The End of Manila

SOME years ago, the motto of the city of Manila was “Buhayin ang MayniLA (Revive ManiLA),” an attempt by then Mayor Jose Atienza Jr. to resurrect the urban mess by the bay, and a thinly-veiled excuse to put his initials on every piece of public property.

That the motto has now been changed to “Linisin Ikarangal Maynila (Clean up and honor Manila)” reflects not just the political fortunes of Manila, but also the grim fact that the city is a dead end. The best we can hope for, really, is to keep it clean until the next mayor comes up with another clever motto that incorporates both his name and some abstract civic virtue.

Even then, we cannot hold our breaths for either because no play on words can change the fact that this is the end of Manila.
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Now Safe For Work

Before I became a reporter, I worked in the porn industry. My participation was purely in post-production, though. I was the third-world monkey who got to sit through hours of white people having sex and transcribing what they were saying.

This was usually bad innuendos or pick-up lines too stupid to work (“Here is a box of pizza, my penis is hiding within”) but in the same way that people buy Playboy for the articles, people with hearing problems needed to know what porn stars say while they get it on. To get the subtle nuances of mid-thrust banter, I am sure.

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New homes, hopes for evacuees in Maguindanao, North Cotabato

COTABATO CITY — It will take at least one generation to build peace in the Philippines, the presidential peace adviser said at the launch of a peace and development program aptly called Pamana, or legacy.

The program, launched formally at the Office of the Regional Governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, aims to give families affected by fighting between the military and insurgents, access to government services, including their own homes.

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Field Note 03: Juan Miguel Zubiri

Arman Clemente, 2011

Juan Miguel Zubiri, who resigned as senator Wednesday, was the first politician I interviewed as a bright-eyed reporter with the now defunct Philippine Gazette.

Of course, given my reticence, it was not much of an interview. More like a few questions followed by a few answers and the patented Politician’s Pat*. Still, that was a big thing for me. It gave me a bit more confidence to ask other politicians more questions, and that got me a few more Politician’s Pats.

I’m not the first person to say this, but he did more in four years of a disputed term as senator than others whose election victories were not contested. Also, plus points for him for actually saying “One pawikan, please” at a press conference.

*A pat, usually on the arm or the back, to tell you the interview is over.