Showing posts from November, 2010

Once Dead but Now Alive

People already gave up on them. They even held a memorial service for them. Samuel Pelesa, 15, Filo Filo, 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, “disappeared while attempting to row between two islands in the New Zealand territory of Tokelau in early October and were given up for dead after an extensive search involving New Zealand’s air force. Their craft had drifted 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to a desolate part of the Pacific northeast of Fiji”. (Source: Associated Press) They survived the ordeal by catching and eating raw fish and drinking rain water that they collected whenever it would drizzle during the night. Later on, since it did not rain for a few days, they started drinking sea water. One time they even ate a seagull that landed on their small aluminum boat.

They must have thought it was just a mirage or a mere delusion brought about by extreme hunger and thirst when they saw a tuna boat in the horizon. Though very weak, mustering all the remaining strength they could muster, they fran…

Wow! "Kay Ganda!"

“Incredible India.” “Malaysia Truly Asia.” “Korea The Soul of Asia.” These are just a sampling of the onslaught of award-winning ad campaigns we see over international media crafted to lure tourists. Sadly, in the midst of the tourism fray, here in the Philippines we are still debating whether we should keep the “WOW Philippines” brand or drop it altogether and adopt the supposed new “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” (“Philippines so Beautiful”) brand. Columnist Alex Magno nailed it on the head when he wrote in his “First Person” column, “There is nothing wrong with the old tourism campaign logo. The [Dept. of Tourism], it appears, wants to change it simply because there has been a change of administration. But it adopted an inferior campaign motif whose design is uninspired and whose message is unclear.” (Philippine Star, Nov. 20, 2010) In her usual sharp wit, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago blasted the tourism officials, “Let’s think of something else. Let’s start some neurons in our brains wo…


The last time Abel Madariaga saw his pregnant wife, Silvia, was when Argentine security forces dressed as civilians grabbed her, pushed her inside a Ford Falcon and sped off with her in a cloud of dust. They were members of the leftist Montoneros which was “targeted for elimination by government death squads” during the late 70s to early 80s. (Source: The abductors brought her to Campo de Mayo in Buenos Aires, “one of Argentina’s largest and most notorious clandestine torture centers” where she gave birth. A military officer took home the baby with the umbilical cord still attached. Madariaga narrowly escaped. He went on a self-imposed exile. Knowing in his heart that his wife is already dead, he spent the next 33 years searching for his child. His human rights group even lobbied for the creation of a national DNA database, which so far helped in identifying 100 children of the disappeared political dissidents.
The Madariagas finally reunited!
Finally, after more than 3

Heart in the Right Place

When the jackpot prize of the 6/55 Lotto of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office breached PHP300 million (more than US$7 million based on the current peso-dollar exchange rate), bettors not only trooped to the lotto outlets but also stormed the gates of heaven. 
A Catholic bishop criticized those misguided faithful who have even wiped their lotto tickets on religious images for divine favor (Read: luck). No doubt most of them vowed they would donate to the church or other charitable institutions if and when they win the astronomical jackpot.
Honestly I doubt if they would do what a retired Canadian couple did with their CAD$11.3 million lottery prize. (Disclaimer: I am not in any way encouraging people to bet on lotteries.) Seventy-eight-year-old Violeta Large was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer when she and husband, Allen, won the jackpot last July 2010. But, for them, the money was a headache and “eventually decided it was better to give than receive and were totally at ease w…