Last Friday, Marc and I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Palengke himself: Senator Mar Roxas. We were joined by bloggers of different niches. We have already met his team before because of our web design business, but this was the very first time we actually sat down and talked to the senator.

Basically, the senator is launching his personal blog, where he would actually take part in some of the writing. Quite interesting, in my opinion. Politicians would usually just hire a ghost writer, but Mar Roxas opted to be transparent instead. Not only that, but he is also launching another website, Virtual Rally Fuel Price Protest.

I’ll be honest. I am not the “huwag matakot, makibaka” type of person, but I am far from being a satisfied citizen, and I try as much as possible not to think about where the taxes I pay for really go because it just ruins my day. My family recently became victims of this corrupted institution, and it’s very frustrating to know that the only solution for you to get justice could render you penniless and tied up in an equally screwed up system.

I prefer to leave political debates to those who are learned in them, and uprisings to those who feel the need for them. I don’t know, I guess I really just prefer to make a difference by focusing on something that I’m passionate about and know my way around: the environment and animal rights.

I remember a briefing I attended back in college. Our group was tasked to teach freshmen and facilitate reflection sessions after immersions. The Ateneo Office for Social Concern and Involvement had varied sectors for the freshmen to visit: urban poor, housing, OFW settlements, tribes, prison, environment-related, etc. I guess that’s where I learned that you can make a difference, even if it didn’t focus on politics and governance.

So there I was last Friday, sharing a table with a Philippine senator and a mixture of bloggers. I was actually a bit nervous at first, I had some apprehensions whether or not I deserved to be in that table. Many thanks to Ding Gagelonia for the assurance that even tree-huggers like me also have sector issues that matter, and for patiently entertaining my questions. Luckily, the discussion was mostly about things that I do know of: taxes and blogging.

I would like to reserve my stand on Mar Roxas’ proposal for the suspension of VAT on Fuel for a separate post. But if you really do want to know, find my little doggy image placed right under the word “reserved” of the site’s virtual EDSA and just draw your own conclusions for the time being.

I am actually quite pleased that even politicians are starting to see what blogging really is all about beyond the famed Brian Gorelle issue. Regardless of political agenda or what-have-you’s, it’s still great to know that politicians are beginning to recognize us little bloggers as the “new media,” and show us the same respect they do traditional media folks. They are starting to realize that even little people like us shouldn’t be ignored anymore—our voices are starting to matter.

I find Senator Mar very engaging, and extremely organized 😛 I can’t help but peg him as the type of person who’d probably faint at the sight of my bedroom before I got married (I was so messy that you’d have to step over piles of dirty clothes, books and papers just to walk across my room), or be the classmate I’d love to borrow notes from before the finals.

I observed that like any other politician, the senator was careful with some of his answers. With all the crap that’s happening in the country, it isn’t unusual that a regular schmoe like me would wonder about his sincerity. I will patiently wait to know if the senator’s plans for bettering the country will ever come to fruition, and I think that’s the only time I can make assumptions on his sincerity. But there is one hunch about a person that I most often get correct: compassion for animals.

Yes, people, I have gotten the impression that the senator likes dogs. He was a busy person, but he still took the time to have a short chitchat with me about those loyal bundles of fur. As somebody who talks about animals often, I have learned to decipher some non-verbal clues whether a person likes animals or not.

I don’t know, but people tend to let their guard down when they’re talking about pets—it easy to determine if you sincerely like animals or not. There was something in the way the senator talked about the specific dog breed he really liked that told me he certainly had a soft spot for these furry creatures (he even mentioned something about them that I didn’t know).

So what does liking dogs have anything to do with the senator’s projects? Absolutely nothing. But it did give me a glimpse of Mar Roxas the person, and not just the senator 🙂

Bloggers at the event: my husband Marc, Susan “Toots” Ople, Noemi Dado, Lester Cavestany, Jester, Arbet Bernardo, Marck Rimorin,Juned Sunido, Sonnie Santos, Abe Olandres, Paolo Florenda, Ding Gagelonia, Gail Villanueva,Ellen Tordesillas, Manolo Quezon, Ricky Carandang, Carlo Ople.