Friday, November 30, 2007

Confusing Times

I am confused. I can attribute this to my educational, cultural, or personal history. Or I can blame the current state of events in our country. I'm not referring to the overlapping typhoons or the earthquake that occurred earlier this week.

I was in Cebu when the Trillanes Walkout and the "Makati standoff" happened at the Peninsula Manila. So far away from friends and family, I had to wait for my meetings to end so I could watch the news and see one of my favorite hotel lobbies being broken into by a military tank. All over the country's central business district, I had friends who were trapped inside their offices because the roads were jammed with cars, soldiers, and journalists.


I don't understand what happened, actually. Not yet. But there was a word I heard repeated many times by the police and the military. They said that the people who were left with Sen. Trillanes - mediamen included, who were herded off inside buses were "processed".

Processed? I wondered what they meant. It sounded like something that was done to cheese food or sausages.

Confused citizen that I was, I sought the dictionary and looked up the meaning of the word, to see if they used it properly, as I was bothered by the particular, even careless, choice of word.



process[2,transitive verb]process[4,intransitive verb]

1 a: to proceed against by law : prosecute b (1): to take out a summons against (2): to serve a summons on

2 a: to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development) b (1): to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures (2): to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated

(3): to subject to examination or analysis c: to work (hair) into a conk

The "processing" done to the legitimate members of the media and everyone else rounded up inside the Manila Hotel after the authorities ordered the premises cleared, did not involve "the course of manufacture or film development", "insurance claims", "sensory information", "computer data", and all the other words I found in the dictionary meaning.

But then, what do I know? I'm an ordinary citizen. I don't know who to trust. I don't know who to believe.

Part of me wanted the military to takeover the government. Part of me got irritated at Trillanes' grandstanding and diva-like hog of the limelight. A huge part of me got confused at the over-reaction of the authorities to the groups who were gathered yesterday. I saw no arms on Trillanes' side; hence, to my mind there was insufficient provocation, or reason, to fire warning shots just an hour after the deadline to surrender. Neither was there a need to break a perfectly good hotel door.

Reassuring Words

The President commended the police for efficiently resolving the "Makati standoff". She also told the Filipino people not to be affected by the day's events. She said, "To one and all, let us leave this short charade behind and get on with the business of the people. Our fight against poverty and justice must be uninterrupted." Read more here.

Let me get that straight -she expected us to what? There was tear gas; there were guns; there were tanks. It reminded the people of scenes from the '70's and the '80's. We never learn from our history, we just keep repeating our mistakes.

I was on the phone practically the whole day monitoring the events through text, 3G and calls. I bought an overpriced Internet prepaid card at the hotel where I was staying just to get more of the news. There were threats to peace, democracy, and life, however uncomfortable, as I knew it. Sorry Madame President, but I could not just shrug off everything like that. My thirst for justice is looking for answers.

Only in the Philippines

We were voted one of the happiest, most positive people in the world. Only Filipinos cope with disaster with such ironic humor.

I saw on TV that while the military tank was slamming against the entrance of the Peninsula Manila, one of the soldiers took out his high-tech camera phone (probably a Nokia N95) and tried, several times, to get a good shot. TV cameras also saw them laughing and joking. This was in the midst of a possible coup d'etat and all.

Inside one of the tallest buildings in Makati, my friend told me that some of her officemates disappeared while the conflict was ongoing just a few blocks away, and she later found out that they slipped into the pantry to practice their number for their Christmas party.

It seems like Christmas will go on, Pinoy style, however tragic our lives may be. We still document every event and pose for a souvenir photo, especially once-in-a-lifetime moments like military tanks entering deluxe hotels.

Forgive me; I'm just dog-tired from work and travel, confused due to lack of sleep, and confused as to my identity. Heck, I'm writing in English when I'm thinking in Filipino. There must be something wrong with me.

Filipinos are not native English speakers. I should be kinder to those who insist on using "processed" when they refer to human beings. I don't know any better.

Aside from being the most optimistic people in the world, these days we Filipinos probably are the most confused of them all.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tourist, not Traveler

Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
I had two bags and looked every bit the tourist in this photo taken at Circular Quay.

Have Camera, Am Asian, Will Pose for Souvenir Photo.


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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Inside the Queen Victoria Building with my sisters-in-law, Celeste and Peeya.

The Three Sisters

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Their names are not Lani, Ella, and Lissa. These are the famous Three Sisters at Blue Mountains. A visit here is among Australia's Top 15 Things to Do.

The Three Sisters are 922, 918 & 906 metres tall, respectively, or over 3000 feet above sea level.

The Legend

The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo' lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.

These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry.

The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.

As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.

253 Days Early

Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
I was 253 days early for World Youth Day in Sydney.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ocean's 13

Ocean's 13
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
My parents' family has ballooned to 13, and this photo was taken on the second day that we all got together. This was our best family vacation ever.

Maid of Honour

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
It rained for several days before the wedding, although it was summertime in Sydney. We prayed hard for the sun to come out on November 11, and it did. My hair and makeup by Bhajune, gown by MM Cruz-Bogarin.

Without the Bride and Groom

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
We went to The Rocks for the after-wedding pictorials. The bride and the groom were with the official photographer so they couldn't make it to this photo.

Lion King and Queen

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Miko wanted to stay overnight at the zoo. He didn't want to wake up the sleeping animals because he said he didn't want to be bothered whenever he took his nap.

My Boutique

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Found this shop at the Darling Harbour mall. Harbourside, I think that's what it's called.

Wedding Rehearsal

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
After the wedding rehearsal at St Michaels Church, Lane Cove, Sydney

Rehearsal Dinner

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Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Rehearsal dinner at Red Chopsticks Vietnamese restaurant. This wedding party included English, Lebanese, Australian, Irish, American, and Filipino citizens.

Monday, November 12, 2007

St. Mary's Cathedral

St. Mary's Cathedral
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
I tend to be the advanced party for cities who are hosting big events for 2008. Last March, I was at Beijing watching the city being spruced up for the Olympics to be held next year. And then last weekend, I was at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, which is being prepared for the upcoming World Youth Day. Well at least I could say I was there for the pre-events.

Lunch at the Harbour

With Luigi
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
We had a million family occasions to celebrate in less than two weeks. We pretended it was May 20 on November 10 and celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary, all 13 of us. Luigi woke up Lola and greeted her with "Happy Pretend Wedding Anniversary, Lola". We had the cake and the flowers for them. We also ate duck.

Circular Quay with Miko

Circular Quay with Miko
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
There are times when we have to let the photos speak, as we are yet collecting the words that would capture best what we wanted to say. Sydney 2007 with the whole family is one of them.