The Korina stone

korina sanchez philstar

Korina Sanchez [Photo source: philstar]

ABS-CBN news anchor Korina Sanchez is regularly mocked or criticized on social media. I’ve mocked the shallow, sensationalist “talking head” method of news reporting employed by ABS-CBN. She is one of three news anchors there.

Her husband, prospective presidential candidate Mar Roxas, gets criticized for being married to her. They were married in 2009.

The criticisms of Korina

The criticisms generally characterize Ms. Sanchez as hot-headed and egotistical. The hot-headedness accusation is drawn from incidents such as a 2001 case in which a maid accused Sanchez of beating her and withholding wages (the Department of Justice cleared her of the charge in 2002). The accusation of hot-headedness was renewed after her on-air challenge of CNN’s Anderson Cooper who reported from Tacloban immediately after typhoon Yolanda that relief was slow in arriving. Ms. Sanchez said Cooper did not know what he was talking about. Anderson Cooper suggested she visit Tacloban and see for herself.

If you read a biography of Ms. Sanchez, you will see that her career is much richer and varied than the “talking head” role she currently performs for ABS-CBN news. She hosts a weekend TV magazine show “Rated K“, has hosted a variety of interview programs and radio talk shows, and contributes articles to various newspapers from time to time. She’s won numerous awards for her work and is active in several charity programs mainly oriented toward healthy families and good parenting. My own observation is that in roles outside the stilted news-reading role, she is warm, personable and intelligent. The news role is scripted to be what it is and it offers limited opportunities to exhibit personality or even deep intelligence.

Her many awards are based on dedication and effort, not luck. She can be charming and informative, and she can be otherwise . . . if people choose to focus on isolated incidents and not the whole of her work and contributions.

What are our values toward others?

One of the principles I’ve developed in watching public servants at work . . . or media personalities such as Kris Aquino or Korina Sanchez . . . is that they are entitled to have a personality different from what you or I might project for them. They are entitled to make decisions different than we would make them, and they are even entitled to make mistakes now and then as long as they are not disastrous. Pulling impromptu speech out of the air is not the easiest thing to do, or to get 100% right every time.

My “bias” about this is set forth in a prior blog: “Kris Aquino: the Philippine National Empath“. It is also repeated over and over again when I argue that it is best to judge President Aquino on his overall results, not on specific acts or decisions or remarks that trouble us.

The expectation that others fit into our desired mold is unreasonable, and if it becomes the pattern, we get what we have in the Philippines now: little leeway for human error. Where error is defined as variance from HOW WE WOULD DO IT ourselves.

We are all 100 percenters in that regard. Expecting too much, complaining too much, generating too much negativity.

Frankly, it becomes a rather wearing style, and it holds the Philippines back from being a vibrant, uplifted and uplifting place.

But, be that as it may, the popular readout for Korina Sanchez seems to be that she is a negative for Mar Roxas. She is a stone about his neck.

A big stone? A small stone? I don’t have much information or insight on that.

What to do? What to do?

Given Mar Roxas’ precarious position as a candidate for the presidency, one is inclined to argue, well, something should be done about this Korina stone.

What are the choices?

  • One reader said Mr. Roxas should “dump” Korina. Yet that would likely INTENSIFY criticism of Mar Roxas for being unable to maintain a healthy marriage. Furthermore, presumably there is a loving foundation for the marriage, and who, really, would impose that kind of penalty on any candidate.
  • Perhaps she should resign from public work and fade to background. I don’t know the constraints that would place on the household finances. It would stick in the craw of gender equality advocates who would most surely argue that it is Mar Roxas who should fade to background so Ms. Sanchez can excel and be relieved of HIM as a handicap to her professional work.
  • Maybe it is best to continue as is, with Ms. Sanchez working diligently to keep politics out of her news reporting assignments.

I’ll provide my take on this in a moment.

Korina as First Lady

If we accept bookie Sal’s projection that Mar Roxas is likely to be the next president of the Philippines (“The odds are that Mar Roxas will be the next president“), how do we imagine Korina Sanchez would work as First Lady?

We now have an unmarried president whose sister Kris Aquino is a show business personality. She sometimes joins her brother to host visiting dignitaries when they bring their wives on a state visit. And Kris Aquino receives a lot of venomous criticism, too.

I’m inclined to think that any mold of proper Palace relationships was broken long ago, and deserves to remain so. I find it refreshing that President Aquino lives a bachelor life style, and that the Philippines has had a woman president and a legitimate First Gentleman. Now that relationship got a little squeaky, but it speaks well of the Philippines that it is a free and open society, unrestrained by uptight moralist conventions that say a President has to be a guy, and married. I wonder if we will have a non-Catholic president soon? I suspect there is a bit of a glass ceiling there.

But I digress . . .

I think Korina Sanchez would be a wonderful First Lady. Attractive, gracious, strong, intelligent.

JoeAm’s conclusion

Criticism comes with the territory for public figures hereabouts. It is a nation of 100 percenters. Compassion seems rare at times. Personalities are too often seen as defective (how President Aquino walks or smiles). Ridicule is a way of expressing manhood or intellectual superiority. Only winners and champions are granted unrestricted adoration. Forgiveness is not a common trait other than when it is self-deployed. Forgiving of oneself. Excusing of oneself.

Or excusing those with power over us.

I believe the only option for Korina Sanchez is to do what, in her heart, she wants to do. If it is to continue her profession, great, go for it. If it is to campaign for her husband, great, quit the job and go for it.

I believe it is best for Mar Roxas to focus on platform and proposed deeds and separate that from his family life. Put his family life in the background. Do not insist that Korina join the campaign effort unless that is her choice. If she gets involved, show her as supporting Mar Roxas, not leading the campaign. If she wants to work instead, let her continue to strive to excel, but avoid political topics related to her husband’s campaign or party. That is, remain neutral and objective, for that is a precious quality for any news reporter.

And by all means, Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez should keep doing what they do naturally. They are, from my chair, both quality people, living rich lives, with personalities that they ought not deny. For any one. For any reason.

Few of us could perform on the public stage, year after year, without a bad “moment” now and then.

If I knew them, I’d personally wish them well. They represent the Philippine with character and intelligence. With style.

One of my New Year’s resolutions: stop throwing stones at good people.


232 Responses to “The Korina stone”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    Discounting the presence of political partisans in social media who will criticize at the slightest error of their opponent, my view is that Korina suffers from an image or appearance of “not being nice”. Or not looking amiable enough. Contrast her with co-broadcasters like Davila (hot mama) or Sembrano (gorgeous) or Soho (panda bear). 🙂

    What I mean is physical appearance and voice quality may contribute to it.

    Another example: in the Lifestyle channel, there is a lady chef who has a high-pitched voice and is on the plump side, and she can come across to some as a nasty person.

    What I mean is, some people lose out simply because we project our biases on them.

    Contrast her with the guy who beat her in the previous reality cooking contest, who looks like a cute kid having fun in the kitchen.

    And yet we really don’t know anything about them personally. Unfair, but that is how it comes out on TV for some.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, public figures, like politicians, know what they are getting into from the getgo. Which probably does not make the criticism any more fun. Still, there is a horrible amount of unkind sniping that goes on these days, accelerated by public media. I can’t help but think we ought to be aware of it, and try to calm it some. It would make our surroundings more wholesome. The same trend is going on in the US, I might add. It’s maybe even more negative.

      We do overlay our own personal biases and likes on innocents, in that we really don’t know them. Nor are we likely to speak ill of them face to face. All in all, I can’t help but think that Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez ought to be welcomed as an important part of the public fabric, as they are good and earnest people deserving of respect and the benefit of the doubt. More than ridicule and endless sniping.

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I did not see that coming. Korina married to Mar? OMG! This is doom! Not for Mar but for the Filipino people if Mar ever gets elected. Korina is intellectually lightweight. She’d spend taxpayers money on skin-whitening, plastic surgery, make-ups, collagen, exotic beauty products including Nepalese Masseusseurs. How in the world Mar got hooked up with Korina? This is not goot. Not goot at all.

    If she picked on a housemaid, she’ll pick on everybody once she become the 1st lady. She’ll replace Imelda Marcos as the Iron Butterfly of Malacanang. Korina will not ever want to be more beautiful in Malacanang other than she. I trust my senses. Korina is vain. She cares more about beauty than being 1st Lady. She has this weird wrinkle-free controlled laugh. She’s dangerous. I’d rather have serial philandering bed jumping Kris Aquino as 1st Lady hands down. Kris is more of a real person.

    Now, that changed my mind about Mar. I do not want cat fight between vain Korina and the grace of Poe. Most of all, Korina does not have that Filipino-traditional look unlike Jejomar Binay that oozes Filipinoness even from afar.

    Voter must remember Ferdie was ugly and Imelda was beauty queen. Mar-Korina falls into the mold of Ferdie-Imelda.

    Let us not vote Mar to Malacanang unless he divorce Korina.

    • Joe America says:

      Man, way to lay waste to my “Mr. Nice Guy” blog. What, you’ll vote for Binay to get a more authentic first lady?

      You do make me think however, about whitening creams and Serge Osmena’s black hair at age 604 or whatever he is, about what Noah reached, I think. The Poe family is wholesome. She does not seem extremely vain and he is reserved and kept discreetly in the background. Santiago. Well, I rather think she puts the capital V in vanity, but that’s just me. Where are the authentic couples, the regular going-about family life kinds of folksy people? Politics seems to rule them out, for the culture of white pastel across the TV screen. I keep wanting to get up to adjust my color, those commercials are so pasty and tinted pale.


      I still think they would be a fine first couple. Your bash to the expository face nothwithstanding. 🙂

    • Franklim says:

      What a narrow mined bias!

    • Mike Acuña says:

      @Mariano Renato Pacifico: Voter must recognize the glaring DIFFERENCE between Ferdie and Mar. Marcos was already corrupt as a congressman, selling import licenses for money, among other things. From 1966 to 1985, Marcos’s official income was only 1.5 Million Pesos while Imelda’s was less than 800,000 Pesos. By law, anything above that is ill-gotten.

      By comparison, Mar Roxas continues to maintain a name and a reputation unstained by graft and corruption, despite numerous malicious attempts to besmirch him, he continues to be free of ANY anomaly. His family is from an honorable line of servant-leaders who have done much for this country, and Mar has only just begun, despite his achievements.

      Korina vain? Of course she is. So is some 90% of Filipinos, and proud of it, I’m sure, and that includes the male members. That includes you and me, Mr. Pacifico. Your prose and writing style reveals an ego and pride in ones’ self-awareness that sees itself standing head and shoulders above many. You see nothing wrong with that and neither do I, for I do not judge you for it.

      Because you cannot accept Korina Sanchez intellectually and the way she laughs, doesn’t exclude her from becoming a good first lady. She has personal charity projects on her won which didn’t seem to factor into your opinion of her. Your observations appear to be somewhat subjective, personal, a tad self-indulgent and not very deep in its analysis and therefore subject to error.

      One powerful thing that will keep Korina in check if she becomes first lady is Family. Hers, and more importantly, Mar’s.

      The latter’s family is closely knit, conservative and forms an integral part of his support structure. Or didn’t you notice the subtle but noticeable modification in Korina’s behavior since her tiff with Anderson Cooper? Was that all really because of her network’s intervention, if there was any.

      Another factor is the power of social media which was totally non-existent in Ferdie’s & Meldy’s era. that will surely be both a barometer and a horse’s bit for her and Mar.

      And considering the history of Mar’s lineage and his consuming passion to do things right and to clean up government, the day will NEVER COME that Korina spends taxpayer’s money on ANYTHING other than what it’s supposed to be spent on and only on appropriate projects that may involve her as first lady, if ever.

      Besides, she DOESN’T NEED the money (she has her own) or have we forgotten who her husband is and his legally-gotten wealth, which is also among many reasons why he himself will NEVER betray the public trust.

      He’s not in public service to rob it. He’s here for the same purpose his father and his grandfather before him were. Mar Roxas is here to build a nation. And THAT is a much BIGGER picture than who he’s married to and her future conduct if and when she becomes first lady.

      In the light of Mar’s bigger and higher mission, his wife will follow his lead. Becoming first lady of her country will transform her. I believe she’s aware and somewhat scared by the possibility but resigned to do well because she MUST.

      Everything else becomes pale and shallow observations filtered by personal, subjective bias and dislikes.

      • lermadejesus says:

        Thank you for your quick and incisive rebuttal. I couldn’t add anything more except that I have more faith and sympathy with Mar and Corina than Ferdie and Imelda. There is simply no comparison! What a disgrace to even suggest that!

    • Just call me Tulfing says:

      You seem to be out of touch with the times. The column just said that they were married in 2009.
      Please consult somebody about grammatical agreements between subjects and predicates.

  3. edgar lores says:

    Fidel Ramos, who succeeded Cory, was a Protestant. At 64, he was also the oldest to be elected as president.

    With respect to presidents, Filipinos are not misogynists, ageists, heightists, or anti-corruptionists. Which is why Binay, who possesses all the target attributes of the above-mentioned prejudicial phobias, has a chance.

    A presidential candidate who is openly atheistic might be a challenge.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, I wondered, but didn’t quite want to go through them all to find out. Thanks for the info on Ramos.

      Not misogynists, and other ists? I think large numbers of Filipinos are critical of anybody who has to make decisions, because of the 100 percenter mentality, and the ridicule as to looks and style is just a part of the argument to prove they are right about the issues. It is rather akin to going personal in a debate. The commentary becomes downright cruel sometimes. I don’t like it much, Mariano’s fine blasts excepted, as he is a literary artist.

      • edgar lores says:

        There’s a paradox there somewhere. I agree Filipinos are hypercritical… and yet we vote in people like Nancy, Honasan, Sotto, Ejercito, Estrada, Revilla and Lapid as senators.

        Perhaps the non-critical I-don’t-care segment of the population outnumber the vocal hypercritical segment?

        I may be wrong but there seems to be a growing number of intelligent and balanced commentary in social media and in blogs such as Raissa’s… and this one.

        • Joe America says:

          When someone wins with 42% of the votes (as President Aquino did), the other 58% become the hypercritical base, justifying their losing choice for six years, even when the evidence shows the Philippines is doing very well.

          Yes, I think there is a trend toward good, objective thinking, but there is still a dominance by tabloid-style shoot and run artists, and way too many Chinese trolls trying to stir up hostility.

        • Mike Acuña says:

          I’d like to offer a possible reason or theory for edgar lores’ interesting insight about a Filipino Paradox. We’re hyper critical of potential leaders and of each other yet we’ve voted people into office who have allegedly behaved badly or are unqualified.

          There’s an urban legend if I may call it that, that while women dream or yearn for the ideal man, they end up choosing bad boys who treat them terribly and yet at times the relationship prolongs itself?

          My theory has to do with our colonial experience of having been enslaved for almost 400 years, treated quite terribly and, in my conviction, left us with a damaged psyche that while it yearns for good leadership and criticizes most or all of those who seek position over us , but in the end we make bad choices.

          We end up with bad boys because our first experience basically left us raped and pillaged. A part of us detests it but since that was what we’ve known for hundreds of years, we’ve somehow “fallen” for our captors or the experience of being “held captive”.

          It’s a why we do what we do question that Jose Rizal, again in my firm belief, understood and foresaw the rise of a generation of Filipinos suffering from a disconnect with their history as he witnessed our culture slowly being replaced by another, hence his line “A man who looks not at his origins will arrive not at his destination” (Ang taong di lumilingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan ay hindi mararating sa kanyang paroroonan).

          I detailed on another of Joe’s blogs my theory that it was during the colonial era that our crab mentality, along with a host of other self-defeating traits, was shaped and molded by our journey and had 400 years to take root deeply under our skin. Even our daily language is interspersed colonially. Do really greet each other with “Mabuhay” or with the colloquialized “Como Esta” (Kumusta) or the western “Hi”. We even count or number in spanish. What’s “25” in Tagalog? Beinte singko or dalawampu’t lima?


          • edgar lores says:

            Good one, Mike. Sounds like we suffer a bit from the Stockholm syndrome.

            I wouldn’t mind being held hostage by Pia… or Loren. (Are they “bad girls”? I wish!)

            But Nancy? Yikes!

          • sonny says:

            @ Mike

            I think your socio-ethnological history of the Filipinos is quite dated. I suggest that you defer to this short reading on the Filipino Principalia:


            and an in-depth reading on the same subject:

            BARANGAY by William Henry Scott
            Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994

            The main point of these readings is that the Spanish in no way “enslaved” the Filipino mind. Instead the Spanish was able to stay in the Philippines for such a long time by co-opting the deeply ingrained hierarchical structure of the pre-existing barangays in the regions of the Islands.

            • Mike Acuña says:

              Thanks Sonny, I’ll read it. But my personal experience tells me that not a lot of Filipinos are as aware or updated as you are as they are too busy struggling to make ends meet.

              I was for 6 years with a major call center in makati serving Fortune 500 clients. In 2010 a quality issue arose from the use of a new quality program exclusive to Fortune 500 companies. Its use triggered a series of terminations of employees which also deprived the call center company of a management bonus. It was losing money.

              An emergency team was formed to attempt to stem the flow of attrition by pulling out ailing agents and putting them into that team. But management simply didn’t know how to save them as quality is such a gray area. We had two weeks to do it.

              Every night before putting them on the phones, I talked to them for 2 hours about Philippine history but in in a personal way and how it applies to them, their image of themselves and how it influences their behavior. I interwove this with other principles to help them get a sense of who they were as people and as Filipinos interchanging with caucasians.

              In 8 – 10 days, their scores leaped by 500+%. The emergency team became the top team. And the same results reflected with every team and agent exposed to a glimpse of their history. They had a glimpse of their identity of which, after talking to them, it seemed they had little clue of.

              The problem perhaps is awareness and access to information that will alter that awareness. But in a pinch, it’s not what you know but what you do with what you know, that can matter, specially for ordinary people.

              I started them on that path of discovering more about their personal and collective history to influence their future, in keeping with Rizal’s maxim. My experience tells me it works.

              But i’m more than happy to learn more. But I feel I have to disagree that the colonial experience has in no way enslaved the Filipino mind. It has and continues to do so even in our daily language. You should walk the streets more and ride public transport; talk to people on the streets. Increase YOUR awareness and see it side by side with your personal knowledge so you can have another, different point of view of what you THINK you know. Apply your knowledge.

              But that’s an extended discussion for a different blog in which I would be glad to participate. Thank you for the reference. I shall surely look at it.

            • sonny says:

              Thank you too, Mike. If the quality situation is at a call center, I will guess that the problem involved customer service and the use of English between American client and Filipino service provider and things getting lost in translation. Words are exchanged and misunderstood and things get worse … I don’t see where Philippine colonial history comes in. Sorry. I want to understand.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                Fortune 500 companies use a different quality survey called NPS (net promoter score). The company was eBay and we were working for Paypal, an eBay company and we were serving North American clients, US and Canada. Agents couldn’t meet performance standards set by the client within the prescribed 4-6 weeks allotted period, agents were being terminated, as per contract. Mind you, these agents could speak very good english and were highly intelligent.

                I was assigned to the emergency team but management couldn’t provide solutions. We were left literally to our own devices. In short the company didn’t realy expect us to pull anything off. I listened to their calls and saw what you described but I saw their responses were limited. Using known techniques and remedies were not helping as they had their respective coaches and QA’s to do that.

                Americans tend to be direct and up front with their thoughts and feelings. Filipinos beat around the bush, they don’t listen and instead of giving a direct answer they give one that’s either misleading or defensive. The client gets annoyed or worse. Filipino agents react, for most anyway, either by becoming submissive and surrendering or aggressive and combative.

                i’ve learned that In order to better grasp and understand history or the bible, you have to immerse yourself within the context of that day and time, to absorb the meaning of a particular event, passage or colloquialism.

                In my talks with them, I “relived” the context of colonial experience with and for them. Our land was taken by force (an understatement) and we were forced against our will to till it, most of the the harvest taken from us and the crumbs given to us to fend with. Hundreds of years of this treatment induced low self esteem, reduced self-respect and little or no self-image. If you don’t respect yourself or regard yourself positively, how can you relate constructively with others?

                Decades of this conditioning left many of our ninunos hopeless and destitute. The beginnings of the Bahala Na mindset? The next thing we had to do was survive. This was long before Rizal, Bonifacio and the rest. They happened as a result of what was going on then. But our forefathers had to suffer first and endure and become what they had to become in order to survive.

                I had them imagine that the haciendero was our god, the source of reward and punishment. Like it or not, we had to please him or we could be left out. The haciendero would’ve had likely assigned roles and responsibilities to some of us as his overseers or assistants, so the rest of us competed for his attention. When one or some of us were favored by the boss, we were more than likely forced to pull that person down to give ourselves a chance to survive a little better than the rest. The creation of the crab mentality took decades to develop and embed into our cultural programming.

                With no choice but to till the land for our slavers, the only ‘silent revenge’ we could do was to be slow, lazy, remiss in our tasks. “You took my land by force and I can’t stop you now. But I can withold from you my best service, as that is what you require of me” was our possible thinking. Face to face we appear to work hard but backs turned we don’t complete our tasks, we don’t exert effort to do it right and when asked we lie.This is the origin of our ‘ningas cogon’ and ‘pwede na’ mentality. The caste system then had its own effect on us until today. Chokolate ‘ah’ and ‘eh’ for example, if you understand what I mean.

                I shared with them the true history of our national costume, the barong tagalog, as having started as “slave fashion” enforced on indios by the gobernador civil to identify us as indios specially at night to deter the concealment of weapons and contraband, as the prescribed materuila for male tunics was raw pineapple fiber, coarse and light. In the middle ages in europe and middle east, sackcloth was reminiscent of slaves and prisoners. the local equivalent was raw pineapple fiber which was later developed by illustrados as jusi, another silent revenge, as the jusi made us appear more richly clothed than they. there’s so much more but my fingers are getting tired from typing and I have to run.

                I detailed with them and broke down several colonial experiences where it influenced contemporary behavior. And it still does. If senators, congressmen and public officials had a well formed self-image, they would have a modicum of self-respect and with it, honorable-ness. Reinforced in such a manner, wouldn’t it be more difficult to steal public funds? Or tell the truth? Or serve the public trust by giving more than what is asked or required, and not withold it?

                Jose Rizal saw our culture slowly being erased and replaced with thoughts and practices that were foreign to us. I believe he foresaw the day when a generation would arise affected by the colonial experience. being a doctor and a brilliant man, he knew that like a patient seeking psychiatric counselling, the sepcialsut would delve into his patient’s history to discover the root cause of his behavior. Once he discovers it and shares it with his patient, the latter will be restored, a recovery assured, the speed of which will depend on the depth of his understanding of his history and how it shaped and molded him.

                To paraphrase Jose Rizal, “A man who looks not at the origins which shaped and molded him and understands it, he will not realize his goals, his destiny.” But before he could share the different layers of his thoughts on this, he was killed. I’m convinced he meant to say more than just a debt of honor (utang na loob) as he was wont to write in metaphors because of the danger to him and his family.

                I shared with my agents more than what I wrote down here but I can tell you from their responses that the influence of the past is very much alive today.

                I read earlier this year that the habits of past generations can be handed down to future generations.

                The important lessons they learned was that 1) Their fears could be identified, isolated and managed. 2) they have options in any situation. they have the power to choose the outcome 3) they are free to respect and honor themselves and thus be willing to treat others likewise, 4) That by knowing and understanding themselves better they will know what they want out of life and they can set directions for themselves instead of bahala na.

                There’s more but I’ve run out of time.

              • edgar lores says:

                Fascinating analysis, Mike.

                Just the other day I was talking about racial memory, and your explanation of the roots of present-day neuroses in the Filipino psyche confirms the reality. (Attila’s presentation of deep-seated Hungarian attitudes in the last post also adds clarity and weight to the concept.)

                Thanks for the chokolate ‘eh’ and ‘ah’ reference. Never heard of it before as an analogy of double-standard treatment. (Apropos, if we recognized intrinsic value in each of us, regardless of social attributes, we would not have double standards.)

              • sonny says:

                @ Mike

                I commend the process you used to deal with the crisis you encountered. Customer service is an art for the greater part. Much of the outcome depends on the even-handedness of the person handling the situation which in turn depends on the knowledge, manners and creativity of the principal driver of the negotiation, this driver being the customer service agent. If as you say the failing agents were “intelligent and very good English speakers” and worth keeping and retraining, then allowing them to analyze and learn from the situations will be to the benefit of the call center.

                After saying this, I would still be careful about the colonial history, for example, that will be fed to them. The trainor should be careful to use knowledge from accepted experts. This way the service reps will keep and propagate well-studied principles and findings as part of their kit.

                In your example, IMO, Philippine colonial history is less helpful than a good grounding in understanding what the customer is complaining about.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                Please read my comment again where I said that history is only a part of the knowledge I shared with them. I haven’t just been a call center employee though in my 6 years with the industry I became Paypal’s top agent worldwide.

                I’ve been around the world 3 times. I learned to read and write german, french and swiss german though they’re rusty now. It was in the seventies where I began my personal research in our history in Europe where I lived for several years. Now there i had access to a lot of history. What I learned about history at the ateneo wasn’t enough for me.

                While there I corresponded with people whom I regarded as experts including an uncle who was an historian and his books have been studied in schools. I acquired every bit of Filipiniana I could while in Europe and devoured it.

                Obviously it wouldn’t be enough to provide my agents with just history. Sonny, I’m neither a child nor a young man. I’ve been accused of knowing what I’m doing. I’ve been a captain of captains of industry as a president of a makati rotary club. Twice.

                The combination of history, knowledge and other disciplines I’ve picked up over the years was what I shared with my agents. And a dose of history helped them get grounded.

                Your advice is appreciated if it comes from an intention to help but if you’re passing some kind of assessment or judgment on me (as i’m sensing you are) based on the little information i’ve shared here, I have to say to you that I don’t feel the need to justify anything I’ve done to anybody and i don’t have the need for anyone’s approval.

                You have almost no information on what I know and what I’ve done except for what i’ve chosen to share here, and you’re telling me what to do. Please go ahead and tell it to somebody else who needs your advice on what to do with their lives.

                I’ve got this. In fact, I’ve had it for some time.

                Nothing personal, Sonny, because we don’t even know each other. But thanks anyway for the advice. Good luck with your own journey.

              • sonny says:

                “Your advice is appreciated if it comes from an intention to help … ”

                This is all that suffices. If you’re detecting something else, that is unintentional and not the place I want to go. AMDG

              • Mike Acuña says:

                “…Philippine colonial history is less helpful than a good grounding in understanding what the customer is complaining about”.

                The trouble with relying too much on the writings of others is that it can limit our capacity for original thought.

                In learning and understanding the influence of colonial history on the formation of Filipino traits, values and character, the Filipino can understand HIMSELF better and get past his inherited insecurities and fear of rejection and disapproval, He will learn to have greater control over his emotional responses, among other benefits. Too many Filipinos have little concept of history. 53% of the population are under 23 years old. This thing I did with history wasn’t meant for you, it was meant for the “sick”. But you still missed my point because you made a value judgement based on insufficient data.

                In a conversation with a foreign customer, he can learn to get “himself” out of the way and focus more on his customer’s needs specially when a customer is irate. He will become “clearer” in his mental processes.He can learn to control his fear. This also helps in active listening and with practice he can “get” what the customer really wants to say in one go, instead of worrying about what the customer will say or think about him, His empathic powers are reversed outward to the customer and to people around him. I have listened to hundreds of calls of agents in 6 years. I have observed these up close, worked with them individually and in groups and I can say with certainty that knowing and understanding colonial and personal history helps to ground them by helping them become who they really are. Capable, confident, even powerful. They learn to connect all the other dots. It works. Without it there’s a disconnect. With it they are liberated from fear.

                In the long run, they learn to make better choices not just at work but in life.

                As a result of having had to learn several languages, I learned back in the 70’s how to not just listen to the words people say but to where they’re coming from. That’s for foreign tongues so in english I’m much keener. I heard where you were coming from. Unintentionally or not, it was there.

            • Attila says:

              @Mike “Hundreds of years of this treatment induced low self esteem, reduced self-respect and little or no self-image. If you don’t respect yourself or regard yourself positively, how can you relate constructively with others? ”
              If you are correct, then there must be a difference between the way the Spanish colonized and the way others, including the Soviet Union, Ottomans, Habsburgs etc. The Hungarians are not suffering from it despite the fact that from 1526 until 1989 we were under foreign rule. I’m not understanding how Filipinos ended up like this and keep suffering from it. For you it ended over 100 yrs ago and still suffering from it, but we the Hungarians are not suffering and it just ended 25yrs. ago. What about Malaysia? They were under the British and they are not suffering from the ongoing legacy of colonialism either. What’s so special about Spanish colonizations vs. British, Soviet, Ottoman Muslims, Austrian etc.? How Spanish managed to mess up the minds of their subjects in the Philippines? Why the Filipinos are affected so deeply when others are not? Or land was also stolen turned in to a wasteland we were raped and slaved and crushed. Why you Filipinos, but not us who are suffering from post colonial disorder?

              • Mike Acuña says:

                Let me establish that my view is not a generalization of all Filipinos as there those among us who have learned to be aware of and get over post colonial disorder.

                But everyday we speak of the Filipino crab mentality, which I believe originated during our colonial era, and from that I can see the colonial influnce is still with us.

                I can only speak of my own experience and my own thoughts, I can’t speak for other countries. You’ll have to ask them or you can provide us with your own theory about why Hungary is free from post colonial disorder.

                Maybe you can help de-crab (or is it un-crab?) our mentality. Hungarian-ize us.

                My theory is that after we received our freedom and independence, we never had a chance to get “debriefed”. Also, our culture was buried deep under colonial garbage, we haven’t really found our way out of it. But seriously, I think its about awareness.

                I don’t have an answer for you today, Attila, but perhaps there are insights from other readers. But hold that thought. I’ll be back.

              • Steve says:

                The Philippine colonial experience under both Spain and the US was in some ways unique, for very different reasons. The rapid decline of Spanish naval power after 1588 and the extreme distance between Spain and the Philippines left the islands governed effectively as a colony of a colony: the political and economic links were via Mexico, not direct to Spain. Most trade was thus unprofitable (in the late Spanish colonial period the Philippines traded more with Britain than with Spain, unthinkable in a traditional mercantilist structure) and it left administration very remote and indirect. As a result, the Spanish administrators in the Philippines were effectively not governing for the home country, they were governing for themselves, a phenomenon which exacerbated the feudal nature of Philippine society under Spain.

                The US administration largely failed to disrupt that feudal order. Again, that was largely due to a failure to establish an efficiently administered production-oriented economy. This came about because unlike Europe, the US had no real economic need for a colony. The agricultural southern and western states already served that function, and those states were determined to protect themselves from potential competition from Philippine goods. As a result the tariff structures and incentives were always in doubt, and large scale investment in productive enterprise was discouraged, leaving much of the country still mired in an old school feudal economy.

                That is a very very brief summary of a fairly involved theory… but overall I’d say that the Philippines suffers less from a post colonial disorder than from a transition out of feudalism disorder. The feudal order is of course inextricably linked to the colonial past, but endured long after the nominal end of colonialism. The core characteristics of feudalism, family-based elite dominance, weak rule of law and other institutions, and the elite preference for on rentier income rather than productive enterprise, remain in place to this day, and removing them is going to be a long and difficult struggle.

              • Steve says:

                An example to make the comment above more understandable… the British East India Company, a colonial enterprise working in a traditional mercantilist model, was directly engaged in business. It needed efficient production and movement of goods for shipment to the home country, and efficient distribution of goods from the home country into the local market. To accomplish those goals they needed physical infrastructure and an educated local bureaucracy, both of which are very useful things to have in a post colonial era.. The Spaniards who ruled the Philippines had no such economic imperative: they ruled to keep themselves in power. Keeping the locals ignorant, pious, and disconnected helped them achieve that goal. That was not much of an advantage in a post colonial order… more the opposite.

              • Attila says:

                Thanks Steve, I understand it now!

              • sonny says:

                @ Steve

                Thanks for the wrap-up on the colonial past of the Philippines. The points you brought up shed light on some questions, observations and speculations I have held for quite a while. Your summary tied some of these in manageable bundles: Philippine leadership & vision; the absence of a strong industrial sector (the So Korean ascendancy comes to mind) to name a couple. The coming election is a variation on old themes with all the accompanying angst, more of a wringer.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                My gratitude, Steve, for connecting the dots for us. I agree with you that post colonial disorder isn’t that big a deal for most Filipinos but in a highly stressful environment or situation, the cracks in the walls appear. They still do in our daily life such as crab mentality, not finishing what we start and doing our 100% best at tasks.

                On a personal level, I intuitively found a way to weave history and other skills together to become better at what we can do. Just as Jose Rizal said in his famous line. Thanks again for your amazing contribution. I feel more grounded than I was yesterday. Excellent!

              • Steve says:

                I didn’t mean to lecture or lay down law, just to introduce some points that I’ve been mulling over for the last 30+ years. That’s not the last word, and there’s always a lot more to be said. The main points are just that the Philippine colonial experience was in some ways quite unique, which has to be recalled in any comparative exercise, and that what is often diagnosed as a post-colonial disorder bay in fact be an enduring feudalism disorder. Of course the enduring feudal powers would much prefer to point the finger of blame at past colonizers!

                The features that Mike mentions are certainly present, but the extent to which they are an example of a “post colonial disorder remains debatable.

                I live in Mt Province, a part of the Philippines that had a very different colonial experience and a somewhat different pre-colonial culture, and it’s quite fascinating to observe the differences between modern Igorot culture and society and the lowland equivalents.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Steve, for your input and insights.

                I am intrigued by the statement “what is often diagnosed as a post-colonial disorder may in fact be an enduring feudalism disorder.”

                Not to quibble, but aren’t these two one and the same?

                Pre-Hispanic society was proto-feudal. It was colonizing Spain that established feudalism. That being the case, the feudalism disorder that continues to this day is the post-colonial disorder.


                It is stated that the British were the best colonizers. As you noted, the greatest contributions of the Empire were, among others, infrastructure and the institutions of trade and commerce, the civil service and the rule of law. Spain was lackadaisical in these matters.

                o Infrastructure – e.g., government buildings, the Indian railways system and telegraphy
                o Trade – e.g., Hong Kong and the British East India Company (as noted)
                o Civil Service – the disciplined and educated bureaucracy (as noted)
                o Rule of Law – e.g. common law, allegiance to the Queen
                o Sports – e.g. Commonwealth Games and cricket

                Although Britain introduced Anglicanism in its colonies, it did not use religion to subjugate the native people… unlike Spain. However like Spain, Britain did encourage the class system.

                To my mind there are two sterling concepts that the British championed apart from respect for the rule of law: discipline and fairness. You will find these attributes in the most successful colonies of the Empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, parts of the US, and to some extent India and Malaysia… although the latter is being torn by its pro-one-religion and pro-native (bumiputera) policies. This is not to say that the Empire was a total success; Rhodesia-Zimbabwe and the haphazard partitioning of countries come to mind.

                In contrast, the rule of law is weak in at least two colonies of Spain: Mexico and the Philippines.

                I guess the points I want to make are:

                1. To emphasize the observation already made here that Spanish colonization had grievous shortcomings and these become evident when compared to British colonization.

                2. Contrary to the conclusion, post-colonial disorder is a big deal. How can it not be seeing the dire straits we are in? Our ability to arise above the neuroses (mental and structural) occasioned by these shortcomings can only come from our awareness of these shortcomings (as Mike has not only observed but demonstrated).

              • edgar lores says:

                Just another quick observation.

                The main Filipino sport, basketball, came from the second colonizer.

                What sport did Spain introduce that we have kept? Certainly, not bullfighting.

                I would hazard it’s gambling. (Others might say the querida system?)

              • Mike Acuña says:

                @edgar lores: I don’t mind correcting myself when I said that PCD (post colonial disorder) isn’t that big a deal for most Filipinos. Actually, it is.

                It’s alive and kicking in all levels of our society. When we ridicule others is a simple example. Lawmakers, public and government officials stealing vast amounts of public funds, is a glaring manifestation.

                “A man who looks not at his origins will arrive not at his destination”, Jose Rizal’s statement, i believe, was his insight into the future effects of colonial feudalism on the present day Filipino psyche. I believe he was trying to tell us where the answers and solutions can be found.

                I read somewhere that, “In order to succeed you must have goals. In order to have goals, you have to know what you want in life. In order to know what you want, you have to know who you really are”.

                Over some 2 years I asked many people at the call center the question, “Where do you see yourself in 2 years? 5 years?” Amazingly about 9 out of 10 people or about 90% of young people (19 to 30+ yrs old) had difficulty giving me a straight answer. Most didn’t know what they wanted. People get into sexual relationships more easily and the number of births out of wedlock has increased exponentially. The suicide and attempted suicide rates among the youth is growing and for seemingly shallow reasons; failed grades, failed relationships, family problems, health, etc. Drug and alcohol use is at its highest in years, specially among women, according to a report earlier this year on alcohol consumption. This reveals a weak foundation. A disconnect.

                In my case, I “became” a Filipino abroad and shortly thereafter I excelled in work and study, considering the medium of instruction was in german (try math). When I came home and exhibited a marked improvement in my behavior, my mother jokingly asked who I was and what had I done with her son. I stopped being directionless and became more grounded.

                That experience is what I recreated for those call center agents who were almost terminated but made a dramatic recovery when introduced to a part of themselves that had been underneath their skin all that time, and when allowed free rein, empowered them to overcome their challenges, in a big way.

                I’m convinced this holds true not just for call center agents. Increased awareness is the key to revive our Filipino core values, self-respect, consideration for others, honesty, integrity, courage, love of country and family. The truth is closer to the surface than most of us are willing to admit or discover. We all want to become better but we fail often and at times we don’t know why we do what we do. Once in awhile we read in the news about someone running “amok” (amuck) and going on a killing spree.

                Connecting with ourselves will naturally empower us to reach for higher standards in our personal conduct, in our work ethic and values.

                My Christmas wish, aside from blessings for everyone here, is that we Filipinos will experience that awakening they secretly long for and discover the best in themselves.

                We need to look at our origins in order to arrive at our destination.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                @edgar lores
                “What sport did Spain introduce that we have kept? Certainly, not bullfighting.I would hazard it’s gambling. (Others might say the querida system?)”

                Funny! I really believe that we inherited many bad habits and traits, not just the ‘querida’ system. Worse, graft and corruption. We had no other role models to go by for 400 years. And they taught us the art of double standards, “Do as I say, don’t do as I do”, for example.

                But there are two sports we have retained from spanish influence, jai alai, a variation of basque pelota and horse racing, both of which involve gambling, so you are right. Having a querida is a kind of gamble in itself, I suppose, although the stakes may be higher and the loss more permanent.

                Merry Christmas to all.

              • edgar lores says:

                Ah, Mike, forgive me but just to continue your thread of thought on the querida system that “…the stakes may be higher and the loss more permanent”…

                Initially my thought was: Yeah, the loss is more perma… Wait, what loss? It’s a win-win for the cheater because we don’t have divorce.

                Then the second-level of analysis kicks in… and if we look at public officials who stray — (Did I hear someone say “Enrile”? Did someone mutter “Binay”?) — it seems to be a win-win-win-lose situation:

                o Wife is winner-frowner. She gets to keep the old wealth and part of the new wealth as ransom (for the partial release of the Cheater).

                o Querida is winner-grinner. She gets to keep the greater (?) part of the new wealth… and the Fountain of wealth.

                o Cheater is winner-grinner. He keeps both — the wife for social occasions and the querida for non-social ones — and he continues to win in elections because of his vigor and undoubted potency.

                o Mr. Good Citizen is the all-around loser. The old wealth was stolen from him, the new wealth is being stolen from him and, to top it all, the Cheater maintains there was no stealing and – don’tcha know — it’s all politically motivated?

                Your comment, in these instances, seems to apply most — mostest — to Mr. Good Citizen.

                Just to round things up, there might be other winners or losers such as dependent children and the husband of the querida, if any.

              • Steve says:

                @Edgar… if we are looking at origins is is of course quite correct to classify today’s feudalism as part of the colonial legacy and thus arguably part of a “post-colonial disorder” (although the “datu” system that prevailed in much of the pre-hispanic Philippines could be said to be feudal in its own right). Feudalism, though, has taken on an indigenous life of its own, and has prevailed in a largely Filipinized form long after the end of the colonial period. It is a fact of the present, not just a relic of the past. In terms of characterizing a pathology and developing solutions, though, I think it is much more useful to speak directly of feudalism as a primary cause of many pf the syndromes we point to as relics of colonialism. When we look for solutions to a “post-colonial disorder” we tend to look toward relations with the outside world, while we need to focus directly on the exorbitant privileges still enjoyed by the feudal elite.

                Perhaps it might be more accurate to classify what I call “emergence from feudalism disorder” as a critical subset of a more generic “post-colonial disorder”. I just feel that the focus on feudalism makes it easier to address the proximate issue – the feudal elite – rather than pointing fingers of blame (and a variety of generally pointless moans) at either the distant descendants of colonizers past or at some ephemeral and nebulous generalizations about “damaged culture” or “national character”.

                Specific goals are much easier to achieve and a focus on (for example), bringing the governing elite within the rule of law is more specific and more useful than trying to contrive ways to repair culture or character.

                Just my opinion, obviously 🙂

              • edgar lores says:


                I like your gentle approach.

                To me, the purpose of the analysis of root causes of cultural ills is not to apportion blame but to become aware of them in order to be able to uproot and overcome them. Knowledge, in this sense, is not “nebulous generalizations”; it is specific and practical cognizance. And knowledge, in this sense, is power.

                In effect you are saying that corruption is not unique; it exists in all countries. This is undoubtedly true. But the corruption in other countries is not as deep, or as broad or as virulent as what we have here.

                It is also undoubtedly true, as you suggest, that we can devise general measures to combat corruption. But again, knowing root causes enables us to devise more specific and, therefore, more effective measures.

                If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then Mike’s experiential reality is that proof.

              • Steve says:

                @Mike, I think if you look objectively at both the tings you cite as “core Filipino values” and at the problems you cite as manifestations of a “post colonial disorder”, you will see that none of them are uniquely or even specifically Filipino, and that they are only loosely (if at all) connected to the Philippine colonial experience. In large part both the values and the problems you cite are common to humans everywhere. What’s good in us and what’s bad in us is in no way unique to the Philippines, but the struggle between them does take on specific characteristics here as a result of certain particular social, economic, and historic circumstances. In my own opinion (no better or worse than anyone else’s), it is more useful to focus on those specific circumstances, many of which could be addressed and potentially resolved with a bit more direct attention.

              • sonny says:

                As an analytical study of behavioral systems and behavior of people populating those systems, I would approach diagnosis and intervention like we do studying the behavior of economic systems into macro- and micro- economics, e.g. feudalism (macro) vs happiness indices of serfs (micro). Closer to home – why has the land reform system (CARP) not been as successful as expected? It’s been around for 26 years.

                In the cross-cultural world, for example in the US, Philippine-trained lawyers have a low ceiling of success in pursuit of legal careers. US-born and trained Fil-Am lawyers have a much better prospect. (My speculation)

              • Steve says:

                @Edgar… I do believe that some things are best viewed simply and directly. For example, we are for the most part aware that the governing elite in the Philippines enjoy a very high degree of impunity: they are effectively exempt from the law. Many have noted that electoral democracy and market economies do not create the efficiencies in the Philippines that they do in other places. The simplest explanation is that they require fair competition, at the ballot box and in the market, to produce efficiency, and there can be no fair competition while the dominant players don’t have to follow the rules.

                Discovering how these circumstances came to be may be an interesting exercise for historians, but in actual practice I think the effort is less important than recognizing that this situation does exist and that the nation cannot progress it is rectified. I’m not convinced that analysis of origin really contributes much to this effort.

                Confession: I wrote about this issue at possibly exorbitant length some years back; the details are to some extent dated but I would stand by the general premises today:


                I cannot, under terms of publication, post the body of the piece publicly, but I can send a pdf to anyone who is actually interested. I am told that it is an excellent substitute for valium.

              • edgar lores says:


                I’m not sure you are the title holder for sleep-inducing composition. I myself have made considerable and sizable contributions. If there was a Bulwer-Lytton prize for somnolent writing, I am certain I would give you stiff competition.. and the result would be uncertain.

                I think our solution approaches differ because, as an IT analyst, I am used to systems thinking. One never designs solutions without defining the problem correctly. I am also partial to the psychoanalytic tradition in psychology, not in its methodology, which has lost its luster, but in its theory that our present is shaped by our past. There is also Rizal’s mantra that Mike keeps harping on, which is in essence Edmund Burke’s adage that those who don’t know history are etcetera etcetera.

                I am not versed in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), but from what I read it combines two techniques: “cognitive therapy” and “behavior therapy”. In terms of procedures, the cognitive part (assessment and person education) comes before the behavior part (goal setting, practice of strategies and homework). I think my approach is cognitive and yours is behavioral.

                As I have written “knowing root causes enables us to devise more specific and, therefore, more effective measures.” Note that I have not discounted your approach, only suggested that cognition makes for “more effective” behavioral strategies.

                I would suggest that the combination of our approaches might be the best overall approach.

              • Steve says:

                I do understand the need to define a problem before trying to solve it, but ti seems to me that people have been picking these problems apart for decades and generations, often in circular fashion, without ever breaking out of the cycle of eternal analysis and moving to the point of action. It is unwise to try to solve a problem one doesn’t understand, but I think this is an opposite case: the problem is rather well understood, but nobody wants to do anything about it because it’s difficult, and potentially even dangerous to challenge the prerogatives of the elite. It’s easier to just ride on in eternal and circuitous analysis… but analysis alone never solved a problem. Sooner or later – in this case much, much later – action is required.

              • edgar lores says:


                Ah, then we would have to go to specifics of solutions, haven’t we? I would like to see those specifics.

              • Steve says:

                For me the place to start is with the core element that sustains elite privilege: impunity. It’s a perfect target. The political and economic dominance of the elite depends on it completely: if the elite had to follow the rules they’d evaporate in a generation. Also nobody can defend it or support it openly.

                I’d like to see the issue of impunity forced into the forefront of every political conversation, every political party and every candidate forced to take an unequivocal stand on it, and an active populace constantly insisting that it be revoked, both generically and in specific cases.

                It’s not the only issue, but it’s the one that all the others come back to. As long as those who govern are above the law, any “solution” is going to be a band-aid.

              • Joe America says:

                @Steve, I read your remarks about impunity, and read this article. The last two paragraphs say it all.


              • edgar lores says:


                Your specific solution is more of a motherhood-statement type of solution than anything else.

                It answers WHAT but not HOW. It fails the test of practicality.

                Granted that every politician should be forced to take an unequivocal stand, HOW are we going to force them to do so?

                Granted that an active populace consistently insists that it (impunity) be revoked, HOW are we going to (a) measure the popular sentiment and (b) publicize the consistency of the sentiment?

                The assumption underlying both prongs of the solution is also false: that the politicians and the populace are united in their view. Perhaps on the Ampatuan massacre case there is indeed unanimity of condemnation. But in the Binay case, this is obviously not true.

                Further to the Binay case, there is also the matter of pursuing justice in the Executive and Judiciary (or in the Legislature should the option of impeachment become feasible).

                1. Is there prosecutorial will, skill and resources (including AMLC) to pursue Binay and successfully bring him to court in a timely manner?

                2. Is there judicial will, skill, precedent (refer to JoeAm’s comment) and resources to adjudge Binay and successfully put him into a penal institution in a timely manner?

                Between the solutions of Mike’s individual efforts and yours of collective effort, I think the overall solution must be a combination of both individual and collective efforts.

              • sonny says:

                @ Steve
                “….I live in Mt Province, a part of the Philippines that had a very different colonial experience and a somewhat different pre-colonial culture, and it’s quite fascinating to observe the differences between modern Igorot culture and society and the lowland equivalents.”

                The interactions between Filipino highland and lowland cultures are truly intriguing. I start with the tropical heat. The obvious one is that of physical comfort. Within 40 minutes motor-ride, either by Naguilian or Marcos hiway or the longer route to the Apayao-Kalinga, one can feel some difference in physical and mental outlook. I like to read about what the early colonizers, Spanish or American, must have felt. I’ll just point to the writings of the
                first superintendent of Education, Charles Barrows. The Spanish side is a little more involved, viz Spanish language and where these writings can be found. I specially recall the impressions of an Australian writer as to how the head-hunting mountain tribes came to drop their head-chopping ways.

                @ Edgar
                “… It is stated that the British were the best colonizers. As you noted, the greatest contributions of the Empire were, among others, infrastructure and the institutions of trade and commerce, the civil service and the rule of law. Spain was lackadaisical in these matters.”

                To my mind, the Roman way of colonizing makes special sense – making Roman citizens of conquered peoples and the civil-engineering the Italians of Latium built and the art they left inspite of the use the Roman gladius struck at.

                From the British way we are left with the mores left by the likes of Shakespeare, Austen and the Brontes to peruse and to use the technologies left by English and Scottish scientists.

                As to the Spanish, the travelogue IBERIA reveals much of the Spanish psyche found in the regional Spaniard. The Philippines specially exposed to the Basque intrepid facet of Spain and the bloody trail of the Reconquista. Good stuff all.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                You have academic insight that comes with training. I respect that. I acknowledge that i do not have the same depth of information you seem to possess. But one of the things I believe in is that it’s not what you know but what you DO with what you know.

                it doesn’t matter if the problems and values I spoke of are common to people everywhere, what matters is for each Filipino to come to know the difference, in view of the (as you said) grievous effects of spanish colonial influence. And in that knowing he will understand himself better. He will recognize the parts that are native to him and those that aren’t. He doesn’t HAVE to know everything because learning a little bit at a time will open up his awareness of himself and his uniqueness. He will realize his strengths and weaknesses and adapt. He will experience empowerment.

                The next thing he’ll come to learn of are the true traditional Filipino values of, say, the ancient Filipino tradition of Bayanihan (community or national spirit, strong interpersonal relationships), Pakikitungo (Respect for elders and their wisdom, respect for authority, respect for each other’s self-esteem), Bahala Na (strong faith in God; conferring of responsibility), etc.

                He doesn’t have to consciously follow this like some rulebook because it’s an intrinsic part of him,

                If people have been picking these issues apart for decades and getting nowhere, it’s because they got stuck in talking about the “whats” instead of discussing the specific ‘Whys’.

                I’ve been studying the bible since 1982 and I learned that in order to attain a deeper insight of the meaning of a particular verse or passage, you had to check the language it was written in, and then you had to research the historical context at the particular time the verse was written.

                The same method applies to history. Take for example “ningas cogon” (the habit of not finishing what is started) which links or leads to “pwede na” (habit of not doing it right or properly, not doing your best). Those are the “Whats”.

                The context of those habits is that the Filipino’s land was taken from him by force, as far as the eye could see. Then he was made to till it for a haciendero. He couldn’t resist as he was outgunned. So the only way he could fight back was with a silent insult by not completing his task and saying he did, and by not performing at his best. This is the “Why”.

                By understanding his inner motivations, the “Whys” behind the “Whats”, he will
                realize he can change his “circuitous” course by choosing other options that are, today, available to him. He will no longer be doomed to repeat history. HIS history. He’s free of that particular PCD and he can move on.

                You prefer to target the elite and their impunity. I choose to empower anyone and everyone through awareness, both the elite and the ordinary. I believe that the sun sets on both the good and the evil.

                If the elite became aware of the truth of themselves, I’m almost certain they would be transformed. They would follow the rules and lead by example. That is, if they’re not inherently evil, as some are. The word is filled with bad people. Some of them colonized the Philippines.

                You said “nobody wants to do anything about the problem because it’s too difficult and potentially even dangerous to challenge the prerogatives of the elite. It’s easier to just ride on on in eternal circuitous analysis..etc”.

                At first thought you meant that it was too difficult to increase awareness in others but you said it’s potentially dangerous to challenge the elite. What do you mean, exactly?

                I have personally learned that when one gains a fuller understanding of his identity, he becomes more aware of his rights and the rights of others. It can come to a point that in order to assert your rights, you must be prepared to fight for or defend your convictions. Post colonial disorder would dictate that you must not be confrontational because in those days, one could get punished corporally if you assert yourself, which is why many Filipinos tend to be non-confrontational, instead they beat around the bush instead of getting to the point, like americans.

                I have had to defend myself, more than once, even physically, in order to assert my rights and beliefs.

                So I can totally relate to what you meant by taking decisive action, and doing something even if it’s difficult, but if it is the right path, then the rewards will be greater if that direct and difficult path is undertaken.

              • edgar lores says:

                *slow clap*

              • @Mike Acuna and Attilla

                Something had been written about the Filipino crab mentality here:

                Mike, you are right: awareness and self-retrospection will go a long way in solving the problem. I think if we catch ourselves being “crabby” and make an effort to curve the behavior, we will have it licked in no time flat. It also helps to be exposed to other cultures other than our own. I think this is the reason why a lot of balikbayans and OFWs are open minded and have a more positive mindset.

                Attilla, I think it has something to do with collective self-pity and mass depression. The symptoms are manifested in an unhealthy and negative mindset that is tolerated by the society. It persists because a lot of Filipinos are not courageous enough to say, “Snap out of it!” or confront those who exhibit bad behavior. It bleeds in all facets of the society because false modesty and fake politeness is prevalent. Try cutting in line because you are “So and So” here in the US. Suzie Nobody will stand up and put you in your place. Is that arrogance? I think not.

              • sonny says:


                “… The crab mentality arose as a means for the powerless to slap down those who were so arrogant as to get ahead.”

                From way back I came across something from William Henry Scott’s BARANGAY to this effect: what we call crab mentality can be traced back to the barangays of old. A good effort among members of the barangay was to minimize the better-than-usual fortune of another member because it was an omen that misfortune was going to be visited on the rest of the barangay, since envy, unrest and dissatisfaction will be triggered within the barangay. This must be a value of harmony in a common life, a trait I can understand.

              • Steve says:

                @Sonny… there are many roads into the Cordillera, and Kalinga-Apayao was split into 2 provinces in 1995 🙂

                The climate may play some role in culture, but I suspect that the very rugged terrain was more important. People here have to work hard to survive and even harder to prosper; even today the Igorots show a work ethic that is generally missing from the lowland population.

                Pre-hispanic culture was also somewhat different here. The Igorots never suffered under a “datu” system and have no concept of inherited position or power. Decisions were traditionally made by consensus among a council of elders, who gained their positions by earning the respect of the community through lifetime accomplishment. This I think yields a much more resilient and independent culture than we see in, for example, Mindanao, where authority in traditional systems is inherited by datus or, in some Muslim groups, by a royal caste.

                The colonial experience was also different… the Spanish colonial experience in the Cordillera was largely absent, and apart from Benguet, where miners got an early foothold, the American colonial experience was largely an experiment in social engineering, managed in many areas by Episcopalian missionaries. The missionaries, unlike their Cathoilc counterparts, prioritized education, and provided the Igorots with what in their time were among the best schools in the country, with no entry barriers based on class or economic status. To this day the standard of education in the Central Cordillera is by Philippine standards exceptionally high. As a result of all of these factors and more, the Igorots are a global rarity: an indigenous tribal culture that retains full control of its land, politics, and resources. Oddly, many lowlanders still hold a derisive stereotype of the Igorot as ignorant primitive, while many Igorots hold a stereotype of lowlanders as corrupt and lazy.

                The oft-repeated comment that the British were the best colonists has some basis, but I think the basis lies less in British character or culture than in the economics of Empire. For England, more than for any other colonial power, the Empire was a commercial enterprise. The British introduction of education, legal systems, physical infrastructure etc were not altruistic, they were necessary components of the economic enterprise. Britain was a superior colonist (IMO) not in spite of, but because of, its emphasis on efficient economic exploitation.

              • Steve says:

                @Edgar… the “how” comes down to something that’s been missing here for a long time: an organized citizens movement focused entirel on ending impunity. This is potentially a unifying issue that could bring the poor, the middle class, and even much of the business community together if it were placed at the forefront, rtaher than at the periphery, of the political agenda. Ambitious, yes, but I do not think it would be impossible.

              • Steve says:


                With this: “If the elite became aware of the truth of themselves, I’m almost certain they would be transformed. ”

                I cannot agree.

                I think the Philippine elite know exactly what they are. I think many of them realize that what they are is utterly destructive to the nation, but stiff they cling to their traditional prerogatives because those prerogatives are the basis of all the luxuries and advantages they enjoy.

                It is possibly useful for Filipinos to recognize that the feudal society originated in Spanish colonialism, but it is far more essential to realize that their circumstances today derive from the same feudal prerogatives in the hands of fellow Filipinos. Maybe time to stop bemoaning what was taken and start taking it back.

                Re the crab mentality (which is in no way unique to the Philippines), I have occasionally commented that the crab beneath might be less inclined to pull down those above if those above were less inclined toward making progress by stomping on the heads of those below.

              • Joe America says:

                🙂 Great visual.

              • Mike Acuña says:

                “Re the crab mentality (which is in no way unique to the Philippines), I have occasionally commented that the crab beneath might be less inclined to pull down those above if those above were less inclined toward making progress by stomping on the heads of those below.”

                You and I have been talking about two different species of crab, obviously. You should lead with that next time so you’ll be better understood. If by elite you refer to lawmakers or anyone who steals or breaks the law for personal upliftment at the expense of those below, I’m with you all the way.

                Those criminals must be dealt with somehow, someway. And the president has begun his own movement to clean house, as it has to start somewhere. You speak as if nothing has been done at all. There are 3 powerful members of the so called elite in detention for plunder, awaiting their trials’ conclusion.

                I understand that the DOJ is preparing to file charges against more who may be culpable. I believe the president has called out elite and their “Wang-Wang” prerogatives. I so want to see his house-cleaning program succeed.

                You say that crab mentality is in no way unique to the Philippines, well, maybe you’re right but this crab mentality is the only we know so in that sense, yes, it’s unique to us in the way it came about, and how we’re going to overcome it is going to be a unique experience for us, too.

                Now I’m beginning to get that you’re not Filipino after all, possibly American. So no matter how incisive and in-depth your analysis is, at the end of the day, this journey is unique to us Filipinos. You can’t possibly connect with the Philippine experience the way we can. It’s too personal for us. Ultimately, for you this is an extended, dedicated life’s work research for you. Sorry if that sounds offensive, I asure you it’s not but you may know more about Philippine and global history than anyone else in this country, but you will never really know what it is to be one of us, presuming I sense correctly, that you’re a non-Filipino.

                So respectfully, please don’t presume to tell me to “start taking it back” as if i haven’t done it already.

                I was there the first night of the EDSA revolution. We were almost crushed by tanks. Rifles were pointed in our faces. We ran towards teargas shells with wet rags and pails of water, a wooden radio tuned into radio veritas, a rebel soldier on air barking instructions how to disable the teargas.

                I climbed a tall light post on the crest of P. Tuason Avenue and EDSA, and looked out into the heart of a Revolution. I knew then what I was fighting for. I was prepared to die as many of us were.

                I agree with you in the sense that the fight isn’t over yet. At the risk of offending you, you sound to me like you’re still looking to experience your own revolution, while I have had a taste of mine, and more so. I go out daily into the streets prepared to take it back. I’m ready to act to defend myself or those who can’t defend themselves.

                I’ve been a rotary club president twice in a row spearheading programs that have positively affected tens of thousands of Filipinos

                I’ve fought off a drug-crazed man from molesting a young woman on a bus in the middle of the night..

                Instead of shying away from the danger or difficulty, I defended my family from a bully who had been habitually bullying and intimidating neighbors in our village. I held back from harming him severely and used that occasion to reform him, and he has since become a better person and a renewed member of the community.

                I empowered call center reps to save themselves from termination so that they they won’t lose their much-needed income to support their families.

                Steve, I take it back everyday. When you cultivate the habit of taking action, you do it quietly, no fanfare, no moaning. I don’t spend all my time writing on blogs but I feel compelled to counter the lies of politicians with the truth in order to protect my children’s national future.

                Your disagreement with my views in no way negates their validity because I know they are real and that they work as I have applied my limited knowledge in order to changed the course of my life and others who have come into my orbit.

                The action you desire to see of uprooting impunity through increased awareness “and an active populace constantly insisting that it be revoked, both generically and in specific cases” is most admirable and can materialize if there are enough people who are prepared to take action but they must first be empowered through the awareness you refer to. awareness.

                We are actually desiring the same things but you do not have all the specific answers. You have is your point of view albeit more informed than most but the purpose of education is to launch you into action. Without action, all that knowledge will be ineffective. that is why i use what I know in my own way to effect change.

                I have taken personal action time and again and am prepared to do so whenever necessary. I believe that by doing this I liberate those around me to do likewise. And i’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m at peace with your disagreement because it’s not been a problem for me. I have found my own way.I don’t wait for a bus that will probably never arrive.

                I sincerely wish for your vision to come true and I do appreciate all the information you have shared. I wish you well. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

              • sonny says:

                @ The Society
                I hope I can report this in the upbeat manner I intended to.
                Sibs #3 and #4 just came back from a Cunard Lines cruise that included Southhampton, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Civita Vecchio and then some (by land, e.g. Lourdes, Tuscany). Sib#4 is the sanguine one, reporting. The gushing part of her hello was the observation of how the crew was able to present the best foot forward of the cruise liner for the duration and without missing a single beat. The western precision of the navigation combined with the care, concern, comfort, humor and adaptability of the crew was unmistakable. And yes, you guessed it. The crew was 70% Filipino. Who best to deliver but people who are no strangers to adversity. To them I say: HAVE CULTURE, WILL TRAVEL!! 🙂 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                @Mike, I have responded at the bottom of the thread to get out from under this lengthy reply string.

                @sonny, the Philippines gets a bad rap way too often. And Filipinos. I’ve got to blog that to explain it. Thanks for the idea. It will be up in a couple of weeks I’d guess. . . .

              • Steve says:

                @Mike,… I was there on EDSA too, in ’86, from start to finish. I was living on N. Domingo at the time, just off Aurora Blvd, walking distance from Isetann, which was where the first crowd gathered. I was on top of a bus parked across EDSA at Ortigas Ave when the Marines broke down the wall and tried to cut across the open field where Robinson’s Galleria is today. I was one of those who ran down Ortigas with no clear idea what we were going to do about it. I was not one of the guys who stood in front of the first tank to break through the wall, but I saw them do it. It was a small group of young guys in sando and tsinelas; there was not a nun in sight, despite all the later talk about nuns stopping tanks. I was on Scout Borromeo the next day when troops in the broadcast tower on Mother Ignacia started shooting at us. I was not hit. Others were not so lucky. My friends and I picked up a 16 year old kid who was shot in the back of the neck. He bled out in my lap on the way to V. Luna Hospital… he was alive when we got there but died soon after. His name was Romeo Sese (we checked his wallet), and I have never once seen that name in any of the discussion or reportage on the EDSA event.

                So yes, I’ve had my taste of revolution, on EDSA and in some less glamorous and visible places as well.

                I guess you remember what happened after. There was a warm glow of success, everyone was happy, we all closed our eyes and held hands and sang that song about reconciliation, and when we opened our eyes the same old hogs were lined up at the same old feeding trough. It wasn’t wasted, and a lot was accomplished, but the momentum was lost and a lot of what could have been accomplished did not happen.

                So what happened? Why was the momentum lost? I don’t think it was lack of awareness… people were aware enough to get out in the streets, and awareness doesn’t fade so fast. I think there’s a tendency to focus on individuals, either fighting to get rid of a Marcos, an Erap, or some guy who has yet to be elected, or focus on some new leaders who we hope will fix everything, and who we turn on when they can’t. I think the awareness is there, but it lacks a focal point, and it lacks focused leadership. After all, what existing political organization really wants to challenge the feudal edifice? Only the left, and like lefts everywhere they have all the right questions and all the wrong answers, with nothing to offer but anachronistic dogma.

                I think that the revolution needs a focal point and a proposed outcome to continue, and I think the need to revoke impunity could be that focal point, which is why I rant on about it lake an aging parrot yapping at the wall. Where the leadership comes from remains to be seen.

                Some years ago I was at a party in a Quezon City subdivision, with friends and neighbors. All were young to middle aged Filipinos (except me). All were educated, accomplished, reasonably prosperous. All were progressive, forward looking people, all were historically aware, all were angry and disappointed at the direction of the country, all had ideas on what could be done about it. The discussions all seemed to end with “where do we find the leaders?”. The answer I proposed then, and now, is “in the mirror”.

                There is nothing wrong with building and spreading awareness, or with taking back power in one’s personal life. These are necessary and praiseworthy. But if the revolution waits until we are all fully aware and enlightened, it will wait forever. Every revolution in history was led and driven by imperfect people with flawed awareness and incomplete knowledge… by humans, if you will. Maybe what’s lacking is less awareness than anger?

              • Gakspu says:

                “I had them imagine that the haciendero was our god, the source of reward and punishment. Like it or not, we had to please him or we could be left out.”

                This exist in present time, and these hacienderos are now high ranking govt officials and high level politicians. The indios are forced to vote for them or else they will be evicted on their land.

  4. Pinoyputi says:

    Good diagnosed. A good looking lady with average intelligence. Any man would wish a stone like her.

    • edgar lores says:

      So… precious stone?

      • Joy Oh says:

        more like … gall stone? hmmm

        • Joy Oh says:

          in fairness though, mar apparently is (was?) truly in love with ate koring when he asked her to marry her. she can argue him down, which he found refreshing. it’d be nice if we can just let them be. unfortunately the public owns you warts and all once you enter their sphere. on the other hand, factor in mama judy araneta roxas who can relegate koring to the corner.

        • edgar lores says:

          Ahaha! I shouldn’t laugh because this is one of the issues we are talking about in this thread, that of the fondness of Filipinos for hypercriticism.

          But there are elements in hypercriticism that make it… permissible. Such as wit, such as humor, such as imagery, such as aptness, such as the lack of bitterness, and more. Insults, as Churchill demonstrated, can be a fine art.

          Since the comment ended in a question mark, followed by a reflective interjection — both indicating gentleness while inserting the barb — we will allow it. O joy!

  5. Franklin says:

    If he thinks a possible spat between Korina and Grace will turn off intelligent voters, then he’s watching too much teleserye!

  6. Jess Trias says:

    May I contribute that, factually, the house-help’s accusation against Korina Sanchez almost 15 years ago was proven false and her case was thrown at on the Fiscal’s level never even making it to court. Ms. Sanchez had filed a counter suit of theft against the maid and a disbarment case against her lawyer Melanio Mauricio with the IBP. Atty. Mauricio has since offered an apology letter to Ms. Sanchez for having encouraged the lies of the house-help. Regarding Anderson Cooper, Ms. Sanchez committed no infraction having aired an opinion in her opinion program. And, indeed and in fact, not a few worldwide have agreed with Ms. Sanchez.

    The comments on social media against Korina are mostly from people who simply promote negativity. The consistent top ratings and awards received by Sanchez throughout her career prove her acceptability to the majority of Filipinos and not by a noisy minority. She is multi awarded for her work in the Philippines and abroad. She has helped countless people with her charitable work over 30 years. Truly, even as Mar and Korina do love each other, it is Secretary Roxas who is a pain to her sterling career. Journalism would have lost one of its best because of his politics. She is not only an excellent broadcaster, she is a genuine public servant and we should be so lucky to have her as a working First Lady.

    • Mike Acuña says:

      I think that it’s too harsh and negative a viewpoint to say that Mar is a pain to her career but you’re very much entitled to your opjnion. He didn’t have a shotgun to her head when she married him. I didn’t see any. And she seems perfectly happy to be his mate.

      Journalism may lose an asset but like you said, the nation stands to gain a working first lady, should that be her fate.

      In my view, Mar and Korina are a match for each other and given a chance, they will achieve much good together for this country.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you for the added information and for giving some substance to the point of the blog.

    • Melissa Jacobe says:

      Agree…and shared.

  7. Matti says:

    Just a clarification,we already had a Non-Catholic president. Fidel V. Ramos. He is a Protestant,

  8. josephivo says:

    Where error is defined as variance from HOW WE WOULD DO IT ourselves.”

    There is a huge difference between the Northern Europe, Anglo-Saxon, protestant cultures and Southern Europe, Latin, Catholic cultures in this respect. “How we would DO IT ourselves” is typical for the North, in the South people are more concerned about “how we would BE SEEN doing it ourselves.” In black and white: “Does the car perform well?”, Germany; “does the car look well?”, Italy.

    Errors in the North are very focused on the action, the effect and errors in the South more on the intention, the judgment of others.

    How others see us is the self-defining question for most Filipinos too. Less for Filipinos from Chinese descend? Less for Americanized Filipinos!

    What Mar or Korina do is relevant for many Chinese/Americanized in ABC classes, but not for most in Filipinos in D and E. Would I like to be perceived as Mar or Korina is the relevant question. The answer probably not. Are they good at Karaoke? Can they show off with a nice car, expensive watch, crack a joke,… powerful gunmen? Binay looks like me and he has many things I can dream about.

    Perception issues matter, not content.

    • Joe America says:

      Very interesting explanation. I suppose the question is, does it matter that perception matters broadly across the Philippines, and not content? People are happy that Pacquiao gets elected, for he earned it by bringing esteem to the nation, and they have no connection whatsoever to the idea that a house full of Pacquiao’s would bring the Philippines to its knees, accomplishment-wise, when it comes to the laws of the land. I rather think content matters and the challenge is to make content relevant widely across the Philippines.

  9. Faye says:

    Pres. Fidel V. Ramos is a Protestant

  10. josephivo says:

    “Where error is defined as variance from HOW WE WOULD DO IT ourselves.”

    There is a huge difference between the Northern Europe, Anglo-Saxon, protestant cultures and Southern Europe, Latin, Catholic cultures in this respect. “How we would DO IT ourselves” is typical for the North, in the South people are more concerned about “how we would BE SEEN doing it ourselves.” In black and white: “Does the car perform well?”, Germany; “does the car look well?”, Italy.

    Errors in the North are very focused on the action, the effect and errors in the South more on the intention, the judgment of others.

    How others see us is the self-defining question for most Filipinos too. Less for Filipinos from Chinese descend? Less for Americanized Filipinos!

    What Mar or Korina do is relevant for many Chinese/Americanized in ABC classes, but not for most in Filipinos in D and E. Would I like to be perceived as Mar or Korina is the relevant question. The answer probably not. Are they good at Karaoke? Can they show off with a nice car, expensive watch, crack a joke,… powerful gunmen? Binay looks like me and he has many things I can dream about.

    Perception issues matter, not content.

    • Mike Acuña says:

      The problem ij this country of ours is that perception can be manipulated.

      Mar’s enemies are clearly knowledgeable about the power of perception in politics and elections and have used it expertly in the past against Mar.

      One week before the 2010 VP elections, Binay’s camp published a video of Mar applauding GMA signing the evat bill into law. One of Mar celebrating the signing into law of the Cheaper Medicines Act, and the other of GMA signing the eVat bill. Mar’s team rebuked the video as a doctored video clip. Binay’s “media managers” withdrew the offending video with an apology but the damage was inflicted, as intended.

      Though true that Mar co-authored the eVat law and it played an important role in lifting the economy to its current status, Even before its conception, the eVat bill was perceived by the masses as anti-poor and thus was a highly charged political and emotional issue. Binay’s camp used the eVat issue at just the right moment to spike the public pecreption that Mar was anti-poor. A tag that today is still used against him. And then there’s the issue of the 3 million votes for Mar that were never counted, but that’s an important story for another blog.

      Still on perception, the events in Tacloban November last year saw Mar accused by Romualdez of politicking (witholding relief goods and assistance in exchange for a letter) in order to divert attention away from the mayor’s own failure to seriously implement protective measures owing in large part to his arrival from vacation in Tacloban less than 2 days before Yolanda’s landfall. He manipulated facts and a video to make the public perceive Mar as arrogant and insensitive, a play on the perception that government assistance was too slow. It worked. Many people still think that Mar was witholding relief goods and operations because of politics. Romualdez got away scot free. But as demonstrated during typhoon Ruby, mandatory evacuation is essential in saving lives.

      There’s a difference between perception and evil. And then there’s karma.

      The recent senate investigation into Makati’s alleged overpriced buildings, cakes and other ways to make money illegally has had a huge effect on the pubilc’s perception of Binay as an honest and clean government official.

      Binay is currently in a political freefall.

      Once in a while, content matters.

  11. It seems with or without dealing with the Korina issue he can win.

    • Joe America says:

      I showed that report to my bookie Sal and he slugged me in the arm. “What’d I say?” he asked.

      • on a different note media practitioners should be required to know some basic statistics and how these survey are made. You cant compare the results of Pulse with SWS. Especially when the questions are very different.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, true. I think the way they are used is politicians look for the good news and brag about it, and basically ignore the bad. So the output is not really science.

          • jayar87 says:

            The numbers were obtained in a scientifically-acceptable manner….how they use the data collected…well, it’s like a gun, it’s up to the owner whether he’ll use it for god or evil.

            If I may say, this is the most educational, and insightful discussion I’ve seen on Philippine society and politics. I’ll read on now, thanks for your (meaning you and ever other contributor to this discussion) insights.

  12. I think Korina reminds us of our High Standard Aunt. The one where anything you do is not good enough, any achievement is denigrated. At least that is what she reminds me of.

  13. Mike Acuña says:

    Re Aries San Pedro’s post: This appears to be a repost but seeing it again made me realize the possible but likely main reason why Korina is the subject or target of attacks.

    it’s because she’s married to Mar.

    Korina’s perceived flaws and flubs are played up against the political backdrop of the 2016 presidential elections in order to take Mar Roxas down and out.

    Bring Korina down and that helps take Mar out.

    • Joe America says:

      I dumped the comment to trash as it is the third iteration of the same comment by Jess Trias above, defending Korina Sanchez. Evidently, it is being plastered like spam across the internet.

      But that is something to be aware of, a way of undermining Mar Roxas. I guess sneaky “marketing” is deployed by both teams, and will be during the campaign.

  14. ladyluck says:

    very well said dear. i am no pro-korina, neither do i hate her. but negative reactions thrown at her after such a very naive display of sense of humor is really way over board. exaggerated. there goes filipinos’ crab mentality once again…

    • BFD says:

      Off topic: Merry Christmas and Happy new year, Joe and to all who read, comment on Joe’s blog…
      🙂 😀
      🙂 😀
      🙂 😀

      • Joe America says:

        Why, thanks, BFD. Merry Christmas and the best of new years back at you.

      • edgar lores says:

        Thanks, BFD.

        After all of these years, I still don’t know what I am — theist, deist, pantheist, atheistic deist, atheistic pantheist, universalist or plain synthesizer — but I do wish for all of you all the happiness that the universe can bestow.

        • BFD says:

          @edgar lores, whatever -ist you find yourself to belong doesn’t matter, I love how you expound things, it makes the discussion on Joe’s blog richer, especially to an average Pinoy like me. Again, good day to you all…

      • Bert says:

        Thank you, BFD. Wishing everybody all the good things all the time.

      • davide says:

        Maupay nga New Year Joe, May I forward this blog to some of our leading columnist the likes of Solita Monsod, Randy David would like to see if they can comment on this very compelling discussion in your blog. Very interesting to read and learned a lot from it.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks ladyluck. Indeed, just a little kindness. Costs nothing.

  15. Bert says:

    Whether she is good or bad, or what she does as a journalist, Korina will not affect Mar Roxas chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.. I think she is good on what she does,a good person actually, and not a negative factor on the Roxas campaign. The opposition can say all they want to say against Mar Roxas to destroy his image. That is understandable, for the opposition is not out there to praise ‘the enemy’. In the same manner, Mar Roxas supporters can say all the good things about Mar Roxas, but I doubt it can sway the odds for or against Roxas in the election. The electorates has have their own perceptions of the man and they will vote according to what and how they perceived of his character, his plan for the country, his past and present actions, what he says, and most importantly how he can projects himself with utmost sincerity while saying those things that he wants to say to be extremely believable. In that regard, only Mar Roxas himself can convince the people. We will see.

    • edgar lores says:

      Just a thought, Bert: Would you say the same of Elenita not affecting Jejomar’s chances?

      • Bert says:

        Ah, nice question, though quite out of touch with current events. I think you are pulling my leg, Edgar, :). Comparing two apples, one a luscious apple, the other, what?

        You should have seen the COA presentation to the Senate inquiry of Elenita’s misdeeds when she was mayor of Makati. Will make you grimace, and that’s the mildest description I can think of.

        My answer? You guessed it already. His goose is cooked and she’s the chef, hehehe.

        • edgar lores says:


          Good answer!

          So the two instances are not analogous? I like your trope: luscious apple versus… dried prune?

          I raise the question though because from comments I have heard elsewhere Korina might just influence the vote on Mar. If, as we agree, Elenita confirms the character of Binay (in his corruption), would not Korina also confirm that of Mar’s in his, shall we say, essential lovableness?

          People have a hard time pinning down Mar’s image — which is part of the problem — but seen in the light of Korina’s devotion to him, what is his magic? Does her love say more about her than about him? And if it is about him, can we not discover his lovable qualities, as Korina has, and have these projected to the voters?

          Or is it the other way around that Mar’s love of Korina — the lyric of the song is running through my head: “I love Corrina tell the world I do” — confirms her lovableness and not his?

          • Bert says:

            It’s not as much the dryness of the thing as the rottenness and the worms in it that entered into my mind, Edgar. And you’re doing disservice to dried prunes by your analogy, dried prunes being as nutritious, if not as luscious, as the luscious thing, though I could agree with your intimation that a fresh apple is more tempting to some than a dried apple would be.

            As to Mar’s image, no, I don’t think the voters can be impressed by a wife’s lovableness or even by a show of affection, sincere or not, to a presidential husband if the voters has a preconceive notion already of the candidate. It will take more than that to change the mind of the voters. And that is why I think that Mar Roxas has a tough job ahead, Korina or no Korina. Mar loving that “luscious thing” is admirable, but the voters will just be jealous with envy and nothing more.

            In the case of Binay and Elenita, my take is that her love and devotion to husband is no less than Korina’s to Mar, dried prunes notwithstanding, but definitely she’s a real weight, I forgot the name of that bird, on Binay’s neck.

  16. MARTIN CASTRO says:

    Mar and Korina-Bashing these days is a strong indication that the elections are near and that the crabs need it for pogi points. But the couple are doing the right thing by ignoring all those baseless bashing by their critics and the opposition.

    It’s just so obvious that they keep an eye on Korina. Her critics are simply people with crab mentality. Each one, specifically those from the OTHER CAMP has to hit Korina hard, sensationalizing even trivial issues. It’s very obvious that the OTHER CAMP is orchestrating the continuing hate and smear campaign against Korina, so I don’t believe on all those rumours against her. Remember when that same househelp reemerged last campaign season? The reasons are obvious. Anyway, this is a testament that democracy is alive in this country and we should all be thankful.

    Korina as a working First Lady? I think she will be awesome.

  17. chao-wei says:

    I really don’t understand why people would even consider Korina as a millstone on Mar Roxas’ back, because we supposedly judge Roxas by his merits and his activity, not because he had a wife who committed public errors of tact.

    If Roxas falls, it will not be because of Korina, it will be because of the public perception that Roxas is overdoing his image work instead of actually helping. For me, personally, though, I reserve criticism of Roxas, though I have criticized Korina’s gaffes because they showed a lack of tact, research, or sensitivity. Mar and Korina are both intellectuals, no doubt about that. Mar was poised to become a vice-president, but lost to the more populist guy, Binay.

    The real problem we have now is the partiality of the Aquino II government toward its supporters, and Mar and Korina are part of the oligarchy that is favored by the current government. It is the structure of government in the Philippines that has not changed: the oligarchies still fighting each other in arenas hidden from the people.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that is true, they are all well-connected to money and power, which we also see in the US, with another Bush and another Clinton rising as the likely opposition candidates. That seems to be a feature of democracy in the days of advertising rather than train stops as the way to reach the public.

      By the way, who would you like to see in the office, if money and connections could be set aside?

      • chao-wei says:

        I’d like to say Miriam is the best choice for president we have today, but that is within the present limits of our political society. Anyway, she has a vision for the Philippines, and the political will to see them through. Her political game in the last decade and a half notwithstanding, she seems sincere about modernizing the way Filipinos look at politics.

        But people like me view a Santiago presidency as more of a transition state to a better political society than “the best choice”. Actually, I would like to see a Philippine government that is more republican than oligarchic, as is the case today. Everyone would like to see the Philippines run by plans instead of personalities, but few actually vote this way because they expect certain famous people to come up with a plan once they get elected into office.

        My point is that there must be a sea change in our political society, our way of thinking about politics, and then the good things will start coming.

        • Joe America says:

          I appreciate the perspective. Certainly there has to be some kind of shock to the system if we consider that the established “leaders” would allow a Binay presidency without raising a voice. The entitled support the entitled. No breakout in sight.

          I agree Senator Santiago has a breakout personality, but I’m not convinced of her management ability or ability to orchestrate a steady government. And her sharp condemnation of the VFA seems to favor China remaining on Philippine rocks because she has articulated no defensive strategy that would be strong, without alliances, as far as I know.

  18. Vicky Garchitorena says:

    Good post from Joe. Indeed, who can claim to be perfect? Also, we do not realize and must not discount the fact that Korina has her own followers who like her as she is.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Vicky. It is interesting, she ought to be drawing praise or even raves, but that is hard to get to hereabouts, unless she put on boxing gloves and clobbered somebody.

  19. Steve says:

    The perception that Korina is “Baduy” may be a slight disadvantage to Roxas in attracting the ABC vote, but it’s a minor disadvantage: the kind of voters who find kabaduyan distasteful are also the kind of voters who vote for a President, not a first lady. With the far more numerous D/E voters, a somewhat baduy celebrity wife is probably an advantage, though again a fairly slight one. Overall I’d rate it as a neutral influence that’s not likely to make much difference one way or the other. I also don’t think it matters much, as I don’t think Roxas has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Sal may know his horses, but I don’t think he knows Philippine politics.

    Political discussions on social media have little or no utility as a predictor of election results or an indicator of significant influences, as they include and reflect only a tiny percentage of the electorate.

  20. josephivo says:

    “Where error is defined as variance from HOW WE WOULD DO IT ourselves.”

    There is a huge difference between the Northern Europe, Anglo-Saxon, protestant cultures and Southern Europe, Latin, Catholic cultures in this respect. “How we would DO IT ourselves” is typical for the North, in the South people are more concerned about “how we would BE SEEN doing it ourselves.” In black and white: “Does the car perform well?”, Germany; “does the car look well?”, Italy.

    Errors in the North are very focused on the action, the effect and errors in the South more on the intention, the judgment of others.

    How others see us is the self-defining question for most Filipinos too. Less for Filipinos from Chinese descend? Less for Americanized Filipinos!

    What Mar or Korina do is relevant for many Chinese/Americanized in ABC classes, but not for most in Filipinos in D and E. Would I like to be perceived as Mar or Korina is the relevant question. The answer probably not. Are they good at Karaoke? Can they show off with a nice car, expensive watch, crack a joke,… powerful gunmen? Binay looks like me and he has many things I can dream about.

    Perception issues matter, not content.

  21. Juan Masipag says:

    Good day Joe! I would liken Ms. Sanchez to the legendary Hope Diamond, beautiful and fascinating as is it carries with it a so called “curse” to all who possess it. I do hope that wouldn’t be the case for the Sec. Roxas. One thing positive I can say about Ms. Sanchez is inspite of her being in the media she never took advantage of it to shield, defend and glorify her husband. Time and again the good Secretary has been criticized and bashed unfairly yet I never heard her spoke in his defense. Is it breeding? Probably yes. Yet whenever I hear her speak/wish ill (like during typhoon Ruby wherein she wished Japan would bear the brunt of the forthcoming devastation on air at that), it also leaves a question in my mind of her values and outlook in life. I do agree with you she has character and intelligence …. but if she were to be the first lady of the land she must have wisdom, discernment, empathy and common sense. Her profession in media has instilled in her a demigod mentality (much like the rest of our media men/women) i.e. “they did wrong, this is how it should be done” thing, yet not doing anything. If she does carries this to Malacañang then we will have a first lady who would just criticize the government itself 24/7. She would only end up like her partner in TV former VP Noli de Castro all talk no actions!

    • Joe America says:

      Very interesting take, Juan. Show biz does seem to have a way of changing the personalities of those who get a lot of public acclaim. Some seem to rebel against it, to remain humble and rational. Others seem to give themselves to it, taking up ego or drugs. A First Lady needs to be well grounded, I agree.

  22. chit navarro says:

    Have a joyful and blessed Christmas Joe with the wifey and the son. The Society of Honor has come a looooong way this year. From your old blog ste to this new site, it has bloomed and grown and is growing!!!! I used to be a true-blue CPM’er but if I want to read really intellectual discussions on an issue. I come here. The other site is for the lighter side and current discussions, including gosspis. I look forward to another year of discussions on who should lead us in the next 6 years. And definitely not the Binay’s.

    Here’s wising Merry Christmas to all the contributors to this site…It was a great year of ideas!
    and very educational!

    CHEERS TO A GREATER 2015!!!!

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, chit. Best wishes to you and those close to you for the holidays, as well. Indeed, it has been an amazing year. The growth started with a blog about Mayor Estrada, and a couple about Yolanda, that resonated with people, and it has been steadily upward since. I have always been a little wary about getting popular due to the risk that the comments might turn to the showmanship and trolling found at other discussions. But the debate has instead gotten even broader and richer. Most rewarding, from this desk.

      If I had a “like” button to comments, I’m sure the contributors would be ringing in with their best wishes back to you, too . . . and to others.

      Merry Christmas. “Rock and roll” in ’15!

  23. Juana Pilipinas says:

    Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, Joe and family!

    Based on what I gleaned about Korina, she is a very intelligent, competent, accomplished and compassionate person.

    Her critics make her look like she has a foot-in-mouth disease. Come on, we all suffer from it from time to time so can we just give the lady a break?

    Some people claim that she is liability to Mar’s presidential ambition. To the contrary, she will an asset as evidenced by her continued popularity with the TV viewing and radio listening crowds.

    I think some Filipinos are not comfortable with rich and successful people so they nitpick them to death. It’s their way of of saying, “You are not all that and a bag of chips. You have flaws too.”

    • Mike Acuña says:

      Nitpickers suffer from PCD (post colonial disorder). And if reports are accurate, it was that dimwit Noli de Castro who started the sick joke on Japan by suggesting that Japan take on half of Ruby and leave half to the Phils. Korina mistakenly jumped in on the joke by saying that maybe japan can take all of it because they’re more capable.Honest mistake, in my opinion and I’m sure she must be kicking herself. Better yet, she should kick Noli de Castro.

      • Joe America says:

        Put in that context, her remark is really quite funny, and complimentary toward Japan. Context, context, context. If we all did that better, I think there would not be so many critics running about.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Juana. Merry Christmas and the absolute best to you and others dear to you in or about “Farmville” Arizona. 🙂

      Nice read-out on Korina. Reflections of a fine article on crabs a while back.

      Onward to 2015!

  24. bauwow says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!
    Hope next year will be more peaceful!

    Uncle Joe, thank you for this blog! May the comments reach a thousand next year!

  25. tita marlene says:

    I agree with your take on Korina . She will make a wonderful first lady.

  26. tita marlene says:

    As a Filipino, I would be proud to have such a wonderful First Lady in our country.

  27. edgar lores says:


    I’ve read the first portion of your piece, and I want to know the conclusions you reached.

    I would be very interested in a copy… as I have trouble sleeping sometimes. You could email it to me via JoeAm.

    Just a surmise: what would the country be like today if FPJ had won?

    Thanks in advance for the copy.

    • Joe America says:

      I’d like to read it too. If you send it to me, I can forward it to Edgar.

      • sonny says:

        Me too, uncle Joe. With Steve’s consent of course. I am hoping Steve’s thoughts can help me sort mine specially to understand Fallow’s DAMAGED CULTURE. Fallow put that article out equipped by his 6-month stay in the Philippines. Steve’s been familiar with Philippine innards for 20+ years. I’ll take my chances by reading Steve’s take, (for a good sleep, as he says). 🙂

    • Bert says:

      If FPJ had won, Edgar, and fate did not intervene as it did, then it could be a better version of Erap’s governing style, the better for the nation generally I would guess since Erap’s was not as bad as Gloria’s style as it were. On the other hand, Noli de Castro would have been president and we can only guess what could be the country be like under his administration and the next administrations after him. Just my 2-cents.

      • Steve says:

        My own view, I fear, is that FPJ was an amiable but clueless tool, and that he would have been stage managed at every turn by Erap’s crowd. Possibly a worse version of Erap, as Erap at least had some level of political understanding. I think FPJ was a decent enough guy, but that’s not enough to make a President.

        • Bert says:

          I disagree with your first sentence, Steve. There was a time in the early days of his showbis career ( or was that in the middle, he was in there for half a century I guess), when a group of high profile gangsters compose of scions of well-known political families lording it over the underworld of drugs and other vices, sowing terror everywhere including that in the domain of the artists and movie stars at the time, the stars falling prey to the gang’s capricious and evil whims at will. Only one man stood his ground against the gang, and in defense of his buddies in the movie industry, in one instance pulling a .45 at the faces of the leaders of that gang in a nightspot. There was no news or rumor that he was ever intimidated by anyone excepting, of course. by wife Susan Roces. He was a real tough guy, on and off the screen. .

          • Bert says:

            Have you heard of the Big Four Gang, Steve? Google it, year 1963,

            • Steve says:

              Yes, the Big Four gang… bit of irony there. Luis “Baby” Asistio, one of the leaders of that gang, later became Mayor and Congressman of Kalookan City (in his day we called it “Kalokohan City”), and was a prominent supporter/confidante of Erap and subsequently of FPJ himself. Politics do indeed make strange bedfellows.

              I never said FPJ was a coward, but unlike Erap he came to the campaign with zero political experience and was way out of his depth. He was over-reliant on his advisers and handlers, most inherited from Erap, and I think they used him mercilessly, not by directly challenging him but by manipulating him. I think they would have continued to do so had he taken office.

              • Bert says:

                First, I’m no FPJ fan nor of any movie star for that matter, local and foreign, never been into a movie house the last thirty years and though my family loves watching telenovelas on TV I’d rather be into more interesting and exciting pastime like, for example, reading Joe’s blog and get the highs from those enlightening views written by wise and brilliant commentators here, you, Steve, being one of them. But your descriptions of FPJ as amiable and a clueless tool that can be easily manipulated by anyone I think has no bases in fact. I think the guy is no fool, not dumb either, dumb being the term used to described Erap during his term as president by those elite and elitists that led to his downfall and to the ascension of Gloria to Malacanang to the delight and glee of those same elites and elitists. In the course of FPJ’s reign as “the King” of Philippine movie I never heard of anything that suggests he was a stooge of anybody in the industry. Expand that to the political environment and we can already surmise what kind of a president he will be if he had taken office.

              • Steve says:

                FPJ knew the ful industry, it was his milieu and he was confident in it. The same was not true of politics. If you watched his campaign, he was clearly way out of his depth: he was awkward, clumsy, insecure in dialogue with political people, unable to discuss issues or debate. I don’t think his performance in the film industry could possibly be extrapolated to the political sphere: he simply lacked the education or the expertise to set his own direction.

                He also had a reputation for being almost excessively loyal to his friends… in many spheres of life that could be considered admirable, in Philippine politics it can be crippling. I find it very hard to see how he could have made even an adequate President.

  28. Korina Sanchez is a b***h and she doesn’t apologize for that. She’s as real as she can get. What we should be on the lookout for those who project themselves as kind, sweet and for the common man but in reality they are the complete opposite.

  29. Joe America says:

    @Mike Acuna,

    ” So no matter how incisive and in-depth your analysis is, at the end of the day, this journey is unique to us Filipinos.”

    That statement puts you into the realm of “nationalist” to me, which is an interesting creature who holds himself apart from others, untouchable. In that sense, it tends to be divisive. I consulted with bookie Sal and he says odds are that Steve understands the Filipino condition better than 99.9% of all Filipino citizens, and that you have experiences that more than 98.3% of Filipino citizens have not shared. Yet you both are worth reading.

    This notion of having to compare who knows more is fairly irrelevant if we consider that there is a place in the hierarchy above national allegiance, and it is called being an individual human. That has two qualities to it: (1) respect for what each person brings to the planet, and (2) the recognition that we are all in it together, and ought to have some rules that allow that respect to flourish.

    • Joe America says:

      Bookie Sal also chipped in that Steve’s 30 years in the Philippines puts him as having more time contributing here than 77.5% of all natural born Filipinos.

      • edgar lores says:

        Bookie Sal is not to be trusted. His calculator is probably a cheap one Made in China.

        Natural-born Filipinos who (a) remain in the country and (b) have not stepped outside of the country have contributed 100% of their time here.

        Assuming that OFWs are just 10% of the population, it would be safe to assume that up to 70% of all natural-born Filipinos fall into the above category.

    • edgar lores says:

      Steve, as an outsider, may have an understanding of the Filipino psyche.

      Granting that, I question his understanding of the human condition.

      In his response to Mike’s long response, he picked up one statement and rejected the validity of Mike’s experiences.

      Mike’s statement was: “If the elite became aware of the truth of themselves, I’m almost certain they would be transformed. ”

      And Steve’s response was: “I cannot agree.”

      A very simple living proof of Mike’s statement is: President Benigno Aquino III.

      Human beings are capable of the highest transcendental transformation.

      Steve may “understand the Filipino condition better than 99.9% of all Filipino citizens”, but by that one denial he betrays the narrowness and the inflexibility of his comprehension of the human condition.

      What percentage would Bookie Sal give of Steve’s capacity to understand things outside of his specialty? I don’t know… I leave it to the reader.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, a good point. Well, frankly, I disagree with Steve on some things (he says Roxas cannot win, and I think he can). It is not a matter of infallibility, but of putting up walls that seem to deny one’s credibility. If Steve cannot possibly understand the Filipino condition, who in the world can, other than Mike himself? That leads us to your comment about empathy.

      • Steve says:

        I did not intend to “reject the validity of Mike’s experiences”, I simply disagreed with one point: the belief that the Philippine elite can transform themselves through self awareness. I don’t think they will. I know some among them who can, and even who have… I would not count President Aquino as one of them, but certainly they are there. As a group, though, I don’t see that happening. Like most elites in most places, I don’t think they will see the light until they feel the heat, and I don’t think they will voluntarily surrender the prerogatives that support their dominance and the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed..

        That is of course in no way unique to the Philippines: there are few places in the world where feudal forces have surrendered their power without a struggle.

        • Joe America says:

          I agree that President Aquino continues to participate in the culture of impunity. The only two high national government officials calling Jejomar Binay out as “unqualified to be president” are Senators Cayetano and Trillanes, and they both have political motives themselves. Everyone else is just playing along, including the President.

        • edgar lores says:

          Well, Steve, the general tenor of your response, given its brevity and succinctness, seemed to be a complete rejection of Mike’s experiences.

          True, you disagreed with one point, But in not acknowledging the truth (or falsity) of his other assertions — in particular his main point — you thereby discredit the entirety of his lengthy response.

          There is a thing called balance.

          Perceptions differ about President Aquino. He may not be completely a knight in shining armor, but I would strongly disagree with the proposition that he has not transformed himself by his awareness of events in his and the country’s life… and consequently also transformed the country by that very awareness.

          There are several posts in this blog that attest to this transformation.

          His stance on the Vice President is arguably proper… which is to allow “due process” to proceed. Just to remind everyone, his public response on the matter was “the truth shall set us free.” I invite anyone to ponder the ramifications if the President were to fire the Vice President from the Cabinet and to publicly excoriate his constitutional successor.

          • Joe America says:

            Point well made. The President was direct about straightening out Binay’s interpretation of their meeting. (His misrepresentation.)

          • Joe America says:

            I would add that, should President Aquino be wrong, and the truth does not set the Philippines free and Binay gets elected President, we may arrive at the revolution that Steve says is about the only way feudal systems are overthrown, and . . . in the end . . . Steve will end up being very right. Unfortunately.

            • Steve says:

              Minor distinction… I do not believe that revolution is the only way a feudal system is overthrown. I believe that feudal systems can evolve without full-fledged revolution, but only when the feudal rulers are backed into a corner where the only choices they see are evolution and revolution. In that situation they may choose to evolve, especially if the alternative looks likely to end with them hanging from a lamp-post. I do not think the choice will come from enlightenment or awareness, it will come from fear, and the realization that the populace is not going to take it any more.

          • Steve says:

            Opinions differ. Expressing a different opinion is not meant to discredit the validity of anyone’s experience, it’s just a different opinion.

            On Aquino… I supported him as a candidate, primarily as the least bad option, but I had very limited expectations: his record as a legislator was unexceptional and gave little reason for confidence. He ran as “anak ni Cory”, not on the basis of his own accomplishments. His anti-corruption message was admirable, but there was little in his track record to suggest that he had the will or ability to actually deliver on the promise. He has to a large degree exceeded those low expectations, but while he may or may not have transformed himself (I have no way to know) he has certainly not directly and specifically challenged the culture of elite impunity. He hasn’t completely surrendered to it either (as GMA did), and for that I give him full credit, but he hasn’t really challenged it either. I can’t say that’s a disappointment, because I expected even less, it’s just what I observe.

            I do not think we can expect the elite to transform or reform itself on its own initiative: there’s just too much self-interest involved, and asking people to turn against the interests of their own families and friends is a high ask. Maybe they could, in theory, transform, but in practice I do not think it’s a realistic expectation. The elite will transform when the public gives them no choice.

    • edgar lores says:

      Re Mike’s nationalist statement:

      I would agree that it is not accurate because it denies our capacity and capability to empathize.

      • Joe America says:

        I’m working on a blog concerning the VFA, which looks at American military culture. I was a graduate of the Army’s Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. It was the artillery school. Last night, I was reading some reflections of other graduates about that rather taxing training episode. Taxing both physically and mentally. One guy reflected on the time a day or two before Christmas when his unit was making its way back from a night exercise, totally exhausted, sloppily marching through the outskirts of neighboring Lawton, Okla. One guy started singing a Christmas carol. Soon, the whole unit was chiming in, the exhaustion fled, the marching became precise, and the line of 120 people paraded through a city that saw lights flipping on, doors opening, neighbors coming out into the snowy night to pay their respects to a troop of guys who would soon go off to war. Well, some of those neighbors had husbands or sons in Viet Nam, or knew the loss that war ensures.

        I thought, first, “how in the world can I possibly explain to Filipinos that kind of military bonding and citizen/military bonding that is so special in America?” Well, the better question would be, “What gives me the nerve to think that Filipinos do not have their own taxing moments, overcome through the love of others, that they would not be able to understand?”

        Empathy is a huge force for inclusion, kindness and peace.

      • Steve says:

        I would point out that there is a difference between nationalism and exceptionalism, the latter being the belief that a particular nationality has a unique and specific character, mission, or whatever. American exceptionalism has been discussed in great volume, but it is not a phenomenon unique to America by any means.

        I do not claim to understand “the Filipino psyche” or “the Filipino condition”. Nor would I claim to understand “the American psyche” or “the American condition”. I’m not sure anyone understands or could understand such a broad and nebulous construct. I’ve lived in a number of places in the Philippines, from the urban back streets to the rural back corners. I speak a couple of languages. I’ve put some effort into bridging the book learning with direct experience in the dust and mud. That doesn’t mean I have “the answers’ or any absolute or unique understanding. In fact if I had to generalize about “the Philippine condition” I don’t think I could say much: there are so many conditions out there and they are so thoroughly different that it’s hard to reach a useful generalization.

        I just have some observations, and some opinions. Make of them what you will. If they differ from the observations and opinions of others, that doesn’t mean someone’s right and someone’s wrong… often people are just looking at different facets of the whole.

        • Mike Acuña says:

          @Steve; @Joe

          “@Mike,… I was there on EDSA too, in ’86, from start to finish. I was living on N. Domingo at the time, just off Aurora Blvd, walking distance from Isetann, which was where the first crowd gathered…”

          I’m sincerely touched that, for reasons of your own, you have chosen the Philippines as your, what do I call it, your home? Whatever, it’s good to know.

          You’re right. Opinions differ. They are different facets of the whole, as you said. I meant that all along when i said “points of view”.

          You believe that awareness is not as important or as necessary an ingredient to effect change in Philippine society. That may well be. But we’ll see, won’t we, in time. I don’t mind being wrong. I want to see change, regardless of the vehicle that takes us there.

          I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression or if I offended you by my earlier remarks which seemed to minimize everything you’ve invested in this country. I meant to point out that the Filipino experience, for me, has been, and continues to be, about survival.

          And that is what I essentially care about. I want to empower Filipinos to cope with or overcome their reality. Sadly our views and ideals may be too lofty for most of them. And we may never know when they will be realized, if at all. But I’m an optimist.

          Whatever else, this remains a third world country and ordinary people have ordinary, daily challenges. I certainly do. But in the midst of dealing with my own reality, I share my accumulated experiences to improve someone else’s. Even if I can’t give money anymore to somebody, I try to help that person cope, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m an optimist and i know how to infect people with it. I make them hope for the best because in this country, hope is about all they’ve got left..

          As for leadership of this country, that remains to be seen. Miriam Santiago is brilliant but emotionally unstable. It wasn’t too long ago that she was criticiized and dubbed “Brenda” (brain damage) for her public tantrums. It was only very recently that her popularity arose because of her stand on some political issues and her jokes deliever in her visayan-accented english. Filipinos love entertainment. It’s their opium.

          Although Binay is the top choice according to the polls, he’s a fake.

          His accomplishments he claims in Makati are not his own. The free medicare, free and subsidized education, etc., were all existing long before he surfaced. I know because i lived in Makati for 15 years before relocating. His political ads inferred or suggested that he is the cause of it all. Not true. The Makati Medical Center had long been donating some 20 Million Pesos monthly to the Ospital ng Makati, while its doctors and staff had been providing pro bono services all these years. The taxpayers of makati donate 20% of their real property taxes to subsidize education and to provide scholarships to qualified indigent students, It says so in the receipts and I’ve known this a long time. This was started by his predecessor, Nemesio Yabut, of whom i’m not a fan, but he started the concept. The definition of plagiarism is when you take credit for someone else’s work. He should’ve given credit where credit is due, not use it for his upliftment. Now thw whole country thinks he started all of that.

          Binay is popular because of his success in playing the poverty card and his use of ill-gotten wealth to finance it. In his last mayoral campaign before his wife ran, multipurpose gyms were built in almost every barangay in makati.

          Grace Poe by her own admission is not ready to be president or vice president. She’s popular, but that’s it.

          Mar Roxas lost the 2010 VP elections because Binay released a video one week before the elections to fan public anger against Mar re the eVat law. The Election Tribunal is currently reviewing the case of the 3 million votes for Roxas from his bailiwick that were inadvertently not counted in his favor due to some glitches in the pcos machines. Binay won by the narrowest margin in the history of the Fifth Republic.

          Romualdez accused Mar Roxas last year in Tacloban to camouflage his own negligence in dealing with Yolanda. Romualdez provided the country with a scapegoat as a release for its emotions due to the high death toll. Romualdez’ party was in alliance then with Binay’s. he also used a video against Mar.

          Why have they gone to all his trouble to destroy the credibility and image of Mar Roxas?

          One look at his resume says it all. His work in congress and the senate shows hard work. And significant laws and resolutions too.

          His upbringing and training have all been purposed to lead, not as a master but as a servant. He is free from the corruption of the traditional elite because of his pre-existing wealth and his family history.

          Contrary to what people mistake of him as being mild-mannered, he is polite but direct to the point. I witnessed this at a rotary meeting where he was the speaker, He was running for the first time as congressman.

          An audience member who represented a powerful political and royal family from Mindanao, asked him what he thought of the security situation in Mindanao, a loaded question.

          Roxas looked him in the eye and said “I believe that the 60-40 sharing of resources should be turned around, 40-60 in favor of Mindanao. I think that peace in Mindanao will be more quickly achieved if only our muslim brothers would stop acting like brats and put their arms down so we can negotiate peace between us”. Afterwards, the muslim questioner smilingly told Mar, “That was a good answer” and shook his hand.

          I promote awareness but in my own way. I’m the kind who can, If I think I should, confront you. If I’m offered bullcrap about the events in Tacloban November last year, I’m going to debilitate you with facts about what really happened, and I’m going to turn you around.

          In the call center, people who experienced my “treatment” called it “confrontational coaching”. It’s tough, compassionate love intended to confront you with the truth about yourself in order to effect positive, meaningful change.

          And Steve, my style has something to do with anger. Anger whose original cause has been reconciled but rechanneled into national and personal concerns. I’m ready to do almost anything even if I means going to jail, as long as nobody gets hurt by me directly, and as long as it’s for a just and righteous cause. Now Joe can charge me with being idealistic aside from being nationalistic. I’m pretty unpredictable for a Filipino. And i can walk the talk. if you know what I mean. But I’m mostly laid back

          Joe, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m a nationalist but I’m not short on compassion. My remark to Steve was just my way of confronting him and pushing things to the edge so I can get more information from him or whomever, and I did. In fact, I think I got a wealth of responses from different sources, including you. And i thought by your silence all this time that you weren’t really into this stuff.

          To Steve, thanks for the sharing from you. I’m certain not alone in having learned from you. Please send me your material through Joe. I would love to read it. There’s a saying that may apply to you, “there is a friend who may be closer than a brother”.

          I don’t know you but I believe I can say now that you have more than earned the right to be here among us and to share our journey. You just might be more Filipino than most of us. So with that said, let’s continue the fight for change as different parts of a whole.

          And if we are fortunate to experience a revolution together, bloody or not, we just gotta have a cold one afterwards at the nearest watering hole. The first round’s on me and the rest will be a round robin between you, Joe and Bert. And anyone else who wants to join in, is welcome.

          May the season bring about the reason for better things to come about for all of us. It costs nothing to hope.

          • Mike Acuña says:

            “I do not think we can expect the elite to transform or reform itself on its own initiative: there’s just too much self-interest involved, and asking people to turn against the interests of their own families and friends is a high ask. Maybe they could, in theory, transform, but in practice I do not think it’s a realistic expectation. The elite will transform when the public gives them no choice.”

            Just an added thought. I never thought that Aquino would end it. But he’s started something for his successor to continue. Who that successor will be, is something we, all of us, can and should fight for, to ensure a continuity of the right things, to bring about positive change.

          • Joe America says:

            @Mike, I’ll send you a copy of Steve’s article. I have it on file. Sometimes I don’t participate in discussions that are “humming” in their own right, but I read it all. Another “nationalist” was responsible for me developing a more wholesome view of the Philippines, from my prior crabby, complaining foreigner mien. So I actually respect nationalists if they are well grounded, which I think you are. I’m a “nationalist” for America in many circumstances.

          • Steve says:

            @Mike… Thank you for the comments. I certainly took no offense, and I hope I gave none. One tries to be concise, and at time that can be interpreted as abruptness. I don’t mind a bit of rough and tumble in the give and take, as long as it’s honest.

            I didn’t mean to suggest that awareness is important, only that it’s not enough, and that without caution it can become an excuse for inaction. If we decide not to act until we are completely ready, we may never act at all.

            When I speak of leadership, I don’t mean leadership at the national “presidentiable” level. I think there’s a huge need to develop new leaders outside the traditional political elite, and I think that needs to start at the grassroots, at the community and civil society levels. Those levels may not be able to initiate action on a national scale but they can provide critical support to worthwhile national initiatives, they can provide a platform for opposition to abuse and corruption, and they are a needed training ground for a new generation of national leaders. I’d like to see a lot more of today’s middle class, the professionals and entrepreneurs and executives who have real world hands-on experience and accomplishments, stepping up and taking on leadership responsibility in their own communities and businesses. Many already are, but the country needs more.

            I have no objection to nationalism per se. Like any other system of belief it can be destructive if it becomes blind unthinking fundamentalism, but it certainly doesn’t have to do that.

            For myself, I’ve rather retreated into a small indigenous community in the Cordillera, where I’m about as active in the community as it is reasonably possible for an outsider to be… even married into the tribe I will always be an outsider, which I accept. It is different here, in ways I like. I have no real illusions about being able to influence anything on a wide scale, but still… we do what we can. I’ll keep a space open for that beer 🙂

          • Mike Acuña says:

            Repost – @edgar lores
            @edgar Lores,
            My apologies, edgar, for my utter stupidity in leaving you out of my thanks and gratitude. Forgot to take my vitamin B again. You are DEFINITELY up there with Steve and Joe.

            You guys swing the clubs. I’m just happy to be the golf caddy.

            But after the smoke of revolution has cleared, we’re all going out for that drink! The best of the year and the year to come to you and your family.

          • Bert says:

            Mike, it would be a great honor for me joining you and the other guys here in your watering hole, but this talk of a revolution does not cater to my taste at all. We had a couple of it and what does it got us but spiraling downturn for the nation and we are no better from it every time it happened. A bloody one will be worse, it gives me the creep just thinking we have to fight each other for something that we can’t be sure of the outcome when there are better option that we can take instead of resorting to the unthinkable. President Noynoy Aquino has started the ball rolling by the reforms he has initiated and the people I believe are aware of it already by this time. The Filipino people is not dumb. We cannot forever be cynical of what’s happening or what could be happening in our political system in the future, losing hope, and then we start thinking of the worst scenario, or action. We will find somebody who will continue what Noynoy has started via the electoral process, if not in 2016, after, but we will try our very best to find somebody with a record of integrity and wholesome character who can honestly and sincerely vow to the people his good intentions in the 2016 election as did Pres. Noynoy in the 2010 election. That, people, is the better option. Just my two-cents.

            • Mike Acuña says:

              Don’t get me wrong, brother. I hate violence but I won’t shrink from it because I refuse to live in fear and so that I can function well enough in case someone needs help.

              I prefer the evolution you spoke of as that has always been my way of evoking change. By confronting fear in different forms and its varied sourcea, thereby forcing a change to happen within myself and others.

              Calm seas do not a seasoned sailor make and some problems can actually be good for us.

              The talk of revolution was mostly humor, I assure you, so don’t get creeped out on me. I’m as normal as buko pie. You take me too seriously and perhaps you take things too seriously sometimes. It’s possible we will need to have that cold one much sooner than we thought. 🙂

              I told you I’m an optimist. Hope and faith are my two first names. We will find someone with the integrity and and character who will steward this country we all love love into a positive and constructive future.

              Your two cents, Steve, could just turn out to be worth more than its weight in gold. Let’s relax for now and enjoy the holidays. Next year let’s feel our way out on how to find that leader we need.

              • Steve says:

                I don’t think revolution needs to be dominated by violence. Like you, I much prefer evolution: violent revolution rewards the most doctrinaire and ruthless revolutionaries, and then after the revolution you have to deal with them, which can end up requiring another revolution. I very much hope the Philippine governing elite realizes that evolution is both possible and superior. I do think that some will hold out to the last, but ideally they would be dealt with through the law: if existing laws were enforced equally, almost every political dynasty in the Philippines would be out of power within a generation.

                The holiday is crazy up here; Sagada is awash in a tourist tsunami, the town packed with new vans and SUVs. Signs of progress? Maybe, but complicated for a little town to deal with. We’ll manage, I guess.

              • edgar lores says:

                What existing laws would those be?

              • Steve says:

                Existing laws would be those against corruption, election manipulation, tax evasion, illegal possession of firearms, murder… I doubt there’s a political dynasty in the country without numerous members who could be found guilty of something under existing law.

              • edgar lores says:

                And what would we charge Nancy Binay with? Pia Cayetano? Sonny Angara? J.V. Ejercito?

      • Mike Acuña says:

        @edgar Lores,
        Sorry edgar, for my utter stupidity in leaving you out of my thanks and gratitude. You are definitely up there with Steve and Joe. You guys swing the clubs. i’m happy to be the golf caddy. But after the smoke of revolution has cleared, we’re all going out for that drink!

  30. edgar lores says:


    1. There is confusion in the opposing prepossessions on awareness.
    1.1. Mike’s thesis is that awareness empowers.
    1.2. Steve’s antithesis is that awareness, while good to have, does not necessarily lead to action.

    2. I have been mulling over the conflicting claims and was trying to construct a model. As usual, using the tripartite template, I came up with three levels:

    o Unaware level (or ignorance)
    o Aware Level (conscious but not leading to action)
    o Awakened Level (conscious and with action)

    3. I was dissatisfied with the model because there are many degrees of variance between each level, so I googled “levels of consciousness.” As we know, Google answers. In fact, there were many answers but I found one that can be used to place the conflicting claims in proper context. This is the Christy Whitman model and it consists of five levels:

    o Ignorance: “You are unconscious that you are engaged in the disempowering behavior.”
    o Post-Behavior Awareness: “You become conscious of the disempowering behavior, but only after the fact.”
    o Present Awareness: “You are conscious that you are engaged in the disempowering behavior while you are doing it.”
    o Choice: You become conscious that you are about to engage in a disempowering behavior and in that moment you have the ability to do something different.”
    o Empowerment: “You have transformed the disempowering behavior by replacing it with a more empowering behavior.”


    4. Before I proceed, let me posit a first premise: the quality of our behavior is in direct proportion to the amount of consciousness (or awareness) we possess. That is, the more we are aware, the better people we are and the better people we become. (Caveat: I am talking about normal people and not sociopaths.)

    4.1. A corollary of this premise is that increased consciousness spurs us into action simply by an additional quantum of consciousness.

    5. Without much analysis, we can see that the model, through all its five levels, explains Mike’s thesis of empowerment through awareness.

    5.1. Steve’s antithesis seems to fall into the first four levels, but more strictly into the first two levels. One does not act because one is either (a) ignorant or (b) passive (omission or commission).

    5.1.1. Steve’s antithesis disregards the 4.1 corollary.

    5.2. The third and fourth levels are interchangeable in certain situations. For example, if we take a corrupt senator, his “choice” to steal precedes his “present awareness” of stealing.

    6. I find the Whitman model limited in that its apex is “empowerment” and not “enlightenment”.

    6.1. In a certain sense, I find the term connotative of superiority, abuse of power, selfishness, and non-consideration of others. The term arises from victim psychology.

    6.2. There are other interesting models of consciousness but that is for another time and place.

    • edgar lores says:


      4.2. The additional quantum can be fear (as is Steve’s wont) or — not love — but simply a greater realization of how things should be for a better world.

    • Steve says:

      I think this is largely valid, but perhaps overlooks some factors. I am not convinced that the transition from passivity to action is influenced solely by awareness.

      For example… when the ’86 EDSA revolt happened, did people suddenly become more aware, or di they simply perceive an opportunity to take advantage of a regime that was vulnerable. I would suspect the latter. In short, while heightened awareness may lead to action, action can also be provoked by factors not directly related to awareness.

      I suspect that many reasonably aware people in the Philippines would be more active if they saw a vehicle for action that they were comfortable associating with, either an effective and ideologically coherent political party or a civil society group.

      • edgar lores says:

        The “opportunity to take advantage of a regime that was vulnerable” is increased awareness.

      • sonny says:

        “… The additional quantum can be fear (as is Steve’s wont) or — not love — but simply a greater realization of how things should be for a better world.”


        I like the term “quantum” because it connotes either a step or a leap to another dimension or parameter. Dilemmas are always overcome by an included third and eventually a complete enumeration. (cf. the use of Cartesian coordinates from points to lines to surfaces and on to time & spaces). Is this the equivalence to Edgar’s enlightenment and Steve’s uber-awareness?

      • Mike Acuña says:

        Steve, I want to refer to the ’86 EDSA revolt, I don’t think it just broke out from nothing. It had been festering under the surface for what, help me out, 10, 15 years? Certain major events broke the skin that doused gasoline on a fire that had been building up.

        The shock of the assassination of Ninoy, The persistent public challenges to Marcos by Ninoy’s widow, Cory. The walkout by computer technicians during the height of the counting of ballots for the snap elections, complaining of massive fraud in favor of the government. The attempted coup by Enrile and later, his last stand with Fidel Ramos and the RAM boys at camp aguiinaldo. The callout of the citizenry by Butz Aquino, Jaime Cardinal Sin. The fire underneath our national skin exploded.

        I’m fairly certain the majority of ordinary people at EDSA were unaware how vulnerable the Marcos government was at the time. The govt always played their cards too close to their chest. They controlled media.

        When the people barricaded camp aguinaldo as human shields, I believe they weren’t simply protecting the men inside; they were sending a message to the dictatorship, “This is the end of the line. You’re going to move forward over our dead bodies”. The men inside Aguinaldo represented what we had secretly wanted to do, to break free of the dictatorship, but didn’t know how. Their action acted as a catalyst for an opportunity and there was no time to quibble when the right time was to act. That was it.

        We all knew the risk of dying was real, but for some inexplicable reason we also knew that somehow we would be alright, that they couldn’t, wouldn’t kill all of us. Or that was what we hoped, while throwing ourselves in harm’s way. The govt had taken everything. So we threw all we had left on the table. Our lives.

        Accumulated information fed by powerful emotional stimuli led to a spontaneous awakening. Empowerment, for me, is providing others enough information and stimuli in order to promote or enable self-actualization.

        So Steve, in my view is partially correct in his observation, “..while heightened awareness may lead to action, action can also be provoked by factors not directly related to awareness”.

        Note that the action referred to was extraordinary in the case of the 1986 EDSA revolt, as separate factors combined with a definite degree of awareness, led to its actualization.

        The people already knew what they were fighting for even before Cardinal Sin gave us “permission” to revolt.

        In other, less traumatic cases, my experience has been that a decision or conclusion can be reached if sufficient information is provided in such a way as to allow the individual to reach that conclusion by himself, thereby making him aware of the options.

        When I try to “sell” someone an idea or product, if I provide him with the instant conclusion that this product is the best buy, he could doubt and debate me.

        Whereas, if i provide him with all the necessary information for him to reach the conclusion on his own, that this is indeed the best buy, it becomes his reality. The next thing he realizes is that he now has an available option that didn’t exist before becoming aware of that information I gave him.

        Different facets, still, of the whole, I think.

        • Steve says:

          I agree that EDSA did not spring out of nowhere… After the snap election and the counting mess it was clear to almost everyone that something was about to happen. One of the first things I remember one of the first things I thought when my buddy (to this day) Nono came running into the house shouting “turn on the radio” was “this is it… whatever is going to happen is happening, right now”. I think that same thought hit a lot of people. I think it was also clear that the Marcos grip was weaker than it had been for many many years.

          I’d also point out that in the early stages on EDSA the numbers really weren’t that huge. It was only after it became clear that the coercive forces of the state were reluctant and not fully participating that the numbers really shot up. Marcos and his minions miscalculated badly there. I remember when the first Marines came through the hole in the wall and tried to cross Ortigas, and found civilians in front of them. I was looking these guys in the eye, and it was very clear that they were not at all happy or comfortable with the situation. If they had put a few dozen PSG thugs with teargas and truncheons in front, they would have walked right through us. Of course I don’t know how the Marines would have reacted to that. I think the perception that Marcos was weak and ripe for a fall, his military forces reluctant, his key retainers turning on him, was a key element in bringing people out.

          I agree also that nobody needed Cardinal Sin’s permission. I was in that crowd the first night, and those people weren’t there because Sin told them to go. The participation of Radio Veritas was key, but aside from that I think the allegedly central role of the church is largely an artifact created after the fact by effective propaganda… some accounts made it sound like Cardinal Sin had vanquished Marcos in hand to hand combat.

          When talking of “awareness” I was thinking more of the internal… the individual’s reflection on history and place in society and efforts to empower him/her self and those immediately around. This is not without importance, but it is not sufficient: the step into broader action is critical. The raising of consciousness can even become an excuse, just as activity on social media can be. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that just by liking or sharing, or just by working in our own immediate sphere, we’ve done enough.

          • Steve says:

            A PS, on EDSA… I was lucky enough to watch, if not participate in, what to me was the pivot moment of the whole event. A large tracked armored vehicle knocked down a wall and started to move across Ortigas Ave to the gate of Corinthian Gardens. There were no more than a few dozen people on the spot. A few of them, young guys, maybe 3-4 of them, ran in front of the vehicle and stood there. The driver dropped the clutch and made a big roar with the engine, but the guys didn’t move. The driver stopped. After he stopped, a bunch more people jumped in and a human barricade formed… after he stopped.

            What strikes me about that moment is that to this day, with all of those who claim to be “heroes of EDSA”, not one person remembers the names of those guys who stood in front, or of the driver who refused to run over them. I wonder about the driver… what were his orders? What was he thinking when he made the decision to stop? It’s a huge question, because if he had made the other choice, everything might have gone very differently.

            After the vehicle stopped, Marines on foot came through, and there was a lot of fear… we had no idea what they would do. I was almost face to face with one, a kid in his early 20s, and he looked a bit uncertain and not entirely friendly at having a 6 foot white guy in front of him. A well dressed middle aged man stepped in front of me, faced him, and said “hijo, hindi kami kalaban”. The Marine just melted, all the fight went out of him. A few feet away a cigarette vendor ran up to a Marine and said “boss, yosi muna”. There were probably a few dozen of these face to face interactions going on at the same time, and the Marines stopped. Once that news got out, once it hit the radio that civilians had barricaded tanks and troops, there was a plan, people knew what they would do and had at least an idea that the troops wouldn’t kill them… but I think too few remember, or ever knew, how it actually happened.

            • Bert says:

              Maybe this will help. The last TV footage of Marcos in Malacanang before the TV broadcast was finally cut off by the opposition was showing General Fabian Ver rearing for a fight, urging Marcos to give the order to start hostilities, but Marcos in a vehement tone replied to Ver, “No, no, don’t shoot at my people!”. I cannot recall the exact words but I was watching at the time and it’s something to that effect. Marcos never intend to start a revolution or a civil war, I think, in spite of the opposition’s portrayal of him as a ruthless man.

            • edgar lores says:

              Ah, more encounters and interactions in consciousness.

              I am touched by that vignette of that cigarette vendor… He must have American Indian blood… to offer a peace pipe.

              Where does such situational instinct, such situational wisdom come from?

          • Mike Acuña says:

            True, the initial numbers on EDSA weren’t as massive as the later photos depicted. The marines themselves were internally conflicted for many reasons, all of which added to the buildup on many levels for a revolt. Everything colluded and came to a critical point.

            True how exaggerated the stories were about Cardinal Sin although his influence on the pious masses helped those who may still had been indecisive into coming out. His public declarations against the government prior to the revolt added logs to the fires of the revolution.

            I’m curious in general about, but not against, your conclusion on awareness, you said, “When talking of “awareness” I was thinking more of the internal… the individual’s reflection on history and place in society and efforts to empower him/her self and those immediately around. This is not without importance, but it is not sufficient: the step into broader action is critical”.

            In my experience, filling my mind with the information I needed to raise my level of awareness, began with the desire to learn more about myself and people. When that brought me to realize I am Filipino, and that I didn’t really know myself, I felt a gnawing vacuum within me that drove me to know more. The resulting accumulation of collective and personal history led me to a series of epiphanies, of sorts.

            I began to sense more of my surroundings and of the people within it; my curiosity for more things grew. My performance at business college and at work rose to the point where, from time to time, I amazed my peers, teachers and employers.

            I would get perfect scores in german essay writing. My scores in algebra were average but impressive to them because the medium was in german. I accomplished tasks at work that my employer didn’t think could be done in less than an hour. I was naturally going to the next level of awareness as I reached for the next.

            The next thing I realized was that I had to return home. I sensed my journey would turn full circle when I waded back into my own cultural DNA pool. That was 1980 and I never regretted that decision.

            The 6-year isolation abroad was pivotal in my development but I amd convinced that I’m in the best place in the world to be. The Philippines, for me, is perfectly imperfect. Just like me. Just like all of us. It seems to mirror the imperfections within me that I need to continually work on and the next thing I realize is that I need to act continously.

            I totally agree that activity on social media is a form of consciousness-raising but with the wrong theme which can even dull people into a kind of limbo.

            We’re incessantly bombarded by influences that can subliminally condition us into equating our values with the accumulation of material wealth. We need to build up the inner foundation they need to become stronger individuals, although there may be a few exceptions whose awareness is mature enough to perceive this and choose a different, more enlightened path. I particularize the youth (from 18 to under 40’s).

            My youth was spent isolated from this country and from Filipinos. I encountered only one Filipino in my 6 years in Zurich, Switzerland, mostly because of my hectic schedule. The youth today is born “connected” to facebook, twitter and social media in general. The infrastructure surrounding was already there when they became aware and they have little desire for history or don’t care to know more about it. They’re being pulled into different directions by the demands of society to possess the symbols of success, youth, sex, money, car, clothes, travel, approval and acceptance (likes), etc. The values in general of our youthful society may be gleaned from the suicide rate.

            The suicide, and attempted suicide rate, among the youth has been climbing and for seemingly shallow reasons. The other manifestations of this “progress’ is in the increased crime rate. The sexual revolution in the country is rampant. All of this reminds me of Switzerland, and for some of us, America, in the 70’s.

            I may be wrong but I sense that this is all interconnected.

            There is a vacuum in the youth that needs to be filled with the right stuff. That can be a concern when you consider that 53% of today’s Philippine population is at 25 years old and below.

            We all need to act, each in his own way, to steer this country in a positive direction. None of our individual efforts will be wasted.

            • Mike Acuña says:

              “There once was a boy walking along the beach. There he he saw that the high tide had stranded dozens of starfish on the shore. He knew they would die if they didn’t make it back into the water. So he walked along the beach throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

              A man had been watching the boy’s activity from a short distance. “You can’t save them all, there are too many. It won’t matter”, he called out.

              The boy looked at him for a moment, tossed a starfish back into the sea, “It matters to that one,”.

              “And that one..and this one..”. throwing more starfish back, one by one.

            • Steve says:

              Perhaps the lesson is that different people may have very different routes to the threshold of action. For one it may be the culmination of an extended process of personal growth and introspection. For another it may simply be like a bucket overflowing… sobra na, tama na, time to act. To go back to EDSA, there were likely as many routes to action as there were participants.

              I’m not sure I agree on the youth of today. I have kids of 24 and 18, both in the UP system. I’m around their friends a fair bit, and I see their discourse online and elsewhere. Sure, they are more clued in to technology than my generation was, but I don’t think they are inherently all that different. If they have a problem to face, it’s the world and the society that we are leaving them, and they seem reasonably well prepared for it. Maybe they have a little more sex, or maybe they just don’t try so hard to hide it, but as long as they know how to prevent disease or unwanted pregnancy, I have no real issues with that. I would rather see my kids having premarital sex than rushing into marriage.

            • edgar lores says:


              About the sex revolution. I am aware that the abortion rate is very high, something like 600,000 in 2011, and that the rate of full-term births for teenage mothers is 1/3 of that. Hopefully, the RH Law should lower both rates.

              But there seems to be another phenomenon about the revolution, and that is the abandonment of mothers and children. Mothers born from, say, 1970 onwards. I see anecdotal evidence of this on dating sites, and I don’t know if this is the tip of an iceberg. I mean, how many rural mothers have access to computers or know how to operate one?

              Would you have up-to-date statistics on this?

              This tells me that the youth — and Filipino men in particular — are behaving irresponsibly. It must be that fathers are abandoning their families, partly because of the number of mouths to feed, but also because younger flesh is available. I would not be surprised if some of the fathers are OFWs.

              I shudder at the quality of life these people have to suffer, and the consequent impact on society must be great in terms of the cheapness of life, the economic burden on the government and charitable institutions, and rising criminality.

              • Joe America says:

                I look forward to Mike’s observations as well. There is no doubt that many, many, many . . . . that’s a LOT . . . of families here are not of the American suburban model ala Ozzie and Harriet. Kids raised by Lola or big sister, farmed off to an uncle, put to work, seldom given home-tutoring on school work, being left alone to play in the streets with dangerous toys (bamboo guns that shoot projectiles). I’d imagine psychologists would themselves become conflicted trying to unwind the facets of character developed in such circumstances. Obligated to family but fundamentally fending for oneself – a perfect personality basis for OFW work. Not grounded in academic studies or even reading. Tapped into electronics by texting. Cutting corners or school or cheating to get ahead . . . or get along, as there is no “ahead” to get to.

                That’s much of the DE class, I think. But there is a middle class evolving that has more traditional values. I think . . . don’t know . . .

    • Mike Acuña says:

      Thanks, edgar, for compelling & Informative read. I’m still digesting and irresistibly comparing it with my own experiences.

      I want to clarify your finding (6.1) the term connotative of superiority, abuse of power, selfishness, and non-consideration of others.

      Which term do you refer to, awareness or empowerment? I want to be correct in my understanding.

      Thanks again, as I find it quite educational as a whole.

      • edgar lores says:


        1. Before I expand 6.1 let me deal with 4.1 first.

        1.1. Let me restate it: “A corollary of this premise is that increased consciousness spurs us into action simply by an additional quantum of consciousness.”

        1.2. Steve remarked, “I am not convinced that the transition from passivity to action is influenced solely by awareness… Action can also be provoked by other factors not directly related to awareness,” and you agreed with his observation.
        1.2.1. I pointed out that Steve’s particular example was an additional quantum of consciousness.

        1.3. The immediate cause, the trigger, of Marcos’ downfall was EDSA. As you note, EDSA was a series of mini-triggers. I maintain that each of these triggers, or factors, can be interpreted to be a step or leap (as Sonny says) of consciousness. Consider:

        1.3.1. The “shock of the assassination of Ninoy” caused a quantum leap in the consciousness of Filipinos as to how bad the Marcos regime was. For many people, this was an epiphany. It starkly revealed the dark side of the seemingly ordered New Society, which as you note many people were innocent of as the media was tightly controlled. And the rise in consciousness could probably be expressed as, “If this murder can happen in broad daylight right at the tarmac and no mastermind can be found, how much more murder, fraud, and shenanigans don’t we know about? There is no doubt evil has beset the land.”

        1.3.2. I might point out another significance of the assassination: it was planned by people of low consciousness but resulted in heightened consciousness for others. There are two important ramifications.

        Firstly, that a “quantum of consciousness” can be either positive or negative.

        And secondly, that low-consciousness events (LCE) can lead to high-consciousness events (HCE); furthermore, that HCEs can lead to greater-consciousness events (GCE). This is perhaps another corollary. (In your case, the low-consciousness of call center operators was raised by the high consciousness of the trainor, and this in turn led to the great consciousness of the client company granting management a bonus, which hopefully filtered all the way down, rewarding the trainor and the rise in consciousness of the operators.)

        1.3.3. “We knew the risk of dying was real, but… we also knew that they couldn’t kill of us.” Another great epiphany, which may be characterized as a variation of the martyrdom syndrome: “What is the use of life if we have to live this way… like slaves without freedom? Better to give up this life for a worthy cause.”

        1.3.4. The walkout of computer technicians is an example of the individual and collective integrity of heightened consciousness. Because of the nature of their work, people in IT (ahem!) have a higher degree of integrity than the average professional. Certainly, higher than lawyers! The basis of this integrity is the binary nature of digital work: a bit (of a byte) can either be true (1) or false (0). Computers cannot lie; they will execute programs reliably and faithfully to the nth degree. This is not to say that code or programs are 100% reliable. I can easily imagine one programmer sparking the walkout by saying, “This fraud is not acceptable. I will not be part of it.”

        1.3.5. Let us skip Camp Aguinaldo, Cardinal Sin and jump to Marcos’ last moments in Malacanang. Marcos asks Senator Laxalt, “Senator, what do you think I should do?” And Laxalt answers, “You should cut and cut cleanly. The time has come.” Laxalt’s answer was the conclusion of many hours of consultation among highly conscious individuals in Washington. Marcos’ capitulation was definitely a quantum change in his consciousness.

        1.3.6. I will not belabor the point further. My 4.1 corollary was a general observation and, as such, can be rendered false by just one exception. What I have simply demonstrated is that the “other factors” can be seen as quanta of consciousness. Admittedly, this is extreme reductionism on my part, and I can easily provide an example of exceptions: non-human factors such as natural phenomena — earthquakes, storms and such like – can spur us into action. Our disaster preparation has gone a long way because of Yolanda. One may argue in a circular fashion that Yolanda raised our awareness and it is that awareness, and not Yolanda herself, that increased our preparation. But this is sophism, and I would not be prepared to confront and argue with the likes of her… in my unpreparedness.

        2. Going now to 4.1, the term I am referring to is “empowerment”.

        2.1. In the legal sense, empowerment is to grant someone official authority to perform certain acts. In the non-legal sense, it is to enable someone to perform something he could not do for himself before.

        2.2. There is an important nuance in the distinction between the legal and non-legal definitions: in the legal sense, the ability to perform is NOT inherent in the individual, whereas in the non-legal sense, it is. The potential is there, it is just not realized. And the realization can come about in two ways: by an external agent or by the individual himself.

        2.3. By definition, empowerment implies powerlessness. In the non-legal sense of the term, this is not true or should not be true. This is why I said it is victim psychology, victim language. In the context of a collective society, empowerment as a social movement is necessary because a segment of the population is treated unfairly by other segments, and is not accorded what belongs to them by “natural” right. To me the term is associated with the women’s right movement of the 70’s, which is best epitomized by Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.”

        2.4. In the context of individuals, I am disturbed by the easy presumption that empowerment requires an external agent. This presumption runs right through our ideational constructs and has psychologically crippled us. It undermines the virtue of self-reliance. You can see this in the paradigms of salvation sold by the major religions. You can see this in the instruction that we must listen to the external voices of authority whether pope, president, priest or pedagogue. You see this in our belief and hope that only a good president can lead us out the mess we find ourselves in.

        The ramifications of the presumption are vast. One ramification is that to empower some segment we must disempower other segments. And usually the method of disempower-ment is through fear. Fear, of course, is the great motivator, and it is effective. In terms of order and efficiency, a rule by fear (Marcos/Putin) is more effective than a rule by love (Aquino/Obama). But fear engenders fear and, therefore, I would rather that increased awareness be the transforming agent for change.

        2.5. The consciousness of our conditioning and the presumptions that underlie our beliefs and actions must be constantly examined and re-examined. Properly used, heightened consciousness is the means by which the impossible becomes possible, the possible becomes probable, and the probable becomes reality.

        • sonny says:

          an ASIDE @ Edgar

          This is both scary and exhilarating at the same time! The “this” is the activity of reading the reading – is like the activity of unlocking/unfolding the “me” and the “other.” 🙂

          Just for example, me. I participate, when drawn, in the individual interlocutions (single threads) either passively (read/R) or actively (write/W). In doing so, now I realize how involved/complex this dynamic is. I do R/W with my interests (theology, philosophy, chemistry & physics, IT, literature, etc.). Right now, I R/W predominantly with the physical sciences (states of chemical & nuclear energy and releases thereof) and IT (gather, organize, manipulate digital data into functional information), as I read your psycho-political analyses. Many times I end up only doing the R part. 🙂 😦 For shoot or not shoot decision of EDSA, I like to think of the synaptic analog.

          • edgar lores says:


            Scary? Exhilirating? You are not alone.

            I positively terrify myself sometimes. No kidding. On several occasions I have come across something I have written before, something I do not immediately recognize, and I have been — well, not exactly overwhelmed — but definitely whelmed by what I read. And I ask, did I really say that? Where did it come from?

            It is not surprising that you have swung away from certain areas and into other areas as a result of our wide-ranging discussions. We tread where angels fear to tread. And also about just doing the R part. There is really a lot to digest… if you are sincere and open.

            I have to go to Google to comprehend or re-verify some of your appropriate allusions, like Cartesian coordinates yesterday and synaptic analog today. They are interesting.

            Mike mentioned about verifying the observations made here through the prism of his experience. I think this is the proper way to do it, always mindful of the fact that the interpretation of our previous experiences may require a step or leap in consciousness to be seen in a new light.

            May we have many more epiphanies.

  31. Micha says:

    Thank you Steve, Mike, Edgar, Sonny, Joseph, and others for very interesting thoughts and discussions. I was fascinated by the recent exchanges between Steve and Mike – a set of good caring citizens who may have diverging views on some issues but good caring citizens nonetheless. Kudos to JoeAm for attracting this bred to his blog.

    Happy New Year everyone.

    • edgar lores says:

      Thank you, Micha, and thank you everyone — the commenters, the readers, the lurkers, the visitors, the peekers, the drop-ins, the drop-outs, the wayfarers, the corny balls… and last but not least, the host.

    • Joe America says:

      Happy New Year, Micha. Add your name to the list, and I would extend the thanks to all who make up our Society, those who are inspired to drop off a comment and add their two pesos worth, or more . . .

      Here’s to an enriching 2015, hearts and minds . . .

    • sonny says:


      The eponymous fable mentions only three princes of Serendip. The truth is that there is a whole Society of them, all princes on the make. Bakas na rin ako kay Micha at Edgar sa kanilang pagbati. (may I be allowed to use Micha’s and Edgar’s well-wishes). Thank you, Joe and a toast of Moscato to everyone and specially to our enchanted land and its people for whom we write!

    • Mike Acuña says:

      Glad to entertain, Micha. Your appreciation is appreciated.

      Nowadays, I’m afraid that being a good caring citizen may require judiciously unleashing your charming inner ogre to inflict tough love now and then, to educate and inspire, in multiple situations, whether it’s getting the service you pay for, or helping to reform someone with rude manners.

      You may yet change your assessment of me should we happen to dine in the same restaurant with very bad service.

      Just ask my wife and children. 😀

      Happy Holidays everyone, ho, ho, ho and a Happy New Year!

  32. letlet says:

    Happy New Year to you, Joe, your wife and son as well as to all the commenters, lurkers, drop ins, etc. May you all have more God’s blessings, love and affection year in and year out. May you all have good health, good inspirational life and abundant happiness throughout 2015 and thereafter.

  33. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Korina is big disconnect to the people. She’ll bring Mar down. Korina will not eat with her hands. She’ll only eat with fork and knife. Mar will have no problem eating with his hands. Korina will not carry unbathed babies in her arms, Mar will have no problem. Mar does not have problem riding a motorcycle in an unpaved muddy road but Korina has to ride in an air-conditioned perfumemated european SUV nibbling Marie Antoinettes’ cake. Korina must have a phalanx of Presidential Security Guards not to protect her but to keep away the smelly Filipinos from her.

    Korina did not go to Tacloban to cover the news, yet, challenged CNN Anderson Cooper. THAT MEANS, THAT SHE GOT SHORT FUSE WHEN IT COMES TO CRITICISM!!! Bad! Really Really Bad!

    The Philippine Press knows this because I know. The Philippine Press will promote Mar because the Philippine Press knows there will be personal explosions and fireworks emanating from Malacanang. The source of TNTs will be Korina. Fireworks and explosions sells newspapers. The newspaper owners will have the last laugh. They do not care. They have their pockets stuffed with money and the right hand with passport with approved U.S. Visa.

    • Mike Acuña says:

      Let me be the one to say for everyone that this comment is bvllsh*t, and even if this mariano renato pacifico exists, he’s reposting someone else’s work, which is total and complete horse manure, intended to sow confusion and manipulate our perceptiona, but tragically, he’s found himself in the in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Mariano, or whatever your name is, this universe we live and breathe in is made up of rules, and when you break those rules, you set yourself up for a payback.

      It doesn’t judge what the nature of what you projected, whether good or evil, it will simply return to you the exact nature of that which you intended.

      This is not a joke, this is as real as life and death.

      You will receive exactly what you planted. You and your associates.

      Good luck with that.

      And happy new year.

      As for everyone else, I decree good things to come and the blessing that will turn any bad that comes along into good, for each and everyone.

      Season’s greetings, and a prosperous New Year to all!

      • Joe America says:

        Mike, Mariano’s comments are welcomed at this site. He has been with us for years contributing his bent perspectives which challenge us to be civil in response, and often serve as the dash of cold water we sometimes need to shake us out of our complacency. You are not allowed to speak for any reader but yourself, as the only editor and moralist here is me. As such, I find your personal attack against a long-term member more objectionable than his remarks regarding Korina Sanchez.

        You have many choices. Not to read what Mariano writes. Not to visit the blog at all, a choice I hope you do not make. To read what he writes and reject it and respond to the issue civilly. Mariano writes with a literate flair and maybe you are taking him a tad too seriously. I’d suggest you search the site for an article about Mariano, as I can’t give you the link right now, having a really bad internet connection, as that article explains my take on him as a contributor.

        There is absolutely no need to make the blog a personal battlefield of winners and losers, good people and bad, as I don’t permit that on my site.

  34. Mike Acuña says:

    Joe, we really need that edit button. 🙂

  35. Bert says:

    Best wishes to my friend Joe, and to everyone.

  36. Joe America says:

    @Bert, Letlet, and other Society members. I’m sorry for the delayed reply. The storm has knocked our electricity and internet out. I very much appreciate your good wishes for the new year and return them, with a toast, apple or kickapoo joy juice or your favorite beverage: Here’s to the new year, certain to be interesting, and to us as we make our way through it seeking the best for the Philippines and those we love, and finding such riches as may be granted us, for our efforts and good will. Happy New Year to all.


  37. Tom Umali says:

    I believe that Korina will do what she feels is the right thing to do as a wife. When they exchanged vows, the words “for better or for worse ” comes to mind. All other factors or considerations become secondary.

  38. Yuri says:

    For Mar and Filipino people please let Ms. Korina take a vacation now until a day after the election day. To save her from Critics and oppositions who are watching her every move and talk and or manufactured bad stories about her. Without her for awhile means no bad publicity against Mar.

    • Joe America says:

      Judging from her comment the other day, she intends to help campaign for Mar Roxas.

      • sitsiritsit says:

        joe, i don’t think they will be a fine couple. saw an instagram photo of mar with his mom and his dog on a sunday entitled “simple joys”. where was korina?
        the filipino people are divided when it comes to korina. tv network was in the philippines is one reason. she works with abs-cbn which is known as the kapamilya network and this network is up against another big network, gma network or the kapuso network. both networks have loyal fans and i can assure you that many if not almost all of kapuso fans will not like to see her as the next first lady.
        she also has to be careful when she says something. aside from the anderson cooper boo-boo, in one newscast she commented that a super typhoon that would hit the philippines should hit japan instead because it is more prepared in handling calamities. this is an irresponsible comment coming from supposedly an award-winning journalist (no international recognition yet but from a group of press people whose credibility is in question) to wish that another country suffers from a calamity instead of saying that filipinos should pray that the super typhoon weakens to spare the country from destruction.

        • Joe America says:

          I think you are reading a lot into a casual photo, and I think too many people read too much into what the press writes about Korina Sanchez. Korina is a public figure, successful, talented, and is as human as the next person when working ad lib. Stack the three commonly cited negatives (maid incident, Anderson Cooper, Japan) against a career of speaking well, and the balance sheet tilts overwhelmingly in her favor. You will find if you hang around the Society long enough, I stress that it is not advisable to generalize a person’s whole character on a one or two incidents, often taken out of context. If we were all judged that harshly, we’d all be stoned to death by now. Another theme is that everyone is entitled to a personality. They don’t have to go around being “us” all the time, or trying to satisfy our needs. I think you should lighten up a little. From all evidence, she is a kind and talented person. Why paint her otherwise?

        • Mike Acuña says:

          @sitsiritsit – In order to understand why Korina challenged Cooper, you have to look into the context of the situation. That Saturday morning, Anderson Cooper was the first to broadcast from ground zero in Tacloban (after having had initial difficulty with their satelite equipment) saying among other things that there was no government presence on the ground. This apparently irked Korina whose husband Mar spent the night in Tacloban the night before Haiyan hit. he was there along with Voltaire Gazmin, Dinky Soliman, several staff and a platoon of soldiers who camped by the airport.

          With telecoms knocked out completely, Korina had no way of knowing if her husband was alive, injured or dead, at the time Cooper made his comments.

          We all know how thin-skinned we Filipinos can be and Korina is no different. She couldn’t know then that Mar and his group were slowly picking their way through the wasteland that had once been a city but now buried under storm debris that blocked access roadways, with all land vehicles washed away or destroyed by the storm surge.

          Two C-130’s that had been scheduled actually landed at Tacloban that Saturday morning filled with 12,000 lbs (1 tonne) of assorted relief goods and emergency personnel. But how to transport it with impassable roads and no vehicles?

          As for that platoon of soldiers camped by the airport? All were carried out to sea including one officer who survived by hanging on to the foot of the San Juanico bridge.

          If you were Korina and your husband was at ground zero but had no means of knowing how he was, how would you feel? Specially after seeing the death & destruction? Fearful, Worried, anxious, stressed out. Along comes Anderson Cooper, comparing our disaster response with that of industrialized Japan (HOW could you make a comparison) and saying that there was “no government presence in Tacloban”. If you were her, how would that have made you feel? Anger, frustration, etc.

          she was quoted as saying: “Itong si Anderson Cooper, sabi wala daw government presence sa Tacloban. Mukhang hindi niya alam ang sinasabi niya. (This Anderson Cooper, he said there’s no government presence in Tacloban. It seems he doesn’t know what he is saying.)

          And technically, she was right. Cooper had not yet verified whether or not the government was indeed on site and what their condition was. Since then, many more people have come out criticizing CNN for their somewhat exaggerated or unfair reporting of Haiyan and other disasters. I also read somewhere that their ratings were not good prior to that coverage. What does this suggest? Responsible journalism requires verification prior to publication. But that kind of journalism doesn’t sell too well.

          Regarding that comment about a storm hitting Japan, let’s start with a rough Tagalog and English transcript of their discussion:

          “Korina Sanchez: Kaya pa natin idasal yan para lumihis. (We can still pray for the typhoon to change direction)

          Noli de Castro: Alam mo, sana’y hati na lang tayo. Kalahati sa Pilipinas, kalahati sa Japan. (You know, if we could only split that typhoon in half; half for the Philippines, half for Japan)

          Korina Sanchez: Puwede bang sa kanilang lahat? (Can they not take it all?)

          Noli de Castro: Huwag naman. (Let it not be so)

          Korina Sanchez: Sa kanila na lang lahat. Parang mas kaya nila. (Maybe they can have it all. They seem more capable (than we are) in handling it )

          Noli de Castro: Baka sabihin ng mga Hapon ay…(What would the Japanese people say…)”

          It seems to me that Noli de Castro started that dumb, inane thread and Korina got caught up in it. It’s an honest mistake. Nothing more, nothing less than what others might be prone to. Let him who is without flaw cast the first stone.

          • Joe America says:

            Thanks for the context, Mike. It gives the matter a very real dimension, something missing in news reports and commentary, far removed from that day.

            I wonder what Anderson Cooper would say about his own remark, knowing that the troops who were there were swept out to sea. What people seem to easily forget is that this was the most ferocious storm in the history of the planet. They think it should be tele-drama perfect, in resolution.

            • Mike Acuña says:

              Nothing sells news like controversy. Even Cooper’s rebuttal to Korina to “come to Tacloban”, with the dead and distressed in the background, was intended, at some subconscious level, to demonize her, make her look petty and villainous, adding to the viral drama.

              At the same time it was an impotent rebuke, as it soon became known that the Tacloban airport was completely flattened by Haiyan, making it impossible to fly in or out of there except on a military C-130.

              Anderson Cooper can yet learn a thing or two from Raissa Robles about the finer points of professional journalism. Verify first before publishing.

              It shocked me that people defended Anderson Cooper, playing deaf and dumb to his, take your pick, graceful insults or shallow imperceptiveness, in comparing that situation in Central Visayas to Japan’s response time after the tsunami that befell them. Korina, no match for his skill and experience, was buried under online haters’ hate.

              This is the Philippines, Mr. Cooper. We’re not Japan or the United States. We met Haiyan, head-on, one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land, rated category five with sustained winds of 235 kilometer per hour and gusts of up to 378 kilometres per hour.

              So do tell, sir, why was the US government, the most powerful nation on Earth, so severely criticized for taking three days AFTER Hurricane Katrina, to respond?

              Isn’t that a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

          • edgar lores says:

            Thanks for the perspective.

      • Lyn says:

        My friend, this is a PAID ONLINE PRESS RELEASE. The writer is stupid and in dire need of money.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks Lyn. The spam system catches hundreds of these, and I pick off a lot of them as I review comments. Unfortunately, the blog activity is so high that I occasionally miss one. It is just a pimple on what is otherwise a healthy dialogue, so don’t worry too much . . .

  39. Victoria Garchitorena says:

    Joe, good piece. I have shard it on my timeline with myown take. By the way, we already had a non-CAtholic president – Fidel Ramos.

  40. lyn says:

    A perfect example of a hopeless polician’s PAID ONLINE EDITORIAL!

    • Madlanglupa says:

      Ewan ko sa iyo. Sana sa iboboto mong kandidato di ka magrereklamo kung di rin papalpak kapag nahalal sa Palasyo at ibibigay sa iyo ang rosas at lobo.

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  1. […] a pretty long intro into what basically is my beef with Joe America: this not-so-recent post about how ABS-CBN Korina Sanchez “would be a wonderful first lady” because she is […]

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