Hats off to Luli Arroyo

Although I am not a fan of the Arroyo administration — despite the fact that several fellow Ateneans are now serving in this cabinet (Arthur Yap was alwas a nice guy, never snobbish.. and once upon a time very visible Arroyo guy Anthony Abad was always like a big brother roaming the corridors of the Ateneo School of Law as it was called when we were still over at HV De La Costa street) —  I declare myself a fan of Evangeline “Luli” M. Arroyo, the first daughter.

We’ve all heard about what happened at the airport and we all know that this is prevalent in most government offices.  I just can’t understand why everyone is now turning apologetic and making it sound like the punishment was so harsh just because the irate immigration officer did not recognize Luli.  As Sy says in his column HERE I STAND,  people seem to be missing the point that it wasn’t about not recognizing Luli Arroyo or treating her badly, but the fact that he would’ve done the same to any Tom, Dick or Harry who would’ve had the chutzpah to call his attention for having let that foreigner cut the line and enter a restricted area.  It was just his bad luck that he was his usual self in front of the Presidential daughter.  Who would’ve thought she would forego the VIP treatment?  Who would’ve expected her to have fallen in line when she could’ve just handed her travel documents to an aide who would’ve processed it for her pronto?

The punishment is not harsh because it’s Luli.  The punishment is harsh because as a public servant, this agent of authority of the Republic of the Philippines failed to perform his duties in a professional manner.  It’s sad to think that if it wasn’t Luli, the errant public servant would’ve probably gotten away with a reprimand if at all.  

It should keep our public servants on their toes from here on.  They should keep in mind that they are there to serve the Filipino people, and no one should get special treatment, whether you are Luli Arroyo or Juan de la Cruz.

Time to dust off the Christmas Decor

We usually end up with a shorter Christmas because we only decorate after Thanksgiving.  This year, I’m going to change that and start sorting my Christmas decor this weekend.  I had planned to make some of my Christmas decor for this year but failed to do that (again), so I will instead seriously endeavor to make that happen for 2007.

Not that I’m worried.  I have a healthy stash of decor in the attic, most of which don’t get used anyway because I never have the time to put them all up.  We still have unopened silver Christmas balls from various sources which we ended up storing because we didn’t think it was prudent to put up a christmas tree last year.  (You can’t seriously think about doing that when it cannot be cordoned off against an aggressive toddler..it was too much of a risk having him swallow any one of a hundred things from the christmas tree, so we decided we’ll wait until this year when he’s easier to control.)  In the last 6 Christmases Alan and I have been together, we always decided on a color scheme for our holiday decor and stick to that.  Last year was to be silver, so that’s what we’ll do this year.

I have rolls of gold ribbon bought from craft stores that have yet to be used — and a healthy stash of 2-inch beige and gold cinnamay ribbon which I form into bows each Christmas and then unfurl and store flat once the season is over.  I brought the cinnamay ribbons here to New York from Manila in 2002, and they are still good enough to use.

I might yet get to make my small white parols.. I just need time to sit down and tie up the coffee wooden stirrers and paste the white tissue paper (or japanese paper) onto it.. and voila!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.. more so now that Angel is so expressive and appreciative of presents, big or small.

While it will probably be a challenge because our family has been torn in two by events that took place earlier this year, I think we’ll make it just fine.  I am praying my mother-in-law will not feel it too much, more so now that she has only two grandchildren to think of instead of the four she had last year, and she has one instead of two children to think of.  It would’ve been easier for her to cope with the grief of losing a loved one to death, but to be shunned outright and disowned makes it a hundred times more painful.  But she has had 75 Christmases before this.. it has more than 15 years since her other half passed away.  She is a strong woman, and I know she’ll be fine.

It’s also my Mom’s last Christmas here in New York for a while.  She is waiting to finish a final “tour of duty” with her apoby July of next year.  Then, she says, she will probably return only for a short spell to visit, or when I get to successfully petition her.

It’s going to be quite a Christmas production.  I should be thinking of Thanksgiving lunch but instead I’m thinking of my Noche Buena.  For the first time, too, we will do stockings in the house.. and I’m already thinking of stocking fillers for everyone.

Go Jan Kurt Nieto!

First of all, I’ve declared to all and sundry that my Philippine Idol is Jan Kurt Nieto.  I know there are many who would disagree, but just as it’s my right to choose Jan as my Philippine Idol, you have every right to make your choice. Since this is a Pro-Jan blog, it’s also up to the blogger to decide whose comment gets published or not.  This is just a caveat for those who feel like engaging me in a discourse about why they dislike Jan.  Some comments will see the light of day, others won’t.  I am not here to defend Jan.  I am here to endorse him.  There will always be people who will disagree — and that’s you’re right.  So let’s just wish all contenders the best of luck.

Just in case no one has noticed, I have not said anything against any of the other Idol hopefuls, and not for lack of knowledge (based on YouTube or otherwise), but simply because I don’t think bashing another hopeful will make my choice win.

And that other well-off contender I alluded to in an earlier post — that’s not hearsay, I have personal knowledge of that.  In fact a very close friend had teased me I should endorse that Philippine Idol hopeful as well, but I have cast my lot with Jan Kurt Nieto.  Both are good, don’t get me wrong.  Both have a fair chance at becoming the next Philippine Idol — but for me, I’d like to see Jan Kurt take the top slot.  So here’s keeping my fingers crossed.

Here are some comments from readers about Jan Kurt which are unedited (all typos, grammatical errors and mispellings included): 

From COLDSHOT:     I was there at SM Megamall, and you know what? Jan’s rendition of Living La Vida Loca was so hot and intense. He captured the whole audience for that more than 2 minute song. And this is coming from a balladeer – Tuwing Umuulan and Umagang Ka’y Ganda fame. He really surprised us all with whatever Latino steps he did. By the way, he was dashing too, after dancing Pilita’s heart out.

To which Pinay New Yorker says:  That’s what I mean, COLDSHOT.  It’s the total performance package that gets the audience excited.  We already know ALL of them can sing, it’s who can engage the audience and entertain the public that matters most now.

From HOT DUDE:  I did not see regularly the shows where the three judges picked the top 12 contenders for Philippine Idol. Honestly, I don’t prefer the long waiting, and the agony of so much suspense. So, when I heard that the top 12 had already been chosen, I started to peep into the show (yap, i had no intention of viewing the entire show). It was then that I saw Jan Nieto performing. It was not an outstanding performance, but not bad either. I was more impressed with the performances of Jian and Mau. However, I got fed up already with the kind of singing with so much “birit.” I prefer a “smooth-to-the-ears” kind of singing..this is why i got hooked on gian—aside from his very expressive eyes, which reminded me of Victor “Cocoy” Laurel of the Nora-Cocoy days. Right, Gian’s voice and showmanship is far better than Jan. but, there is something is Jan which is really captivating. You could feel the sincerity and the “not-tryi ng-hard” kind of singing. He sings naturally. This captivates me; thus, i have made to incline on his side from that of Gian’s. Afterall, Jan’s smile (especially when his dimples show) is more enticing tha Gian’s expressive eyes. Furthermore, I don’t like the absence of humility in gian, especially when his performance doesn’t please the audience, and that some “not-so-good” comments are given akin to such peformance. I hope he will be able to recognize “human weaknesses”, that we can not always be perfect — that he can not always be perfect. He should learn to accept others’ criticisms…these will help him grow. Look at Jan, when he receives bad comments, he accepts it with so much humbleness, he just smiles (showing his captivating dimples, hehehehe). This is why I like Jan over Gian, although i admit that Gian is a better singer than Jan. But being a Philippine idol is not just singing…it is the overall packaging!

Nonetheless, Gian and Mau are my 2nd & 3rd choices to become the first Philippine idol…but, JAN NIETO IS MY IDOL…..Good luck, idol JAN.

KUDOS to RYAN AGONCILLO, you are the best choice as the HOST of the show! Similar accolades go to the three judges: Mr. C, Pilita and Francis….hey, next time, don’t you ever get LUKE MIJARES as a judge, he was no good! Wala naman siyang comments talagang ibinibigay e…obviously pa, may gusto siya kay Gian…pero alam ko mas type niya si Jan, kaya lang hindi siya pinansin nito….HAJJI ALEJANDRO is another excellent substitute for Francis as a judge.

To which Pinay New Yorker says: HOT DUDE, I’m glad to hear that you’re discerning enough to look beyond just the perfect pitch and spotless performances expected of all the hopefuls.  They are all amateurs, we know that, and they are trying their best to perform their darnedest under pressure.  I so agree with what you say that “being a Philippine idol is not just singing.. it is the overall packaging!”.  


There has been so much buzz lately about this last episode of Philippine Idol.  A lot of people have caught on to the idea that this is not a rehash of Bagong Kampeon of old where singing was the only basis for winning.  The greatest singer is not guaranteed to win.  

Many of those voting in today’s Philippine Idol were not even watching Bagong Kampeon when a 14-year-old Chona Velasquez wowed everyone and ended up winning the championship.  Would Chona Velasquez as she was then have won if it was Philippine Idol?  I don’t think so.  And yet, Chona as she was introduced then, is no less than Asia’s Songbird today, Regine Velasquez.  She had a stellar voice already, but she was a raw talent who was the epitome of your amateur singer fresh from Bulacan.  The polished Regine Velasquez you see now is a product of years and years of reinvention which gives you this world-class talent.

Mau, I have seen, is actually a notch above the rest in singing, but again, it’s all about THE Philippine Idol. 

Oh, and just to reiterate, you don’t get published unless you leave a working e-mail and/or website of your own.