Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thumbs Up: Carlos Celdran - ¡DAMASO!

This photo taken around 7PM shows Carlos Celdran still behind bars at the MPD station in Ermita, Manila.

Carlos Celdran, an artist/performer, is famous for his walking tour of Manila. Although I haven't tried his tour yet, and haven't really experienced any walking  tours in general in some of the historic parts of Manila, but I always make sure that I regularly read his blog - 'Walk This Way! I've never seen anyone who is so passionate about a place, a place he loves and cares so much about - Manila. His description of Manila from his blog goes:

"I believe that Manila can be a reflection of your state of mind. Being a city of extreme contrasts it’s easy to see how it can become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don’t find beauty and poetry here, you will never find it anywhere."

In his blog, you will not only see his itineraries, the tour dates and rates, but you can also read about some of the most pressing issues that he feels strongly about,  like the Reproductive Health Bill. It is because of this issue, that he became one of the enemies of the Catholic church. He constantly maintains his position against the church's meddling of the affairs of the state, especially on the issue of reproductive health.

Early today, he was apprehended for interrupting a mass at the Manila Cathedral. He was wearing a 19th century costume, (almost the same that of Jose Rizal's), and used a placard containing the name "DAMASO" and held it up in the middle of the mass while shouting, “bakit mahihirap lang pinagbabawalan sa family planning?” (Why is it only the poor are prohibited in family planning?) and "Stop getting involved in politics!". While handcuffed, he apologizes for the method he used, but not for the message.

Damaso is a character in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. He is described as a powerful friar who wields his power to get what he wants. He is one of the most notorious characters in the novel, which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars (belonging to the Roman Catholic Church) during the 19th century.

I'm happy! I'm happy not because Carlos Celdran is in jail, but because someone has finally found the courage to speak up against these modern Sadducees. This will certainly be the topic of every group conversation for years to come. I support you Carlos. I support the Reproductive Health Bill. Thumbs up. And damn those Damasos!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paquito Is Back From The Veterinary Clinic

Paquito is now home since Saturday from a 2-day sleepover in the veterinary clinic. The doctor made a minor operation on his back because he has infected wounds. It turns out that a huge parts of his skin was already dead, so the doctor had to drain the pus from the wound and cut the dead part of the skin off. The wound was caused by an attack of a very jealous cat more than a month ago. I initially thought that it will heal by itself, but intead, it went from bad to worse.

Searching for a vet here in Jeddah is not easy, and if ever you find one, it will definitely cost a lot because most of their clients are rich people who can afford to spend thousands for their pets, and I'm not one of them. So, after asking a lot of people if they know any veterinary clinic in Jeddah, I've found one that's just near my apartment in Faisaliah district, the Jeddah Veterinary Clinic.

The name of Paquito's doctor is Khumbulani T. Nyathi, he's South African. He obviously knows that I'm not one of those wealthy pet owners who frequent their clinic, and I think he gave us discount for Paquito's minor surgery. He initially said that I'll just pay SR. 345, I guess that was for the surgery and the consultation fee of SR.120, excluding the medicines. All in all I just paid SR.365.

Right now, Paquito is rerecuperating in our apartment. The doctor said that it's not necessary anymore to put an elizabethan collar on his neck, but I still put it to prevent him from scratching and licking his freshly stitched wound. I'm also giving him antibiotic 2 times a day for 7 days to prevent infections. I think he'll fully recover soon enough.

Monday, September 13, 2010

At A Wedding In Abhur!

Last Thursday, September 9, 2010 was the wedding of my classmate Rischel and her groom Jason. The wedding was held at a rented villa in Abhur, north of Jeddah. At first I was a little hesitant to attend the event because I thought the venue was too far and I didn't know how to get there, but then again I thought why not. I called my other classmate who wanted to come with us to the wedding reception. (at this time the wedding itself was already over).

Even though I didn't know the way, we just followed the street signs going to North Abhur, and called some of my classmates who were already there to guide us on our way to the venue. When we arrived, the place was full of people and I was amazed at how big the place was. There's a huge lawn and it has a swimming pool at the side of the 2 floor villa. When we went inside, I heard a loud music,  I saw a huge living room that was converted into a dance floor and there were lots of people dancing.

We went straight to a room which was reserved especially for TCI students, it has 3 single beds and 2 medium-sized cabinets. The other room opposite to our's was reserved for the staff of Cinnabon, where the karaoke was located, which we would later invade. After a while, we thought that it was time for us to eat, so we went to the buffet. Boy, the food was delicious, especially the one with the tofu in it. I love tofu! There were a lot more food on the buffet but I'm on a diet, so as much as I really wanted to eat, I just have to put a portion on my plate. Damn!

After a few hours, some of my classmates went to the dance floor and they 'tripped the light fantastic'. I did not know that they have such talent in the art of dancing. I was just there to take videos of  my classmates and the other guests while they were doing their thing, (which you will see in the video below). You see, I also wanted to dance, but my two left feet won't allow me to. LOL!

As  hours passed and the night slowly turned to dawn, we invaded the other room where the karaoke was, and we sang our heart out. I kept on telling my classmates that it would have been perfect if only we had booze, but of course we didn't have. Too bad, I was on a party mode. Nevertheless it didn't stop us from enjoying. I sang 'Bluer Than Blue' (as usual), but it was when we sang 'Living La Vida Loca' that it made us go crazy. We didn't need booze after all!

And when morning came, it was around 8 AM, and when most of the guests are gone, we decided to take a dip in the pool. It was fun, although it was morning, the water was not cold at all. I can't even remember how many somersaults I did, (joke). It didn't take long for my fingers to crinkle, I had enough of the water, my colleagues soon followed. After we had fun at the pool, we had breakfast. The people in charge of the reception really thought everything out. They brought out one after the other, different menus like papaitan, putong puti, boiled eggs, and sopas. It was great!

Just like Janet Jackson's song goes, funny how time flies when your're having fun..., Yup, It's time to leave! Unfortunately, my car can only occupy 5 including me, so 2 of my classmates had to ride a private bus  with the rest of the guests. It was a great experience, It was my first time to attend such an occasion and my first time also to go to Abhur. Thanks Jason and Rischel for a wonderful time, and congratulations!