i have just returned from an all-too-brief visit to bicol. sorry if i was not able to see some of you in naga city. please just send me your postal address so i can send you a copy of my books.
anyway, highway, by the way... in my informal conversations i had with the many bicolanos the past three days, this seems to be the pattern of voting for the presidential candidates:
1. mar roxas -- because of his father, sen. gerry, who has a clean record. and mar is also marangal.
2. manny villar -- because he is perceived as hardworking.
3. noli de castro -- because he speaks clearly (although i asked the bicolanos to please, please sieve through and find the substance, if there is any, among this guy's pronouncements)
4. loren legarda -- because she is everywhere, but many of them said they do not want another woman for president.
even if erap runs again, they said he has had his chance, blew it, and should just help the country in his capacity as private citizen erap.
as for bicolano chiz of sorsogon, all bets are on in Bicol that he will run as VP of Loren, will win, and will become the first Bicolano President of the countryin 2016.
I did not talk just to the usual middle-class suspects, but also to farmers, drivers, market vendors, teenagers, mostly out-of-school youth -- in short, the poor that many candidates praise in their boring speeches but hardly know at all.
the poor are not stupid, believe me. they are just biding their time. they can see through the ads that the candidates are now putting on show on tv.
with gas prices, rice, transpo fare, tuition fees, everything going up, up and away, they just have this dim hope that things will change in 2010.
i hope so too, i told them, and bade them goodbye. And for all those who teased me I know nothing of the bikolano language, let me end this blog with these short words culled from thin air, addressed to my beloved, the poor and suffering Bicolanos:
Dios mabalos senyo, mga Bikolano, magi-agi na ako pabalik sa Maynila. Nakita ko na ang Bikol herac man, inabandonar naman ng mga lider na nagi suru-sadiri na sana. Mala kan ta ang bikol baga, adobado na. Magibalik ako sa Agosto para sa kumperensiya ng mga profesor, asin sa Septiembre para sa Ina ta sa Penafrancia. Tabangi man ako ta di ko man kamo pabayan. Magtarabang na sana kita sa 2010.