Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Vote is Yellow

Today, a week before the 2010 elections, I have transcend from being undecided to a decided voter. I'm voting for Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. Eight months ago when I heard the fifty year old senator was running for the top post, I almost fell off my chair from laughing. Her mother, the late president Cory Aquino had just died and the emotions were high. It was an irony of sorts having to figure out how I would react, one coming from my admiration for the late president whom I regarded as one of the country's best, an icon for many and the other of course, is the seemingly odd, rather sad feeling of the reluctant Noynoy whom I felt at that time, was just placed into an compromising spotlight towards a road he didn't want.

My preference at that time was Chiz Escudero, the young Bicolano senator who as we all know, has snatch back his hat in the ring as quickly as he threw it and decided to support the candidacy of Noynoy. That left me with choices to go for Gordon, Gibo or Noynoy. For obvious reasons, I didn't include Erap, who in his fairyland dreams wants to be king again. He is a joke and a constant reminder that we all were once a joke for putting him in office, or at least for the majority. I didn't include Villar either, the billionaire politician whose integrity is highly questionable with allegations of corruption right and left, from unexplained wealth to unexplained "poverty". His soaring rise in the surveys buoyed by flooding the airtime with his famous informercials and its eventual slide shows that his house, created by the enormity of false perception and lies can fall quickly like a house made from a deck of cards. Outside looking in, it was a marvel to see, from being a dirt poor to filthy rich. Inside looking out, it was a tragedy of epic proportions.

So there I was, two months ago, left with three choices. Would I go for the blue guy, the feisty senator Dick who by competence alone has shown he can deliver? Would it be the yellow guy whose legislative performance was at most, lackluster but has shown to have the integrity our country needs at this time? Or the green guy, whose message of "talino at galing" I cannot complain, and is by qualifications alone is the most fitting for the highest post in the land but his association with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, many says including me as among the worst performing president due to allegations of corruption and cheating, makes you hesitate?

All my life I have been trained through the years of life's experience to decide objectively. Where it has work for me in many ways, it also failed me once in a while. Whether choosing GMA over FPJ was a mistake, a failure or the other way around, I would like to think of the latter. In ways more than one, it opened my eyes to the realization of the complexity of our politics here, that you just can't take their word as truth, nor their qualification or non qualification as it is. Noynoy may not be the man of integrity that he portrays or Gordon and Gibo may not be the competent guy around the block. That their platform of government they proudly say may just be it, promises. In an institutional system like ours which hasn't matured, we tend to decide based on the character of the person and not the platform of government. That is why trustworthiness is still crucial. This is where the dirty politics become dirtier, when the platform of government becomes a second option in choosing and everything else is a lie unless proven right, mudslinging and character assassination come to the picture and a colorful circus emerges. The best thing about the realization is that even when its there staring at your face, you still have a choice, and with all the intricacy, your choice would always be a risk.

In my life I have learned many fast rules, shortcuts though I never use them, and life values which has served me well. I have always believe and espoused the idea that my success would be my people's success too. I have also come to a conscious understanding that success hinges on one's planning as much as it is on keeping the values that our parents have taught me. These values have gotten me people that shares it with me thereby owing my success to them. It is on the notion of these values that I decided to cast my lot. The values of trust and outright integrity for which I believe any country should be run and which all first world country is ran must be upheld.

First, I wrote off Gordon from the list. I like him. I love the guy but competent that he is, he has some shares of skeletons on his closet while managing Subic. Today it is a progressive place, thanks to Dick but can you say the end justifies the means? Not for me. I'm not voting for the devious kind even how little it is never mind the volatility of his temper which reminds me of someone who wants to be on the limelight all the time. It took me a while to write off Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro. Although I don't hide my great disdain for the Arroyo government, for its shameful abuse of power by pillaging what is left of the pillaged country left by Estrada, it has not always been that case before that. She stood as the principal sponsor for my brother's wedding. She poured projects in Cebu never seen before. I had high hopes that her qualification and competence would finally bring back the glory years of our time, a time we can't even remember much too everyone's chagrin. The corruption scandals which I have lost count is beyond comprehension. She buys her way out by buying just everyone from the armed forces to the congressmen. Then she cheated. Can you fathom your president is a cheat? Not that FPJ was more qualified than her, but maybe he was in so many ways.

I have high respect for Gibo. You cannot simply complain based on his qualification. The Harvard schooled congressman, standing side by side, Erap would look mediocre and the young man would have schooled him a fatherly advice. His running under the administration machinery didn't came as a surprise for me. You can't fault him here either. He needed a machinery for his ambition and there it was in front of him, Gloria's full support which we all know by now that what she meant was actually for Villar. After 12 years of bad governance, three from Estrada and nine years for Arroyo, the society is just fed up. The sick man of Asia just became sicker and here he was at the right time on the wrong company. Such a waste indeed. Here he was campaigning for a message of change just like everyone else, leading a party which we all know by now after nine years that its a composition of the corrupted, dysfunctional, crooked politicians who waits for dole outs once in a while to let Arroyo get off the hook. When their is no party ideologies and principles, it crumbles when the going gets tough. Rats jump to the waters when the ship is sinking. Well, many rats jump the administration ship everyday. He might have good intentions but the party members are looking somewhere else. I heard them call themselves team "Palabra de Honor" failing to recognize that the only word of honor they are expected to do is to their constituents which they have failed again and again.

Its not Gibo, you can't go wrong liking the guy. Its the bad company he's in that makes you hesitate. A good egg on a sea of bad egg or would I say, rotten eggs. Would he be able to unite the nation under his leadership with a high probability that appointees would be recommended by the party? Can he unite the nation for a common good knowing that the majority are fed up with the same old politics of Arroyo's party? Could he stop Ali Baba and her scoundrels to continue to pillage the country? These are the clear and present doubts that I have. This election was never about who's fighting the greatest battIe against corruption, but rather its has always been driving out Ali Baba and her thieves. They would continue to thrive, and their going to thrive more in a Gibo presidency. I think therefore I am not for Gibo. Maybe not this time but I am not worried, he has a bright future ahead of him.

There are many illusions of our time today. From the words of Manuel Quezon III he says "At the heart of the tall tales is the suspicion that no such thing as an honest, principled politician exists; or, put another way, anyone who considers himself a politician running on a platform of honesty, integrity, and good governance (and who personally represents all these things) has to be delusional or an imbecile. After all, a central talking point of the administration has been, “they are all the same, anyway,” so better the devil you know since no angels exist" Maybe the times have jagged our memories. Just maybe Joseph Goebbels' famous phrase that 'If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth' has truly taken its toll on us. Just like as if we have accepted corruption as society's norm.

Just as I've said I'll follow my values of trust and integrity before anything else, my vote is down to one man. My vote is yellow. His party principled. I am still in doubt with his competence but I believe he is honest and trustworthy. Competence for me plays second fiddle for it can be develop, supported upon. In my line of work, I have entrusted some of the most critical areas of the business to ordinary people, average IQs, and they have come out among the best there is. Competence can be augmented by a sense of volunteerism. Look at Tommy Meloto of Gawad Kalinga or Efren Penaflorida, these are not geniuses but they have exact change in more ways than many of our current leaders today. Theirs is not the work of one man but volunteers, thousands upon thousands who look upon the principle that leaders like them bring: Integrity, trustworthy, honest and caring.

We need a brand new politics to bring a new way of accountability. Simply put it, this country suffers not from the lack of talent nor wit but from the scarcity of morally uprighted politicians. We need a government that is decent and trustworthy. We need someone who can unite us all to bring reforms to the grassroots level. The country wants the respect that it lost. As a businessman, we need someone whose government can be viewed by foreign investors as clean, bringing the best chance for greater foreign investments. In the perspective of the many on the concept of a lesser evil issue which I still don't believe, it is clear to me now than ever before that an Aquino government would bring the least damage to the country.

I ask myself whether I am making a mistake again. I would tell you frankly I don't know. It remains to be seen, that time would tell. Sometimes while doing my morning runs I ask myself what I want this country to become and the thought of it brings a sense of peace, the optimism in me tells me my kids going to have a beautiful future here in this country not in any other place. I truly hope that Noynoy can bring the changes he portrays. I truly hope he can unite us all to a common understanding, the belief that a republic stands strong when its people contribute for the good of the nation. He has the best chances to do it. If he truly believes he can exact change, he will. If we truly believe in him, we will. I truly hope that someday we all could say in our own little world, that "What is good for me, is good for everybody" or in the big world sense "What enriches me, enriches my nation". God Bless us all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Panglao Island Run

Bohol seems to have it all. Excellent tourist spots, nice beaches and a great place to run too. Most of the roads in the countryside are asphalted with sporadic traffic which makes it really safe for a runner. The best part of course, is the scenic routes. There a plenty. There is a route that can pass beside the scenic Loboc river, a route that traverses the world famous chocolate hills or a route that cross several kilometers of century old forest. I have only one word to describe it, Beautiful!

Today. my brother and I ran in Panglao island, another scenic route to boot. We were thinking to run the entire island but a quick browse on Google earth shows that we've underestimated its size. We realized that attempting to run it would take us about 33kms. Not that we could not run it but its the distance is too far for a recreational run in mind. Beside there is no marathon schedule looming so its was an easy decision for us just to run the road leading to the famous beaches of the island.

In total we ran just about 9km with a stopover at Alona beach. The beach was not exactly the beach in m mind. Too crowded and too dirty already, it seems its on her way to become another tourism disaster. I'm glad we booked ourselves in the more secluded part of the island, free from the crowd and free from the unsightly mess.

The run took us mostly on unfinished roads (limestone) and through the rural coconut plantations which was a different environment to experience. I do wish someday, that the government of Bohol can come up with a marathon. Its truly be one of the most scenic routes there is in the country!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Past Forward

There are times in our lives when some experiences we cherish most has become but a distant memory. And sometimes out of the blue, once in a while, we remember them as if it was just yesterday.

A few weeks ago, I finally met a close childhood friend Marc after 26 long years of separation. People don't change, only time and the name tags. He's now a doctor and I, a businessman. Like deja vu, when we would enjoy the time playing the streets in Sikatuna, unmindful of the countless scoldings from our parents which probably fell into deaf ears, today, Dads as we have become have realize that kids would always be kids and its better to let them be.

From obscurity, we both now take positions that are critical to serving and shaping society in our own little ways. I am thankful that both of us has been brought up well by our respective parents. Thankful that mischievous as we were, we at one time in our lives made the correct choices in life.

Marc Viacrucis and Me on our elementary days in CIC; Present day during our lunch meet after 26 years.

I still relished the care free days of the old times. I do. Though it was not meant to be, I do wish we could have met earlier. I do wish there was Facebook fifteen years ago! The communication just got broken when they left for another region and the he thought I thought thing prevailed.

We both took the road less traveled and met again at the crossroads. I am happy to see you again my friend. Its been a long time.:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sofia @ 5

Sofia has grown to be a beauty with her slim down looks. Almost celebrating her 5th birthday, she has trimmed down to a nifty 47lbs, 12 lbs off from her chubby looks a year ago. We thought she had something her which gave us a scare but eventually realized that her eventual shift to drinking milk on glasses from bottles may have been the culprit as her drinking was significantly reduced by 80%!

She is still her bubbly silly self, mischievous at times but has remained the kind, compassionate girl we've taught her to be. Super active is an understatement nowadays in summer when she could play all day long, untiring with still so much reserve to last for the wee hours of the night.

Today she can now read books with short letters and phrases on her own, many thanks to Kumon which she enrolled six months ago. She also likes doing artwork which has made our house at times, a one big mess. As parents, we are unmindful of the changes, as if expecting it, preferring these as part of a growing family. She still cries a lot (when hurt) and has a fondness for not losing. We do hope she grows up realizing that losing is part of winning. We would be exposing her to sports someday to develop her character. As if now, we have been pleased of what she is and would always, forever be our princess.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1,000 KMS Milestone

Today I hit the 1,000 kms. marker literally hitting the road. The run was postpone a couple of days due the the sudden flu I got. It took me 14 months and one marathon to hit the milestone with 4 months of on and off training due to injuries.

Was it all worth it? A big Yes. Even with injuries which I felt would have eventually catch up on me in the future, running is a blessing that I can always cherish on as long as God gives me two healthy knees.

I hit the milestone at the Medalla Milagrosa Shrine in San Vicente Liloan. Its a nondescript shrine on top of a hill facing the Liloan Bay. Unusually, the Virgin Mary is facing the opposite side into the mountains. Its not maintained well which made me wonder if devotees still go here.

For now, I'll be chasing another goal, my 2nd marathon under 5 hours and within two years, hopefully would be joining the Cobra 70.3 Ironman Philippines. See you on the road, my friends!

Shoot and Run

Rumblings of a Cebuano on a pair of running shoes and a Nikon on one hand.

About Me

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Photography is my hobby, a long distance runner and an avid blogger, I consider traveling a dream and my family as my number one inspiration.