Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

idols, villas, homecomings and elections

Posted on May 22, 2007 by jimparedes

Was in Tacloban, Leyte two days ago to judge the Bulilit Leyte Idol singing fest. I was a judge together with Danny Javier and Amy Perez. It was quite a surprise and delight to watch kids from age 7 to 14 perform their hearts out before a full crowd of partisans. The show opened with a medley of 5 of my songs–When I met You, Batang-bata ka pa, Panalangin, Nakapagtataka and Bawat Bata as sung by the winners of the newly held adult Leyte Idol.

All in all, the show had great production values, and even a live band with a string quartet to boot! It was a great night for Leytenos as their young kids from all over the province gave their all in the hope of winning the generous prizes. This wonderful idea of a singing competition is the brainchild of Governor Petilla who sang with the kids to the great delight of his constituents.

Every province should do this. It’s great for the kids and it contributes to the cultivation not only of local pride but the fostering of community as well.

We stayed at the uber luxurious pool villas of the Leyte Park Hotel owned by Engineer Wilson Chan and managed by Vicky Arnaiz Lanting. The accommodations were marvelous in an extravagant kind of way. Each time I had to leave the room, I felt bad having to turn my back on the infinity pool that was directly outside my room beside the sea!

If you ever visit Tacloban, make sure you book yourself for a night or two or three at the villas.

–A few minutes ago, my daughter Erica and my apo Ananda arrived from Australia and walked in to the house. It was great to get a hug from Dada who said that she missed her Lolo a lot!! Simple joys.

— I can’t get over how hot it is. I am melting. All day I am without a shirt and in shorts and I still feel debilitated by the heat. My electric bill will be astronomical for sure. I don’t think I have used my aircon as often as I am using it now. Bahala na. Meanwhile, Mio and Ala in Sydney are complaining about how cold it is getting over there.

Global warming indicators show that things are happening 40 years earlier than expected. Does this mean that every year, summers will get progressively worse?

–I am not too sure how to feel about the elections just yet. While I am happy that many showbiz people did not make it, and that some otherwise popular people are behind in the counting, I am saddened that the electoral process in this country is still so vulnerable to cheating and manipulation. Look at Maguindanao. How is it that an Ilocano (Chavit) has suppose3dly gotten the highest vote and that a Muslim is not topping it and instead is no. 12? People in the area do not have indelible ink on their fingers and the 12 zero score favoring the administration appears very suspicious. And why is the Comelec rushing to count the votes there despite the accusations?

When will we ever have real electoral reform? The people have been clamoring for it but the politicians do not want it for obvious reasons. “O bayan ko kailan ka tatayo?’

It’s clear from the results that

a) any association with GMA is a political kiss of death for anyone running for office.
b) people have an affinity or empathy with the rebel archetypes
c) Filipinos do not like vegetables. Pichay is nowhere near the magic 12 despite the 200 million media spending he did.
4) People like their heroes e.g. Paquiao to be heroes and to do what they do bes, not to posture as political leaders.

0 to “idols, villas, homecomings and elections”

  1. kat says:

    Grabe talaga ang init ngayon. I just want to veg out in the mall just to escape the heat.

    I’m a bit disheartened by the elections myself, and I wonder if we’ll ever have one where winners won fair & square, and the non-victors will accept their loss graciously? I know of someone who has been a victim of cheating, and it’s so disappointing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sir Jim,

    I don’t think I told you that I am from Tacloban myself. And I actually envy you because you immediately saw the beauty of the place. I, on the other hand, did not. Years ago, I would always tell my friends from Manila that, aside from the McArthur Park and some water falls, there is nothing else beautiful about our province and Tacloban. Not even the food. I hate myself for saying that, that’s why I stopped uttering such words already.. but inside me, that is what I still feel. I know that the beauty of the province is just there waiting for me to discover it. And Leyte Park Hotel, I didn’t know it was that good. Well, being a local and all, I never really found the need to go there. Hehe. But, after what you said, I might give it a try when I go back home.

    By the way, as a token of appreaciation, I’ve been meaning to bring something [food, cake, etc.] over to your house but I am just too shy. 😀


  3. DaveLock says:

    That’s one of the things I love so much about the Philippines, is that there is still so much sense of community there. I haven’t spoken to my neighbour on either side of my house in over 6 months here in Brisbane (which is not unusual here), & I am working outside in my yard each weekend finishing off my house rennovations. It’s not that we’re not speaking to each other, people keep to themselves in this country – they don’t even get out of their car until they are inside their house because of the automatic garage doors. Community spirit is dead here, long live the Philippines!

    I don’t mean to get too political here in my comment but in my opinion the Filipinos on one hand expect too much from the government, but on the other hand don’t hold the government accountable enough for responsibilities the government underperforms in. Two basic fundamentals of any government are that governments are simply highly inefficient recyclers of the people’s money, & that governments can only be responsible for things if they control them through regulation.

    Because the waters are so muddied in the Philippines with people decrying that the government is responsible for extra judicial killings & poverty & so many other things, there is not enough focus put on how underperforming they are in basic services & other areas they should perform in. No government anywhere has ever fixed poverty in their country. Sure the government can play an important part, but to fix the poverty they would have to control everyone financial & socially. Isn’t that what the Nazi regime tried to do? And shouldn’t the law enforcement people be responsible for law enforcement (the last time I looked, killing was still against the law in the Philippines) whether it’s politically motivated or not?

    Put on top of that the fact that too many groups think that they, rather than the elected officials, are the true voice of the people. I mean, why is the church entering into the political arena? Especially when they should be more responsible towards social issues such as too many kids being born into situations of poverty. And why is the military continually rumbling with “Oplan EDSA number whatever” & counting – were they elected by the people?

    For it to be sorted out, someone needs to re-focus evryone back to what they are supposed to be doing, rather than them all trying to do everyone elses job. The government needs to be accountable for efficiency & basic services, the church needs to re-focus on our social health, the police need to re-focus on enforcing the law (that includes those red light runners), & the military needs to re-focus on the country’s security. Maybe then, the Filipino people will have enough confidence in the system that they won’t sell their vote for a handful of pesos.

    BTW, I just wonder how many Filipino’s that were such a vital part of overthrowing the dictator, now willingly sell their vote each election day.

    Hey Chuchay, bring Jim a big block of ice to sit on. 🙂


  4. Jim says:

    Kat–I hope it happens in your lifetime.

    Chuchay—send the cake!!!! thanks

    davelock–Yes, I also have hardly spoken to my neighbors in Sydney. In this case, we are a much friendlier people. last Christmas, we sent cookies to neighbors and they were quite speechless, almost not knowing how to react. But I felt a genuine sense of gratitude.

    With regards to the rest of your comments, I don’t wish to comment further because it is a never-ending thing to analyze this country. But I agree with a lot off what you said.

  5. girlie says:

    You got me homesick there. The view is very familiar to me. Not for long now & I’ll get to visit my island again, God willing.
    Best regards.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. eden says:

    i missed a lot here 🙁

    nice pictures of the place.i hope Isabela will make a Singing competition like that one too 🙂

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