Archive for May, 2010

Jejemons, meet JejeTon

Posted in miscellaneous on May 8, 2010 by gohelpyourself

Many Jejemons are avid texters. (Photo courtesy of

By Anthony O. Alcantara

It’s amazing what 50 years can do. The Jejemons were then the pariahs of society, hated by prudes with immovable upper lips. Now Jejemons sit like kings and queens in government, schools, day care centers, karaoke bars and night clubs in Manila. And they love to sip wine from exquisite crystal glasses, with their pinkie fingers pointing up.  

It all started with a Jejemon who stumbled on Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. Malcolm’s recipe on how to spread ideas proved to be very useful. Heck, the Jejemons even convinced Gladwell to support their cause. They made him chairman of the American chapter of the Supreme Jejemon Council.  

That’s how powerful the Jejemons have become.  

I’m one of the last Jejemon busters. My reputation as a vigilante has spread all over the world, sending shivers from the balls to the eyeballs of hopelessly inveterate Jejemons. I was merciless.  

And I’ve taken photos of my victims, too. These dreadful photos have hit the front page news and Jejemons everywhere have nightmares. I have become the new face of terror.  

I hunt these Jejemons usually at night. I use my stun gun and some special Jejemon-seeking bullets. These Jejemons have developed a certain enzyme that produces faint scents. The special bullets home in on these scents.  

One night, after tracking a cocky young Jejemon, I decide to strike. I follow him through a dark alley and fire a single shot from my stun gun. I catch the unconscious Jejemon before he hits the ground and drag him into a dark room.  

I then pour anti-Jejemon water on his head and shine a strong flashlight on his face. The poor Jejemon wakes up. He’s groggy.  

“You know who I am?”  

Fear grips him. He looks like a puppy ready to pee.  

“Please, please have mercy. Don’t make me do this. I will give you anything. I’m rich. I can give you the life you never had,” says the Jejemon.  

Of course, they don’t speak that way. I usually have my hi-tech Jejemon translator attached to my ear.  

“Now, here’s a pen. You know what to do… or else.”  

“pleaSE, plEASe dONT mke~ Me do iT P0wH.~ I WILL go CRazY p0Wh.~ I HaVE~ childRen P0Wh.”  

Rats. My Jejemon translator malfunctioned again. I hit my ear several times and hear some buzzing. Finally, the translator is back to normal.  

“Please, please don’t make me do it. I will go crazy. I have children,” says the Jejemon.  

Now that’s better, I tell myself.  

“I have children, too,” I tell the whining Jejemon. “And you have made me miserable because you have turned them all into Jejemons. Poor kids. Now you will pay for what you did!”  

I slam a thick notebook in front of the Jejemon.  

“You know what to do.”  

“No! Please don’t make me do it.”  

“Do you see this vial? It contains anti-Jejemon nanobots with rubber dentures that have a special liking for chewing certain body parts down there. You don’t want that, do you?”   

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it!”  

The Jejemon slowly lifts the pen and begins to write this required text: I renounce being a Jejemon and promise to write and speak like our ancestors did 50 years ago. I promise to rid my writing of all unnecessary letters and words, and I promise to follow proper capitalization of letters and correct punctuation. I also promise to write grammatically correct sentences.  

They know the text. It’s been written in the newspapers, translated into Jejemon writing, of course. The newspapers were supposed to be the bastions of the correct use of language. But they succumbed, too.  

I usually order my victims to fill notebooks with my required text, handwritten and in print, approximately size 12 font, single space. The notebook is about 6 inches thick with page sizes of 8 1/2 by 11.  

With great effort, the Jejemon writes… “i RENounCE…”  

I slap his hand. “No! You have to erase that and repeat. Don’t you have eyes? Just copy the text exactly!” 

I see the supreme effort of the Jejemon. Beads of sweat are on his face. Drops of Jejemon sweat stain his clothes. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. But I show no mercy. 

“Go on. Do it!”  

He writes… “I renounce…”  

“That’s better,” I tell him.  

He continues writing: “I renounce my being a~ jEjEmON nd pROMisE 2~”  

“What the…?!”  

I slap his hand again.  

“Don’t you make me lose my patience! Do you want me to prolong your agony? Do you want me to give you two notebooks? Just do it!”  

After two days, pails of sweat and tears, and bouts of delirium, he finally finishes the text. He drops to the ground exhausted.  

“I’m so proud of you,” I tell him. “Now you can tell everyone about your wonderful experience. But I’ll be watching you. Don’t you dare become a Jejemon again.”  

And that’s how the world came to know me, the one who silently stalks the Jejemons of the world. There are many copycats now. I don’t mind. That’s how the legend of JejeTon, destroyer of Jejemons, will live on.  



The rewards of joining the Madz Et Al Festival

Posted in learning, music on May 3, 2010 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Too few rehearsals, difficult notes to master, raw voices that need a lot of polishing, costumes that need to be made, tickets that need to be sold, and a few kids with the attention spans of a gold fish.

Why deal with all this just to join the 2010 Madz Et Al Festival?

Well, despite the headaches, it’s fun and challenging. Our kids at the Shrine of Jesus Children’s Choir (SOJCC) often ask, “Kelan tayo magpe-perform sa Philam?” “Kelan tayo magpe-perform ulit sa CCP?”

They get excited by a lot of things. And we like it. At least we know they’re motivated enough to practice. Of course, not all of them are excited about the same things. Some are excited just to be with the other members of the choir who have become their playmates. Some are excited about the free tour at the CCP. Some are excited to perform for their grandmas and grandpas. And some are excited to see the boys of another choir.

Yes, some of our members are teenagers already. They have crushes and they experience puppy love. And we thought they’d be excited only about puppies. These kids grow fast. But then again, some of them have been with us for four years already.

The wacky SOJCC with their serious-looking conductor, Em Alcantara, 2nd row, center.

Aside from the excitement, letting the kids join the Festival is a way of directing their attention to possibilities and opening up their minds through new experiences. The Madz Et Al Festival, entitled “Choral Rhythms” this year, is an annual choral festival where choirs handled by former members and trainees of the Philippine Madrigal Singers get to perform. A lot of these choirs have won international awards already.

The Tala Choir conducted by Oscar Pantaleon Jr. was a joy to watch. They play instruments now. The “Waters of March” composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and arranged by Oscar was a good one.

There were five other adult choirs during the first day of the Madz Et Al Festival. The Singles for Christ Chorale Manila conducted by Rivah Anne Singson performed three songs. I think “Fly Me to the Moon” was their best.

Among the songs performed by the DSWD Chorale conducted by Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero, I think “Lollipop” was very entertaining and memorable. My sister-in-law kept on singing it after the concert.

The conductors during the 1st day of the Madz Et Al Festival bow after the finale song. From left: Oscar Pantaleon Jr., Mary Louise "Em" Alcantara, Mark Anthony Carpio, Anna Piquero, Rivah Anne Singson and Warlito Yalung.

The Koro Ilustrado, also conducted by Anna Piquero, performed a well-applauded “Doobidoo,” composed by Danny Javier and arranged by her. The negro spiritual “John Saw the Numbuh” was I think the best song performed by the AUP Celestial Echoes conducted by Warlito Yalung.

The University of the East Chorale’s “Fever,” composed by Eddie Cooley and John Davenport and arranged by Anna Piquero, was a crowd favorite. I think the choral arrangement, instrumentation, choreography and the red light had something to do with it.

Our kids at the SOJCC could only experience these in the Madz Et Al Festival.

Preparing for the Festival was also about the discipline and enjoyment of music. Learning the songs is hard work. But there’s no reason the process can’t be enjoyable, too.

My wife Em, the conductor of the choir, taught them “Father in Heaven,” a song by Angus Hibbard and Friedrich Flemming and arranged by Andrew Hawryluk. The second song, “Sitsiritsit” arranged by Lucio San Pedro, was a bit more challenging. Fortunately, the kids learned them eventually.

The last song was “With a Little Help from my Friends” composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and arranged by Barrie Carson Turner. A little swaying and head movements were all the visual embellishments we could add, aside from the costumes. No time for more complicated choreography.

Make-up 101: Finally, kids get to practice their Barbie doll skills.

The tutti song–“Hallelujiah” by George Friedrich Handel with a gospel arrangement by Mervyn Warren, Michael O. Jackson and Mark Kibble and adapted by John Higgins–was conducted by Mark Anthony A. Carpio, choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

When our kids joined their first Madz Et Al Festival two years ago, they just listened in awe to the other adults singing with their powerful voices during the rehearsal of the finale song where all choirs participate. They got used to it eventually. Now they can sing with any monster choir.

Em and I think the kids did much better compared to last year’s performance. The old-timers’ voices gelled better and soared with the high notes, while the many newbies were catching up vocally.

Monsignor Bobby Canlas, our rector at the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, back row, center, tries to be wacky with the kids, too.

We’re also glad that the parents appreciated what we’re trying to do. Bringing the kids to practice and waiting and waiting have been a big part of the kids’ success in the concert. We heard that some of the kids’ teachers enjoyed the concert, too.

So will we join the Madz Et Al Festival next year? You bet.

(For more information about the SOJCC, please go to If you want to experience the Madz Et Al Festival and watch other great choirs perform, you can still do so. The concerts will be held everyday from May 2 to 7, 2010. Please check: or