Monthly Archives: March 2019

SELFIE (Playing With Words)

selfie“Language is a wine upon the lips.”

I am so drunk with words that I could not recall the one who said that.

So, let’s just drink to SELFIE, till drunkenness do us part. Better yet,  let’s play with the word SELFIE with wild abandon. Let’s take a shot, not of ourselves as what we do in SELFIE but at the word SELFIE itself.

SELFIE can also be spelled as SELFY. But people are more familiar with the variant SELFIE.

The term SELFIE is not new at all. The word was said to have been minted by Jim Krause in 2005 although Richard Holden, online editor for Oxford Dictionaries, said that they found out that they have been using the word in Australia as far back as 2002.  The Wikipedia explains that “a SELFIE is a genre of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone.” Generally, self-portraiture dates back to ancient times.


SELFIE was The Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year. Then came USSIE (US-SELFIES) which could be called differently depending on the number of participants –  TWOFIE (two people) THREEFIE (three people) and so forth. Well, others call these variations as GROUFIE, and rarely do we hear or read USSIE.

I think WEFIE is better than GROUFIE.

Now, let’s frolic in the playground of language. Let’s play with the word SELFIE. Let’s see what derivatives can we squeeze out of it.


  1. SELFIENATIC – a person who loves to take his self-portrait photos
  2. SELFIEISM – the desire to take one’s self-portrait photos
  3. SELFIEDOM – the sense of satisfaction a person feels after taking self-portrait photos
  4. SELFIESTIC – describes an artistically-taken self-portrait photo
  5. SELFIEGENIC – looking attractive in selfies
  6. SELFIESTICATED – looking elegant in selfies

There are new fields of studies born out of SELFIE  (of course you know I am just making this up)  namely SELFIEGRAPHY and SELFIETHERAPY. The former is the art of taking self-portrait photos and the latter is the process of eradicating stress by taking self-portrait photos.

Now, if you try to convince other people to try SELFIGRAPHY then SELFINIZE them.

So, if you intend to join the SELFIENATICS, if suddenly you develop SEFIEISM then you will have to undergo SELFINIZATION…the process of initiating oneself  into SELFIEGRAPHY.

If ever a person has never taken even just a single self-portrait photo, then he is SELFIELESS.

If a person looks negatively at SELFIE or they have fear of self-portrait photographs then they may be suffering from SELFIETY.

Those people who are courageous in taking self-portrait photos and have fun doing it can be said to have high SELFIESTEEM.

Neither the people SELFIETYING nor those who have high SELFIESTEEM deserve condemnation. As the saying goes…”To each his own.”

To SELFIE or not to SELFIE is a personal call. If there are people who desire not to take their self-portrait photographs, that is within the bounds of their personal freedom. Conversely, those people who are having fun taking self-portrait photos be allowed to express themselves in a manner they see fit. But citizens of SELFIELANDIA need to exercise discretion. Bear in mind existing ethical standards. There should be a limit to the amount of skin that should be exposed. “Private properties” should remain private. Just a friendly (or is it fatherly?) advice. You may take it… or completely forget that I said it.

For the uninitiated, there is an 11th commandment: “Thou shall not commit SELFIETY.”

Come on! Take a SIP (self-inflicted photograph)! Check your SELFIESTEEM.

Citizens of SELFIELANDIA,  who may also be referred to as SELFIETIANS, do not forget the 12th commandment: “Thou shall not rest until the whole world is SELFIENIZED.


First published on August 21, 2013:



A Learning Experience

friends(A Personal Essay)

I had an experience during my vacation in the Philippines that made me revisit the issue of self-sufficiency – of not expecting anybody to help you when you’re in dire straits – of not assuming that all those that you think are your friends would help you.

Anyway, the situation I was in at that time was not really a matter of life and death. I did not do anything messy or put myself in a difficult situation that necessitated rescuing. I just needed a little assistance, one that would not require those that I approached to spend a significant amount of time – not money. I was just requesting for information.

I was then about to travel to a certain place in the Philippines with my family and some friends during the winter break. Something I am not fond of doing is travelling, local or international. In short, the travel bug have yet to bite me. I have extra budget to spend should I decide to be a “Dora the Explorer” but it is not on top of my priority list at the moment.

What’s my point in emphasizing that I don’t have that itch to travel? That because of it, I am not familiar with some of the nitty-gritty details involved in travelling – except those that involve travelling to and from South Korea because I have been doing it for the past 6 years.  But even those travels that I did from Manila to South Korea would just be from the airport to my workplace. Most of the time I was alone and I had to fend only for myself and I would always opt to sleep in one of the available benches at the Incheon International Airport if I had to wait the following day for the next bus that would take me to my destination. I consider as impractical letting go of a “Benjamin” or two for a few hours in a hotel.

So, for the first time (in my life) that I would be travelling with a group of people and I would be in charge of everything – including securing a place where we could stay overnight. I never had such a task before so I needed some help to ensure that I don’t  mess things up. That was when I thought of the two friends residing in that place where we were  intending to go.

The reason I took the courage to bother them was I know they are familiar with the place and I presumed that they may have relatives or some friends who own transient houses there. Of course I know I could do some online booking for hotels but I was trying to save as much money as I could that time and staying in any of the popular hotels in that place would make my expenses double if not triple.

One of them responded but that friend told me of a name of a hotel that sounds like it’s expensive.

The other one I asked help from did not bother to answer back when I expressed my purpose. Honestly, that caught me by surprise. Hearing from that friend something like “Sorry, but I can’t help you because…” would have been better. I may be a little sensitive but I did not expect that kind of non-response from that friend.

It was my fault to expect something from somebody. Momentarily that I have forgotten that it is not the moral obligation of anybody to respond to my requests. I forgot that I should not feel entitled.

But I am a person who could always take NO (or SORRY) for an answer. I would also say the same when I have to.

Still, I gave that friend time to respond. I know that that friend was able to read the message I sent through Facebook messenger. After one day, there was nothing.

It was then that I realized that my very reliable friends – Facebook and Google – could probably help me find transient houses in the place we wanted to visit. I was right and how stupid of me not to have thought of that before I tried to bother other people for that very simple problem. I was so wrong to think that only the expensive hotels could think of using the Internet to advertise their business. I discovered that even the cheapest transient houses in that place do the same. But I was more wrong to think  that that person would be kind enough to respond to a simple request for an information.

Anyway, I got what I wanted – a not-so-expensive but a tidy and comfy transient house.

After I closed the deal with the owner of the transient house through a phone call, I informed that friend who kindly responded to me that I had already found one. I thanked that friend and he wished me, my family, and my friends a happy vacation – which we had.

Then, I messaged my other friend who decided to disregard me. I apologized to that friend for the bother I caused. That friend did not also respond to my apology.

I am not judging that person who I thought considers me a friend. Perhaps I was also wrong in presuming that we were friends.

So, I decided to put it down to experience. Lesson learned.  I should thank that friend for reminding me to be completely self-sufficient  – for reminding me that rare are friends who would help us when we are really in need.

Rare are friends who would help us when we are really in need. Treasure them and never abuse their generosity and kindness. They will not demand it but reciprocate their good deeds if and when we could.

Remember this: A true friend, like true love, is hard to come by.


On Political Dynasties in the Philippines

screenshot_3A politician, let’s say a mayor, could no longer run for re-election due to term limits, what would the honorable gentleman do? Turn his back on politics? Of course not! Power is so addicting. So many of those who experienced to be at the helm of either local or national politics (and enjoyed the benefits, including those “passed under the table”) would not just quit politics nor pass the torch to another person.

So, what would happen?

His wife would run for the position he previously held. Then that politician would run for another post –  as governor perhaps. Assuming both the politician and his wife win and luckily get re-elected until they reach their term limits, would it be the end? Would their thirst for power (and the so-called “benefits”) be finally satiated?

Not by a long shot!

They are just starting to build a  political dynasty.

The couple would ask their son or daughter (or a grandson – or a granddaughter – or an in-law) to run for the positions they would vacate. The shocking thing (and you might not believe it), there are times that siblings, or even husbands and wives, would not give way to the other and so member of the same family would slug it out in the political arena. Anyway, this article is not about family member squabbling in the political arena – this is about the political dynasty their families created.

Let’s continue then.

Let’s go back to the mother who just reached her term limit as mayor? Would she go back to being a full-time mother and wife. I think you know the answer.  She would run for the post vacated by the husband-politician. The husband would then aim for  a higher position  – run either as congressman or even senator. In case all family members win then for years that the power will change hands within the same family. The son (or daughter) is a mayor, the mother a governor and the father either as congressman or senator. When term limits are reached then they will just run for the position that a family member would vacate. Some siblings, and even in-laws, in the family are also occupying minor positions in the geographical units where they reside.

That’s political dynasty.

What’s my beef with political dynasties? Let me answer that question with the following questions:

“How (did they perform) are they performing  as leaders?”

“What is the current economic, social and political condition of the country?”

“Is the Philippines  marching towards progress with them holding the reins of government?”

Of course you know the answers to the questions aforementioned.

How many of the available positions in the Philippine government, local and national, are held by the same families who have been the gods and goddesses of Philippine politics since time immemorial? Most of them are offspring of the peninsulares who survived  America’s power grab at the turn of the 20th century. Eventually they stayed in the country and reaped the dividends for doing so. And it’s not only the politics that they dominate. With the enormous fortune they inherited from their Spanish parents/grandparents, they also control the country’s economy. That’s why  Filipinos would sometimes jokingly ask – “Did the Spanish rule really end?”

Only the pure-blooded Filipinos and foreign expatriates of Chinese origin who became wealthy when the Americans took their turn to colonize the Philippine had the financial resources to challenge the Spanish mestizos for political supremacy in the Philippines, especially after the American granted the Filipinos their independence after the World War 2 . Some of them succeeded and when they experienced how intoxicating power is, they themselves established their political dynasties.

It is no longer surprising to know that politicians occupying national positions have one, or two (I hope not all) family members and in-laws occupying seats in the local government.

You might ask – “When would having the same people from the same families passing the reins of leadership to each other in both the national and local governments after elections end?”

It might not!


It would require for a candidate to have sacks (if not truckloads) of money to win in an election in the Philippines.

You were probably born yesterday if you don’t understand what I mean.

Rare are real public servants getting elected in the Philippines. The ones in position, usually, are the rich and powerful – those who could buy votes. Politicians buy votes because most (I’m not saying all) Filipino voters sell their votes to the highest bidders.

Midterm election in the Philippines is on May, 2019.

Will the Filipinos sell their votes again?

Will the political dynasties continue their reign?

Only God knows!

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