Out of Focus


Study: Filipinos on Facebook comment on posts without reading them

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 18:45

by Alan Robles

Many Filipinos on Facebook don't bother to read the posts they comment on.

This was the finding of a study done by the prestigious Asian Research Institutes for Understanding Humor and Silly Walks (ARIUHSW).

"They just read the title, and maybe the first sentence of the post, and then off they go writing their comments," said Dr. Soon Tu Ve Hung, the institute's chief spokesman, senior researcher, messenger and caterer.

"This explains why most FB comments sound inane, uninformed and - how shall I put it scientifically? - really moronic."

Understanding hooligan behavior

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 08:47
On November 2014 the son of the decomposing, slowly melting, half-jellied ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos visited the University of the Philippines in Diliman campus to give a talk. Of course, as a member of a family that plundered the country, stealing at least US$10 billion, and whose patriarch tortured and killed thousands, jailed thousands more, and ruined democratic institutions -- you can be sure he got the reception he deserved.
Namely: nothing.
Wait, you ask, surely a character like Marcos junior would at least prompt a modest activist turnout, a few hooligans to shout, wave placards and throw stuff? Didn't radicals, years back, actually take over the UP campus for a week and cock their noses at the forces of Marcos senior?
Well apparently things are different now and the new activist policy towards the Marcoses is: cricket sounds.

Will politicians take the MRT Challenge?

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 19:06
Early September 2014, two powerful public officials, the transport secretary and a senator, separately rode the MRT 3. This is earthshaking news: the high and mighty actually RODE public transport.
Not that there's anything with the MRT, of course. It's perfectly safe and efficient, if you discount the fact that it's overloaded, overcrowded, breaks down on odd and even days, and sometimes just for variety plows through the restraining barrier in its terminus.
All right, so maybe it isn't so OK. That's why what the two officials did is great. It will surely open the eyes of those in power to the truth about the MRT – namely that it's a TERRIFIC way to get free publicity with just a year to go before elections.

Coup plot? What coup plot?

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 08:04

by Alan Robles

A group of people denied yesterday they were plotting to overthrow the government and claimed they were just hosting a "bingo social."

The group was surprised by news reporters who were tipped off by agitated neighbors that "something fishy" was going on in a certain mansion in southern Manila.

"Coup plot? What coup plot? We were just holding a weekend day of fun and games, anything wrong with that?" said the belligerent woman who answered the door as she attempted to block the reporters from entering.

After a few minutes, during which reporters heard sounds of hasty packing and furniture being overturned, she allowed the media inside.

Welcome aboard Suspicious Lines

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 10:25

by Alan Robles
(originally published in Manila Chronicle, 1987)

ATTENTION, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of the crew, I welcome you aboard M/V Doña Derelicta.

First of all, may I request the passengers already on board to make more room for the newcomers? I’m sure if you raised your arms and exhaled, you can crowd in a few hundred more. Also, for your own safety, put things in their proper place: stand on your luggage and tie down all your children. And will someone please claim those two carabaos wandering on the lounge?

Our trip to North Harbor will take three days. It will take five days if we have good weather. That means we can stop and load more passengers.

Attack of the sinister holes

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 08:19

by Alan Robles

On a rainy night last week, online editor Jojo Malig was nearly killed when his motorcycle ran into a large, unmarked six-inch deep hole dug right in the middle of a major road in Manila.

He broke a shoulder and suffered cuts and bruises – injuries which might have been much worse if his helmet visor wasn't down and protecting his face. He will be bed-ridden for a couple of weeks and will need physical therapy.

There were no lights or warning signs around the hole, which is about five by six feet in area and is one of several dotting the stretch of road.

The hole in question is still at the accident site, but it's keeping quiet and not making any statements.

DPWH plans to demolish Intramuros to ease traffic

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 08:17

by Alan Robles

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is “seriously considering” destroying the 440-year old walled city of Intramuros in order to speed up the flow of cargo trucks from Port Area.

According to totally unreliable source and vague spokesman Duane Gollum-Dumayo, “planners looked at the Port Area map and they saw this huge 64-hectare congested riverside walled neighborhood blocking the route and they said, what's that? Let's blow it up.

“With lots of dynamite.”

Q & A: Metro Manila's traffic

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 21:32
As part of our continuing commitment to public service, we offer this new series on understanding Metro Manila's traffic problem. We begin with this general Q&A on the topic.
Q: How bad is Manila's traffic?
A: Our researchers estimate that if, at 7:30 a.m., they were to board a bus going from Quezon City to Makati...
Q: Yes?
A: Sorry, our researchers are unable to complete the sentence, they're still stuck in traffic. Check back with us in two days.
Q: Why is Manila's traffic so bad?
A: The explanation involves a complex interplay of factors such as vehicles, commuters, pedestrians, drivers and enforcers.

How to tell if your building is world class

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 18:36
Congratulations! Your mayor has just finished constructing a brand new parking building. You say it seems really really expensive? Well, we don't consider it "expensive," we consider it "world class." Let's go on an inspection tour and answer your questions about this unique new parking facility.
What's so unique about this parking building that cost billions to build?
First of all, did you notice how, when we drove in, the gates opened and closed? They're automatic gates.
But they were opened by security guards.
True, but they opened the gates automatically. And they saluted too. Now that's world class. Why, in some villages, the security guards won't automatically open the gates.

Getting to know the MRT (Might Run Today)

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 20:48

from Wikimedia Commonsby Alan Robles

For the next part of our series on traffic, we'll now talk about how to beat Manila's notorious jams by using the train system. We'll focus on the MRT, which as everyone knows, stands for "Might Run Today."
Just kidding; of COURSE the MRT will run today. In fact, it runs everyday. True, it might sometimes run only halfway to where you want to go, which you'll discover when the train suddenly stops in the middle of a stretch of tracks between stations. But never fear, the train makes up for these moments by also occasionally running PAST your destination, plowing through barriers with enthusiasm.


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