Jul 012014

When I was in my teens I would call Nora Aunor and everyone who liked her or any local artista as bakya or baduy. But among my earliest recollections of watching television would be nights lying down on my tummy in our neighbor’s sala rooting for a dusky girl to win the Tawag ng Tanghalan or whatever that old pinoy version of American Idol was.

That dusky girl would later become a movie star and I would go with the maid to see her movies downtown. She would be paired with Tirso Cruz, Manny de Leon, Sajjid Khan, Cocoy Laurel, and at one point even Edgar Mortiz I think, but I liked her best with Tirso. I was her fan.

I didn’t see much of her films after those love-team years. I think I caught Himala on TV already. The last film of hers that I actually went to see in the theater was the one where she was an activist or had activist links and was tortured by the military.

I don’t recall the chronology but right about that time when she started getting bad press about being unprofessional, talks of drug use started coming up. She would later appear on newspaper headlines because she would be detained abroad for carrying a tooter.

I never did give a f* about her afterwards and I thought that was it… another star who rose to fame and glory and would undoubtedly crash and burn and die miserably.

And just as I’m close to forgetting Super G, Nora Aunor’s back in the limelight again. A select, peerless panel of wise men has chosen her to be worthy of being named a National Artist. President PNoy, who thinks he knows better than his experts, however says she is a poor choice because of her drug issues.

A few minutes ago I was reading a tweet from Ces Drilon saying that Nora’s lawyer says she was never convicted. Let’s assume she really went through a bad moment. But don’t the great artists really go through some sort of defining crisis or life trial? And aren’t the better ones those who come out of the other end alive? I’d love for her to tell my sons and future apos that drugs are bad for them way better than if it were Sotto telling them that listening to the EHeads will make them go bad.

La Aunor made me watch local movies as a young boy. She made me watch the Manila Filmfest as a grown man and leave convinced that I’m still a fan and that there is hope for Philippine movies. Drugs or not, she excited my emotions – from fun and happiness, to grief and anger, to nationalism and fervor. Isn’t that what an artist does?

I’m ok with her not getting the National Artist award. She doesn’t need the pomp and ceremony to be recognized as such. I can honestly say her life decisions have not affected how I regard her. And I suppose I can say the same thing for PNoy and his decisions. It doesn’t affect how I regard him. Kaya nga di ko siya binoto eh.

 Posted by at 6:56 pm
Jun 192014

My eldest graduated from UP Diliman last April 2014. Yet, he cannot claim his school transcript because UP says his school fees were under-assessed by Php18,000.00. Tell me, does this exemplify the excellence trumpeted on UP’s 106th year or is it a sign that this is no longer the same university I profess my love to whenever I sing UP Naming Mahal?

UP enforces a socialized tuition scheme. It means the more the annual family salary, the more you pay. Never mind that it doesn’t account for the fact that most of that salary goes to high utility rates, debt payments for the cancer treatment of a dead wife and Janet Napoles by way of taxes. I understood people had it worse than I did, so back in 2010, I gladly welcomed being bracket A – the highest bracket.

In 2011, I suddenly found myself in bracket B. Hallelujah! They saw the light! But no, wait, that couldn’t be. So I asked my son to point out this error and ask them to fix it. Guess what: UP told us we should do the legwork and pass the paperwork so we could be back in bracket A. That didn’t sound very excellent. Here I am being honest and all about your mistake, and you tell me I should be the one to fix it. So I simply just let it be and just paid what they told me to pay.

Come 2012 we were back in bracket A and I supposed UP recognized the mistake and also just let things be. When a store places the wrong price tag on an item for sale, the store takes the hit and fixes the way it does things, right?

Well I thought that was what happened because UP was mum for the next two years and even let my son take out student loans. Heck, they let him G R A D U A T E.

And now after letting us savor the sunflowers and the warmth of many Facebook likes, UP drops this bomb: Pay Php18,000 or your son doesn’t get his Transcript of Records.

“Di rin magbabago ang damdamin?”

It has.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Apr 172014


Happy Birthday!

As your birthday approaches my mind automatically gets excited. The instinct is to plan, but instantly another part of my mind kicks in and shouts, plan what? What is there to be excited about?

I have all these happy memories of you, but as soon as I want to be happy, the thought that all I have are just these memories makes me all just depressed and weepy. Okay, in the words of your friend Jojo Medina, I just turn all faggoty.

In a way I guess you know what I’m talking about. You have one of those birth dates that can fall on Good Friday. The mind wishes to celebrate, but reality rains on the party. You want to be happy, but you cannot.

So what do I do now? I will post to FB, or my blog, or both, to mark the event. Some of our friends will be sad. But maybe they too will remember how much you brightened their lives.

It’s so weird, I don’t even know if you can still be happy on your birthday. I should probably just remember that this day marks your birth and because you ‘were’, that paved the way for you and me to eventually meet and get married and be together for 19 years. You made me. Thank you.

Sending this out to the ether and hoping this reaches you wherever you are.

April 17 2014

 Posted by at 9:56 am
Sep 292013


I turn to Candy and say, “He won’t make it.  He’ll be late.”

It was 5:30pm, and Fr. Michael was scheduled to handle the 6PM mass over in St. Paul the Apostle along Mother Ignacia.  We were over in St. Bridget’s where Fr.  Michael had just said mass for the first death anniversary of a family friend of Candy’s.

Normally, I’d say the trip was barely doable in the time required.  But it was 530pm on a Saturday, and it had been pouring for almost an hour.  Ask any Metro Manila traffic veteran and he will tell you that it couldn’t be done.  The trip would  take at least 40 minutes with lots of luck involved.

He comes over, and asks if I can get a cab for him.  And of course I tell him that we will just drive him over.  Fr. Michael has been a good friend of the Inciongs for some time now and so there is no question that we should forego merienda if the kind Father needs our help.

Father Michael is Indian and so we really have this conversation in English.

Me:  ”Father, I don’t think we can make it there by 6pm”

FM:  ”Don’t worry, I will show you the way.”

Now, when a priest tells you that he “will show you the way”, you just have to shut up.

It is dark out and it is still pouring.  It seems more like 8pm than 530pm.  He asks me to take a route that I’ve just recently learned via Waze and I know that at some point we will have to pass the market,  where passenger jeepneys would likely be clogging the street, but again, when a man of God wants to show me the way, I let him.

And the jeepneys are there as I thought they would be.  We are stuck for about 10 mins and I can see the Father glancing too frequently at his watch.  It is less than 15 minutes to 6.

We soon hit Anonas and he asks me to take a left through one of the “K-” streets.  Those “K-” streets can be pretty tight, almost just big enough for a lane going and a lane coming.  It’s in a residential area and since it’s a weekend,  parked cars on either side make it practically a single lane road.  We are soon at a crawl again, and I spy a “someDriving Institute” car ahead of us.  And I’m amused as I catch Fr. Michael muttering something like, “Student Drivers should get off the road”.   Then the leftmost lane is suddenly clear of parked cars for a bit, and I instinctively overtake, making it by probably less than a foot.   I hope I did not scare the student driver too much.

The road ahead is clear, except for the pouring rain, and I floor it,  remembering to ease off at the intersections.   No real close calls.  As soon as we cross EDSA he asks me to turn into Scout Rallos. Scout Rallos’ entrance is just big enough for one car.  Should a dog decide to take a dump in the middle of the street, then I will have to think about running the poor thing down.  But there are no crapping dogs.  The road widens a bit ahead, but cars are parked left and right and I dread having to play chicken with any car coming our way.  The dashboard clock says 5:54.

I soon realize we will have to cross Scout Tobias, a street I had been avoiding for many weeks now because of ongoing road work.  I tell Father Michael that I don’t think we can cross Tobias.   He says I will just have to slow down and cross slowly.   I nod and say, “OK”. Mentally though, I steel myself and prepare to hear my front spoiler scraping the asphalt.

We reach Tobias, and the road is now smoother than I thought and we make it across without any trouble.   We soon stop and Father Michael is getting off and thanking me.  We are at St. Paul’s the Apostle with 5 minutes to spare.

Why am I telling you this story?

For sometime now, I’ve had this habit of looking for meaning in seemingly random everyday events.  I started doing this, I think, when Luth had gotten sick and I was struggling to find answers from everywhere.  Call it self-indulgent if you will, but I think it helps more than it hampers and I’m just happy at some of the realizations I’ve gotten and maybe sharing them could make a little difference in someone’s life.

We sometimes have doubts and a darker outlook simply because things have not turned out the way we wanted.  But keep your faith and trust in God, and He will take you where you need to be, with five minutes to spare.  It sometimes feels like things are at a crawl, and one obstacle after another is placed before us, seemingly testing our resolve.  In the end you realize that what makes everything really stressful are just all your fears and negative thoughts.   But trusting God doesn’t mean that you throw out all care and everything works like magic.   Over the years my driving skills have taught me to recognize when it is possible to risk a tight maneuver, and when one shouldn’t, and how I should take a turn so that I have room should there be an oncoming car.   We are given the skills.   Learn them well, apply them wisely, shut off the negativity, and God will take care of everything else.


Cho 9/29/2013


 Posted by at 3:44 pm
Jun 252013

To lose the beloved forever is one of the saddest things that one can go through. But today, I learned it is even sadder to lose the beloved and not be able cry out in pain nor be angry nor be able to grieve honestly.

To you my friend, I am sorry for your loss.  It is best to stop asking the why. Instead be grateful still for the priceless gift lent to you.

Cho 06/25/2013

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 Posted by at 5:20 pm
Mar 142013



As forty-nine winds down, I feel compelled to mark letters into the ether. My God, I shall be fifty!

Thoughts flash of a young me, 8 or 9, sharing profound innocent thoughts about the world with a classmate. Long-haired hippies and aktibistas clashed with authority outside the school gates. It seemed to be that way in the world, too. We wouldn’t have school for a while because of the rallies. The world was probably ending. And that was okay. I didn’t have to worry about falling in love and getting married and having a family and getting a job and all that adult stuff. It seemed so complicated. And I could never know how to do what all those adults did. So the world could have ended for all my boyhood cares. I only wished it wouldn’t be painful.

Some forty years later, the world I knew ended. Painfully. But everything didn’t really end. The world died, yet I stood there – unsure and terrified.

I rush to the covered courts to where the school buses prepare to bring us kids home. I am running because the last period teacher had gotten upset and decided to keep us 15 minutes longer. Bus number 32 is nowhere. It has left. My world died. I stood there, not knowing what to do. My dad is all the way in Bacolod. My mom would be at work and I didn’t know how to reach her. The world died and left me standing there. But I had to get home. I had no choice. Wiping away my tears I start my long walk home.

And here I am still on my way home, where I can have a good merienda, watch TV, and lose myself in our tinsel Christmas tree. There I would be safe and cozy and everything would be right. It is a long walk, and though my feet are tired and my shoes hurt, I see things that make the trek worthwhile.  The kids I am travelling with are no longer kids.  They are men.

I see new faces – young, old, pretty, ugly, fat, thin, fake.  Most do not see me pass, as they too are busy going home.  Or maybe somewhere else other than home. Some light the path with  smiles, encouragement, and happy stories, while a few feign interest, reserving true interest only for what they can take from me.

To you who believe and continue to see me through with true love and affection, I love you back.  You make the adventure worthwhile.  May you reap what you sow a thousand-fold.

And to those who make the journey unpleasant and tiring, my love to you still.  May you reap what you sow a hundred-thousand-fold.


Cho 3/14/2013


 Posted by at 11:31 pm
Jan 212013

Crosswinds Resorts Suites in Tagaytay provided the backdrop the two and half-day team building and planning session for ISG.  And if we go by the battle-cry for this year’s event, then 2013 promises to be an AMAZING year for the group!

Thank you very much to TrainStation Philippines for that refreshing and learning-filled team building session.


To my ISG friends, if you want a high resolution version of any of the pics below, please email me.



 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Dec 192012


Sa lahat ng bumasted sa akin, maraming salamat. Tinuruan niyo ako kung paano masaktan at kung paano bumangon at magsimula muli. Mas may laban ang pusong may kalyo sa mundong ito. At oo nga pala, kungdi dahil sa inyo, di ko pipiliting paghusayan ang panliligaw. Kaya nung dumating ang mas nauukol, eh marunong na ako.

At dun naman sa mga akala kong nauukol pero hindi pala, isang taos-pusong sori. Sa maniwala pa rin kayo o hindi, it was really me, not you. Well merong you, pero wag na natin pagtalunan kasi nga baka matapos na ang mundo sa biyernes. Pero kung di man matuloy, wala na ring ungkatan. Move on, ‘ika nga kasi matanda na tayo.

Sa lahat ng aking mga naging bossing, kaopisina, ka-eskwela, maraming salamat. It was a pleasure working and going through life with most of you. Pwera lang yung peborit boss ni Ledz. I have a feeling hindi kami magkikita nun sa pupuntahan ko, and that is good. Kunsabagay medyo naguguluhan nga ako. Sabi kasi nung CBCP malamang mapunta ako sa mainit dahil Pro-RH ako, pero pag tinitignan ko yung mga Pro-RH sa mga kaibigan ko eh mukhang mas masaya sa pupuntahan namin. May mami-miss ako na Anti-RH, pero yung iba kasi sa kanila nakukulili tenga ko. Hmm. Dahil Anti si Sotto, eh malamang magkakasama sila. Ayus. Bawal na balimbingan ha.

Salamat rin sa mga nag-l-like ng mga pinaglalalagay ko sa FB. Humihingi naman ako ng dispensa sa mga nagtiis sa mga weird at maingay na YouTube vids. Oo. Rocker na semi-Goth ata ang kalahati ng puso ko. Yung isang half Jazz at standards. May katiting pa na mga kanta galing dun sa DWLL- The Mellow Tats. OO rin, more than 100% ang puso ko pagdating sa musika. O kung ano man yun tinatawag kong musika. Di dun kasali sila Bieber. Hmm… sana kasama nila Sotto si Bieber sa kabila.

Sa mga pinagmumura ko sa daan kasi babagal-bagal or tatanga-tanga magmaneho, ok lang naman siguro kasi madalas naman nakasara bintana ko so hindi niyo na alam yun. Sa mga nakarinig at nakakita ng kamay kong naka-ngatngat, eh pasensya na. Sabi nga ni Joworski, its part of the game. Saka marami naman na akong pinagbibigyan sa daan. Courteous na ako.

Teka lang. Matatapos na lunch break ko. Ganto ata talaga pag di maka-gala ng lunch dahil wala na datung. Edit ko na lang ‘to pag may naisip pa ako.

Babu. It was good overall. One more time please, kung may recycling in the future.

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 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Nov 142012


Oy Pare!
Punta ka ba sa happening sa Sabado?
H-ha? Dehin ko alam yun ah. Ano meron?
Labo mo naman o. Tipar, pare. Sa haybols nila Jake.
Dami chiching? Baka puro kelot.
Dehin. Pero, chimay nga lang.
Hahaha. Hawa.
Dehin. Dami talaga chiching. Andun si Beth. Stay-in pa!
Wow! Baka naman puro rugged.
Dehin. Sampits ko mags-spin.
Sparkling in the Sand?
Sakto yun pag ka-sweet si Beth
Ramdam jogs.

(Low fives exchanged)

Pare bago yoyo mo ah. Pati toga!
Bigay ni ermats.
Baka naman may sondo ka?
Tapwe lang.
Ok na yan – yosi muna tayo kila manang.

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 Posted by at 9:37 pm
Oct 082012

The years have gone by very quickly.  About 5 years ago, I imagined this little virtual club of sorts. The members were Luth, Kiko, Daboy, Tita Cory, and Marilou. 

Luth would be the odd person out because Kiko, Daboy, Tita Cory, and Marilou probably really knew each other in real life. Oh yeah, there was Farrah, too.

Cancer linked them. And any little bit of news of success from any of the celebs gave us strength and gave us hope.

Daboy was the first to go. Then Kiko. Then Farah. Then Tita Cory. Then Luth.

Marilou looked like she would win the war.  And I wanted her to.  Because as surely as she gave hope to us, then she must have given hope to hundreds or thousands more.

RIP Marilou. Thank you.

I’m older now. Not necessarily wiser, but wise enough not to ask WHY anymore.

Borrowing Neil Gaiman’s words: “You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.”

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 Posted by at 10:30 pm
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