I finally checked out Iya-J’s recent article Carlos Celdran is a bad influence to the Filipino people after seeing it appear on my newsfeed more than a few times over the last couple of days. Obviously it took that long for it to finally arouse my curiosity. I wouldn’t really have known who this Carlos Celdran is if it were not for that “Damaso” stunt he pulled some time ago (I forget how long ago). Then I find this article seemingly going viral, so I thought “What now, Carlos Celdran?”
Whoa! At 300+ comments, Carlos’s blog is on fire! Not surprising though if we consider how much air time it’s had making the rounds in Facebook, or at least as far as my newsfeed is concerned. Where do all these people come from? It seems, Carlos is a well-liked guy. I’ve since done some research on him. He’s an easy guy to find. His Facebook page has an awesome 33,075 likes (as of this writing) and he’s got 164,552 followers on his Twitter account @carlosceldran! The guy’s some kind of social media rockstar.
I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but hats off to writer Iya-J — at least for being brave enough to take on a famous guy like Celdran. Don’t get me wrong, though. Just from skimming the surface of the world of Carlos Celdran, I gather he is doing quite an admirable job of promoting Manila as a tourist destination. However, I do get a bit of the point Iya-J was trying to make about Carlos. Here is a guy who became quite successful doing what he does best — being a tour guide. But he might want to consider the possibility that he may be a bit out of his depth making commentary about social and political issues. A thin line separates being a champ and being a chump. Maybe Carlos crosses that line everytime he goes from doing songs and dances about Manila’s beauty into doing songs and dances about general Philippine issues.
300 comments is a lot to go through. Luckily I didn’t need to scroll down far before I found this one:
I don’t get what the hulabaloo is. Have you gone on one of his tours? No? have you met the guy? No? He’s actually all fine and dandy, but a little crazy, as most artists tend to be. Why is he a big deal?
Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people. I thought Get Real Philippines is supposed to be the bastion of sense and critical thought?
I must say I’m very disappointed.
Iya-J did raise some really sharp points about the reality that Manila is, to put it bluntly, a dump. Perhaps she should have laid off a bit on making it personal, though.
And to Carlos Celdran, kudos for the artistry you apply in the way you routinely paint lipstick on a pig. But, you see, Metro Manila to me is not an acquired taste — which, it seems, is how you are pitching it to your customers. Unlike ginisang ampalaya (sauteed bitter melon) which I grew to love after a childhood spent hating it, the taste Manila leaves in my mouth continues to grow ever more bitter with every additional year I spend here. The traffic, the pollution, and the aesthetic sensibilities of the city get worse every year. That’s just my observation of course, but I am sure many others who call Metro Manila home would not disagree.