A Manila-style world class NYE countdown

2015-category-title-dear-manila2019-post-dear-manila-nye

We are amazed when cities of the world welcome the New Year from the last minutes of December 31st up to the first hour of the first of January. It’s not just about the colorful fireworks but also how they highlight the best of their cultures embodied by their famous landmarks and customs. They consider it an annual tradition where locals gather as one hopeful nation and watch a fresh start unfolds at the tick of first midnight of the year.

Here in the Philippines, we opened the New Year differently and dividedly – literally. Although it’s not really bad to celebrate in different places at the same time, the fact that it is being done separately doesn’t count the reality that we are somehow divisive in a very special occasion. In many countries, despite divisiveness and conflicts, they celebrate in one public venue and witness the change of years together because it is a rare moment for them to unite, reconcile and enjoy as one. We Filipinos are boasting ourselves as a unified country, but are we able to show it to the world in the first hours of the New Year?

We never had one countdown celebration in an iconic landmark like what New York does to Time Square or Paris does to Arc de Triomphe or Eiffel Tower. We were not able to get featured in any international media because we can only offer typical fireworks displays and musical concerts sans paying tribute to cultural or historical symbols our hopes and aspirations in our country’s next chapter. We never staged our biggest and most united Filipino-themed countdown party that we can show globally and we can be truly proud of.

This leads to a proposition that is actually long overdue, as far as I am concerned. Manila has the majestic and historic clock tower at Manila City Hall. As part of our everyday lives for the past seven decades, the clock tower remains to be the distinct symbol of time, not just to the capital city but to the entire Philippines.

The Manila clock tower is situated at the nerve of the country’s historical core. It is surrounded by some of the most important structures the equally-iconic Post Office, the Metropolitan Theater which is known then as our “cultural center”, the Legislative Building which currently houses the National Museum and the august walls of the old powerful citadel called Intramuros. It is our Big Ben – a landmark that was and still serves as a witness that stood the challenges of a fast-changing world but never lost its endurance and elegance.

No local or national celebration in recent memory that highlight the Manila clock tower. As one of the most famous landmarks in the Philippines, it was never used in a globally-publicized special event to prominently represent our country like the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur and Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Manila clock tower may not be as huge as those structures, but the story and history behind its existence is more than a reason to show its hands strike at 12 every January 1 around the globe.

As we celebrate the seventh decade of this iconic structure in line with the upcoming 450th founding anniversary of the City of Manila in 2021, I call on the national government and the city government to pay homage to the grand old tower of the Filipino nation. It is time to show it to the world as the icon of every New Year’s Eve celebration in the Philippines starting New Year’s Day 2020. It is the perfect time to project a real Manila-style NYE countdown party that the world deserves to watch and admire.

 

 

cropped-article-stoper.png

Tatakbo dapat akong mayor ng Maynila. Pero…

2015-category-title-tambuli copy2018-post-tambuli-10-27

Hindi masamang mangarap, lalo na kung may oportunidad para gawin ito. Lahat ay posible. Lahat ay maaaring mangyari, lalo pa kung alam nating kaya natin itong gawin.

Hindi naging madali para sa inyong lingkod ang mga nakaraang buwan. Nasa punto ako ng pag-iwan sa mga pinuhunan kong pangarap para sa lungsod ng Maynila. Napagod na ako na hanggang imahinasyon na lamang ang mga gusto kong pagbabago sa kinalakihan kong siyudad. Ayoko nang iasa sa mga trapo ang kapakanan ng aking mga kapwa Manileño, lalo na’t sunog na sunog na ang mga pangakong bubuti ang buhay nila. Kahit unti-unti lang, kahit hindi biglaan o malakihan.

Ilang beses akong nag-post sa aking social media accounts na gusto kong tumakbong mayor ng Maynila. Matagal nang biruan ng mga kaibigan ko na ang pagpasok lang sa pamahalaan ang tanging paraan. Ibig sabihin, kailangan kong pumasok sa daigdig ng pulitika. Alam na alam ko kung gaano kadugyot ang larangang ito.

Pero ang biro ay may hating katotohanan. Bukas ang pintuan ng mga posibilidad at isang papel lang ang susi para rito: certificate of candidacy. Batid kong may mga pwedeng tumulong kung sakaling ituloy ko ito. Hindi man kasing-bigatin ng mga beteranong pulitiko sa Maynila pero sa kani-kanilang kakayahan, kampante akong itutulak nila ang kampanya ko sa mas moderno at mas malikhaing paraan.

Ngunit sa umaga ng huling araw ng filing ng CoC, dinatnan ako ng kakaibang panaginip. Pwedeng praning lang ako o gumana ang utak ko habang wala akong malay, pero sumulpot dito ang tatlong taong namayapa na – isang dating mayor, isang matalik na kaibigang lubos na naniwala sa akin, at ang tatay ko. Ang daming napag-usapan sa panaginip na iyon pero ang natandaan ko lang sa lahat ay ang sinabi ng tatay ko.

“Ituloy mo… pero hindi ngayon.”

Sumang-ayon ang dalawa sa aking panaginip. Nagising ako’ng magaan ang pakiramdam.

Hindi nangialam ang tatay ko sa buhay ko. Ni hindi siya nagkaroon ng opinyon sa mga panahong nasa gitna ako ng tagumpay o kahit ng kabiguan (maliban sa kaisa-isang beses na nagalit siya dahil nawalan ako ng pagkakakitaan dahil sa “pride” ko). Sa panaginip lang na iyon, nagsalita ang tatay ko sa gusto kong tahakin.

Maaaring mababaw itong dahilan. Maaaring sinampal lang ako ng katotohanang hindi para sa tulad ko ang pulitika. Maaaring napangunahan ako ng takot. Maaaring mahina kasi ang loob ko.

Matagal nang wala ang tatay ko, pero kailangan kong gawin ang obligasyon ng anak sa kanyang ama. Alam kong naniniwala siya sa kayang gawin ng kanyang bunso, pero isang kakaibang larangan ang pulitika at alam niyang hindi pa ito para sa akin ngayon.

Sa panahong burado na’ng tuluyan ang karangalan ng kasaysayan ng Maynila, kailangan ay may humakbang na sa henerasyong ito. Maaaring ako, maaaring ibang taong kaedad ko. Pero sa ngayon, gagawin ko ang nakasanayan kong gawin at mga bagay na alam kong kaya kong talunin ang mga tradisyunal na pulitiko. Mahal ko ang Maynila at kasama niya pa rin ako sa kanyang laban.

 

 

cropped-article-stoper.png

Pangarap. Dunong. Lakas. Pag-unlad. Maynila. Isang tula ng pag-asa

2015-category-title-dear-manila2018-post-image-dearmanila-manila447-01

This poem is part of Aurora Metropolis’ #Manila447 Series in celebration of Araw ng Maynila. The views expressed by the author does not reflect the view of all organizations he represent or he is affiliated with.


 

PANGARAP. DUNONG. LAKAS. PAG-UNLAD. MAYNILA
Isang tula ng pag-asa

 

Gusto kong makita at mahanap,
Siyudad kung sa’n ating nilalasap,
Pamumuhay na may hinaharap,
Mamamayang may mga pangarap.

Kabiserang ganap ang pagsulong,
Gobyernong handa laging tumulong,
Sa pagsubok ay hindi uurong,
May galing at walang hanggang dunong.

Kagitingan niya ay sadyang likas,
Kisig niya’y hinding-hindi aalpas,
Ganda’t tingkad man niya ay lumipas,
Kasaysayan niya’y tunay na lakas.

Ang kanyang tunay na hinahangad,
Bayang Manileñong may dignidad,
Tapat, ‘di maihahalintulad,
Kapit-bisig para sa pag-unlad.

Patuloy mong dalhin ang bandila,
Ikaw ang natatangi niyang tala,
Ngalan mo’y laging idadakila,
Pagpugay nami’y sa’yo, Maynila!

 

 

AURORA-NEW-LOGO-2015 copy_small