Tuesday, October 26, 2004

My Experience as an Exorcist: The Case of the Canadian Stowaway

I have a cousin who began seeing spirits about four years ago. Let's call her KING then a teenager when these events happened. Her third eye was opened when my grandparents, who died about five years ago, tried to convey a message to us, and she was the only willing medium. They have tried to convey a message to me too through a dream, but I was too frightened to talk to them. My cousin who appeared to have been fascinated by her abilities talked to them in her dreams. As she persisted, she soon could see their spirits even in broad daylight.

Thereafter, my cousin allowed herself to be a channel for my grandparents to touch and feel the world again. This is a long story that will be subject of another post. Meanwhile, let's proceed from this premise that after that incident in which my cousin allowed herself to be the channel of my dead grandparents, things were never the same again. Spirits from everywhere have spotted her and have attempted and succeeded to take over her body. It was only through the help of a professional exorcist and her father, an enthusiast of the occult, that she was able to drive them away eventually but not until after they have conveyed the stories of how they died and what they wished for in the physical world.

In the summer of 2001, I brought my family to our hometown in Pola, Or. Mindoro. I had only two kids then. My sister and my cousins joined us in the trip. Pola (also the hometown of the Vice President) rests on the eastern part of Mindoro with vast beaches. Check out the map here. It's primarily an agricultural town, and people often come there to take a vacation after working on the big city. In the first afternoon since we got there, we went for a swim in Aguada Beach.

My cousin King joined us. We had a grand time enjoying the warm and clean water, blue sky and the fine-grained sand. We were the only ones in the beach then, and we were horsing around as if the beach belonged to us. At about 5:00 pm, we decided it was time to go. Our house was about one kilometer away from the beach, so it was a long walk.

On our way home while walking on the beach, the spirit manifested herself to King. The spirit was in distress, and she wanted to talk to King. But due to her previous encounters with restless spirits, King ignored the spirit and continued to walk home with us as if nothing was happening. Apparently, the spirit would not give up and she would follow us all the way home. We were all still clueless about King's encounter with this spirit from the beach.

King's main weapon against these spirits have always been a medal that was given to her by a professional exorcist. I don't have the details of this medal but it has proven very potent as no spirit has succeded taking over her body whenever she wore it. Meanwhile, the spirit decided to stop bothering King as my cousin went inside our house and washed up. This caused King to be a little lax on her defenses as she changed clothes and forgot about the medal that was pinned on her wet clothes. She failed to get it and pin it on her fresh clothes.

Soon after washing up, she felt dizzy and decided to go to sleep. In her sleep, the spirit started bothering her again. The spirit was begging her for help. While King was struggling with the spirit, we were all having a little snack downstairs, and were not aware of what King was going through.

Just then King ran down the stairs and cried out for her Dad. Unfortunately, her Dad was not around.

The household was terrified as we saw King get into a trance as the spirit tried to take over her body while she put up a resistance. My cousins, sisters and my wife took out their rosaries and prayed as we had been accustomed to do on these occasions. While everyone prayed, we all held King by her feet and hand to stop her from hurting anyone. King's eyes were piercing and red. She growled and scratched like crazy as we went on praying.

About thirty minutes later, a village exorcist arrived. She uttered prayers on King and spoke to the spirit in various languages. Meanwhile, King was throwing up. Based on our experience, everytime King was throwing up, it meant that the incantations were working, and the spirit was being expelled. I was beside King while all this was happening and held on to the her hand.

Alas, for thirty minutes, it appeared that the spirit was still around. The exorcist was being hostile to the spirit as she wanted the spirit to be driven away. Yet, the spirit appeared to be saying something important. But the exorcist didn't seem like she wanted to talk with the spirit, as the exorcist continued to speak to her in tongues.

Then, the spirit took over King's voice and began to speak in English. The village exorcist decided to let me speak to her. And this was how I managed a conversation with her:

Spirit: Have you seen Nancy?

MBA: What do you mean?

Spirit:Do you know Raul?

MBA: What do you mean?

Spirit: Raul, he raped me and killed me.

MBA: What's your name?

Spirit: I am Jamila Miller.

MBA: What happened?

Spirit: I am from Canada. I stowed away from my parents and went to Puerto Galera with my friend Nancy. There I met Raul who raped me and killed me and dumped me on the sea. You have to find Raul.

MBA: Do your parents know about this? How can we get in touch with them?

Spirit: There is no way to contact them. You have to find Raul.

At this point, the exorcist told me that it was time to ask the spirit to leave.

MBA: Jamila, you have to let King's body go.

Spirit: No. I will kill her. She refused to help me.

MBA: Jamila you're dead. You have to move on. Move on. We will pray for you. In heaven, you will find the justice that eluded you in this world. Move on. You will find God the Father and Mother Mary there. They will take care of you.

And the spirit left, as King was revived unto herself. King said Jamila was a caucasian teen-ager. She had long hair and a big red mark on her face apparently the result of being hit by a blunt weapon.

We wondered how a spirit whose body was apparently dumped in Puerto Galera could get to the beaches of Pola, Or. Mindoro. She may have taken a ride with the bancas and boats plying the route. But the great mystery which until now is unsolved is who is this Raul? Where did he dump Jamila's body? When? Where are Jamila's parents and relatives? Who is Nancy? Where is she?

Next post: The Return of Jamila Miller's Spirit

Friday, October 22, 2004

Singing with the Enemy

The Establishment (ABS-CBN News Magandang Umaga) carried an amusing story this morning about the lawyers prosecuting and defending the killer of Arbet Sta. Ana-Yongco.

Ms. Yongco was the prosecutor of Ruben Ecleo, Jr., a cult leader accused of murdering his wife in Cebu. She was killed on October 11, 2004 as witnessed by a ten-year old girl. The girl identified a certain Michael Favila as the killer. Mr. Favila was charged yesterday.

In the news, the Establshment showed us that after the charges were levied, and Favila was placed in custody, the lawyers prosecuting and defending Michael Favila got into a light mood, and turned the courtroom into a karaoke bar. The cameras showed Favila's lawyer belting out "Bato sa Buhangin" and thereater, the prosecutor started singing with him. And then, the prosecutor nudged the accused Michael Favila to sing along with them, and the man obliged. After the scene, the camera cuts to news anchor Erwin Tulfo, who couldn't keep himself from editorializing by saying something like, the Chief Justice shouldn't allow this to happen, because it gives the public the impression tha lawyers are not serious about their jobs.

Well, it is really absurd that things like this happen. Erwin Tulfo is right when he says that the scene gives the public a bad impression on the justice system. As regards to the defender of Favila who led everyone in the singing, it could be a ploy, a Sun Tzu technique to disarm the prosecutor and see through her weaknesses as a person (boy, did it work.) But for this prosecutor, I can't find any possible way to defend her actions. Somebody got killed. That somebody is a fellow lawyer who died on active duty, and what does the prosecutor do? Sing "Bato sa Buhangin" with the lawyer of the accused, and even nudge the accused to sing along. Talk about sleeping with the enemy, or should we say singing with the enemy.

I'm sure that prosecutor violated a rule in the book. At the very least, I think it's conduct unbecoming of a prosecutor. The question is do we have time to bother with these things when bigger injustices are left unsolved?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Super Shock Me

I've been waiting for Super Size Me to get shown in Philippine theaters, and guess what? It got shown in Rockwell for a few days, and before my wife and I could get there it was gone. Curious too is the fact that the Establishment appears to have ignored it, probably because they think it's not a good movie or some editors were paid to kill the story.

Morgan Spurlock , the film's director and narrator, shows us an experiment. which he does on himself. For thirty days, he eats nothing but Mcdonald's fast food. He imposes the rule that if they ask him to super-size his orders, he has to oblige. And, to best approximate the average American lifestyle, he doesn't exercise. He hires three doctors to establish his health status before, during and after the experiment. He shows us that when he started, he was in perfect health as certifed by his doctors. But after his experiment, the findings are shocking: His weight balloons by 30 pounds, his cholesterol goes up 65 points, his blood pressure increases, he develops a liver disease that often afflicted only alcoholics, his gets into mood swings, his energy drops, he has chest pains, and yes, his girlfriend complains that he couldn't get his thing up longer than he used to.

Of course, this experiment has limitations. But really, the thesis statement is very clear: If you eat nothing but fastfood for thirty days, you accept everything they offer you in the fastfood, including supersize otions, and you don't exercise, you will get sick, and pretty soon you will die.

Now is that a relevant statement? You bet it is. For one, that was how I managed through the months leading to my bar exams, when I lived in my own apartment, and the priority of my daily existence was to hurdle the daily reading list. I drank lots of coffee, coke, and I even tried out Jolt cola for that extra kick in caffein. My apartment was near the Tropical Hut food mart at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Puyat Avenue in Makati. My daily staple was Tropical Hut burger for lunch and Tropical Hut stir-fried beef and rice with egg for dinner. No wonder, I couldn't sleep on the eve of the first Sunday bar exams, and by the third week, I was dead tired. I even fell asleep while taking the commercial law exams. Now, that was just the diet of a bar reviewee. What about the law student, the college, high school and grade school student? They comprise a vast majority of this republic. How can the Establishment miss this movie?

After watching the DVD of this film, my wife and I made a resolution to take the fastfood out of the diet of our four kids. They will probably hate us for it, but I know someday, they are going to thank us.

Monday, October 18, 2004

An experience of the divine

Ryan Cayabyab's affair with San Miguel Corporation bears fruit.

The San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts has recently released "Great Original Pilipino Music by Ryan Cayabyab" on compact disc. The disc contains Ryan Cayabyab's choral arrangement of his Filipino hit songs as performed by the San Miguel Master Chorale and the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra. At PHP 300, this is a bargain.

The first six songs were all originally performed by Basil Valdez, and prior to this recording had been often imitated by singing contest participants and new recording artists. These were the songs that defined the quality of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) back in the 70's and the early 80's. After hearing these new arrangements, I have come to the conclusion that these were never the songs of Basil Valdez, although he interpreted them well and everyone tried to imitate his version. These songs have always been the songs of Ryan Cayabyab, and he shows them why in this album. With the San Miguel Master Choral and Philharmonic, Ryan gives the songs the spin that transforms these songs into true classics for all Filipino generations to enjoy.

One song "Tunay na Ligaya" was our staple "harana" fare back in college when a group of my friends decided to do a favor for another friend who was wooing a beauty title-holder. We practised for days, and when the moment came as planned, the guy brought the lady to the back of the Pollock Center where the Ateneo campus overlooks Marikina Valley, wine and roses awaited them, as we sung "Tunay na Ligaya". Of course, the lady was tickled pink. The experience was to be repeated for all members of the group, except for me because we realized it was bad luck, the lovers often broke off after some time. Eric Yaptangco wrote a song about it, which became a gold record hit. Now hearing Ryan Cayabyab's fresh arrangement of "Tunay na Ligaya", I can't help but remember those days. In this version, two soloists, a lady and a gentleman, perform the sweetest arrangement of this love song ever heard on this planet. This is an experience worth every peso of it.

"Tsismis", originally from Ryan's ground-breaking "One" album, best exemplifies Ryan's command of the chorale music genre as he imitates the sound dynamics of gossip Phlippine style. This is an art song that has no counter-part in Billboard.

The mood turns to light and bouncy with "Da Coconut Nut", a take off from Ryan's Smokey Mountain project. My friend, poet Jim A. (now based in South Africa) once wrote in the defunct, Midweek Magazine, that Ryan's Smokey Mountain group was singing cliches. Until now I still cannot understand what he meant, because more than ten years have passed since Smokey Mountain, the singing group, was launched, and "Da Coconut Nut" is still as vibrant and as fresh as a newly-picked "buko". And, as the real cliche goes, "it's good to the last drop."

"Paraiso" is my favorite of this Smokey Mountain set. It starts off with the plucked strings on C dominant 9, and then enter the sopranos with that familiar line, "Return to a land called Paraiso.." After the first verse, the tenors come in, and then the entire ensemble syncopates to "Pa-ra-i-so". I swear I heard the sound of angels. And their voices fly off to the heights of the bridge and coda up and down the G clef and finally rest with a grand note. The experience can best be described as ecstatic. That's no cliche Jim -- never was and never will be.

The best song of the album is hands down "Awit ng Pagsinta (Epithalamium)" from the pop-ballet, Rama Hari. The material simply lends itself beatifully to the chorale music genre. Harmony, dynamics, and clarity, all qualities of good chorale music, were rendered perfectly by Ryan and the San Miguel Chorale and Philharmonic on this cut.

I have one reason to stop saying Danding should return his San Miguel shares to the people.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Wake up INQ7.net! You are the establishment.

And we, bloggers, are the alternative.

Don't pretend to be us. We won't pretend to be you.

Live. With. It.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Hollywood becomes us

With all this talk about the Filipino General who was found to have stashed hundreds of millions in kickbacks, I think it's absolutely stupid for people to think that all will be well after this "big fish" has been caught. Why? First, because we know it's not just one Filipino General. Some people say the corruption is embedded in the entire chain of command. Second, because these Filipino general and his ilk are the people who have the gun in this country. They are the ones who keep the peace. It's naive to think that we can put them in jail. What do I mean? Well, here is a variation of the monologue of Colonel Nathan Jessup in the movie "A Few Good Men" .
Great movie -- the shock of recognition still gives me the shivers.

Imagine an AFP general speaking:

Take caution in your tone, Mr. Ombudsman. I'm a fair guy but this fucking heat is making me absolutely crazy. You wanna ask me about kickbacks? On the record, I tell you I discourage the practice in acordance with the Commanders directives; off the record, I tell you it`s an invaluable part of close military operations. And if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my unit how I run my unit. You wanna investigate me? Roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 communists that are trained to kill me, so don`t think for one second that you can come down here, flash your badge and make me nervous.

And imagine him on cross-examination by Simeon Marcelo:

General: You want answers?
Ombudsman: I think I'm entitled to them.
General: You want answers?
Ombudsman: I want the truth!
General: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Atty. Marcelo? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the foot soldiers and you curse corruption in the military. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that kickbacks, while reprehensible, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Ombudsman: Did you order the whitewash?
General: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.
Ombudsman: Did you order the whitewash?
General: You're goddamn right I did!!

Philippine society cannot turn against the excesses of its warrior class without risking the peace. Please tell me I'm wrong.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Legal Profession's Agenda No. 1: Open up

I think the solution to the inefficient justice system has been found: It's called the "Big G". Globalization --yes, it's the G word. Let the foreign lawyers come in.

Right now, the profession is loaded with corruptors: lawyers who bribe judges to win cases for clients. You can find them everywhere, ambulance chasing on seafarers, TRO buying on videoke bars, passing on loads of cash to prosecutors and arbiters in exchange for favorable rulings, and practically almost in every place except the courts where ideally the real action should be. You read their pleadings, and you wonder if your kid in kindergarten can do better. You hear them speak, and you try to decide whether it's better to argue on the rules of procedure or on the rules of grammar.

How do you get rid of these guys? Send them out of business. Bring in the competition who can deliver better services and who will not think twice about questioning improprieties committed by members of the bar and the bench. Bring in the Clarence Darrow types who can take us back into the time when being a lawyer meant something more than being rich (that's a myth, by the way). It's time we put our legal system back in the map.

Then, with the foreign lawyers, more business will come in. Investors will be more enthusiastic about doing business here if they have their lawyers around to draw them the legal roadmaps, instead of thugs who will just tell them who to bribe. More importantly, our own countrymen will get what they deserve: an efficient and graft-free justice system.

There are many other things that foreign lawyers can do for this country, which unfortunately our lawyers will not and cannot do. Roll out the carpet. I say bring them in.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11 is Bush-bashing through and through, but how come I like it? 1. Because I've always hated Bush (the guy looks like Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine), and 2. It affirms my opinion (and of many others)that Bush took us all for a ride in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush is the kind of President that America should not have in the post-Cold War era when no single nation can challenge it, especially when it wants to violate International Law. The single principle that made the United Nations a reality is Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which proscribes aggressive war. But look at what Bush did -- he used the events of 9/11 to create fear among his countrymen and rally them to war against the wrong guys. In the process, he ignored the United Nations and formed what he called was the Coalition of the Willing ("Weaklings" is more like it.) After Afghanistan and Iraq, the United Nations can only be labeled at best as America's lap dogs. Fahrenheit 9/11 explains very well the opinion that Bush should not have been America's President in 2000 and 2004, not just for the sake of Americans but also for the sake of the rest of us whose lives are hopelessly tied down to Amercia's fortunes. Great -- so how come I have my reservations about this film? Well, because it is clearly propaganda, and a well-made propaganda at that. I've always been suspicious of propaganda, because they mix truth with falsehoods, and also, propaganda lose their value in due time when the politics of the day has changed. This film measures up to the best propaganda film documentary as each frame of this film appears to be authentic, that is why it's very good. Yet, clearly it doesn't aspire for truth. It limits its point of view to Michael Moore's political persuasion. No problem with that really, but for the fact that I normally don't pay PHP 130 for an hour or so of political propaganda.