Saturday, October 18, 2014


TO MITCH ESMINO (October 14, 2014)
In this advertisement-rich anniversary issue of The Ilocos Times, I am taking the chance to thank you publicly for your key role in running the oldest and most read community newspaper in this part of the country.

Before you joined the editorial staff in 2003, readers deridingly called the paper “Ilocos Sometimes” because of its delayed, intermittent, and erratic publication. With your passion and expertise (and together with Jun-B Ramos and, now, his brother Jay) The Ilocos Times came out weekly as promised… every week, all the time. And it’s not only quantity. You have always set a high bar of excellence in print media.

Yes, there are things to be desired. You issue an editorial almost as frequently as a visible solar eclipse, and with Fr. Roy Cimagala’s religious articles being syndicated in its place; but when you do, it’s always a bull’s eye in both substance and form.

Critical and cynical by nature, you rarely praise people, yet when you do because it’s well deserved; you sing the most joyful halleluiahs and all the best platitudes, but always within the bounds of independent and responsible journalism.

I always consult you for tough articles I write, and you know that I heed most of the time. It’s always a great learning experience in our classrooms, which is anywhere beer is served. I’m glad, too, that I can somehow boost your morale, especially when you feel like giving up in times when the job seems not to love you back as you battle the middle-aged demons in your youthful mind.

Michael Tecson Esmino, you are loved. Happy 57th birthday, The Ilocos Times!

p.s. I know you hate cheeziness, but, for a change, don’t edit this out.  Hahaha
TO MVP and JAZA (October 6, 2014)
(Manuel V. Pangilinan and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, thru channels)

Congratulations on your efforts in democratizing mobile internet use in the Philippines. Such strategic move is welcome and appreciated.

May I, however, bring to your attention an issue that, I am sure, have been faced also by other postpaid plan subscribers since the free internet promo was launched: poor internet connection and, in my case, zero connection most of the time.

My line of work constantly demands interconnectivity, and in meeting this need, I rely on Smart and Globe, both of which I am a customer of good standing.
Thank you for your attention.
TO LOVER BOY (October 10, 2014)
You asked me, “Mali po ba talaga ang magmahal sa pag-aari na ng iba?"

Sa wari ko po...

Hindi po mismong ang pagmamahal ang mali, laging tama ang magmahal… lalo na't madalas ito'y dumarating na lamang nang walang paanyaya, hindi sinasadya at inaasahan. Ang makapangyarihan niyang pagtawag ay babalot sa iyong kahinaan hanggang wala ka nang ibang magawa kundi siya'y sundin.

Ngunit batid ko rin na hindi tama ang mang-agaw sa may kasing-irog nang iba, ang mangwasak... sa kanila o sa iyong sarili. Tanggap ko na kaakibat ng ganitong uri ng pagsinta ang mahirap na pagtanggap na ang puso'y tumibok sa maling panahon at pagkakataon. Kasunod nito ang matapang na pagtahak sa daan ng pagpaparaya, tahimik na pagdurusa, at taimtim na paghiling na sana siya'y patuloy na maging maligaya sa piling ng mapalad na ibang siyang nginitian ng mapagbirong tadhana.

At sa harap ng lahat ng ito, pilit mong uunawain kung bakit kinakailangan mong pagdaanan ang lahat. At ika'y mabibigo sapagka't ang pagmamahal ay may sariling dahilan na hindi kailanman matatanto ng pagdadahilan. Sapagka't sa lahat ng pagkakataon, pagmamahal pa rin ang kasagutan.
TO PAROKYA NI EDGAR (September 13, 2014)
I was young, jobless, and unsure as to when I'd have a decent place under the sun, or if I ever will. My self-esteem had hit rock bottom, and nothing ever seemed to make sense.

But each time I listened to your songs, which I did for many hours every day—every day that spanned six months and more—I felt better about the cruel world I lived in. Those songs, which I enjoyed in front of my computer, sometimes with a bottle of beer or two, let me smile, allowed me to hold on, helped me get by...

...until things got better. Today, the world is still crazy, maybe even crazier, but I know I'd always get by if songs that celebrate life—with all of its twists and ironies—keep running in my head.

Tonight, here in Laoag City, I am going to a concert to meet you, musicians who don't know me but who have touched my life in ways you'd never know. You remind me, and thankfully many million others more, that life is bigger and grander than the dark clouds that surround our consciousness in the lowest of times. You make me realize why this world needs true artists, and how unbearable being would be without them.

Cheers sa lahat ng may pinagdaraanan.

See you later, Parokya ni Edgar... and thank you!
TO MY STUDENTS (September 29, 2014)
Thank you for the T-Day treat. You know that I have always believed in you. You know how many times you have made me smile as you exceed my expectations and outshine the previous batches. Your leadership capabilities, spirit of volunteerism, solidarity, and fun-loving nature make me enjoy every bit of time in class. Even with my shortcomings and excesses, your respect never falters. You appreciate good things from me, even those things I don't realize I have ever given or done. By the way you grow, all of you remind why I became a teacher.

Again, from the top of my shining, shimmering, widening forehead, to the bottom of my heart that you filled with so much love, thank you!

And, yes, I love you, too!

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