I haven't seen that video featuring Maria Aragon, the ten-year-old girl who did a cover of Lady Gaga
's Born This Way
. Well, to be precise, I haven't seen the whole thing. I've only seen a clip off the evening news, of her singing to the camera while playing her keyboard. I only know that Lady Gaga herself saw the video, linked to it on her Twitter account
, and sent her fans in a tizzy. I also know that she managed to talk to the girl on the phone, in a radio interview, I think. Maybe there were a few other appearances after that. And I'm pretty sure Maria was given an invitation to perform in one of Lady Gaga's concerts.
And you do know Maria's Filipino, right?
Filipino-Canadian, to be exact. When that fact got out, as fast as the video did, a light bulb lit up across our collective consciousness. Another Filipino making waves abroad. I should be proud of her!
Nothing wrong with that - there are many Filipinos who have made their names outside their homeland. We love the glittery world of show business, which is why we find the idea of Charice
appearing on Glee
, or apl.de.ap
sampling Asin in a Black Eyed Peas
song, really, really cool. (Then again, half the people I know hated the first idea.) So having this little kid attract the attention of one of pop music's most provocative figures would make the patriot in us swell, right? Nothing wrong with that.
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When I was young, I had the impression that Ferdinand Marcos was an evil man. It was too simple a thought, really. He declared martial law in 1972 to get back against his enemies and entrench himself in position. Thus, the moment he was finally kicked out of power in 1986 - thanks to a swarm of people gathering in EDSA to protect military officers who broke away from the status quo - was defined as a classic good-conquers-evil scenario.
My grandfather, however, wasn't having any of that. He's a Marcos loyalist, judging from the Marcos/Tolentino campaign sticker I found in the walls of a room in his house. Or, maybe he wasn't a Marcos loyalist. Maybe it's because both of them hailed from Ilocos Norte. You know how fierce your allegiance to your home town can be. Anyway, he argued - and note, I was probably a nine-year-old smartass back then - that during his tenure, Marcos had built a lot of infrastructure, all with the vision of a progressive Philippines. He'd invoke that the very highway we use to get to his house was Marcos' brilliant idea - and true, what we now call the South Luzon Expressway was built under his watch, to link the southern provinces to Manila.
Of course, I wasn't having any of it, especially when my grandfather claimed that it was Cory Aquino - the meek housewife who was brought to power by that popular uprising twenty-five years ago - who was the bad one.
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I've never been to a prom. No, really.
The closest thing to a prom I had was the so-called "turnover ceremony" back in elementary school. The graduating batch turns the baton over to the ones immediately after them. It was sterile and it taught me the wrong lyrics to the Eraserheads' With A Smile
, but on the upside, it led to me being given some sort of "Star of the Night" award, on the only time I attended; the previous year I either fell sick or didn't feel like it.
I didn't survive regular high school long enough. I did go through high school, but there was an unspoken policy of living your own life - it's just my classmates being stubborn - and our class (of ten) only had three girls. One was taken (hello, Aie), one was a bit distant (hello, Robyn) and one was just, well... hello, Chiaki.
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I think I could be forgiven for thinking it's another hoax being spread through text messages. But I turned on the television instead, and the news channels were on a frenzy.
Angelo Reyes was shot.
My dad's text message actually said he was killed by that gunshot wound - one to the chest - but the news channels were still waiting for verification. All that time I was watching the words fly on my television screen, and remembering what's been happening over the past few weeks, all I could say was "wow".
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I'm trying to make the most of the time left before QTV transforms itself into an all-news channel
. Not that I particularly like most of the programs there, but I find myself enjoying the old films - the really
old films - airing on Sunday afternoons. It's a shame that'll go when the channel flips. There's something fascinating with the way films look in the 1950s: a no-frills title sequence, fairly rudimentary shots, and all those scratches that inevitably happen when films of national importance don't get treated the way they should. That, or I still have a hangover from studying films for three years.
A couple of weeks back, I tuned into Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang
by chance. There wasn't much to do at my grandmother's house, and somehow I managed to convince both her and my mother to watch a movie from three generations ago. Apart from the familiar faces - Dolphy and Gloria Romero anchored their respective segments, and there was, as my mom pointed out, Paraluman of Ang Huling El Bimbo
fame - everything seemed so new.
Not just to me, it turns out. The storytelling part of the film - the bit where Lola Basyang gathers the children round and tells her trademark stories - was set on Christmas eve. "Hindi kayo puwedeng matulog,
" she told some of the children. "Hindi pa ipinapanganak ang batang Hesus.
" It was a new concept to my mom, who wasn't born until the middle of the 1960s. And it was a new concept to my grandmother, who's in the middle of her 70s. We all know we're supposed to sleep the night before Christmas, and wake up just as midnight strikes, to celebrate both the birth of Christ and the time when we can finally open Santa's gifts. That, or we came from a totally different universe together.
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