On Offal

1. Whenever I go home to Baguio and my father’s around, I would often ask him to prepare a favorite dish: the intestines of a pig, blanched and softened, stir-fried in soy sauce and cornstarch and a bit of leek thrown in. That one simple dish of “silet,” best consumed with cold rice and copious…

Conspicuous By His Absence

The long gray line of caskets at Villamor bore more than the bodies of fallen heroes. They were fathers, brothers, sons who lost their lives in a bungled operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. They were surrounded by grieving families and mourning colleagues. The Filipino people, too, grieved and mourned. Whatever hopes for peace shriveled, whatever dreams…

A (Brutal) Translation of Pope Francis’s Homily

Pope Francis’s homily is erudite, beautiful, and meaningful. Which means – at least in the context of everything that happens in this space – it should be translated. Digression: I like Pope Francis. I’ll probably earn the ire of traditionalist Catholics for this, but I think he’s one really cool guy. Not that his mere presence here raised my personal…

Ziplines

Three hundred sixty days ago, if you told me I’d be riding a zipline, I would have laughed. I would have just told you that things like that will happen in the next lifetime, or an alternate universe. I would have reminded you that there are other things to do in a nature park, like…

X-List: A Year of Magical Reading

I think it was Stephen King who once wrote: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” This year, I made a commitment with myself to read, and to read furiously. Reading – plus a reinvigorated passion at work, a rekindled interest in origami, and a newfound hobby in kickboxing (more on that when I feel like…

Jumping the Tombs

For me, memorial parks are more like golf courses: manicured lawns, sprinklers, the reception area with marble floors and columns. The memorial park is like a slice of white-picket-fences America, lined with stunted and balding alder trees to give the burial grounds a more suburban, refined feel. Before all of this, though, there was the venerable sementeryo. I’m never sure…

The (Vice) President’s Speech

A few days ago, Vice President Jejomar Binay took to the lectern of the PICC, and delivered what was – at least to his spokespersons and his most ardent supporters – a speech that was “presidential” in tone. It had all the trimmings of what many of us would call “presidential:” the tableau, the motif,…

Out of Touch

Sec. Jun Abaya’s right: he shouldn’t be offering excuses on the state of the MRT. But there’s a difference between offering and making them. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the MRT may not be the rotten deathtrap that many people paint it to be. Maybe people just don’t have the right metaphors for…

The Irony of Vice

Vice Ganda is right: not all who protest are really out there protesting. Some of them were just paid to protest. Some of them were just bribed; perhaps to buy a few kilos of rice for their trouble. But there’s the rub: that’s the cost of dissent in this country. I don’t think that Vice was…