Da Daster Monologues

Ang totoo nyan eh kapag nag-aral ka sa loob ng seminaryo, talagang masusubukan ang creativity mo, lalo na sa larangan ng reporting.   Hahayaan mo bang maging boring ang report mo, lalo na’t conciliar documents at mga dogmas ang laman ng report mo?  Aba eh tutulugan ka lang ng puyat ng mga seminarista.  Isa pa eh di katalinuhan ang Brother Utoy nyo so, pagdating sa mga academic reports, ang di nya makuha sa content at relevance ay dinadaan na lang nya sa audience impact at stage presence.

Nariyang gumawa ng mga pamatay na powerpoint presentation na halos maghang ang laptop sa sobrang daming animations at video clips.

Nariyang magpa-gameshow ako na syempre, may sariling gameshow jingle pa para sa report ko on Temperance sa Virtues Class namin.

Nariyang sumulat ako ng mga courtroom drama na mga skit para sa report ko sa Old Testament I (Pentateuch and prophets).

Nariyang sumulat ako ng musical play sa ngalan ng Old Testament II.

Nariyang magpa-videoke ako pero syempre, iniba ko na yung lyrics ng kanta.  Kinakanta na nila ang report ko.

At ang latest: mag-monologue ng nakadaster habang sumasayaw ng Hagibis at apat na beses na sinasambit ang salitang “puke.”  Rights of Women ang report ko sa Matrimony class namin.  Si Monsi Vengco ang prof ko. 

Ang mga kasama ko, di patatalo:  creative din!   Nariyang mag-hire sila ng mga manghuhula sa Quiapo.  Nariyang magpatalkshow sila, kalakaladkad ang kanilang mga magulang at kapatid.  Nariyang mag-hold sila ng isang cooking lesson habang nagdidiscus ng isang dogma.  Nariyang maghold ng isang mini-concert (unplugged syempre),  etc, etc…

Ngayong nauubusan na ako ng creativity, siguro eh ang mga susunod na tricks ko, sa ngalan ng good grades ay:

  • kung group work, mag-aati-atihan kami, complete with uling and headdress at kalasag na gawa sa walis tambo
  • Magpa-russian roulette para may thrill
  • Magpatoma at magpa-ihaw-ihaw, para siguradong lively ang discussion
  • video conference with Pope Benny 16
  • iinvite si Mommy Dionisia as guest

Syempre, kung meron pa kayong maisa-suggest eh sige nga’t i-share nyo naman sakin.  Malay nyo, gamitin ko nga talaga sa report ko ang mga mungkahi nyo. hehehe…

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Eto pala ang stained glass windo of the week natin!

IMG_6234

Dahil Rosary month na tayo bukas eh heto ang isang marian motif na stained glass window sa loob ng Notre Dame Cathedral sa may Ile de Paris, syempre sa syudad ng Paris, France.  Heto ang detalye ng central panel ng triphtich na ito:

IMG_6235

Ang stained glass ay modern take sa isang traditional Pieta scene.  Naalala ko, parang nagfeature na ako ako ng dalawang modern sa stained glass windows na Pieta rin ang tema, di ko lang maalala kung alin sa mga posts ko yun. 

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Ngapala, pagdasal nyo naman ako’t finals exam na namin.  Medyo hirap si Utoy sa pag-aaral at medyo kalawangin na ang kukote. hehe…

God bless po!

Animersheri ek-ek (with recipe!)

Tingnan mo nga naman.  Isang taon na ang blog ko!  Nakaraos din ang low-profile kong cyber-tahanan.  And to think, bobo ako tungkol sa computers at sa internet.  And to think, nabola lang naman ako ni Bluep na mag-blog.  And to think, gusto ko lang magka-outlet for writing.  And to think… and to think… uhhhmmm… think positive? Continue reading

On “malongkot na Byernis,” bar jokes and the SMY…

Susmaryosep. 

Isa ito sa mga pinakaantigong expression sa Pilipinas (at sa iba pang bansang Katoliko) na isang rollcall ng mga members ng Holy Family na sina Hesus, Mary and Joseph.  Syempre, ang mode d’emploi ng salitang ito eh kung nagulat ka bigla o kaya eh na-shock sa narinig.

Example 1:  Susmaryosep, nahulog ang bata sa dyip!!!

Example 2:  Susmaryosep, 10,000 pesos para sa fieldtrip?!!!  (salamat kay panaderos sa magandang example)

And true to my kaadikan, gusto ko sanang pausuhin ang expression na ito sa Net.  Pero in the tradition of OMG, LOL and WTeff, and Susmaryosep ay binibinyagan ko na ngayon as SMY.   SusMarYosep.  Kung si Dedpish may may ODK (O Diyos Ko!), si Brother Utoy ay may SMY.

SMY!  Ano na namang kalokohan ito, Utoy?  SMY talaga!

BTW, depende sa gamit, hindi ito blasphemy.  In fact, ang precise term ng Inang Simbahan sa SMY!!!, ODK!!! at HMOG!!! (Holy Mother of God!!!) ay Ejaculations.  Walang biro.  With that being said, be prepared to read more of these ejaculations on my blog.

(Kaya ako nasasabihan ng barubal eh…)

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Luksa ang Biyernes ko.   Pero let me explain, please.  (SMY, parang  makikipagbreak lang!) Continue reading

Mga Sure-Fire Tips para Hindi Antukin sa Simbahan

Una sa lahat, welcome kay Atticus, kay Luna, kay Jesshua, kay Ikay, kay Bluguy at kay Katpusa sa blogroll ko!  Mga kabisyo, tangkilikin din po natin ang mga kabaliwan nila sa blogs nila.ü

Pangalawa,  maraming maraming salamat kila Malen at Menard sa offers nilang Datkom.  Nakakataba po ng puso pero parang di pa po ready si Utoy sa Big League. Pasensya na po.  Atsaka po, may naoohan na rin kasi ako.  Hehe…  Maraming salamat po ulit!  Touched po ako!

Pangatlo, i-click nyo ito at dalawin nyo ang mga bagong listang baguhan sa ating Hellish Links, Heavenly Blogs.ü

Panglast, patawad po kung di ako nakakablog-hop.   May sinalihan kasi akong theological discussion group dito sa kabundukan tapos yung mga reading materials eh kailangang itranslate ko pa from French to English para lang maintindihan ko.  Syempre, ita-translate ko naman from English to French ang reflections ko para sila naman ang makaintindi sa akin.  Anim na documents ang lagi kong tina-translate every week.   Diba, easy lang.  Maning mani.  Parang gusto ko nang mamatay.

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Isa sa mga pinaka-common na problema ng isang karaniwang Kristiyano tuwing siya’y dumadalo ng Holy Mass o ng Sunday Bible Service ay ang labanan ang antok.  Automatic yan na pag-upong pag-upo natin para sa First Reading eh parang nagbu-book na agad tayo ng flight papuntang dreamland.   Yung tipong sana di ka na nagpakahirap na maligo at magpaka-japorms:  Nagpajama ka na lang sana para mas komportable pa ang sleep-over mo sa simbahan.

Henywey, alam ko naman na may honest effort talaga ang marami sa atin upang labanan ang antok sa Misa.  Yung tipong isang oras na pakikipagbuno na wag mapikit o tumangu-tango na parang aso sa dashboard ng kotse ang ulo natin sa sobrang antok lalo na during the readings at homily ni Pads (yan ang tawag namin sa mga pari sa seminaryo).  Kaya naman, narito si Kuya Utoy ninyo upang magbahagi sa inyo ng mga tried and tested stay-awake-in-the-Church tips na tyak hindi itinuro sa inyo ni Miss Pacheco at ni Sr. Catherine sa Catechism at Christian Living Class.  Eto na.  Go. Continue reading

Isang Walang Kakwenta-kwentang Post na Hindi Dapat Pinag-aaksayahan ng Panahon ng Kahit na Sinuman

Nalalapit na ang paghuhukom sa blogroll ko.  Tatanggalin ko na ang mga tila yumao na’t di na muling magpaparamdam.  Gayunpaman, ako’y may iaalok na kaligtasan (you: may ganun?!!).  Ang sinomang magcomment sa post na ito ay mananatili sa blogroll ko, no questions asked.  So magcomment ka na kahit wala ka pang nababasa tutal, katulad nga ng sabi sa title, ito ay “Isang Walang Kakwenta-kwentang Post na Hindi Dapat Pag-aksayahan ng Panahon ng Kahit na Sinuman.”

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ang totoo eh wala akong kahilig-hilig sa tag.  Gayunpaman, di ko mahindian ang alindog requests nina byutipul Heleyna at ni cutie Eloiski na patusin ang tag na ito na pinamagatang Ten Random Things About Me.   Ang gusto pa nga nila eh magpost ako ng candid picture ko dito (isa ring tag yun) pero I care for my readers.  Ayokong may masamang mangyari sa inyo kapag nakita nyo ng hitsura ko tulad ng bangungot, empatso, pasma o pagkawala ng ganang kumain (wag naman sanang mangyari sa akin ito, Lord!).   Kung di ka interesado sa kabagut-bagot na buhay ni Kuya Utoy  eh dumeretso ka na sa comment portion and assure yourself of a place in my blogroll, pero kung likas kang tsismosa eh stay around and read.  Mahaba ito so humanda ka.

Ten Random Things About Me…   Game. Continue reading

Of God, Atheists and Christmas Mornings

Warning 1:  This is a snobbishly serious english post.  Nosebleed.

Warning 2:  It is very important to visit this link first to know more about Taizé and understand what I’m about to say. 

I went and stayed at Taizé for four days, together with Père Manuel, two adult monitors and some teenagers from La Mure.  At the very beginning of the journey, it felt like it’s a roadtrip to hell.  Or at least for a magpie like me.  Not only do I barely speak French, but I also can’t keep up with the conversations of these kids who seemed to be hyperventilating their elisions and liaisons through any given topic.  Sometimes, I just felt plain stupid trying to weave through their speech, grasping no more than a word or two to give me the flimsiest clue of what they’re talking about.

That’s why, when I learned about the special group for Anglophones, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to make this Taizé experience truly meaningful.  I left my morning post as an animator for the “petits groupes” (much to the disappointment of Pére Manuel) and hobnobbed with those who can truly compose a real English sentence and pronounce it correctly.  The Taizé experience is just too good to be lost in translation (or the virtual lack of).

Out of the 3,000 people in Taizé that time ( French youth mostly), there was only about 20 Anglophones present, and I was surprised how motley our group was:  There were Germans (who were protestant theologians and church leaders), Norwegian social workers, a Swedish Taizé volunteer, student-hitchhikers from Netherlands, a Brazilian, an Indonesian Catholic youth leader, a Russian Parisienne, etc, etc… and of course, me, a Filipino.  In fact, even the Taizé brother who gave us a talk is an American of Puerto Rican descent.  Sure enough, this variety of culture has brought a lively exchange of varied experiences and ideas among us, which, on the bottomline, surprisingly shares so many common essential elements.

One of the themes of these meeting of Anglophones focused on the Incarnation of God.  A Gospel reflection was made from Luke 2:8-20 which speaks of the adoration of the infant Jesus by the shepherds.   Br. Hector of Taizé then lead us to recall our Christmas experiences and traditions.   Indeed, each of us has something to share about Christmas but I was quite surprised that the warmest and most intimate Christmas memory was that of Ralph (not his real name).  Ralph, you see, is an atheist.  I had a notion of what atheists are before, basing on the some “atheists” who left ignorant comments on my blog  and I, of course, deleted.  But Ralph changed all my negative image of an atheist:  Yes, he doesn’t believe in the existence of God but then he doesn’t argue with or taunt anyone about religion, he’s genuinely open to the opinion of others regarding faith, he’s not fumingly angry with the Church and he is not afraid to explore and experience Taizé, a Christian place of dialogue and prayer.   The fact that he doesn’t think there’s God hasn’t hinder himself to be trully generous, open and brotherly.  What’s more, I, for one, secretly wished I had a Christmas as happy and as memorable as his.

During our small group discussion, we were asked to reflect on a statement which roughly goes like this:  “When all things in my life seems lost, God is my sure refuge.”  Or something like that, I already forgot.  Ralph, as expected, had a problem with the word “God” and so found it hard to make a reflection out of the statement.  I then suggested that he could probably substitute a word for God like Love or Peace or Justice or Family…  He paused for a short while and gave a confident reply.  He said, it will be, for him, his experience of Christmas.  He then explained that it’s because Christmas reminds him of home and family, the experience of unconditonal love and acceptance, the act of giving and receiving gifts, the warmth, the joyful expectation of being reunited with loved ones and gathering for meals…

His description of Christmas was surprisingly very Christian, as each of his words aptly describe an authentic life with Christ: a homecoming, a feasting, a welcoming, the spirit of thankfulness, sharing and acceptance.  In my Catholic world, this is the very essence of a Eucharistic life.

Truth to tell, I never suggested to Ralph how his Christmas experience translates to the experience of God.  I don’t want to impose my religion to this young man’s journey, especially when there’s so much going on in his heart which I myself do not understand and so must not interfere.  Nevertheless, within me, I am thankful to this young man who unknowingly reminded me of what truly God is all about.  It’s a shame how we, Christians, celebrate the major Christian feasts without truly experiencing their rich and life-changing significance.  I guess, it took an atheist to remind me all that, and as Frère Roger, the founder of Taizé succinctly said, God is love, and love alone.  Nothing else…

If you read this article in its entirety…

then your reward is this: 

My photos of the stainglass windows of the church of Taizé!

Pentecost

Pentecost

Visitation

Visitation

Easter

Easter

Annunciation

Annunciation

Transfiguration

Transfiguration

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Assumption

Assumption

Epiphany

Epiphany

If you noticed, each of these stainglass windows represent a particular Catholic liturgical feast.  I arranged them not by their chronological order but rather according to the sequence of colors on a rainbow. Wala lang. Trip ko lang.  These windows were artworks of Frère Eric de Saussure, a brother of Taizé who died last year.  I pray now that as we celebrate and reflect on these feasts, may we truly discover their meaning and message in our lives.  Amen.

Utoy’s Approval Rating: The Seven Capital Sins

A week long absence of a new post already spells blog abandonment for some but what can I do?  I’m so busy lately.  Heck, the whole seminary is in steroids in preparation for the school opening.  I’m not enrolling this year, (my superiors have other supposedly big plans for me) but still, preparations for that “Big Trip” wears me out.  BTW, I lost weight avoiding foods that might hurt my kidneys.  I’m now a proud 200-pounder.  Aba, 5 lbs din yun!  Ha! Anyhow…

Approval Ratings Board (composed of the unbiased representations of Brother Utoy, himself and me) chose the topic, Seven Capital Sins because… there’s no other thing to rate yet.  Truth to tell, I took up Virtues in Theology but nothing prepared me to discuss the Sleazy Seven to you.  Buti na lang, there’s always Wikipedia.   hehehe…

Sin # I: Lust This sinful number is this generation’s best partner in trade and industries, by its ingenious marriage of business with (carnal) pleasure.  Simply put, this means many stuffs were sold in the market simply because everyone wish to be porn stars nowadays.  Lust is one of the top reasons why people are hooked on the Internet and one of the good reasons why some bloggers, to increase their traffic, used tags that are never subtle in selling sex: Scandals, Barely Legal, Live Webcam, Wet Chick, Bored Housewife, Naughty Schoolgirls…… or so I’ve gathered.   Really, I have no idea if this is true.   Utoy’s Approval Rating: truth to tell, what sounds lustier than sixty-uuhh… I’m giving it 90% 

Sin #2: Gluttony   Our authority for this sin is the Angelic Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas when he listed no less than six ways of commiting gluttony  (eating soon, eating eagerly, eating extravagantly, etc.).  It is tad ironic that Pareng Tomas should have the temerity of lecturing us about overeating when he himself was, in fact, grossly obese.  Umberto Eco’s novel, Name of the Rose, happily noted that at the time of St. Thomas’s death, it took five monks and a heavy equiptment supervisor to bring down the saint’s hefty corpse from his tower down to the mortuary.

Gluttony is best exemplified to our generation by an unlikely hero of our childhood, the messiest eater of our time, the blue carpet-skinned, wall-eyed Jim Henson creation, the venerable Cookie Monster.  His obvious lack of restraint for unleavened bakery goods is so endearingly appalling, it’s almost a virtue in itself.  Well, you must admit the single-mindedness and the purity of his intention when he sang in his signiture raspy voice and burpy satisfaction:  “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me! Hey!”

Pahibalo sa tanan, This is Brother Utoy’s personal favorite as he is known to befriend some people for their penchant for smorgasbord and for their capacity to pay for our tab during lunch dates.  Cookie Monster happens to be in his list of the most influential people in his life.   Utoy’s Approval Rating: if I give it a 100%, you’d say I’m biased so it gets 99%

Sin #3: Greed  Known to some by its more pang-spellingbee monicker, Avarice, Greed should not be confused with gluttony.  The former (or the latter?) has an exclusive contract with food consumption while the latter (or the former?  My grammar sucks.) just refers to the more generic  selfish accumulation of things other than food.   Greed, a vice so well-observed in the present Philippine governance, is noted to be the number one inspiration for so many political aspirants and veterans of today.  So inspiring was this vice that it has provided a regular fodder for the local media, eager to note the recent Who’s Who in the Philippine Graft and Corruption Almanac.  Utoy’s Aproval Rating: 85% sana but it’s now down to 40% after we’ve taken out the systems loss.

Sin #4: Sloth   While this sin may lack all the action, excitement and intrigue that go with other sins, sloth has the single honor of having a south american tree-loving mammal named after it  (thak you, wikipedia!)  We often understood this sin to mean excessive laziness when in fact, it originally refers to the restlessness of the spirit (acedia), or as a monk-friend once defined it, the noonday demon, a spirit so distracted that it roams around accomplishing nothing.   personally, I’d call this the 5:00 AM demon, because really, whenever the alarm clock rings, there’s no other sin I’d rather indulge in than this low-key-but-definitely-a-baddie sin, sloth.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: an effortless 70% 

Sin #5: Envy   Of the seven sins, envy is very fun to watch, second only to Lust, of course.  In the name of envy, people try to outdo each other in everything and try to pull the other down that it has became a huge entertainment for all of us.  It’s the stuff reality TVs and Network Wars were made of.  Many people I know persevered in their jobs and became rich and successful not because of reading books by Stephen Covey but because they have to keep up with the Joneses.  Who the heck are the Joneses anyway?  Utoy’s Approval Rating:  85%  Not high enough, compared to Gluttony, that creep.

Sin #6:  Pride  No, this sin has no reference to a pack of lions from the Serengeti, neither to that classic brand of washing machine detergent nor to any LGBT efforts like parades, speed dating and AIDS fundraisers.  Rather, pride refers to every person’s blinded self-love, much synanymous to vanity, ayon na rin sa kwento ni Aling Wiki.  The relationship between pride and vanity makes sense if the word is translated to cebuano:  Pagkamagarbo.  In our Virtues class in Theology, pride is the mother of all sins, an a very fertile mother to that.  Virtually every sin can find its source on pride/vanity.  No wonder, Lucifer, played Al Pacino in the movie, Devil’s Advocate, said in conclusion, “Vanity is my favorite sin.”  Utoy’s Approval Rating:  89% but who believe these ratings anyway?

Sin #7: Wrath  In Latin, wrath or anger is called Ira, which is a modern name for a lady.  Which reminds me of this famous Shakespearian quote, “There’s no wrath greater than a woman scorned.”  Whether there exists a scorned woman named Ira during Tito Bill Shakespeare’s generation, I really have no way of finding out.  Now, people, there’s nothing worng of being angry.  In fact, modern psychology finds it therapeutic to vent out one’s wrath since anger is a very natural emotion evoked by anyone.  Except probably for Brad Pitt during the 90’s.  In that ludicrously titled suspense-thriller movie, Se7en, my utol, Brad, in fits of wrath, shot Kevin Spacey in the head.  Now, you ever wondered by this scene was done in wide angle?  From what I heard, Brad couldn’t make himself look angry without looking pa-cute. 

Naniwala ka naman.  Gawa-gawa ko lang yan. Har! Anyway…. For the Philippine context, anger can be best witnessed in Jun Lozada’s blog, jlozada.com.  Man, I’ve never read so many angry comments on my entire life!  I guess this is how our generation express their anger: they blog them.  Gone are the days when men go shirtless on streets, weilding a kitchen knife, shouting, “Lumabas kung sinong matapang diyan!”  Thus, more gutter language is spilled rather than blood in the process.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 92%, you $&#%?!!

So there you go, the second approval rating.   I still got time to do my laundry so bye for now and tune in again for the next Utoy’s Approval Ratings!

Utoy’s Approval Ratings: Ten Plagues of Moses

I’ve been reviewing my bible from Genesis to Revelation and boy, am I now running out to ideas for countdowns!  Isa pa, some bloggers caught on with the idea of My Top Five so I thought I have to move on with a fresh gimmick.  And so… Readers, I bring you UTOY’S APPROVAL RATINGS!!!   How is it done?  Simple.  Given a topic, say Prophets in the Bible, I get to give grades to each candidates I choose, and depending on how I see them, some would get high grades while some, well, would just have to do better next time.   This way, I get to bash a candidate if he happens to fail my expectations.  Odiba, may katayan!  Ansaya! 

I find the Ten Plagues of Moses as a good place to start this rating thingy, kasi everyone who read their bibles, listened to their catechists (or Sunday School teacher) or at least watched the Prince of Egypt is familiar with them.  who’d forget Moses when he shouted in his deep stentorian voice: “Let my people go!”  So ano pa ang hinihintay natin?  Let’s rate ‘em!

According to their order of appearance in the bible, the Ten Plagues of Egypt!

bloodyPlague # 1: Turning Water into Blood.  This particular plague turned the Egyptian people into Englishmen.  Everyone goes to the bloody kitchen, stand by the bloody sink, open the bloody spigot and out comes whot?  Bloody ‘ell!  One can be very subjective with this plague because you see, as the saying goes, “One man’s poison, another man’s cure.”   While maybe the Egyptians are now cursing yet another dinuguan dinner, the curse may be a blessing to the Rosa Rosal and the Red Cross, to Fear Factor set designers and horror flick propsmen and most specially to Lestat and the whole vampire community.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 85%

frogPlague #2:  Frogs.  Now this IS my idea of a plague: campy, fun and downright messy.  Plus, there’s no casualty here, only annoyance, where the Egyptians were croaked to submission by these harmless pond-dwellers. This particular punishment given to the Egyptian citizenry has the trappings of a Hollywood B movie, setting the tradition for the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and The Blob:  The Invasion of the Mutant Frogs!!!  From the blood-soaked river of Nile emerges a murderous horde of viscous amphibians determined to dominate the entire Egypt!  See eyeliner-ed Egyptians and their mothers run for their lives as they try to elude the inevitable doom brought by… The Invasion of Mutant Frogs!!!  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 96%

nicknickPlague # 3:  Gnats  I had to google up what gnats really are, and it turned out they’re somewhat related to our native “niknik.”  Every carabao owner knows these creatures can really be pesky, tenaciously stalking the poor beast wherever he goes.  Still,  I just can’t believe a whole country can be humiliated by storming its people with puny “niknik.”  A simple fumigation from Mapecon could have solved the problem in no time.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 65%

maskmanPlague # 4: Flies.  When I was 12, I get to read the book, The Amityville Horror, where at each chapter, as the fright and dread escalate, the number of flies on the page increases.   Since then, I tend to associate flies with evil.  They’re evil enough to do waltz on surface of a steaming feces then innocently land on your dinner, adding flavor and germs to the now-soiled chicken galantina.  Also, these disease-carrying insects are really the universal symbol for plague, something every culture would agree about.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 92%

virusPlague # 5: Pestilence.  You might have thought by now, where have all the frogs from Plague # 2 gone?  Well, the old Testament happily noted that they all died and the whole Egypt stank.  Then came gnats and flies which we presumed to have feasted on rotting frogs before swarming on people.  This unavoidably lead to the fifth plague:  Pestilence.  It’s a motley mix of biblical Mad Cow Disease, Avian Flu and Foot-and-Mouth Disease that had done the livestock of pre-vaccination Egypt.   Wicked.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 90%

boilsPlague # 6: Boils.  Locally known as pigsa, to be afflicted with boils is graphically translated in Pinoy Bible as “matadtad ng bukol na nagnanaknak.”   Wow.  Pinoy Bible, ladies and gentlemen.  A little trivia here.  It seems that the ingenious technology of “bote para paputukin ang pigsa” is not yet available not just to the pre-Christianity Egypt, but to the whole modern Europe as well.  The Philippine Inquirer recently ran a story how the Philippine entry to Cannes Film Festival, “Serbis” with its gratuitous sex and deliberate grittiness was hissed for showing a scene of popping a boil with a Coke bottle.  Apparently, that is just too gross for them.  But oral sex involving children isn’t.  Huh?  I can’t figure it out myself.   Utoy’s Approval Rating: 76%

fireworksPlague # 7: Feiry Hail.  The triumph of the human spirit against all adversities is best illustrated in film, not by My Left Foot, The Gridiron Gang, The Mighty Ducks series or any other movies involving paraplegics, nerds, misfits and underdog sports team, but rather by our all-time favorite, Armaggedon.  Why?  Because in the average human mind, the ultimate picture of disaster involves a rain of fire and brimstone.  And this disaster, believe me, can surely be remedied or shielded away by the US Government, or at least that’s what Hollywood said so.  Too bad for Egypt, it would take a few thousand more years before the United State of America be born.    Utoy’s Approval Rating: 97%

tipaklongPlague # 8: Locust.  Of all insect plagues, this one went with a bit of a wrong timing.  After the bloody water, the litter of dead frogs, pestilence on crops and livestock, various insect infestations, and the storm of fire and hail, I couldn’t imagine, for the life of me, what lifeform could have survived the ordeal.  There’s nothing left for the locusts to destroy!  I mean if these attacked after all the food source were devastated, the the few remaining Egyptians would have surely said, “Hey look, big fat grasshoppers!  Grab some for dinner!”  Not a plague.  Not a plague at all.  Utoy’s Approval Rating:  68%

darknessPlague # 9:  Darkness.  Someone is misbehaving in the house?  Send him to his room, turn his lights off and let’s just see if he won’t be back begging for forgiveness…  Come on, Moses!   Can’t anything be more infantile than this punishment?  This goes at the same level with No TV For Three Days and A Whack of Ruler on the Butt. Besides, when pretty much of everything is destroyed by flaming storms and swarms of pests, why not just stay at home, munch on some deep-fried locusts (they said it’s high in protein) and do what normal people do when it’s dark… like, uhhmmm, sleep.  Utoy’s Approval Rating: 60%

RIPPlague # 10:  Death of First-born.  This one puzzles me a lot.  I mean, did the angel of death first made a preliminary census survey to determine who is the first-born in the family or did they just knock at each household and ask?  Would the first born mean, that of the father alone, that of the mother alone or that of the couple?  Does it apply to how far a generation, like your grandpa’s first-born, your great grandpa’s first-born, etc…?  In cases of twins, would they die both or only the one who got out first?  If the first-born already died, does that mean the punishment is waived on his family to avoid double jeopardy?  Having said that, I think it’s cool that the Jews had ways for the angel of death pass over them:  mark your doorjambs with blood.  For some Jewish household who’s first-born might have been a sort of a jackass in the family, Daddy might have just conveniently forgotten about brushing bloody hyssop on the doorpost.  “Bye-bye, Junior. You’ll surely be missed!”   Utoy’s Approval Rating: 89%  

So there you go,  Bro. Utoy’s Approval Ratings.  The candidates may not necessarily be that many (can be as few as three) and the topic may not be purely biblical.  This will be a regular feature on my blog so if you think it sucks, well then, that’s how life goes.  Deal with it.

God bless!

My Top Five Coolest Nameless Chicks in the New Testament

I’m sick and much worried by something… Nonetheless, postings must go on! hehehe…

A local clothing store once carried this slogan , “Be Famous or Be Anonymous.”  This commercially driven pakulo spawned a roster of scrawny models whose claim to fame is their ability to look good on various state of undress.  Now, anonymity literally means namelessness.  If we’re to interpret the slogan, we can see that it hastily concluded that namelessness equates to obscurity.   Many personages in the bible would say otherwise.  The Boy with Five Loaves and Two Fish, The Centurion and his Sick Servant, the Rich Young Man, the Ten Lepers are but a few of the characters in the New Testament who, despite the lack of name, were popular witnesses to the goodness of our Main Man, Jesus.  Now for want of balance, since I gave you last week the OT (short for Old Testament) chicks, today I’m doing a bit on NT (take a guess what it stands for?) chicks who kicked butts despite the lack of names.   Pareng Matthew, Mark, Luke and John probably thought it prudent to leave out names to protect these women’s identity and Jesus’ too.  Now, purely for the purposes of identification, I labeled these ladies with fictitious Philippine showbiz names.   I’m throwing in the bible verses as well for easy reference.  and so… I present to you my top five coolest nameless chick (with new aliases) in the New Testament.

Beginning our list is Donita, the copper coin widow (Mk12:38ff and Lk 21:1ff).  Donita (not her real name) popularized the expressions, widow’s mite (a small gift gratuitously given by someone who can’t afford it) and two cents (worthless contribution) simply by walking up to the collection box and dropping there her two copper coins.  She neither spoke (which is a sensible thing to do) nor did she make a scene to attract attention.  Kuya Jesus was the one who saw her, and was the one who saw in her the purity and wholeheartedness of her generosity.  Now, Donita made it at the number five of our list to remind you, readers, that I’m saving up for a digicam and like Jesus, your widow’s mite, your two cents would go a long way in realizing this poor seminarian’s humble dream of… teka, teka, that’s not what I intend to say!  What I really mean is that she bagged the fifth place to remind you that Christian charity is, to the famous words of Mother Teresa, “Giving till it hurts.”

Next on our list is Maja, the bleeding woman  (Mt 9:18ff, Mk 5:21ff and Luke 8:40ff).   We know her story: Jesus was on his way to Raising the Dead Daughter Project in the uptown Galilee when Maja (not her real name), suffering menometrorrhagia (I just googled this up) and had sworn to herself to stop her perpetual PMS, thought it brilliant to touch Jesus’s cloak for healing.  So terrible was her condition that her mere touch has “drained” Jesus of his powers.  I guess even Jesus knew by then that menstruation woes, especially PMS, truely are forces to reckon with.  Maja’s faith, a bit naive but thoroughly whole-hearted, won her the admiration of JC and the fouth place in our count down.

On our number three spot is shared by two ladies, Shaina, a licensed chiropractor and an owner of a high-end spa in Bethany (Bethany Anointer Mk 14:3-9) and Angelica, an infamous masseuse from Bethany 24-Hour Massage Parlor (Weeping Prostitute Mt 26:6-13).  Shaina (not her real name) pampered Jesus by giving him her best aromatherapy treatment, plus a combo of facial accupressure and a professionally done Indian head massage.  On the other hand, Angelica (also not her real name.  does this begin to annoy you?), notorious for offering “extra service” to her patrons, showed her hospitality by giving Jesus a weepy version of a foot spa.  While both saw fit to use their hair as part of their service,  Shaina stylishly anointed the head of Jesus with Jerusalem’s version of Chanel No.5 while Angelica, not earning much with her chosen “trade,” improvised by scrubbed Jesus’ feet using her own tears.  Now, people, these women are cool not because they can relieve stress through their well-placed touches, but because of their understanding of Jesus.  While Angelica recognized the loving and forgiving God in Christ, Shaina wordlessly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, literally the Anointed One.  Hmmm… theology na ito…

Number two spot is taken by Katrina, the Samaritan woman (John 4:4ff).  Katrina (not her real, you know, name.) was (in)famous in her town, Sychar, for having five hubbies and recently, a newly acquired boylet.  Her embarassment was so great, she opted to visit the town’s number one watering hole, Jacob’s Well, during midday so as to avoid the village tsismosas.   Jesus, by some twist of fate, appeared at her favorite schedule of pag-iigib and what ensued is a classic dialogue on redemption and eternal life.   The cool factor with this Samaritan lass is that she symbolically had Jesus as her seventh husband!   How,  you see, the well, during those time, is like a singles bar where you hang out to meet potential spouses.  Moses, Jacob and Isaac met their wives by hanging out by the wellside.  Katrina, representing the all the unfaithful and disobedient people is wooed by the Son of God to be his Bride, his Beloved.  She, in the end, had the privilege of becoming the first spreader of the Good News when she went beside her embarrasing self and invited others to share her joy of finding Christ.  So there’s your Samaritan beauty, Katrina, our first runner-up!    

Our number one coolest nameless New Testament chick is… Iza, the Syrophoenician woman (Mk 7:25)!!!  Iza (not her real name pero malay ba natin?)  happens to have a little daughter who is reminiscent of Linda Blair’s character in the cult classic, the Exorcist.  Fed up with her daughter’s bedside levitations, projectile vomiting, and 360 degree headturns, Iza went to see Jesus, upon learning from local tsismosas that this Galilean wonderboy is on a nearby town.  So she stalked Jesus and managed to corner him and his groupies having snacks at someone’s house. Then, after a witty repartee where Jesus was short of calling her a bitch (well, he did compared her to a dog so there…), she went home to find her daughter healed.  The cool factor with this Syrophoenician mom is that she’s a seasoned debater.  While Jesus always wins his arguments at any given day, on that particular encounter with her, the indefatigable Iza had the  winning last word.  Her determination, faith and sense of tact makes her worthy of becoming the number one on our coundown.

Ex Cursus: Mga kapatid, please pray for me.  My urine last night had blood on it and it’s possible that I may have a kidney problem too, an ailment that claimed the lives of my mom, my sister and four of my uncles.  Thank you and be assured of my prayers for you too.  To Coy: my long reply to your thought-provoking comment on My Top Five Low Profile Chicks will be my next post so wait up.

My Top Five Coolest Low-Profile Chicks in the Old Testament

Women.  The popular ones have no substance.  The quiet ones, well, they don’t get to be prom queens.   Still, most “substantial” women I knew may not have a conversation-starting beauty but have definitely made a mark of their own, in an unassuming and silent manner.   Mind you, these women are far from being the girls described in Janis Ian’s song, “Seventeen.”   These self-made goddesses chose to be known for the strength of their character rather than the size of their… uhhmmm… cup.  To them, I dedicate this post (especially to you who accused me of being anti-feminist solely because I came from San Carlos Seminary).

The Gospel of Luke portrays a strongly feminist Jesus which the girls would find endearing.  The rest of the Bible, well, they’re decidedly masculine.  But every now and then, there lights a biblical scene where the day is saved by a female touch.  We’ve known a few, like Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Ruth, Judith, Esther, etc. but on this post, I chose five relatively unknown heroines in the Old Testament who rose to the challenge of their femininity and won for themselves the dignity that they deserve.  I threw in the bible chapter where they can be found so you’ll know I’m not pulling your leg.  Now, without much ado, I present to you my top five coolest Low-Profile Chicks  in the Old Testament.  Yep, I said Chicks.  Sue me.

On our fifth place is occupied by the beguiling Abigail.  Not a slacker on the beauty department, Abigail (1 Samuel 25) had a king on her second marriage, no less than David himself.  Unlike Bathsheba, another wife of David, who charmed him by bathing naked on a garden, Abigail won the heart of this biblical hearthrob with her sense of diplomacy.  When David was but a renegade general in King Saul’s army, he sought refuge not in Oakwood nor in Manila Pen but in Abigail’s house.  Abigail’s first husband, who watches only ESPN and JackTV hasn’t heard of this general and so rejected David’s request.  Abigail, who learned of David through tsismisan sa palengke, knew better so she whipped out her piche-piche and pancit malabon recipe from her top drawer and summoned her maids to cook them as she went in haste to, of all places, a spa/beauty parlor.  David was already peeved enough to destroy the house who refused him hospitality but was immediately appeased when he saw a fully made-up and french-nailed Abigail with her bilaos of kakanin.   Abigail’s husband went into cardiac arrest when he learned who is he dealing with and so the widowed Abigail, with her memorable kakanin and her sexy sense of prudence, was taken as David’s wife.

Our number four slot goes to the courageous Deborah!  Deborah (Judges 4 & 5) was an Israelite housewife and mom who sidelines as a prophetess and songwriter.   Her cool factor lies on the fact that she’s the first and only female judge during the Era of Judges.  This means that not only can she cook a mean lasagna, she also knows how to lead a battle as well.  So well in fact that the general of Israel’s army had her as his adviser and a sort of personal bodyguard.  Deborah means “bee” in Hebrew, a name that fits her perfectly.  As Ricky Martin’s She Bangs aptly puts it:  “She looks like a flower but stings like a bee.”

Our second runner up on our search for the Little Miss Pretty Unknown is Tamar.  For Tamar (Genesis 38), her cool factor lies on the fact that after getting widowed twice, she managed to trick her biyenan, Judah, to have sex with her and so bear him sons.  Her little story of determination and adriotness, just 22 verses long, is replete with scandals:  deception, blackmail, incest, prostitution, unprotected sex with older men, provocative dresses and withdrawal method as contraception.  Tamar’s tale is plain too racy for me to elaborate on my post but interesting enough for you to actually read her story, so go ahead, Google it.  Hmmm… nahiya pa.  Sige na, search mo na!

Up on our number two cool chick is the business-minded Rahab.  Rahab (Joshua 2) is an HRM graduate who decided to open her own breakfast-and-bed at the outskirts of  downtown Jericho.  Such trade for an unmarried lady however wasn’t as dignified as it is today.  You see, when she started accepting male travellers to stay for a night, neighbors called her a babaeng bayaran.  But who can resist Rahab’s little inn, with its cheap rate and rooms with scenic views of the city?  Not even the spies of Joshua, apparently, who rented a suite room at Rahab’s for their stakeouts before the Israelite’s takeover.  The stakeout was soon discovered, but when the mayor of Jericho sent armies to arrest the spies, Rahab had a dose of Stockholm syndrome and went to hid her endangered tenants.  For a price, of course, as Rahab, a true-blue palengkera, struck a bargain with the spies to protect them in return for the safety of her own family.  This deal was honored with a symbolic “red ribbon on the window” scheme and since then, Rahab’s reputation was redeemed and became a respected member of the Israelite community.  Thus, Rahab’s story has the following moral lessons:  Good location defines your business.  Don’t mind the gossips.  Love your customers.  Pray to God often.  And finally, when it comes to the welfare of your family, always strike the best deal.

And now, for our number one coolest low profile chick in the Old Testament.  She is no other than…  Hagar!  Far from that sword-wielding Viking from the Philippine Star’s comic page, Hagar (Genesis 16 & 21) is a certified probinsyana from the south (Egypt, actually) working as a domestic helper in Middle East for the the posh residence of Ser Abraham and Ma’am Sarah.  Hagar’s tale is a classic sob story of housemaids: Nabuntis ni Ser, binugbog ni Ma’am, pinalayas nang walang sweldo.  But our God isn’t blind to Inday Hagar’s sorry plight.  Yahweh saved her and spoke to her.  Twice.  He even blest her and her baby.  Twice.  It’s a privilege not shared by any other women in the Old Testament.  Hagar, a battered tsimay who found favor with Yahweh is a fitting image of redemption for a pinay domestic helper who left her homeland to slave her way in hope of a better life.  Life may be hard for a stranger in a foreign land, but God is always near, always ready to save, always ready to bless.  Inday Hagar, the little atsay that could, is our number one coolest biblical chick that deserves our recognition.

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