Hello readers! It is I, Ala, Jim’s daughter, here to deliver a message from my father. He wishes to tell you all that internet connection is a little hard to come by in Europe (Europe is a little backwards like that), and it’s expensive besides, so he will blog all about his adventures when he gets home in ten days!

Keep visiting the Pansitan in the meanwhile 🙂

Sometimes I am the statue…..

Really having fun in Europe. It’ super cold and it threatens to snow everyday. I wish it would.

We’ve been doing killer shows with APO, and with the ones we do with Nennette and Geneva. Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, and Rome were super! Europe’s kinda laidback when it comes to internet acess though. This is the first time I have internet access for free. Wi Fi is practicaly non existent here and the keyboards are arranged differently. Ayayay!

The only drawback to the whole trip so far was the flawless stealing of my wallet at a the train in Rome. Bwisit! Though I must say after a few minutes of cursing that I can only give credit to this guy who did such a smooth Italian Job on me. I lost all my credit cards, license (driving and diving), ATM, etc..And I thought I was well-traveled and street smart. You win some and you lose some. Who was it who said that sometimes one is the statue, and sometimes one is the dove!

This will be all until my next internet access. Ciao! Aufwiedersen! Arriverdecci! Er..what country am I in today? This weekend, we do Vienna. Then we go London, then Copenhagen , then back tp London for our final show. Home on the 8th!!! Can’t wait. To those who’ve been writing, salamat! Will write when I get back.

And shame on whoever you are for defacing my blog. I bet you steal tips from restaurants. Or maybe you were the guy who stole my wallet.


I was gonna write some serious reflections about Spiral Dynamics and Spiritual States (a topic that is so fascinating) while on a plane ride to Amsterdam but APO decided to move our flight to wednesday. Our manager’s passport did not have enough pages to get her Shengen (EU) visa stamped on it and so she will be issued her visa tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am writing all this stuff right here on my desk at home. And since the circumstances are changed and the spirit has not moved me to get deep, serious, reflective, heavy and boring, I sit and share with you some ladida…

–Have you noticed how local beer commercials never show anyone actually drinking beer? If you haven’t, watch out next time you see an ad on air. I know that for a fact because I came out in many beer commercials in the past. They always show someone bringing a glass or a bottle to his mouth suggesting that they are taking a swig but never actually show the talent gulping it. Why, you may ask! The answer is unbelievable but true. Are you ready? It’s because …well.. it’s kinda “unethical” to show anyone consuming alcohol! Bwahahahahaha!!! I’m not kidding. <>

Go ahead! Shake your head in disbelief!

Ala just texted us awhile ago from Botswana where she is currently on an African safari with her Lolo, uncles and an aunt. She said Botswana is so beautiful with so much diversity and abundance of wild animals. This morning, a hyena sneaked into their kitchen and ran off with their garbage can! Suffice it to say, she is having a great time roughing it in the wild. That is, if you can call an air conditioned tent, a bathroom/toilet with a bathtub and shower and butlers serving them “roughing it out”.

Some people are just so lucky!!

—Mio is getting to be more and more like me. He plays the guitar everyday, and with such passion and devotion like the guitar was his girlfriend! I used to be like that although I loved my girlfriends as much as my guitars! I also think he plays better than me when I was his age. He likes rock music but is quite partial also to all types of jazz. Actually he can appreciate almost anything. He surprises me at times when he asks me for the chords of some APO songs. He is especially impressed with the guitar intro of Pumapatak Ang Ulan! I can only smile since I made that intro!

—During dinner, I was talking to Lydia and Gina (Erica’s friend and our neighbor who practically lives with us and is counted as a member of the family) about how more and more, celebrity life in the new millennium seems to get shorter and shorter. Time was when careers spanned some years, even decades. A lot of 70’s and 80’s entertainers, though definitely not as hot and probably not as busy are still around and can still pop in and out of the radar screen occasionally. In fact, some of them are still big—Martin, Regine, Pops, Gary. These days, the crop of celebs becomes instantly famous and just as quickly is out of the limelight in no time at all. A flash in the pan, they call it.

Think of all the young stars of say, some 5 years back. Quite a number of them did not linger long enough to be memorable. Maybe it’s because in today’s multi-media set-up, it takes less talent to make it. With technology these days, almost anybody can sound passable in a recording studio. Or maybe it’s because many celebrity careers are launched and tied up with products—soaps, shampoos, soft drinks, burgers, and the like and so when the campaign changes, they vanish as quickly. Unless of course they are taken for another ad or make the switch to a TV show, a recording, movie, etc… Or maybe it’s just a faster, throw-away world. Andy Warhol was right when he said in the 60’s that, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”

It’s a pity since so many young stars these days choose to be in showbiz instead of being in school. Listen to this old man. Get an education. It will always come in handy in and out of showbiz.

— I can’t stand it how some restaurants have a smoking and non-smoking area ostensibly to protect the non-smokers from second hand smoke. Gimme a break. It’s about as logical as putting a pissing and non-pissing section in a swimming pool.

—I am seriously looking into the prospect of having my own internet radio station. I was so fascinated when APO was interviewed on PhiBi (Philippine Internet Broadcast Inc.) a few days ago. So many people from everywhere—Japan, Israel, Canada, Amsterdam, Belgium, Germany, Philippines where actually listening and sending email. Nakakatuwa! And since it is, as of now, unregulated and non-commercial, you can say anything and not have to think in 9 minute segments to accommodate commercial breaks! I really want to broadcast from my home studio sometime January. Right now, it’s a crazy dream, but who knows? I still have to see the costs though, and if it looks affordable will get my studio wired and going. So watch out for us Paredeses! Each of us—Erica, Ala, Mio, maybe even Lydia and myself – opinionated as we all are, will be having our own individual time slots talking and sharing stuff with the world!!! What a gas! I guarantee you radio content like you’ve never experienced before!

<>—George Carlin, one of my favorite comics has a new book entitled “When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?” He touches on really sensitive ground–religion– with his comedy material. As he says, “I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

My type of guy!

Next entry will hopefully be from Europe!

Who would have thought….

The title of this should be “Impossible Yet True!” I am talking about events that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. These events are historical in nature and have had or continue to have a continuing significant impact in the world.

1) The Collapse of the USSR

I was born 1951 into a world that was divided between the USA and her allies on the one hand and Soviet Union and her satellites on the other. Since the Philippines was aligned with America, the USSR was necessarily the evil one in my map of the cold war world. At that time, the USSR seemed invincible and monolithic. I remember my religious Catholic mother praying every night for the poor souls in purgatory and for the conversion of Russia. For years and years, I dismissed her prayers as the exercise of her generation’s naive, misguided, though benign faith.

Until the day the Berlin Wall fell.

Since then, I have never again mocked or underestimated the power of invocation and prayer!

2) The Re-election of George Bush

There are political upsets and THERE ARE POLITICAL UPSETS!. Early November 3, I could not believe that the trend was going towards a Dubya victory. How could it when this man is probably the most hated leader in the world and one who lied and cheated his own people just to justify his war.

But the biggest bombshell about this election was the coming out of so many believers in the red states— fundamentalist Christians, conservatives who voted by the numbers to reject a man who understood the world more, and whose policies were more for the middle class and poor instead of the filthy rich of America, and all because they saw in Bush someone who had “family values” and the one who could protect them from terrorist attack. Overnight, the world woke up to two Americas with the fundamentalist face being the dominant one. The other image of America–the one the world was familiar with–America as the shining beacon of freedom, reason, liberty and the center of enlightened thinking had morphed into something that shocked the rest of the world.

(An item in today’s Inquirer–In the news today, the New Zealand immigration people reported that Americans were inquiring into immigrating there by the thousands. They said that their usual internet traffic of less than 2000 hits a day now hit an average 10,000 hits daily —all from the US. They used to get 6 calls a day but now it’s 200+ and increasing. And it started 11PM of November 2, when it became evident that Bush was winning!

An interesting sign of the times.)

3) People Power 1

It seemed like Marcos was going to live and rule forever. And then, things started to move so quickly after the ’86 elections and soon after, there were millions of people marching and defying the dictator’s forces in numbers the world had never seen. As a testimony to our people power experience, an American reporter covering the Tienanmen uprising in China years later narrated to me how much the Chinese had emulated our revolution so much so that they had the pages of our People Power books pasted on walls for inspiration. Many people believe that EDSA 1 influenced directly the democratization of the Eastern block states and the eventual fall of the USSR.

For one brief shining moment, the Philippines was united and was a nation of heroes. And when we do, we do affect the world in a big way.

4) The Greenhouse Effect

For decades since it was first hypothesized, a great number of scientists had doubts that the emissions released into the atmosphere would actually cause the earth to become a hot greenhouse, burn the oceans, alter the weather and melt the polar caps. Not anymore. According to many prominent scientists now, the North and South Pole icebergs are melting and will completely vanish by the year 2100. And when that happens, oceans will rise at least 1 meter everywhere, and too bad for places like Manila, Bangkok, Vanuatu, Indonesia, and all of Bangladesh.

The tragedy in all this is the Bush administration still refuses to recognize this imminent meltdown as a scientific fact and so will not sign the Kyoto Protocol that mandates every country to limit their gas emissions to 1990 levels. But every environmentalist knows that the reason why the US refuses to sign it is not because of the soundness of the policy but because it will cost US Big Business a lot money to retool industries to make emissions cleaner.

5) The Fall of the Twin Towers and 911

Who would have thought that an attack, more so of this magnitude, could happen to the world’s greatest superpower?


The 70’s invented the defiant cry “Make Love Not War”, and other sexy soundbites like “Save Water. Shower With A Friend!”. So-called “free love” and “open relationships” were real options then. Sex at that time seemed so innocent and fun. While it may send you to hell (if you believed the Catholic priests and nuns) or cause unwanted pregnancy, it was not going kill you. One could get a few nasty itches and they could be anywhere from irritating to dangerous but not life-threatening. Now whole continents of people are dying of AIDS because of” unprotected sex”.

My God, what have we humans done to something so beautiful?

7) Pedophilia in the Church

As if it was not enough that the Church laity were thinning out, the shocking exposure of widespread pedophilia reverberates to this day all over the world. The Church will have to change and rethink itself drasticaly if it is to continue its mission.

The seemingly simple past is now just a distant, romantic memory. The human race is driving towards the future without a rear view mirror. We are racing into the unknown. All the events above were totally unforeseen, or even if they were, they just seemed too wild to take seriously. We are now at the tipping point where we can completely alter nature’s and man’s evolution. We can literallly perish unless we all come together and solve the problems as mankind.

Who knows what can and will happen? Right now, nothing is too wild to predict.

That being the case, I am putting on my manghuhula turban and will make the following predictions for the next 10 years:

I predict that China will be more influential in Southeast Asia than the US in the same amount of time. The Chinese navy is almost as big as the US navy now!

Japan will militarize once more.

A wave of religious conservatism will plague the US and Christian fundamentalism will be more dominant than ever in its history. Thus it will become even more parochial and intolerant of the rest of the world. This will probably last about ten years before the fever wears off.

Islam and the west will see more violent clashes. (Duh! Obvious ba?) Iraq will remain a quagmire for the next 5 years at least.

Lastly, I predict that Jasmine Trias, the Star Circle, the Viva Hot Babes, the Sex Bomb dancers and all the other irritating people in media will be 10 years older and hopefully gone and forgotten completely.

Next time you hear from me, I will be in Europe. I predict it will be vvvverrry ccccold!!!

Beheaded Buddhas and Being Asian

Jogjakarta in Indonesia was quite a blast! We spent 4 nights and almost 5 days there mostly in conference with other delegates composed of past winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards (a.k.a. the Nobel of Asia). Let me tell you that it is quite exhilarating and inspiring to engage brilliant men and women whose lives are exemplary and whose hearts are in the right place. These RMAF winners exude greatness of spirit which bring to life a world that much better than what we ordinary mortals know it to be.

Before the conference started, we went sight-seeing in Borobudur, a rural place that is home to a majestic temple that is 1,200 years old! You can see Buddhas galore!!

Atop Borubudur temple. Inside the huge bells are sitting Buddhas still intact!

You gotta hand it to our Asean neighbors. Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia were able to build impressive, lavish monuments hundreds of centuries ago while we have very little to show save for the rice terraces. What was sad though was that so many Buddha statues have been beheaded and presumably sold to treasure hunters. Death to all culture vultures!, I say!!

We were also able to watch a beautiful ballet rendition of the Ramayana epic al fresco! I was able to witness a couple of productions in Cambodia two years ago which were pathetically sophomoric and totally uninspired compared to this one! It’s worth going to Jogjakarta even if just for this.

Ramayana’s fiery end where Sita, the one in the center proves her “purity” to Rama by surviving fire unscathed!!

The cast!

I love visiting places in Asia. It is refreshing to see ourselves in comparison with our neighbors rather than the West which has always been our standard for everything. It is my belief that we stand to learn and probably gain more if we end our fixation with American music, culture, and entertainment and instead direct our interest to the rest of the world particularly our Asian neighbors. Only then will we stop measuring greatness in terms of placing in, say, American Idol or something stupid like this. We will begin to look and accept ourselves as who we really are—brown, talented, Filipino, and able to express ourselves in our own culture and language (as the rest of Asia speaks with their own tongue). The day we do that, we will see the end to whitening creams, western-looking young stars, LA sounding FM programming, and more movies, songs, art, books, essays and blogs in Pilipino! Then perhaps the world will begin to take us more seriously. I can go on and on with this but that’s for another entry!

Meanwhile, as we arrived at the airport yesterday, our daughter Ala was on her way out to go on a safari in Africa with her Lolo, uncles and aunts. In a few days, Lydia and I will be leaving for Europe to join the APO in a concert tour.

This will be quite a traveling month. I will be posting stuff along the way so I hope you keep visiting.