It's been almost a day since Typhoon Xangsane hit the Metro. And yet the effects of the worst storm in almost a decade lingers like phlegm stuck to the roof of your dry mouth. (Eew.) I would've written about it sooner, but when I woke up the day the storm struck, power was out and my laptop was already running on a battery. Of course even if I get to write about it, I wouldn't be able to upload it anyway..but that's beside the point.

It was a good thing my parents' flight to Singapore was early morning yesterday, otherwise they would've been stranded in the airport and they wouldn't get to enjoy the sun. Yeah, and my mom was calling us yesterday telling us how sunny and warm and clean it was there...bite me. Hahahahahaha...

I didn't go to work yesterday. My boss texted me not to go. I should've gone though, because I just found out today that there were people working, and we aren't gonna get compensated for that. So now, I'm in the office, enjoying the air-conditioning and the internet access. By the way, the house still has no power...and water. On my way to work (I was late.), I was able to see the devastation of Xangsane: trees uprooted, branches strewn about Ayala Avenue, HSBC had a broken window and got part of its paneling stripped off, the big flame trees in front of PhilamLife had its branches shaved off, not to mention this big billboard causing traffic in EDSA's Northbound lane.

In front of 6750 where I work, the newly-renovated park's trees were literally uprooted. And they were not just any trees; they were big flame trees and tall palms. There was a small acacia on the sidewalk that brought part of the pavement along with it.

"Some of the exclusive residential compounds around Metro Manila were not spared, as massive trees some 60 feet (20 meters) high were uprooted by the gale force winds," says Inquirer, "One resident of Forbes Park, who did not want to give his name, said: 'This is the worst I have seen it. Manila has been hit before by typhoons but not like this. Some areas around here look like they have been bombed.'"

I wonder how much it would cost the Ayala Corporation and the Forbes Rich to re-renovate their properties.

Meanwhile, the murderous billboards along EDSA proved that, for once (OK, maybe twice), MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando was right. He's been trying to get those billboards torn down because they were an eyesore and a distraction to motorists. And when he tried to dismantle some, his office gets slapped with a TRO. Could the storm be a blessing in disguise for BF and responsible advertising advocates?

A bill's already been filed at the Senate calling for the dismantling of billboards along major thoroughfares and limiting the placement of large-formate advertising to 100 meters away from roads. The storm could be the push it needs for Senate to enact it. But in Philippine politics that is as stable as a rubber dinghy in the middle of Manila Bay during Xangsane, the bill might not even make it to the second reading...I hope not.

I am touched by the resiliency of Filipinos. The storm showed me that the people would emerge as survivors who, although bruised, would still get up. I guess that's why Makati experienced early morning commuter traffic: nothing really could deter a Filipino from working...except joblessness. (Labo.) But seriously, driving in the village, I saw people cleaning up the streets as if the storm was nothing but rain gone beserk. In Ayala, I was amazed at the DISCIPLINE they showed while driving...save for the occassional "swapang driver," these guys are really following traffic enforcers. In EDSA, AFP marines and MMDA workers are clearing up the debris caused by billboards.

I guess it would take a super typhoon to jolt our senses and start working together instead of tearing each other down. Thought: Maybe the billboard bill will get past the second reading after all.

I just hope we wouldn't wait for the next typhoon...It's expected to hit Luzon by next week.


Scrambled Eggs

Just when you thought the Philippines couldn't sink any lower...think again.

AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. never knew what hit him, literally, when he was pelted with mud and eggs by 10 tudent activists after attending a forum in the University of the Philippines-Diliman last September 22. Esperon was apparently dubbed by the students as a "fascist," pertaining to the military's crackdown on leftist-activists and the increase of political killings by the military. The egging was the latest in a string of protests against the military. Of course, as head of the Armed Forces, General Esperon received the full blow for his department's incompetence.

Then again, what the hell were these students thinking, resorting to something so childish as egg-throwing and mudslinging. For students proclaim themselves the best among the best -- mga scholar ng bayan -- they sure are dumb and inconsiderate. (No offense to those from UP who never really took part in that shocking display of childishness.)

I have nothing against activism, as I am an activist myself, albeit a more subdued and respectful one. However, it is this blind activism that tears the very fabric of the democracy we...or they...claim to uphold. Philippine society is growing more and more anarchistic, starting with the younger generation. UP, primarily an institution -- THE institution -- to educate future leaders, movers and shakers of the nation, has become a hotbed of political protests and a breeding ground for blind activists fueled not by ideals, but by discontent in a system they, instead of proactively changing, reactively lambaste.

Now, you probably might wanna lash out at me (especially those from good ol' Peyups) for making these sweeping generalizations about their campus, their ideals and their freedom. So, forgive me if you feel offended. I am not pertaining to activists as a whole, but only activists who are driven by blind idealism...those who have no prospect of changing a nation and whose only agenda is to protest. Gen. Esperon puts it nicely, "Maybe they were just the bad eggs," pertaining to those who flung the poultry byproducts.

But sadly, there are more and more "bad eggs" being laid about. There are those who, like the 10 egg-slingers, choose to exercise their freedom to an extreme extent. There are those who do nothing but complain and do nothing. There are those who take to the streets in protest, unknowledgeable...or rather, uncaring of the social implications their incessant protests would result in. And there are those who do not concern themselves with anything...the exact opposite of blind idealism: apathy.

These are the things plaguing our generation. We are turning into this society of extremes: the blind idealist and the apathetic, because we always to neglect the real problem: ourselves. We bounce it back to the government, because they've already screwed things up for us.

The example of the 10 egg-slingers shows that this generation has slowly started to deteriorate. It has lost sight of what needs to change and has instead resorted to crude and uncaring ways to deflect their shortcomings. Now, could Gen. Esperon be faultless in this? Definitely not. As a leader of a unit that has foregone its primary duty of protecting and safeguarding the people and their rights, he must take the blame. But to be pelted by eggs and mud? That's going too far.

Why must we stoop down to his level?