the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

an analysis of five poems by tita lacambra-ayala

Tita Lacambra-Ayala is a poet who gets her inspiration from anything that she experiences, be it the environment, people, relationships, a trip out of town, or even Haagen Dazs ice cream. The word that we should take note of is “experience.” All writers, whether of fiction or poetry, are in certain degrees moved by the things that indeed transpired in their lives. As for the poet in focus, she only writes about things that she knows. The knowledge about things can be mined to fullness in the arts, as poets like Tita Lacambra-Ayala do. “One can write, strongly, clearly and comfortably on what is familiar, close and which you can feel.” (qtd. in Elizaga). This is precisely why she writes (and even paints) about nature and the domestic life. Living in Davao and encountering nature every single day, she is able to write several poems about the beauty and danger of the environment that surrounds her. Such qualities of nature were captured, for instance, in the poem Cactus, a poem chosen by no less than Philippine National Artist Jose Garcia Villa for inclusion in the landmark A Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry. Being a mother of six children, she is also able to write about the everyday experiences of the youth, of domestic life, and of women. Apparently, she has lots of things to write about motherhood, being the mother of no less than performing artists Joey Ayala and Cynthia Alexander. All of these may be seen in several of her poems. They are a recurring theme in her poetry such that she knows the subject like the back of her hand. Change is a tricky subject to write, yet in Tita Lacambra Ayala’s poetry, it is seamlessly sewn in the poem’s fabric. This is a testament to her deft recognition of her poems' central concern: even change becomes a familiar subject to her. A touch of wittiness in her words brings about power yet subtlety in her poems, and this is what we will see in these five poems.
As revealed in the title, the focus of this poem is the cactus and the poem provides us a clear picture of the cactus and its situation. There is no mention of any other form of life in the poem. The cactus stands alone in a lake sand under the sun. Its characteristics were described as well. The thorns were thoroughly illustrated in the first stanza, as more exotic words were used. The second to the last stanza also states that the cactus is green, particularly “freshly green”, and it is even “juicy”. The whole imagery of the poem paints a vivid picture of the cactus and its surroundings.
The first thing that the speaker described is the thorns sticking out of the cactus’ body. Notice the manner of describing. The speaker tries to make us “understand” the situation that the cactus is in, by entreating us to pardon the cactus for its thorns. Also, notice the words used to describe the thorns (excuse, quills, attempt, and self-defense). The word choice was important at bringing about sympathy from the readers.
Observe the change in the choice of words for the second stanza. The words bleed, old, and fossil connote death. Instead of drawing sympathy from the readers, we are made to think that the cactus is of no use (we will notice later that this was refuted by the third stanza, as it says that the cactus is “not quite futile”).
The speaker’s choice of words for the fourth stanza makes her sound amazed about the ability of the cactus to live in a desert without any form of nutrition except for the sun. By adding side comments in parentheses, the astonishment of the speaker is further highlighted.
The speaker used “as if” in the last two lines. The catch of the poem in the last stanza is emphasized because of the repetition of words. Again, word choice and word order (having “as if” as the first two words of the two lines) create a different impact on the readers.
With the help of imagery and diction, the tone of the poem was further emphasized. We may actually notice that the stanzas were divided into the different tones in the poem. For every stanza, a prominent tone is seen, different from the tones of the previous stanzas.
There is a certain tone of politeness and pleading in the first stanza, again with the intention of grabbing sympathy from its readers. In the second stanza, the transition from a tone of pleading to a tone of melancholy surprises us. This shift in tone is like the act of self-defense, as if the speaker is trying to cover up the “guilt” of the cactus having thorns by mentioning its sad state. Another shift in tone occurs in the third stanza. After trying to convince us of the cactus’ unfavorable state, it tells us that the cactus is not that pointless. The tone of admiration in the fourth stanza surprises us, since we would not expect praises after signs of weakness, such as the thorns and fossil-like appearance. We can picture the speaker giving out a sigh if the last stanza was read aloud. The speaker feels that the cactus just tries to “deceive” by assuming superiority over the land, by being able to survive in spite of the desolate land it is in, even if in truth it does not live for anything else but just the barren desert.
However, the poem revolves mainly around irony.
The speaker uses “quills” to describe the thorns protruding from the cactus. This is ironic since the word “quills” is usually pictured as exquisite and gentle, while in reality thorns can prickle our skin and can hurt us easily. This irony was made to draw the attention of the readers, as it is also an attempt to draw sympathy from them. Again, this is ironic since no sympathy is needed. The cactus thrives in barren deserts where other creatures cannot. By using the word “excuse”, we can deduce that the speaker knows of the cactus’ thorns being undesirable.
By comparing the cactus to a fussy fossil, the comparison becomes ironic. A cactus is green and plump, and it would be very unlikely for anyone to compare it to a fossil—something dead and brittle. Because of this comparison, we realize that the speaker is dropping hints: the cactus is not exactly as hale and hearty as it seems to be.
The stanzas after the eleventh line are supposed to prove how the cactus is not so futile. However, we realize that that stanza did not prove anything about the cactus being beneficial to its surroundings. That long stanza only describes how the cactus can manage to survive on its own in a desert that has only “sun” and “sand”. This line was placed in the poem but there was no proof for it, making its presence ironic.
As the speaker personifies the cactus, we see irony in the lines “as if inspite of/ as if in fun.” After describing the cactus as strong and thriving, the tone of the speaker suddenly shifts as these lines conclude the poem. By creating this irony, more emphasis is given to the message implied by these last two lines. Contrary to the picture created by the poem in the second to the last stanza, we are told that it is still not “fun” to be in the desert even if the cactus is in good condition.
“Home is Where”
The long “I” sound in “wide” and “mind” in line 2, when pronounced, is always prolonged. This long sound gives us a sense of vastness, just as it describes love as wide as mind.
The very basic words “of”, “lost”, and “on” placed in one line to create assonance simply add beauty to the poem, and creates a smoother flow of the poem.
The two words, “feathers” and “bird”, can be very much associated to one another. This similarity of sounds in the middle creates an even closer relationship between the two words as it links not only their meanings, but also their sound.
We find two different sounds of one letter (I) in one line. The four words “binds”, “like”, “in”, and “skin” with two different “I” sounds are arranged alternately for playfulness and continuity to the line.
Even if the assonance of the poem may be detailed, this poem uses simple vocabulary. This is very appropriate because the poem is about the home, and at home no extravagance is needed. The home accepts you simply for who you are, without pretenses. However, there is one word that is not as elementary, since this word is needed for its message to be seen.
Of all the words to describe the situation, the speaker uses the word “illusion” and not fantasy or deception. After reading the subsequent lines of the second stanza, we realize that illusion should be used because indeed, an illusion is simply a mistaken idea, whereas fantasy is something that is not possible and deception is act of fooling. Illusion is the word most suited for this line.
Aside from the simple language used, there is a word order present in the poem. Each stanza aims to continue the “incomplete” title. Home is where—then what? Each stanza answers the title by giving its own visual interpretation of what a home is like.
The strength of the poem’s word order is complemented by the images provided. There is intensity in the first stanza as it provides us with strong statements. By having this stanza ahead of the other two, the speaker draws the emotion of passion from her readers at the very start of the poem. The imagery she used in this stanza shows the vastness and power of the love we experience at home, while it is from the imagery used that the similes are created to precisely show the extent of the lines.
The speaker of the poem emphasizes that it is at home where we experience love like no other. By using “quick” to describe love, we are immediately taken by the “quick” appearance of this word in the poem. As the speaker compares quick love to the mind, she is trying to say that love at home has no boundaries, just as the mind is free to explore.
These third and fourth lines are very powerful. It provides us with a concrete image of boats being sucked in by the sea. This imagery strengthens the description of love we experience at home. It is saying that this love is unconditional, as it “drowns” all the boats that are in it, so the home fills with love all those who occupy it and does not choose.
We notice that the next stanza’s imagery shifts from an intense picture to a fragile and delicate one. A bird that has not learned to fly is still young. It is only time that will give it the opportunity to have more feathers so that it can fly. Similarly, this imagery suggests that home is where we start and learn to build our dreams, so that when it is time for us to leave our homes and “fly”, we are already more capable of achieving these goals. As we are compared to the weak bird, we notice the importance of the home and its role in our formation.
The last stanza gives us a picture of safety and assurance. The imagery provided makes us visualize home as a safe haven. Having it bound to us like skin suggests that we will always feel safe in the boundaries of home, and that anywhere we go, we can still feel home is near. The last two lines feature nature. Just as home serves as our sanctuary, it is a place that we can always go back to, as naturally as flowers and green sepals. The speaker also used the image of a flower to describe the person because she is showing that we are delicate and that the green sepals (our homes) will protect us from being hurt.
“Poem for Veronica Grown Older”
As the speaker described what they used to do with Veronica, we are able to picture the two old friends that used to have the time of their lives by doing the most superficial things. The imagery produced by the words “bare feet, hair unset and de-banged” gives us a carefree feeling. By describing the scenery—roadless mushrooms, singing trees, and rusty trunk), we can imagine them being unconscious and unmindful of the people surrounding them, simply enjoying what they were doing.
There was no formality in the way the speaker addressed Veronica. She used conversational words in the poem, and we find out from line 8 to the last line that Veronica was the speaker’s childhood friend. They used to be very carefree and they actually shared their personal lives with one another. Evidence of this can be found in lines 8 to 12 and lines 15 to 16. This is why she was able to address Veronica very casually, using simple words that they both can understand. The choice of words (scented letters, mildewed diaries, and bandanna) also showed the close relationship they had before.
The words in the poem formed sentences, but the stanzas were not formed sentence by sentence. In fact, the sentences were cut irregularly. We see that it looks like it was written in a notebook, and that when the speaker reached the end of a line in the notebook, she would continue the rest of her sentence in the next line, and then the next again, and so on. This makes the poem look like a journal or diary entry.
The tone of the speaker also makes us conclude that the speaker is older than Veronica. It was emphasized that they were “like unpaired shoes worn by one pair of feet”, and by this she meant that the generation gap was not a problem when they were young but has become a problem now that they are adults already. The last line of the poem shows us that she is disturbed by how they drifted apart. The experiences that they had were very different, and this is largely due to the generation gap that they have.
Overall, there is an underlying tone of sadness and yearning. The speaker is sad that Veronica has outgrown the simplest things that used to make them happy, and their being carefree. Veronica is attached to the norms created by society, wherein women have to go to beauty parlors and dress up. The speaker is left behind to recall their happy moments together. She misses the old times they had together and actually wished that Veronica would look back on those times. The speaker continues to hope that Veronica will recall the memories that they had together. However, the speaker knows that it would be nearly impossible for this to happen.
We see this from the vivid description of Veronica, how she was before, and how she is now. She was once a very sweet and expressive girl, happy with every smile she saw and heartbroken with every sadness. However, she changed as she put more importance on her physical appearance, going to the beauty parlor and caring only for what she looks like.
“The Dragon”
We are given a vivid description of the dragon in the poem. With the conversation between the dragon and the speaker, we find out a lot about their personalities. We are also given a detailed picture of what is happening in the poem.
However, we do not see any description about the speaker of the poem. This is because happenings in the poem are told from the speaker’s point of view (a first person point of view). The only part of the poem that can give us details on the speaker is the answer she gives to the dragon. From these lines, we can deduce that she is a domestic woman, a wife with children.
The dragon is sitting in the basket chair, curling its tail, and smoking. His actions are also described. He tells the speaker to lower the volume of the radio, puffs out smoke, flexes his toe, and then begins talking. From this description, we know that the dragon is not literal and that it must be a representation of a man.
We are made to wonder why of all the representations the speaker could give to the man, she used the dragon. He offers to bring her to a place that she would surely enjoy, but then she calls him a dragon. We will be able to understand all this when we read the whole poem.
A dragon is a kind of monster. Ever since the olden times, people consider a dragon to be dangerous, since it can breathe fire and destroy things in a matter of seconds.
This is how the speaker sees the man to be. Through his speaking lines, we are able to paint a picture of his character. He tempts the speaker to leave her household duties for the pleasures that he would give her. He tries to convince her to go to some beautiful place with him. The words he used to describe the place make it very inviting and convincing.
The woman is of course tempted to join him, since the offer is very attractive and she is obviously tired from her duties at home. She wants a life different from what she has. However, she declines the invitation because she knows that her obligations are more important than the temporary pleasures the man can give her. Her way of answering the man makes us realize that she knows her priorities.
We can also see the contrast of the two characters in this poem. The man is seated comfortably in the chair, and is smoking lazily, puffing smoke as he observes the woman. He does not think of the obligations the woman has towards her home, but thinks only about what he wants. The man is selfish and apathetic towards her. On the other hand, the speaker is a stressed domestic woman burdened by the chores she has at home. The man is carefree and selfish because he just wants to satisfy his own pleasures, but the woman sacrifices her own desires and comfort for her home.
“The Flowers of Youth”
The whole poem gives us three kinds of images, separated by stanza. First is an imagery of nature, dying and withering. Second is of things collapsing and shattering. The third and last stanza provides an imagery of the act of mailing a letter. We shall go through these images one by one so as to be able to visualize the poem better.
The image of a young flower is provided in the title. We read the title of the poem and assume the poem will talk about a beautiful blooming flower. However, the first line of the first stanza immediately changes our impression of the poem as it gives a disturbing picture of a young flower wilting. The following lines even mention of buds not blooming, and of leaves falling. It is an unpleasing picture, and moreover there is a hint of irony. The adding of “of youth” to the title but associating it with wilting—gives the readers an unexpected change in the mental picture of the poem.
Personification is present in the second stanza, which emphasizes about loss of bearing in a bridge. The pieces of wood that make it up are split into pieces. They are “caught” by the rivers, and they are left to float and be carried by the current. This stanza mentions having the splintered wood like the boats drifting, only that we know boats always have a direction while the splintered wood doesn’t.
The first four lines of the third stanza provide us a break from imagery as abstract concepts like strength, weakness, memory, and time (hours) are mentioned; however, the last four lines have a very clear imagery—a small photograph like that of a stamp is on an important letter and is mailed far away. By showing a set of abstract concepts at the start of this stanza, and then shifting to a very concrete image of the act of mailing, there is a stress created on this action.
The “flowers of youth” do not only serve as an image. In fact, more than that, it serves as a symbolism not just of young girls, but of adolescents in general. A familiar theme of aging is de-familiarized by Tita Lacambra-Ayala by associating it to very almost completely unrelated images. Flowers of youth being linked to aging, the collapsing of the bridge personified, and the act of mailing as a symbolism for growing up are unusual and unexpected.
These young people are delicate, innocent, and carefree beings. They do not realize how fast time passes. Their unrealistic hopes and dreams soon decay, and this is when they realize that life is not a bed of roses. From having an idealistic view of life, these young people live just a little longer to become conscious of the challenges they have to go through to be able to achieve their goals, and they then realize that they have to face the harsh realities of growing up, and eventually, of adulthood.
Nature in the first two stanzas shows easiness, however, the last stanza provides a formality and sense of maturity as it talks about abstract concepts and sending of mail. Abstract concepts can be linked to the complicated philosophy of the real world, while the act of mailing represents the business world.
Notice that assonance was very helpful in bringing out the symbolism of this poem. The assonance is obvious and abundant in the first two stanzas (brown and around; grow, no, and unfold; their and bearings; float, so, and boats), but purposely omitted in the last stanza. The speaker provides a little playfulness in the start, as the poem shows a transition from adolescence to adulthood. By the time we reach the last stanza, we find no more trace of the playfulness of assonance. The finality of the last stanza and the omission of assonance create an impact on the message of the poem, and this is that young people will inevitably have to face the difficulties of adulthood.
These five poems of Tita Lacambra-Ayala speak about nature, life and realities for survival. With the organic characteristic of nature, indeed there is a time to live, and a time to die. The poems exuded this natural cycle of beginnings and ends and everything in between, with the poet using powerful imagery that point to nature as inherently recurrent—it dies, only to live. As a set, it speaks of its different aspects and phases of life. Nature may be organic, but it really depends on its capacity to survive to prolong its life, or the lack thereof to cut this life short. Also, these poems give a glimpse of core Filipino values and characteristics—that of love for the family, the important role of a home in preparing the young in its quest for independence, the realities of friendship, adaptability, survival skills, and self-sacrificing characteristics of Filipinos. These Filipino themes run Tita Lacambra-Ayala's poems because this is the way the West's Other may write back to the mainstream. It is already enough to use a colonial language for the poet to communicate her experience creatively and in her unique worldview; she feels it is her duty, through her passion for poetry writing, to convey the Filipino experience the way Filipinos understand themselves. It is, in a certain way, a reconstruction of the Filipino identity fragmentized by cyclical and violent colonization of the Other's Other.
In the poem “Cactus,” the author was actually talking about nature and its struggles of survival. It is being fertile amid the bareness of the sand and the mercilessness of the scorching sand, but that is more of an allegory for life. No matter where we are placed, we should know how to “live” by adapting to the environment and becoming useful, although doing so requires us to defend ourselves to survive. “Home is Where” depicts the reality of a home. It is where love is, where dreams are formed, and where we feel safe, so that when we are ready to fly, we can. The home is always there to welcome us anytime. As for the “Poem for Veronica Grown Older”, it speaks of a childhood friendship gone cold as the two characters matured differently, lived life differently, and had different priorities as compared to the simple joys and activities they both used to enjoyed. This again is a reality of friendships and of human nature. “The Flowers of Youth” speaks about the fleeting moments of youth. It is just another phase in life, an aspect of human life, a period of transition as we mature physically and emotionally. The lure of carefree domestic life in “Dragon” contrasts and conflicts with a young wife’s domestic troubles as opposed to a man’s less complicated life of not having to worry about kids as much as women do. This also personifies the opportunities and temptations in life. We need to make decisions that are difficult to arrive at, as it is about survival, choosing priorities, our wants (like a grand beach holiday), vis a vis our roles and responsibilities in life. In the end, it is the moral foundations and the convictions we have that guide us as we make our strong-willed decision of what we stand for.
All these poems and the themes they communicate are a testimony of the genius that Tita Lacambra-Ayala is. She may not be as well known as the major poets of the Philippine canon, partly because of her marginalized gender and the minoritized location of Philippine poems in English in the English-speaking Literary world. Nevertheless, the sincerity of her poetic reconstruction of human experience and her truthful rendition of the Filipino sensibility capture images of life in a refreshing manner. Her emotional strength capitalizes on her capacity to show worlds in miniature, and five examples of such worlds are found no less in her five poems.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ondoy: an aftermath

the rains won’t stop, just won’t stop
since the White Man came.
when I step out, the mud bore prints
of feet too large for my people to have done.

it is this that the White Man asserts
we need Him to carry us up
can’t he see we have our own feet to stand on?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

wives gaining ground: an analysis

As suggested by “Wives as Primary Breadwinners,” the revolutionary trend of married women joining the labor force points to the increasingly becoming equal market responsibility between wives and husbands. As wives earn as well as or even more than husbands do, not only are wives able to pursue their own careers and to augment the household income, but also are they able to create a market niche for home products and services conventionally attributed to women. At the rapid rate this trend is going, working wives will soon comprise a significant market segment for the company’s manufactured electronics, wristwatches and home appliances.
With more wives earning from legitimate jobs but still continuing to run domestic affairs, the fast and efficient two-in-one microwave oven is their fitting cooking partner. This automatic combined microwave oven and traditional oven caters to such marketing sub-segments defined by factors like primary breadwinning, employment environment, education level and occupation type. Target primary breadwinners contribute to the house income such that this becomes a factor in deciding the purchase of home products and services. Target wives employed away from home have less controllable time and have longer workdays. Meanwhile, target wives with complete college education compose the biggest chunk of the population. More than the previous three, the target sub-segment comprised by professionals is an ideal one, considering the higher pay professionals get and, therefore, the greater purchasing power they wield. While the major development lately has more married women participating in the labor force, these same women still dominate the household. Hence, not only will these women be attracted to the multi-function kitchen appliance with unique features and standard accessories, but also will they be capable of buying the same. Currently, the professionally-compensated wives are numerous enough to sustain a market for this double microwave oven in the future, and their domestic stints attest to the accessibility of these women target segments.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

university as symbol

If I have to choose a symbol, I would want that to be a university. Why? It is the place where people go to learn and meet persons of diverse backgrounds. It is a laboratory where students learn the theories that they will apply when they eventually join the society, which is the University of Man. Inside the university is a microcosm of the universe where all possible learnings happen in order to shape better persons out of us than when we first set our foot there. When we get to step out of the university, we will be able to put to use our learning in order to fulfill whatever mission it is that we desire to pursue. Also, the university is a venue of meeting the world. People from all walks of life attend the university to learn to become independent, free-thinking, responsible and wiser than ever. As they do so, the people they associate with influence them as they are being influenced as well. The different personalities of the people in the university contribute to the melting pot that becomes each student's embodiment. When we are ready for the world, we leave the university and meet the bigger world with readiness, drive, and distinct personality. As a symbol, I believe that the university is a beautiful example because of its diversity, uniqueness, dynamism and role as an educative institution and as a social catalyst.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

sleeping with the enemy: the wave of industry convergence

Economies of scale occur when a company gets to decrease its operational costs as the firm enlarges and its production units of a single product grow whereas economies of scope take place when a company gets to decrease its operational costs as the firm broadens its market and widen its distribution of its various products. Aside from the aforementioned, the former refers to the efficiencies linked to the changes in the supply aspect while the latter, to the efficiencies linked to the changes in the demand aspect.
Both economies of scale and scope may be associated to the present trends of industry convergence in that a globalizing company, in order to lessen its input costs while generating more units of an item or a service, cooperatively allows for an ironical merging with a rival firm, which possesses information and technologies needed by the company. This case of economies of scale taking place between paradoxically collaborating business competitors may be exemplified by the technology giants IBM, Apple and Motorola, which joined multiple resources to come up with the “new and powerful microprocessor chip ‘Power PC,’ in the process minimizing the costliness of the production that would have happened if each went on its way amid incomplete resources.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the incestuous union of similarly-pitched businesses, a company melds with another in order to amplify its number of promoted products and enlarge its scope of utilized media and of market reach. This case of economies of scope may be best exemplified by the formidable corporation General Electric. Its financial service subsidiary, GE Capital, has leasing of planes as one of its businesses, serving such geographically diverse airline carriers as USAir, Eastern Airlines, and a Chinese flagbearer. GE profited much albeit “[benefiting] all concerned” from such airline alliance because as the “[fulfillment of] all [the airlines’] needs” imply, GE might have highly likely provided its coalition partners with such products and services as appliances and power generation. In the process, the airlines also serve as GE’s mobile advertisers as they fly across the globe with GE products and services being directly or indirectly promoted in their destinations.
On the homefront, the convergence of the Manila Standard and Today newspapers in what is now acknowledged as the fourth largest broadsheet of the combined name “was the first newspaper merger in the Philippines.” Economies of scale for both dailies took place in the form of less production cost in the event of publishing expansion and economies of scope occurred in the form of greater subscriber reach than the previous market of either (while still independent) and in the form of Today’s subscribers being accessed not only of the Manila Standard-publishing Kagitingan Printing Press, Inc. but also of its sister company, the Kamahalan Publishing Corporation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ang pagtungo sa kamatayan sa the death of ivan ilyich

Sa The Death of Ivan Ilyich, malinaw ang paniniwala ni Leo Tolstoy na may dalawang uri ng buhay: ang buhay na balatkayong kinakatawan nina Ivan, Praskovya, Peter at marami pang iba sa lipunan at kumpanya ni Ivan at ang makatotohanang buhay na kinakatawan ni Gerasim. Makikita sa balatkayong buhay ang kababawan ng mga ugnayan, makasariling interes, at materyalismo. Ang buhay na ito ay walang kahulugan at hindi kayang magbigay ng mga sagot sa mga mahahalagang tanong ng buhay. Isang pagkukunwari ang balatkayong buhay na nagkukubli ng tunay na halaga ng buhay at nag-iiwan ng pagkatakot at pag-iisa sa oras ng kamatayan. Kaya nga totoong bahagi man ng bawat buhay ang kamatayan, hindi pa ito isang reyalidad sa ngayon. Ganito ang tingin sa una ni Ivan, pati na ng mga kasamahang hukom dahil mas mahalaga sa kanila ang tinatamasa nilang buhay sa kasalukuyan. Sa kabilang banda, ang makatotohanang buhay ay kakikitaan ng awa at pagmamahal. Nakikita nito ang iba hindi bilang mga gamit para matupad ang pansariling hangarin, ngunit bilang mga taong may pambihirang pag-iisip, pakiramdam at naisin. Nililinang ng makatotohanang buhay ang kapaki-pakinabang na ugnayang pantao na sumisira ng pag-iisa at nagdudulot ng totoong personal na pakikialam. Samantalang iniiwan ng balatkayong buhay ang isang tao na malungkot at nag-iisa, pinalalakas naman ng makatotohanang buhay ang pagkakaisa sa pamamagitan ng pakikiramdam. Nagdudulot ito ng ugnayan at naghahanda sa pagtagpo sa kamatayan. Hindi nakakatakot na posibilidad ang kamatayan dahil darating at darating naman ang katapusan iyon kapag napili nang lahat ng alternatibo at narrating na ang pagka-doon.
Sa tuluy-tuloy na pagtungo sa kamatayan, kinikilala ni Ivan ang kamatayan at ang paghahanap ng isang kompromiso sa kannyang nakatatakot at hungkag na kapangyarihan. Paano nga naman bibigyang-kahulugan ng isang tao ang kanyang buhay, kayang mga ugnayan, mga proyekto, mga pangarap, ang kanyang pag-iral? Ang paghahanda sa kamatayan ay nagsisimula sa pagkakaroon ng tamang pagtingin sa buhay at nangyari ito nang maging delikado na ang sakit na dulot ng kanyang pagkalaglag. Habang nagbabago ang pagtingin sa buhay ni Ivan dulot ng sakit at kalapitan ng kamatayan, nagbabago ang kanyang damdamin mula pagkatakot patungong kaligayahan. Kung dati ay hindi makahulugan ang buhay niya dahil hindi niya nasasaisip ang kamatayan at marami pa siyng posibilidad na pinaglalaruan, nang maratay siya sa higaan ay doon lamang niya makikilala ang pagiging mortal niya sa katauhan ng kanyang katiwala. Ang pag-iwas sa kamatayan ng mga nakapaligid kay Ivan ay base sa delusyon na hahadlang sa mga tao sa mga di kaaya-ayang katotohanan. Nagdudulot lamang nito ng kahungkagan, pagkatakot at kakulangan. Kung tatanggapin naman ang kamatayan at kikilalanin ang mga totoong hindi mapipigilang kalikasan ng buhay, nagkakaroon ng kumpiyansa, kapayapaan pati na kaligayahan sa oras ng kamatayan. Itinuturo ng kuwento na sa pamumuhay nang tama, mailalagay sa tamang perspektibo ang kamatayan.
Ang kahulugan ng kamatayan ay nakaugat sa ating relasyon dito bilang isang posibilidad, isang pagpapakahulugan sa ating sariling gawi ng pag-iral tungo sa ating di-mapipigilang katapusan. Ayon kay Heidegger, ang pagtagpo sa kamatayan ay nagbubunyag ng kahungkagan sa ating pag-iral, kaya nga nagkakaroon lamang ng katuparan at kabuuan kung handa nang iwanan ang buhay. Kahit tayo lamang ang makakaramdam ng ating kamatayan, hindi pa rin maiiwasang maramdaman natin sa iba ang kamatayan dahil sila ang unang mga taong kinararanasan natin ng unang kamatayan. Habang pansarili lamang ang kamatayan, mahalaga para kay Heidegger ang pamamaraan n gating pag-iral patungong kamatayan. Kapag naabot na ang dulo at katapusan ng Dasein, magiging iba na ito. Gusto ni Heidegger na manatili tayo sa posibilidad na ito na hindi limitadong posibilidad spagkat may katapusan ang Dasein at nalilimitahan ng mga pagpiling malayang ginawa nang may kamalayan. Habang nakikita ang posibilidad sa ating pag-iral, nabubuksan an gating kinabukasan at an gating sariling mga posibilidad. Habang lumalapit sa kamatayan nang may pag-unawa, lumalapit naman din sa buhay. Gaya ng sinabi ni Heidegger sa tunay na pag-iral tunogng kamatayan, nagkakaroon ng pag-unawa at possible rin ang angst na susundan ng matibay na kaligayahan.
Naipakita sa kuwento kung paaano tumutungo sa kamatayan si Ivan matapos tanggapin na iyon ang dulo ng kanyang mga posibilidad. Napahahalagahan niya ang kanyang mga posibilidad sa buhay nang hindi kinakailangang itapon ang mahalagang bagay na ito sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatiwakal. Ultimong posibilidad man ang kamatayan, hindi ito ang nag-iisang posibilidad kay Ivan. TInungo niya ito upang maunawaan nang husto para mabigyang-saysay niya ang kanyang buhay at ang kalayaang pumili sa mga posibilidad niya.
Samakatuwid, natatamo ang tunay na saysay ng kamatayan sa tunay na pagtungo sa kamatayan na isang pag-aantabay sa posibilidad ng sariling kamatayan. Habang naghihintay, nagiging malinaw ang tootong mga posibilidad na nagpapaunlak sa pagkakaroon ng kalayaang piliin ang mga posibilidad na tunguhin ang mga totoong pangarap sa buhay. Ang pag-aantabay ay desisyon ng taong gamtin ang sariling kalayaan upang mapili at matupad ang tunay niyang hangarin sa buhay. Sa makasaysayang kamatayan lamang nagkakaroon ng bigat ang buhay ng tao dahil nagagaroon siya ng kalayaang pumili.

Monday, September 14, 2009

of culture, history and facticity

A person’s social nature or that which one manifests while dealing with other people is comprised, among other essentials, by one’s culture and history. As one lives over time, one acquires traditions, language, arts and the like which are drawn from the location in which one lives. These identifications, influenced by events in the past, are those that constitute the entire makeup of a person. They are the sum total of a person’s identity, which is what makes culture important to one’s social dealings since it is a means to recognize what kind of person one is. History is also significant because as mentioned, events in the past enrich one’s cultural identity. What kind of a person one is right now, as well as that whom one will become in the future, depends on the events that one underwent and that cultivated one in the process. A person with culture and history has a distinct identity as opposed to one lacking both.
Facticity, as may be identified in the masterpieces of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, means everything concrete against whose background human freedom exists and is restricted. For instance, one’s culture and history—one’s traditions, language, context, events in life from birth to prospective death—are one’s facticity. One is limited by these identifications. Therefore, to transcend one’s facticity means to achieve freedom from such restrictions. This is difficult, given the human penchant for labeling in the interest of identification. In actuality, one has to be liberated from the marginalizing effects of one’s social traditions, linguistic affiliation, national identity, even perhaps death, in order to attain this transcendental freedom. Once facticity is overcome, say, a medicine is discovered to sustain life’s perpetuity, it is the only time when transcendent freedom is achieved.

Friday, September 11, 2009

terror attacks: in retrospection and beyond

The spate of bombings across the globe after the ill-fated 9/11 New York terror attacks reminds us that the government cannot just sit around and take chances regarding the sustenance of national protection and security for all citizens. Whether it is high-end London or busy Spain or touristy Bali, there seems to be no sacred cows for democratically notorious terrorists, and the Philippines is not one exemption. Learning from the shocking vulnerability of our superpower colonizer, we reassess the extent to which our security standards measure up in order to safeguard every individual in our nation. The possibility that we may be the next target has rendered us cognizant of the grave necessity to beef up our lawmaking and implementation means.
The September 11, 2001 air hijacking impressed upon us that in championing our constitution-enshrined freedoms, we must enable ourselves terror-proof at all costs. In the process of upholding our many-splendored rights, the challenge of maintaining equilibrium should exist between the material capacity of the security forces in thwarting attacks and the need for the government to protect our liberties as stipulated in the supreme law of the land. Our basic rights should not be subordinated in spite of terroristic acts, as opposed to what is perceived to be infringement of human rights in United States of America’s paranoia-instigated efforts to single out and exterminate terrorists. In continued response to the terror threat around the world, our law enforcers and security agents should be supplied immediately with materials to determine and curb terror activities and to dismantle terrorist groups. There is a suggestion that terrorism is a pressing problem because it breeds insecurity among civilians, and so, only a trusty safeguard from this despicable misdeed can generate and guarantee true freedom.
Since the government is engaged to cooperating with regional and international equivalents, concerned departments from the police, judiciary and prosecution officials across the nation should be committed to a continuous training that recognizes the multi-ethnicity in various communities. The government is called upon to give premium on this training process and to render a means that empowers minority spokespersons, whose opinions will be considered regarding the most effective way to weed out minority discrimination in the upholding of the new laws. Racism and other malevolent forms of systemic bigotry may be found in the individual levels up to institutions, so an effective education should be able to address the issue of minority harassment in the supposed fulfillment of national security.
A restrictive meaning of terrorist, terrorist acts and terrorist groups should be defined in order to ascertain the very body of terrorism that is an armed individual’s or group’s threat or resort to violence and armament against an unarmed individual or group for purposes including but not limited to state, politics, religion, race, society and economics. Any allusion to trading activity, business, critical stance, spoken dissent or boycott of monetary and other enterprise be taken away from the meaning of terrorist, terrorist groups and terrorist acts. It is suggested that in legislating an anti-terror bill, the Senate, being the premier legislative body, should grow sensitive in excluding the term preventative arrest inasmuch as this is susceptible to perversion because Filipinos, like any other nationals, are humans given to racially indiscriminate urges. The criminal justice system must see to it that should this arrest be conducted, monitoring and report will maintain a zero-abuse policy.
Foreign intelligence should be defined as classified information that is threat-free and as for those with threat-relevant components, the directorial mandate should go beyond limits. The authorities should not only be able to collect intelligence provided for rgeir members leading to the arrest of a suspect, but also gather supplementary information that will convict the same. While these information get passed for evidences to be used in court cases, intelligence supplied to the police should not be taken for necessary evidences.
The Philippine government should design a screening system that will exempt no one, not even passport-carrying Americans. As we know, aviation and transportation system security must be prioritized since many individuals are catered by these important facilities. Travelers’ identity should be thoroughly verified before gaining access to enter the Philippines, with regular commuters showing minimal identification while first-time and speed travelers subjected to tighter measures upon passage. Database information must be regularly updated with back-up research and development in order to fortify technological reliability on secured identification. Sources of identification from birth certificates to driver’s licenses should be standardized by the government to respond to this need for secured identification.
While the fundamental right to privacy and its corollary freedoms (of speech, assembly, expression and the like) should not be superseded in the passing of the anti-terror bill, a step to limit privacy rights should be considered on a case-to-case basis and within its very merits. It is a challenge how we can go about in answering our need for self-protection without jeopardizing our basic freedom, but the limitation to privacy right should be applied only in terms that will correspond to our quest for safety and combat against terrorism. The restriction must prove beneficial security-wise and its demonstrative measure should not appear encompassing to less and violated privacy just so the end goal may be attained.
Thus, I absolutely recommend criminal justice training with human rights sensitivity, strengthened intelligence and screening system and tolerably-defined privacy in order to succeed in our drive to combat terrorism without sacrificing our constitutional freedoms. The first recommendation is our urgent answer to the reduction of terror risks without our security police harassing our multi-cultural communities or our rights undermined. The second is our response to our need to upgrade mechanism in the face or real disastrous threat while the last is to provide minimal probe into our identification—whether in information technology form or otherwise—for as long as it answers the ultimate purpose of protection and not when it entails characteristic invasion of our privacy.
The implementation of this set of proposals should begin with our legislature and defense departments since the former is currently engaged in drafting the anti-terror bill, sensitive to the fundamental rights to privacy, and the latter is presently involved in protecting the populace with their security-related activities. The judiciary, meanwhile, should be on guard regarding the propensity of violated rights and must ensure that in the process of fighting terrorism, the people’s freedoms are respected by security authorities. The government must optimize scarce resources by appraising national assets (i.e. transportation) necessitating security and defense, must apply practical and efficient means to exert the effort, and must design funding for intelligence and screening. Ultimately, the Filipino people are enjoined to be vigilant in monitoring the unhampered exercise of everyone’s basic rights and in assisting the government—by reporting intelligence and alerting it regarding terror criminals—in keeping up a terror-free Philippines.
Terrorism is the most terrible manifestation of human rights violation, and it is a major problem for all of us. If we do nothing to stop it, we let evil persist in our midst. We are responsible to defending our fundamental rights, and we must act upon this by taking necessary course of the proposed actions. Every one of us aspires action, and this also holds true to the rest of the global community, but by taking legal steps in combating threats to national security, we show the world that we have a strong, active commitment in curtailing terrorism.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

the ugly business of cosmetic surgery

The society nowadays has higher standards when it comes to beauty because of the continued prevalence of Western beauty ideology aggravated by the superficial concepts of metrosexuality, narcissism and exhibitionism. I say higher regard for physical good looks since before, it was enough to have beauty of character but now, some people equate virtues with stunning face. While beauty is relative, the dominance of Western worldview has allowed the permeation of ideas in the world society that what is attractive is having fair skin, patrician nose and big breasts. Being obsessed with sophisticate attitude, with being gorgeous and having something to flaunt to those who care to ogle at their body and face, certain people turn to cosmetic surgery in order to achieve the more-or-less Western value of beauty.
Besides being used in case-to-case medical purposes, cosmetic surgery is done in an attempt to improve aesthetically. Media—from the royal people inhabiting Hollywood to our local yet mixed-race models in TV and print ads—shows that having large breast, being slim, having high nose give the perception of what is beautiful. Hence, going under the knife is a financially able person’s option to escape being labeled ugly. In addition, the growing liberalism amongst Filipinos opened the eyes of some well-off people that there is nothing wrong with undergoing cosmetic operations. In fact, some local celebrities openly endorse cosmetic clinics and doctors that help them attain and maintain their beautiful constitution, to the delight of the daring and moneyed.
Despite the cost and risks of every operation, women (not to mention metrosexual men) still prefer to undergo surgery in a country renowned for its craziness over beauty contests and many things Western, beauty standard included. For as long as they can afford cosmetic surgery, these women shell out money for vanity. This, in spite of the general economic gloom of the country which causes not a few Filipinos to have a measly sum enough to feed the family for just one meal. Also, feeling side effects and attendant risks do not seem to pose major problems to these women, blinded by the obsession to become gorgeous and having increased confidence when they see their celebrity idols carrying on with their successful cosmetic operation. There may even be a possibility that these women are not even aware of the risks and side effects of cosmetic surgery.
To be statistical about it, breast augmentation combined with the anesthesiologist’s fee and hospitalization cost between 50,000 to 60,000 Philippine pesos. Meanwhile, rhinoplasty or nose reshaping costs 30,000 pesos. On the other hand, eyelid surgery costs around 40,000 pesos. Finally, liposuction costs 40,000 pesos and succeeding areas cost 20,000 pesos. At these exorbitant fees, an average-earning individual cannot expect to go the extra mile and eventually subscribe to surgery. Therefore, only those who are financially capable can do so, and they compose but a minority in this impoverished country. For the ones who cannot let go of their dream to become just like the “somebodies” in show business, they endlessly try to find surgeons with discounted asking price. Thus, it is not a far-fetched idea that they get victimized by fly-by-night cosmetic clinics with quack doctors performing operations at reduced cost.
There are fake doctors who pretend to have the expertise of performing cosmetic surgery. These quacks only charge their patient half the price. At this rate, it is cheaper compared to the certified cosmetic surgeon but this may also cause the patient’s life afterwards and may need additional surgeries. As mentioned, they operate in makeshift clinics that soon close, leaving behind patients who are not satisfied with the results. Damages like hardened breasts, lumpy nose, botched body and blood-and-pus-riddled infections occur, pointing to their bogusness regarding their supposed profession.
General anesthesia can cause nerve and brain damage. Materials used in breast implants act as foreign objects and may endanger patient’s life. Silicone used in breast augmentation can be cancerous. Implants deflate and additional surgery is needed. One might experience severe pain due to improper size and placement of implants.
While cosmetic surgery is subscribed to in order to augment one’s confidence, it is not highly recommended, if for the risks and costliness. Besides, the relativeness of beauty makes it susceptible to paradigm shifts, so what if today one has his nose done to make it pointed, but tomorrow the fad goes away to welcome the invasion of flat noses? I strongly believe that what is popular today is not necessarily right, so I think of myself as beautiful despite my Oriental looks, other bodily parts notwithstanding. It all begins with loving oneself, because it is the only self one has. If one so much as turn to cosmetic surgery just like anybody else does, what keeps his and other’s eyes, face, nose, breasts and the like distinct enough to assert a separate identity?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

the flight of the real in marquez' "a very old man with enormous wings"

Latin American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortazar, Jorge Amado, Clarice Lispector, Luisa Valenzuela, Isabel Allende and many others broke into the world literary canon via the fictional device called magic realism, wherein the marvelous is taken as a matter of fact. In the Philippines, magic realism harks back as far as the postwar period when our own National Artist Nick Joaquin wrote fantastic stories like “May Day Eve” and “Summer Solstice.” In Garcia Marquez’ own words regarding magic realism: “[My grandmother] told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness…She did not change her expression at all when telling her stories and everyone was surprised…my grandmother told them: with a brick face.” This same magic realism weaves itself in the subject short fiction “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” In the story, an element of the supernatural—an angel—comes to the lives of an ordinary couple more of an “annoyance” than of a blessing.
The extraordinary happened in the short story in question, as on the third day of torrents in Pelayo’s village, “a very old man…couldn’t get up [from the mud], impeded by his enormous wings.” For Western and Westernized people accustomed to the realities of skyscrapers, Internet, Industrial Revolution and capitalism, a winged creature—whether it is an angel or a manananggal—is a figment of the absurd imagination. If he can fly, he must be Batman, and the superrich hero uses modern mechanism at that. To some of us whose buried precolonial culture is peopled by diwatas and freakish creatures like snakewoman or spidergirl, we can grow less incredulous. When the couple along with the angel’s visitors far and wide grew familiar with an ordinary looking (even undignifiedly tattered-dressed) man who just happened to have big wings, they also grew contemptible of him: Pelayo “locked him up with the hens in the wire chicken coop” and the curious neighbors “without the slightest reverence, [tossed] him things…as if he weren’t a supernatural creature but a circus animal.” Magic realism can reach the proportion of this ordinariness because the marvelous is very much a part of our day-to-day lives. Interestingly, this likewise reads as a critique against people who ask for miracles and then deign on these upon their rare appearance.
In what can be taken as a commentary on the Church institution, the story’s celestial protagonist is also doubted by a minister of the “realistic” Catholic religion: Father Gonzaga downgraded the angel’s descent from heaven because the old man did not recognize God’s Latin language and did not greet Gonzaga as a fellow minister. Using the reality of religion, Father Gonzaga suspected the creature to be an imposter, “that the devil had the bad habit of making use of carnival tricks in order to confuse the unwary.” Another reality as determined by science is capitalism, when Elisenda “got the idea of the fencing in the yard and charging five cents admissions to see the angel,” earning enough to build “a two-story mansion…that crabs…[and] angels wouldn’t get in.” When the angel came supposedly to fetch the dying child only to fail, the child must have dipped in temperature because of the failure. But then again, it is magic realism—things happen sans the necessary cause. During this space and information age, all the same, the crabs overflowed because of the nonstop rain and the “neighbor woman…knew everything about life and death” because she is providentially wise, not because both are exaggerations that may pass for magic realism.
The world has been exposed to all sorts of scientific breakthroughs to cure illnesses, but pain does not seem to want to disappear, so what other things must be resorted to, besides modernity and science? In the story, “[t]he most unfortunate invalids on earth came [to Pelayo’s house, where the angel was caged] in search of health.” It is clear then that people, despite the wonders of modernity and science, cling to miracles, “waiting their turn” to see the angel and plucking some of his feathers in hope of getting healed. As it is, Western scholars do not necessarily embrace the advent of magic realism, attacking it as a literary passé, a postcolonial hangover, a cashing in on the Latin American boom, another way of white people’s marginalizing their other. But the marginalized other gets to write back through magic realism, and no amount of malingering can stop the trend from subverting the utopian, anti-pluralistic claims of science and modernism. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” did just that without clear morals or truths, erasing the dichotomy of the real and unreal.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

transport pollution as a growing environmental problem in metro manila

The air in Metropolitan Manila is so filthy that one can actually see the dirty particles hanging in the atmosphere like black snow. This griminess of the air comes as a result of the steady urbanization of Metro Manila, an enormous city of 17 towns and charter cities with a total population of 9.93 million as of National Statistics Office’ 2000 census, a population density of 158 persons per hectare and per capita Gross Development Product of roughly PhP60,000.1 One urban development trait that Metro Manila manifests is the escalating motorization and transportation demand, one which, as aforementioned, causes the looming problem that is transport pollution.
According to Japan International Cooperation Agency which conducted the Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study in 1996, 59 persons out of a thousand own cars.2 1.4 million vehicles (or 33% of the total Philippine registry of 4.2 million vehicles) are registered in Metro Manila, of which 33% comprise the diesel-fueled ones, from jeepneys to passenger utilities to buses.3 This volume is accountable for the heavy emission of gases that contribute to the worsening condition of air pollution in Metro Manila. The exposure of the population to this vehicular emission makes up for the increasing cases of various respiratory ailments, deteriorating health and, worse, death in the populace. Likewise, this type of pollution threatens to efface the environment with mutation on living things and contamination of the supposedly safe air people breathe.
The Philippines’ national capital region is indicated to have a decadent air quality by virtue of the heightened presence of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, oxidants, and carbon monoxide way above the perimeters of the World Health Organization.4 Mobile sources like diesel-fueled vehicles and tricycles emit particulate matters which are deemed the gravest pollutant in Metro Manila for the last two decades. To be statistical about it, the total suspended particulates got concentrated 100% in Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ pollution monitoring stations beginning 1989. These observed TSP surpassed the National Ambient Air Quality Guideline Value of 90 microgram/ Despite the Clean Air Act, TSP remain a chief pollutant in the metropolis.
Carbon Monoxide is another key pollutant in this megacity. While DENR’s monitoring stations rarely indicate CO’s exceeding beyond the ambient quality standard of 9 ppm,6 there is an indication based on the few data collected that ambient concentration of CO is possible to go beyond the standard from time to time. Because the monitoring stations are situated next to road traffic, CO is determined to have originated mostly from vehicles.
Another major pollutant is Nitrogen Dioxide. According to data collected by Asian Development Bank-sponsored Vehicular Emission Control Planning Study in 1991 and 1992 and by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Filter Badge Survey in 1998, the values average for NO2 is under 0.08 ppm—only 0.05 ppm7—but this estimation sees an increasing trend as the growing volume of Manila-based vehicles makes emissions that aggravate the air pollution in the city.
Meanwhile, sulfur dioxide (SO2) shows a worsening trend of ambient concentration undervalues of 0.05 ppm as opposed to 0.08 ppm, according to samples from DENR’s monitoring stations whereas lead (Pb) concentration has been minimized—from 1.282 mcg/Ncm down to 0.043mcg/Ncm—since 1987, owing to the gradual phasing out of Leaded gasoline in the metropolis.8
All these pollutants which come from vehicular emissions endanger Metro Manila’s environment at-large. According to a 2000 JSPS-sponsored perception survey by Tokyo Institute of Technology, 70+% out of 490 respondents from cities of Makati and Quezon expressed dissatisfaction with roadside air quality and recommended that the government do something to improve air quality in roadside, residential and in-vehicle environment.9 Another survey in 2001—that conducted by DENR amongst public utility vehicle drivers, operators and industry holders—confirmed this negative belief: 72% are conscious of air pollution, only 28% know the effort of the government to curb pollution and only 39% have awareness about the 1999 Clean Air Act.10
If this ill condition of the metropolitan atmosphere prevails, the incidence of respiratory diseases, environmental mutation and related risks will steadily climb. With the volume of mobile utilities continually expanding as rapid urbanization takes place, vehicular emission will continuously contribute to air pollution and soon, Metro Manila will not figure among the world’s dirtiest cities but WILL BE its filthiest city, unless the government strictly reinforces its program to control transport pollution. The Philippine Air Act of 1999 is one significant government move. By having vehicles renew registration only upon submitting certificate of compliance to emission standards as authorized in testing centers by the Department of Transportation and Communication and the Land Transportation Office, the government through its arm DENR is able to implement the standardization of motor emissions, which becomes helpful in reducing transport pollution.
Another significant program to which transport operators must have strict compliance is the implementation of fuel standards by the government arm Department of Energy. The DOE is enjoined to specify all kinds of fuel and relevant products, regulate fuel additive use and banning of leaded gasoline. Corollary to this, the DOE attempts to promote and eventually implement alternative motor fuels by developing standards for compressed natural gas Autogas and coco-methyl ester.11
The proliferation of non-governmental organizations aimed at redeeming environmental consciousness for Manila citizens encourages many sectors in the society to take heed of the campaign to start cleaning the air. Media giant ABS-CBN, for instance, has an environmental arm named “Bantay Kalikasan” which advocates programs such as information dissemination and utilization of telecommunications to report pollution-causing motors in highways. Meanwhile, the Firefly Brigade is a group of cyclists that promotes the use of bicycles for transportation instead of riding high-emission vehicles.
Finally, the banning of and assigning of alternate routes for trucks and other vehicles at designated times and places in the metropolis are important ways managing transportation demand. Odd-Even Scheme is one such example of this transport emission-reducing program. Also, the continued operation of the Philippine National Railway and Light Railway Trains and the recent operation of the Metrostar Railway Trains not only minimize the costliness and time consumption of city transportation but also promote the non-use of gas fuel, as the LRT and MRT are run by the combined wonders of machine, magnetism and electricity.
The transport pollution is a major concern for all living in the National Capital Region. Studies have shown that Metro Manila air is not getting any cleaner, so an organized act to advocate zero/low-emission transportation must come at hand before it is too late to ward off the particulate matters and like pollutants poisoning our lungs.

Filter Badge Survey (Tokyo: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1998).
Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study. (Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency, 1996).
National Air Quality Status Report. (Manila: Environmental Management Bureau, 2003).
Philippines Environment Monitor 2002. (World Bank, 2002).
Vehicular Emission Control Planning in Metro Manila. (Asian Development Bank, 1992).
Vergel, Karl. Urban Transportation and the Environment in Metro Manila: Programs and Initiatives for Clean Air. (Tokyo: Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2004).
__________ and Yai T. “Outline of Microscopic Traffic Simulation.” In: Metro Manila: Towards a Sustainable Future-Impact Analysis of Metropolitan Policies for Development and Environmental Conservation. (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the University of the Philippines Press. 2002).

1 Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study. (Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency, 1996)
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Vehicular Emission Control Planning in Metro Manila. (Asian Development Bank, 1992) and Filter Badge Survey (Tokyo: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1998).
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 National Air Quality Status Report. (Manila: Environmental Management Bureau, 2003).
9 Vergel, Karl and Yai T. “Outline of Microscopic Traffic Simulation.” In: Metro Manila: Towards a Sustainable Future-Impact Analysis of Metropolitan Policies for Development and Environmental Conservation. (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the University of the Philippines Press. 2002).
10 Philippines Environment Monitor 2002. (World Bank, 2002).
11 Vergel, Karl. Urban Transportation and the Environment in Metro Manila: Programs and Initiatives for Clean Air. (Tokyo: Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2004)