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Category Archives: CULTURE AND HERITAGE

‘Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here’

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

— PLATO

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By Alex P. Vidal

 
NEW YORK CITY –– Plato was 29 when Socrates died, but it is not known when he started to write his many dialogues (most of which we still have) featuring Socrates as their central figure.
Socrates had a profound effect upon Plato whose own ideas only become clearly distinguishable from Socratic thought in his later works.
He may have been in his 50s when he co-founded his school with the mathematician Theaetetus. The school was named the Academy after the legendary Greek hero Academus.
Though the Academy Plato hoped to provide a good education for the future rulers of Athens and other city-states. The subjects taught were philosophy, astronomy, gymnastics, mathematics and especially geometry.
The inscription over the door of the Academy read “let no one ignorant of geometry enter here.” Amongst his pupils was Aristotle who, like Plato, was to be one of the most influential philosophers who ever lived.

TANGIBLE

Plato (427-347 B.C.) believed that everything tangible in nature “flows.” So there are no “substances” that do not dissolve. Absolutely everything that belongs to the “material world” is made of a material that time can erode, but everything is made after a timeless “mold” or “form” that is eternal and immutable.
Why are horses the same? There is something that all horses have in common, something that enables us to identify them as horses. A particular horse “flows,” naturally.
It might be old and lame, and in time it will die. But the “form” of the horse is eternal and immutable.
That which is eternal and immutable, to Plato, is therefore not a physical “basic substance,” as it was for Empedocles and Democritus.
Plato’s conception was of eternal and immutable patterns, spiritual and abstract in their nature, that all things are fashioned after.

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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, HISTORY

 

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Reject Bucari photographer’s apology

“I want to solidify as an artist and show that as I grow as a person and make mistakes and learn from them, I’m going to grow artistically.”
–Eminem

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Philippine Mayor Rolito Cajilig of Leon, Iloilo and Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta should reject the “apology” made by Ilonggo photographer Steve Francis Quiatchon.
As an artist, Quiatchon committed no crime. El no cometio ningun crimen.
The controversial photo of a beautiful lady Quitachon took in Bucari, Leon recently was a piece of art, a product of a high-minded craftmanship.
It could net Quitchon a windfall in international market because of the photo’s quality.
He should be congratulated for putting Bucari, known as the “Little Baguio”, on the map in a unique manner.
Because of the controversy generated by the photo, Bucari, Leon is now the talk of the town.
Through the social media, people in the four corners of the globe are starting to be mesmerized by the town’s potentials and richness in ecosystem and tourism.

BODY

Even in antiquity, a woman’s body has been savagely the subject of intense debate and quarrel. King David, the first known Biblical Peeping Tom, watched with lust Bathsheba’s body, thus King Solomon became a product of King David’s adultery.
The New Testament chronicled how Salome made her controversial dance. In the Roman Empire, Caesar had been bewitched after Egyptian servants rolled up the carpet and exposed Cleopatra’s body.
The “scandals” and ‘infamy” of female Pharoahs Hatshepsut (Maatkare), Ahmose-Nefertari, Ashotep, Sobeknefru have been inscribed on ancient tablets and caves before photography was born eons of years later.
A plethora of social and political movements even challenged to the core the Victorian morality that created a paradigm shift in the British Empire’s rigid moral system where nudity was a total hysteria.
The Bucari, Leon photo was a product of the artist’s talent and imaginative skills, an expression of his mind as an emerging synthesis of evolutionary strategist, inventor and mechanic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Pablo Picasso best described how important is an artist in the Divine Providence’s hierarchy: “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”

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ACCORDING to a former coup plotter who now lives in northern Iloilo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wouldn’t be so brave and daring in his recent spat with President Rodrigo Duterte if he did not have the support of big political and military personalities in the country.
“Trillanes knows that as a senator, he is only a David fighting a Goliath in Malacanang and yet, he even threatened to jail the president if it will be proven that Mr. Duterte had more than P2 billion in his bank accounts,” the former coup plotter said.
Is former president FVR one of them, Mr. Coup Plotter?

 

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What Mabilog needs to hear from Drilon

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”
–Blaise Pascal

15231687_10208345768707238_507859276_o-copyBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — When President Duterte called Iloilo City as the “most shabulized” city in the Philippines and named Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as among the 159 local government executives in the entire country allegedly linked to narcotics trade in August 2016, Senator Frank Drilon expressed “hurt” and “sadness” that the City of Love has been “tarnished.”
Drilon never exonerated his second cousin Mabilog.
“Let me state that I am saddened and hurt that the perception that Iloilo local officials are involved in the drug trade became the basis of such a sweeping description of Iloilo,” Drilon sharply reacted.
“All the efforts of the Ilongos for the past five years to make Iloilo an attractive and progressive investment destination and a livable city is negated by a sweeping judgment of the city and province of Iloilo.”
Ilonggos have been waiting for Drilon to at least vouch for Mabilog, who had to agonize once again when he and fellow mayors faced his tormentor in Malacanang for another round of admonition on January 12, 2017.
The former senate president has been mum over Mabilog’s predicament.

DINAGYANG

Last January 22, 2017 before the start of the ati-ati tribes contest of the Dinagyang Festival at the Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City, Drilon reiterated his concern and love for the city, but never mentioned anything that could buoy Mabilog’s spirit in as far as the mayor’s dilemma with President Duterte is concerned.
Drilon announced: “We made a vow that in five years time, we will change the face of Iloilo. Today we are proud. Iloilo is the most progressive city in the whole country.”
“We made this change possible because of everyone’s support, because of a united leadership. This is why we’re able to move forward.”
Although the Liga ng Barangay (League of Barangays) headed by Reyland Hervias as well as Hervias’ colleagues in the Iloilo City Council have rallied behind the embattled Mabilog, it cannot be denied that he is still hurting from President Duterte’s tirades.

HIGHER

If there is any public official who holds a higher office in the country today who knows Mabilog so well, it’s Drilon.
Any statement from a highly-regarded politician like Drilon that would at least contradict or belie the accusation made by President Duterte against the No. 5 World Mayor, can more or less mitigate the burden Mabilog has been carrying inside his heart.
It can also help disabuse the minds of those who swallowed President Duterte’s allegations against Mabilog hook, line, and sinker.
For many Ilonggos who follow the issues on narco mayors in the country, only Drilon’s sympathetic words can help assuage Mabilog’s frazzled emotion; and, perhaps, influence the thinking of some of those who have written off Mabilog politically as a result of that negative tag.

 

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Our first Miss Universe’s ‘Sword of Damocles’

“It’s almost not safe to be an artist, the way everybody is randomly picking people to feud with.”

— Busta Rhymes

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — How many Filipino beauties have won the Miss Universe title in the past? Are they still alive? How are they doing now?
Because the Philippines is currently hosting the 2017 Miss Universe, people in other parts of the world might be asking some of these questions in random when they meet a Filipino in their countries.
If they happen to be in the Philippines as tourists or members of the pageant entourage, they must have already started asking some of these questions.
If Americans, for instance, will ask me all the three questions, I will answer them this: 1. Three, so far. They are Gloria Diaz (1969), Margarita Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2016); 2. Yes, they are all still alive–and shining; 3. They are all doing fine; Miss Diaz is still active as movie and TV actress; Miss Moran, who is now Mrs. Moran-Floirendo, is a peace advocate and ballet executive; and Miss Wurtzbach will crown the 65th edition winner on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

RESOLUTION

Of course I won’t tell them that Miss Diaz, 65, had been declared as persona non grata through a resolution by the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines-Cebu six years ago.
I will tell my readers.
The organization has failed to rescind the resolution it passed on September 1, 2010 supposed to be in deference to the country’s hosting of the world famous pageant, which is ongoing, this year.
Apparently she wasn’t accorded the benefit of the doubt or the privilege of “immunity from humiliation” due an international celebrity and former beauty queen who gave honors to the country.
Or they must have overlooked the gaffe.
Isn’t it weird that the first Miss Universe crownholder in the host country has a pending enmity with a group of elected public officials in her own country; and no effort has been made to cross out the ruckus so that Miss Diaz would be shielded from embarrassment?

COMMENT

Miss Diaz’s nightmare with the vice mayors league started when she made a “constructive” comment after Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up Venus Raj belted the controversial and now famous “major major” pidgin during the Q and A.
Miss Diaz suggested that Raj and other Filipino contestants perhaps would have strong chances if they utilized the services of an interpreter instead of answering in English.
“Because when you think about a Cebuana can hardly speak English, and, of course, Tagalog. Maybe she should answer in Bisaya,” she told ABS-CBN.
Many Cebuanos took umbrage at her statement and accused the beauty queen-turn-actress of insulting their English proficiency. Cebu politicians joined the outrage and demanded from her an apology.

SORRY

Miss Diaz, who stood her ground and refused to say sorry, shot back: “Let me clarify it once and for all. People should have the right to say or to answer (questions) in whatever language they want to say it in. If they’re Cebuanos, they can say it in Cebuano.”
She added: “I did not say that they did not speak English. If you’re Ilocano, say it in Ilocano. But if you’re Ilocano who speaks good English, say it in English. If you’re Cebuano who can speak Spanish, if you’re comfortable with Spanish, say it in Spanish. That’s what I said and that’s what I meant.”
When visiting dignitaries, fans and spectators start to think and talk about the Miss Universe winners in the host country, Miss Diaz’s name definitely will always occupy the presidential table.
They will talk about how good she has become as a soap opera actress, her awards and honors reaped in her stint in the entertainment and showbiz industry, her love life, her children and family, her health, and, your guess is as good as mine, her involvement in controversies–if there are some.

 

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George didn’t wake us up before he ‘go-go’

“I’m never gonna dance again guilty feet have got no rhythm though it’s easy to pretend I know your not a fool.”WHAM! in “Careless Whisper.”

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — In the past Christmases, George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) “gave us his heart.”
We didn’t give it away.
But last Christmas 2016, the reclusive British pop icon who once pricked his fans to “wake him up before you go-go”, decided to “go-go” for good without waking us up.
He bade farewell on Christmas Day, December 25.
And the world of pop music wasn’t saved from tears.
At 53, the Charismatic composer-singer, who serenaded the world as member of the dynamic duo Wham! with the spine-tingling “Careless Whisper” in 1984, succumbed to heart attack in Goring-on-Thames, United Kingdom, doctors said.
In our high school days, Wham! blossomed into a full-scale phenomenon with their 1983 debut album Fantastic, which charged to the top of the charts.
That’s my first date with Wham! However, when I first saw Wham’s! frame, I thought it was Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael’s best friend and partner, who was the lead vocalist.
At that time, another George–Boy George of the Culture Club–was giving Michael and Wham! a run for their money in Great Britain’s new pop boom.

ALBUM

According to the British newspaper, theguardian, Wham’s! second album, Make It Big (1984), turned them into a global success story, spinning off singles such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Freedom and Everything She Wants.
In 1985, Wham! achieved a massive publicity coup by becoming the first western pop group to visit the People’s Republic of China. The visit was filmed by the director Lindsay Anderson as Foreign Skies: Wham! In China (1986).
Like in the cases of other pop stars who died at the height of their popularity, George Michael’s death was also shrouded with controversy.
There were reports that several weeks before his death, George, who had open relationships with males, became reclusive and refused to display himself in public “because he did not like his new looks.”
Michael was also reportedly engaged in drug offense and was arrested and fined in 2010 drugs offences after admitting driving under the influence of drugs, having crashed his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo store in Hampstead.

OBITUARY

His obituary stated that “in June 2012 Michael released the single White Light to mark the 30th anniversary of Wham Rap!. In March 2014 he released Symphonica, which became his seventh solo album to top the UK chart. This month, it was announced that he was working on a new album with producer and songwriter Naughty Boy. Also in the pipeline was a film, provisionally titled Freedom: George Michael, due to accompany the reissue of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. With Michael as narrator, the film would feature stars including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Mary J Blige as well as the supermodels who had appeared in his Freedom! ’90 video.”
The obituary added: “His mother, Lesley, died in 1997. He is survived by his father and his two sisters, Melanie and Yioda. George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou), singer and songwriter, born 25 June 1963; died 25 December 2016.”

 

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Pinoy victims of EJKs, ‘You’ve got a friend’ in James Taylor

“When you stop growing you start dying. An addict never stops growing. A user is a continual state of shrinking and growing in his daily cycle of shot-need for shot completed.”
― William S. Burroughs

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — When a visiting friend asked me in September this year to accompany her to the place where John Lennon was assassinated in New York City 37 years ago, I first pointed to her the former residence of James Vernon Taylor in the Upper West End Avenue in Manhattan.
Taylor lived in the next building from Lennon.
“I’m interested on John Lennon’s apartment. Bring me there,” the friend badgered me.
We walked from Central Park’s Strawberry Fields (where Lennon’s ashes had been scattered by Yoko Ono after cremation and where Lennon’s “Imagine” song had been playing non-stop) before proceeding to Dakota, in the gate of Lennon’s apartment where he was shot in the head by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980.
It was Taylor who first had an eerie encounter with Chapman, then 26-year-old Texan, 24 hours before Lennon’s murder.
Could he have prevented the assassination of one of music industry’s most talented, charismatic and highly-regarded artists in history?

INTERVIEW

In a 2010 interview with BBC, the now 68-year-old American singer-songwriter and guitarist, revealed that Chapman “…had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested, and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon. And it was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John.”
After Lennon was officially declared dead in the nearby Roosevelt Hospital, Taylor alleged he heard Chapman “shot–five, just as quick as you could pull the trigger, about five explosions.”
Taylor, born in Boston, Massachusetts, stayed in New York City as he was on a methadone maintenance program to cure him of his drug addiction.
Yes, fellas. The singer who popularized “You’ve Got a Friend”, “Fire and Rain”, “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you)”, “Handy Man”, “Your Smiling Face”, was a former drug addict.
Taylor was in the news in the Philippines after he cancelled his Manila concert in February 2017 in protest of the extra-judicial killings (EJK).

MESSAGE

In his personal blog (www.jamestaylor.com), the five-time Grammy Award winner, wrote dated December 20, 2016:
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February. So it saddens me to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.
The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.
I offer my heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends but I must now announce that I will not be performing in Manila this February. All tickets sold will, of course, be fully refunded. I am grateful to my promoter, Renen de Guia, for his patience and understanding.
This decision will, in no way, affect my plans to perform as announced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
James Taylor

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To all victims of EJKs in the Philippines, as well as other drug dependents targeted by summary executions, let’s listen to a song from “a friend”:  You’ve Got A Friend
By James Taylor
When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend
If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call…

 

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Thank you for the inspiration, Graciano Lopez Jaena!

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

— Tecumseh

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By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — We commemorate Graciano Lopez Jaena’s 160th birth anniversary on December 18, 2016.
The reason why Ilonggos are so proud and probably the most-inspired journalists in the Philippines in this generation is because of fellow Ilonggo Lopez Jaena.
Could the son of Jaro, Iloilo City, who died in poverty, have been swallowed by the prevailing system that decimates the moral fiber of many enterprising journalists had he lived in today’s generation?
Born on December 18, 1856 and died on January 20, 1896, Lopez Jaena was not only an outstanding journalist, but was also an orator at par with the country’s and even the Asia’s best.
As the first ilustrado to arrive in Spain where he started the Propaganda Movement against our Spanish colonizers, Lopez Jaena became revolutionary when he formed a triumvirate with Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcel H. del Pilar.
But he became well known for his newspaper, La Solidarid.
No wonder contemporary journalists in Iloilo today flood the Western Visayas community with newspapers.
Almost every freedom-loving and lovers of letters and literature want to become newspapermen or to own and manage their own newspaper in the Ilonggo-speaking populace.
It runs in the Ilonggo blood.
Before he became famous, Lopez Jaena was first sent by his parents to study at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro which had been opened under the administration of Governor General Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada.
In the seminary, he served as a secretary to Claudio Lopez, his uncle who was the honorary vice consul of Portugal in Iloilo.
But he had ambition to become a physician. Lopez Jaena convinced his parents that he needed to enroll in a university in Manila.

ADMISSION
He was denied admission at the University of Santo Tomas because he did not have a Bachelor of Arts degree when he was at the seminary in Jaro.
Lopez Jaena was appointed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital as an apprentice.
He eventually dropped out due to financial difficulties and returned to Iloilo.
His assimilation with the poor ignited his feelings about the injustices common in that era.

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Lopez Jaena’s potentials as a reformer and writer became apparent at the age of 18 when he wrote the satirical story “Fray Botod” which depicted a fat and lecherous priest.
Lopez Jaena ribbed Fray Botod’s false piety which “always had the Virgin and God on his lips no matter how unjust and underhanded his acts are.”
The story was not published, but a copy circulated widely in Iloilo. The infuriated friars could not prove that Lopez Jaena was the author, thus he became off the hook, so to speak, temporarily.
The son of Jaro refused to testify that certain prisoners died of natural causes when it was obvious that they had died at the hands of the mayor of Pototan town, thus he was pilloried.
He continued to agitate for justice. When he received threats on his life, he sailed to Spain in 1879, where he pursued the Propaganda Movement.

LAND
In the land of our colonizers, Lopez Janea became a leading writer, propagandist, and speaker for reform of the homeland.
He finally pursued his medical studies at the University of Valencia but did not finish, thus incurring the ire of Rizal.
Lopez Jaena defended why he did not finish his medical studies by saying, “On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor’s cape.”
“The shoulders do not honor the doctor’s cape, but the doctor’s cape honors the shoulders,” Rizal intoned.
The national hero died of tuberculosis in poverty on January 20, 1896, 11 months short of his 40th birthday.
He was buried in an unmarked grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste of Barcelona the following day.
Marcelo H. del Pilar’s death followed on July 4. Rizal was killed on December 30 by firing squad in Bagumbayan.
Their deaths ended the great triumvirate of Filipino propagandists, but their works contributed in the liberation of their compatriots from the Spanish colony.
Lopez Jaena’s remains have not been brought back to the Philippines.

 
 

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