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My hero, my mother, my best friend

As I sat  and waited for our plane to land I realized as I looked out the window that it could be the closest I could get to you now that you have gone...  As my tears began to fall I felt only tenderness to imagine the smile you had on your face waving back at me from above the clouds, up there in heaven...   You must be happy to finally cross over to where your dear son has been waiting for you...  As I stared at your face in the clouds, a vision of the happy times we spent together flashed before my eyes, vivid yet fleeting, like it was all just happening.   For indeed, those were the times. Everything and anything was possible with you right beside me, with you holding …

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The family under attack

Photos by JYD Father and mother administered poison to their children and wrapped their heads in plastic as they seemingly fell asleep. Then the parents killed themselves, with guns or knives, did it matter? The horrific crime happened a few years ago in San Juan, Metro Manila, to a Taiwanese family. The parents left a note for the neighbors requesting them to clean up the mess. Detectives surmised that the father’s failing business—and shame—had driven him to kill his wife, two children, and himself. The story was the talk of the town for weeks in a city used to crime, but not this type of violence directed at one’s own flesh-and-blood, and despite tales told of previously reported incidents of a similar nature happening to anonymous families in some indigent community where poverty …

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The challenges of the next 100 years

By Sen. Loren Legarda In 1997, 10 years after the re-establishment of the people’s representation through a bicameral legislature, I decided to run for senator of the Republic of the Philippines.  I was 37 then. In 1998, I was sworn into office as a senator. My personal experience as a journalist of 20 years equipped me with a deep understanding and appreciation of the realities that faced our land. My chronicles were filled with everyday stories of everyday people. It offered a reservoir of “truths” that are often overshadowed by logical fallacies. In many of the stories I have done, the overwhelming experiences of poverty emerged. I was a dauntless journalist, motivated by the desire to provide a voice for the people in my stories. Because of this, I made social justice, environmentalism, cultural heritage, and women’s …

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What climate change does to our oceans

According to a recent report compiled by 80 scientists in 12 countries, global warming is making our oceans “sicker” than ever before, spreading disease among humans and animals and raising the specter of food scarcity across the planet. “We all know that the oceans sustain this planet,” the director of the Union for Conservation of Nature, said. And yet we are making the oceans sick.” “The world’s waters have absorbed more than 93 percent of the enhanced heating from climate change since the 1970s, curbing the heat as it is felt on land but altering the rhythm of life in the ocean.” The study, which includes every major marine ecosystem that contains everything from microbes to whales, documents evidence of jelly fish, seabirds, and plankton shifting toward the cooler poles. “The movement in the marine environment is …

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A senate like no other

By M. H. Hizon Our country is rich in uniquely colorful traditions and institutions but unrivaled as a boundless source of excitement is the Philippine Senate. You can pick any or all of the following words to describe the Upper House and its members: august body, lawmakers, fiscalizers, haven for dynasties, muckrakers, profligates, pork lovers, entertainers, comedy, circus, the list goes on. The convoluted state of the body started when the instigator of Martial Law, Ferdinand E. Marcos, shot down the country’s institutions, discombobulating the political system in the process. Out went Congress and with it, all political parties. A mongrel entity was born, the KBL, which assembled politicians of disparate shapes and sizes, all beholden to the mighty ruler. Democracy saw the light of day again, but the two party system was gone forever. In its place came the “multi-party” system, with every politician of some clout forming his own …

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Father and son

Portraits: Kevin Cayuca Shot on location at the MacArthur Suite, Manila Hotel Many years ago, in the early ’70s, a young, idealistic lawyer from Cagayan de Oro decided he would oppose the dictatorial government of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.  He would be arrested and thrown in jail for three months. He would have a second stint in jail a few years after, and spent his young life peacefully fighting against an authoritarian regime. When he became mayor of his city in 1980, despite a pitiful war chest, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. continued to work quietly to mobilize locals, from fishermen and farmers, and the other most ignored sectors of society, so that he could create his own party founded on the tenets of freedom, solidarity, justice, equity, social responsibility, and enlightened nationalism. In 1982, PDP (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino) was born. It would produce, among many of the nation’s most notable …

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From Tumblr to Escolta

By Ricky Francisco  Any good discussion about contemporary Philippine art will have to touch on its accessibility and wider acceptability.  The days when art was reserved only for collectors, artists, or for students on the required field trip to the museum seem to be gladly coming to an end.  Art is now becoming popular, even cool, among more people, including the young. Proof are the long lines to the National Museum, on this year’s International Museum Day, when the admission was free (this was prior to the museum being declared permanently free by the current administration); the 16,000 visitors to Art Fair Philippines in its four-day run last February, many of whom were high school and college students; and the 25,459 Instagram posts about National Artist Ben Cab (and the more than 18,000 Instagram posts on Bencab Museum), for example. Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo has become one of the go-to places for barkadas searching for …

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Cool culture

Images by Noel B. Pabalate   Free admission was only the beginning. The National Museum of the Philippines’ thrust to embrace a bigger audience had the institution finding different ways of doing things. As it moves away from the sparse and conventional exhibitions, collections, and galleries (that not many probably remembered or even saw) to a more visually arresting, lifestyle-oriented, and interactive way of showcasing art, specimens, and artifacts, the National Museum is in a way looking to young Filipinos, the Millennials, to bridge the gnawing gap that kept too many people out of museums for far too long. One gratuitous selfie at a time. Selfie at the Museum “There are a few people who complain about all these young people taking selfies in the museum,” says Dr. Ana T. Labrador, National Museum assistant director. But I think it’s the youth’s way of registering their presence in the …

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Filipino first

But for the very, very first time I am a Filipino first. I’ve lost my blinders and I’m trying to see my country for what it is. Unlike the Dutertard, unlike the Yellowtard, I do not have the convenience and the comfort of blind love or blind hate: Just when I feel so right, something happens and I feel so wrong or just when I suspect I am so wrong, I suddenly feel so right. I’m sorry, my friends, that some of you feel so offended. I wish we could carry on just talking about books or our travels or the latest Michelin-star restaurant to hit town, but I’m  different now. I am no longer blind to the state of my country and yet... and yet... no longer blind I grope in the dark. Like …

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Art in the Metro

By Marife G. Tiangco In Renaissance Europe, aristocrats kept what they called extraordinary cabinets of curiosities. Also named wonder rooms, these are collections of personally curated artifacts ranging from eerie taxidermied animal carcasses to exquisite matryoshka doll sets from one’s travels to Russia. Although personal collections still exist, one Renaissance man’s burgeoning pile required him to locate a wider display space. Others followed suit. This incident contributed to the proliferation of museums and galleries. Fast forward to present times, the public need not peek into the personal closets of the wealthy just to see artifacts that may or may not pique their curiosity. Museums and galleries of some sort can be found anywhere in the Metro. But why do some people prefer museum-hopping over shopping or going to the beach? What’s in a museum that makes it interesting when all you’re allowed to do inside is stare and wonder? You’re not supposed to touch anything in a museum—it should be the other way around. Art should touch you. Juan Luna’s Spoliarium takes you back in time where dying gladiators are stripped off their weapons and possibly, their dignity. Ayala Museum’s …

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