"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Shameless Justification of Patronage Politics in the Maguindanao Massacre by Maligno

Alex Maligno errr Magno strikes again with his bastardized dialectical materialist analysis that is more of den of thieves’ materialism. Rightly so just like any callous opportunist riding the popular sentiments of peoples' outrage and condemnation of the blatant tyranny of the warlord but that is where the buck stops with his intellectually bankrupt reasoning of understanding the “circumstance” and “complexity” of the problem.

He offers an insight what appears to be straight from his behind on what he avers was the reason for the rise of political warlords and build-up of private armies. It is one thing to see the harsh realities of patronage politics and another thing to justify its existence as a necessary evil. A trade off he says on the war of terror (you read that right and not a typo as you will see) due to what he claims as the dire lack of fund to enlarge the army to achieve an effective “superiority” ratio over the separatist and communist insurgency. Manny SD Lopez has this to say on Alex Maligno’s errr Magno’s paid hack analysis:
The analysis offered by Mr. Alex Magno is a standard rationale for legitimizing the organization and application of warlord-centered political culture and their 4G's i.e. guns, goons, gold and greed. The AFP has a total active strength of 113,500 with 131,000 personnel in reserve, while the PNP has an active strength of 113,928. Statistically the AFP-PNP has a personnel superiority ratio of more than 10:1 against the combined armed strengths of the NPA, MILF, remnants of MNLF and the Abu Sayyaff. Moreover, it is better equipped with established superiority in firepower, mobility, communications and logistical support. Being a component of the national government, the AFP-PNP has direct linkages with local government units, the national media and diplomatic channels, that can be utilized for its civil and public relations initiatives.

In this regard, with the present force and resources of the AFP-PNP, it should be more than capable of effectively addressing its constitutional duty of providing internal security and protection for all citizens of the Philippines, given the right leadership, policy direction, organizational culture and motivation. Contrary, to the prognosis of Mr. Alex Magno, the AFP-PNP does not require paramilitary component as force multipliers, composed of less trained, politically-directed and static paramilitary units to address its fundamental duty of ensuring peace and order as maybe be disturbed by insurgency, secessionist and terrorist activities. This was clearly demonstrated during the latter part of the Aquino and Ramos administrations, when the relative armed strengths and incursions of the NPA, MNLF and MILF were dramatically reduced, while the standing national policy to reduce or eliminate paramilitary units in the countryside’s were being implemented. Comprehensive political and economic reforms, an honorable peace process with firm resolve, should lead us to national development and equitable prosperity, and serve as the final solution to our nation's conflicts.

Legitimizing paramilitary forces directed by allied warlords is indeed a socio-political solution readily adopted by unpopular and wayward national regimes. However, the purpose is often to subvert the people's will and effect local political control by fear and intimidation. The rationale of local civilian defense against insurgency is a flimsy excuse and ventilated for the benefit of local warlords and their national patron. As experience dictate, paramilitary organizations are being used as private armies by local politicians for their own vested interests, and against the spirit of our hard won democracy and civil rights. This in turn breeds more dissent that fuels insurgency and lawlessness creating more problems for the state. The strategic role of private armies in effecting local political control is evident nationwide, despite advances in our liberal democratic institutions. Combining the political culture of patronage and corruption, legitimized paramilitary forces under the unfettered control of LGU executives is a temporary solution to political control towards chaos, at the expense of the localities inherent freedoms, democratic rights, and eventually peace and order. The AFP-PNP cannot afford to become mere tools of local tyrants, for a few pieces of silver by scripting its eventual failure.

A professional, well-led, well-trained and highly motivated military and police forces at its present size and resources is more than enough to contain the insurgency and terrorist problems at hand. However, time-honored military tradition of honor, professionalism, courage and discipline above all must be re-ingrained into the mindset of the Filipino soldier and police personnel. A clear-cut national policy and directive to pursue their true mandate as defenders of the constitution and protector of the Filipino people must be reminded, asserted and affirmed. With the foregoing, the Philippine military and police establishment could stand ready and able to wage battles against enemies of the state and win any war for our beloved country and people.
No wonder we are in the muck when kotonglist errr one who considers himself belonging to the fourth estate as a columnist inflicts more insult to his colleagues who are victims of mass murderers unparalleled in barbarity and monstrosity not even seen in war torn Iraq.

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The Maguindanao Massacre & the Mafiosi Conspiracy that Gloria Arroyo Calls Friendship

If you are a parent you will naturally discourage and forbid outright your children from associating with gang bangers, more so if it is your daughter, a nightmare no parent will even think or wish that to happen in any family. What is worse is if the tang inang bayan (Mother) or the matriarch is not just friends but allies not just with small time gang bangers but a monster of a warlord? Leave it to a dense Lorelei “Gloria-LIE” Fajardo the spaced out spokeswoman of Gloria Arroyo to show to the world the kind of enduring friendship one gets with an illegitimate president as shown in her statement below:
I don’t think the President’s friendship with the Ampatuans will be severed
As if the statement is not disgusting enough, she follows it up some more with the most revolting concept on friendship’s enduring loyalty:
Just because they’re in this situation doesn’t mean we will already turn our backs on them.
It does not matter that 57 defenseless women, lawyers, supporters, journalist and innocent civilians who happens to be at the wrong place and time are massacred in the most gruesome cold blooded manner, to Fajardo it is just a situation where they will not turn their backs on mass murderer friend in “need.”

The situation Fajardo dismisses lightly as if it was a harmless children schoolyard fight when it was a crime against humanity that brought shock, disbelief, disgust and anger in the civilized world. How can someone described the atrocities lightly just escapes me especially a crime of this nature that Liza Maza of Gabriela decries on the woman victims as massacred twice over who were shot in their genitals. What kind of animal can inflict such horrible gruesome murderous rage are capable of this but monsters and a president no less through her dense spokesperson that values friendship and political alliance defies logical explanation.

They may deny or ignore it but as they desperately lie through omission the more the Maguindanao electoral anomaly brought about by the Garci tape scandal are getting exposed. It is about friendship and political alliance or the can of worms or the skeletons in their electoral closet that will force it open since it was the Amaptuans who took Garcillano under their protective wings that no puny government law agency dares to touch lest they have a suicidal wish.

Randy David correctly observes the Maguinadanao massacre as a natural retrogression of warlordism in a weak state brought about by an illegitimate administration that we have allowed, and the drama of the Ampatuans getting expelled is just that a drama that has no significant impact as shown below:
Like the jueteng lords operating from behind the façade of the legal Small Town Lottery (STL), warlords like the Ampatuans accumulate and deploy their awesome power from behind their legal positions as government officials. Their links to national politics are not mediated by political parties, but are forged, like all patronage ties, directly with the principal bosses in government. The Ampatuans do not care if they are expelled from the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD party; what would hurt them is if Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, their principal patron, turns her back on them.
Of course Gloria Arroyo will not dare turn her back on them lest all hell broke loose knowing how criminal minds works that if they fall everyone goes down with them.

Never have we seen 12 journalist murdered in one gruesome incident that makes the Philippines the most dangerous place in the world for journalist. The Philippines has earned the notoriety topping even war torn Iraq as the most dangerous place in the world for journalist and yet we see some journalist trying to put a partisan spin on the dastardly massacre. Are they not seeing the implication of the massacre that this may serve as a signal for an open season where more of their colleagues are in harms way or is this attributable to ATM journalistic malpractice? Shame, shame, shame……… politicians, journalist and paid hacks who exploits this tragedy are worse than the vultures preying on the carcass of the hapless victims.....If you are sick and tired of this partisan spin game and focus what we can do now rather than blame the past sign the petition "STRIKE AGAINST IMPUNITY, STRIKE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY."

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Maguindanao Massacre Offshoot of Medieval Warlordism

The atrocious execution style massacre in broad daylight of defenseless women, journalist and innocent civilians in Maguindanao lorded over by the powerful warlord of the Ampatuan clan is barbarity of the lowest of the low. An atrocity so incomprehensible that people are capable of such horrendous acts against their fellow human being boggles the mind. Reports of 100 heavily armed mass murderers led by the younger Ampatuan being groomed as the heir apparent to the throne of corruption, thus the need to terrorize and murder Ismael Mangudadatu’s wife, close relatives and followers even of former allies to ensure their stranglehold of their fiefdom.

57 lives cut short in the most horrific sadistic manner as of this writing and fears of more bodies will be discovered as recovery teams dig the hastily dug graves by the perpetrators using a backhoe heavy equipment owned by the provincial government with Amapatuan’s name boldly printed on it.

The victims are terrorized beyond belief. Women are feared to have been molested, raped, and robbed of their belongings. Some were hogtied like animals bound for slaughter while others are lined up execution style cut down with a volley of gunfire. The savagery of the perpetrators acting like cannibals gorging their vehicles looting whatever valuables they can find is truly beyond revolting.

Never have we seen such horrendous criminality in our young fragile democracy of this magnitude. To think that this is happening in a country of gentle people known for their friendly smile despite the adversity and harshness’ of the political and economic environment that we have wicked individuals in our midst without conscience or scant trace of humanity so capable of such monstrosity.

Impunity is too light a word to describe the sinister mindset of these criminal monsters in a mass murder spree in the style and manner of Hitler, all because the victims dared to challenge the edict of the “Pharaoh” to run unopposed in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Inday Espina-Varona in her FB note wrote who will protect us from our protectors, our last resort maybe to call for the god in heaven to help us. But with the kind of spiritual leaders like San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto who choose to be deaf and blind but not mute to spew disgusting political partisanship as shown below we are truly in desperate times:
“She's really sad since she stands as the mother of the country," Aniceto said.

The archbishop appealed to authorities to do everything they could to give justice to the victims.

“Authorities should not let this incident deteriorate into [a wave of] violence in Mindanao," Aniceto said.
Is he out of his mind or what? Is this the kind of mother he rams in our throats, one that condones and responsible for the existence of political warlords in exchange for giving her the command votes? Is he blind not to see that he is right there in front of the highest authority in the land and yet Aniceto appeals to “authorities” as if the woman is a saintly innocent little angel? Hypocrisy galore so revolting as if wearing black to symbolize her questionable grief will erase her culpability with an Archbishop no less trying to peddle a cheap stunt to fool the people is disgusting to say the least.

Enough of the charade and hypocrisy, no matter how they portray themselves the enemies of our fragile democracy and our people will never cease until this nation rids itself of medieval warlords making us the basket case of Asia.

How will the administration and succeeding ones to come will handle this problem of warlordism is a challenge that is almost impossible to solve because they are an integral part of our political system. Here is what Inday Espina-Varona posted at FB “In the Philippines, political dynasties die hard” by Caloy Conde:
According to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a Manila think tank, there are an estimated 250 political dynasties in the Philippines. Of the 265 members of Congress in 2007, it said in a report that year, 160 of them belonged to these powerful families.
They are clearly the majority in Congress and Glenn Omanio’s response to my query on the actual number of powerful families maintaining private armies surely makes you wonder how we have allowed greedy morons to run our country:
I quoted in 2007 Cenpeg's director, Bobby Tuazon, saying, "Each of the country's 80 provinces is kept under the thumbs of at least one dynasty. These political dynasties run a patronage system of local political families and networks of supporters bound together by interlocking political and commercial interests.'' Each of the families account for at least two members in Congress, numbering almost 500 of the 2,400 elected officials in the national legislature from 1907 to 2004.
Of course they will act innocently and put up a façade of righteousness instead of taking responsibility for their incompetence like almost nuisance presidential candidate Gibo to which Manny SD Lopez has this to say:
Presidential wannabe Gilbert Teodoro should shut his mouth and stop giving prescriptions in light of the recent massacre in Maguindanao. He was secretary of defense for over two years and wielded considerable political influence, he could have initiated gun control initiatives and laid out policies to stop the proliferation of private armies, if he had the wisdom and courage to do so. As DND Secretary, he has done nothing, or taken a position to address such matters. He is only good in making speeches of no consequence and political value.

This dastardly act is an affront to our hard won democracy and civil rights, it’s an insult to the military and police establishments, even to Islamic ethics of warfare. Expulsion of the Ampatuans from the administration party alone is not sufficient; the full force of the law must be applied. With martial law declared in those provinces, the DILG must immediately effect preventive suspension of LGU officials who may be responsible as evidence suggest. The military and police leadership in Mindanao should act with courage and dispatch to arrest the culprits as the Filipino people so demand.
Indeed they have crossed the line where woman. children, and innocent civilians are not harmed during rido or clan wars and this was just about election, we can only hope that that the violence does not escalate into a clan war where the rules of engagement has been breached that may lead to more atrocities. The massacre of at least 12 journalist never seen even in war torn Iraq could very well be a violence imposed news blackout for the journalist to stay out of the way for the impending bloody war of attrition and annihilation between the 2 warring clans. Warlordism is a medieval aberration in a young fragile democracy, we need to identify and expose them and evil deeds so the people can boot them out of office………. or forever be at the mercy of sadistic monsters ruling and robbing us blind who are not even worthy of being called human beings.

Image courtesy of FB friend Kner Ramirez Fajardo

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Efren “Kuya Ef!” Penaflorida Jr., Pinoy Hero & Our Misguided Confused Hero Worship of Manny Pacquiao

Efren “Kuya Ef!” Penaflorida Jr. acceptance speech at the 2009 CNN Heroes award at the Kodak Theater, Hollywood, California USA:
Thank you... Our planet is.... filled with heroes... young and old,.... rich and poor,... man... woman.... of different colors, shapes and sizes we are one great tapestry. Each person has a hidden hero within... just have to look inside you.. and.... search it in your heart.... and be the hero... to the next ones in need... so, to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve... serve well, serve others above yourself... and be happy to serve.... as I always tell.... to my co-volunteers of Dynamic Team Company and Club 8586 Incorporated you are the change that you dreamed... as I am the change that I dreamed... and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be... Mabuhay.
One of the best speech I have heard coming from the heart and soul of our very own hero, short, yet so powerful, enough to give us goose bumps at the simplicity yet thought provoking message. A testament of mans innate goodness for fellowmen stepping up the plate to make a difference amidst the surrounding desolate reality of an impoverished community reduced to a numbing life of surreal scavenging for scraps at societies mountain of discarded garbage. Virtual bottom dwellers with no hope for the future in sight amidst a surrounding that literally stinks to high heavens and worse, people are left with no choice reduced to live in a filthy environment, and scavenging to eke out a living for survival.

Efren “Kuya Ef!” Penaflorida Jr. is a man who grew up in the same squalid environment undaunted by the filth of his environment early in life knew his only way out of the rut was to excel in his studies. So strong was his conviction that he knew his personal success alone is meaningless if he cannot inspire others to follow suit. So strong is his conviction that he has 10,000 volunteers doing the same thing he is doing with meager resources going around in a pushcart loaded with books to encourage slum children to take the path out of ignorance and animal like mindset of territorial gangs of hooligans.

As we celebrate Efren Penaflorida being hailed as a CNN Hero we also need to realize that it is a clear indictment of a failed educational system. Our government and educational institution has failed and continuously fail our youths to bring them out of ignorance. So massive that an army of volunteers growing to 10,000 strong facing an almost insurmountable task due to lack of funding for an effective educational system exacerbated by widespread corruption.

In a nation so wrought with scandals from so called leaders of questionable integrity there is a natural longing for heroes and for lack of people in high places to make us proud, it does not help that we confused celebrities for a hero. Our thirst for good deeds amidst a coterie of greedy shameless politicians robbing us blind will naturally declare even a celebrity who gets paid millions of dollars for his achievement as a hero is nothing but a misguided and confused hero worship. This makes me wonder if we produce a world cockfight champion, will we parade complete with a marching band and give a hero’s welcome to that cock too.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy and glad for what Manny Pacquiao has achieved and his place in the annals of the world of boxing, a feat unsurpassed in Asia. I am happy to see rags to riches story from a former street hustler forced to make a living at a young age and to see where he is at is indeed his personal heroic achievement. Of course that is extra ordinarily admirable, but what makes Efren’s achievement so great is it can not just be emulated but can also be duplicated in geometric proportion. Now how many world boxing champion can Manny Pacquiao produce assuming he takes the route taken by Efren “Kuya Ef!” Penaflorida Jr.? If there is anything that is to be emulated if we can call it that is the reverse when it comes to Pacquiao trying to emulate his politician friends to be like them? Not exactly a heroic or a smart thing to do, why wallow in the muck when one is already out of it?

So what is the big deal when Saranggani public officials do not join and organize a circus like parade to give Pacquiao a hero’s welcome? Minvelez Gulle one of Pacquiao’s adviser believes our boxing idol deserves the “respect” that the officials of Saranggan failed to do and thus lacks “political finesse,” say what now? No streamers were seen at the Capitol building and not a single government official showed up for the circus when Pacquiao should be revered este his homecoming should be treated beyond politics.

Heck, Pacquiao moved and registered to vote in Saranggani because he knew there is no way he can win in General Santos City against Darlene Antonio-Custodio. His political intentions are so obvious and Gulle is trying to sell the idea of beyond politics is fooling himself and others and clearly a cheap shot. While I really don’t care about his political opponent billionaire Roy Chiongbian of Gloria Arroyo’s Palaka Party this foolish bickering is just silly and a boxing hero on a trek to personality and patronage politics is not exactly a heroic direction worthy of emulation.

There is no doubt that Pacquiao's fight finds people so united in rooting for his victory even criminals and terrorist kidnap for ransom entrepreneurs masquerading as Jihad virgin seeking warriors takes a break to watch the fight. Now all that is good if Pacquiao can only elevate this "unity" towards nation building instead of united in escaping the harse realities of pathetic state of Philippine politics. What good is this "unity" when after the fight we are still in the muck and not much has change? Worse our idol that "unifies us" believes running for public office to follow in the footsteps of Chavit Singson and Lito Atienza is not exactly very unifying.

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Fil-Am & Asian Events

(Compiled by Dionesio Grava. You may submit your event via e-mail.)

Ryan Gallagher & Friends Thanksgiving Benefit Concert for H.O.P.E.4CHILDREN FOUNDATION."This event is planned to start at 8:30 pm on Nov 20, 2009 at Marriott Hotel Main Ballroom. The newest teen sensation Patti Austin Protege, Lianna Gutierrez and the Prince of Beat Box, Michael Walker, aka Re-D.mer! Also featuring spectacular dancing performance by Nikki Gill & her Glam Girls, and captivating singing and piano accompaniment by Nathaniel Gambino. H.O.P.E.4CHILDREN FOUNDATION is a nonprofit organization that aims to empower disadvantaged youth and communities by providing them with learning opportunities that will improve their quality of life. Founded by community activist and philanthropist Grace Llana Walker and based in Glendale, California, it exists to help underprivileged children and communities within the Los Angeles area as well as in third world countries get started on the path to a better future.

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Tastes, sights and cultures of Asia
15th Annual AsiaNight

Friday, November 20, 2009, 6:00 P.M. - 10:15 P.M.
at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Sponsored by California-Asia Business Council (Cal-Asia)

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Film Screening of “Burma VJ” on Friday, November 20, 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM at James Bridges Theater, Melnitz Hall, UCLA Campus. Informal Reception at 6:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public.
“Burma VJ” tells the story of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and its role in the battle for a free and democratic Burma. The film offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, while at the same time providing a thorough documentation of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks started protest marches.

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Ongoing until November 21, 2009 at the Andrew Shire Gallery, 3850 Wilshire Blvd., #107, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Humanities: Ben Cabrera, Ahmad Zakii Anwar & Putu Sutawijaya. Ben Cabrera, or 'Bencab', as he is better known, is one of the youngest artists to be recognized as a National Artist of the Philippines.

Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am-6pm
For more info email or visit Andrew Shire Gallery website.

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Samahang Pilipino at UCLA will host the 10th year anniversary of Queer Pin@y (pronounced Pinay/Pinoy) Conference on November 21 with "On the Verge." This year's theme "Bring It Back" has a double meaning: to bring it back to 1999 to see how far we as a queer Pin@y community have progressed, and to bring back our knowledge and consciousness to our respective spaces and communities. This conference is totally FREE but registration required. Contact Christine B. Balance for additional information click here.

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Sarita Echavez See will discuss her new book, “The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance” on November 21, 2009 Saturday 3:00 pm at Eastwind Books of Berkeley (2066 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704). The book is an unprecedented study of a contemporary Filipino American arts movement that has flourished in the shadows of the American empire, It illuminates the profound impact and unexpected consequences of America's amnesia about its imperial history. Sarita Echavez See argues that the American empire unlike other Western colonial powers, does not recognize itself as such. For more information, phone: 510 548-2350.

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Vestiges of Creation is a theatrical and dance work that engages viewers in a show that calls itself - and their role in it - into question. Show on Friday, November 20, 2009 - Saturday, November 21, 2009, 8:00 pm at the Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater (120 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095).

Tickets: $15 general admission, $8 students Parking:

Enter Lot 4 from Sunset Blvd. and Westwood Plaza
For more information visit the Website.

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Simbang Gabi Commissioning Mass and Ceremony on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the Saint Mary’s Cathedral of the Assumption (1111 Gough Street in San Francisco). It is an annual lighting ritual of traditional parol lanterns to commence the celebration of the novena of masses of Simbang Gabi held in various parishes in the Archdiocese.

Before the concelebrated mass there is a procession of parol lanterns from each parish to be lead by the Cathedral’s Tala Lantern and candle lights dancing to be performed by the youth. Incorporated in the liturgy is the blessing and lighting of the parol lanterns which each parish will bring back to their respective churches to commemorate the Star of Bethlehem of the story of the nativity. For more information, contact, Nellie Hizon at (415) 699-7927 and for the annual parol lantern festival, contact via email or call 415-348-8042.

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Filipina Women's Network invites you to the November FWN Salo Salo @ Alido's (3560 Callan Boulevard, South San Francisco 94080), Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, 5-9pm and November 27, Sunday, 5:00 - 9:00 pm.

Featuring the 2009 FWN 100 Awardees (based in the San Francisco Bay Area). In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let's gather in community and let's share our stories of successes, challenges and opportunities. "Lessons Learned: Wisdom to Pass On" is the theme and driving spirit of this unique gathering. RSVP online @ FWN or call 415.278.9410.

(Early bird) FWN members, $35; Non members, $45

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Filipino-American actress, playwright, and producer Leslie Lewis Sword brings the true life story of Rwanda genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza to the stage in the upcoming extended run of her powerful one woman production at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Friday, September 26 – 8pm
Saturday, September 27 - 8pm

Sunday, September 28 – 3pm Closing

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The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles will be closed based on the following dates:

26 November 2009 (Thursday) – In observance of Thanksgiving Day (US Holiday)

27 November 2009 (Friday) – In observance of Andres Bonifacio Day (RP Holiday)

Regular consular services will resume on the next working day, 30 November 2009 (Monday). In emergency cases, the Duty Officer can be reached at telephone number (213) 268-9990.

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Orange County President Council & SABAN - South Asian Biz Network invite you to Holiday Mixer Extravaganza

Wednesday, December 2, 2009, Start 5:30 pm at the South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA

Holiday Greetings - Networking - Refreshment - Cocktails - Entertainment

Cost: $15.00 Members, $25.00 Non-Member

RSVP: Mohammed I. 949/726-8804, or RSVP Online.

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The 10th anniversary of APA Community Toy Drive will be on December 3, 6-9 pm at the Japanese National Museaum (369 E. First St., LA, CA 90012). For admission bring a new unwrapped toy worth at least $15 or a minimum $15 donation. More information at visit website.

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The Babae Ensemble will present “Pinay Stories: Connection, Memory, Roots” on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5. Doors open at 7:30 pm at Off Market Theater, 965 Mission St. #250, San Francisco, CA 94104. An all-Filipina cast with stories that will inspire, empower, and uplift; evenings of original written work, theater, and performance. Pinay Stories is a national cultural arts project of GABRIELA USA that centers on collecting creative efforts of Filipino women in the United States reflecting their life stories, journeys and current lives.

$12 admission. For tickets, visit Website.

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Filipino Hoops and Heritage Night” will be held by the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Saturday, December 5, 2009 during its game against the Indiana Pacers at the world famous STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local Filipino community nonprofit organizations, as well as relief efforts for Typhoon Ondoy and Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines.

The event will feature Raymond Townsend, the first and only Filipino basketball player to ever play in the NBA. Special Philippine cultural, dance, and vocal performances will occur during pre-game festivities and at halftime. There will be a showing of a 30-second “Follow Your Dreams” video vignettes played on the scoreboard video screen, featuring Filipino celebrities who have realized their dreams in several fields. The evening starts with a meet and greet reception from 5:30pm – 6:30pm at the City View Terrace inside STAPLES Center. Pre-game entertainment begins at 6:30pm, followed by tipoff at 7:30pm.

Discount tickets are available in special Filipino Hoops and Heritage Night seating sections, for $15 (upper level center), $35 (200’s level), and $47 (lower level 100’s) by visiting www.filipinohoopsandheritage.com. All tickets include a free collector’s edition Filipino Hoops and Heritage Night T-shirt. The meet and greet is open to the first 500 FHHN attendees with lower level (100’s) tickets, on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Holiday Casino Night & Poker Tournament Fundraiser organized by the San Francisco Fil-Am Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, December 5th, 2009, 6 pm (101 Brentwood Drive South San Francisco, CA 94080). Proceeds will benefit the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center. This fundraiser culminates a string of activities throughout the year, from engaging networking at different partner restaurants, to supplier diversity seminar for Filipino entrepreneurs and small businesses. Buy tickets by Nov. 30 or call/email Teresa at (415) 440-0910, Milko at (415)218-7123. For more information, please visit San Francisco Fil-Am Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Preparations are underway for the 7th annual “parol” lantern festival. The Tala Awards will be bestowed to the best lantern designs to be announced after the parol stroll on the 12th of December at Jessie Square (east plaza of St. Patrick’s Church) in San Francisco. The theme for this year is “Light the way, be counted” in conjunction with the upcoming census 2010. In addition, with the Tala Awards’ Grand Prize of $500, second and third prizes, and Directors’ Choice Award, the US Census and parol organizers would recognize contingent that brings in the most number of participant-strollers and expresses the theme collectively.

The Bayanihan Community Center on 1010 Mission Street and 6th Street hosts parol making workshops every Friday from 5 to 8 pm. This is open to the public. Donation accepted to cover the cost of supplies and materials in producing the lanterns. For more information, email, or call 415-348-8042.

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Becca Godinez will perform in a Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 12, starting at 7:30 PM. Venue is the Heritage Forum, Anaheim, CA. Ms. Godinez has performed in concerts, in theatre plays and musicals, has written words and music for herself and other artists, recorded albums, and hosted a musical variety show on TV. She won awards in the 10th Tokyo Music Festival and a duet with Morris Albert of "Feelings" fame won first place in an International Song Festival held in Houston.

For some time Ms. Godinez withdrew from public life to be with her inner self but ever the artist, she had since been back on the scene with many of her songs now reflecting on her Christian faith as seen on her CD entitled, “Road to Humble”. A Christian CD is on the works and Becca has become an active participant at her church’s music ministry.

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The Southern Leytenos Association in USA (SLAUSA) has scheduled a Potluck Christmas Party on December 19 (Saturday) from 6 pm – midnight. Everyone urged to bring their favorite holiday dish or dessert to share. Bring the whole family as well. Venue: Quest Learning Center (11975 Artesia Blvd. , Artesia, Ca 90701 Tel. (562) 246-0498)

For more information please call anyone of the following: Boy or MJ Nombrado, Tel. Nos. 310-952-9345, 310-951-1736, 310-951-1677; Rene Catigan, 562-983-0705, 562-883-2095; or Lito Batino: 714-524-1406, 714-213-5298.

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Ongoing through February 8, 2010, “Fashioning Domesticity, Weaving Desire: Visions of the Filipina” at the Pacific Asia Museum (46 North Los Robles Avenue Pasadena, California 91101, Tel. (626) 449-2742)

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: $9 for General Admission, $7 for Students and Seniors, Free for Children Ages 11 and Under, Free for Members, Free to All Visitors on the Fourth Friday of the Month Website

The exhibit explores the canonical images of the early to mid 20th-century Filipina as civilized and wild. Through textiles and photography, this exhibition addresses two key performative issues: the fashioning of domesticity and the weaving of desire.

Ongoing Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China
Bowers Museum (2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706, Tel. 714.567.3600)

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Open late the fourth Thursday of every month until 8:00 pm

Closed on Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
General Admission: Adults $12.00, Seniors (age 62 or older) $9.00, Students $9.00, Children 6-17 $9.00, Children under 6 Free; Website.

The Miao people straddle China's border with Southeast Asia. This important collection of exquisite textiles and silver jewelry on loan to and from the Bowers Museum’s permanent collection highlights the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China.

Ongoing Visions of Enlightenment: Understanding the Art of Buddhism Free ONLINE exhibit presented by the Pacific Asia Museum. There is quite a bit of information about Buddhism in Southeast Asia, especially in the "Buddhist Places" section.

Intersections: World Arts/Local Lives at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA Campus.

Museum admission is free. Shown is one of our nation's most important collections of art from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas that celebrates the richness of world arts and considers the roles these works of art play in peoples' lives.

Although they are scattered throughout the exhibit, there are a number of artifacts from Southeast Asia (Burma, Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia) including ancestor figures, puppets, masks, and other sculptures. There is also a five-minute film on Indonesia: "Sisilia Sii Weaver" which focuses on ikat weaving techniques on the island of Flores.

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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Loren Legarda’s Butterfly Principle & Trapo’s Political Manurity

Looks like Loren Legarda is all dreams or better yet just dreaming she can put up a façade of principled integrity in her flawed ambition of trying desperately to win the 2nd highest position in the land.
What is she thinking or is she even thinking the implication of what she did wallowing in the muck of the Mafiosi numbers game of her lower house counterpart? How in the name of cheating president did Legarda and her cohorts arrive at the conclusion together with the 10 jokers and one even named Joker in the Senate dismissing ethics complaint against Manny Villar is truly amazingly bizarre. Of course aberration like this is expected as the lower Mafiosi house must be celebrating this inutile act of getting out of the closet errrr showing of true colors and shouting "welcome to the club of La Famiglia!" for the following cabos; Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, and Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Gregoriio Honasan, Joker Arroyo, Miriam Santiago, Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Loren Legarda, Francis Pangilinan and Manny Villar himself.

The senate indeed just sunk themselves deeper in the political muck of diving towards political manurity, now where in the world will you find where the one accused is voting and dismissing complaints where he is the principal in the complaint? Now if that is not sinking their level to the lowest of the lowest I have no clue what is. Heck, an accused and a judge at the same time and guess how the accused/judge will vote? No wonder public servants you expect to be decent and suppossedly possessing the highest sense of propriety are doing the same shameless acts because they seem to be pulling off their judicious wisdom off their behind.

That is like appointing the Marcoses, Cojoangcos, Lucio Tans and others accused of plunder as commissioners at PCGG to recover what they stole. Speaking of PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government), Chairman Camilo Sabio sees nothing wrong in hiring his relatives which he claims was his mandate because he needs people he can trust. Yeah, someone to do the deal errrr to act as runner oooops executive assistant like his son Jose Gerardo Sabio, son-in-law Alberto Feria, a special assistant; nephew Patricio Ledonio, a clerk; brother-in-law Gerardo Ledonio, another special assistant; and another family member Smile Catabas, also a clerk. That is virtually the whole family and he says it was not nepotism no wonder they can’t recover those ill-gotten wealth and the Marcoses now are openly claiming ownership of the Lusutan errr Lucio Tan’s numerous corporations.

The blogger at Mt. Balatucan just can’t help puking at the rate these trapos conduct their shameless numbers game while portraying themselves as man and woman and also closet queens according to Taliban wannabe Nicodemo Ferrer will likely get dehydrated if these aberration does not stop. What is with the drama ala tear jerker soap opera at lamenting the need for billion of depreciated peso that Mr. C-5 and Taga Villar has plenty of in pursuing the highest elective position in the land when Legarda willingly went where the money is?

To think that Legarda was one of the signatories in the double insertion scandal and conflict of interest ethics complaint against Manny Villar only to absolve and even plunge as her political bedfellow but surely not strange belongs to the weird and bizarre world of unprincipled Philippine politics.

Loren Legarda it seems is cursed when it comes to the men in her romantic life, a fate looking more like a curse all the way to her bad choice even in politics like a butterfly seeking the nectar only to end up with sourly acidic katurays. Jamby Madrigal thinks it has something to do with political prostitution as she states the obvious below:
My fight against corruption is non-negotiable. My complaint against Senator Villar is based on principles. I congratulate Mr. Villar for his fantastic lobbying in turning someone like Senator Legarda, who was rabidly against him into his girl friday. As they say, Manny talks and money talks louder. I will not subscribe to political prostitution when the country's interest is at stake. Public service is not a numbers game.
Indeed it is not a numbers game and there is a limit how far you can fool the people as in not every time and this is the time where it will not work. Is it obvious that politicians are allowing themselves to sink this low because of the billions of depreciated peso Manny Villar has in his war chest? Enough to eat their pride and principles or do they even have any in the first place thus they see nothing wrong on the obvious conflict of interest or at the least a sense of propriety that is expected of public servants has been erased to extinction in their lust for power and position. A sign that we have reached political manurity instead of maturity brought about by the culture of corruption so infectious like the swine flu virus that it engulfs everyone to shameless if not criminal demeanor to perpetuate themselves in power.

Well they better watch out, there is a trend that the trapos need to really pay attention, but of course when one is so used to treating their constituent as just one big mass of unthinking zombies they are liable to miss it miserably. Manuel Buencamino accurately sees the blatant lies on SCTEx and the trend in the recent survey, majority of the people are repudiating patronage and padrino tactics using politics of lies and slander in favor of who is perceived to lead based on integrity and honesty. While the trend is for honesty and integrity these people will never learn, just like in boxing Miguel Cotto who was beaten up and got hurt the most when he got hit without seeing where Pacquiao’s blows was coming from. These trapos are in denial or delusional and hopefully when the election dust settles down, the trapos will be carried out of the political arena in stretchers never to come back ever again.

Loren has invested some political goodwill and her decision to plunge all the way with Manny with the money will be her undoing. She will be perceived as an opportunist political gold digger willing to throw away her principles and convictions that turns out to be bogus after all.

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Manny Pacquiao the greatest boxer of all time must stay out of politics

It’s a great day for boxing aficionados the world over. The much anticipated fight where Manny Pacquiao emerged victorious will be the talk of boxing fans for quite sometime. This is a classic fight, where the fans got their moneys worth every single second of the amazing fight.

If it is great the world over it is even greater in the Philippines where people from all walks of life even those who are not boxing aficionados are celebrating Pacquiao’s unprecedented history making victory of capturing 7 weigh class title. In a nation so wracked by disunity run by pseudo leaders and utter lack of heroes Manny Pacquiao’s arrival has given rise to a phenomenon of unimaginable proportion, unity amidst adversity.
The first round of the fight has people on edge, at least I am. All of a sudden it was a realization of what we fear the most that Manny Pacquiao may have bitten more than he can chew. As it turns out, it was not to be, Manny Pacquiao was just sizing up Cotto’s strength and ability and from then on a machine like energizer of jabs, straights left and right hooks was unleashed reconfiguring Miguel Cotto’s face. A David and Goliath battle ensues and the little man who sees himself as an ordinary man was actually extraordinary great in all likelihood dominated the fight like a predator chasing a hapless defenseless prey. There is no doubt that Pacquiao is the greatest boxer of all time conceded natural welterweight title champion Miguel Cotto. Cotto being a true warrior and a gentleman has the humility of a great man and instead of blaming his corner for not stopping the fight early took full responsibility for his own decision.

Why did Cotto lost when he was the bigger and stronger fighter who is not just a regular natural welterweight but a fierce skilled champion at that? What people seems to forget is that Cotto made the mistake of firing his uncle and hiring a young untested newbie who is not a bona-fide coach/trainer. While it is the boxer’s performance in the ring that brings about his victory or defeat what Cotto’s corner did not realize was that they were up against Freddie Roach, one of the greatest coach/trainer.

Did they forget that Mike Tyson when he entered the boxing scene was chopping down much bigger and taller fighter? Guess who is Mike Tyson’s coach/trainer? It was Freddie Roach, so with his past and present accomplishment it is safe to assume that it was his forte to train smaller guys against bigger opponent. That is what makes Freddie Roach one of the greatest coach/trainer of all time thus Manny Pacquiao now refers to him as his “Master” or guru. The Pacquiao Roach combination is a formidable team to beat in the field of boxing, until a new phenomenon emerges because all good things whether we like it or not comes to an end.

Now if politics is like boxing Pacquiao is in good company but Freddie Roach while he is one of the best if not the best in this era in the field of boxing, politics especially the pathetic personality and patronage type in the Philippines is a totally different ball game. This is not like a boxing ring where one can slug it out skillfully against a single opponent with an impartial referee to ensure a clean fight and impartial judges who determine the winner in case of a decision.

In the Philippine political arena you have not just an ignorant Commission on Election but corrupt to the bones commissioners acting as election referee so one has to be criminally corrupt to play in this kind of arena. One has to realize that this constitutional body has commissioners confusing their mandate to that of Osama Bin Laden/Mullah extremist/Neo-Christian Conservative extremist all rolled into one acting like back door operators guided not by rule of law but rule of man.

In boxing you have a paying audience that is the lifeblood of the sport, in the Philippine political arena the mass electorates are like the audience but instead of paying they expect to be paid.

So who would be in the political corner of Manny Pacquiao if he ruins errr run for public office? This is not to denigrate his corner, they are the best of the best insofar as boxing is concerned but I am sure they know that politics especially the Philippine kind is beyond them.

Who then will act as Manny Pacquiao’s Freddie Roach in the field of politics? The closest we can see is torotot errrr self-confessed trumpeted Chavit Singson, a warlord, common-law-wife beater and ex-Jueteng bagman. Now how exactly will he coach the Pacman in politics?

Well, he also has anti-condom pro-baby factory former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza in his corner who can school Manny in the art of Trapo politics but if Manny wants change, Atienza is not exactly the type that can help him get there.

Let’s face it having the likes of these characters and adding Mike Arroyo, Noli de CASHtro and other known trapos in his political corner is not the type of groupies that he should be associated with especially when they are now the most unpopular and despised who will be more of a liability than an asset.

Why throw all the historic achievement down the muck of Philippine politics when Pacquiao already have established a lasting legacy in the world of boxing? Ok, I know there are the “socialist” leeches (the type of people who treats your money as their own and their money as theirs alone) who expect Manny to throw good money their way and just because he see his political “friends” giving away money to the poor, that is not the right and legal way to go about it. These are clearly the taxpayer’s money they are giving away as if it is going out of style; it is not only immoral but illegal.

Having too much money can be a blessing and a curse at the same time, just look at the experience of the lotto winners losing them all in an instance. So, we need to understand his worries that no matter how much money he earns there is a danger of losing it especially at the rate he gives it away. The differences is that unlike lotto winners his fortune was not a one time bonanza but a stream of wealth going in his direction and more to come at the rate he improves his craft.

Using the services of professional money manager if he has not done so already can make a huge difference. Politics is a bad investment that can ruin one not just financially but has the effect of moral degenerative bankruptcy. Why spoil the worldwide goodwill entering Philippine politics with its accompanying scandals if the point is to promote mendicancy that only strengthen patronage politics that we need to rid? Where is the change in that? Pacquiao need not go into politics he has to realize that he already has the connection and influence, and one has to use it accordingly and ethically in promoting investment towards building industry that can generate jobs. Pacquiao’s fight unifies the people, sustaining that unity in the realm of pathetic Philippine politics is more of a delusion, politics is a fight Pacquiao is more likely to lose even if he wins……….

Photo credit: Dung Markus

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