years. So, think about removing branches thoroughly, do not rush at it because the tree reveals a lot about itself as it develops. you just have to wait. Keep those awkward branches until you are very sure of the need to remove it. What I'm saying is that you don't have to rush anything.

2. Medium preparation. 

Medium is the "soil" where the tree is planted. The most commonly used is river sand because it drains, has good water retention, and it does not compact like ordinary soil.  

Here I'm using a strainer to separate the different grades of sand.

In theory, you can use any medium as long as these things are present.
  •  drains well
  •  does not compact
  • promotes and hosts good bacteria and other beneficial organism
  • heterogeneous, means it is made up of  many stuff like soil, pebbles, and organic stuff. This is important because many beginners think that construction sand is a good medium but the composition of construction sand is homogeneous, it is made up of the same white stuff in different sizes. try one experiment, put an earthworm there and check if it will live and thrive in there.
Remember the basic rule of medium preparation: pebbles at the bottom, to facilitate draining; rough grains in the second layer for drain and for aeration and to promote root growth at the same time prevents root rot, and finest grain at the top, to trap moisture in; sort of a lid cover.

3. Potting. You can use an expensive bonsai pot or any plastic container, the important thing is that the material is well placed in the medium. Fancy container could come later in the finishing stages which would be a few years from now.

Anyway, immerse the material into the medium. Make sure that there no vacuum in the contact points. Pouring water while the material is being covered by the medium helps to remove these air pockets.

Tie the material well to the pot to secure the material, any movement could damage the fragile little roots that are starting breaking out which may kill the material.

Of course, the dog is optional. Hehehehe...

4. "Kulob" method. Here the material is wrapped in plastic cover the whole material including the pot. This is done trap moisture and heat in which is necessary for the resuscitation of the material. It's the material's personal green house, an ICU tent. Colloquially among bonsai hobbyists, this process is called, fittingly, the ICU.

Before, I used root hormone but I found out that they are next to useless. I mean maybe they help, but there materials where I used hormones and they died just the same. I guess, it helps the hobbyists more than the material. But root hormones, which is Vit. B complex, helps  to prevent shock and to minimize the stress of re-potting trees. Some use hormones periodically to promote healthy tree roots.

After the ICU, place the material in a secure place free of jerking movements and other disturbances especially from pets and other animals. Do not water everyday, the plastic effectively traps moisture, so water about two weeks in interval.

It's time to wait. In about two weeks, a sprout could come out. But there times, in my experience, that I waited months before a little bud appeared, the material took a long while to get out of its stasis. But as long as the material is still green, you can check this by nipping the bark, there's hope.

Anyway, I'll post about the development of this material.

Maybe my wife has seen me do this to the scores of my materials and maybe she was wondering at what I'm doing. My wife does not ask, as long as I'm happy with what I do, she's very supportive. 

But of course, I keep the cost of these materials a secret from her. Not because she would be angry but I feel guilty spending money on these dead woods. I guess most "impoverished" bonsai hobbyist are like this. Anyway, got this material for 600 pesos plus about 500 for shipping. That's why I stopped acquisition after a few of my materials died. But anyway, the cost is really an investment, in my case an emotional and maybe has potential for monetary returns in the future, but for the moment, I just enjoy my trees.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Finally, Marcos is allowed to be buried. What now? A sort of phenomenology

The Supreme Court has now ruled that there are no legal impediments to the burial of Former President Marcos to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. And again, it would be naive or stupid, a better word, to say that the ruling of the court would settle the issue, heal the wound, unite the nation again, and move on with our lives. 

It would take generations before this issue will be settled, at least emotionally, until the Marcos saga becomes nothing but cold historical facts devoid of  first person experiential and emotional narratives, heck, even the Irish and the British are friends now.

The court has ruled that there are no legal impediments, no laws and jurisprudence banning Marcos to be buried in the heroes cemetery. The nine justices said that Marcos was not total bad-ass, he was a normal human being like you and me prone to commit mistakes. He was a soldier who fought for the country and he had medals to prove it. The cases against Marcos were purely civil cases and hence  he was not guilty of moral turpentine, err, turpitude (what the hell is that?).

The five dissenting Justices opinions on the other hand boils down to the fact that Marcos was the anti-thesis of a hero because he was a dictator and a human rights abuser. He was ousted through a people's revolution and that his burial in the LNMB is a sacrilege to the national shrine.

Now how do I internalize this, what does this ruling means to me as an ordinary citizen who had no first hand experience of Martial law abuses?  

First, EDSA. I was too young then. Like martial law, I had no real and authentic good or bad experience about it. 

What do I know about EDSA Revolution? It was a revolution that ousted Marcos and brought back democracy to the country. Others say that it was a political and a statistical anomaly, or an anomalous event where a minuscule percentage of the population in a minuscule land area made decisions for the whole country without consulting the general population. That it was a revolution of the minority composed mostly of onlookers, oligarchs and a few real revolutionaries.  Look at what's happening to our timeline, right after the Aquino presidencies, things have turned around and the EDSA philosophy  was relegated to a few parks and small ceremonies of few individuals, other than that, it never got imbibed in the heart of the Filipinos. 

The books say otherwise. It was revolution that brought back democracy to the people. It stopped the Marcos from plundering the country. And all that Ninoy Aquino deification stuff.

It was an event that shocked the world but never really got hold in the Filipino psyche, at least my generation and the later ones. The Marcoses are back and there's the real possibility that they could be back in power in a few years. Mention EDSA and "1986" would not even be remembered,   EDSA is traffic.
Martial and Human rights abuses. I read Mejares' book "The Conjugal Dictatorship" which is now revised, I read. And the book reveals how bad ass Marcos was. Mijares narrates Ferdie and Imelda's escapades from the steaming Imelda and George Hamilton trysts to Marcos begging Dovie Beams for a fellatio. 

Yet, Marcos was a product of his times, JFK, Lee Kuan Yew and other bad ass world leaders. the only difference was that JFK died a saint. Lee Kuan Yew used his bad-assness in a positive way, while Marcos stuck to being a bad ass without the thought that he'd lose.

Bury or not bury, doesn't really matter to me. The guy is dead but Ferdie was an interesting person and Filipinos will never forget the talented President (or dictator, to be fair) good or bad, and that fact alone had granted him immortality.  And judging from the last elections, the Libingan ng mga Bayani burial is nothing but a token to the fact that Marcoses are back, big time. 

What are these Filipinos doing?

I am not surprised that Donald Trump won the election, but what surprised me is that Hillary Clinton lost. Anyway...I'll leave American politics to the Americans. What made my butt itch was these pictures of Filipino youth rallying in front of the US embassy shouting anti-Trump slogans and burning flags. As of this very moment, while typing these letters, I am trying to figure out what is going on inside their heads, what are the thought processes going on in there. 

Like, maybe, inside their heads they were thinking, "I hate Donald Trump because he is the new president-elect of the USA!" "Donald is Satan! "Donald trump is an asshole!" Even if I write the most offensive expletives I can think of and threw it up against Donald Trump, what does it accomplish and the fact remains that the Raccoon (it's the small hands) is still the president.

Obviously they are holding a rally, but first let's think of Geography. The US is on the other side of the globe. It's day here and night there. We are separated by twelve hours and thousand of miles.  They do their own things which we should not really meddle with. They have elected a businessman for president and it's their choice and we should leave it at that. Our likes and dislikes doesn't count. they could elect a hamster for all they want and we shouldn't do anything about it.  

I know that these rallyists are against Trump because they believe that Trump will be harsh against illegal immigrants unlike the Democrat Hillary who's willing assimilate illegal aliens (I doubt if it's for humanitarian reason rather for vote reasons). Trump said that he will deport them and the fear is that illegal Filipinos in the US would bear the brunt of the crack down.

My hearts bleeding for these illegal immigrants. I mean, most Filipinos are still possessed by the American dream, of going to Canaan to the land of milk and honey. This mentality is a remnant of the colonial superiority inculcated in us not by the Americans, ironically, but by many us.  

It's still about money. There's this argument that Filipinos in the US, including the illegals, are sending dollars to the Philippines. They are contributing to the dollar reserve. I understand the economics but there's something wrong with the ethics. Does sending money to the Philippines justify their illegal stay in the US or any other countries at that? Do we even encourage that? I see the weeping Filipinos crying for something that is not even right in the first place. 

Another thing is that the Fil-Ams fear for their safety and this I understand for there are horrible stories of discrimination and racial violence in the land of milk and honey. There are still many Americans who still think that they are superior to people of different color. I guess that's one of the risks of leaving your own country. The US is a country governed by the constitution and the president is bound by it. In fact they have the most individual-oriented constitution in the ensuring the citizens freedom from the right to speech to the right to pursue happiness. 

I guess, alienation is natural when your not in your nation (Hmmmm...does that even make sense?).

So, what the hell are these Filipinos doing?  

My advice to them, go home and do productive stuff like reading or studying. Rally for something that would better our country, like planting trees, or picking up trash, or promoting clean and green stuffs. Leave the Americans to Trump and leave Trump to the Americans.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

More stuffs about death. Well, its all souls day..

I was thinking. how and where did the idea of life after death came from. How come in our evolution, call it that for lack of a better term, we developed this idea of the afterlife. Where did the idea came from and what are the things that prompted us to developed the creation or conception of another world, an alternate universe, if I may say so.

So, anyway, I have come with this list.    

Image result for divine justice
Justice. Suffering and misery is one feature of our existence that makes the idea of life after death seem necessary, in fact this idea was one of the foundations of the creation of religion. Our life is full of injustices. Innocent people killed by criminals. States and government bombing and killing people for the faults of the few. In the end, when human justice failed, the victims have no one to turn to and here the idea of divine justice comes in, justice beyond the graves, the great equalizer. 

I remember a preacher’s look when he was confronted by an atheists about the illogicality of life after death. When reason, science and superior arguments cornered him and he cannot turn on the Bible to support the idea of the afterlife and divine justice, he became emotional and argued, almost a pleaded, “what will happen to the world when the idea of divine justice is expunged. People will take justice into their own hands and the implications are unimaginable.” The reasoning, though emotional, has truths in it. To the thinkers, the philosophers, religion may  not be necessary to live a moral life but to the common and uneducated and mal-educated masses whose life revolve around the idea of an old man up there in the sky, the realization that his faith and beliefs are nothing but a product of bitterness and hatred, could snap their anchors. 

Rewards and Punishment. At the center of all religion is this belief in reward and punishment and it culminates in death and the afterlife.  

Re-unions. It’s all about reunions. We just can’t let go of our loved ones and we need to have this idea that somehow will meet our departed dear ones again and the reunion would be eternal. 

Image result for reunion in the heavenFear of the night. Imagine waking up in total darkness. There's this idea that sensation or sentience does not en in death but it continues on. To many the idea of a incorporeal existence sends scares the bejesus out of them but for some philosophers, whose idea of life after death is that of the disembodied mind, this is exciting for they could pursue their search and exploration of knowledge without the encumbrance of a physical body.

History of life after death, evolution and caffeine....

Death will come to all of us, it’s just a matter of time. Death is final and this finality is what, I think, is what scares the hell out of us.

Image result for death of a cavemanThe idea, or the reality (to most life after death is real like concrete real), of life after death is deeply ingrained in our minds. I don’t know how this idea was developed and got inculcated in our minds as a specie, but it is probable that as humans evolved away from the simian stage to the homo- stage we (from hereon “we” refers to humans from the homo erectus to the homo phobic, dead or alive) developed a sense of self-awareness, sentience. 

But if the theory of evolution is to be believed, it must explain where and when in the evolutionary stage did we developed sentience. And if this development is really evolutionary, then it is also possible that out simian ancestors possessed, and still do, sentience, it's just that ours evolved into higher level, what we have and experience now.  

Evolution does not stick to the creation of ex-nihilo or out of nothing, hence sentience must be present in from the start of our evolution. I supposed even from the primordial soup, but then this necessitates a mind or something which is really giving me head ache now.    

Image result for evolution of manAlong the way in the long process of evolution, we developed emotions that overrides even the most basic rule of life, self-preservation. We learn to care, we learn to protect the weak (which really goes against the grain the doctrine of survival of the fittest). And so on.  As our brains got larger and our mental processing abilities improved, and with accidental cellular upgrades through the firing and misfiring of neurons, the accumulations of proteins and vegetable matter in our head, plus the millions of years involved, and the multitude of sounds we heard and re-created, and the convergence of multitude of factors, enabled us to develop language, our greatest invention.

Image result for death of a cavemanWith the upgrade in the hardware and software, the mental processes got more complicated and it went beyond its beta parameters. The brain algorithm improved exponentially and it began to interpret impressions rather than simply obeying them,   from the primitive eat-or-be-eaten or the fight-flight instinct into more advanced self-awareness and other awareness. Heck, our ancestors even carved and painted themselves on cave walls. 

Of course, the figures were stick people, but the fact that they could represent themselves in geometric shapes made them the Michael Angelo of their time. They were geniuses of the Jurassic Era and they changed the way they looked upon themselves. They were the ones who ate the fruit of the knowledge of something and they were the recipients of the fire Prometheus stole from Olympus. They were the first human ancestors to realize that they were naked and that they need clothes.

When they discovered language and art, it’s only a matter of time before our early humanoid ancestors started asking questions: What the hell is going on here? Who’s in charge of everything? I need better clothing! And the most important question of all, what happens after we die?

That's the beginning of death. Before, our ancestors die like flies and it doesn't matter to them because, heck,  they couldn't even talk about it. 

So, take an aspirin or something to get over the head ache.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Is there a Bell in Bell House and who is John Hay?

The three stooges
This was the first time I visited Bell House in Camp John Hay. My friend's wife found it strange that I have been to Baguio City almost yearly yet I have not visited this famous old house. I have been to John Hay before but, I guess, being too lazy, I missed this place. But finally got the chance to see it last Saturday when we tag along a friend's family on their Baguio (not their first time) all soul's day R and R. Or maybe I'm just a miserable miser who waited this long to get the opportunity to see the place for free. Hahaha...again teacher's salary, Heavens.

It'a a good thing our host had been here before for they were able to show us around the house. One thing I love about old houses especially ones designed and built by the Americans, which there are many in Baguio being the former American colonists summer get away, is the texture (the best I could come up with) or the feel of the place. The lay out of the house and the surrounding trees and foliage gave the feeling of being in another country in another era. The illusion was fortified by the abundance of pine trees, cypress and other trees imported from the US. It's obvious that the Americans wanted to re-create or at least create the atmosphere of America here in John Hay and in Baguio. 

But as I was going around the house, I could see that the poor maintenance was starting to show. There was also an old wooden building a few meters from Bell House that looked like a school building or an administrative house that have been left abandoned and neglected. I guess it's difficult to understand why they are in that state of disrepair, but I hope the John Hay people would look at it and pay attention to how it could be used productively without destroying it's  historical authenticity like maybe opening it as a restaurant.

Anyway, as we were touring the place we over heard people talking about the house and the most interesting discussion the tourists asked among themselves was how come the house was called Bell house. I, too, didn't know how it was so named. But unlike the pre-Google years, I didn't have to lose sleep over it, I could search for it later. 

Photo belongs to Pinoy Roadtrip.
So, one of the theories overheard was that there was a huge bell buried under the house. I mean, bell is bell what else could be the obvious explanation. So, a discussion ensued among my my two cumpadres and so I found out from one of them that "Bell House was named after Major General J. Franklin Bell "who lived in that house as the commanding General of the American Forces in the Philippines." From 1911-1914, "General Bell transformed camp John Hay from 'essentially a small convalescent facility into a major military resort'."

It's there in one of the tarpaulins posted outside one only has to be attentive to background information provided in the site. I guess I didn't pay attention. But my friend was right.

Who is John Hay and what is his connection to Baguio? here's Wikipedia's answer. No, John Hay did not live in Baguio. There's no mention of him even visiting the Philippines. But do read on.

John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905) was an American statesman and official whose career in government stretched over almost half a century. Beginning as a private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, Hay's highest office was United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was also an author and biographer, and wrote poetry and other literature throughout much of his life. 

Image resultJohn Hay Air Station was established on October 25, 1903 after President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order setting aside land in Benguet for a military reservation under the United States Army. The reservation was named after Roosevelt's Secretary of StateJohn Milton Hay. For a time, elements of the 1st Battalion of the Philippine Division's 43d Infantry Regiment (PS) were stationed here. Prior to World War II, a number of buildings had been constructed on base, including a U.S. Army Hospital and the summer residence of the Governor-General of the Philippines, later to be known as The American Residence, which is now used as the summer house of the United States Ambassador to the Philippines.