High and low

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Monday, February 11, 2013


A VERY wise man once said that media’s potency lies in its inherent ability to bare to the world the whole gamut of human experience. From man’s highest achievements to his lowest of lows, media is there to chronicle mankind’s triumphs and his bouts of insanity.

It’s only the second month of 2013 and Cebu already has its share of lows.

The USJR student sex tape scandal exposed society’s unhealthy fixation on sex. From the people who taped the carnal act, to the people who viewed it, to the hecklers who harassed students in uniform--they all laid bare the foibles and weakness of man.

But the lowest of the low is the coward who uploaded the tape. Anonymously. Most likely, with malice. But definitely, without a care for its ugly repercussions.

The shooting rampage at the Hall of Justice exposed man’s proclivity to violence in the face of desperation. It also underlined the uncertainties we face every day of our mortal lives.

The lowest low came in the form of pointless agony to innocent people–to family and friends of hapless victims, and to all of us who feel with them.

The stage-managed harassment of Gov. Gwen Garcia points to a simmering low in Cebu politics. The plot continued with Ombudsman Carpio-Morales’s decision to dismiss four provincial officials who devoted their lives to a career in civil service. Call them victims. Call them collateral damage.

The lowest of the low are those who continue to concoct and orchestrate these witless plots--insensitive to human compassion and only too willing to sacrifice people’s lives and livelihoods at the most unholy of altars: the altar of dirty politics.

Thankfully, the first two months of 2013 also had its share of highs.

The successful Sinulog celebration united once again the Catholic faithful in devotion to Cebu’s Señor Sto. Niño and firmly put Jesus in the center of our lives.

USJR handled their school scandal with great equanimity and personal sensitivity. They taught us to go beyond the drama, and to focus on who or what truly matters. In this case, those who truly matter are the students and USJR was there for them. A proud moment indeed for one of Cebu’s great universities.

Many Cebuanos made us proud–students who passed exams, professionals who excelled and beauty queens who brought home the crown. Bisdak ni tanan, Bai!

2013 marks the year I instructed my secretary to book me exclusively on Cebu Pacific flights in my regional sojourns.

Cebuanos, being congenitally proud of everything Cebu, are naturally sensitive to the performance of their eponymous airline. Wherever Cebu Pacific flies, it carries the mantle of Cebu and Cebuano pride.

With teething problems early on, the airline faced a number of service-oriented issues. The staff was sometimes discourteous and many clearly lacked customer-service experience. Delayed flights left passengers in famished limbo.

That’s history now.

I like the airline’s organized, no-nonsense approach to flying. Service is efficient and courteous. And my inner child still enjoys those silly “Show Me” games that deliver fun in place of traveler angst.

But best of all, Cebu Pacific has single-handedly achieved the near impossible in this punctuality-challenged country: that of disciplining Filipinos to be “on time.” Its bold and consistent policy of saying “no” to tardy passengers has made every Filipino aware that it is their personal responsibility to check in early and be on time.

Fly high, Cebu. Fly high.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2013.

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