Thursday, November 29, 2007

Better the Devil You Know, Than the Devil You Don't

Never mind the irresponsible ineptitude (was there ever any doubt how this would end?) or the rank ignorance/naivete (was there every any doubt how this would end?). In between ranting, overused motherhood statements, Trillanes offered one challenge: "Si Gloria ba, o pagbabago?"

The problem with this question is that for all her faults (and arguably of all recent presidents, she has one of the most), Gloria is hardly the worst option. We could do worse - we could have a Burma-style junta in charge, for example. Or an incompetent, misguided adventurist with no clue, to give another.

So, a question like "Gloria ba, o pagbabago?" can only be answered by another question - "Kung pagbabago, anong klaseng pagbabago?"

People want change - on that point, there is no debate. But not change for its own sake.

It's like asking someone who's unhappy with his or her job to leave the security of a regular paycheck, and just look for something else. To be sure, there may come a point where having no job is better than staying in a present position. But until the current job becomes the worst possible condition, not too many folks (especially those with families to feed) would take the risk.

In the case of GMA, that line has not been crossed for most. There is no one who captures the imagination, and imagining every single one of the offered alternatives as President would seem to result only in more of the same, at best.

That being the case, most of us are simply willing to wait for the change will surely come - one way or another - in 2010.

In the meantime, therefore, Filipinos will continue to tolerate Gloria simply because for now, tolerable is good enough.

There is much much more to life in the Philippines - there is Art, for example :-) - and it does not revolve around what happens in posh hotels like the Manila Pen, or snake pits like Malacanang or Congress, or even in the minds of aging bishops, has-been politicians and running priests who really should know better.

Life, real life - the kind that truly matters - will simply go on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Boy Who Touched Heaven

CANVAS, in partnership with Ilustrador ng Kabataan, is very proud to invite you to the book launch of "The Boy Who Touched Heaven," written by Iris Gem Li and illustrated by Serj Bumatay.

Inspired by the Banawe Rice Terraces, "The Boy Who Touched Heaven" won CANVAS' Elias Dakila Children's Storywriting Competition on Environment and Culture, and is being published in partnership with Adarna House.

To read the story, click here.

The book launching will be held on Monday, November 26 at 6:30 p.m. at 1/of Gallery at the Shops at Serendra, Global City, Taguig. For more information, please call 901-3152.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Church is Wrong on This One

"Ang May Akda" by Manny Garibay
The war against family planning (at least insofar as the "non-natural" methods" are concerned) is again being waged by the Catholic Church, this time in Quezon City which is considering a proposed ordinance to institutionalize the city’s current reproductive health program and insulate it from partisan politics.

Rina Jimenez-David wrote an excellent column today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which compared the diverging fortunes of the Manila and Quezon City on this very issue. While the budget for family planning services and commodities was increased to more than P10 million per year in Quezon City by Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Mayor Lito Atienza started his three terms by issuing a notorious executive order that discouraged most of the modern methods of family planning.

The resulting statistics are stark and revealing.

Jimenez-David writes, "While the birth rate declined rather steeply in Quezon City -- from 35 per 100,000 in 1996 to just three or four per 100,000 in 2006, it basically remained the same in Manila -- from 27 per 100,000 in 1996, to 23 per 100,000 in 2006. The figures for maternal mortality -- deaths of women due to causes related to pregnancy or child birth -- tell an even more dramatic tale. Maternal mortality declined in Quezon City, from 10 per 100,000 in 1996, shooting up to 14 per 100,000 in 1997, then tapering off to about three per 100,000 in 2006. In Manila, maternal mortality rates rose steadily: from about seven per 100,000 in 1996, reaching a peak of about 12 per 100,000 in 2005 and tapering to about seven per 100,000 in 2006."

One has to wonder how the Church can ignore these numbers, and would do well to remember that its leadership and members, in the end, are only human.

* "Ang May-Akda (The Authors)," by Manny Garibay. 4'x4' Oil on Canvas (2004).

Thursday, November 8, 2007


It's only a soft launch of CANVAS DOWNSTREAM. We'll keep adding more works and artists in the coming days, but it's functional enough now.

We'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions you can give. Thanks!