Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chip Tsao, Cheap Chow

Below is the full article, "The War At Home", written by Chip Tsao for HK Magazine. The original article has been removed from the magazine's official website. Read it and weep.


March 27th, 2009

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands
from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who hol
ds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out
between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir
” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.


The article is supposed to be funny but as Ms. Kitty Go aptly puts it, it's "a lame attempt at humour which some may classify as irony, hyperbole, parody or satire. "

If we use Mr. Chao's reasoning, we can say that the taxes that go to the Chinese government every time we buy something "Made in China" or visit their country, definitely contribute to China's ongoing bullying activities against the Philippines and even against the US in the South China Sea. So, maybe we should think twice before buying Chinese products or before going anywhere in China.

Mr. Chao totally got it wrong when he wrote, "we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher."

They are the ones in hostage because I highly doubt if they will be able to function well without their Filipina "servants". As Jessica Zafra once said, we can easily achieve world domination if all the Filipino domestic helpers around the world will go on a simultaneous strike. Imagine all the foreign ambassadors and dignitaries not showing up for work because they have to do their house chores. Even US President Barack Obama is at the mercy of his Filipina chef. Isang patak ka lang!

If Mr. Chip Tsao and his fellow "Mid-level" communist bigots continue to threaten their helpers, then they should not wonder why their breakfast tastes funny in the morning.

Note: It's bad enough to have Chip Tsao demeaning the entire Filipino nation. It's worse to have a fellow Filipino, and a grandson of a former President at that, brushing the issue off by stating that “all the crap about that HK columnist comes from Pinoys who wouldn't know satire sarcasm or irony if it slapped them on the face.” Yeah right, Mr. Quezon!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My 60 Minutes For Mother Earth

When I committed to Earth Hour 2009, I almost forgot that it's early spring in Japan and that it's a Saturday night. Early spring means cold nights and Saturday nights mean being alone. Ariel attends his weekly bible study every Saturday night. I actually committed to participate in the annual Earth Hour since last year and I was bent on fulfilling my self-imposed obligation this year.

I lined out my game plan for the big night. To beat the cold, I blasted the heater for 30 minutes, hoping that the heat would linger for the next hour. I charged up my cellphone and Walkman so I can use them while in the dark.

I was chatting with Jasper just before lights out. I quickly said goodbye to him and at exactly 8:30pm, I turned off my PC and switched off all the lights and appliances. Nothing was lit, not even the little red "standby" light on the heater. I lay down in bed and spent the entire hour listening to my Walkman. I extended my Earth Hour a little bit and waited until 10pm to turn the lights back on.

How about you? What did you do on Earth Hour 2009?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Butuan City joins Earth Hour 2009

It's official! My beloved city is joining Earth Hour for the first time this year. This is good news! I hope our city officials will continue to support this cause every year. Mabuhay!

Read all about it HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Last year, my family participated in Earth Hour 2008. My hometown was not among the official city supporters but our house went dark anyway. This year, I'm doing it again from Japan. I'm shutting off our power for an hour on March 28, 2009 8:30PM. Join us and be part of Earth Hour 2009!

Visit the official website: earthhour.org

Sign up for Earth Hour

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Philippine Beaches

As promised, here's my post on the beautiful Philippine beaches which I have visited in the past.

1. Panglao Island - I went to Panglao Island in the province of Bohol in May 2005 after attending Mark and Barb's wedding in Cebu. We stayed at Alona Kew Resort for 3 days and 2 nights. If I remember correctly, our twin room cost less than P2k per night. We ate at a restaurant in a neighboring resort and the nearby "talipapa". From Panglao, we hired a van and toured around Bohol all the way to Jagna. We visited famous sites like the blood compact site, Baclayon church, Loboc River, hanging bridge, man-made forest, tarsiers and, of course, Chocolate Hills. We took the boat from Jagna to Nasipit on our way back to Butuan.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Tagbilaran
By boat from Cebu to Tagbilaran
By van from Tabilaran to Panglao Island

2. Samal Island - I spent my honeymoon with Ariel at Pearl Farm Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte in 2003. The resort is perfect for a honeymoon because it is secluded and very serene. We were booked in one of the Samal Houses which was right on the water! All meals are buffet-style and our honeymoon package included one romantic dinner at the parola (with serenade) and free island hopping. I immensely enjoyed the trip to nearby Malipano Island that I did not want to leave. There also many other resorts in Samal Island like Paradise Resort and Blue Water Resort.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Davao
By ferry or motor boat from Sasa wharf to Samal Island
(Pearl Farm Resort has its own boat transfer service from Waterfront Insular Hotel to Pearl Farm Resort)

3. Camiguin - The only time I went to Camiguin was way back in 1996 with my family. This was when I discovered the "pastel" (bread with custard filling) and Camiguin was unlike what it is today. We stayed at one of the resorts in Agoho, Mambajao. Back then, Paras Resort was still under construction. Our fist day was spent at White Island, which was clear from the obstructions that it has now. On our 2nd day, we hired a multicab to get to the Sunken Cemetery, Katibawasan Falls and Ardent Hot Spring.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila or Cebu to Cagayan De Oro or Butuan
By bus/van from Cagayan De Oro or Butuan to Balingaon
By ferry boat from Balingoan to Camiguin

4. Siargao - I was in Siargao, Surigao del Norte with a group of friends only last September 2008. We stayed at Travellers Resort in Cabuntog, General Luna. We watched the international surfing competition at Cloud Nine and spent a day going to nearby islands. From General Luna, one can easily hop to Naked Island, Dako Island and Guyam Island. For cold beers at night, head to Nine Bar or Siargao Inn.

Getting there:

By plane from Manila or Cebu to Surigao City or Butuan
By bus/van from Butuan to Surigao City
By motor boat/ferry from Surigao City to Dapa, Siargao Island
By tricycle/jeepney from Dapa to Gen. Luna

5. Marinduque - The island province of Marinduque is most popular during Holy Week because of the Moriones Festival. I went there in the mid-1990's with my Butuanon housemates to witness this event. We stayed in a companion's house for 2 nights and 2 days. We went to elephant island and toured around the whole province in one day. Good Friday was spent in the streets of Boac to witness the procession.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Marinduque
By bus/van from Manila to Lucena
By ferry from Lucena to Marinduque

(Siargao photo courtesy of islomaniac@webshots.com)
(other photos courtesy of unsuspecting citizens of the internet)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Girl Named Suzette

My supposed follow-up to the entry on Philippine beaches has to give way to this one. It is just too big a story to be ignored.

"Nicole", or Suzette S. Nicolas in real life, the girl who accused a US serviceman of raping her, is gaining a lot of attention, again, in the Philippines after issuing a sworn statement which raised doubts on her initial story. The question on everybody's mind is, was she raped or not?

I did not religiously follow this story but I know enough to know that:

1. Suzette accused Daniel Smith of raping her after a night of partying in Subic
2. Daniel Smith was convicted in December 2006
3. The case is now in the hands of the Court of Appeals
4. Daniel is currently detained at the US Embassy in Manila
5. Suzette issued a new statement on March 12, 2009 practically recanting her accusation

To read the entire statement, click HERE.

Thew new statement certainly raises a level of reasonable doubt on Daniel Smith's guilt. But a reversal of the decision might not come anytime soon since the CA cannot accept the new evidence just like that. It has to go through a legal process.

The bigger story here is that Suzette's new sworn statement came out just before the Visiting Forces Agreement is up for review by our lawmakers. Some have even linked this new development to US Pres. Obama's "surprise" call to Pres. Arroyo last weekend. Others have gone as far as calling Suzette a traitor. She was supposed to be the poster girl of the anti-VFA movement. What happened? Did "unseen hands" get to Suzette and coerce her into making that statement?

A further look at the matter reveals that:

1. Suzette made her new statement without the knowledge of her lawyer
2. The lawyer who notarized Suzette's statement is Abraham Rey Acosta who works for Sycip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan law firm, the same law firm which represents Daniel Smith
3. Suzette indicated that she received Php100,000 from Daniel Smith
4. Suzette left for the US to be with her new American boyfriend "for good"

Former Senator Jovito Salonga, a staunch supporter of the anti-VFA movement, aptly calls it an out-of-court settlement.

Which brings us back to the original question, was she really raped or not? Did she lie back then or is she lying now? Either way, she certainly lied about something.

Did she really do it all for the money and a comfortable life in the US? If she did, it seems like she got what she wanted. And we... well, as much as I detest Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, I agree with him when he said that it looks like we were all "taken for a ride".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Philippine Beach Destinations

Summer has officially arrived in the Philippines and for most people, that only means one thing - beach, beach, beach! Below is a list of ten beaches in the Philippines which I wish to visit in my lifetime.

1. Boracay - The most popular beach destination of the Philippines located in the northwestern tip of Panay Island, Western Visayas. Boracay is a favorite of the Manila party crowd because of its very active nightlife.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila or Cebu to Caticlan or Kalibo
By bus/van from Kalibo or Iloilo to Caticlan
By motor boat from Caticlan to Boracay Island

2. Caramoan - This used to be the Philippines' best kept secret until it was featured in the French version of the TV show "Survivor". It is now fast gaining popularity and is touted to be the "next big thing" after Boracay. It is located in Camarines Sur in Bicol facing the Pacific Ocean.

Getting there:
By plane or bus from Manila to Naga City
By van/jeepney from Naga City to Sabang port
By motor boat from Sabang port to Guijalo port, Caramoan
By private vehicle directly from Manila to Caramoan

3. El Nido - One of the many features of Palawan, the Philippines' last frontier. It is located about 238 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan's capital. El Nido is composed of 45 islands and islets.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to El Nido or Puerto Princesa
By ferry boat from Manila to El Nido
By bus/van/jeepney from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

4. Coron - It is the name of both a town in Busuanga Island and an island just offshore. Both Busuanga and Coron Islands are part of the Calamianes Group of Islands along with Culion and several other smaller islands. From Coron, one can also visit the wildlife sanctuary in Calauit Island.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Busuanga
By ferry boat from Manila to Busuanga or Coron
By jeepney/van from Busuanga to Coron

5. Honda Bay - The island hopper's paradise! Honda Bay is also located in Palawan, framing the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa. One can simply hop on a boat and go around the many wonderful islands like Bat Island, Starfish Island and Snake Island.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa
By jeepney/tricycle from Puerto Princesa to Sta. Lourdes Wharf
By motor boat from Sta. Lourdes Wharf to any island of choice

6. Malapascua - It is more popular as a diving destination located in the northernmost tip of Cebu province. Must do's: drinks at Sunsplash floating bar and a trip to Calanggaman Island.

Getting there:
By plane from international and domestic points to Cebu City
By bus/van from Cebu City to Maya
By motor boat from Maya wharf to Logon, Malapascua Island

7. Bantayan Island - It is located in the northwestern part of Cebu province, composed of the municiplaities of Bantayan, Madridejos and Sta. Fe. It is a very popular destination during Lent because it is the only place in the Philippines where eating pork on Good Friday is allowed by the Catholic Church. Bantayan Island is also known as the "egg basket" of the Philippines generating 1.5 million eggs a day!

Getting there:
By plane from international and domestic points to Cebu City
By bus/van from Cebu City to Hagnaya
By motor boat from Hagnaya to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island

8. Romblon - The province of Romblon is recognized as the "marble country of the Philippines". It is located at the center of the entire archipelago and is composed of three main islands: Romblon, Sibuyan and Tablas.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila or Cebu to Caticlan
By ferry boat from Caticlan to Odiongan
By ferry boat from Manila, Batangas or Lucena to Odiongan, San Agustin or Romblon

9. Pagudpud - It is located in the northwestern tip of Ilocos Norte facing South China Sea. Must see: Kaibigan Falls, Saud Beach and Blue Lagoon.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Laoag
By bus/van from Manila to Laoag or Pagudpud
By bus/van from Laoag to Pagudpud

10. Guimaras - It is an island province situated between Panay Island and Negros Occidental. Guimaras is best known for its very sweet mangoes, thus the "Manggahan Festival" every 22nd of April. The best beaches of Guimaras are located in Jordan and Nueva Valencia.

Getting there:
By plane from Manila to Iloilo
By motor boat or ferry from Iloilo to Jordan
By jeepney/van from Jordan to any municipality

Please note that this list only includes destinations which I have not visited yet. I will write about other popular destinations which I have already visited in my next post.

(photos courtesy of unsuspecting citizens of the internet)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Philippine Geography

Here's a great way to learn about Philippine geography...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The saga of Noriko-chan

Noriko Calderon (right) with her parents at a press conference in Tokyo

I first heard about the ordeal of Noriko Calderon through Jasper's blog. Noriko is a 13-year old girl who was born and raised in Japan with Filipino parents. Sarah, 38, came to Japan in 1992 and Arlan, 36, followed in 1993. BOTH USED FAKE PASSPORTS. The two managed to bear a child, send her to school, and work while staying under the radar for 13 years. In July 2006, Sarah Calderon was arrested for illegal residency. The family pleaded for special residency and battled it out in the courts for two years. In September 2008, the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that the Calderons must voluntarily return to the Philippines by January 14, 2009 or risk being deported with Noriko. The deadline has been reset three times until the final deadline last February 27. After the ultimatum lapsed, Arlan Calderon was detained by the Japanese Immigration Bureau while Sarah was given an extension permit to stay with her daughter. Last Friday, March 13, Arlan and Sarah Calderon finally decided to leave without their daughter lest they risk Noriko's special residency permit. They are scheduled to return to the Philippines on April 13. Noriko will be left to the care of her mother's sister who is married to a Japanese national. Her parents will be granted special short-term visas to visit her regularly.

It should be understood that Japanese immigration laws are different from the US or Philippines. A child born in Japan to immigrant parents DOES NOT automatically become a Japanese citizen. One can only become a Japanese citizen by blood or naturalization. Even foreigners married to Japanese citizens do not automatically acquire their spouse's citizenship. The process of naturalization is looong and difficult and Japan does not allow dual citizenship. A foreigner applying for naturalization should be ready to renounce his/her original citizenship. That is why most foreigners settle for permanent residency or the equivalent of the immigrant status in the US. In the Calderons' case, it is not clear if either parent is a Japanese descendant. Arlan Calderon sure does look very Oriental but I assume that he has no Japanese blood because, if he does, their case would have been much less complicated. Perhaps he is part Chinese or Korean?

In my opinion, nobody else can be blamed for this mess but the parents.

1. They used fake passports. It is one thing to have no proper visa but fake passports? It is exactly the falsifying of documents which aggravated their case. They committed a double whammy. Some people argue that they might have done it because they were poor back in the Philippines. Poverty is never an excuse to commit a crime.

2. They did not make Noriko understand that she is not Japanese. The poor girl claims she did not know that she is Filipino until her mother was arrested. This is quite unbelievable given her Spanish surname and very un-Japanese looking mother.

3. They did not teach Noriko Filipino or English. They claim that Noriko only speaks Japanese so it would be difficult for her to continue her studies in the Philippines. Noriko had all the time to learn Japanese at school. She should have been taught Filipino or English at home. Still, there are Japanese schools in the Philippines where Noriko can study if she chooses to join her parents in the Philippines. She only needs to start Filipino lessons from Grade One, not the entire curriculum as what their lawyer argues.

4. They claim to not have enough money to start anew in the Philippines. Did they not save for their reintegration? Did they have plans of going home at all? Or did they plan to stay illegally in Japan until death?

I think the Calderons were bound to lose their case considering how merciless Japan is when it comes to immigration issues. I remember a Japanese-Filipino lady in her mid-50's who has been living in Japan fore more than 10 years with a long-term resident visa. After her regular visa renewal application, she was suddenly granted a 3-month tourist visa. She had to go back to the Philippines and repeat the whole process of applying for eligibility. Upon her return to Japan, she was barred at the airport and was sent back to the Philippines. If something like this could happen to a half-Japanese with legal documents, what more to illegal aliens with fake passports?

It is understandable why the government refused to grant the request of the Calderons. Doing so would set a very bad precedent for the numerous illegal residents with children in Japan. I am not talking only about Filipinos. There are Chinese, Brazilians and Koreans. Imagine if they will all come out and apply for special residency!

It is just so sad that poor Noriko-chan should suffer for her own parents' irresponsibility. They are lucky enough to be granted regular visits by the Japanese government.

One thing that amazes me is how the parents were able to enroll Noriko year after year without being detected. Maybe Japanese schools should review their enrollment system.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Japan Trivia

1. Japan has 3 official long holidays: New Year holiday (usually Dec. 30 - January 3), Golden Week (usually May 1-5) and Obon Holiday (mid-August).

2. February 14 is called Chocolate Day and it is customary for girls to give chocolates to boys.

3. March 14 is called White Day and it is customary for boys to give back gifts (usually pastries) to girls.

4. It is more acceptable to fart than sneeze in public. Farting produces carbon dioxide while sneezing produces germs.

5. Sticking chopsticks vertically straight up in a rice bowl is a big no-no. It resembles incense sticks offered to the dead.

6. It is perfectly okay to slurp your soup in public.

7. Inside a full train, it is extremely rare to see a Japanese man offering his seat to an elderly woman. I have never seen this happen after 8 years in Japan.

8. The fine for drunk driving is JPY100,000-500,000 = $1,000-5,000 = PhP50,000-250,000!

9. Almost all grocery stores are going green. Eco bags are now in and what used to be free plastic bags now cost JPY5 each.

10. Japanese folks almost always refuse to kill an insect. Beetles are kept as pets and bought at a minimum of JPY10,000 or $100 or PHP5,000!

Happy White Day everyone! :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And the winners are...

(L-R: 2nd RU - Regina Hahn; BbP International - Melody Gersbach;
BbP Universe - Bianca Manalo; BbP World - Marie Ann Umali;
1st RU - Richell Angalot)

I presume that the criteria for this year's Bb. Pilipinas pageant is the same as last year: beauty of face - 40%, figure - 40%, personality - 10% and wit - 10%.

With that said, this should have been the top 5, in my opinion: #5 Diana Arevalo, #9 April Jordan, #12 Marie Ann Umali, #15 Bianca Manalo, #20 Melody Gersbach. I have no violent objections regarding those who were eventually crowned.

Miss International - I think Melody is perfect for Miss International. I have high hopes for her. I would be happy if she, at least, will emerge as one of the semi-finalists.

Miss Universe - Jasper and I speculated that her family is aiming to complete their participation in the 3 international pageants. Her sister was Miss World runner-up and her aunt was Miss International. That leaves Miss Universe for them to conquer. Lo and behold! Bianca wins Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. I somehow expected this although she is not my top bet for this crown. Unlike her many bashers, I don't think she's fat. Chubby cheeks, yes. But she does need to seriously firm up her body to be noticed in the Miss Universe pageant in the Bahamas. And no bunned hair for her please.

Miss World - This was actually the only crown up for grabs this year. Of the top ten, Bb. Pilipinas-World was a toss up between Jordan, Arevalo and Umali or maybe even Johnson who aced the Q&A. I wonder how Umali will fare in the Miss World interview.

I expected more from Rich in her Q&A, she being a UP student. Alas! She was 2nd worst in that portion. Regina Hahn's ace is her intelligence, that's all.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the night is Carishiela Kuijper's non-inclusion in the Top Ten. What happened there? Did she fall victim to the pageant sharks?

Overall, BPCI redeemed themselves this year after last year's laugh fest. More importantly, nobody did a Janina this year. Kudos to all the ladies!

I should mention that Gizelle Rivamonte won the Miss Friendship award. This girl proved to be the most admirable of all. She only wished to experience submitting an application form and ended up winning over the hearts of her co-candidates. She is also the most improved candidate of the batch.

Good luck to our new queens! Mabuhay kayo!

(photo courtesy of opmbworldwide)

Friday, March 6, 2009

R.I.P. Francis Magalona

Francis "Kiko" Durango Magalona
October 4, 1964 - March 6, 2009

Today is a sad day for the Philippine entertainment industry. At 12:20PM, Francis "Kiko" Magalona, succumbed to leukemia at the age of 44. Master rapper, actor, songwriter, producer, photographer, entrepreneur, patriot, father, husband, friend, idol - these are just among Kiko's many "titles".

I do not claim to be a fan of Francis but I feel a certain affinity to him. His wife Pia and I belonged to the same circle of Havaianas addicts in GIRLTalk called "Havies". We used to exchange posts and private messages in GT and chat in YM. I have never met them in person save for one time when I spotted Francis at Starbucks in Greenhills. But my Philippine-based fellow Havies have met up with the couple several times during the regular Havies night outs. Francis had no qualms tagging along to these "all girl" events and he would even gamely volunteer to be the group's photographer. An adopted Havie himself, he was proud of his Havaianas Filipinas. No surpirise there as he was one of the country's most openly nationalistic artists, a trait which I admired most about him.

And now, he is gone. It has only been seven months after he was diagnosed with leukemia. The sad news came when everybody thought he was on the road to recovery.

I pray that Pia and her eight children will remain strong through this difficult ordeal. I join them and the whole nation in mourning a great artist.

"Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin' round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world"

- Francis Magalona

(photo courtesy of francismagalona.multiply.com)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bb. Pilipinas Update

It was confirmed in the evening news today that Bb. Pilipinas candidate #13, Sandra Inez Seifert, has been disqualified from the pageant. The reason? Posing for men's magazine, FHM. There are other speculations regarding the real reason behind the disqualification. But according to Sandra, she received a notice of disqualification from the organizers citing her FHM spread as the reason. Below are the pictures in question:

And this was what the organizers made her do during the parade in crowded Cubao:

What gives?

Sandra and her lawyers tried to appeal the decision but BPCI said the disqualification is final. Oh well... I can't help but think if it is really in Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta's interest that the Philippines will win in the international pageants. Or is she protecting the interests of her home country Colombia?

(Photos courtesy of fhm.com.ph and opmbworldwide)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bb. Pilipinas 2009

I confess. I once secretly wished that I was a beauty pageant judge. I shared this secret wish with Jasper. The closest we ever came to being a judge was when we worked in the production of Mutya Hong Butuan 1997. Jasper was assistant director and emcee, I was video director. Oh! I do have a vague memory of Jasper judging a bikini contest at the Balanghai Hotel and I was tagging along.

The Bb. Pilipinas 2009 beauty pageant is now in full swing. The candidates were presented to the press last February 25 and the coronation night is on March 7. This year's batch of 24 candidates is considered to be the best after many, many years. After last year's Janina San Miguel fiasco, this year's pageant looks very promising. Jasper and I have been scouring discussion boards for photos and videos and we both find it very hard to pick our top ten finalists. Below are photos of my bets in order of their number.

#2 Carisheila May Kuijpers:

#13 Sandra Inez Seifert:

#15 Pamela Bianca Manalo:

#20 Melody Gersbach:

#23 Barbara Salvador:

The rest who have a good shot at landing on the top ten:

#3 Richelle Angalot
#5 Diana Arevalo
#9 April Love Jordan
#12 Jayzel Arrozal
#19 Stephanie Siñeres

... and the three overhyped and well-connected ladies that just might grab one of the crowns (God forbid!):

#11 Regina Hahn - daughter of former Bb. Pilipinas and Ms. Universe runner-up Chiqui Brosas

#17 Marie Ann Umali - returning candidate who is mind-bogglingly overhyped; she is infamous for her "love should be fit" answer to the Q & A in 2006

#24 Abegail Lesley Cruz - GMA7 contract artist better known as pageant host Paolo Bediones' GF

(Photos courtesy of BPCI, opmbworldwide and missosology)