Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Religions, Old Beliefs

[Part 3 of the Future Perfect series]

In the year 3562, a group of archaeologists uncovered a tablet, believed to be a holy artifact, buried underneath the Avida Condominium Towers in Makatiland, a known place of religious worship in the Philippine Islands during the ancient times. The tablet has a Titanium casing and Gorilla glass screen explaining why it survived this long. They have dated the tablet to be about 1000 years old. 

When the archaeologists booted the device, they found data still intact. There are prayers to various ancient Gods, scriptures depicting ancient beliefs, gospels and other scriptures. The scriptures match with the ancient Religions during that time (circa 2500) like Technoism, Asian Cathalicism, and Microsoftism. The following are excerpts translated from its original English.

------------------------------- start data dump-------------------------------------------

Data snip #45
Clip title: A Prayer of Providence

Blessed be the God of the Internet
Blessed be the Goddess of Real Estate
Blessed be the God of Politics
Blessed be the God of Malls

Listen, O God of Technosingularity.

In the Handle of the Inventor and of the Spliced and of the Divine Programming, /end.

Our Inventor, whose consciousness is uploaded in the cloud, Your handle be unused, Your password be unhacked, Your interface be rendered in our meatspace, Your logic be replicated, 3D printed from the exact source code.

Provide sufficient bandwidth for the day and delete our faulty codes... [next lines incomprehensible]

Data snip #08
Clip title: The 19,872 commandments 

Commandment 98: Remember to keep the 59th line empty, for it is the Inventor's line and only his.
Commandment 155: You will not use Inventor's handle in pure lowercase.
Commandment 156: You will not use the Inventor's handle unbolded.
Commandment 412: Remember to create an open circuit on the 59th mesh, for it is the Inventor's mesh and only his.
 Commandment 1,659: You shall wear and use only the accessories blessed and sanctioned by the Inventor.
Commandment 5,977: You shall listen only to divine music downloaded from His Divine Store.
Commandment 8,516: You shall not desecrate His Divine Devices with illegal software.

Data snip #99
Clip title: The Gospel according to Bill Jates

Bill Chapter 8, Verse 2:
I look at my blinking screen in awe. It alternated from white to blue in dizzying speeds. Then He spoke to me, "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."

Data snip #109
Clip title: The First Emails of Zukerberd to the Haitians

1 Zukerberd Chapter 2, Verse 5
You made another application knowing that at some point the One Networking site would probably want to do something with jobs. This was pretty surprising to us, because you basically made something on the side that will end up competing with the One Networking site and that's pretty bad by itself. But putting ads up on the One Networking site to advertise it, especially for free, is just mean.

-------------------------- end data dump ---------------------------------

The archaeologists have concluded that the tablet's contents might be apocryphal. These are the scriptures that were not accepted as 'canonical' and hence not included in the current teachings of modern religions.

Along with the tablet other divine artifacts were unearthed. An Apple watch, an iRosary and a rare Google Glass. Archaeologists are still excavating the site as of writing.

- With reports from the Philippine Commission for Archeological, Historical and Hipster Studies

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chronicles of a Future Archeologist

[Part 2 of the Future Perfect series]

From the journals of Pedro S. Palanca, PhD in Archeology and Ancient Antiquities.

I arrived at the coordinates 14°33'24"N 121°1'26"E with the sun already setting at the horizon. This might have been a religious ritual place or an astrological site. The positioning of the structures prove it so. As the sun sets, it shines along a long, wide clearing, bordered on its side by tall, slabs of stone and metal ruins.

The year is 3231.

I marvel at the gigantic structures all around and wonder how the ancients are able to build these massive feats of architecture. Each structure might have stood two thousand meters up or even higher. Their width might have been half a kilometer on all sides. The corners are all perfect angles. The sides are perfect lines. On all sides, there are perfect patterns of repeating square holes, about 2 meters by 2 meters wide. Each with perfect lines and angles.

On some structures, these holes are covered by a thin clear material almost crystalline in form. For some, the holes are decorated by complex ornate patterns-- flowing, zigzaging, crisscrosssing each other.

From my ancient guidebook, I learn that they call these 'Skyscrapers'. It has been theorized that the ancients used them to clean the skies of the sins of the humans hence the name. During their ceremonial rituals, the guidebook says, the monks dressed in their finest, would fall in line in front of offertory cages on the onset of the sunrise. At anytime, about 20 monks can fit on these cages. They would get in these cages and the structure would bring them to the heavenly spaces or 'cubicles' to be purified of their sins and to contribute in the scraping of  the skies. At sun's fall, the monk would return purified and duty accomplished. They would do this every single day as a form of religious devotion.

This structure on my right is the tallest skyscraper. They call it the Pibikom Tower, most probably in honor of Pibikom, the ancient god of banking and finance.

In front of me lies an endless stretch of flat, black surface. It is about 20 meters wide and stretches beyond the horizon. I stand in awe at the perfect flatness made of hard and seemingly indestructible stone like volcanic glass. It is an amazing work of technology by such primitive people. It is on these endless fields where the ancients parade their monks on their way to their ceremonies.

According to the guidebook, monks alight on metallic carriages or 'buses' all link to each other via a ritual called 'traffic'. The carriages move ceremoniously to an orrery of sound, from low pitched hums to high pitched screams. The carriage move slowly in those rituals until they reach the corresponding skyscraper. They call these surfaces 'Highways', since they are the pathways that lead to the skies or the 'Highs'.

The long highway stretching across my coordinate is called the Aiala Highway, named from Aiala, the goddess of lands, dwellings and real estate.

It's already dark and I need to get out of this place. The guidebook says the place is teeming with the spirits of the monks who died on their cubicles in the act of skyscraping.

On my next visits, I'm planning on exploring the secrets of the underground passages, the 'Underpass' and take a look at another technological masterpiece, the Emarti and how it met its horrific and disastrous death.

This is Pedro Palanca, PhD signing off for now.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tips for Time Travelers arriving at Manila 2015

[Part 1 of the Future Perfect series]

Good day Time Travelers and greetings from the year 4045!

This post will serve as a guide for all you tourist wanting to make the most of your visit in this very amazing point in our history. As such we have listed some tips on how to behave, to avoid being detected as a traveler from the future and to maximize your enjoyment of the tour.

Please read them carefully. If in doubt, please refer to the nearest PATT office in your area.

1. Don't ask help from other people to take a picture of you using your camera. They would instantly know you are not from this era. Take a picture of yourself instead (even if it may sound nonsense). They call it "selfish" or something to that effect.

2. Never eat you're food immediately. They have some sort of procedure here where they take an image of the food then upload the picture to a server somewhere. It is some sort of regulation here. You can only eat it once it is approved by the Department of Food Photographs. In your case, just pretend  for a few minutes that you are taking pictures of your food and uploading it online.

3. When dining with another person, never talk to that person while looking at his/her eyes directly for more than 10 seconds. It is a sign of disrespect. Instead, every 5 seconds or so, look into your phone and pretend that you are typing something.

4. In relation to #3, when you are in the act of doing anything (like walking or buying flowers or buying a drink) make sure to document every 5 seconds what you are doing by typing it into your phone. It is another policy. Just to be safe, it is advisable to do this even when you are alone, in case their Department of Documentation is watching you. Example would be "Taking a drink", "Brushing my teeth", "Peeing" etc.

5. This year, Manila will be visited by a lot of well known personalities all over the world, like the Pope, the French President, the Dalai Lama, Rihanna etc. NEVER EVER LOOK INTO THEM DIRECTLY. Or you will be charged with contempt or attempted assassination or sacrilege or something else. Instead, use your phone to capture a video and then look at the phone screen instead.

6. The people in this year are highly opinionated in terms of government policies and political stands. If someone would ask you what is your take on something controversial, just tell them its the fault of the previous administration. You can even apply to end any argument in general. I.e. "Why is it so dirty here?", "It's the fault of the previous cleaner's shift". Or "Why is this fruit so sour?" "It's the fault of the delivery guy." Don't worry, it is the countries' Official Stand on things.

7. If you happen to meet a local celebrity, it is customary to throw degrading insults at them and their family (like "You're son is gay", or "You're a slut.") They call it vashing in this culture. They would also offer salutatory insulting vashes at you which you should counter immediately until you both part ways.

8. Finally, if the worst case comes and you are discovered to be a time traveler just pretend you have a heart attack or any other sickness. They will let you go immediately. It has many precedents. It is foolproof.

Now, if you become confused by these complicated and nonsensical behavioural guidelines, you can always ask the interwebz for Mr. Google. From the very few documents we gathered, he seem to be a very wise go-to person and knows a lot about this time than anyone else. Just make sure to buy some of his products like Viagra or the rudimentary iPhone 6.

Next time we'll show you some of the best places to go to where you can find artifacts like CD's, DVD's  or even look at the ancestor of our quantum luminal machines, those they call laptops. Or visit the mysterious "malls" back on their heydays. Or even go treasure hunting on their Tyangges and visit the mother dungeon itself, the Devizoria.

That's all for today's tips. Until next time. Enjoy your time out there traveler!

This post is sponsored by the Philippine Authority for Temporal Tourism 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Google failed me (among other things)

1. How Google failed me

Yesterday as I was walking home, I saw a graffiti stenciled on one of the walls along the sidewalk. It is an image of a child with text "Rescue Us". I've seen it some place else before. And I was intrigued by the image. Who created it? What is the artist fighting for? What cause?

I initially assumed it is something like a cause fighting child labor, or save the street children or the like. Noble causes that I could support.

So when I arrived home, I fired up my laptop and searched in vain for the image using various keywords.
rescue us
street art
So on and so forth and the combinations thereof.

To no avail.

Then, just a whim, I opened my instagram and searched for the hashtag #rescueus. Many results were displayed. And to my surprise, there on the first page, the 12th image or so is the one I'm looking for.

So there, it was probably the first time Google failed. (Correction: It was the second.) Instead, the power of social networking saved the day and showed me the light.

By the way, here's the image in question for reference.


2. Rescue Us

As I was looking at the account of the artist in Instagram, I thought of asking him what is his cause. So I checked the exact "Rescue Us" image in his posts and thought of commenting with my question.

But Lo and behold, someone already asked! Another IG user asked what is the meaning of the images. And the artist already answered.

To paraphrase, the artist said he just want to share his stencils because it is his passion.


Elsewhere, graffiti has been used as a medium of expression and as a means of taking a stand. Look here for some Graffiti for a cause.  And who wouldn't know Banksy whose street art usually come with loaded imagery as a sort of opinion piece of the artist. And to every one passing EDSA or any of the main thoroughfares in Manila everyday, who would miss the "CPP/NPA" graffiti on the walls (with deep black ink) even if albeit no aesthetic at all.


Going back to the "Rescue Us" post, I just thought it could have been a great vehicle for a good cause. As evident on the comments, many people have seen it and was curious of the meaning. It could have raised awareness of certain issues if that is the least it could contribute.

But then again, who am I to question the intent of the artist, right? As they say, Art for art's sake.  (But who or what the hell is art?)

For more amazing graffiti art in the streets of Manila, you can check out this Facebook page.

And look! There's actually a Kickstarter project! Here's the site.


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