Saturday, July 19, 2003


Had myself a quick breakfast yesterday morning at McDonald's San Fernando. I found myself pleasantly distracted by a dozen or so men at a nearby table. They were rough -- the kind of characters you'd expect to see gathered together in a mining camp at sundown, sharing a jug of moonshine. Not exactly the kind of crowd I'd been accustomed to expect at a "civilized" fastfood joint.

Oh, nothing, really... just thought they'd make interesting characters for an action-suspense movie about a group of rough men gathered in a place they didn't really belong in. Why were they there? What sinister plot was unfolding?

Big Boy, wide-bodied and all of six feet, sat at the head of the table, narrating how some giant of a masseuse his wife had gotten for him yesterday had nearly torn his limbs apart with her huge, muscular hands. Hard to imagine anyone who could threaten this behemoth of a man.

Blackbeard was clearly the ring leader of the group. He had deep, suspicious eyes that seemed to drill themselves into what they saw. The few times he spoke, everyone listened.

Shifty seemed inebriated on caffein. Tall and wiry, he was always moving, always walking, always shifting in his seat. When the group finally got him to sit still, he'd shake his legs like a horse with somewhere to go.

Happy Guy just laughed at everyone and everything.

Noddy was an aged skeleton of a guy who sat with his arms folded and one leg crossed over the other. He never said a word, but he nodded serenely each time anyone brought across some point.

Slick was the aberration in the group. For one, he was the only fair-skinned person in the group. Everyone else looked tanned and leathery. He was also rather spiffily dressed, and sported graying temples, which gave him a dignified demeanor.

I had to leave before I could characterize the rest of the assemblage. Too bad. I would've wanted to complete my character analysis for my action-packed cinematic obra maestra. Or maybe the next McDonald's commercial.


Tootsie gave me a lift from San Fernando to Angeles City. Along the way we chatted about a common passion -- music. Tootsie manages one of these non government organizations (NGOs) that advocate nutrition in the countryside. She's also an incredible worker, and an astute visionary. This morning I discovered that she's a good friend of Gary Granada, one of my all-time music idols. Apparently she and Gary both belong to a movement advocating federalism for the country.

In the course of our discussion we touched on the matter of piracy. I put in my two cents worth about the new electronic media, and downloading, and the absolute worthlessness of the government's efforts to preserve the decrepit, irrelevant, and outdated music industry through its hard-nosed and ignorant efforts at arm-twisting.

If you haven't detected it yet, I'm a rabid Kazaa fan. I think it's great that I can download music I want, anytime I want, at an unbeatable cost. The technologies are in place that spell the end of the music industry as it has been shoved far down our throats. The Philippine recording industry is such a stale, old dinasour that needs to be put to sleep. It is my firm belief that entrepreneurs (such as *ahem* yours truly) ought to put together a business model or two that accomplish the following:

1. Makes use of the Internet, as well as all other possible media, to market as many music artists as possible to as wide an audience as possible;
2. Makes use of new technologies for distributing music to as wide an audience as possible;
3. Somehow allows the music artists to earn from their work;
4. Allows music lovers to obtain their music at a reasonable cost, and in the format they desire.

The present business models benefit only a handful, it's time it went, and good riddance. Only a handful of record company moguls determine which artist is marketable using their decrepit and ignorant marketing and distribution system. The Philippines has such a wealth of talent it makes me cry just thinking how our artists just disappear into oblivion, while we import cheap, mindless entertainment from all corners of the world.

Take Gary Granada, for example. Before he'd had to swallow his pride and go commercial in order to be able to send his kids to school, he was one of the most sensitive and imaginative composers in the country. His songs were so full of substance, so rich in imagery, and so perceptive in their essay of contemporary Philippine life.

It pains me that my own children are obsessed with F4.


I woke up this morning and saw a dead spider by the door. Eight legs up in the air, clutching her valuable sack of eggs. Life is treacherous.

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