Illustration by Joel Fabonan
Every year has its share of significant events, whether fortunate, disastrous, or unexpected, and it’s probably just an illusion born of distance or the lack thereof that makes one year seem more momentous than another. Having said that, wow: 2010, eh? A new president, the end of an era in local music, upheavals in the entertainment industry, inhumane and regrettable tragedies, and some sweet triumphs in the international scene.
Maybe once in a while, we’d like a nice, boring, uneventful year, but 2010 was not that kind of year. Here is the kind of year that it was.
“Like many Filipinos, I was hopeful about the new administration when Noynoy Aquino was sworn in as President. But towards the end of 2010, like many Filipinos, I have yet to be impressed by his performance. It is apparent that PNoy remains incorruptible, and this continues to be his strongest suit. However, it is his performance, and not his moral high ground, that is now under scrutiny. I am also not yet convinced of the effectiveness of the people around him. So far, none of his chosen cabinet members have made a big mark on the country. It seems that some of them are not a good fit for the positions to which they were appointed.
I do commend the President for his firm stand on family planning, responsible parenthood, and a population management policy which respects various family planning methods. He did this despite the threat of possible excommunication by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. I do wish that he is able to tackle the issue of the country’s unabated population growth, which continues to be a hindrance to our country’s development.
At this point I still have what I call ‘tentative optimism’ for the President’s remaining years in office. After all, as a Filipino, I can only want our government to succeed.”
—Cheryl Cosim, News Anchor/TV Host
CHARICE ON GLEE
“Charice on mainstream television proved that the Filipino is a world-class talent. Charice has opened the door and shown that Filipinos can go head-on with international stars. She’s put our country, our race on the global entertainment map!”
—Karen Davila, Broadcast Journalist/News Anchor
THE DEATH OF RADIO
“If video did indeed kill the radio star, 2010 brought us the complex case of a double dead potential suicide. With the plug pulled on NU107 and the premature passing of U92 occurring within months of each other, tongues wagged, faces sagged, and hopes dragged as music lovers across the nation mused over whether or not there was room for their kind in mainstream media anymore.
But the people behind these stations are lifers — their hearts and souls are devoted to the music, and to getting the music out there. So whether or not the frequency stays the same, as long as there’s a microphone and a speaker, or more to the point, a speaker and an audience, we haven’t heard the end of it all yet.”
—Sarah Meier, Model/Hip-Hop Enthusiast
“When the history of this era is written, and Philippine society has become much more secular, with the church’s influence drastically downsized, Carlos Celdran’s dramatic act in 2010 will be recalled as a seminal moment.
Political movements throughout modern history have been fired up by singular acts and images: kneeling nuns and a Chinese protester in front of a tank, Bonifacio tearing up his cedula.
And now we have the blurry picture of a pudgy man in bowler hat holding aloft a sign that says ‘Damaso!’ inside a cathedral before an audience of bishops. The audacity of this non-violent act was brilliant political theater, creating a vivid connection between the villain of Rizal’s novel and the priests who stand in the way of reproductive health legislation. It’s an image that will not soon be forgotten.”
—Howie Severino, Documentary Filmmaker/Broadcast Journalist
THE RETURN OF THE MARCOSES
“The return of the Marcoses was inevitable for two reasons. First, we are too damned easy to distract. A fruit fly has laser-like focus compared to us. We rage and tear at the issue, but when the news cycle inevitably brings up a new cause célèbre, we hop on that bandwagon without hesitation. We haven’t necessarily forgiven or forgotten that old issue; we’re simply more interested in that brand new thing.
Second, we are too prone to nostalgia, which is like beer goggles for history. Through the sepia haze, we pick out the best parts of the past and essentially ignore the less savory details until we’ve convinced ourselves that, back in the day, there were no poor people and gasoline was free.
It was within this environment of wistful attention deficit that the rehabilitation of the Marcoses organically unfolded. It happened naturally, following the normal course of events and apparently with the unwitting complicity of the people. We were so distracted by everything else that demanded our outrage, that the business of owning up to and taking responsibility for the past was put on the back burner. Also as time went by, the pre-1986 years eventually lost their ability to move people. Nostalgia softened our hindsight so much that even though hindsight is supposed to be 20/20, many of our people—our voters—ended up with a soft-focus version of the past.
Given these two reasons, the return of the Marcoses was truly just a matter of time. Funny then that, when the dust settled after the elections this year, people were still surprised.
(Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. emerged as the seventh ranking Senator with 13,169,634 votes. His mother, she of the shoes, trampled her opponent for a Congressional seat with more than 100,000 votes. And his sister was practically crowned governor with almost 200,000 votes.)”
-James Jimenez, Comelec Spokesperson
JOHN MAYER’S A DOUCHEBAG
“On October 1st, I was really excited. I was going to meet John Mayer! And when I had heard I was one of the 30 he had let in, that got me even more pumped. I felt like I was special. But everything didn’t work out so well. It was pouring, and I was drenched, and tired. He made us wait for a whole hour before he let us in. I brought my friend who’s a really big fan of his, and we were both really excited to get our passes and other items signed. We brought markers and everything. Then when we get inside, I ask him to sign one autograph. He just snubs me and says, “No autographs. Just one picture then I’m done.” I was furious. I was drenched, I looked like shit, and my arm was in a sling – and he just shooed me away, like that. I was pretty sure I didn’t even smile during the picture. He wasn’t worth the smile, anyway.”
—Maia Puyat, Student
Love Note to the Poet/TV Host Guillaume Revillaume (Willie Revillame)
“by” Shalani Soledad
Mon chéri Guy,
If I had so far been quite quiet in our appearances together, it’s jast because I marvel at your poetry in motion—or rather the music of your hosting: I, the awed conductor before her expert concertmaster that is you. It is to you I owe my blooming state, or more precisely to your newfound elegance. Gone for the most part is your loud jejemon prancing, and in its place a comportment that hints at sublime self-doom, which is almost, if not very, Baudelaire. Haay, naku. Is it because I make sense? Of course not. I just meant to say, how admirable it is that you risked your life (Well, isn’t your career your life?) and, in the end, the network you once rendered service for is now eclipsed by the momentum you have given MVP-financed TV5. Aren’t we on to some Marxist project? To pit against each other these petty capitalists to our lofty glee! Service to the Filipino and all that. C’mon. I’m sure that by now even your estranged comrade Sucaldito appreciates our agenda. Soon we shall turn the bourgeoisie on its head, but even so, we’ll still indulge in their frivolité like my current fashion sense with my very curves as accent. Enough of my frumpy phase with PNoy! For you, I have become unpoemed. I enjoy our flirting and bantering. I love your company, period. I just wish you’d return someday to your original vocation. Write me something about the current lotto mania. Write me anything—just write. Je t’aime.
Revillaume replies by text:
Aaahh, Shalani/I would wield this/space and sing to you/my verses, but/another time. ü
-Ricky S. Torre, Writer/Painter
ON PACQUIAO’S WIN OVER MARGARITO
“I don’t think Filipinos really appreciate the greatness of Manny Pacquiao just yet, even though the whole country comes to a standstill every time he fights. We attribute his greatness to traits we, as Filipinos, consider sacred: his indomitable will, his quiet humility, his tireless work ethic, and his strong faith in the Almighty. And yet, other Filipino boxers have been just as courageous, humble, hardworking, and as faithful, but they never quite reached the heights that Pacman has. Manny Pacquiao’s greatness lies beyond platitudes and clichés. We might never see anyone quite like him again.”
-Jaemark Tordecilla, Sports Blogger (firequinito.com)
BAR EXAM BOMBING
“On September 26, 2010, at 5:00 in the afternoon as the 2010 Bar Examinations ended, evil came to Taft Avenue bearing a bomb and garbed in greek letters.
It was both too loud and too strong to be a firecracker but it was unimaginable that it would be something else. Yet, as the 2010 Bar Examination drew to a close, almost to the minute, as 5:00 PM struck, a bomb was lobbed into a densely packed crowd of law students, parents, friends and loved one as well as bar candidates who were slowly filtering out of La Salle Taft. It injured over 40 people and resulted in two female law students losing their extremities.
Immediately, the suspicion–which turned out to be founded–was on fraternities, though at that time, it was unclear which. Yet, despite the raw information coming in, it was unbelievable, almost unimaginable that even the most addle-brained fratman would think of lobbing a grenade into a crowd simply in the name of “brotherhood.” But on September 26, 2010, the unbelievable happened. The traditional “Salubong” for the Bar which, in the past had been a joyous and festive occasion, turned out to be the bloodiest.
I have always been outspoken against raternity violence and have never understood what it is in the fraternity culture that would lead them to do unimaginable things, like throwing a grenade into a crowd. The bombing of the Bar Salubong 2010 has demonstrated to me that the same spirit that animates their drive for excellence is also the same spirit that would lead to this propensity for violence. It appears that the thin line that existed between legitimate greek-lettered societies and street gangs is often obliterated by the simple flip of Harvey Dent’s two-faced coin.”
-Theodore Te,UP Law Faculty member/ human rights lawyer
Originally published in the December 2010 – January 2011 of UNO Magazine
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