Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Manila, the Unloved

Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing -- say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico: in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico: for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico: to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable.
- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

As a visitor in Thailand, one remarkable thing that I noticed in the capital City of Bangkok is its cleanliness. I'm not saying that Bangkok is squeaky clean but this city is cleaner than my  nation's capital City of Manila.

Bangkok and Manila are relatively similar. Both cities have a big river passing through their centers. Bangkok have pick-ups converted into public utility vehicles while Manila have jeepneys. Bangkok have the tuktuk while Manila have the kuliglig. I can mention plenty of similarities between these cities but what doesn't match is the the way their citizens deal with trash.

I never saw any heap of garbage during my short visits in Bangkok. I passed through their main highway, I checked less luxurious parts of the city, I rode trains at several train stations but there was no garbage heap. In Manila, these disgusting heaps are everywhere. On the highway, near the church, beside the LRT stations, and in front of the palengkes (markets). Plastic bags, cartons, diapers, dog poop, human poop, and many more litter the sidewalks.

The government should be blamed for misnamagement but the much greater blame should be with the residents (and the people who go to Manila to work, study, and shop) because they don't love their city.

A man in-love gives the most precious stones and the most beautiful roses that he can afford to his beloved. His goal is to please her and make her a better, more beautiful person.

The same is true with Manila. If ManileƱos really love their city, then they will do their best to make their place truly beautiful.

Hatred of Spanish Heritage is Manila's Demise

We are taught to look at the three-century Spanish rule of the Philippines as the Dark Age. We are told, not only by historians but by the media, that our ancestors we're all slaves by the Spaniards. That all friars are harsh and they rape pious women.

Never mind the fact that it is the Spaniards who unified the warring tribes of the archipelago and brought stability. That these colonists gave us the laws, justice system, medical knowledge, engineering expertise, and many more things that improved the lives of many people. That missionaries defended the natives from pirates but also from the evil people of the colonial government.

The continued tirade against our Spanish past affects our identity as Filipinos. We cannot love our identity, and our nation, because we hate a part of ourselves. This lack of love translates on the way we treat the heritage we received our ancestors. It is not surprising, then, that Filipinos simply don't care about Manila or any other towns in the country.

As our Lord said, the truth shall set us free. Let us then face the truth and from there we can learn how to love good part of our identity, and improving the bad parts. Hopefully, from there Manila will rise as the queen that she really is.

Happy 443rd Year Manila, my Manila.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Lesson from Jayme Jalandoni

Jayme Jalandoni of PBB
It seems that Christianity and Philippine showbiz are incompatible with each other. The former uphold the dignity of women while the latter is more concerned about money and fame to the point that women are peddled like commodity.

The recent controversy in ABS-CBN’s show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) illustrates this fact. In this show, the contestant Jayme Jalandoni was dared to pose nude for a painting in exchange for their weekly budget.

Jayme, a devout Christian from a conservative family, was torn with this challenge since it goes against her faith. She cried (a lot) while trying to explain why she didn’t want to do the challenge. Kuya tried to convince her by showing testimonials from models of nude paintings. Her firm decision only came when her father told her to say “no” to the challenge.

There are plenty of lessons that can be gleaned from the controversy. One is about the dignity of women. Another lesson is about the morality (or the lack of it) in the Philippine showbiz. But one aspect that I found interesting is how a contestant’s faith played (or was played at) during the controversy.

Jayme is admirable for publicly professing her Christian faith but it is a risky move since she is in a show known for its shallowness and gimmicks for the sake of ratings. It should be obvious to her, especially before she entered the house, that the show’s director will shake her faith for the sake of ratings.

Jayme’s religiosity is like a nail sticking out the woodwork and it is very tempting to hammer it down. And the hammer indeed came down and that is the nude painting challenge.

 This incident in the PBB house is a good lesson for those who publicly profess their Christian faith. Saying that you are a follower of our Lord is very easy but doing so gives you more responsibility in standing up for the faith. The Devil hates those who are very public in professing their faith. He will do his best to make you fall and spit out everything you said. Your fall will cause scandal and scandal will shake the faith of many.

Just look at the many “Christian” (specifically “Catholic Christians”) government officials, media personalities, and even priests and bishops who are not ashamed to say that they’re disciples of Jesus Christ but do the opposite of what He teaches. See how many people these public personalities brought to spiritual destruction. I will not be surprised if these “Christians” are the Devil’s favourite crowd.

The lesson from Jayme Jalandoni is this: if you are very public in professing your Christian faith then you have the responsibility to be more firm because the Enemy will come harder against you. Your fall means the fall of many but your victory means being the inspiration for many, and of course the victory of Christ.