Sunday, March 19, 2006

Aladin: Goodbye and Good Luck

If you're wondering why ABS-CBN correspondent Aladin Bacolodan is not visible on TV these days, it's because he has left his job and his country to go to the land of milk and honey. Aladin's wife got a job as a nurse in Philadelphia. So, our very own war correspondent, best known for his fearless reports of the bombings in General Santos City and the tsunami aftermath in Banda Aceh, has decided to be a "houseband." And he'll definitely be a busy one taking care of his one-year-old daughter while his wife works in the hospital.

I was shocked when I heard the news and confronted Aladin about it. He just said something like, you gotta do what you gotta do. It may be stating the obvious, but when a successful broadcast journalist like Aladin decides to give that all up, then something must be terribly wrong with our country. Still, I wish him well.

Aladin, do remember us when you're rich and famous in Hollywood. :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jasmine's First Time

American Idol runner-up Jasmine Trias was our celebrity guest two weeks ago in Magandang Umaga Pilipinas and as usual she was so down-to-earth and charming. Like all of us in the show, she was already there at 5 am. During the break, someone sold Tin Tin Bersola balut. Tin Tin offered one to Jasmine and the poor girl asked if it's the one with the chick inside. We all laughed. Poor Jasmine, mukhang mapapasubo si idol! Though I can relate to Jasmine because I also don't eat the chick, just the egg. We didn't want to scare Jasmine so early in the morning so Tin Tin offered her an alternative, penoy. Jasmine delicately took the penoy and Tin Tin taught her how to crack it and before we knew it, there was Jasmine enjoying her first taste of penoy! She kept saying how good it was and that she hasn't had breakfast. She finished it too. Way to go Jasmine!

Before Jasmine left the set, I teased her about Marvin Agustin. Marvin was one of the first celebrities to welcome Jasmine during her first visit to the Philippines. I think Marvin was interviewing her for ETK at that time and I was there for TV patrol. Jasmine revealed back then how much she admired the loveteam of Marvin and Jolina and that she used to watch their movies. Filipinos in Hawaii would often tell Jasmine that she looks like Jolina. Magpaikalanman will soon feature Jasmine's life story and as expected, Jasmine wants Jolina to portray her. As for Marvin, well he went from being Jolina's ex-loveteam to Jasmine's real-life admirer. Jasmine was surprised when someone sent flowers to her hotel room and when she asked who it was from, you guessed it, Marvin!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Birthday Chuvahness

Thanks for all your birthday greetings. When I was younger, I always looked forward to my birthday which also happens to be the anniversary of Edsa People Power 1. February 25 was always a holiday, in other words, no classes! Yahoo!

Twenty-something years later, I never had so many people greet me a happy birthday. That was last Friday when my birthday celebration in Magandang Umaga Pilipinas was cancelled due to a coup plot. The morning show was suddenly pre-empted with breaking news, but at the same time an announcement of my b-day celebration in MUP was being flashed continuously on the screen!

As expected, I was the butt of jokes in the newsroom. It couldn't have come at a better time. I ended up in the streets of Makati as Tita Cory reiterated her call for PGMA to resign. I interviewed Senator Jinggoy Estrada who seemed disappointed at the low turn out of people in Makati. If not for Satur Ocampo and his group of rallyistas, it would've been a sorry sight. My personal estimate is that there were only about 4-5 thousand people. But then again, thousands more were reported to have been blocked off from all directions.

(photo courtesy of V. Rodriguez)

In the midst of everything, the presence of Kris Aquino and boyfriend James Yap was the talk of the town. Not too long ago, Kris openly endorsed GMA for president but recent events proved blood is thicker than water. Kris said so herself, she was there because of her mom. What is not clear is whether she also supports her mom's call for PGMA to resign.

As I was leaving Makati, an English-speaking teenager approached me and introduced himself to me saying he's a college friend of my brother in Ateneo and that he's been to our house. He spoke well and seemed mature for his age, probably 19, just like my brother. I thought hey, this kid is cool, he's young and trying to get involved.

The next day I was surprised to find out from my brother that he is the son of a military officer, Col. Ariel Querubin, who was mistakenly (according to the military itself) identified as being part of Friday's attempted coup. So, what was the son doing there in the rally at such a sensitive time? The next day, there was breaking news of a be-medaled Marine officer protesting against the relief of his Marine commandant, Maj. Gen. Miranda, in Fort Bonifacio. The officer asked for the support of civilians, and that they come to Fort Bonifacio - a virtual call for people power. I was surprised when I saw the officer's name flashed on screen - it was Col. Ariel Querubin.

Of course all of you know what happened that night, and what happened to the officers after that. I was able to catch the footage of Querubin's farewell message to his troops as he was being relieved of his command. It was so touching -- his men seemed to be sincerely affected by his leaving. He strikes me as a very decent and principled man. He said he is ready to face the consequences of his actions -- I guess he had always been ready to pay the price for standing by his convictions. I would say we need more men like him -- but would that be considered inciting to sedition?