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Showing posts from December, 2008

A world of readers

BY Danton Remoto
Art & Culture section
Philippine Star
December 29, 2008

"Read to lead” is a soundbite that we hear more often these days. Happily for us, the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the government agency tasked with doing this, is working hard and fast to make sure that our people — especially the young and those glued to their YouTubes — would also find the time to read.

But words need not be fixed just on the page. The NBDB, under the inspired leadership of executive director Andrea Pasion-Flores, has taken the act of reading into the 21st century. Proof number 1: their “Tulaan sa Tren” project in the LRT Line 2 station that runs from Recto in Manila to Santolan in Marikina. It is a take-off of the poems read and posted at the Tube (subway) of London, but who cares?

In partnership with the Optical Media Board and the Book Development Association of the Philippines, the NBDB chose poems from some of the country’s best writers, asked a host of celebrities t…

Merry christmas

Merry christmas to all. Including to those who send me text messages and email telling me I should not even think of running for any political office in 2010 because I will lose.

Thank you.

If you are so sure I would lose, then why are you and your cohorts of sleaze balls spending time and money harassing me?

Because I am sure your principals -- rich but sure losers -- are having sleepless nights about their impending defeat in the 2010 elections.

You cannot fool all the Filipinos all the time. We all said it even before Barack Obama came -- the time for change is not tomorrow, but now.

So for the young and the first-time voters, please register and show the power of your vote in 2010.

Super mega hyper thanks.

A kingdom of colors

BY Danton Remoto
Remote Control
Views and analysis
Dec 23, 2008

One bright spot in the bleak national landscape is the writing and production of children’s books. Recent harvest shows that the bumper crop continues, and will likely to do so in the next years. The best of these books introduce values without the leaden moral lessons and pieties that deaden one’s sensitivity. And the illustrations not only blaze but also sing!

The Cat Painter by Becky Bravo, with illustrations buy Mark Ramsel Salvatus III (Adarna Books) is a witty story that teaches the importance of diversity. Miral, the chief cat painter, has decreed that cats can come only in three colors: black, white, and yellow. But one day, a playful and young angel, a painter named Rahal, comes along. He asks: “Has a cat ever been colored partly black and partly white? Or partly white and partly yellow? . . . [or] in all three colors? In brown? In grey? In stripes and patches? In spots.”

With words seemingly graven…

Manila Pride March 2008

Remote Control

It was time once again to paint the whole country pink last December 6. Occasion: the annual Pride March of the Philippine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos at Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila. The march is organized by Task Force Pride Philippines, an organization of LGBT groups and individuals. After the march, the Miss Queen Philippines Beauty Pageant was held at 5 p.m., followed by a street party at Maria Orosa Street with techno DJs at 10 p.m. Celebration was the theme of this year’s Pride March. And as before, we are still pushing for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that I helped write in 1999, and which is still pending in the lethargic Congress, nine years after it was filed.

This year’s Task Force Pride was co-chaired by Miss Sass Sasot of Society of Transsexual Women Philippinnes (STRAP) and Miss Pau Fontano of STRAP and Ang Ladlad, the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos. Changes…

The twisted manifesto

Updated December 12, 2008 12:00 AM
Philippine Star

Several weeks ago I got an e-mail from my former professor, Dr. Elmer Ordonez of the University of the Philippines. As one of the conveners of the annual conference of the Philippine PEN, he was inviting me to be a panelist in the second session, “Gender Issues in Literature.”

I approach literary conferences with some trepidation: I am ignorant of the critical jargon, plus I’m not entirely sure what a gender issue is and whether I have one. However, this was an invitation I could not refuse. It is an honor to be asked to speak at a PEN conference, and it would be churlish to decline a summons from my thesis adviser.

In my senior year, when I had to decide on a topic for my thesis in Comparative Literature, I picked my favorite writer, J.D. Salinger. It was the post-EDSA I era, and The Catcher In The Rye and Franny and Zooey were not generally considered socially-relevant nationa…

Pride March Photos

Photos from last Saturday's Pride March of the Philippines lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement can be seen at: taken by Jasper Espejo of Ang Ladlad taken by Libay Linsangan Cantor of UP Film Institute and Ang Ladlad

Happy viewing!

Editorial of Malaya

Ang Pahayagang Malaya

It’s about time the fight against the plot of Gloria Arroyo and her allies in the House to amend the 1987 Constitution be brought to the streets. The people are overwhelmingly against tampering with the Charter at this time. The efforts to railroad changes by the House, specifically via constituent assembly sans the participation of the Senate, are patently unconstitutional.

Gloria and her allies, however, are no longer open to honest dialogue and reasoned arguments. They have a demonstrated history of disrespecting the Constitution, violating the laws and transgressing moral norms. It is wishful thinking to expect them to start playing the game by the rules in the twilight of their reign.

The organizers of today’s anti-Charter change rally in Makati are correct. The people must send Gloria and her allies a message via the only language they know. She was carried into MalacaƱang on the shoulders of the people who had had enough of the abuses of Jos…

Youth Quake: Register and Vote!

Every week, at least three groups of students interview me for topics ranging from gay rights, Ang Ladlad, Philippine Literature, or to my probable senatorial run in 2010. I get their names, cellphones and e-mail addresses, and every week, my database is growing longer and longer.

I also enjoin these young people to register and vote for young candidates who would haul this country into the 21st century. Invariably, my interviewers are bright, sassy, inquisitive kids, full of hope for this country. I remind them to register in the Comelec offices located in their municipal or city halls. You are the biggest bloc of voters in 2010, and you should prove your detractors wrong.

Detractors call them apathetic, shallow, emo-focused. But I think that was what we were, also, 25 years ago. And then Cory came, giving us the spark. And then there was darkness, and a deeper darkness.

And so we must all join ranks to ask the young and the restless to register and vote. And to make sure that the stupe…

The Pinoy bagets speak

By Danton Remoto | Remote Control | 12/10/2008 10:08 AM

The Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils takes credit for the conference whose papers have been collected in a book called Youth in Transition: The Challenges of Generational Change in Asia.

Joseph H. Puyat of UP Diliman’s Department of Psychology draws a sketch of the Filipino youth in the 21st century. Philippine laws say that youth ends at age 21, when a citizen can already get married. The Department Health, meanwhile, stretches youth into the age of 24 while the Department of Education and Culture says it ends at 30. Likewise, the National Youth Council agrees youth ends at 30, while the United Nations Educational, Scientific Organization (UNESCO) says youth starts with the teen years and ends at age 44. Bless the United Nations, then, for including us in this category.

But whether youth ends at 21, 24, 30, or 44, the facts exist. The youth vote is the biggest in the country, pegged at 70 per…

Political donors

The Task Force Pride gave me authority to write letters of solicitation from our senators to raise funds for the Pride March. Only the following donated:

1. Senator Mar Roxas II
2. Senator Chiz Escudero

Therefore, I told my friends in the staff of the other presidentiables not to come near me or the LGBT groups beginning today.

Where were they when they were needed?

I am sure they will besiege us with offers when the campaign season begins. But now we know who our friends are.

See you tomorrow at the Pride March. 2 pm assembly time. Remedios Circle, Malate.

Pride March 2008 tomorrow, Saturday, Remedios Circle


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Filipinos hold grand parade

The annual Pride March of the Philippine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos will roll on Saturday, December 6, at 3 p.m. Venue is Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila. The march is organized by Task Force Pride Philippines, an organization of LGBT groups and individuals. After the march, the Miss Queen Philippines Beauty Pageant will be held at 5 p.m., followed by a street party at Maria Orosa Street with techno DJs at 10 p.m. Celebration is the theme of this year’s Pride March.

In what is being anticipated as a historic first, events celebrating LGBT Pride will happen simultaneously in Luzon (Manila), Visayas (Cebu), and Mindanao (Lanao), making this year’s LGBT Pride festivities nationwide. In Manila , the 2008 Manila Pride March is expected to turn the streets of Malate into one big and colorful Pride festival.

In Cebu, the Visayas Pride Network, a network of LGBT organizations and individuals prom…

Sing and dance and act

My friend Adel Tamano is in the movie "One True Love," still showing to full houses at your nearest mall.

I was singing and dancing at All-Star K, the P1 million Videoke singing contest last Sunday. When they called me up I said I do not sing well but I can dance a bit, and they said that is OK, not all the contestants sing and dance as well. When they told me how many people watch their show -- millions and millions of Filipinos, on a cozy Sunday night -- I immediately said yes.

And Pia began airing her Ariel ad last night. It looked like a campaign ad more than an ad for a laundry detergent.

Chiz is still going on with his Circulan, Manny Villar with his OFW spiel, and Loren with her anti-corruption ad.

And on Saturday, we will have the Pride March of the Philippine lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement. Assembly time at 2 pm, Remedios Circle, Malate. March at 3 pm. Beauty pageant at 6 pm. Party with techno DJs, go-go boys and (even) go-go girls at 10 pm.

Expect massi…

Chiz: There'll be elections in 2010

And so Cassandra sayeth: My friend Chiz Escudero will announce on his 40th birthday on October 10, 2009, that he is, indeed, running for President of the Philippines in the May 2010 elections.

And as the ye olde Americans would put it, damn the torpedoes, but whether you like him or not, Chiz will run a strong and phenomenal campaign focused on the young.

Chizbama na ito!


By Ben Serrano
The Philippine STAR

BUTUAN CITY – Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said Charter change to extend the term of President Arroyo is already dead as far as the Senate is concerned and the presidential elections in 2010 would take place.

Escudero hinted that seven politicians, mostly from the opposition, would seek the presidency.

But if former President Joseph Estrada succeeds in his unity talks among the opposition, “then it will be narrowed down to two,” he said.

MalacaƱang said that it sees no reason why the 2010 national elections would not push through, adding that it had nothing to do with …

A nasty e-mail

I got a nasty e-mail which, for sheer toxicity, beats anything I have received so far. In summary, it said the following:

1. My name has been included in both Pulse Asia and Ibon Databank surveys for senators in 2010.

2. In both instances, I am in the top 12 senatoriables.

3. He said I am too poor to be able to afford the rate of P150,000 so my name can be included in the list of senatoriables, but my name is still included any way.

4. He said the surveys -- which have been done quarterly, for two years now, commissioned by two presidentiables -- might be wrong.

5. Hahaha! He said, after saying the surveys might be wrong.

6. I should just run for party list congressman of Ang Ladlad. (This said with such condescension, as if party-list reps are not reps at all)

7. And I should not think of running for senator, since even Ang Ladlad members won't believe I will win as senator.

8. And no big political party will even believe I will win, and nobody will get me in their line-up.

Now, now, now…

LP bats for Con-Con in 2010


Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, in a newspaper paid advertisement on Monday. reiterated his rejection of convening Congress into a Constituent Assembly. He instead called for the holding of a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) in 2010.

“Instead of pushing for charter change through a Constituent Assembly, the Liberal Party (LP) will sponsor a bill in Congress calling for a holding of a Constitutional Convention in 2010 with elections of delegates to be done simultaneously with the 2010 elections,” said the advertisement of the Liberal Party entitled “Stop the Gloria Forever Constitution.”

The ad was signed by Roxas along with two other LP stalwarts, former Senator Franklin Drilon and LP secretary-general Joseph Abaya. The advertisement comes a day before the scheduled hearing of the House committee on constitutional amendments.

At least one resolution calling for Constitutional Convention has been filed in the lower House. House Resolution 858 w…