Out of Focus


Test yourself: Are you qualified to be buried in Libingan Ng Mga Bayani?

Sun, 12/10/2017 - 15:22

by Alan Robles

Contrary to what critics say, the Duterte administration didn't arbitrarily decide to bury Ferdinand Marcos in the Heroes' Cemetery, Libingan ng Mga Bayani. No, it consulted expert scholars to see if the former dictator's corpse was worthy of interment in the LMB.

The experts used a test specially designed by members of The Official Gazette, called the Test for Interring The Marcos Officer (TITIMO). You can take it yourself and see if YOU qualify to be buried in the heroes cemetery.

50 New Year's Resolutions from the Palace

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 12:13

by Alan Robles

A lavandera with strange powers was walking past one of Malacañang Palace's gates when she was run down by a speeding backhoe. Brought to the hospital, she woke up after a few hours and started writing down the following New Year's resolutions, claiming she had received them from a "mysterious source":

1. Crush the drug problem
2. Change the Constitution
3. Stop swearing
4. God damn it, I'm serious
5. Calm down

Understanding the airport bullet scam

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 17:13
Noting the keen public interest in bullet planting issue, we have decided to exploit it by putting together this package of more or less dubious questions and answers.
1. I've heard that when I check-in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport there's a chance somebody will set me up by planting a bullet in my bag and then accost me and demand a bribe so I won't be arrested
The good news is that it doesn't happen to everyone. There are exemptions.

In search of Binay's running mate

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 18:45

by Alan Robles

Deep in the dark heart of the political jungle, skilled professionals are engaged in an important quest: hunting and bagging that elusive creature, a running mate for Vice President Binay.

Let's talk to one of those agents, Gnoll Tahol, CEO and Droolmaster of the Showbeast Government Headhunting Troll Tribe and Carinderia Services Inc

Hot Manila: How's the hunting?

Gnoll Tahol: Tough, really tough. Every time we find a possible candidate, we creep up to them, tell them to stay calm because we have a big surprise. Then we tell them we're considering them as a companion for Vice President Binay to run...

What is China up to in the West Philippine Sea?

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 18:26

by Alan Robles

China has been busily engaged in mysterious activities in the West Philippine Sea, aka South China Sea. Dredging and filling, it's apparently turning slivers of coral barely protruding above the water into full-fledged large islands.

What could all this island bodybuilding and buffing be for? It can't possibly be to build military bases bristling with guns, missiles, planes, and hostile-type installations intended to harass air and maritime traffic - right? After all China itself assures its intentions are purely peaceful and it OF COURSE is not encroaching on other countries' territories and stealing islands. It's probably prepared to swear this on the sainted relics of Mao, assuming it can locate them.

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.


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