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Political Tectonics and Tremors

I didn’t feel it. Honest; I didn’t. The second time around, my brother in Manila texted me to ask if I felt it (and to know if I was safe). I replied with a no; I’m sure I didn’t because I was sitting, working on my laptop the whole time. What type of insensitivity does my body have? Tremors had been traversing the archipelago, and there I was, trapped in tranquility. Or maybe that’s a good thing.

According to Chinese and Indian folk tales, “the Earth is held up by several elephants that stand on the back of a turtle. The turtle is balanced on top of a cobra. When any of these animals move, the Earth trembles and shakes”. (Now, I know why Atlas is more popular, I feel a tremor just by imagining those animals on top of each other.) In Greek mythology, Poseidon, the god of sea is also referred to as “Earth Shaker” because he is believed to cause earthquakes when he strikes his trident on the ground. (What business does he have on earth, anyway?) In the Pacific northwest, traditional tales explain the source of earthquakes as the struggle between a Thunderbird and a Giant Whale. (A bird of the air and fish of the water decided to fight on land. Can’t they just pick one of their own turfs?) In earthquake prone Japan, earthquakes were thought to be caused by Namazu, a monster catfish that lived under their nation (I’m imagining something like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.) In 1855, some Japanese people actually punished catfish for an earth quake. (Poor hito) (

But this one, I’m definitely feeling. We’re on the last week and the earth seems to be shaking. I’m eating my lunch or dinner in front of the TV screen, and come commercial breaks, it seems a campaign ad is shown after every regular product. It’s like the commercials are following a candidate- product – candidate – product pattern. It’s a whole barrage of endorsements and encouragements. There’s a party list for seamen, a party list for abuse victims, a party list for theater actors, a party list for Warays. Once again, I think this is all ridiculous. These “marginalized” sectors should be represented by the congressmen; that’s why they’re called “representatives. They’re not supposed to ignore the marginalized. These organizations could actually lobby their concerns to congressmen; or ask them to author a bill to their benefit. Why do Warays need a voice in Congress when they already have the Leyte and Samar district representatives? Look who’s talking? Ako Bicol has already accomplished that redundancy. But they did much good (and we’re not saying just because we’re Bicolanos). The whole nation mourned the loss of the Honorable Batocabe. With all these ranting, party list is a law and we better make the good out of it; or are they getting the good out of it?

I know in placing TV ads, there’s this traffic rule that competing products should not played one after the other. So, you can’t play a Tide ad after a Breeze ad or vice versa. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s ethics, or to avoid confusion among the audience. I guess, it would be understandable that product ads are sponsors of the show playing on that time. So, it would be quite unprincipled to be soliciting sponsorships from competing entities. But I see candidate Nonoy Andaya after Mayor Sara Duterte. Okay, I guess once is just random chance. Wait, that’s a second time. Are they doing it intentionally? Well, what do I know? Maybe that traffic principle is an ancient adage these times. After all, it’s all business. Around our barangay, a local “coordinator” just gave my mother a couple of some sort of health cards with a candidate’s name on it. They were for my brothers, sisters, aunt and cousin. So, I suppose other households are getting similar “benefits”. I suppose, a card holder presents the card to a hospital for some discount. Just a thought; what would become of these privileges in a couple of weeks, in case that candidate whose name appears on the card, does not make it?

And right on this time of the election season, “Bikoy” surfaces. If you’re a die hard Duterte supporter, you would say that’s total rubbish, ridiculous that the tough man who downright hates drugs could be involved in the drug trade. If you’re a die hard Duterte striker, you would say that this is the biggest expose of the new millennium, and has not Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte been connected with the Chinese Triad? If you’re somewhere between the two, you would say, who’s telling the truth? Now, aren’t all these tremors?

According to a 2017 Pulse Asia survey, 14% of Filipinos in the right age states that natural disasters are part of a natural process; while 21% believed that natural disasters are ways of God’s punishment”. (

“The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars.” Psalm 75:3

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