Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bill of Rights



"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift up my lamp beside the golden door."


-from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

The United States of America was built on the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants. Whether one is white, black, brown or yellow is irrelevant and immaterial since we all have a part in its creation and continuing existence as a safe haven for all peace- loving and hard- working people. What it is now is the product of the combined work of the hands and brains of every person who landed on its shores centuries ago up to the present; a country that is the melting pot of all the peoples of the world.

But in this day and age of Ethnic Profiling and the Post 9-11 Paranoia it is advisable for all peace- loving and law- abiding immigrants especially if one is a Person of Color in the Land of the Free to know what our rights and responsibilities are so that we know what we have to do if the need arises.

In the next couple of days I will be blogging about things that prompted me to study the immigration laws and the rights of the immigrants in America that lead me to the American Civil Liberties Union website and to the path of enlightenment.

That is, I will be sharing with you some stories that actually happened to some of my friends and acquaintances here in the State of Michigan from the hands of the very people who are sworn to protect and uphold the basic tenets of human rights that should be accorded to every legal immigrant by its laws.

It will be a tell- all and no- holds barred thing that I'll assure you.

Meanwhile, it is about time to know some of the “basic” Rights and Responsibilities as a Legal Immigrant in the United States, if confronted by the “authorities.”



Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Legal Immigrant in the United States of America:


WHAT TO DO IF.....
YOU ARE STOPPED BY
IMMIGRATION AGENTS OR
POLICE WHILE ON FOOT.


Your Rights

First, always ask the agents or
police if you are free to go. If they
say yes, you have an absolute right
to remain silent and leave.

If you do not want to talk to the agents or
police, you may hand the agent your
attorney’s card, or the Rights Card,
and go. You have the absolute right
not to answer any questions posed
to you.

If the agents or police say that you
are not free to go, you should give
them your name. You do not have to
give any other information, such as
your address or immigration status

YOUR
IMMIGRATION AGENTS OR
POLICE COME TO YOUR HOME


You do not have to open the door to
any immigration agent or police officer
unless they have a search warrant from
a court.

If you do not want to let an agent or
officer inside, do not open the door.

Ask the agent or officer, through the door, if
they have a search warrant from a court
allowing them to search your home.

You have a right to review the warrant.

If you live in someone else’s house, you
still do not have to open the door unless
the agents or police have a search
warrant from a court.


YOUR CAR IS PULLED OVER
BY IMMIGRATION AGENTS OR
POLICE.


If immigration agents or police
signal you to stop your car, you
must pull over.

Immigration agents may ask brief questions
about your name, immigration
status, nationality, and travel
plans. You do not have to answer
any questions other than giving
your name.

Police officers may ask for your
name, drivers license and vehicle
registration. You should show
these documents if you have them.
You do not have to answer any
other questions.

If an agent or officer asks to
search your car, you may refuse to
give him permission.

If an agent or officer questions
a passenger, that person should
ask if he or she has to answer. If
the agent or officer says yes, the
passenger has to give his or her
name, but does not have to give
any other information. The agent
may ask you and your passenger
to exit the car.


YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES:

Be polite and calm.
Never lie or give false information to
an immigration agent or police.
Do not carry false ID.
Carry the name and phone number of
an immigration attorney who will take
your calls.


IF YOU ARE ARRESTED:

Give the name or card of your attorney
to the agents, and ask to speak to your
attorney.

If you do not have an attorney, ask for the
list of free legal services for your area.
Do not sign anything without talking to an
attorney.

Do not sign anything in a language you do
not read.

NOTE:
It is illegal for agents or police to pick
someone out for questioning because
of his or her ethnicity or race.

You have a right to be treated with
dignity and respect. If you are beaten,
threatened, called racist names,
or mistreated, you have a right to
complain about that treatment.

Be aware that just because you know
your rights and choose to exercise
them does not mean that the agents or
police will follow the law and respect
your rights.

Your Rights Card:



N.B.
Thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union

Visit their Website for further details @

  • ACLU


  • Here's a poem I've written years ago that was the Spotlight Poem of the Day for September 15, 2003 in the "old" Poetism.com poetry website as a tribute to the late Puerto Rican Poet, Miguel Piñero which I find relevant in a way to the topic of this post.



    The F*ck#n Truth (Ode to Miguel Piñero)

    Have you seen the writings on the wall?
    Yes, I have rewritten some of the graffiti
    The message will no longer feel empty.

    Stop rambling and grumbling there, dude
    I am not afraid of your f*ck#n mood
    I am the boy n d hood, the man of the hour,
    the toast of everyone.

    I came from downtown, uptown and across town.
    North side, west side, east side
    Downside, stateside and quayside

    I would change the phrases if I like
    You cant do anything about it, man
    Your walls will bear fruits and flowers
    By the stroke of my magic palette

    Egg white, egg yolk, brain stroke,
    Full heart, brave one and sand man,
    Whole life, half-life, death and
    After-life

    It doesn't really matter, my man
    Whether you rumbled and tumbled
    And burned you a** in the fire.

    Black, brown, yellow and white
    We all live under the same sun.

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Cool As Ice


    I watched the other day on ESPN the finals of the 2007 International Skating Union Ladies Figure Skating World Championships held in Tokyo, Japan from March 19- 25 and narrowly won by hometown gal Miki Ando over her more popular teammate and crowd- favorite Mao Asada by the narrowest margin of 195.09 to 194.45.

    I always love watching those pretty ballerinas on ice since way, way back. I love their elegant movements and their grace under pressure. I guess I like watching all kinds of sports from mixed martial arts to basketball to car racing and of course, figure skating.

    The competition for this year’s edition is not that deep name- wise. Gone were the likes of Shizuka Arakawa, Michelle Kwan, Irina Slutskaya and Sasha Cohen who never fails to electrify the skating world with their showmanship and grace on the ice rink.

    But their absences were made up by the presence of the young and talented skaters eager to prove their mettle as worthy successors to the Rink Goddesses that once ruled the Magical Ice Kingdom and surely they did not disappoint.

    These young skaters I tell you will surpass if not equal the talents, feats, acclaims and popularities enjoyed by their predecessors. The future of Figure Skating is in good hands err triple axels, lutz' and salchows of these youngsters on the ice skating rink.

    This year’s World Championships also saw the rise of Asia in the ladies figure skating scene as well as marks the passing of the torch from the once dominant West to the now powerful East--

    The traditional powerhouses like Russia, Germany and other European countries were nowhere to be found. There is no new, Katarina Witt, Oksana Baiul or Irina Slutskaya on the horizon. Their best bet which was Italy’s 2005 Bronze Medalist Carolina Kostner only landed 6th way below the new skaters on the block. They need to re- invent and reform their programs to regain their once lofty status.


    The United States’ Kimmie Meissner, the defending world champion could only do no better than fourth which doesn’t bode well for the country that was so used to winning and produced the likes of Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, Kristi Yamaguchi and even Sasha Cohen, all accomplished and acknowledged ice princesses. I still think Meisnner was just plain lucky last year that the field was there for the taking with the absence of the big guns while the young guns were deemed too young and thus were not allowed to participate because of this technicality. Also what with Miki Ando fumbling her way into the most embarrassing performance of her career. But Ando obviously came back with a vengeance and proved that there is truth in the age- old adage that “if at first …try, try again.”

    It marks the first time that the US women were shut out from the podium since 1994. But there is hope for the woeful US Figure Skating Association in Caroline Zhang and Mirai Nagasu who had a 1-2 finish at the junior level and incidentally both are also of Asian descents but they are just 13- years old and will take a little bit more time to mature. And with Mao Asada of Japan and Kim Yu-Na of Korea both former Junior World Champions maturing gracefully on ice, the rest of the world would be hard- pressed to catch up and beat them for years to come.


    Japan has gone a long way since Midori Ito’s stunning performance in 1989 that was followed by Yuka Sato in 1994 and Shizuka Arakawa’s subsequent gold- medal triumphs in the 2004 “Worlds” and the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics. It shows that their figure skating program is in synch at the moment. They have a lot of talented young figure skaters in their fold that Fumie Suguri the runner- up in the last 2006 World Championships did not even make the team this year.

    Miki Ando’s gold medal performance and 16 -year old phenom Mao Asada‘s silver further strengthened the beliefs of many that Japan is the consensus number one figure skating country now and of the future with Korea looming close behind because of Kim Yu-Na provided she remains healthy and injury- free.

    I was rooting for Mao Asada to win the big one this year for her first major win while competing as a senior but luck was not on her side as the former “Heartbreak Kid” Miki Ando finally emerged the winner after years of trying and finally shed the ghost of her past disappointments in major international competitions. And she did not even have to do her much publicized “quadruple jump” which she was able to do in practice that made headlines in the nation's major papers and networks but she relied more on the technical aspects in her performance, safely skating her way to the gold medal finish. For the record she's the only female figure skater who can succesfully do the "quads" although there were reports that Asada was able to do it in practice and is now working on it.

    I still believe though that among the participants in this year’s edition, Mao Asada is the most graceful ice skater which reminds me of Sasha Cohen and Kristi Yamaguchi, two great stars who can combine artistry and skill with ease. It will be just a matter of time though before she will be crowned World and Olympic champion if she proves true to her promise and worth. That is my fearless prediction for this sweet prodigious talent.

    By the way, did I tell you that my late grandmother Riki’s surname is Ando and she’s also from Aichi Prefecture, same place with Miki Ando as well as Mao Asada’s listed hometown?

    Maybe, we’re relatives after all.

    How’s that for shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon err the ice rink in this case?

    Cool, eh.




    NOTE: My recently updated sites--

  • Inks and Verses


  • Mach & Me
  • Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Let There Be Light (Part I)



    I’ve been so busy the past week that I hardly had time to update my blogs although I was able to spare a bit of time to take a peek on some of the blogs in my blogroll on some nights that I was home.

    Anyway, I read in the March 15, 2007 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer the news about the National Power Corporation’s cutting off supply to the entire province of Albay because of the Albay Electric Cooperative’s unpaid debt in the amount of a whopping P981.3 million.

    At first, my mind tried to brush it off but my heart begged me to say my piece after I realized that Aleco is so much in the red and could accumulate a debt that will reach a billion pesos in the next few years or so which will have a very negative effect to the lives of the people of Albay.

    It used to be a profitable cooperative run by honest and hardworking people in Albay where the welfare of its constituents were paramount and service excellence its battle cry.

    In fact, my Grandfather, Jose C. Templado used to be its Secretary of the Board and then President during its pioneering days in the early 70s to its heydays in the 80s while at the same time being Vice- President of the Association of Bicol Cooperatives (ABECO) which he served with unquestioned integrity and genuine public service.

    He saw the writings on the wall early when crooked politicians entered the cooperative's domain, invaded its board room and started to twist the cooperative’s policies and decisions to suit their needs and interests which I think influenced his decision not to seek re- election and retired quietly when his final term ended.

    Afterwards, the cooperative’s fate and fortune all went downhill as more competent and honest people left Aleco disillusioned and replaced with blood- suckers who bled the cooperative’s coffer dry and drive the company into financial ruins which it cannot recover.

    At one time, Aleco was divided into 3 independent services that served the 3 Congressional Districts of Albay with--

    Aleco 1: Tiwi, Malinao, Tabaco, Malilipot, Bacacay and Sto. Domingo.

    Aleco 2: Legaspi City, Daraga, Camalig, Rapu- Rapo, and Manito.

    Aleco 3: Guinobatan, Oas, Libon, Ligao, Polangui, Jovellar and Pio Duran.

    Each one was independent from each other policy and budget -wise. Each had its own members- elected Board of Directors and run by autonomous management team.

    This was done to save the consumers of the other districts from the inconvenience of their power and electricity being cut - off because of one particular district’s failure to deliver its payment to Napocor.

    Actually this was done to save the “less- progressive” districts, which were the First and Third Districts, from the “urban” Second District, where big business reigns supreme and huge debt to the cooperative is tops.

    But the experiment did not last long due to pressures from “unseen hands” and so- called concerned consumers that were supported by lobbyists to the “higher ups” in the national government.

    In the course of its history, you can trace Aleco’s woes to its delinquent consumers; not the common Albayano though but mostly from the big businesses that operate in Legaspi City owned by prominent people of Albay with ties to powerful politicians and other powers-that- be in the province as well as to the plethora of inept managers that the National Electrification Administration installed to “mis”- manage the company.

    The moral of the story here is that the dirty hands of politics corrupt the people they touch and destroy everything in their path.

    If we can only rid our country of these crooked politicians and their minions, maybe we can really, really say that the Philippines can be a really, really nice place to live in.

    If that time comes, then I can say that there is really a light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise, we will continue to be stuck in the dark age of our own making.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    Broadway Beat: Lea Salonga



    Les Miz at The View


    Note: Thanks to Augustine73 for the video clips

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    A Beautiful Mind

    Meet Daniel Tammet a.k.a. BrainMan

    A 26- year old Brit widely known for his extra- ordinary abilities and a highly- functional “Autistic- Savant.”

    He was and still is the subject of curiosity as well as studies of ordinary people and scientists alike for years now about the mystery of the human brain.

    He was recently seen on TV’s 60 Minutes wherein he showcased his God- given talent for all the world to see. To those who have seen him on TV before, relive your wonderful experience here and for the first timers, just sit back, relax and enjoy the show!







    Now you see that God really works in mysterious ways…


    Visit his official website:

    Optimnem

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Real Foolitiks (Part I)

    I almost choked on my Tim Horton’s doughnut this morning when I logged into my laptop and saw the news from the homeland on the front pages of ABS- CBNews, Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Philippine Star.

    Good thing there was a bottle of caffeine- free diet Pepsi nearby that eventually washed the darn thing out of my throat down through my esophagus and into the deep recesses of my gut.

    The culprit was NSO administrator Carmelita Ericta proclaiming the “results of the January 2007 Labor Force Survey by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that the country’s employment rate went up to 92.2% from 91.9% last year.”


    "This means that nine in every 10 persons in the labor force were employed,"
    she concluded.

    This could only mean that the long- suffering Juan and Juana de la Cruzes will stop worrying about their next meal on the table and this county long- dubbed as the sick man of Asia is on the way to a wonderful recovery which neither science nor faith can explain this welcome miracle.

    This could only mean that poverty in our country will soon be history.

    Hallelujah, Gloria in Excelsis!


    NURSING THE CHEATERS

    The Filipino taxpayers will have to shoulder the 20 million pesos that the government will spend for the review of the nursing students who will voluntary retake some parts of the 2006 Nursing Board Examination that was tainted by cheating perpetrated by some unscrupulous individuals in cahoots with morally- inept people within the noble profession.

    Some will raise hell to high heavens about this considering the outrageous amount in a country where every peso counts and could even make a difference in one’s life but what is 20 million bucks anyway?

    We have local government officials from Sanggunian Bayan Members to Mayors to Governors who dips their filthy hands in the public’s coffers everyday and we just look the other way.

    We have Congressmen and Senators who loots hundreds of millions of their “countryside development funds“ wherein the money usually ends up literally in their own backyards and we just shrug our shoulders.

    We have people in the Executive Branch of the government who continue to amass ill - gotten wealth on a daily basis and we just turn the other cheek and walk away.

    I say, let go of all the hullabaloos and let them nursing grads have their retake and everybody will be happy.

    It is far better for our nurses to be called healers rather than killers in the end.


    FAILURE OF INTELLIGENCE

    "The person who posted this might be discovered and so one thing could lead to another,"
    Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao said, referring to the capabilities of the anti-cyber crime division of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

    "For sure there are people coddling [Ocampo] because you know Ka Satur cannot go underground, continue to hide and run away from justice without anybody helping him," he said.

    These are the words of wisdom straight from the mouth of a ranking member of the PNP Intelligence Service. These words also help us understand more the PNP's intelligence gathering techniques and capabilities.

    Of course the Police Officer is fuming about Bayan Muna Party- List Representative Satur Ocampo’s video in YouTube and he is in a fighting mood and thus in his moment of enlightenment threatens and warns the person or persons who uploaded the said video that the highly- touted and higly- trained anti- cyber crime division of the PNP- CIDG will soon identify or catch them with their pants down.

    In a country like the Philippines where Internet Cafes abound, I wonder how will the intelligent members of the police intelligence service can catch the “culprits” of this Hollywood-style guerilla tactics employed by Ka Satur’s supporters.

    Employ the Mod Squad perhaps?

    I’ll recommend Johnny English or better still Monk for the job.


    RED ‘EM AND WEEP

    National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales have predicted that the decades- old communist insurgency will be history by the end of PGMA's term in 2010.

    Well, good luck to you Sir, for if ever you can accomplish what the other regimes have failed to do so I will take my head err hat’s off to you.

    "We have to eliminate this," Gonzales told some 1,000 businessmen and senior citizens during the quarterly meeting of the Bataan Chamber of Commerce and Industry held Wednesday.

    He said communist rebels are "planning how I can be assassinated. That is true. Our assets told me I should not joke about these things."

    He said the rebels’ plan "is the reason why sometimes I am not able to come to some of your (events). I also want to live longer, but do you think Bataan is worth dying for?" Gonzales said the government is now capable of crushing armed rebellion as Filipinos are becoming more cooperative and knowledgeable about the role of subversive elements in society."

    Brave words and full of hot air of course--

    The insurgency problem will not be stopped by bullets alone.

    It cannot be solved by mere rhetoric but of a genuine reform in our government and society.

    Since these things can be easily said than done, we should expect the “communist” problem to continue for years to come which is quite sad since we are fighting our very own brothers and sisters.

    Yes, Mister Secretary,"the Filipino is and will always be worth dying for."

    But not the Filipino of your kind.

    Now I feel like gagging and I'm sick on my stomach.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Another One Bites the Dust


    The Stardust Resort and Casino, that historic 63 acres of fun on the famous Las Vegas Strip widely known for its big, big excesses in everything during its heyday was finally erased from the map at 2:33 A.M. on March 13, 2007.

    And She did it with a bang and in typical Las Vegas fashion complete with fireworks and an implosion that was watched by thousands of spectators who in the end have to scamper for their precious lives when the dusts and smoke of the Old Lady came running after them. LOL

    Another landmark in the ever- changing, neon- lit, money- powered gambling and entertainment capital of the world gone--

    A victim of the dreaded Vegas curse: where fortunes could change hands overnight; where lives could be made or broken by the roll of the dice; where the only thing constant is --Change.

    But I am not a gambler so what do I care?

    Shhh, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...



    From Dust to Dust goes the legendary Las Vegas Casino STARDUST and its 48 years of memories...

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Made in Japan

    It was 38 years ago today when my Dad, a Japanese who was a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) met my Mom who was his English Teacher in Tiwi, Albay in the Philippines.

    My father, at 21 years of age, was the youngest in his batch of "Peace Corp Volunteers" in 1968 when he was first assigned in our town that he called home for more than 20 years until he died due to complications of Emphysema in 1990 while my mother was a fresh Journalism graduate of the University of Santo Tomas who opted to teach English and Literature in her hometown.

    They met at a Dance Party where they were introduced to each other by the town mayor, no less. At first, my Lolo opposed their relationship due to the bitter memories of the war and filed a complaint with the Japanese Embassy wherein my father was subsequently pulled out of his assignment and recalled back to Japan where he wrote my mother in his funny English everyday.

    Soon after, he returned to the Philippines as an "ordinary" Japanese citizen and they eloped to Pangasinan where he started his landscaping career and stayed in the house of the late Senator Eva Estrada Kalaw.

    They went back to Tiwi when my mother was heavily pregnant with me and earned my Lolo’s acceptance and the rest as the old cliché goes was history.

    So, today I am “turning Japanese” although in a different and whacky way. I am sharing with you some crazy and hilarious Japanese videos I got from YouTube and hopefully you’ll enjoy them 'gaya ko. LOL


    The Nose Knows



    Jump Man

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Lea's Miz



    Yes folks, Lea Salonga’s back in Broadway where she is essaying the role of the tragic character Fantine in the theatrical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Classic Novel Les Miserables at the Broadhurst Theater.

    The Tony Award- winning musical created by the two collaborating geniuses Alain Boublil and Claude- Michel Schonberg, with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and produced by Cameron Mackintosh is a heart-wrenching and thought- provoking musical that would melt even the hardest soul among us.



    Les Miserables set in the 1800s in volatile France tells the stories of Jean Valjean an escaped convict and his struggles to start a new life while being relentlessly pursued by an obsessed Police Inspector Javert.

    By the way, talk about injustice, like Nelson Mandela, Valjean was wrongly convicted for stealing a mere loaf of bread and served 19 years of his life for it!

    You can just see the parallelism here of the situation in the Philippines where the poor would be easily convicted for minor offenses while the crocodiles who plundered millions remains scot-free. Hah, I long for the day when the long, long arm of the law will finally caught up with them and their shenanigans. Even though it is a moon shot still we are entitled to dream, di po ba?



    Lea Salonga’s Fantine, a worker in a factory owned by Jean Valjean, (now a Mayor and a rich man) and the desperate mother who turned to prostitution in order to feed her daughter Cosette.

    Cosette is in love with the rebel- student Marius who is in turn being secretly desired by Eponine, the daughter of the scheming Innkeepers, the Thenardiers.

    Lea replaced Nikki Renée Daniels, an ensemble cast member who briefly took over for the miscast and much- maligned Daphne Rubin- Vega who found a graceful exit when she left last February to team up with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Jack Goes Boating Off- Broadway.

    Songs like Master of the House, On My Own, I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear The People Sing?, Bring Him Home, One Day More and even Castle on a Cloud are veritable classics if not, classics in the making.

    I have planned to watch the show this month but due to some work- related changes in my schedule and other stuffs I have to postpone it until April next month or until I replenish my Paid Time Off bank that I spent when I got sick with the flu early in the year. But I will definitely watch Les Mis before Ms. Salonga’s stint end in the summer.

    So, my dream of watching Lea Salonga in Broadway will have to be still a dream, at least for now.

    But to all of you out there, go forth and watch the show eventhough the new venue Broadhurst Theater which has a seating capacity of “just” 1, 100+ is quite smaller than the old one, Broadway Theater (1,900+) and also some say that the stage is less grand this time. Still, it will be a fascinating journey and worth the time and money that you will spend since it will be more up close and personal with the casts and of course, the presence of Lea Salonga which is the primary reason why I plan to watch the show.

    Speaking of Broadhurst Theater, I watched the short- lived musical Lennon there when I was in the Big Apple in the summer of August 2005. You can read my review of the show

  • here



    Les Miserables Rehearsal:


    Old Post:
    Lea Salonga- Filipina Performer Par Excellence


    Links:

    DIVA Talk: Lea's Playbill Interview



  • Les Miserables Official Website

    About Les Miserables

    Broadway Word of Mouth

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Moon Shadow




    The first total lunar eclipse in three years was seen last night all over the world where a lot of people went “nuts” over the phenomenon; from Europe to Africa to Asia to the Americas, people watched this rare occurrence with enthusiasm and excitement.



    A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow and can only take place when the moon is full and when the sun, earth and moon are aligned.

    To explain this further, There are two parts to the Earth's shadow; the penumbra, and the umbra wherein the former is the outer part of the shadow where sunlight is not completely blocked and its shadow only dims the moon slightly while the latter is the actual shadow created by the Earth and that is where a total lunar eclipse occurs.

    Unfortunately I failed to watch the spectacle for I was on the second day of my killer three -day, 12- hour shift, working in the busy ER but I could tell from the way people who were flocking to the hospital in droves that the moon is full out there and doing her thing.



    I remember when I was a kid when a lunar eclipse is a much awaited and most watched event in the night sky by folks back home where the whole caboodle would camp out in the dark just to watch the phenomenal show.

    My playmates and I would even use some empty soda bottles whose bottoms were full of soot from the burning candle specifically set up on the roadside so that we could see the eclipse “clearly.”

    Then there was another way where some folks would bring out their huge “palangganas” (water basins used for laundry) and filled them out with water and watched the moon's reflection as it darkened and glow on its water.

    Also, Pregnant women were told not to look into the eclipse lest their off- springs will have some sort of eye - defects at birth while some children who were born during the eclipse will always be given the benefit of the doubt in his/ her tantrums/ shortcomings because he/ she was born during a dark period- “pag- pasensyahan mo na yan si ano kasi ipinanganak yan eklipse.” LOL

    Whatever explanations behind those things as told by some village elders to us children now escapes me. Nevertheless, the thought of it nowadays would easily elicit a chuckle for the good old days.



    Anyway, eclipse like the full moon is always related to folklores and superstitious beliefs since time immemorial--

    Many people hundreds of years ago associate it with destruction and the end of the world until science enlightened us and proved them wrong.

    The ancient Indians believed that a serpent devours the moon when it is eclipsed and so does the Chinese. In India, people would stay indoors and avoid the “bad” rays being emitted by the darkened moon that would cause bad luck to anybody who would venture outside in the course of the eclipse.

    It was believed that by consulting his almanac while moored in Jamaica, Christopher Columbus, the explorer under ther service of Spain who was credited of “discovering” the New World knowing that there would be a lunar eclipse blackmailed the natives into cooperating with him otherwise he would ask God to removed the moon from the sky.

    The natives did not believe him at first but when the moon disappeared into the night sky they became terrified and granted the Italian explorer’s wish right there and then and lo, and behold the moon did reappear afterwards, thanks but no thanks to Columbus’ ability to talk with the Almighty.

    Another one is for a pregnant woman not to touch her belly while an eclipse is -on- going or else her baby will have a very prominent “balat sa katawan” (birthmark).

    So, you now know who to blame for all your birthmarks in all the right and not- so right places, people.

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