Vice Ganda is Goldie Hawn is Praybeyt Benjamin

“Praybeyt Benjamin,” a movie about an effeminate outsider joining the Army was released in Philippine theaters this week to rave ( I think) reviews.

Most of the praise deservedly went to Goldie Hawn, whom the New York Times called  “totally charming as the bemused suburban princess who forsakes a house with a live-in maid, her membership in the country club…to find life’s meaning in the service.”

Private Benjamin (1980)

Wait, what? Praybeyt Benjamin stars comedian Vice Ganda and it’s about a gay man who enters the Army “when the country is besieged by terrorists and goes under a civil war“? It’s a totally different film then.

Praybeyt Benjamin (2011)*

Now, I’m not saying Star Cinema or Viva Films stole the idea for “Praybeyt Benjamin.” Clearly, these are two different films made more than 20 years apart and the country does not go “under civil war” in the original movie. But the movies have the same basic premise, and basically the same title.

Which, really, boggles the mind. Most of the people who have watched and  will watch Praybeyt Benjamin (reviewers included) will not have heard of the original movie, so there is no name recall to boost sales.

There is also none of the cleverish punning in local films that copy foreign films. (Consider, for example Dolphy’s Tataynic to ride on the popularity of Titanic, and Wanted: Perfect Mother as a spoof of  Wanted: Perfect Murder by way of Mrs. Doubtfire.)

Star Cinema/Viva Films could have called it anything else and it still would have sold tickets, brought laughs, and gotten rave reviews.

Is it director Wenn Deramas’s homage to the original Goldie Hawn film? If so, was this mentioned at all in press conferences and publicity tours for Praybeyt Benjamin? A quick Google search suggests it was not and it certainly was not mentioned by reviewers.

Surely, there is a reasonable and logical explanation for this but I’m sticking with laziness until proven otherwise.


*“Goldie Hawn is Private Benjamin” was the last line of the trailer for the 1980 movie.

[EDIT: This website is not the first to find similarities between the Goldie Hawn film and this one, and this is probably old news to a lot of people. But not to you, Indolent reader!]

Anti-Social Media: Fixing A-hole

People of the press love raffles, and why not?

We may never become the people we cover, but at least there’s a way for us to (arguably) legitimately get some of their spoils. The rationale/justification being it’s not a pay off if everyone has an equal chance at winning. And given how much we make, even just a goody bag stuffed with imported chocolates  is pretty rich stuff.

And that  is why a reporter for Monthly Magazine* was pissed off at an anniversary party for a regional airline. At the end of the party, the airline raffled off an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Bangkok** as a grand prize.

The douche bag emcee hosting the party, and reportedly sleeping with the a top executive of that airline, picked the winning entry out of a hat (we assume) and said:

“And the winner is, from Monthly Magazine…

…Emcee’s Random Friend who does not work for Monthly Magazine!”

Cue feigned surprise (or actual surprise for the hack of a broadsheet known for its gripping and comprehensive coverage of job vacancies and second-hand cars who suddenly found out she worked at Monthly Magazine) and the hateful death stares of every other reporter, advertising executive, and decent human being at the hotel where the party was held.

Sources say the douche bag emcee does this all the time, doling out raffle prizes and other swag to members of his media mafia, whom we shall call Team Yuck. Members of the team lap it up, of course, and treat the douche bag emcee like he’s some sort of Supremo or whatever.

"Who, me? Not me! (Then, who?)"

Team Yuck’s fawning and their ability to say “fuck you” to both the art of writing and to integrity gets them more gifts, strings, and stints with up-market magazines and newspaper sections.

There is, after all, nobody better fed than a well-behaved and obedient dog.

*Not, obviously, the actual title of the magazine because that would just be lazy.

** Actually, its proper name is Krungthep Maha Nakorn, Amarn Rattanakosindra, Mahindrayudhya, Mahadilokpop Noparatana Rajdhani Mahasathan, Amorn Piman Avatarn Satit, Sakkatultiya Vishnukarn Prasit.

Pacquiao promoted to Lt. Colonel for nothing at all

Part-time Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao has been promoted to a lieutenant colonel in the Army reserves, the same rank that my dead grandfather, who fought against the Japanese and, later, the Huks held when he was buried with military honors.

[President Benigno Aquino III] on September 21 authorized the promotion of Pacquiao from a reserve senior master sergeant to a lieutenant colonel. He skipped the ranks of chief master sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain and major.

You know what else he skipped? Officer candidacy school, National Security school, actual reservist service, and the whole point of a merit system. Oh, also, college.

Which, I guess, shows poor career planning on my grandfather’s part. He probably did not have to fight in the war, get a degree in Chemistry from UP, train in Fort Hood in the US, and teach at the Philippine Military Academy when he should have just focused on boxing instead.

He didn't even have to shave, apparently.

All that nastiness about the Death March and getting caught in a Huk ambush could have been avoided, and my dead grandmother could have been spared a lifetime of worry over her husband possibly dying leading a Battalion Combat Team through Hukbalahap territory in Central Luzon if he had only had the foresight to turn pro boxer, I guess.

Seriously. Fuck everything about this.

How is your glass house, Senator Cayetano?

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, paragon of probity, has put the confirmation of another Commission on Elections commissioner on hold for “conflict of interest.”

At the Commission on Appointments hearing earlier this week, Cayetano blocked the confirmation of Comelec commissioner Christian Lim because he “has many more questions.”

Chief among those questions, apparently:

During the day’s hearing, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano asked Lim on the status of the Comelec’s investigation into alleged poll fraud during the 2010 elections.

Which, is a good thing to ask since he was allegedly a victim of election fraud in 2007.  Not a good thing to ask when your wife, who won by a lead of less than 2,500 is the subject of an election protest.

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Skies are a little less friendly

There is no doubt that budget flag carrier Cebu Pacific has changed Philippine commercial aviation with its seat sales and dancing flight attendants. As is true in everything from rap to capitalism, sometimes you change the game, and sometimes the game changes you.


Indolent reader XM says getting seats on a Cebu Pacific flight, never a fun thing to do because heavy demand sometimes causes the servers to crash, has become even less fun.


XM says CebuPac now charges extra for baggage. By baggage, they mean anything you have to check in. So, basically, you only get to bring along one bag. If you want to bring more baggage, you will have to pay P350 to P1,000 more. Which, if you think about it, is a small price to pay. It’s a hidden charge, though, and can foul up a backpacker’s carefully balanced budget. And knowing how much Filipinos love to shop, chances are you will have to fork out extra on the flight back.


Now, jetsetters and businesspeople will probably think nothing of tacking on a P1,000 to an incredibly low-priced plane ticket, but those people aren’t the type of flyers who made CebuPac what it is today. Those people, in fact, probably don’t even fly CebuPac. Those that do are students and regular employees to whom P1,000 could spell the difference between a nice vacation and living on leftovers from the hotel buffet breakfast and stealing biscuits and coffee from the lounge.


Getting a seat has also gotten trickier, XM says. You need to pay P100 to P200 if you don’t want to  sit where the CebuPac compute says you should. And you have to be careful about that too. XM says you need to deselect the seat assigned to you before changing seats or you might pay for both seats. Presumably, one seat is for you, and the other is for your ghost friend who roams the Earth looking for the man who killed him. What? Sometimes ghosts take vacations too.


A friend at the airline says commuters shouldn’t really expect superb service unless they fly with a “legacy” airline like Philippine Airlines. Service, after all, is something you pay for. Still, an airline that earned P6.9 billion in 2010, should be able to afford to let passengers bring more than one backpack, right?


Also, more dancing flight attendants


By Jingo!: Travel blogger says Manila a disgrace to region

Actually a protest against the PH-US Balikatan military exercises (

"That'll teach you to hate the Philippines, foreign dog!"

Filipino pride, recently restored by an apology from US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. after he said 40 percent of male tourists come to the country for sex, may soon be bruised again once the  Philippine online hive mind notices this newest (I guess) assault on our national integrity.

Travel blogger QuatermainesWorld says Manila “has got to be the disgrace of South-east Asia” because of the crappy airport, the “AWFUL” traffic, and our general poverty.

Mr. Quatermaine (I assume) was here for something or other at the Asian Development Bank, which has its headquarters in this city. That, he says, is ironic since the Philippines has “the WORST development history of any of the ASEAN countries.”

“Manila, where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region,” he says.

But–you might say–surely our institutional shortcomings are more than compensated for by our warm and welcoming people?

That is so, Mr. Quatermaine says, at least it is true among those Filipinos still stuck here:

Look: people will say the Filipino people are nice, and indeed they are polite – we Brits might say “smarmy” – obsequious or ingratiating are maybe less pleasant words. But they do try. That does take the edge off the sheer misery of a crumbling, filthy, depressing city and an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left.

But, but, surely…there are nice things about the Philippines? And there are, in fact, everything “Not Manila” about the Philippines is great, he says.

“My suggestion if you want to see the Philippines: get through Manila as quickly as you can, it has nothing to recommend it. Go out to the islands, Cebu, Mindanao, up to the cool of Bagio and see the people in the countryside and some of the spectacular scenery. That’s probably worth the trip. Otherwise pick almost anywhere else in Asia and you’ll get a better deal,” he says.

And all this is true. We have said pretty much the same thing among friends and family, but we might as well hunker down, get out our umbrellas and raincoats. Now that a foreigner has said it, in their typical imperialistic, racist, Anglo-centric manner, can a shitstorm be far behind?

Oh, and as a final kick at the hornet’s nest: “P.S. No pictures because there’s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it’s drab and dirty.”

Indolent in the News!


Here’s an old clip from Sidetracked, a segment on TV5’s The Evening News (TEN), that mentioned Indolent Indio alongside actual A-listers like future Assistant Secretary Manuel Quezon III and journalist Ding Gagelonia (who has since passed). We were the youngest and least-known and the only website still blogging. MLQ3 still blogs but he is also a government official, so…we are half right.

TEN, not a blog, has also stopped airing.

I guess we have trouble moving on and stuff.

Crocodile Lechon, the Constitution and You

The Philippines, ever hungry for world fame (and also ever hungry), seems to have gone a little crocodile-crazy ever since Lolong, a giant one-ton crocodile, was caught  in Agusan Del Sur in September.

"I love you, man." (

Lolong was in the running to get into the Guinness World Book of Records for a while, and from wildlife officers for a lot longer. He was even given a theme song for some reason: Inner Circle’s “Sweat (A La La La La Long)”. Presumably, it will serve as a musical cue to let the audience know he is coming, like the ticking clock in that crocodile in Peter Pan. Or, as an amusing soundtrack in case he goes on a rampage at the wildlife park where he is being kept.

Jokes about Lolong and his distant genetic cousins in government made the rounds of social networking sites and on SMS for a while, too.

But sometimes, and by that we mean almost always, we tend to overdo things just a smidge.

Consider the crocodile lechon:


I mean, come on, guys... (Bboi Ngojo/Manila Bulletin)

According to a blurb on the Manila Bulletin website (whose pictures only come in two sizes: thumbnail and thumbnail), crocodile lechon is an attraction/viand at the Crocodile Park in Davao.  “Filipino gourmets say more spices are used to make the exotic food, which is said to have less calories and is, more tender and tastier,” it said.

There are times when you just have to pause and consider how brutal mankind has been to nature. This crocodile, basically unevolved since prehistoric times, was captured and kept as some sort of freak show attraction until he died (or was killed). Instead of letting nature take its course by letting his brother crocodiles eat him as prescribed in the Crocodile Book of the Dead, he is spitted, roasted and served to evolved monkey humans who do not really want to eat it. And, they put a watermelon in his mouth to mock the fact that he will never hunt for meat again. Fuck you, crocodile!

Crocodiles are not without their defenders, though. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want Lolong and his kind let loose into the rivers and tributaries of Mindanao, their natural habitat. Incidentally, those rivers are found in Mindanao, the natural habitat of Mindanaoans. Lolong was himself captured after a fisherman was attacked by a giant crocodile.

And, also…

The commenter was, of course, referring to Section nothing Act nothing of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.  Serves you right for not sending representatives to the Constitutional Convention, crocodiles! And maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to abstain from voting on the plebiscite after all.

[EDIT: A video just because we can!]


Planking: It’s time to move on

Guys. We get it. Planking is the protest action du jour, especially after Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo proposed a controversial and draconian law to penalize planking on the streets during protest rallies.

As predicted, though, Filipinos took an Internet meme, hyped it up, then beat that dead horse until it could not possibly get any more dead without turning into a zombie metaphorical horse that is then shot in the head.

Sometimes, as with this group of fisher folk protesting the creation of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO), Filipinos tend to take things overboard.

Did you see what we did there? Overboard? Eh? Eh? (

I hate to be a spoilsport, two dudes in the water, but planking in the sea is called floating. Possibly, snorkeling. That doesn’t even follow the concept of the meme, strictly speaking.  Planking is supposed to be done in places where people are not likely to be lying face down and stiff as a board. What those guys are doing is called sunbathing in most places.

Not to belittle the gripes of Aurora residents against APECO or anything. Those guys have legitimate complaints. They say construction of APECO has destroyed mangroves where the fish they catch live, and has caused flooding in the area. Using a tired old Internet meme to get those issues across trivializes the whole thing, though.