When will the Philippines reach a Tipping Point?

tipping point 01


by PinoyInEurope

A lot of things have been happening in the Philippines recently. Even more, a lot of Filipinos in the country abroad, as well as foreigners interested in the country, have been adding to a groundswell of discussion on the Internet. What is interesting is that in spite of a lot of negativity and partisan opinions around, there are many voices that show genuine concern for the future of the country AND a broader understanding of the issues involved.

The Tipping Point

I personally believe that the Philippines may soon, that is in 10-20 years, reach a Tipping Point. Malcolm Gladwell defines it this way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point:

“the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” and says that

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do”

There are those who have lost confidence in the Philippines, including some who originally started out trying to make a difference. I actually belonged to this group, even if I kept quiet, unlike some who vented their sheer frustration in blogs and elsewhere.

WHAT might lead to the Tipping Point

But what I observe now are several dynamics that can cause change as soon as a critical mass is reached:

1) upper middle class Filipinos increasingly have the resources and connections to travel, work and study abroad, not only in the United States but elsewhere. I have met a few Filipino businessmen and managers who were doing business and/or working in Europe, for example, in the past few years. Also I have observed that there are more students doing their masteral or doctoral thesis at European universities now. Also there are more upper middle class Filipinos who actually go on vacation to Europe now. Used to be that most Filipinos in Europe were overseas foreign workers – nurses, seamen, maids, Embassy drivers. Same thing for other Asian countries, there are a lot of highly educated Filipinos going there. These people get exposure and a feel for how things can work in other countries.

tipping point 03

2) Middle class Filipinos are increasingly working in the growing Business Process Outsourcing industries. Not only call centers, a lot of companies set up programming or accounting centers in the Philippines. These people not only get to improve their English, they also get a better feel for the inner workings of global business. Used to be that good English meant you were part of the upper class, and knowledge of the global business world was something that the upper and upper-middle class kept to themselves to remain as intermediaries and profit alone from global business connections. Not anymore today.

3) Lower middle class Filipinos – the really poor do not usually manage to leave – are those who become overseas foreign workers. Used to be that they were looked down upon by those educated in “better” schools because in the Philippines, getting into certain schools depended on having enough money. Know of lower middle class children who were not able to pass entrance exams for certain schools because they lacked the money to buy books – but they were not stupid, one guy I know is now an engineer for an international company.

But I see two things making a difference here – first of all, overseas foreign workers often manage to send their children to school and give THEM more possibilities. Of course there are the “palamunin”, the parasitical families that just spend the hard earned money of their relatives working abroad in the mall. But these are not the only ones.

Second, there is the Internet. True, much of the discussion there is what is called “bakya”. Via the Internet, not only forums but Facebook and more, these “bakya” are in the process of getting themselves better informed. True, a lot get caught in cheering for Pacquiao and reading about Filipino showbiz. But some are starting to think, those who really think just read and do not write on the Internet, I have talked to some. They understand a lot. The old feudal system in the Philippines tried to keep people ignorant. This does not work anymore.

WHY the Tipping Point may come

I have just outlined the three classes of Filipinos that are increasingly gaining experience in different ways. Why do I see them possibly leading to a tipping point?

A) These people either do not leave the Philippines or leave in order to come back. Those that leave in order to stay in other countries usually either get completely integrated into the host society, especially if they go to America, Canada or Australia, or are frustrated at not being truly integrated and compensate by looking down on Filipinos with less qualified jobs or those back home. Those who leave to come back are stakeholders in the future of the Philippines, they want to come back to a country were they and their family can live. Also, it is not that easy anymore to migrate permanently to another country since the economic crisis. That is in my opinion a major factor, a game-changer.

B) These people gradually lose their awe regarding Western things. The English colonialists once said that “our superiority is merely a matter of bluff”. Spanish and American colonialists did it similarly, even though especially the Americans did try to educate their subjects. But what added to the problem was that the Filipino upper class acted as a mediator between the colonial masters and regular folks.

They kept a lot of knowledge to themselves, imitated the rituals of the colonial masters – Catholicism, democracy, English language mastery – and controlled the institutions the masters put in place. When the colonial masters left, the Filipino elite became the new masters. Members of the elite who did not manage to get a piece of the action often became “nationalists” or “leftists”, blaming the former colonial masters for everything, but I know of enough women who were once “leftists” now married to Americans or Europeans.

In the end these people are no longer that easily manipulated by the post-colonial masters of the Philippines. They may not be able to change the structures when they come back, but they see what is wrong with the picture. They are no longer ignorant.

C) These people learn not only new skills. They learn a new way of seeing the world. Other ways of doing things. They apply these skills when they are back in the Philippines. The upper middle class is able to use these skills best. But also the middle class and lower middle class are able to send their kids to better schools, start businesses. Even if in the beginning, it is just about survival or keeping what one has gained.

tipping point  02

How it Might Come

It might come as soon as a critical mass of people from upper middle class, middle class and lower middle class have gone through the learning curve that I have as a hypothesis.

Lots of them will be in the Philippines or will have come back and will be very frustrated with the stuff they have to deal with. They will see how many things are not going well in the Philippines, but they will remember how they saw it work, somewhere else. They will run against walls, even their relatives will not really want to understand what they are talking about. Those in power may want to hear it even less. So many of them will just silently work on securing the future that they have started building – in small steps.

But when these silent people notice, through small but encouraging events, that there are after all some people who think like them, they could become bolder and bolder. If enough people who have worked truly hard to build a future for themselves and their kids, and who know what is possible in other countries, want to protect that future without having to migrate and thereby lose there home, get together – then things could change.

Leftists and “nationalists” – who are elite and wanted to use massive poverty for a revolution that would benefit only them – have called these people “greedy” for wanting to work abroad or for multinationals. In truth there is nothing wrong with wanting a good life. The feudal elite wanted to keep these people in ignorance and limit their opportunities and had the upper middle class as their allies – but from my old contacts that are almost all from this class, I sense that that alliance is crumbling. The upper middle class is too modern now.

Politicians that sense these changes are already up and coming. Alan Peter Cayetano I see as trying to represent the new upper middle class mentality. Duterte could be popular among many lower middle class folks because of his focus on economic growth and low crime – his brutal methods appear down to earth to that social group, he speaks their language and their fear of sliding back into poverty is large. But from within these groups themselves, those that were abroad or exposed to the world through the BPO industries, a new breed of politician may arise. This is why I think it will take 10-20 years until the tipping point comes.

IF it does not come

There is another, very negative scenario – a waking nightmare in contrast to my waking dream of the tipping point. A bit exaggerated but it COULD go in that direction:

Most of Luzon is under Chinese control, run from Hacienda Luisita by one of the corrupt Cojuangcos. The Ilocos region and the Cordillera area fighting for independence, helped by their traditional US allies. The Visayas are nominally indepent but under Japanese protection, helping their linguistically and culturally close Bicolano brothers by secretly supporting the Bicol Liberation Army that is hiding in the jungle. Mindanao is a Malaysian protectorate under Sharia law, fighting for control of Palawan with the Chinese. The Ilagas are making their last stand, supported by the Visayan federation. Brunei is secretly helping the Tausugs gain their independence against the Islamic Republic of Mindanao because the Malaysians are now their enemies, trying to take them over like Saddam did to Kuwait.

The Asian region is becoming more important every year because of its economic growth. There is a Russian saying that wherever there is a lot of gold, there is a lot of blood. Wealth is something that nations fight over, war is always about business opportunities.

If the Philippines does not manage to get its act together it will be partitioned, in my opinion. Getting its act together depends not only on institutions – which are like the operating systems of computers. It also depends on a culture that supports those institutions and is compatible with them – something like the BIOS of a computer.

Philippine culture could become strong to support the institutions and secure the future of the nation if the tipping point is reached. Strong enough not to even care that it gets some help from the USA, which IS a superpower and therefore not always pleasant to deal with, but the best choice considering other options. But no longer as the little brown brothers they once were during colonial times, but as real partners and allies that are taken seriously.


196 Responses to “When will the Philippines reach a Tipping Point?”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    Wow. First I want to congratulate everyone on this blog for it has grown significantly over the last couple of years. More contributors, commenters, fresh perspectives. Philosophers, pundits, analysts, apologists, colonialists,intel people, policy wonks, tinkerers, tailors, soldiers, spies.

    Now we’re seeing Alvin Toffler combined with Thomas Friedman and Francis Fukuyama. 🙂

    I’ll reserve my comments later after digesting the contents of this piece. @PinoyinEurope, can you expand on that negative scenario of a splintered country – what is the Bicol Liberation Army? Are Ilocanos and Ifugaos fighting for independence?

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      In my negative future vision, Luzon is under Chinese control. The Ilocanos and Igorots are fighting for independence with US backing – including a lot of funding from Hawaii Ilocanos. After all they are traditionally US-friendly, there being a saying that Filipino GI actually means “Genuine Ilocano” or “Genuine Igorot” depending on who you talk to – and they do not like the Chinese puppet government that is being run from Pampanga. Hell, they always were Anglophile, Diego Silang got British help against the Spaniards, his widow Gabriela who continued the fight also – which makes the group GABRIELA being so anti-American an irony. The BLA is supported by the Japanese-backed Visayan federation – fighters coming in from Samar among other things, and easily blending into Sorsogon because the dialects are similar. Bikols are known for being friendly but fierce, Simeon Ola http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sime%C3%B3n_Ola resisted the US until 1903, in the northern coastal areas there are stories of mayors telling the Spanish Guardia Civil not to enter their towns without asking permission first – sounds familiar? – and a lot of NPA before.

      Joe, thanks for the nice illustrations, they make my point even clearer. Especially the curve with the Sisyphus and snowball effects.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Some more fantasy to make a real story out of my scenario: it starts during the Mamasapano day celebrations in Cebu City on January 25, 2032. Speeches are held in Cebuano, Ilonggo, Waray, Bikol and Chabacano (to address the large Zamboangeño refugee community) by the leaders of the Visayan federation led by Prime Minister Sara Duterte-Carpio, followed by a Roman Catholic mass in the Cebu basilica. Zamboanga city is under curfew, guarded by the Bangsamoro Mujahedin, following intelligence reports that the remaining Chabacanos are going to attempt a siege. Combined Ilocano and Igorot forces are fighting with the Luzon army to take Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Metro Manila has finally become Waterworld, almost completely flooded and abandoned except for Bonifacio Global City, where Jinggoy Estrada, Supremong Bayan ng Bagong Katagalugan is hiding…

  2. i7sharp says:

    From what little I know, I would say the tipping point will come after PNoy gets to understand these three simple verses:
    1. Matthew 11:28 – The best thing PNoy can do right now, IMO.
    2. John 5:39
    3. Acts 17:11

    He can find them here:


    • Joe America says:

      King James Bible, 1611:

      Matthew 11:28: “Come vnto me all yee that labour, and are heauy laden, and I will giue you rest.”

      John 5:39: “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye thinke ye haue eternall life, and they are they which testifie of me.”

      Acts 17:11: “These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, in that they receiued the word with all readinesse of minde, and searched the Scriptures dayly, whether those things were so.”

      • i7sharp says:


        What do you think of PNoy heeding this invitation?

        “Come unto me,
        all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
        and I will give you rest.”


        • Joe America says:

          I believe he is a man of faith in a quiet and personal way. On the job, he is working diligently to improve care of the poor. It is a huge, huge problem and no one president will solve it. It will take 20 years of growth such as that going on now to build depth in the economy and improve the job picture. Hopefully families will also heed the Pope’s observation that large families are not really reasonable.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          In the version by Basil Valdez – beautiful.

          Joe, thanks for inviting me to publish. 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            I very much appreciate your quality contribution to our dialogue, and the positive outlook that is just so rare these days. Outside contributions give the discussion much needed richness and variety. So thanks back at you . . .

  3. MiguelLorenzo says:

    I think the tipping point will come sooner, if we elect the correct president who will continue what was started by PNoy. I can see the executive continuing their commitment and professionalism (though some departments today are still stuck in the old system e.g. DA – that the new secretary will have to work harder), congress no longer exists because of patronage and PDAF, SC and the courts are speeding up case resolutions. Then others things will follow easily, efficient transport system, health care, law and order, Filipinos obeying simple traffic rules. But if Binay wins then were bust!

    • Bert says:


      I totally agree with you. One problem remains though, and that is finding the correct president who will replace President Noynoy after his term ends in 2016. As of the moment I am inclined to support either the guy Senator Cayetano or Senator Grace Poe, Grace Poe because of her clean record and perceived win ability, and Cayetano for his clean record as well as for his passion to prosecute personalities accused of graft in Senate investigations.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      True maturity will be reached when who is President no longer matters much – and things continue to go their way and work inspite of the occasional bad president.

    • edgar lores says:

      Between the observation that (a) we need to find the correct president, and that of (b) the president not mattering so much, I am inclined to the second.

      We depend — and demand — too much on and of the president.

      Many hands make light work.

    • Bert says:

      My logic is simple. The president is the leader, the people the led. The leader must be the one leading the led. And not the other way. Unless it’s the United States, where some Americans think President Obama is leading from behind. If that is true, maybe it’s good for America. I’m not sure it could be as effective in the Philippines.

      From a simple mind.

  4. Bing Garcia says:

    When soon political dust and detritus vanish, standing tall, steady, strong and vibrant is democracy in the Philippines. Our nation’s on-going maturation is being well-earned. Ironically, we have the “losers” to thank for that. The country has been able to withstand the momentary irritation provided by them, they who are now riding into the sunset. Happy they are who ride towards the sunset of irrelevance, never fully knowing that they marched in lockstep with folly! Buddy Gomez

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Many thanks sonny – I also think the tipping point can be reached sooner, I actually wrote 10-20 years because it might help motivate Filipinos knowing their impatience. I see the SAF 44 as a major catalyst for change that can go in any direction – good, bad or ugly.

      One reason I wrote this projection into the future is that by virtue of our culture, we do not have a strong future orientation. In the words of Philip Zimbardo, who wrote the book “Time Paradox”, there are three kinds of time orientation and each culture and person is a mixture of these: past-orientation, present-orientation and future orientation. Filipinos are strongly present and a little bit past-oriented with hardly any future orientation.

      Actually my challenge to all who read the article is like the typical question managers ask when hiring job interviewees: where do you want to be in the next five years. The negative scenario is similar to the Ghost of Christmas Future visiting Scrooge and scaring him. Filipinos will figure out their own way for better or for worse, long-term exiles/migrants like us will hardly be able to influence much, even if our hearts remain with the old country – but I hope my article will inspire some potential leaders back home to think about the future. And I mean not only big leaders with big words but also small everyday leaders who are just as important to the future of a country. Too many of those discussing are caught up in the present orientation, thinking of quick solutions but these never really work for long.

  5. sonny says:

    PiE, your words must first be carved in stone – “itaga sa bato!”

    Whoever authored that graphic above must also be recognized – simple, to the point, clear and comprehensively true. The Sisyphean slope must be always at the back of our minds – failure cannot be an option; Sisyphus was being punished for being nosy about the affairs of the gods just to make trouble so they give a stone to roll up and down. The snowball slope is one of glee and elation, freedom and joy for the riders.

    I would like to propose that the tipping point is NOW!

    The sacrifice of the SAF44 should be recognized as a national defining MOMENT much like the national mourning of the Gettysburg Address where the dead of both sides served paused to reflect on the identity/union of the American people in the face of internal division. It gives meaning that 11 of SAF44 were from the Cordilleras as much as the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the field of honor. The Igorots were to a man the warriors of WW2 that gave substance to the words of the national anthem of the time – “… Ne’er shall invaders trample thy sacred shores!” The Ilocanos were the original backs on which many an American plantation and cannery were loaded on. Now the enemy is also us – our division, our pettiness and selfishness. There was a time, neighboring peoples came to our classrooms because our instructors could convey technology and business discipline in the lingua franca of communications. Now peoples from around the world would like to experience the haven of our hospitality and luxury of our beaches. They pay hard-earned money but do not yet suspect that they can have whatever they came for for literally a song in exchange for mutual respect and benefit.

    I have always wondered what is it we are abundant with. Before and now we are abundant in water be it the flowing kind or the blowing one and whatever ubiquitous coconut will stay and grow in one of our islands. But now we also have people. Lots of us! For many we have lots to feed and shelter and nurture. But boy, can we sing our hearts out! And talk anyone’s ear off if you let us! It is no accident that Nokia phones are manufactured by the Finns who are not known for their loquacity. Guess who uses their phones 24/7 – Filipinos.

    Given any day in the schoolyear, stand yourself in downtown Baguio. Within that square-kilometer where you are, you will be treated to the sights and sounds of life like nowhere else – young ones, mostly; on their way to and from school. This city hustles and bustles like no other. From an original city plan to fit 20,000 people it explodes to a home to 350,000. One can multiply this scenario in the other major population centers of the country. So yes, this is the paradigm of peace and education we must keep to survive and enjoy what nature has provided. If diaspora we need, diaspora we will accommodate.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      I remember an Igorot (to be exact a Kankanai) OFW and policeman who is dead now, son of a headhunter, a fatherly friend who gave me advice in many situations and taught me how to play the Igorot gongs, the gangsa in the right way – a great honor because I know that they do not usually let strangers play the gangsa. He told me about how he was confused about what the Anglican missionaries told him about God, and what his father had told him about Apo Kabunian. Then he told me that he realized that in the Bible, there is the binding of Isaac and the sacrifice of a ram, and that his forefathers also sacrificed animals – and that therefore the Christian God and Apo Kabunian were one and the same.

      If only more Filipinos could find his synthesis and understanding of what was brought to us from other countries and our original culture which is deep in all of us – Christians, Muslims and original natives. Trying hard to be Western has not worked, being modern Filipinos will.

      • sonny says:

        My exposure to Kiangan logic, simple and swift to action, was early albeit in humor. To know a mountain culture that goes from head-hunting to loyalty puts Talion justice into a better light. 🙂

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Memories of evenings with the Kankanai man, drinking gin with kilawen as pulutan, smoking and talking about all sorts of things, flood me at this moment.

          The unique cadence of his Kankanai-accented English resounds..

      • sonny says:

        Off-track, PiE. Is BIOS the equivalent of an IPL in the traditional mainframes? Thanks.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Just looked in Wikipedia – IPL = initial program load, yes it is similar. BIOS on PCs is the mediator between the hardware and the operating system, since the whole concept of PC operating systems was to be more or less generic for different hardware.

          • sonny says:

            I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in IT. Technology-wise I straddle the leap from legacy systems to the advent of client-server IT. I enjoy “spectating” the real-life implementation of gleam-in-the-eye insights of the old pioneers like Amdahl and Cray. Thanks again. 🙂

            My observation is that many Filipinos have taken middle to 2 steps up in the IT field and happily splashing away with bits and bytes in the international corporate world. Some are even into security systems. How good is that! And if corporations wise up, they should take up residence in the Philippines, corruption and hard times be damned!

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Actually as we write, I am working via remote session (RSA-key secured) for a major industrial corporation while recovering from winter flu. Not much more details because my family name and my person are still controversial in the Philippine context, which is why I like the anonymity. Not that I am scared, it is because my views would become mingled with who people think I am, considering the personal nature of Filipino thinking – it is better if my views are simply seen for what they are without seeing the person behind them.

              Had an offer to be delivery manager for a major BPO software firm in Makati some years ago, decided against it because it didn’t feel right – that I might get caught in the usual stuff that eats up many who come back. Let it suffice to say that my independent point of view and my way of pushing things forward – plus my sharp rhetorical skills combined with a terrifying youthful temper – got me into trouble back in the days and I had to leave. I feel that now the time has come to pay back the debt I owe to the old country, and I can now pay it back because I have fully arrived in Europe, with no interest in getting into power back home like some who throw stones at the Philippines from a safe place abroad – I simply want to pay something back from the personal learning curve that I have had.

              What has also contributed to my learning was meeting different people from different European countries, but also being forced by destiny to actually get to know people from social classes I would never have met back home given my original background.

              • sonny says:

                More power to you, PiE. Am more the laid-back type. I’m waiting for the Serendip entourage to detour my way. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                With this one article, I have given my opinion about the Philippines and what could happen. It is up to the guys back home to either get their act together or not – in the end it is up to them because they are the ones living there. See my answer to karl garcia, where I was inspired to write in Pilipino because it just came out of me. Those back home are like relatives, you want all the best for them and you care but sometimes you feel like hitting them for not learning from their mistakes, so at some point you stop sending money after they wasted what you sent in the mall again instead of sending your nephews to school. And you tell them – OK, mark my word and lets talk in 10-20 years, I am not cursing you, but it is up to you to do the right thing whatever it is, if you make it I will be proud of you.

        • edgar lores says:

          Gentlemen, let’s get our computer analogies straight.

          1. BIOS means Basic Input/Ouput System. It is a type of firmware.

          2. IPL is Initial Program Loading. It is a mainframe process that is analogous to booting-up (or rebooting) in personal computers. IPL/Boot-up is the initialization process of loading the operating system into a computer.

          3. BIOS is hardware and software combined. IPL is process.


          4. The analogy of BIOS to culture and operating system to the institutions and the interactions among institutions within culture is apt.

          4.1. Culture, like BIOS, is hard to change.

          4.1. Culture, like BIOS, provides us a way of processing inputs and outputs, a basic way for us to interpret the entities and events in our daily life, and a way of effecting our interaction with these entities and events.

          4.2. Operating systems, like our institutions, are easier to change than BIOS or, to put it more accurately, easier to upgrade.

          4.3. Operating systems, like our institutions, allow us to develop and implement “applications” in different fields of cultural endeavour.

          4.3.1. There are, for example, our basic institutions of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary which are akin to utilities of the operating system.

          4.4. “Applications” that run within an operating system represent an upper third layer of the analogy. They represent particular solutions to issues within the culture.

          4.3.2. Examples of these would be programs for economic development, such as Agrarian Reform, or for peace and order, such as the BBL.

          • sonny says:

            This is giving me a rush, manong Ed! This analogy of computer architecture and software to human layers of governance and enterprise is so transparent to those who make the leap of imagination. One can add to this the suite of Database organizations an enterprise chooses to employ depending on speed of access (relational), volume of data to be organized (network) or entity relationships (hierarchical) employed among data categories. Beyond this description lies the world of computer specialties I can only imagine that are actually being used by technical teams the world over. These are just the commercially bound computing systems. There are also the other worlds of computers dedicated to computing serving the sciences, satellites, weather and yes, warfare. So please let us have peace among ourselves so as not to set the dogs of technology to our demise and rather educate ourselves at every turn and not feign ignorance, division or pettiness.

            We as a people have much to catch up on. Joe, I hope I am not fear-mongering.

            • Joe America says:

              Well, sonny, we see from PIE’s observation that the Philippines can go one of two ways, rising gloriously as a dynamic, modern enlightened state, or carved up like so much garlic on the chopping board. If it comes to the latter, and your fear-mongering comes to fruition, we ought all make a bee-line to Brisbane, elect Edgar as guru-in-chief, and set out on a collective re-balancing that will make us all serene and able to articulate complex thoughts sequentially, compassionately and brilliantly. That is, we shall become modern monks. And we shall set out to rebuild the constructs of what it means to be Filipino.

              • karl garcia says:

                Edgar’s sequential hmmm thought process eliminates the chicken-egg conundrum

              • karl garcia says:

                In Edgar’s pursuit of separate peace a few weeks ago, he landed the job of guru in chief.

              • sonny says:

                Does anybody know how hot or cold it gets in Brisbane? 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                No snow I think. Some heat. Floods, drought, packs of wild dingoes, gamblers playing the casinos . . . it’s a fairly ordinary place.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Karl.

                Just to add:

                Summer: December to February.
                Autumn: March to May.
                Winter: June to August.
                Spring: September to November.

              • sonny says:

                Thank you, Karl & manong Ed! As you can understand, I will spend some time getting used to N S E W in addition to the four seasons.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, I so like this prospect of how Philippine affairs can gently settle, so without dysfunction. Your allusion to a monastic life is no stranger to possibility. The civilizing power of Benedictine monastic life in England (St Augustine, Venerable Bede), in Germany (St Boniface), in France (the abbeys of Cluny and lesser priories peppering the French countryside all attest to this calming of the national savage beast. Even now one can do this with a weekend stay at a nondescript Benedictine or Trappist monastery. Sometimes I suspect manong Edgar does something along these lines when he goes to his ruminations. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                He does, and then he returns to calm the rest of us with unerring dissection of the issue of the day.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Sonny, an old story about a Spanish monk in the Philippines. Pedro came to visit the Spanish cura in the mountains, asking him why whether it wasn’t lonely there. “No, Pedro, porque yo tengo Rosario y cafe.” He calls his maid, saying “Rosario, hace cafe para nosotros”. Years later, Pedro returns, asking the cura about Rosario. With a sad face, the cura answers the Rosario is gone, “mi queda Soledad”. He calls his new maid: “Soledad, hace cafe para nosotros”!

      • sonny says:

        PiE, being Western is to digital as being Malay is to analog. The wisdom of ancient Greece is archipelagic as Malay POV is archipelagic. There seems to be something about the close juxtaposition of water, land and sky that makes life so palpable. Filipinos are born into this juxtaposition and thus in a way are close to their DNA for better and worse. I used to wait for takip-slim in the province. During this time it seemed like the trees and plants and critters of the night start coming out to mix with the creatures of the day. Then electrification had to break this bubble. Hmmmm …

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I get along well with Greeks actually, their mentality has remained a seafaring one, and at heart they are still pirates like their ancestors and ours. As for Iberians, I get along better with Portuguese than with Spanish, the former being true people of the sea like us.

          • sonny says:

            I had an abortive travel spell to the Iberian peninsula. It was to be a sentimental journey from Barcelona to Madrid to Lisboa to Granada to Valencia and swift visit across the Pyrenees to Lourdes. I prepared myself with James Michener’s IBERIA. I’m still hoping for a next time. This year maybe.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Have you read Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco? A truly Filipino novel based on the intellectual exile experience. I have the feeling you at least know about it.

            • sonny says:

              PiE, is it on Amazon or obtainable only from the islands?

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Its on Amazon, it was written by a Fil-Am living in upstate New York.

                The nicest part for me is where his alter ego is caught in a traffic jam cum brownout plus baha at EDSA near Guadalupe, being given a blowjob by a burgis girl who loves his writing while reading for her the latest Tweets of current political turbulences in Manila. Both are high on coke, the car gets stuck in the floods, he decides to help poor squatter children passing by, ruining her car and forcing her to call the driver to get her in a 4×4.

              • sonny says:

                I have not read fiction since THE CARDINAL, book & movie. Will make a concession to Syjuco. Thanks.

            • Joe America says:

              Think about staying in the Paradors, the state-run hotels. Malaga, Jaen, Cordoba . . . fantastic settings . . .

              • sonny says:

                I read about paradors, Joe. Michener does get into some detail in IBERIA (1968). I hope the flavor is still the same these days. Apparently there are some tracing back to Roman times. Most if not all of them have that historical character. Very interesting.

              • Joe America says:

                It was in 2002. We rented a car and toured the “white cities” of Andalusia after spending a few days in Barcelona. I even enjoyed Cadiz, which is an old shipping/industrial town near Gibralter, on the Atlantic side. The hotel is right on the choppy sea and we snacked on stuffed olives and sucked beer on the terrace there. My traveling companion and I hoofed it through town where we were able to find more beer. That’s one thing good about Czechs, they are skilled at swigging suds . . . mixes well with the opinion-mongering . . . but I fear I over-reminisce.

              • sonny says:

                I am zooming in on paradors in Merida and Cordoba, Joe. The one in Merida actually traces back to Roman times, the earliest time Spain came within Rome’s ambit. As to Cadiz, Magellan set out for his Far Eastern trip from this port. Que rico, ngarud! 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Zoom in on Jaen, my favorite.

              • josephivo says:

                Some Pousadas in Portugal are equally impressive but at less than halve the price… e.g. in Setubal

              • Joe America says:

                Portugal has a different pace than Spain, it seems to me. More laid back, poorer, of the earth. That is just an impression. But a certain grace and charm. They let the bulls at the bullfight win sometimes. I love the tiling on the outside of the homes. I’ve got some fond recollections of Portugal, but that I suppose is for another place and time. I have 60% of a novel somewhere stuck in some computer hard disk that opens in Portugal. The hero ran out of gas just as the writer ran out of imagination.

              • sonny says:

                Then Jaen is on my candidate list, Joe.

              • sonny says:

                Will keep that in mind too, Joseph. Thank you.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Sonny I gave an answer to the first part of your posting below that of Bing above…

      • sonny says:

        I saw it PiE. thanks.

        Being in longer tooth than many, I can’t shake off a teleological take on our present circumstances. It’s like one big deja vu. Thanks to more perpicacious individuals whom Joe had attracted, they allow me to just fill in the logical and experiential blanks.

        I’ve many times tried to get some traction to discuss practical initiatives to harness the collated wisdom of year-by-year alumni of my schools targeting to reach both the instructors and the gifted segments of young graduates to be sensitized to the plight of our country. Many of the young for the foreseeable future will be joining the diaspora. All I am expecting is for them to nurture their patriotic selfs and actively seek to keep these sentiments alive. Maybe the social media will render this wish practicable. I will be happy knowing technology is not for naught

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Technology is not for naught – maybe the Society of Honor is becoming a cyber La Solidaridad by el Nueva Liga Filipina con los Indios Bravos en la casa virtual de nuestro amigo, el viejo Gringo Jose Americano. The keyboard is mightier than pen and sword.

          The problem that still remains, the latent danger, is of exiles returning becoming modern-day Ibarras and having to deal with the Padre Damasos and Kapitan Tiagos (prototype trapo a la Binay and just as dark) still running the country until now.

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. Apart from Gladwell’s concept of the Tipping Point, there are two books by Nassim Taleb that might be appropriate to the Philippine scene.

    o The Black Swan
    o Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

    1.1. Taleb mainly uses his ideas to examine and illustrate economic conditions, but we can apply his ideas to our development as a people.

    2. A Black Swan is an event in history that is “unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred.”

    2.1. It was thought before that only white swans existed. Then in 1697, black swans were discovered in Australia.

    2.2. The importance of the Black Swan theory is that something that is considered impossible or improbable might prove to be true. Such an event has three characteristics:

    o The event is rare
    o The event has a high-impact effect
    o In hindsight, the event is rationalized, that is explained, as if it could have been expected.

    2.3. Tableb’s thesis is not to try to predict black swan events because history is basically unpredictable. His purpose is for us “to build robustness against negative ones and be able to exploit positive ones.”

    2.3.1. There may not be just one Tipping Point but several.

    2.4. Philippine history in modern times is replete with Black Swan events. The assassination of Ninoy is a negative event that had positive results for the country. The Mamasapano event can be considered to be a negative event and the diaspora a positive one.

    2.5. The questions arise:

    o How can we turn the Mamasapano incident into a learning experience and avoid the disaster of a permanently divided country?

    o How can we take further advantage of the diaspora?

    3. If “The Black Swan” is about the gain or loss from unpredictability and volatility, the Antifragile book is about ensuring gains from volatility and uncertainty.

    3.1. Every event can be classified as:

    o Fragile – vulnerable to shocks
    o Robust – indifferent to shocks
    o Antifragile – thrives on shocks

    3.2. Antifragile is beyond resilience. Filipinos, subject to annual catastrophes of the natural kind, the cultural kind and the political kind, are invariably described as resilient. Seeing our ability to bounce back and gain ground, we can be better described as antifragile… but only if we are able to derive long-term gain from each disorder.

    3.2.1. At that point, a Tipping Point – another one — will have been reached.

    3.3. Going back to Mamasapano, we must ask the question: will we be simply resilient and continue on as before and as now? Or do we become antifragile?

    3.4. I hark back to Joseph’s point in the post “Moving Forward After Mamasapano”: perhaps to become antifragile, we must in fact be fragile. We must be naive, open and vulnerable like children. Otherwise, we will never create nor enter the kingdom of heaven here on earth.

    • josephivo says:

      In a previous life I had a house on the country side with a large pond. On day in the winter a black swan visited us and he (she?) liked the place. His majestic appearance became the attraction of the neighborhood, taking off and landing as in a KLM advertisement. But six months later suddenly he was gone. Missed Edgar to explain how I could have exploited this black swan event. Only a few pictures are left.

      • Joe America says:

        Can you send me a picture? Or plop it in the comment box, however that is done?

      • edgar lores says:

        Swans are not solitary creatures. They usually mate, and when they do, they mate for life.

        Your lone swan is unlikely to be a spinster, an unmarried young lady or a bachelor. She/He may have been an unmarried swan or a widow or widower… looking for a mate or replacement mate.

        You might have exploited this event… by kissing her. It would be either a case of her turning into a beautiful princess… or of you, being a prince of man that you are, turning into a toad.

        If the swan had been a he… the event would have been gay, riotously so.

        P.S. I was fortunate enough to catch sight of black swans on one of my visits to Canberra. Such majestic creatures. The S-curve of their necks is the embodiment of grace.

  7. karl garcia says:


  8. Nate Packer says:

    There is no tipping point. The Philippines has regressed back into the sixties, I was there. Me, my father and his father before him all wished and thought the tipping point will come in 20 or thirty years after their time. I thought EDSA One was the tipping point, I was wrong. You mentioned Davao, I’ve lived and do business in Davao my whole life. Economic growth and low crime is a myth, a sham, my house is burglarized every month without fail and bodies of all kinds thrown in our village’s dark undeveloped roads constantly. Only 50% of the population voted and only slightly more than 50% voted for the incumbent Mayor.

    • sonny says:

      Sorry to hear this, Nate. I can relate with the reality check. My brother’s well-furnished house stuck out like a sore-thumb and was summarily vandalized tragically. My hometown is run by a gambling, ex-teacher and he runs it like a petite fiefdom.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        After Pandora’s box was opened, the only thing that remained was hope.

      • i7sharp says:


        I am interested in every barangay, etc. in the home country.
        Earlier today, I visited (albeit online only) Barangay Lagao of General Santos City.

        Which place is your hometown? Your barangay (home or favorite), if any?



        • sonny says:

          can you share the nature of your interest in our barangays, i7sharp?

          • i7sharp says:

            Most gladly, Sonny.

            Name your home or favorite barangay
            and I will try to show what an hour’s work can do for it.


            • sonny says:

              Any barangay in Cubao, Quezon City or the city itself. Thanks, i7sharp.

              • i7sharp says:

                Thank you, Sonny.

                Each posting is allowed to provide only a few links,
                so I will try to share, at most, only three here.

                I visited the official website of Quezon City
                and somehow did not find in it a list of its barangays.
                Can you please try looking and give me a feedback?

                Here is the shortcut to a very simple site I started about a decade ago:
                I am hopeful that, in the near future, a user can easily access (within 7 clicks) every barangay site – each of the (currently) 42,029 sites as close as possible to all others in look and content.
                You see one and you have seen them all, so to speak.

                There is much work to do – but nonetheless very doable, IMO.
                I am (about 60%) happy with what I have done at my home barangay:
                (The obviously old photo – of bamboo fence, … – in the site was taken … by moi.
                What you see was completely buried by lahar in the aftermath Mt Pinatubo eruption.)

                I set up a site for Barangay New Era, Quezon City.
                It took me literally less than a minute to put it up and make it available for postings/discussions.
                This third link,
                will enable you to access the site of 2nd District
                which provides a link to the site of Quezon City
                which provides a link to New Era.

                Please provide me input when you have the the time and feel like it.


                ps I have set up 2,000+ sites over the years but probably hundreds have been deleted by Yahoo! due to inactivity.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Depending on how things go, the Philippines can go real good in the future – it is possible but the right factors have to combine. Otherwise it will go real bad – or really ugly.

  9. karl garcia says:

    Since China is losing its manufacturing edge and will soon be no longer the factory of the world,Vietnam and Thailand having their own problems, shouldn’t we grab this chance?
    I am not against BPO’s and the service industry, they still are a factor for reaching the tipping point.

    We could turn garbage into black gold and literal gold.

    (waste to diesel, literal gold if we find a way to harness metals from computer chips and print boards)
    we can be a manufacture of complete sets of computers and cars and not just spare parts or components.

    let me hijack this idea from a commenter.

    He is asking us to move away from neo liberalism.
    is that the way to go? sort of anti globalization and anti privatization.
    I know it has its pros and cons, let me hear you out on this.

  10. karl garcia says:

    that nutmeg story seems to stick for now.

    what if we were not afraid of the dutch’s manipulation of the stock market, i mean nutmeg commodity market and went ahead in planting and trading, we could have made it big.
    but alas the dutch pirates never knew that there are french smugglers to thwart their hold of the nutmeg market.(and the crapping pigeons)
    crazy times then, they made people believe that it will cure the plague. it still works in a boom bust nowadays called multi level marketing/networking. foreverliving,first quadrant,nuskin,herbalife.. whatelse ?

  11. karl garcia says:


    at filipinovoices some one kept repeating a line that came from me which caught his attention,it is”nagkukwentuhan lang naman tayo” Di ba nga we have lots of stories to tell, and I tell you , I am a good listener.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      @karl, sana naman maraming nakakabasa sa ating mga kuwentuhan – at sana ay mapagisipan nila kung ano rito ang kanilang magagamit para sa kinabukasan nila at ng kanilang mga anak. Ako naman, malayo at walang magagawa, sa totoo lang ayokong makialam sa mga pangyayari sa Pilipinas, ninais ko nang bumalik ngunit nasabihan na ako na hindi magagamit sa Pilipinas ang aking mga naranasan at natutunan. Ayos lang…

      Ayokong makialam masyado. Nais ko lamang bigyan ng palaisipan ang mga naiwan sa atin. Sa ating mga kababayan sa Pilipinas na makabasa ng mga kuwentuhan natin dito, huwag na naman sana sobra ang inyong pride, hanggang sa maging “fried chicken”. Huwag sana sobrang tigas ang inyong mga ulo, mga kapatid. Binasa ni Bonifacio, Jacinto at Mabini ang mga isinulat nila Rizal, Lopez Jaena at iba pa noong araw, pinag-isipan nila, binigyan nila ng kabuluhan sa sitwasyon ng kanilang mga kababayan at isinagawa nila.

      Kaya lang mali sila sa pagrerebolusyon. Nagkagulo-gulo iyong kanilang rebolusyon dahil sa ugali ng Pilipino. Lahat gustong maging Presidente at walang may kababaan ng loob para maging pinuno na pang-araw-araw – mas mahalaga pa ang mga ito para sa bansa. Kahit pa siguro si Obama kung mahihiram natin, hindi maaayos ang Pilipinas kung parang Seven Dwarfs pa rin ang mga kababayan natin sa tunay na buhay at sa pang-araw-araw.

      Mga kababayan sa Pilipinas, para kayong mga kamag-anak na naiwan at madalas nakakagigil dahil hindi na kayo nadala at hindi na kayo natuto. Sarap suntukin!

      Simple lang ang nais sabihin ng isinulat ko sa itaas, pasensiya lang po kayo sa Ingles mga kababayan, mahina minsan ang loob kong mag-Pilipino: may pag-asa pa ang Pilipinas, pero huwag na kayong padalos-dalos! Ayoko ko na kayong tulungan, para kayong mga kamag-anak na madalas ko nang pinadalhan ng pera, imbes na paaralin ninyo iyong mga pamangkin ko sa Megamall na naman kayo nagpunta. Kaya ngayon, bahala na kayo, kundi magusap uli tayo sa sampu o dalawampung taon at tignan natin kung nagkatotoo iyong aking hula para sa inyo. Huwag kayong matakot, kahit marami ng nagsabing para akong mangkukulam o kaya manghuhula. Nasasa inyo ang gumawa ng tama. Kapag nakita ko ang tunay na pagbabago, dadalawin ko ulit kayo at ipagmamalaki ko kayo.

      • karl garcia says:

        wala pa din nagbago at kung magkarebolusyon ganun pa din lahat pa din gusto mag presidente.
        sa mga seven dwarfs lahat yata naging grumpy nawala si doc,bashful,happy,dopey,sneezy and sleepy.
        one last thing.
        just remember what you told us:
        “After Pandora’s box was opened, the only thing that remained was hope.”

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Actually hindi Seven Dwarfs ni Walt Disney ang nasa isip ko – para kay Joe Kano iyan… 🙂

          Iyong Seven Dwarfs na Pinoy version na may unano – napanood ko ito noong bata pa ako kasama ng labandera namin – kamamatay lang ni Snow-White at hindi nila alam ang kanilang gagawin, nagkakagulo sila, nagaaway-away at nagtatakbuhan.

          Kaya nga ayoko na ng rebolusyon, nasubukan na lahat iyan sa Pilipinas. Uunlad lang ang bansa kung magbabago ang ugali ng mga tao, kaya lang unti-unti lang ito maisasagawa. Tiyaga at sipag ang mahalaga para rito: sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan!

          • karl garcia says:

            mag bisikleta …. dahil sira na ang mrt

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Sa bisikleta nagsimula ang mga Intsik at Vietnamese, hindi tulad natin puro porma lang, gustong magkotse agad. Noong araw, pinagtatawanan natin sila – ngayon hindi na. Iyan ang problema natin, hindi tayo nag-iisip para sa kinabukasan, para ngayon lang.

              Halimbawa MRT – kahit anong magarbo at moderno binibili natin dahil puro tayo porma, pero sa bandang huli hindi natin kayang patakbuhin, anong silbi noon? Iyong mga building dito sa Europe kahit ilang-dantaon na nakatayo pa at hindi sira-sira, sa Pilipinas laging nagtatayo ng bago pero pagkatapos lang ng sampung taon bulok ng tignan, bakit? Kulang kasi tayo sa tiyaga at sigasig, palagay ko lang – panay kasi pasiklab at pasikat.

  12. josephivo says:

    1- Tipping points. But then there are two basic attitudes. Or you sit in the rollercoaster of history and enjoy the ride, or you try to influence history.

    2- Tipping points. Or the sum of small incremental steps, the straw that breaks the camel’s back or the revolutionary breakthrough event?

    3- Tipping points and change. Change can be random or planned. When planned there are libraries with guidelines. Plan with the end in mind, be proactive, first things first as a few important guidelines. Note that they have to do with the future, not evident for Filipino living 100% in the now.

    4- Tipping points and change. Lasting change comes in 3 steps: unfreeze, improve, freeze. The 3rd step is often overlooked and everything slides back to the old situation.

    But each of these bullet points could be the subject of a full blog.

    • edgar lores says:


      You always add dimensions to any discussion.

      Some brief thoughts:

      1. One should preferably participate and jump on a scale to tip the balance towards one’s vision of the future. To be a mere observer, to be disengaged. is not an authentic life.

      2. EDSA, in particular Senator Laxalt’s call, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But EDSA itself did not prove to be the revolutionary breakthrough event that it initially promised to be. So EDSA was both and neither.

      3. Black swans are random events that change the course of history. Filipinos should adopt an “antifragile” attitude to guard against black swan events, and to allow us to develop long-term plans for the future. Using the 80-20 rule, this means living 80% in the past and present and 20% in the future.

      3.1. Waging war in Mindanao is, in my opinion, 100% living in the past and in the present.

      4. I like the 3-step advance model: unfreeze, improve, freeze. EDSA was a defrosting event. The 1987 Constitution was an improvement event. The campaign against corruption is another improvement event. If we go with Binay in 2016, we will have undone the improvements and failed on the third step.

      • Joe America says:

        Wait for his piece on sovereignty Sunday eve, it expands the dimensions to mind blowing proportions and rips out every shred of belief we or Santiago ever had about the matter.

      • josephivo says:

        1.1 Quantum mechanics teaches us that observing influences reality. And riding a rollercoaster with my eyes closed is too scary. So observer yes, disengaged no.

        3. If you read Hofstede and Trompenaars, Filipinos are the world exception in living in the now (they measured mainly in a business environment). Also their timeframe of the past is very short, this morning, and the rest is pre-history, as is their timeframe for the future, tonight, and beyond that bahalana.

        On top a very small percentage of the population was 15 or above at EDSA I, for all others it is before their time, less relevant. And the future for the bulk, young people, is about themselves, relationships, job oversees… not the nation. Only old stock like us are interested in what the Philippines might be in 2025.

        p.s. Joe can you change the background color of my avatar red, you really made me blush.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “3. If you read Hofstede and Trompenaars, Filipinos are the world exception in living in the now (they measured mainly in a business environment). Also their timeframe of the past is very short, this morning, and the rest is pre-history, as is their timeframe for the future, tonight, and beyond that bahalana. ”

          Nice: see my comment about Phil Zimbardo and the different aspects of time in culture and personality. Successful cultures and people have a strong future-orientation – for planning – and a lessons learned attitude to the past. People and cultures who live in the now usually have more fun but they do not really manage to have long-term success.

          Actually I suspect Ilocanos would have more future-orientation, thrifty and hard-working.

        • Joe America says:

          Hahahahaha, no, the system assigns it. Maybe the system knows something we don’t . . .

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Historical developments can IMHO only partially be controlled, they are like floodwaters. But how you are prepared for them and how you deal with them is under your control.

      Thought experiment: imagine that the big earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima reactor incident had happened in the Philippines and compare to the way Japanese culture and reactions enabled them to recover what happened very quickly – and learn from it.

      • karl garcia says:

        the philippne government will hire a consultant from japan after the fact.that is what will happen.

        • karl garcia says:

          speaking of which,lots of JICA studies under study.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Instead of observing how the Japanese handled things, and learning from it.

          Making the Kankanai synthesis I mentioned in one of my comments here.

          • karl garcia says:

            I take that back .We are prepared…in theory.

            Click to access 2011A_PHL_Anna_FRR.pdf

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              In theory, in practice iba ang nababasa ko sa Internet, laging magulo at puro sisihan imbes na magkapit-bisig. Sa bagay nagsisihan din ang mga Hapon, pero focused pa rin sila sa solusyon at hindi sa pagsisi lang sa isa’t isa – iyon ang ibig kong sabihin.

              • karl garcia says:

                the blame and shame game, included in the cast are the” I told you so ” types.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Thanks for the warning @karl. Nakakafrustrate lang minsan umobserba sa mga nangyayari sa Pinas, parang may kamag-anak ka na hindi madala o masaway. Minsan talaga maiinis ka, sasabihin mong “ganyan ba talaga kayo?”…

              • karl garcia says:

                ok lang matitigas talaga ulo natin. tactless lang ako that was not aimed at you, I was thinking of Miriam when I typed that. you are already used to bluntness and direct speak, me I still see a dress down as a dress down, good to know that you peeled out all the onion in your skin.ako hindi pa ,but I am learning and I learn a lot from you everyday.keep on writing. I will find time to read every word.

  13. Micha says:

    Oh my gawd Joe, over at Raissa’s blog you posted a comment which appeared you had been hooked, lined, and sinkered by Marcos Junior show.

    I would grant that you have not personally seen the horror, the ego-maniacal desire for everlasting power, and the shameless plunder but…come on, what exactly is with the Bongbong bravado which tipped you over?

    • Joe America says:

      (Pssst, Micha . . . satire pal, satire. You’d a had to witness my prior conversion to Jojo to get it, perhaps.) Try it a second time and twist all meanings: http://raissarobles.com/2015/02/26/impeached-chief-justice-renato-corona-to-demand-resignation-of-president-aquino/comment-page-1/#comment-257752

      • pinoyputi says:

        I did get the satire and even suggested you to move because Marcos place is Ilocos North. Only mama is your close neighbor. I replied there but the problems i have with Raissa’s blog are double comments and moderating for hours. Intrinsicly it might be a quality blog but technical it’s a mesh. Thank goodness you have this covered a lot better.

        • Joe America says:

          I got your comment, thanks, PP, and replied with the smart-mouth wit that seems to have infected me today.

        • sonny says:

          Joe, there must be a way of not losing the many dynamic insights that pass through the threads in this blogsite. Many occasions by the time I catch the substantial pith of a discussion, we are off to other points without useful condensation, i.e. becoming mere idle sound bites. Maybe that is the nature of the beast?

          • Joe America says:

            It seems to be, sonny. And with the increase in readership and comments, the speed is even faster. I do use a lot of the insights as material for new blogs, but I’m not inclined to try to do a wrap-up for each thread. Too much work . . .

            • sonny says:

              On second thought, Joe, it is the nature of the beast. Like the proverbial 2 of 3 items in a project: on time, on budget, as designed – only two of three targets will be delivered. Also we have a ride we can jump in and out as needed, not a tiger that will eat us if we stop and get off.

              • Joe America says:

                Nice way to characterize it, sonny. And the wind blows through our hair now and then, as there are no windows on the bus . . .

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Sonny, if we can manage to inspire added insights among enough people, including ourselves, whatever these insights, conclusions and actions may be, we have succeeded.

                Los Indios Bravos and La Liga Filipina inspired the Katipunan to act in the 19th century. But this time, I do hope that people have insights that cause them to act in an evolutionary way instead of a revolutionary way, the former being more sustainable than the latter.

      • Bert says:

        Maybe you sounded too real, Joe. Satire can’t work if it is too real as one wise pundit reminded me one time not long ago. Jonathan Swift probably in his lifetime ‘missed’ on his jokes, too, :).

        • Joe America says:

          Haha, yes. You have too good a memory. As I was penning one of the more convincing comments, the one taking a shot at President Aquino, I was struck with the realization that this must be what that herd of spokesmen for Binay have to do. Stuff the truth into the back of their brains and peddle make-up stories as convincingly as possible.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            My brother is in a PR company – a convinced non-smoker who even once did lobbying and press work for tobacco companies – and once told me the best way to spin things is not to tell any lies at all, but to emphasize the truths that help your story – like a lawyer.

            Knowing the Filipino mindset and coming from a family of razor-sharp lawyers myself, I know exactly what many people think of you but do not dare say openly – that you are doing PR for the yellow side. But if you were, you would be an inside adviser in the Palace by now and they would not be making such foolish statements anymore like they often do – you are a Lutheran who does what you do out of conviction, something the often mercenary Filipino mindset has difficulty comprehending.

            • Joe America says:

              I expect you speak wisdom here, PiE. When I get those claims, like that I am paid to write these articles, I know instantly that the person making the claim has very little knowledge about me, and therefore no basis for the claim. All they have to do is read a batch of my blogs to grasp that, if there is a bias, it is based on principle rather than politics. And they would understand that the better part of the blog is the discussion, and that I welcome it if people will explain how I am wrong. But they don’t do that reading, or that informed judgment, because it is easy and fun to take the personal slur route. Plus they can’t deal with the fact that THEY might be the people arriving with a bias.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Nobody is completely unbiased anyway, we all have a perspective based on where we stand based on our background, our experiences plus our own analysis. Being able to step outside our own biases and investigate the truth of our assumptions is important.

                Like my example of the Kankanai Igorot cop-turned-OFW who told me about how he reconciled the difference between the faith of his headhunter forefathers and that brought to him by Anglican missionaries, not just parroting what colonial masters brought to him and not just opposing it out of the gut but thinking about it, coming to his own conclusion and standing by that conclusion – wish more Filipinos would learn that kind of synthesis.

              • Joe America says:

                If they hang out at this blog, I think they have mastered that, and so the growth in the blog’s following is encouraging. I mean, think about the many Filipinos willing to listen to an American/Filipino perspective, and the views from all over the world, and from the Philippine following, that are attached, because it is the IDEA that counts, and the candor. Our reads are now in the 10’s of thousands regularly, any day.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Joe, I know why I accepted your offer to write, and I admit that so many people reading my stuff gives me a bit of a thrill. I think that for many who read here, and for many who write here, the fact that one can have different views and yet respect one another is refreshing. If you have watched Pinoys play basketball and compare it to the American way of playing, you will notice that most of them have not yet realized what fairness means in practice. The Mandaya of Mindanao have a saying that everything you do reflects who you are.

                I have an idea for my next article, which will be based on Gladwell’s idea of how being an underdog can be an advantage – applied to Filipinos, don’t have a good title for it yet. Guess it will take some time for it to grow inside me. Hope that more readers find the heart to become contributors and thereby strengthen the already robust discussion in this blog. Thanks again for letting me contribute, even if I am an Aquino critic and admittedly biased towards Cayetano (the educated side of me) and even Duterte (the kanto boy in me) – this proves that your blog is NOT a pseudo-educated mirror image of GRP. That is the good thing about the American spirit where you have Republicans and Democrats discussing different point of views respectfully – at least most of the time.

              • Joe America says:

                I look forward to the underdog article. Next week is pretty well filled up. I don’t really like to run daily blogs but had to unclog the pipeline this week. So curdle it or coddle it or whatever your writing technique happens to be. The following week is open. Hahaha, but I’ve got five in the pipeline.

                All this good discussion tends to fire up the thinking.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                OK – doesn’t really matter when you fit it in. The topic is, like the topic my first article above, universal and not related to any particular person so the timing does not matter.

                In fact I prefer not to write too often. Like a woman once told me – I like to learn from the ladies – that my passion is a great thing, but a lot better when properly channeled. Witness the quality of my articles and well-thought out comments versus some other stuff.

      • Micha says:

        Oh well, you got me there.:-)

  14. PinoyInEurope says:

    Thank you edgar lores for adding this commentary which explains what I meant better with the analogy culture = BIOS and institutions = operating systems and that in the Philippines, the two are not yet compatible, I am putting the answer here so it is more likely to be read:

    “4.1. Culture, like BIOS, is hard to change.

    4.1. Culture, like BIOS, provides us a way of processing inputs and outputs, a basic way for us to interpret the entities and events in our daily life, and a way of effecting our interaction with these entities and events.

    4.2. Operating systems, like our institutions, are easier to change than BIOS or, to put it more accurately, easier to upgrade. ”

    This is why the tipping point will not come that quickly in my opinion – because the actual implementation of ANY plan depends very much on the culture of the people and the character of the generation that is in leadership.

    And what is also very important is that it does not depend only on the big leaders. The many small leaders – from barangay captain, sari-sari store owner, local police chief, store managers in malls, bus company owners, city hall department heads, university professors etc. – and their attitudes plus how they put them into practice actually in my opinion matter a lot more as a sum total than the big leaders. Thought experiment: what would happen to the Philippines if they were able to “borrow” Obama after he finishes his term? Just imagine it. Now see what the problem is?

    • sonny says:

      “… to “borrow” Obama after he finishes his term?”

      what exactly does this mean, PiE? please unpack.

      • sonny says:

        I think I see.

        • karl garcia says:

          a chain is as strong as its weakest link.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Could be material for another imagined story of the Phiippines starting 2017 – the Filipinos decide that President Binay has failed and invite Obama to be the OIC president because his term has finished. Obama accepts, having some Asian experience with Indonesia.

          After two years things have hardly gotten any better, Obama is besieged by the Philippine press, Filipino internet commentators write “bakit natin hiniram iyong egoy na iyan?” etc.

          • karl garcia says:

            When I told Joseph that Filipinos are stubborn, I should have stuck to my guns,but decided against it, because what he was saying made sense too, it was about classroom seminars,where there is no discourse. I kind of agree because during my MBA times, the most inquisitive ones are “contracted” not to ask questions, and some oblige out of pakikisama.That defeats the purpose of everything.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Either too bold (when they feel they can) or too timid. Rarely the correct middle way, which is forthright without being personally insulting or too emotional.

              Actually our emotionality is a strength if channeled properly – Russians had to learn that too and sometimes still exaggerate, but they usually manage to let their passion give them direction and reach their goals by very cold calculation and single-minded purpose.

  15. Bing Garcia says:

    Philippines ranked 2nd in the 20 fastest-growing economies for 2015. Bloomberg survey of economists

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      20 years ago, there was also an economic boom under Ramos. The only thing that really counts is sustainable long-term growth. Not just short-term gains, but long-term stability.

      Call centers and BPO can always pack up and go elsewhere. The need for OFWs is going to diminish long-term all over the world, because host countries will try to fill the gaps as much as possible with their own unemployed people.

      Actually my article was a nice way of saying that this is the last chance for the Philippines.

      • sonny says:

        PiE, in the same timeframe I was hoping FVR would pursue a comprehensive program of infrastructure planning and building, given his being a Civil Engr and limited time/tenure. Also that would have been the time to leverage the goodwill that seemed to pervade those times, viz. presence of ADB, World Bank and even UN programs. I’m using a forward eye to the Management Engineering expertise of the upcoming Aquino, PNoy’s cousin.

    • Joe America says:

      Yeah, but the president had nothing to do with it at all. But he had everything to do with Mamasapano. (My mood today is sarcasm. It’s the wicked health drink my wife made me drink this morning.)

  16. manuel buencamino says:

    Joe, ”

    Those that leave in order to stay in other countries usually either get completely integrated into the host society, especially if they go to America, Canada or Australia, or are frustrated at not being truly integrated and compensate by looking down on Filipinos with less qualified jobs or those back home. ”

    The latter reminds me of your good friend benignO, wife Ilda, and their motley crew. 🙂

  17. PinoyInEurope says:

    And while we are at it, we should all know what wealth there is in the area controlled by MILF.

    Like I wrote: “where there is gold there is always blood”, an old headline but still relevant and there are enough other sources to confirm this is true that there is potential in the area:

    http://www.filipinostarnews.net/news/milf-tells-phl-govt-to-hold-oil-exploration-in-liguasan-marsh.html . Also some years ago Malaysia offered to drain the Ligwasan marshes (near Mamasapano) and put up palm oil plantations. Peace could mean economic progress not only for the Muslim area but for the entire Philippines – if it is done the right way. Kaya lang, huwag sana magpalamang ang Pilipinas. If Iqbal is like a Middle Eastern oil sheikh 10 years from now and the Philippines is still poor, then the joke is on us.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Politics is always about the economy and about business, not about idealism. Aquino will in my point of view have done the job well if the Filipino people as a whole profit from the wealth that Mindanao has to offer. Give the Muslims their share of course.

        We all want to make a reasonably good living in the end, that is what it is all about. Now if the guys in the old country are fools and just give things away, their fault – I have my own life over her and don’t really have to care even if it does make me a bit sad.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      In fact I would rather have American companies as partners in oil exploration than the Malaysians – give them a share if the wealth of the region benefits the whole country.

      Live and let live, or live long and prosper like Mr. Spock likes to say.

      • karl garcia says:

        palm oil;= unilver

        not them again
        nutmeg all over again

        • karl garcia says:

          copy paste from another blog…

          karl garcia says:
          February 28, 2015 at 7:59 am
          very correct on new slogan for tourism every admin,continuity,preventive maintenance,urban planning,land use and yeah the TROs

  18. PinoyInEurope says:

    May I add one more thought, which I already expressed indirectly in my article. A lot of the maturation in Filipino thinking will take place due to discussions within families, clans, groups. Filipinos do not yet have the forthright culture of expressing their own real opinions openly – opinions expressed openly are usually either grandstanding, own agenda or group conformity. Usually they will express there own opinions openly only among people they trust, Facebook friend groups composed of old classmates or barkada being one medium that modernizes this.

    Those who have learned to be forthright in the modern way are rare, many of them can be found on this blog. When the Joes came to us after the Juans left, there were a lot of Filipino leaders who were good at parroting democracy to the Joes after parroting Catholicism to the Juans. The Joes were often well-meaning but naive Protestants who did not notice the game that was played. Other Joes were highly business-minded and were happy to have their SOBs in place locally. The Joe running this place is well-meaning but definitely not naive, having gone native.

    Joe, I would lke to have a Jack Daniels with Coke on ice. Don’t give me any of that green tea. And if you know where I can buy a pack of Luckies I would be very obliged. Sonny, if you can get me some good kilawen I would be a really happy man. But then I would drink gin instead of Jack.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, we need a label for “direct speak” that we can attach to people who do it, as a matter of pride and no small courage. In the Philippines, forthright behavior is discouraged by ridicule and criticism of mistakes. There is a “zero tolerance” policy for mistakes, as we can see with Mamasapano. That is true as well for you and me. The primary “forthright act” here about is to condemn others for mistakes, and to judge that their character is deficient for having made them.

      This zero tolerance policy is anywhere from unreasonable to inhumane, but it exists. (Inhumane, for example, when a whole class of people – Muslims – are viciously condemned for the acts of some.)

      So in that environment, speaking out is hard to do . . .

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Zero tolerance for mistakes when they are made by perceived others. The mote in the others eye is pointed at while the log in one’s own eye is not seen. Projection…

        Being anti-Muslim is a typical thing for those Filipinos whose fragile sense of identity is about being wannabe Westerners, especially the bourgeois Manila crowd with their fake outward Catholicism cum imitation of modern American ways in the clean kitchen. Filipino Muslims are a perfect group to project things on that Filipinos hate about themselves: clannishness, self-interested treachery, even trying hard to be something they are not among some who try to be like Arabs while the Christians try hard to be Spanish+Yankee.

        Igorots are among those with the most secure sense of identity, having no problem learning perfect English because they are self-aware, keeping their tribal traditions minus the headhunting while being mostly Anglican and playing country music on the guitar. The core identity is still there among Christians and Muslims, except that this denied self is relegated to the dirty kitchen. I’m not saying go back into the boondocks – an American word derived from “bundok” when the first GI Joes arrived in Yankee hats – it’s just relax be yourselves guys, which is actually the main point of your Mar Roxas article, not whether he is to be president or not.

        • Joe America says:

          Makes perfect sense to me. And thanks for the last line.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Welcome: didn’t write it in the Mar Roxas article though, not directly, because there are some things our people have to figure out for themselves. If I did many would not think but just react, thinking oh yeah this is one of Joe’s new groupies because they cannot conceive anything else. GRP is an example of trying hard Westerners acting in the Filipino group way, making online pintakasi every time someone else enters without coordination.

            This is why I don’t even second your comment to one guy who wrote that he laughed – your comment says it all and does not need anyone seconding the motion, or giving “second emotion” which many Pinoys say, being emotional after all. Let him come out of the boondocks and explain himself, I have my idea what he could have meant but it is up to him to express what he really wanted. I know I could be – and I can be in my worst moments – a really razor-sharp and unfair guy when it comes to rhetoric but it doesn’t make sense if the purpose of this blog is to promote real analysis and independent thinking, not groupthink. OK my posting Cayetano videos was a provocation, but then again a little bit of chili pepper adds to the flavor. And I do agree with Cayetano that you cannot control what emotions people have and it is up to them to draw their conclusions. Rizal also once allegedly said to his detractors, who found his anti-Church novels very provoking, that it is up to those who wish to defend their position to publish their opinion. Typical Jesuit thinking, which is why they were often banned in their history. But then again, let us discuss Cayetano more when your Tuesday article comes out. I know that he will be in focus there, and I agree he is already campaigning, the rest we shall discuss.

            • Joe America says:

              Wha? How’d you know Cayetano would be featured? 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Just an intuition based on the blog’s title. Of course he is already campaigning.

                But he might also do his job well but that we shall discuss next week.

              • karl garcia says:

                yeah, this site does not do online pintakasi.
                Proof Ben Diskurso,who works in OZ. The malicious would think that is another Ben working in Oz.benign0, but the collective in this site is too disciplined for that
                .I mentioned once that I thought MRP was BongV or ben (I get confused),if this site is into bashing, he could have been bashed to oblivion,but instead, he grew on us.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                @karl: OK, but I am very allergic to the word collective. Reminds me of leftists.

                Actually an experienced reader/writer can easily spot fakes by their style.

              • karl garcia says:

                ok PiE will think of something else.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                @karl: I suggest discussion group or online tambayan, better.

                Collective sounds like groupthink, and that is never a good thing.

              • karl garcia says:

                I see,duly noted.

  19. PinoyInEurope says:

    To add some context for those who are looking to have more insights when reading this blog – just found this.. https://joeam.com/2014/03/31/pabalikin-ang-mga-pilipino-sa-ibang-bansa/

  20. jameboy says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t get the whole picture of the article. What’s “They will run against walls…” really mean. The verbosity of the piece got me lost. I don’t want to assume or guess but, in summary, what really is going to happen if we reach the so-called tipping point? Is it going to be destructive or positive? Will there be changes in the government as to form or leadership? How will it come about and where in particular will it emanate?

    • Joe America says:

      Very likely positive, but there is a risk it could tip the wrong way. The basic idea is that broader enlightenment and demand for good deeds and good results will tip the Philippines toward productivity and favorable results. From my own view, not necessarily the author’s, the middle class will become the dominant class and will demand good government service and opportunity to grow. Corruption will be driven out of government and the government will better serve citizens. I’d imagine the form of government remaining essentially the same as now. Social media will drive the enlightenment.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Joe just gave a good summary of the positive scenario. We definitely differ in terms of what social classes will have more say in the future. Ok the middle class will demand things, but the actual leadership most probably will shift from upper to upper-middle class.

      If one looks at history, it was always changes in the distribution of wealth and in education that mattered. People who have the means in terms of money and information want to have more of a say in running things. Witness the late 19th century Philippine ilustrados.

      “What’s “They will run against walls…” really mean.” There is a very ingrained way of doing things in the Philippines that has always made change hard. An insular mentality.

      “what really is going to happen” now that is something no one can tell. It could go in many different ways. I actually believe that the next few months will be a crucial nexus point. Decisions made then will radically affect the future so they should be well thought out.

      “Will there be changes in the government as to form or leadership?” Form does not really matter – what is important is the direction the leading classes give the Fiilpino ship.

      • Joe America says:

        We don’t differ too much. I agree the HARD decisions will be formed among the upper middle class, but the INFLUENCE of the broader middle class will speak loudly to them. As in this blog, and other forums. As for the final statement, “Form does not matter – what is important is the direction the leading classes give the Filipino ship.”

        I think the form and the ship are the same – the constitution and government institutions like the three branches of government, and the independent agencies, Ombudsman, COA, COMELEC, Anti-Money Laundering Council – and they are today all managed forthrightly. The leadership may decide BBL, yes or no, and it will not break the nation either way. And many other decisions are the same. The only nation-breaker to me is China. Otherwise, the captain of the ship can steer the huge vessel only in small increments, with the public watching very very closely.

        • Joe America says:

          Correction. Binay is also a nation breaker.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            The Philippines would become Binay’s hood if he takes over. Somewhat like many African states run by gangster-style bossmen, only more modern on the surface.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “The leadership may decide BBL, yes or no, and it will not break the nation either way.”

          That is where our opinions differ. My view of things is admittedly Macchiavelian, OK.

          The history of Malay states among themselves has always been nasty. There are now five Malay countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, East Timor. Malaysia may in the long-term establish a de facto client state in Mindanao and that should be prevented.

          • Joe America says:

            I think Malaysia establishing a de facto client state in Mindanao would be negated if the Philippines would merely do its job and continue to invest in infrastructure, jobs and relief for the poor in Muslim Mindanao, as it does in other provinces. The paperwork is the means to that end, and presumes good faith. If there is bad faith, nothing will work short of war, and maybe the Philippines will instead assert its rightful claim to Sabah. If I read the tea leaves correctly, most on Mindanao really do not want more fighting. So I circle back to the Philippines simply doing its job in Mindanao, and the natural path is peaceful progress.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              “I think Malaysia establishing a de facto client state in Mindanao would be negated if the Philippines would merely do its job and continue to invest in infrastructure, jobs and relief for the poor in Muslim Mindanao, as it does in other provinces. The paperwork is the means to that end, and presumes good faith.” Agreed. What I do not agree with is giving them their own flag and basic law. More self-government audited by Manila plus a senator to represent them directly there. Or even Senators by region in general to make the discussions in the Senate more down-to-earth. My impression is that these guys are mostly lost in their own world and many of them are out of touch, causing absurdity.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Senator Iqbal, why not? Senator Misuari, why not? OK in the beginning I can imagine the quarrels but they would slowly all get used to working with one another. Representation in the Senate would give ALL regions something very important in the Philippines – respect. It would build trust because all regions would be directly involved in major decision-making processes. All regions would have their watchdogs to make sure the everybody benefits.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                For the record: my background is definitely shaped by the Nacionalista mindset, which is why I understand Cayetano’s statement that there can be only one flag, one nation, one constitution. So if you go by that premise, improve the terms of ARMM, no BBL.

                If you give one region its own flag and constitution though, might as well go federal. Each state having its own constitution and flag, with the balance of power between nation and federal state clearly defined – subsidiarity. Top-down approach with audited trust.

                The problem I see with BBL is that is was not discussed with all stakeholders – locally and nationally. This is why I see Dutertes Federalism Forum as something interesting. Putting grassroots ideas together, listening to one another to slowly arrive at a consensus.

                My new proposal for solving the problem down south: take BBL as a base and get inputs first from the stakeholders involved, let them say what they agree with, let them say what they disagree with and why. Put things together, make a proposal and discuss it again.

                You cannot just discuss something in a small group and then force it on everybody. You have to win the hearts and minds of people – and their trust – by involving them in the decision-making process. Leni Robredo’s approach comes to mind, I like it.

              • Joe America says:

                The BBL makes clear, the Bangsamoro is a part of the Philippines. It is not an independent state. Do provinces have flags? US states have flags. I’d echo the recent advice of the Palace to BBL critics and suggest the best place to start might be by reading the document.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Bangsamoro would have a flag from what I know. But it could have just been some MILF groups flying a wannabe flag. But that makes them typically Filipino.

                During the Philippine revolution, practically each general had his own flag:

                Anybody has reliable sources on a possible Bangsamoro flag under BBL?

              • edgar lores says:


                I am curious.

                1. Why would you mention that Bangsamoro would have their own flag, when you do not in fact know that is the case?

                1.1. I myself do not know. What you mention may be true.

                1.2. But before advancing an argument against the BBL on the basis that Bangsamoro might or will have their own flag, is it not incumbent upon you to first check the veracity of this claim?

                2. And why would you repeat Cayetano’s dubious dictum of “One flag, one nation, one constitution” when our Constitution allows considerable room for autonomous regions? Here are some pertinent provisions from the Constitution:

                2.1. Article X, Section 1: “There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.”

                2.2. Article X. Section 15: “There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

                2.3. Article X, Section 18: “The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.” Emphases mine.

                2.3.2. An organic act is the basic law for a government. BBL is the Basic Bangsamoro Law. A constitution is “a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.” The two are similar in function if not in definition.

                2.3.3. Confirmation from Wikipedia: “An organic law is a law or system of laws which forms the foundation of a government, corporation or other organization’s body of rules. A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state.”

                2.3.4. The difference between 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 is in the inclusion of the term “sovereign” in the latter. I do not concede that Bangsamoro will be a “sovereign state.”

                2.3.5. Many nations have states within them. The US for one. The Philippines with a Muslim autonomous region will still be one nation.

                2.3.6. I believe you have argued for a federal structure for the Philippines.

                3. The aborigines of Australia have their own flag. It is one of the official flags of Australia, but it is not the Australian national flag. In certain regions of the country, the Australian national flag and the Aborigine flag are displayed together.

                3.1. The Aborigine flag is used as a uniting symbol for the different tribes of aborigines. Would not a Bangsamoro flag serve the same essential purpose — that of a uniting symbol for the different tribes of Filipino Muslims?

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                The Filipino flag is a very important symbol and from what I know, there are no provincial or regional flag. In the back of our minds, a flag is something for a country.

                Symbolic politics are very important. The first Filipino national flag had Cuban colors, symbolizing brotherhood with the Cubans in fighting against Spain. The flag was banned by the USA. When the Filipinos were allowed to have their own flag again, they had to use the same blue and red as in the Stars and Stripes. Marcos shortly revived the old colors, Cory brought back the American color scheme, Estrada settled for today’s compromise.

                Funny, the English version of Wikipedia does not include the Cuban colored flag in the history of the Filipino flag. So each group still has its own view of history, but the Cuban colored thing is definitely true. Ask the historians in this blog about it, they will confirm.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                To make the story complete: traditional Filipino patriotism has a strong Latin components. Many Filipino nationalists had Latin roots or acculturation, they struggled against Spain but kept Spanish alive as a form of passive resistance against the USA. Claro M. Recto was a brilliant orator in both Spanish and English. The temperamental style of traditional Filipino speeches derives from the Latin style. Rene Cayetano, Joseph Estrada, Fernando Poe – all Filipino nationalists with Latin roots. My old man too – and he knows/knew all 3.

                My father and I speak Tagalog, but the last words of parting are still in Spanish – tradition.
                But my father is different from Santiago – he is very much for partnership with the USA. Only he wants it to be a partnership, not a dependency. My view is very much the same.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                But to dispel any suspicions – my father only told me that he was Rene Cayetanos fraternity brother when I told him about the stuff I was writing here. I am not paid nor am I sent by anyone. I stand on my own, maybe to atone for having left la patria, don’t know.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                @edgar lores: I had the impression that they have their own flag, I saw something on the Internet. But because of Joe’s comment on Philippine press, I re-examined my assumption. Also I was impressed by some academics on this blog like pinoyputi and sonny.

                I decided to be more thorough and check my assumptions. I stand corrected – I saw the flag of Misuaris Bangsamoro Republik. I am working on thinking before I write and checking facts thoroughly before I state them – and tempering my passions. Thank you.

                One more thing: it can happen that somebody is partially informed or under a wrong impression. I was very impressed by how pinoyputi first told me there were not Dutch slave raiders, I insisted then he researched and came to apologize to me days later. Kudos.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                What is also important to know is that we all have our own preferences – some call it bias or prejudice. They can be a cognitive filter at times – we only see what we want to see.

                The important thing is to examine oneself and try to examine assumptions.

                This is why I listen to Joe, and he listens to me, we have a real exchange of opinions. Each has his preferences, but we try to explain why, and while explaining I sometimes realize and reflect that I made wrong assumptions, jumped to conclusions or whatever.

                What is important is to not make the same mistakes again, or had least make a less major mistake the next time. I am going to be more careful with my assumptions in the future.

                @edgar lores: and now I will read the rest of your posting.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “2.3.6. I believe you have argued for a federal structure for the Philippines.”

                Yes, I do not exclude it as a possibility. If you read my previous postings, you will see that I think the Philippines should either remain unitary or become fully federal. I add: nothing in between because the other “tribes” of the Philippines will see the Moros as favored.

                This is part of the topic I discussed with Joe in a subthread of the Mamasapano hearing – mutual distrust in a basically tribal society. To have the buy-in of all stakeholders, you have to have that mentality in mind, otherwise you will fail. General John Pershing talked to all the Moro datus before he disarmed them, I know because I posted the Wikipedia source on one of my postings. He actually protected those who were disarmed first with the US Army because he understood their fear that the others would get them. He had intimate knowledge of the Moro mentality, having been a soldier in the Moro wars first before he became Moro province governor. You may google to confirm this or rebut me.

                “3. The aborigines of Australia have their own flag. It is one of the official flags of Australia, but it is not the Australian national flag. In certain regions of the country, the Australian national flag and the Aborigine flag are displayed together.”

                “3.1. The Aborigine flag is used as a uniting symbol for the different tribes of aborigines. Would not a Bangsamoro flag serve the same essential purpose — that of a uniting symbol for the different tribes of Filipino Muslims?”

                Yes, but then there would have to be a rule that the Filipino flag is always to be flown ABOVE the Moro flag, and that the Moro flag is never to be flown alone. Symbolic politics I wrote about in one posting above, the significance the Filipino flag has and how people are raised to respect it, the Flag Code being very strict, even how to fold it is regulated. That, and the aspect of mutual distrust between tribes – the psychological issue.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                And to add to my comments on tribalism and synthesize that with my realization what tribe I was raised in, see my comments to Joe above: traditional Filipino nationalists are not only formed by Latin cultural influence, they have a deeply Catholic tradition.

                But strangely enough, we have alliances with some Muslims, notably Maranaos. My father was kumpadre of the late Senator Mamintal Tamano, whose son Adel also ran for the NP. NP has Cayetano and Trillanes, both obviously have Latin blood, Santiago probably does not, which is why she is trying so hard all the time to be temperamental. I know some of my statements are hypotheses but I think it is clear from the context which are and which not.

                Anyway what I wanted to say about the Latin Catholic tradition is that the subconscious can be very strong and it could be that my emotional reaction to BBL/MILF – and his – comes from that tradition. Malcom Gladwell wrote in one of his books about a study that attitudes are unconsciously passed on through generations, the study proved that Southerners have a stronger sense of honor than Northerners and that it is due to their mostly having ancestors from Scotland and Wales, where there is a strong honor culture.

                My ideas here an in the process of forming. I am willing to consider BBL, but not only from a legalistic point of view. Issues of trust must be addressed,because they form a major part of the problems the Philippines has – I have an exchange with Joe on that matter.

                The problem in Mindanao cannot only be solved by legal means – there must be skilled mediators who understand the historical and cultural nuances and can establish the trust necessary to prevent renewed hostilities by anyone who feels injured or cheated.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Disclaimer: some of the realizations that I have posted here are preliminary conjectures, but I think it is clear from the context whether I am stating something as a fact or not.

                If I am wrong I am willing to let myself be corrected. Thank you.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “I agree the HARD decisions will be formed among the upper middle class, but the INFLUENCE of the broader middle class will speak loudly to them.”

          Yep, that is what I meant what I wrote that the traditional alliance between the upper class and the upper-middle class is crumbling. The upper class is becoming useless – Tingting Cojuangco being a very visual example. The upper-middle class where their implementers anyway but they are getting bolder at some point take over power. Noynoy and Mar are just better-packed upper class guys. The upper-middle class organize everything.

          The moment a ruling class no longer has the leadership that brought it to the top in the first place, those organizing things just below them say “move over it’s my turn”. As soon as they are on top, those just below them will get bolder and pressure them…

  21. jameboy says:

    I think form, as to government or system of governance matter much when we talk about ‘tipping point’ because it will either serve as an obstacle to the development of the situation or expedite its progression.

    But I don’t see what was discussed as ‘tipping point’ but more of changing of the guards. However, I’m pessimistic about what was opined regarding the changes in social classes and how the middle class will eventually have a say in the scheme of things.

    Granting the prediction happened, there is no assurance that change in the control or concentration of power and privilege or the status quo will automatically occur. It doesn’t necessarily follow that changes in social classes will change the equation in influence or power distribution. I say that because in the last ten or so years we have experienced all those what was mentioned above. Increased in numbers of Filipinos working and studying abroad, business companies setting up offices in the country, increased in remittances, etc. and the internet explosion all has accelerated the economic and social changes in the country. The tipping point could have come three or four years ago. The changing of the guards could have manifested itself on the same timeline.

    Just look at the current political landscape. Same people, same family, same pedigree. How about the economic stronghold of the few? Those factors defeat any tipping point from happening. Those will halt any attempt to change the guards for the next five to ten years or even beyond.

    In short, change will not come as long as the people do not assert it. And Filipinos will most likely, especially if they are better positioned economically, not rock the boat and disturb the status quo.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “In short, change will not come as long as the people do not assert it.” You need a like-minded critical mass of people to change things. Could be that that critical mass has not yet been reached and that there are still too many of the old school around.

      Actually I understand your pessimism. Changes could even have happened in mid-90s, when there was an economic boom like now. But attitudes take generations to change.

  22. PinoyInEurope says:

    It takes longer to write shorter, to develop a clear and precise view one has to brainstorm first, then ramble, then elaborate, then finally it is crystal clear. My vision of a modern Philippines – which is shared by many in the new upper middle class, the people I grew up with, is on a par with Taiwan with a strong high-tech manufacturing base supported by strong basic research. Using the natural resources of Bangsamoro like Venezuela does: for schools, social services, free education, free medical treatment, strong public transport, good roads, dams and dykes to counter rising sea levels, effective municipal services, power grid infrastructure and regenerative power sources. I do NOT want the Philippines in 10-20 years to still be a big virtual plantation with a lot of virtual sakadas in BPO and abroad, run by modernized plantation owners.


    And I see Cayetano as the man who is closest to being able to pave the way for that.

  23. PinoyInEurope says:

    My vision could be summed up as Taiwan plus Venuezuela. Not Malaysia plus Ecuador. If it is about protecting national interests – the well being of all taong-bayan, Chavez is definitely better than Santiago who is a defensive drama queen. I can envision the oil in Mamasapano being shipped to refineries in Davao, processed there and going into supertankers. Not just exporting crude oil like Ecuador does.

  24. PinoyInEurope says:

    I have come to the conclusion that what the Philippines needs are leaders who are no longer caught in old and tired slogans and visions that made sense in the past. Old-school Filipino nationalists like Santiago, the leftists of course, the old haciendero elite etc. are still hanging on to visions at best, unreflected concepts (old-school nationalists) and (for most of the left) just slogans that may have made sense in the past but are not adjusted to modern-day realities.

    Like in many job interviews, they ask people “where do you want to be in 5 years”, the employers of the next president, the Filipino people, should ask presidential candidates where they want the country to be in 6 years which is their term. What are their priorities, where they want to go to.

    Formulate Key Strategic Objectives and goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, assignable, realizable, timebound. Make every SONA a review of the KSO and SMART goals. Hope that the Filipino people become more future-oriented, not just purely present-oriented.

  25. An interesting read pointing at unequal distribution of wealth as the reason for the rise of populists and autocrats. It name-calls the rich, essentially, who most poor people would love to emulate if they could figure out a way to glom onto those billions, too. So there is a whiff of hypocrisy to the disparagement. I do find it interesting that the ‘populists’ include both autocratic nutters like President Trump and the white-knight do-gooders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). I don’t know if her 70% taxation level is the right mark, but I do believe heavy taxation of rich people is proper. I’d go with whatever my hero Warren Buffett would suggest.

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  1. […] myself thought a Tipping Point, and end of the Sisyphus predicament, was near in early 2015. Though I did see my error in late […]

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