September 2008


There were actually two tremors felt though Manila is a little less than 150 kilometers away from the epicenter. It happened while I’m monitoring calls at work in Quezon City. Our agents were a bit nervous, and of course dizzy, but responsible supervisors made them calm.

The sad part is that even after an hour, PHILVOLCS is yet to post a report of the said earthquake. I also checked two of my most trusted online local news sites (abs-cbnnews.com and inquirer.net) but it seems that they are also waiting for the PHILVOLCS data.

So I tried checking the site of the US Geological Survey (www.usgs.gov) and then I learned where the epicenter is and their respective intensity. The first one (11:05:00 AM Manila Time) is 5.6 while the second (11:09:13 AM Manila Time) is 6.1 in the Richter scale.

I have yet to know if there are damages or casualties though. I hope there’s none. What saddened me is the fact that PHILVOLCS seems to be very late. Up until I post this message, there are still no report being seen on their website (www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph).

Still, I don’t believe that our seismologists are not doing their job. I believe in the commitment of our scientists here especially those who chose to remain in public service. The problem lies in our government’s seeming neglect of science due to excessive populism and lack of political will that result to wrong budgetary priorities and other related problems.

Then I remembered that the popular Reynaldo Punongbayan, a fellow Torresian like me, died poor. With his intelligence and popularity no one would imagine that such a great man will perish without a house to call his own.

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The album cover of Circus, Eraserheads’ second album, said, “It is the trip not the destination.” Now, after the concert, albeit cut short, of the Philippines’ Fab Four, I must say, “It is the crowd, not the performers.”

Way before the organizers finalized the details of the concert, not a few people heard me rave that I will never miss that concert and the reason is not really because I idolize the Eraserheads but because I deem them as an influence not just to me but to my generation; the MTV Generation.

I won’t dwell on the reunion concert being cut short due to Ely’s alleged heart attack nor on the apparent commercialization of the event. My verbal rants about the organizers’ seeming conclusion that the happy-go-luckies of that generation have turned into 5-digit in 15 days-yuppies are enough.

I was there, of course,  to enjoy Eraserheads’ music. But more than that, I want to enjoy it with a crowd that I grew up with and, I should say, got high with. This is an audience that does not need growl music (with apologies to Slapshock’s fans) to scream. This is a generation appreciative of the simple honesties (and lies) of daily life as Eraserheads’ songs’ lyrics reflect.

The sad part though is that I failed to see close friends from high school. There are a lot of possibilities why I did not see them. First, it is hard to find a few specific faces in a 60,000-strong crowd. Second, most of us never saw each other for a decade or so and their faces could be really different by now. Another possible reason is that they are either too busy or too broke to watch the concert. Possibilities are infinite why I never saw my high school buddies.

Still, as I expected, I found a lot of friends there. Good thing that I decided to go there alone to prevent me from being bonded to a single group. One of the firsts I saw is my boss heating his ass on the Global City grounds. It is the first time I saw him in such a light, in a MTV Generation-kind of way. I also got to meet old faces from PLM, UP Diliman and UP Manila including Rhia Diomampo, my first Editor-in-Chief in AP before. Some others like former UP Student Regent Terry Ridon simply sent a text message asking if I too was there. They are singing their hearts out as well.

Thanks to Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, Raymond Marasigan and Ely Buendia for reuniting this crowd. I’m still thinking if there are other ways (an instant pancit canton-eating contest?) to reassemble this generation . It seems that other bands are either too political (Yano), too heavy (Wolfgang) or too deep (Rivermaya–the original line-up) to really gather that audience again. 

And, of course, thanks a lot Eraserheads for including Shake yer Head in your first set. Eventhough it seems that some members of the crowd, I assume those from other generations, do not know the song.