Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Jap Nishi asked why I was so affected when Myrtle, the PBB Teen housemate suddenly became a "princess" on Twitter's trending topic this afternoon. I replied as a jest that I cannot accept Myrtle's mom becoming the "queen" of the Philippines. But his question, like a dagger forced deep into my skin left still unanswered fundamental questions. Do I dislike Myrtle, the PBB Teen housemate because I somehow favor Jai and Joj as the big winner? Do I find the budding love team between her and Yves quite disgusting (after seeing Myrves on my Twitter every time I go online) or do I find the girl utterly repulsive because of how her fans trash the trending topics of my favorite social media with their silly key phrases.

The answer is lost beneath the layers of self-denial, since a part of me says "minsan lang sila magiging jejemon, let them enjoy the experience." But when I am reminded of how pointless and shallow the effort is; of how Myrtle the cos player and Yves the twink are bound to become forgotten celebrities when the next Pinoy Big Brother season begins; of how devoted and rabid fans turn mindless, like a mob when leaders of the fan's club dictate the next key phrase to be tweeted over and over again until it becomes the next trending topic,

Then perhaps, I have answered Jap Nishi's question.

When kids these days waste their lives like this: 

instead of learning splendid things about the world, doing their homework for school, or at the very, very least, tweeting what activity they did, or musings they had before reconnecting to the web, then there's something very wrong with how our next generation perceives life.

I am no fan of reality shows because of their tendency to overrate ordinary people. But when these reality shows begin to twist its audience's idea of fame and fortune, we might be, unknowingly, turning the devoted but uninstructed young followers into mindless, thoughtless and dreamless, 


Shifting Perspectives

Put the blame squarely to the bed weather, or maybe to his sheer desire to get everyone's attention. But when Rick M.O. of Twitter suddenly posted a picture of his pinkish hard-on peeping out of his skimpy boxers, I was tempted to post a tweet saying, "have you really sunk so low?" 

I followed his twitter account not just because of his eye-candy physique, but because I was amazed when he made a stand so long ago that he won't pay attention to those - who see Twitter as an extension of their Grindr playground. Hindi ko alam with this people if its because of convenience, or expanding network, or perhaps, in their desire to out-guy one another, they take off every piece of clothing they wear until what's left is that flagpole between their legs. 

And then they flirt around.

Not only does it spoil the mystery, I personally find it cheap - unless you can reinforce it with an equally subversive attitude - like D. Dominik.

The latter is someone I don't follow. But his exploits ripple toward my shores thanks to the people in my social network. I may find his misdeeds quite amusing at certain moods. But his uncanny character will just remain a stuff of legends - one - that becomes a perfect conversation piece over a bottle of booze or a cup of coffee.

As for the issue of hormone-driven men showing off their jewels in places that are meant for a different kind of openness, of voyeurism, their behavior will always remain incomprehensible to me. For even though I had my time as a younger, show-off kid who used to take off his clothes while gyrating like a slut on a ledge, in a club known for its not-so-sleazy atmosphere and adrenaline inducing music, in words and deeds, I cannot remember revealing that thing I guard under my pants.

More than anything else, I may never understand these young men, not because I have embraced a life of quiet domestication. But because I have already gone through my own twisted, contorted phase, and emerged as someone with a changed perspective.

What makes their world spin no longer applies to me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

London, 2012

The last time the Olympics happened in London was in 1948. A few years after the end of World War 2. The city had little choice. They were supposed to hold the games in 1944, if the Germans didn't plunge Europe into a bloody war. Instead of promoting world unity through sports competition, D-Day was commencing in Normandy. Peace was restored with Great Britain joining the victors. When the Summer Games resumed, London took the reigns of an old tradition and hosted the XIV Olympiad amidst its urban ruins.

Dubbed as the Austerity Games, not everyone in Great Britain welcomed the idea of bringing the games. There's a housing and food shortage across the country, and the tattered economy hasn't bounced back  after the war. Conventional wisdom states that it's better to spend the money elsewhere, and perhaps another city might host the games instead.

But the leaders of that time stood their ground, and insisted that London should be the heart of the Olympiad. With a budget of $1.2 million, the games happened, albeit with no new sports venues built, and athletes staying in schools and university dormitories throughout the games.

Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark sent fruits and eggs to help feed the athletes. Czech Republic and Slovakia (Czechoslovakia) sent tens of thousands of bottled water because London had none. Those were humble times and the Games concluded with sanguine expectations. National boycotts may have hampered the succeeding Olympiads but after London, the games will never be disrupted again.

I was never really a fan of the London Olympics unlike some people I know. Instead, I have bigger expectations with Rio De Janeiro, a city that will host the games in four years' time. I would always ask, what is so special in holding the games in Europe, when Beijing and other rising cities could enthrall the planet with dazzling shows? And then I learned the story behind the last Olympics in Britain and how the British were deprived of opening the games the way other nations did.

"It's all clear to me now..." I would say after reading this article.

Three hours before the opening ceremonies, my mind might be stuck in the soggy pre-dawn capital of Manila. But my heart, like many of those around the planet has at long last drifted, and found a digital spot, in the city that revived the games in a post-war world.

Google Map: London Olympic Stadium

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playing God

Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks - those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest. 

Friedrich Nietzsche 
Thus Spoke Zarathustra

And tinker these scientists did: the Caltech and Harvard bio-engineers, whose work was inspired by the lowly jellyfish. What they did was map out the muscle fibers of the creature. From their study came the polymer membrane, cut into shape, which includes the eight arms that - in theory - would propel it underwater.

The synthetic substance aims to replicate the flexibility of a real jellyfish tissue. 

The bio-engineers then harvested cardiac cells from laboratory rats. They carefully attached the heart cells to the membrane following the nutrient routes previously sourced from the jellyfish blue print. When immersed in electrically charged fluid, a hit of electric current and the polymer creature began swimming. One can almost say that it's alive: it could almost sense its need to propagate.

It's creators say that the development of the artificial jellyfish would lead to the creation of organic body parts such as pacemakers. One that contracts and expands, but doesn't need not to be replaced or maintained like the ones already available in the medical field.

The technology is still in its infancy. Even the creature can't swim without electric current passing through its entire body. But from where I stand, I can't help but wonder how far will these scientists go to create new life. One that reproduce on its own and whose basic function is to survive and multiply.

Some people will be freaked out by humanity's attempt to play god. But as creatures of creation, it is in our instinct to make new things from our vision. I just hope that along the way, we won't commit any missteps,

which would lead to our own demise.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Kasambahays

And still, after all this time, the sun has never told the earth

"You owe me."

It's time the planet happily gives back.

We have always seen our helpers as part of the family. We share our food, we hold small feasts to celebrate their birthdays, they get the stuff we no longer need, we seldom raise our voice when they make lapses. As with other helpers, they clean the house still, and cook our meals, wash and iron our clothes, and take care of the little boys - my nephews - when their parents are away. The five of them attend to our needs. Making sure we don't have to do the back-breaking work, which I know, are sacred duties in other homes.

We have the lesbian driver, who shuttles my mom to her sundry destinations. She has been with the family for more than a decade. And for all the chances she could work elsewhere - with a better pay - she chose to serve us for reasons only she can tell.

The lesbian driver is accompanied by her assistant. A middle-age, long-haired guy who used to be my tutor in elementary. He used to be my mom's student in the university and then dropped out of college and lived a life of a drifter until he moved in with us. He doesn't get paid, like the driver. But in exchange for his support - especially when it comes to doing the leg work, he gets free meals and lodging and commission for the tasks he finish.

The head mistress, as I like to call her, is new to the family. She was hired last year, after the previous head mistress thought of returning to school. She is in charge of washing the clothes and taking care of kids - a calling she likes to deny. She avoids being at the fray, but when Baby Lenin calls her name, the head mistress finds it difficult not to heed his attention.

The ex-head mistress studies in the university. She is taking up a non-diploma course equivalent to Computer Science major. Last summer, a family debate ensued after my sister hinted to end her services. The matriarch and I - both seeing that she couldn't stand on her own, decided to let her stay. Like the lesbian driver's assistant, she enjoys free meals and lodging in exchange for doing some house chores when she's not in school.

The last to make up the team is the babysitter. She was hired by the couple (my sister and her husband) a few months ago - and was told, that she is their responsibility. I cannot recall how she came to the family. What I do know is that she has a kid in the province and she works to provide her child's needs. Among the five, she's the least I pay heed.

I understand that more than the kind and considerate treatment we make the helpers feel, they too need to earn more. An energy exchange we cannot afford. That is why we are worried when they get sick or don't eat on time. I do not know how much others are paying. But if my suspicions prove me right, our helpers get less. 

For this reason, I often contemplate about their well-being and tries my best to make their stay comfortable. They can watch their favorite shows on TV and DVD when there's no work to be done. They can eat all the canned goods my mom buys - in case the ones they cook hardly fill their tummies, and yet, these small perks commit to their long-term needs. Better deals must be set in place, so that should they decide to leave, they can look back and say, 

"Hindi kami pinabayaan."

I do not know how this attempt to support the government's desire for universal health care would turn out, but I'm ready to give more to make the backbone of our home a little more confident of tomorrow.

Online Application Approved

The lesbian driver's Philhealth membership will take effect on August. The head mistress and the middle-aged assistant will have their turn in September. Should my idea for their government-subsidy healthcare work, this project would go down as my biggest accomplishment this year.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Astral Travel

Punta, Santa Ana, Manila

I was crossing a newly-opened road bridge. Below was a narrow creek notorious for swallowing entire neighborhoods when day-long downpour occurs. I remember getting upset for I had hoped the walk would be longer, more eventful, and once I cross to the other side, I'd see sights never captured on digital maps or in my wildest imagination. But the discovery was a letdown, I've had better walking expeditions. 

The rest of the details have now become opaque, like puddles of water slowly disappearing under a screaming sun. I remember walking in a corridor inside a tenement, looking through windows that glimpses the living rooms of humbled homes. And then at a bend, (or was it a dead end) I could see a river and some trees. They say, beyond those trees is wide open space, a big abandoned lot, which I hardly see from my spot.

When I checked Google Map after many hours of wakefulness, I tried to pinpoint the exact spot where the dream took place. I still remember the vacant lot, the big river and the tenement where I found myself exploring. I also knew what bridge I crossed and so was the place I tried to explore.

After all, such discovery belongs to one of my aspirations.

The map did reveal something; a real-life location that puts everything in perspective. One day, when my tired feet find itself in front of the green-roofed structure. When the building turns out to be an old tenement just like what it was in my dream, weird as it may sound but I guess, some people do journey in their sleep.     

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Little Stories From The Jungle Gym

Salcedo Park Playground


A kid from the Middle East, about the same age as the 18-month old boy I babysit, pedaled his baby blue bike away, bawling, after Baby Lenin pointed at his toy ball at the back of his bike. My nephew merely said the word "ball," but apparently the other kid already got tired of our insolence. Earlier, Baby Lenin wobbled towards the bike after seeing a toy truck on its basket. He then took it out and examined the toy without the owner's permission. We returned it the moment the kid's eyebrows crossed to show his protest. To douse the hate that has been growing in him, we decided to return to the jungle gym and play with the other kids. But then, Baby Lenin uttered the magic words, which has now angered the other kid. When he flew into a rage, his yaya's glare could have reduced me to pieces. After all, I am an accomplice. What would his moneyed parents say if they found out their little brat made a scene and the maid didn't do anything to prevent it?


There was a Black kid, a Chinese tyke and another foreign-colored kid at the playground. The three of them appear to be buddies. The kids climbed the rope ladder to reach the jungle gym's upper deck. A two year old blonde Caucasian sprinted below while his mother trailed behind. She stopped not far from me to catch her breath. This unplanned stopover gave way to a small talk. It seems she has already gotten so used to her hyperactive son that she already thought of letting him run around - unlike me, who watched Baby Lenin's carefree steps. After all, the ground is matted by thick rubber padding and even if the baby sprinter stumbles, he won't go home with a scraped knee or a bruised elbow.

That night, I told Baabaa that it felt like going to an International School. Except that we only got to hang out at the school's playground and that the expat's children were left under the care of their maids.

We should have brought our own. 



Baby Lenin said repeatedly. His squeaky voice could be heard from across the playground, where his white-haired grandmother cozied up on her wheelchair. The little tyke's legs wobbled as he darted around the jungle gym; chasing the birds and smiling at strangers who rested on the park's benches. Twice, I carried him  halfway up the slide, so he can experience the breathless feeling of sliding down the slide. When he thought of climbing the stairs to explore the decks and tunnels of the jungle gym, I followed him, not minding if the flimsy structure could carry my weight.

Friday, July 20, 2012

From Valenzuela City With Love

May peace and love
abide in your home.
Daily blessings of God
are there for us to enjoy

Mayor Win Gatchalian
Valenzuela City

How sweet the text message. I was deeply moved even when the greeting came from an unknown number. Imagine, ako na tubong Manila, na ang lingering relation lang sa Valenzuela ay ang ex-boyfriend ko na forgotten na, and here is Mayor Sherwin G greeting me a very impersonal "Good Morning" message to brighten my day.

Such heartfelt thought would never come from Mayor Lim.

Local elections is just less than a year away and politicians are really making headways for their name to float during the campaign days. I really don't know how the beloved mayor of Valenzuela performed during his term. But this is never a good way to win people's hearts. Accomplishment is the sole basis, and you don't have to put it in a tarpaulin like what Mayor Abalos of Mandaluyong did after the completion of a road near Acacia Lane.

Merits are earned subtly. You never shove it down people's throats.

Win Gatchalian, who is not and will never be my mayor can always deny that the random text message was his doing. But beneath the layers of denial, it will still be a win-win situation for his publicists. Those critical of his leadership would accuse him of petty politicking while those who have been blessed by his graces will remember him next summer. 

Nevertheless, it is a defeating strategy.

I would like to believe that the time of trapos is over. And with the rise of social media, attention is given to those who find time to communicate with people directly. Even in an online landscape. Word flies that the mayor aspires to become a senator. And because of what his minions did; for reminding me that much work is needed to change the leadership mindset of this country; 

I'm sorry to say, sir.

Epals have no place in my ballot.


It's been two weeks and a day now.
And I'm trying - forcing my words
out but the elusive, untamed letters
have escaped me

Monday, July 16, 2012


"Anak pautang na lang ulit ng 1K. May 500 pa ako. Withdraw na lang ulit ako bukas."

Walang matinong anak - sa kaso ko - na panganay ang magsasabi lang ng "ok" kapag nanghiram ng salapi ang magulang. Sa edad na 30, dapat ay kalahati ng mga gastusin sa bahay ay sinasalo ko na. Ngunit sa liit ng aking take-home pay, tanging ang cable TV at broadband Internet lang ang binabayaran ko. Kasama na dun ang paminsan-minsan contribution para sa gamot ng aking ina.

A thousand pesos is just small in comparison to the money I sometimes spend on a date. But with my savings dwindling, I have to get back all the money I lent to people. That includes four thousand pesos from my mom.

Kasi in the long run, that dwindling savings is what's keeping us afloat. It guarantees that a bail out won't be happening soon.

And when I look at myself, at how my luckluster career is going, I know deep down that I deserve to be in a better place. Alam mo yun, kaya kong kumita ng enough so that my mom won't have to return the money to me.

But when the director at work admits, "Mabuti at nandyan ka. Hindi ko kayang patakbuhin ito mag-isa." Something tells me to stay put. Not because I have found my comfort zone or I enjoy being the paramount of a workplace-in-limbo. 

But because I am called.

I just hope the director keeps his word. That after the dust settles, and by some brilliant thinking we find ourselves in a much better position, I do hope these sacrifices would be worth it.

For it hurts seeing myself this way. And the worse part is, I am still waiting how this decision to stay at work will wound itself in the end.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cinemalaya 2012

Cinemalaya used to be a by-word for those artsy films you only get to see for that critique in Humanities. To watch it in a leisurely manner and deconstruct its plot without anyone's command tells of one's artistic leanings - a taste that lays dormant in me - until some higher being wakes me up from slumber to see these films in cinema.

The first time I get to watch a full-length movie was in 2008. Dr. Wendell Capili, Diliman's patron of the arts and languages made it a requirement to watch Jay and write a paper about it.

Jay, which is a story of a TV producer sent to do an investigative report in Pampanga about a gay teacher butchered by his lover, was a plot out of the ordinary. Baron Geisler's performance as the gay TV producer was exceptional, so as Coco Martin's role as the teacher's ex-lover made him the pin-up boy of indie films. I won't be surprised if his work in Cinemalaya had catapulted him to telenovela roles he plays today.

I cannot recall what I wrote in my paper. But suffice to say, I went out of Cine Adarna enlightened after seeing the film.

Four years later, JC asked me to watch a movie. And unlike the foreign flicks we usually see in Greenbelt, he asked me this time if I'm interested to attend the Cinemalaya Festival.

I said yes.

Earlier that week, mom's friends were already raving about the entries. One even bought passes for the CCP premiere while another, a family friend who works with celebrities asked everyone to watch Isda, since his talents played major roles there. Including Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa and Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, last year's festival cemented my love for indie films that it spilled over to non-Cinemalaya features such as Zombadings and Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay.

Gone is the notion that indie films masquerade as Pinoy soft porn.

Cinemalaya 2012 has already been tainted by a controversy. A travesty that has no place in such prestigious showcase. And while it somehow diminished my resolve to see this year's entries, the movie trailers below had sparked my interest.

Kamera Obskura

1930's-inspired courtroom drama with a steam punk twist.


Story takes place in Spratlys at a time when the military seizes control of the civilian government in Manila.


A heartwarming story about an old but strong and healthy man waiting for his death to come. 

MNL 143

An FX driver waiting for love that would never come. MNL 143 was the disqualified entry because of the director's choice of main characters. So far, the production team was able to run its own show without any help from Cinemalaya.

These are the films I am looking forward to see, savor and deconstruct to my mind's delight. The start of the festival is this Saturday with three cinemas opening their doors to patrons like me. While I haven't made up the three films I'll be seeing first, plans are underway for me to be absent at work.


MNL143 Schedule

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comedy King

"Ang gusto ko lang na legacy, 'pag naalala yung pangalan ko, may kasamang ngiti, may kasamang tawa."

Rodolfo Vera Quizon
The Comedy King
(1928 - 2012)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Awaking Hibernation

Encanto Meal

Maaga pa lang ay nakaabang na ako sa labas ng bahay. Any moment kasi ay darating na ang caravan ni Daddy Fox. Kasama si Papa Tagay, napagkasunduan na susunduin namin si Rain Darwin sa airport. Naisipan kasi nitong magbakasyon, makalimutan man lang sandali ang pangungulila sa ibang bansa.

Hindi katagalan ang biyahe mula Santa Mesa patungong Terminal 1. Dumating kami tatlumpung minuto matapos lumapag ang eroplanong sakay ang aming kaibigan galing Singapore.

Ilang sandali pa ay nakita na namin si Pilyo. Naka-black itong polo at mamahaling jeans. Kapansin-pansin ang pangangayayat nito't pagpusyaw ng balat. Tanda na hindi sanay ang batak niyang katawan sa malamig na klima ng Timog Australia. 

"Na-miss ko ang traffic ng Manila." Kami namang mga pasahero'y asar na asar na sa bottleneck sa Baclaran.

"Ang kaunti ng tao dun." Ang sabi niya sa amin. "Kayo kayo rin lang ang magkikita sa tram."

Maraming pasalubong mga kuwento si Pilyo. Kuwentong ilan sa amin ay hindi matitikman dahil kung papalaring mangibang-bayan ay hindi doon ang pipiliin naming puntahan. Laman ng kanyang tinastas na backpack ay mga karanasan sa kanyang pakikipagsapalaran. Naroong layuan siya ng kapwa kababayan na mga TNT at nagtatago sa immigration. Nandoon rin ang mag-isa niyang pagpi-picnic makalabas man lang sa tirahang kahit kailan ay hindi niya magiging tahanan.

Patuloy ang daloy ng kuwento - na parang tubig na bumubuhos mula sa shower nozzle - sa isang public pool kung saan walang sawa niyang sinisipat ang mga puti na kung tawagin niya'y "Bel-Ami." 

"Ang pupula talaga." Kapansin-pansin ang ngiti sa kanyang mukha. "At ang lalaki pa."

"Kawawa si Baby P pag-uwi nito." Bulong sa akin ni Papa Tagay. Hindi na namin pinagpatuloy ang mga kuro-kuro ng aming malikot na diwa.

Matapos ang umagahan sa Max's ay nagsipaguwian na rin ang barkada. Si Rain Darwin naman na hinatid namin sa kanyang bahay ay haharap sa mga iniwang negosyong ramdam namin ay hindi na niya babalikan. Marahil ay hindi lingid sa kanya ang pagtamlay ng grupo. Sa kanyang pag-alis, dalawang beses lang nagsama-sama ang tropa. Pilitan pa matuloy lang ang inuman sa dating tagpuan.

Sampung araw. Iyon ang itatagal ni Pilyo sa bansa. At sa mga araw na daraan, anumang oras magtawag ng lakad ang balikbayan ay isa sa amin ang sasama. 

Kung puwede lang sana, kaming lahat.

Sapagkat sa kanyang muling paglipad ay di malayong manamlay ulit ang grupo. At gaya ng dati, magkakanya-kanya ang bawat isa. At muling mananaig ang paghimbing ng mga Engkanto. 

Monday, July 2, 2012


Whoever came up with the idea of putting a school on Pag-Asa has a clever mind. Not only did it strengthen the Philippines' claim to the disputed islets, the publicity it created has won the hearts and minds of those who had read the news. 

It was an "aaawww" moment to see those kindergarten kids sitting in green monobloc chairs, while their proud parents stood behind for the class picture. The red and blue flag with three yellow stars and a sun was there too, proudly hoisted to remind everyone who occupies the spot. 

Rival claimants, like the Chinese, would say it's propaganda. But in the court of global opinion, approval is bestowed to the one who first conceives the heartwarming thought. How can another government assert their rights when the outpost itself has a functioning civilian government?

How can it be forcefully taken when young children would become the shooting war's first casualty?

The worst the Chinese can do is ban our produce and send our domestic helpers packing to be replaced by those coming from Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. This will hurt our economy and for this reason, I don't think our national and military-leaning sentiments will serve our interests. 

There is always a crafty way to keep the balance.

The Chinese will always have the military and economic superiority. A fact only the unlearned ones will contest in the online forums. No matter how many second and third - hand warships we send in the West Philippine Sea, (a body of water I shall never recognize) these sea craft will be wiped out once the Chinese destroyers and submarines are deployed in the area. 

We should take hint at the fact that we don't have a single jet fighter guarding our skies. We are no match should hostilities with the Chinese erupt.

The best we can do is shrug our shoulders and let those from Fujian and Guangdong run the place. We must stop reporting belligerent news, which would only anger our Chinese masters. Meanwhile, it's time we put up tourist infrastructure in Kalayaan. A world class, private resort at the heart of the contested islands sounds like a great idea. Imagine rich Korean and Australian tourists in their flashy yachts being escorted by our vintage patrol boats. Watch as these moneyed adventurers hop from sandbar to shoals, enjoying the lush wildlife, which apparently, are being exploited by our neighbors to the north. Picture well-dressed attendants serving French wine to the guests while they lap in their infinity pool. Not far from the shore are Vietnamese patrol boats pointing their guns at passing Taiwanese fishing vessels.

Exciting, Isn't it? And I am not even done yet with my idea. 

How about we send a flotilla of Casino and Spa boats, to be moored at Huangyan Shoal? Not even the disciplined People's Liberation Navy could resist the allure of flashy lights and skimpy-dressed ladies eager to welcome the men of the sea. And like MVP, we can send Ramon Ang to negotiate a joint gas exploration. Between business and warfare, the question will always be what earns profit the quickest?   

While the rest of the nation is busy putting "fun" in the Kalayaan and the rest of the South China Sea, we can seize the moment and upgrade our military. Spain and Greece badly needs money. We might be able to procure their military hardware at half the price. We can also seek donations from the Japanese and Koreans who are equally weary of Chinese incursions. Of course, nothing must come out from these negotiations. 

Not even a three-paragraph news report.

These silly suggestions would never be drawn in blueprints or reach the ears of those in power. But somehow I get their plan. For behind the veil of timidness lies the mastery of deterrence. That sea mishap near the coast of Pangasinan last week was an international incident. There was an obvious cover up to avoid displeasing the already enraged Chinese. As we do these diplomatic maneuvers, something beneath our waters assure that no matter what Beijing's mouthpiece says, a superpower across the globe is watching the events outside our un-watched borders.

To honor an age-old pact: To serve its political interests now that its president will have to seek fresh mandate.

In our midst, a fleet of American Nuclear Submarines has already begun patrolling our seas.