Corazon C. Aquino (1933-2009)

Rest in peace, Pres. Cory! And may GOD Bless your soul forever!!! Thank you so much, Cory!!! (please click on pic to link to Cory's site!)

August 1st, 2009, is a very sad day in my homeland, the Philippines. For on this day, former President Corazon C. Aquino (the eleventh president to lead my country, from 1986 to 1992) died after her bout with cancer. She was 76 years old.
This humble blog offers its sincerest prayers, sympathies and condolences to her entire family.
No doubt there will be countless outpouring of tributes that will be made in her name. And through this post, I would also like to pay my deepest respect to honor her memory.
The very first time I exercised my right to vote was in college, waaay back in 1986 during the so-called snap presidential election (announced by then incumbent president, the late Ferdinand E. Marcos). This was to determine who actually wielded true control of the country, as numerous mass actions were being staged virtually everywhere following the 1983 assassination of Cory’s husband, Benigno Aquino, Jr. It would prove to be the catalyst for meaningful events unprecedented in Philippine politics! And I am proud of myself, even until now, that I was one of those people who supported Cory’s run for the presidency. Needless to say, during those tumultuous times when yellow reigned as the symbolic color of change, with still an impressionable young mind that bordered mostly on activism, I voted for her as my president. I had nary a doubt nor regret about my decision! In fact, looking back at that time, I recalled feeling larger than life, a young man who believed he made the wisest of choices! And I wasn’t wrong either! Because Cory Aquino ultimately won that election. This would culminate in the famous four days in February of 1986 (from the 22nd to the 25th), collectively and popularly known as the peaceful People Power Revolution, abruptly ending the 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos! And the rest, as they say, is history!
In hindsight, Cory’s six-year term as president was replete with enormous challenges, both from natural calamities (the 1990 earthquake, the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, and the Ormoc City flooding from typhoon Uring, also in 1991) and political upheavals, most notably the seven coup attempts against her government. But none of these would bring her down from her rule that was rightfully– and democratically– empowered in her! It was also during her six-year term that a new Philippine Constitution was enacted, replacing the erstwhile 1973 Martial-Law-penned constitution.
In all the years since running and winning the snap election, to serving her full term as president, to her post-presidency years, and even until her last days, she displayed the same integrity, honesty, humility, love of country, devotion to duty, strength of character, and God-fearing nature that made her the first duly-elected woman-president of the Republic of the Philippines and Time Magazine’s 1986 “Woman of the Year,” as well as one of the 20 Most Influential Asians of the 20th century!
She was just a simple housewife, who– in her desire to continue the legacy of her husband Ninoy’s firm belief that “the Filipino is worth dying for”– happened to be the country’s president for a mere six years and gave back to her people the democracy that was repressed for twenty years!
(Now, if you are someone who is eyeing the presidency, or any political position, but wants in earnest to fiddle with the Constitution and transform it back to the rule of regime that you fought so hard for to get out from in the first place, then you ought to think twice! Clearly, you’re missing the goal! With such self-interest, you can’t possibly lead a country all too mired in distrust with leadership and expect to bring it back to the glory days after EDSA ’86, when hope was fuel enough to rebuild a nation. Because, come to think of it: How can you see the light and relive this hope when, because of ulterior motive and vested interests, you can’t hold a candle to Cory’s nobility of purpose??!)

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Francis Magalona (October 4, 1964 – March 6, 2009)

This post pays respect to the late Francis Magalona, artist, who passed away on March 6, 2009, of leukemia. He was only 44 years old.
Philippine music would never have grown to what it is now without his pioneering effort in introducing rap– largely an African-American art form– to Filipino culture. I will forever remember him as the man who wrote the most important Filipino rap ever: “Mga Kababayan Ko” (My Fellow Countrymen). That song, which came from his 1990 monumental album, Yo!, was a staggering work of genius! It is a patriotic song anchored on the three most important virtues of everyday life: God, family, country. Back then, I didn’t know anyone who didn’t know that song! It was really that remarkable– and unforgettable!
Francis Magalona was not only a musical legend, but a very good visual artist as well! I remember seeing his paintings in the 90s and I thought he was really very talented! I admired him all the more for that!
He will surely be missed! My prayers and sincerest condolences go out to his family!
May he rest in peace. GOD Bless his soul!

Read more about Francis Magalona on eklaVOOM’s blog here and from PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) here.

When I met you

When you find the right person for you– or, in the case of the Jerry Maguire film, the one who will “complete” you– will you know for certain that he/she is truly the one? Uh, uh…absolutely! That’s why the art world teems of works of inspiration– portraits, sculptures, poems, stories, songs, etc.– for one’s beloved half! Everyone has a lifetime to find his/her true love. And when one does, the joy brought by such a blessing seems to last beyond his/her lifetime, perhaps even until forever! Whether you finally found someone to love, or someone to love you, the effect is the same: heaven! And even if you didn’t, you need not worry. Because the Lord will find you with His love! And all will be well!
The music video above is from the APO Hiking Society, arguably the Philippines’ greatest musical group ever! The song, entitled “When I Met You,” was released in the early ’80s and was composed by one of its members, the inimitable Jim Paredes! It is a beautiful love song and a personal favorite of mine. It sounds like the sort of a coming-of-age point in one’s life when true love is finally found!
Some say that the best love songs are written with a broken heart! Well, this one resonates to a harmonious tune– one of hope to ease an aching heart! The parts of the chorus, “You gave me a reason for my being…You gave me a meaning to my life. Yes, I’ve gone beyond existing. And it all began when I met you,” are probably some of the most poignant lyrics one can ever hope to hear! It is one of the few songs that can both take and bring me back in time with the same feeling of joy and fondest memories!

i love what i'm feeling, 12"x9", markers on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

i love what i'm feeling, 12"x9", markers on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

Pac-Man is the man!

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Photo and title courtesy of ESPN.go.com

Once again, the pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao— more popularly known as Pac-Man, or the People’s Champ, or Pambansang Kamao (National Fist), or the “Mexicutioner” (Mexican executioner)– has won a convincing, one-sided victory against a legendary opponent in the person of the Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya, by way of an 8th-round technical knockout in their welterweight non-title bout! This win practically sealed the title of boxing’s current best pound-for-pound fighter for Manny Pacquiao. It also proves that talent tempered with serious training will always give one an edge even against an intimidating foe in the caliber of Oscar De La Hoya! Plus, I believe the Golden Boy’s age (35) had finally caught up with him. The 29-year old Pacquiao was just too fast and much stronger and more methodical than De La Hoya. I felt sorry for the beating that Oscar got from Manny. But such is gladiator sports like boxing– you gotta give it all you got until you’re the only one left standing! Now, only the British boxer, Ricky Hatton, stands in the way of Manny Pacquiao before all of boxing undisputedly crown Pac-Man as today’s ultimate greatest pound-for-pound boxer! And as the only way the sweet science of the manly art of boxing decides and settles once and for all its true champion: there can be only one! Congratulations, Manny, for your convincing victory! You’ve given the Philippines yet another great honor and a source of pride and inspiration to all Filipinos around the world! Keep it up, thank you, and mabuhay ka (long live), Manny! GOD Bless you and all Filipinos for this triumph!!!

that's the way glove goes, 11"x8.5", color pencil and graphite on Winsor & Newton 65-lb paper

that's the way glove goes, 11"x8.5", color pencil and graphite on Winsor & Newton 65-lb paper

Philippines

Pearl of the Orient Seas, 12"x9", acrylic on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

I was thinking of the land of my birth, the Philippines, when I drew this. Even if it is winter or autumn here in the U.S., I always kind of feel the tropical climate whenever I’m reminded of my country– beautiful beaches lined with graceful coconut trees, hot and humid summers interspersed with stormy rainy seasons, cheerful people blessed with even more sunny disposition…and gorgeous women! When I was a kid in school, I was taught that the Philippines is the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” because of its natural beauty and rich natural resources. It was true then and it still is now! I am glad I’ve never forgotten about it!