Ask and Ye Shall Receive

One of the things I hate about being away from the Philippines is that there is no easy way to get products I like that are exclusively sold there. When Raquel was still in the Philippines, I would ask her to buy me stuff and send it over to Australia via post. But ever since she moved here, I could only rely on my parents or my brother to do the buying and sending for me.

Sad to say, they are not that reliable when it comes to that. I would call them, text them and email them a list of items I’d like for them to buy and send over. They would acknowledge the request but it would soon be forgotten. Over the years, I’ve come to expect that my requests would eventually be forgotten. It’s a downer, really.

Just the other day, I read Bambi Harper’s Sense and Sensibility column on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s website titled The ‘Ilustrado’ as Filipino where she talked about a new book written by Australian-based Filipino author Alfredo Roces.

The book is titled “Adios Patria Adorada: the Filipino as Ilustrado, the Ilustrado as Filipino” and was described by Harper in her column as follows:

“… whether the Ilustrados sincerely wanted independence for the good of the country or they wanted it so that they could take over the colonizer’s role. Did they collaborate first with the Spaniards, then with the Americans, then the Japanese and finally with the powers-that-be to fulfill this ambition? And is this the reason the country is in the mess it’s in now?”

I’ve always been intrigued by Philippine history and have bought several books on the subject and brought them with me to Australia. So after reading the column, I knew I wanted to own and read Roces’s book. But the only way to do that is to have somebody from the Philippines buy it for me and post it to me. Uh-oh, I thought. Given my family’s track record, I had to find another way to get my hands on this book.

So, I looked on the Internet if it was available to order online. It wasn’t, as far as I know. The websites for bookstores in the Philippines do not list the book as being available. The book’s publisher, DLSU Press, didn’t respond to my email regarding the availability and distribution of the book.

I told Raquel about the problem and she suggested that we ask her father to buy the book instead. I have really nothing to lose at that point. We texted her father the book details yesterday. Today, he went off to Manila to look for the book.

According to Harper, there were only 500 copies of the book! What were the publishers thinking?!

“De La Salle Press officials claim that they generally sell only 500 copies of their publications. Considering their student body, this is a rather depressing figure. But even worse is the thought that so few would have a chance to understand the Ilustrado and his real contribution to this country.”

Given that there were limited copies of the book, we doubt that it would be available in the regular book outlets so Raquel told her father to try going to La Salle on Taft Avenue, Manila first. When he got there, the security guard at the gate stopped him from entering the campus. The guard called somebody from the DLSU Press to talk to Raquel’s dad. Thankfully, Raquel’s dad was able to get a copy of the book from the DLSU Press staff for 420 Pesos.

Now, I have a copy of the book. Well, actually, Raquel’s father has the book but he texted us that he would send it via post soon. I couldn’t believe how quickly Raquel’s dad got the book for us. I really appreciate it! It now makes me think about the next time. Would I ask my brother to buy me something? Or do I just nicely ask Raquel’s father again instead?

Published in: on February 10, 2006 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Recommended TV Shows

I can’t think of anything to write about so, today, I’ll just list my current favourite TV shows on Australian free-to-air TV at the moment. If you aren’t the least bit interested to know what shows I like to watch, feel free to skip this post. I don’t mind.

Now, in alphabetical order, here is my list of faves along with a little personal commentary regarding each show:

Futurama, TEN, Tuesdays, 8pm AEDT
This is actually an old canceled sci-fi animated series (thanks a lot, Fox!) from the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening. It parodies a lot of sci-fi shows, of course, as well as pop culture. Even though I’ve actually watched all four seasons of this show on DVD already, TEN only recently picked up this series and I still love watching it all over again. Recommended for sci-fi fans and geeks in general.

Ghost Whisperer, Seven, Tuesdays, 7.30pm AEDT
The show stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as this person who sees ghosts. I know it may sound similar to Medium starring Patricia Arquette (which I used to watch, by the way), but I now prefer this series over the latter. Whereas Medium seems to concentrate on criminal cases, Ghost Whisperer does not. It’s more about the lead helping lost souls cross over. I like the concept. Okay, okay. So it also helped that Hewitt is in the lead role.

House, MD, TEN, Wednesdays, 8.30pm AEDT
Hugh Laurie is Dr Gregory House. An absolute bastard but a very skilled and talented doctor. When this started airing a while back, it was up against Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy which is also another series set in a hospital. However, House is more like CSI and GA, to me at least, is more like Melrose Place (as in prime-time soap opera). In House, the emphasis is on the illness, the persons affected by it and finding a cure for it. The patient’s illness is usually not immediately identifiable so they have to determine what illness the patient has first before they can even cure it. Although I definitely like this process of discovery they do every week, I have also grown to like the characters in the series. Even House.

Lost, Seven, Thursdays, 8.30pm AEDT
From the creator of Alias (another favourite of mine), JJ Abrams and David Lindelof, comes Lost. A story about the survivors of an airplane crash on a mysterious island. Sounds like a simple survival story, doesn’t it? Well, I like this show more for its supernatural and/or sci-fi elements. For example, there is this character named John Locke (played by Terry O’Quinn) who was actually a cripple before the plane crash. After the crash, mobility to his legs was restored mysteriously. Then there is also the mystery about the “others” on the island even though the island seems to be uninhabited. There are a lot of questions that go unanswered in Lost. And watching out for the answers in the next episodes is probably my biggest motivation to continue watching this show.

Mythbusters, SBS, Mondays, 7.30pm AEDT
Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage attempts to bust the popular myths and urban legends weekly in this educational show. Have you ever asked the following questions: If the elevator you’re riding snaps and falls, would you survive if you jump just before the elevator hits the ground? Would a cola drink really dissolve a tooth if the tooth is left to soak in cola overnight? Would you be drier if you ran in the rain rather than walked? Well, they did the experiments to find out once and for all if these myths are confirmed, plausible or busted.

NCIS, TEN, Wednesdays, 9.30pm AEDT
When they started showing this series on TEN a while back at CSI’s height of popularity in Australia, it was touted as being like CSI (shown on Nine) but their scope was world-wide rather than city-wide. Well, not really. NCIS stands for Navy Criminal Investigative Service. Sort of like the US Navy’s CSI. That also meant that they only handle cases that involved the US Navy. Even so, I like this series more for its quirky characters than for the cases they try to solve each week. But, even if the cases were limited to Navy-related ones, the cases were usually very interesting to follow.

Prison Break, Seven, Wednesdays, 8.30pm AEDT
A new series about a supposed innocent guy on death row and his smart brother who got himself into prison just so he can break him out. I like watching Michael Scofield’s (the smart brother) prison break plan unfold every week. Of course, you can only plan so much. Plans tend not to work out exactly as hoped. And therein lies the suspense for this show. Can they break out before the execution date? How are they going to break out? It’s a very exciting show.

Smallville, TEN, Thursdays, 7.30 pm AEDT
It’s basically the story of Clark Kent living in his hometown of Smallville before he became Superman. Actually, I’ve already watched on DVD the entire season being shown on TV at the moment. The reason for this was because Nine dropped the ball. Nine censored the violence out of the show most of the time and then stopped showing it completely. Since then, I’m always afraid for series shown on Nine. Anyway, fortunately, TEN picked up the series and started showing Season 3. But, the Season 3 DVD box-set has been out for a while now so the TV series has yet to catch up with the episodes they show in the US.

Supernatural, TEN, Mondays, 8.30pm AEDT
Brothers Dean and Sam Winchester travels from state to state (in the US) looking for their missing father while basically ghost-busting along the way. I like this show because the “villains” from the series seem like they came from the ghost stories and local legend discussions in the Hometown Tales podcast of which I am an avid listener. I’ve heard these supernatural stories before but what would it be like to actually fight the ghosts, monsters and demons featured in the said stories. Well, that’s what Supernatural is all about. So far, I’ve watched the brothers destroy a white-lady ghost, kill a wendigo, appease a vengeful water-spirit and exorcise a demon. I’ve always wanted to write a story like this but I’m more than happy to just continue watching this series instead.

Threshold, TEN, Canceled!
Rick Berman, a writer and a producer of the Star Trek franchise, created the series Threshold. Basically, it’s an alien invasion but not your typical type of invasion. The method of invasion is to infect everybody on Earth with a sort of virus that will mutate humans into the aliens themselves. So there are no actual aliens to destroy but they still need to stave off the “invasion”. The series is named after the protocol Threshold which is put into play in the unlikely possibility of an alien invasion. A great concept and a great story. Unfortunately, the series was canceled in the US even before it was able to build up steam. So in turn, the series was also canceled here in Australia a couple of weeks ago. I hope they bring it back but I won’t be holding my breath.

These are just some of my fave shows, actually. The others, I’m still waiting for the next season to start showing on Australian free-to-air stations. But I can’t rely on catching the TV ad that announces the return of a series so I signed up for‘s free service.

I just list the TV shows I watch and wanted to watch in the future in my Personal Guide page. I receive a daily email from YourTV that tells me what shows on my list will be on TV that night. Since I check my email daily anyway, I don’t miss a show I like. So, if you live in Australia and you don’t want to miss your favourite shows, I recommend you sign up.

Yeah, I know. I watch too much TV.

Published in: on February 10, 2006 at 8:30 am  Comments (2)