The Philippines: “Please pass the Mighty Bond”


Filipino nationalists capture American blogger.

I remember an old glue commercial where a hefty guy hangs upside down on a cross-beam, his shoes sealed to the beam by a few daubs of Mighty Bond glue, or some similar product. My recall is a little fuzzy on the particulars, but not on the upside down man.

Mighty Bond glue is not recommended for dentures or pasting fingers to the table. It is strong stuff. It’s manufactured right here in the Philippines by Republic Chemical Industries, Inc., headquartered in Quezon City. The company makes a wide range of adhesives, as well as insulation, packaging and sealants. They’ve been in business for 50 years. Products are sold through mainstream hardware outlets.

The topic came to mind because I was trying to figure out how to describe what is missing in the Philippines in terms of nationalistic unity. It seems to me that Filipinos have pride in their ethnicity, in being Filipino, but not in being of the nation Philippines. That’s because the nation Philippines is one of the most diverse nations on the planet, with 114 languages, 7,000 islands, hundreds of tribes, thousands of clans or power families, fluid politics, regional jealousies, class barriers, racial discrimination, religious hard lines, women who use whitening creams and those who don’t, gays and homophobes, wealth and title superiority, crab envy and complaint . . .

I also suspect the inability to find pride in the Philippine nation has something to do with a government that consistently does not deliver. It does not deliver transportation or water or electricity or health care or courteous service or cell phone connectivity or globally competitive education or rice on the plate or peace or keep the nation free of imperialists. How is it possible to be proud of that?

Plus we have a couple of fascinating social phenomena at work:

  • One is that diversity in the Philippines is not seen as a unifying quality, something to be proud of, but a divider, something to envy or mistrust and condemn. Thus we battle over the BBL rather than embrace our neighbors.
  • Another is that good has weak gluing power, but people rally around critics. There are few rallies for good – the Pope’s visit being one, but it was forgotten in two weeks – but lots of rallies in protest that seem to have unending staying power.

Rancor is the way of the day.

And we have institutions that seem to have a charter to rip asunder rather than heal. These take many shapes:

  • A Senate committee looking for culprits in a battlefield loss rather than lessons from which to learn, and a path to healing.
  • A tabloid press that twists the ordinary to conflict and sensationalism.
  • There are nationalists who dislike foreign influence in any form, and even some who find OFW workers to be a form of betrayal of the nation. Like, people should stay here and starve lest they be called traitorous. These nationalist are like American rednecks who end up looking and sounding alike, and the tone is too often hostile, homogeneous racism. Their ideal is a Philippines sealed off forever in isolated splendor, the happy communes of natives putting rich piles of rice and fish on the family plates. . . . Under threat of death.
  • The Catholic and Muslim faiths, the fundamentalists, avid in their doctrine, inhospitable in their acceptance of different beliefs and values. God’s mighty smite is a weapon of choice.
  • The intellectual or wealthy elite, looking down their respective noses at the ignorant and the poor.

And, finally, we have our own emotional character:

  • Insecurities
  • Angers
  • Jealousies

Given a certain mix of circumstance and words and we become volcanic. Toothpaste and angers are hard to get back into the tube. Words spoken or written cannot be undone. They CAN be redone, manipulated, twisted into a form not intended, and thrown back into the mix of hostilities to fan the flames even higher.

We are all liars, in a way, I suspect. We strive for show rather than truth. We embellish rather than report. We hide rather than be forthright. We tell little white lies and big dark black ones.

So given all these forces for division . . . for misunderstanding and mistrust . . . how in the world do we ever find and identify with a “nation Philippines”?

How do we get past the flaws to take pride in the Philippines?

Here’s the secret:

Just do it.

Make the sacrifice.

We accept that the Philippines is a young democracy, an orphan child, an impoverished but spirited people, a divided land, an argumentative place, and we see in that division tremendous richness. We simply see the Philippines as the place where we are at, today, along the unreplicated timeline of history. It is a unique place in a unique space unlike any other . . . ever.

It is ours.

And in that unique identity, among all those troubles, we discover that great harmonizer . . .


We accept that there is beauty in our diversity and harmony in our different voices. There is richness in the exotic colors and flavors and sounds, tart and spicy, mellow and mild, conservative and wild. The Philippines is one huge, unrestrained street dance, and it is beautiful.

And we stand down from trying to reduce others to our way, our look, our style, our faith, our politics, our views on things.

We stop reducing other Filipinos.

And we appreciate them.

That is the Mighty Bond of Philippine national unity.

It is incredibly strong, and it is free.


349 Responses to “The Philippines: “Please pass the Mighty Bond””
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    As a kid I often wondered why glue did not stick to the insides of the container. Turns out that in the manufacturing process, either oxygen (for white like Elmer’s ) or water (for Mighty Bond) is kept out of the bottle. Exposure to either of the two is what forms the sticky bonds and harden.

    In our analogy, knowledge and patriotism could be our water and oxygen. Having copious amounts of it could bond our nation. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, and they say Filipinos aren’t creative problem solvers! That glue question has never ever occurred to me!!!! Score one for Filipino ingenuity.

      Your solution for the Philippines is equally ingenious, for its simplicity. Rather than acceptance, which is passive, “open your minds”, which is active.

      You are on a roll today. I also enjoyed your comment at Raissa’s latest blog about the Aquino smile, but couldn’t find any “like” button.

      • Have long been looking (and wishing) for that “like” button here as well.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, I probably wouldn’t put it up even if the system allowed it, Maria. It tends to overlay “popularity” on a blog or comment, and is looked at by too many as voting or granting legitimacy. It’s rather like survey that is totally biased in its selection of respondents. I don’t like Rappler’s “mood meter” for the same reason. It injects emotions into the business of reporting and analyzing, when what we really need is better thinking. That said, we always welcome lavish statements of praise. 🙂

        • ***”Ah, and they say Filipinos aren’t creative problem solvers! That glue question has never ever occurred to me!!!! Score one for Filipino ingenuity.” ***

          I noticed this too, amongst my Filipino friends here in the states. They are bright, but they are not what you would call “creative” thinkers. I was talking to several of my friends (Filipino) here about my experiences in the Philippines, especially with military/police/politicians, but also your day to day professionals (like doctors, lawyers, etc.) and the only creative thinkers I met were the Filipino-Australian, hybrid-ethnicities (-American, -English, -Canadians, yeah even -Japanese) entrepreneurs.

          I also mentioned that most Filipinos here are in government work. When they go to college they tend to chose social sciences, or nursing, but never the more challenging fields of study (ie. the fields of study Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Arabs, etc. tend to gravitate towards). I want to say that it’s mediocrity, but that’s too harsh, and didn’t say that, but everyone was left want of answers.

          Is it the religion? I just saw Philomena last week (Irish teenage mother, Catholic took her child, set for adoption, adopted by Americans). That sheep mind-set captured in the movie, when it comes to religious authorities, I saw this first hand–amongst both the rich and poor, although both have very different dynamics with church authorities.

          But not everyone is hard core Catholic, many are Sunday Catholics, same as in the Mid-East, Friday muslims (although they pray, but it’s more or less visual, for others to see). It can’t be just religion.

          I also noticed that education was really hum-drum there, I didn’t see anyone argue in person, the way people are debating and discussing here online. In the Middle East, the coffee shops, street corners with tea (always with tea or coffee) people argued about current affairs, philosophy, religion (but not usually internal to Islam), history, etc.

          There was also this materialistic component, my AFP/NPN counterparts were always asking for quality gear, gear I knew they didn’t need, but because they just liked the concept of appearance for the sake of appearance they coveted, all dressed up with no place to go. And I saw this in the general population as well–one of our local hosts in Sulu, datu class, had Louis Vuitton curtains, with matching couches, I had no idea such things existed.

          So I’m trying to figure out where this mediocrity comes from. And I know that is a hurtful word, but for lack of a better term, that’s the only word I know that captures what I am describing here. It’s important because it is the source, IMHO, of the Philippines and of Filipinos problems.

          Sure there’s crab mentality, but that exists everywhere around the world, it’s called competition. I’m positive it’s not that, nor tribalism, because these things engender competition. So the household, the extended family, is where I’m betting you’ll find this malady.

          Because if you can pin-point or triangulate where this sense of mediocrity comes from, then maybe Filipinos everywhere can fix the problem. If it’s the household that’s causing or sustaining this problem then it has to be institutions, by way of schools, that undo it.

          So the solutions part of this critique, if you (the readership) can set up a school, or a program, that would generate more creative thinkers among Filipinos what would this program be, how would it look? How do replicate this thing Joe lovingly called Filipino ingenuity above.

          I’m sure you’ll give a spot on analysis Ireneo, and I hope others would also chime in. Because if this mediocrity is left unchecked, America has no viable partnership with the Philippines. With the stakes so high (China) this should be a matter of national security–yeah sure, you can be proud of sending servants abroad and have them remit money back, but that’s no resource to be proud of.

          • nagimasen says:

            regarding the nursing degree, I think maybe its a little bit of racism. I heard some Filipino old timers here in the USA that they just want their children take up nursing or any course in the medical field because in this field, “racists” Americans don’t have a choice but to hire Filipinos because nobody else wanted to work in this field except now maybe because all the nice jobs have been outsourced to Asia

            another is that Filipinos still think in terms of the old country that parents provide for the schooling of their children. so when they see the cost of tuition and compare the probability of employment later, its better to just send their children to nursing school. cheaper, easy to find employment and it pays handsomely. they never thought about loan to avail or scholarship but then Filipinos wont get grant anyway because most often than not, they are way above the poverty level courtesy of OT and what else, medical field job.

            and lets remember, Filipinos who migrate are not the elite. first were the farmers in Hawaii and California then the professionals

            in due time when the influence of the old country is no more (third generation) then we will see if this observation is still correct.

            • Joe America says:

              “Filipinos who migrate are not the elite.” I’m not sure that sticks. Sec. Roxas migrated, and so did Senator Poe. They returned. Many who migrate become elite in their professions, mayors and councilmen, admirals, Obama’s chef. It is surprising how many Filipinos are in mainstream jobs of authority and considerable responsibility in America. Now the great masses are worker class. But that is no different than the Filipino population in general, or American for that matter.

              The popular degrees of nursing and hotel/restaurant management, and also here locally, criminology and seamanship, deserve a look to see what percent get employed in their field of study. I suspect it is less than 50%. But, again, I am not sure that is atypical, either.

              Interesting subjects you raise . . .

              • nagimasen says:

                when I say migrate, I mean permanently especially to North America

                Roxas, Poe, they didn’t migrate. they just studied in the US, tried living like ordinary Americans and when they discover that they have to cook, do laundry, clean etc do everything for themselves, they discovered that “America is not the proverbial land of milk and honey” because they have to “work” hard whereas in the Phils they have maids, drivers

                I read sometime ago that Roxas first job (intern) in the US is to copy financial docs. it maybe shocking for him when in the Philippines at the snap of a finger someone will do the work for him

              • Joe America says:

                Not quite an accurate portrayal. Roxas was recognized in NY as being a vital connection with the Philippines and he worked for some time with a foot in both nations, securing investments. Then moved full time to the Philippines. The domestic situation I think is just overlaying your impression and had little to do with anything. Senator Poe came back to right her father’s affairs after he was cheated out of the presidency and died. I don’t know why it is necessary to trivialize two people of quality who represent the Philippines well no matter where they are.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Well, now you know why I was a bit too forward about my “pedigree”. Because many Filipinos trivialize migrants as being “bakya”. US migrants trivialize Euro migrants as ignorant promdis who can’t speak English properly. Now sorry to bother you and some others with my sensitivities, but there are some of us who are proud and sensitive and will not let that kind of stuff stand. And maybe you will understand a bit more the internecine quarrels and grudges between Filipinos, even abroad, and will be able to judge us better.

            • Attila says:

              “I think maybe it’s a little bit of racism. I heard some Filipino old timers here in the USA that they just want their children to take up nursing or any course in the medical field because in this field, “racists” Americans don’t have a choice but to hire Filipinos because nobody else wanted to work..”
              Not just the old timers, but many young Filipinos do think that way also. Filipino media is feeding into this also. I realized that not just leftist, but many others also portray white Americans as racist users and abusers of Filipinos. Look at this trailer of a movie called “A Mother’s Story” starring Pokwang. At 1 minute in the trailer you see how the white couple is abusing the poor helpless Filipino mother. Affluent whites doing this kind of abuse are so unlikely, but Filipinos have no problem trashing white people to elevate her as a hero. This anti-white racism is deep in the culture and I would not learn about if it wasn’t my honest Filipina wife who is my best friend and helped me open my eyes and educated me about the true culture and thinking of the many Filipinos. Sad, very sad.

          • Joe America says:

            Interesting read. Let me just bounce off it. There is an authoritarian streak that runs through everything, the government (arrogance in service to citizens, although this is improving a little), the schools (rote learning, patriotism as obedience), and the family (little nurturing, lots of orders and discipline). People don’t learn the tools to be self reliant. Also, there are many not of this mold, so one has to be careful not to lay the generalization on everyone.

            The crab culture is very, very different from American style competition. It is a negative competition that takes aspiration and makes it bad. Rather than cheer it. So there is little of that competitive energy dedicated to building and cheering success. So negativity is rife, and it is in the daily lifestyle of the people. It is not an intellectual thing. It is a behavioral thing.

            The solution is best started with institutions like the schools and the churches. Get them off their authoritarian methods. Then it has to get into the families. Smaller family size would help. But also some government instigated “best practices” for the home, kind of a mass family therapy session. Tough to get to though . . .

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Learned helplessness could be the reason for this Joe. I have experienced a similar mentality among Romanians, who lived through a history of terrible oppression, have a class society similar to the Philippines that survived even Communism, and had an awful dictator who was a friend of Marcos – Romania was the first communist country the Philippines had diplomatic relations with, the authoritarian Ceaucescu style is similar to the Marcos building style. People learn FEAR in such a world, and putting other people down.

              I had to build the team authoritarian-style to get obedience – people who are not used to freedom don’t respond to anything else, you have seen that at times with me as well Joe. Strange how they reacted when I uncovered mistakes, the usual answers were “yes but” and then I told them hey guys, this is not about blaming anyone, it is about fixing things and they looked at me like I was from Mars, only one young guy smiled like I was a person he had long hoped for. Top BPO head at SAP Cluj now, earning top Euro in his early 30s.

              When I uncovered huge errors in the production system that had to be fixed manually, the entire team balked. I smoked outside “incidentally” with the head of accounting and told her about it. She ordered the team to work on it, day and night. An accountant who had made his way up from janitor, isolated by the sitting pretty girls around him, complained to me that is was “much work”, but I helped him do it. Grateful that someone had taught him how, he helped me with insider information throughout the project – the “masa” man whose grunting English was the butt of jokes among other office workers. Very similar patterns…

              Having written that, I think the best approach is carrot and stick, mixed with finding those people who can and want be helped, mostly in the younger generation 45 and under. Build a critical mass of people with a new attitude that can pull other aspirants with them. Promote coaching in firms and schools. Projects were people put up small businesses. Give ambitious masa a chance, there are many. The elite is still way too comfortable.

              Anyone who wants to see how the crab mentality works should read Noli Me Tangere. – Rizal observed it perfectly.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            I think the roots of mediocricy lie in Spanish colonial times. Because in certain disciplines that were not touched by Spanish colonialism – like arnis/escrima, which was either practiced in hiding or promoted by Spanish because they needed Filipino troops – excellence is there. Spanish prohibited the building of boats bigger than a certain size because they feared Filipino boats like the Philippines fears Abu Sayyaf speedboats or the Marcos regime feared Moro vintas. The Moros still have a culture of doing things properly untouched as evidenced by the way they massacred the SAF 44, sorry to say IMHO the mediocre troops were on RP side – not SAF but the AFP who didn’t fire artillery. Igorots also have a culture of excellence, one only needs to look at their handicrafts.

            I remember how the U.P. swimming team was excellent for the one year that a Japanese guest trainer was there – I was in the advanced swimming class, U.P. swimming pool between the Protestant and Catholic churches, he made us push our limits, no excuses. Often swallowed water even feared drowning but I became an excellent swimmer, even an excellent diver who could hold his breath for up to 5 seconds or so at the pool bottom. Anyway when he left, the U.P. swimming team reverted to their old habits of having their merienda at poolside and talking. They were no longer excellent anymore very quickly.

            The generation of my father that experienced Japanese occupation were obsessive in their quest for excellence, I think that was due to having seen a more efficient people deal with a less efficient one. My mother told me how my father had to – he NEVER told me this – assemble with the entire village on Sunday afternoons to watch how captured guerillas were led to the village square by headbasket-wearing Makapilis (snitches) and then were decapitated with samurai swords by Japanese officers. My grandfather was not only an abaca planter, but also a part-time guerilla, part-time rice smuggler to Manila from Bikol..

            This experience must have made them harsh, similar to the generation in Yugoslavia that experienced German occupation – my father has friends among Serbian ultranationalists. Marcos must have catered to that generations need to make the Filipino truly strong, but it went very wrong. My father’s harshness against mediocricy, his authoritarianism, was very typical for his generation I guess. Fortunately tempered by my German mother’s brand of strictness which was more about not just saying what was wrong, but teaching how to do things right. But no excuses their either, modern Prussian mentality is still very Prussian.

            So the quest for excellence became associated with Marcos and became hated/derided. The mediocricy that I observe reading about the Philippines today seems truly appalling. Before Marcos there seemed to be more excellent people that were lauded and praised. There was a TV game in the 1990s called Battle of the Brainless, rappers like Andrew E. who was a funny fool were liked. Top intellectuals who could be examples seem to prefer hiding from public view for fear of being called condescending when in fact they want to teach and learn, or leave altogether. One should also not forget one perverse aspect of the Marcos regime – they targeted the intellectual elite, many of the then Gestapo-like PC were stupid people who truly hated intelligence. Just a few personal theories right here.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              P.S. Without an American coach, I think Pacquiao would never have become world-class.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                BUT: there is a seriousness, a sense of purpose that I feel Mindanaoans have. Mindanews is practically the ONLY really top quality newspaper that the Philippines has. Duterte has a no-bullshit approach, OK he is a killer but I guess he has no choice with defective courts.

                Guess all of that comes from a place that is unforgiving, I know many stories from a Davao lady living here in Munich whose father was the only Christian merchant under Ampatuan protection. People who go for “bakla” half-measures don’t survive or thrive down there.

            • Joe America says:

              The roads in my area three years ago were mediocre, two-lanes of cement and pot holes. Today they are repaired and widened, the main drag being four lanes, and fast. The no-stray dog policy has removed animals from the roads so they are no longer spilling motorcycles. There is also a noise reduction policy in place and daily trash removal. Even remote areas were metered for water during the past two years. I cite these as examples that the nation is on the move, and in the right direction. This characterization of mediocrity might apply in places, but it is wrong to describe the Philippines of 2015 as “mediocre”. A better description might be “rising”.

              Again, as Cha has emphasized, it is best that we seek the truth as an important part of the discovery, lest we portray the nation wrong, and contribute to mediocrity in self-assessment.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Well Joe, that is a new development, I admit my information is slightly outdated and am happy for every positive correction. Lying about things is not what I aspire to.

              • cha says:

                Speaking of a rising Philippines, you guys may want to check out and two of its more recent initiatives detailed below. I believe these form part of the proof that there is indeed some work being done and accomplished by well-meaning Filipinos (and other interested parties) in moving the country forward not only in terms of infrastructure but also by way of developing new and or improving on existing mindsets. Joeam has it right, mediocre does not quite define the Philippines of 2015.

                1.The Open Data Day seeks to inculcate a data driven mindset among those who are involved and wished to get involved in good governance at both local and national level.


                2. The Integrity School has been designed for university students to understand how government works and the roles they can play in ensuring good governance.


          • nagimasen, Joe, Ireneo, cha, et al. great input thanks for the awesome feedback.

            Joe stated to start with schools and churches (I noticed these were many times one and the same especially in small towns), can you flesh this idea out more? What are other methods to ensure creativity. The Scandanavians are noted for the whole less is more strategy, will this work in the Philippines. The E. Asians go for more is more, they study like crazy, there is innovation but seems at the expense of the individual–I remember Korean students jumping out of tall buildings was a fad in Cebu around the time I was there.

            As for fixing the family unit. Specifically, how would you teach your kid, Joe? Knowing he’ll be attending either public or private school in the province, how will you adjust your teachings. I assume youre part of a large extended family now, how do you inoculate your kid?

            I do agree with rising as a better metaphor here, but I come from a perspective where assuming the worst pays off in spades.

            nagimasen, I disagree with your point on nursing especially in the 60s and 70s here in the states, I have aunts who were nurses who eventually went research then teaching. But they did attribute nurses educated in the Philippines as having lowered the threshold/standards of the nursing profession, but not at the start. In the beginning Philippine nurses spoke English really well, were outstanding nurses, then somewhere between the 80s and 90s an influx resulted in lesser nurses, English wasn’t too good now. So that could be just an HR watering down process not so much evidence of mediocrity.

            What I’m specifically curios regarding Philippine nurses is why their kids become nurses, instead of moving further up on the food chain, like doctors, lawyers, etc. Are they being told at home to just stay with nursing because it pays the bills? That’s more my point here.

            Cha, thanks for the links! I noticed the US Embassy was also involved, great job on them, they should’ve done this in the 80s, but better late than never I suppose. But these events look more like band-aids, social gatherings, more than an actual movement. I can be wrong here though, but if those wide eyed bright Filipinos pictured are given all opportunities to leave the country for work, drop of a dime, they are gone, so what happens to citizenship, governance, volunteerism, advocacy, technology and DESIGN (how exactly does design come to play here, I’m confused). As for does this actually translate in the real world? For example, the NPA still does teach ins in the mountains, I didn’t catch an increase in communism, it’s more of a symbolic thing they do now.

            So the question for you, is how to make it into a movement, ala the Arab Spring, now that’s revolution via the net.

            Ireneo, as always good commentary, and appreciate you toning it down with Joe, see how much work we get done, w/out the drama?

            I get what you are saying, but can you elaborate further on the stick and the carrot and the tipping over of this critical mass. Flesh out the details of your thoughts, hopefully you and Joe can do a blog series on this, from a Filipino living abroad and an expat in the Philippines. Solutions, guys, solutions. We know the problem, even if we can’t quite rooted it out. Let’s just fix it and get ready for China.

            for example, what is up with criminology in the Philippines, is everyone there wanting to be policemen? I seriously doubt it, and knowing the people I met, the higher ups of the military and police, it’s a racket. These guys retire, having done absolutely nothing, so what do they do, open more security guard companies? Nah, too much work, open schools that’s where the money is, then look for gov’t scholarship funds meant for poor students divert towards their schools of criminology and off to Europe and Canada we go! It’s a racket, Joe.

            If anything there should be more law schools, remember all those lawyers in the streets in Pakistan awhile back, they were a movement all to themselves, only I’d rather have lawyers plying their trade in courts and officers, how’s that for governance?

            I look forward to reading your response! Great discussion.

            • Joe America says:

              Framing the issue: the goal is applied creativity, for problem-solving and then efficient work based on an organized plan. The government is actually moving pretty fast in this direction, with the work of NEDA on planning and infrastructure investments, the Competitiveness Council, better transparency of financial information, simplification of small business processes and the like. But some areas remain troublesome, the electrical energy field because it is a rats nest of conflicting interests (oligarchs), DOTC which administers infrastructure and is jerked around by bidders (oligarchs), Customs, DENR.

              I think there is a path for ingenuity to rise in top universities like UP and Ataneo, and every public school child ought not be trained as a manager. The education path has several paths, including the applied path of TESDA. But the pipeline of having real careers is limited by nepotism and mediocrity in key positions, so the drive of ambition and competition for promotions is unfair and missing.

              To me, the best way to get change is to have government recognize it as necessary. To get the President to realize that the current way is building obedient laborers and not aspiring go-getters that can be pushed into the job field to enliven it. That the nation can do better. Then, like the transparency push, there can be a multi-dimensional effort to get more innovative thinking and personal ambition into the schools, as well as into the job stream (fair employment law). And there can be a “healthy family” push. I think that will occur when someone like Senator Bam Aquino is president. I don’t know that the current crop of aspiring presidents are that progressive. So maybe 2022 we’ll get a productivity driver in the palace (Bam Aquino; he’s too young to qualify for for 2016).

              • Joe America says:

                My own kid is of the privileged set, going to private school, getting travel experience for all the enlightenment that brings, and has two parents of different dimension, language and interest. He plays with relatives for socialization of the local kind and language development. He’s exposed to a LOT of stimuli, and is a problem-solver already. He reads well, and is tops of his class in math and English. So he is is not representative of the broader challenges faced by the nation. He’ll be valuable to some Filipino company or institution somewhere down the line.

            • Steve says:

              The nursing phenomenon emerged largely because nursing was seen as a ticket to “abroad”. It was a course that was not too difficult to get into and not too expensive (unlike medicine). Unfortunately its popularity led to a proliferation of fly by night nursing schools, and many graduates who paid tuition but were never able to pass the board exams even locally, let alone abroad. The local market is absolutely stacked with nurses who couldn’t get an overseas job, and wages for nurses locally are very low.

              Now the flavor of the month is all sorts of marine schools, supposedly preparing kids for work on cruise or merchant ships. I suspect this will go the same route. The jobs are there but the number of graduates will soon exceed the number of available jobs.

              One thing I see lacking here is opportunities for high end vocational training. TESDA tries but the ceiling is pretty low. If they could turn out international standard plumbers, electricians, heavy equipment operators/technicians, etc they would be tapping into a huge demand. Even in the Philippines wages for really qualified people are going up. Not long ago I was talking to some people involved in the Makati building scene who were complaining that they had to boost wages hugely to hire and retain qualified crane operators, because if they didn’t the guys would just go off to Dubai.

              I don’t really see a need for new lawyers… lots of those around, maybe too many. More scientists, desperately needed. Science is poorly taught in the elementary and high schools, and few students pursue these courses at the tertiary level.

              I have 2 kids in UP… don’t really see a culture of mediocrity among their peers, but of course that is far from the average.

              • Agreed on more scientists, I was comparing law schools to the criminology schools, either more cops or more lawyers, lawyers are more useful. They are the grease that keeps institutions going, as much maligned as they are. But here I’m talking about John Grisham type hero-lawyers, of that the Philippines also seem to be lacking. Philippine lawyers protect the rich–one can argue that it’s set up similarly in the West, but there are enough Grisham-type lawyers to even the odds. Not so in the Philippines. But there is an inherent need for lawyers once the Philippines is developed fully or during its “rising” phase, for better governance.

              • Joe America says:

                That’s true, there is no Civil Liberties Union or other consumer-interest organizations that have much funding or clout. The lawyers just follow the money rather than idealistic principle. Even the supposed advocates like Harry Roque are really shady operators of low ethical standard and very greedy principles. He’s pro Binay and a master at bogging down the courts with frivolous filings.

              • Steve says:

                There are good lawyers, though too few of them, and they are often unnoticed. I’d also say, based on personal experience, that there are a lot more critical thinkers here than many Westerners realize, though they are not generally found in the social circles that most foreigners frequent. Still not nearly enough of them to generate the sort of critical mass that drives social change, but they exist.

                I do not personally see any viable solutions coming from outside the country; certainly not from the US. Outside forces, especially on the government level, may be able to provide support, but there’s little they can do to initiate and even a supporting role will be very limited.

                I’ve long wished that the US government would put its spooks to work, prepare a really detailed report on corruption in government and the military, naming names and citing specific incidents, with detailed supporting information, and concluding that military and economic cooperation should be downgraded unless the Philippines takes the bit between the teeth and starts enforcing the law. That report should then be stamped top secret, do not reveal to anyone, and wrapped up in a little pink ribbon and delivered directly to Wikileaks.

                That would set the cat amongst the pigeons in a major way, and start some badly needed ferment. That wouldn’t provide any solutions, but it might force some problems into the light and spur others to start solving them.

                Of course it will never happen.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              “What I’m specifically curios regarding Philippine nurses is why their kids become nurses, instead of moving further up on the food chain” the buzzword here is SECURITY. My father also wanted me to become a U.P. professor and “inherit” the University House on 65 Gomburza Street, just a few yards from the house where Raissa and her sister lived, daughters of U.P. law professor Espinosa who got me out of jail and his wife, a proud daughter of the famous Filipino creole family Pardo de Tavera. Never noticed Raissa, she was too quiet I guess, Ilse was a constant guest at our house though, but she did notice my brother or me in shorts. Filipino family stories, part of the warmth of our culture. 🙂

              Filipina nurses in Germany often did the same thing, sons or daughters following in the footsteps of their fathers or mothers and “inheriting” the networks their parents had, including in one case I know the German Catholic priest with a lot of influence at the hospital they all worked in, an echo of Filipinos currying up to the Spanish parist priest – and to well-meaning American educators, and a certain minority in this Society of Honor. The mentality has a lot to do with playing safe and not daring, people like me who became outcasts in their own clan and among their own people, even among overseas Filipinos, are rare, it damned hurt in the beginning but being forced to stand on my own feet and not have the warmth of one’s own people to run back to – except my mother and sister who helped me but conditionally – made me strong and able to face the music anywhere.

              “hopefully you and Joe can do a blog series on this, from a Filipino living abroad and an expat in the Philippines. ” Yes, I would welcome if even Parekoy took part in our projects. Too much Filipino pettiness in ALL of us. My way of doing things was shock therapy, something like slapping people then looking at them in the eye and saying hey guys, is this the kind of bullshit you want to keep on doing? Anybody who is truly loyal to the cause of the Philippines is welcome, even an American soldier like you, if he is truly forthright and talks straigh like you do, I did not and do not appreciate Joe’s corporate and marketing style with it’s double meanings, even if I do know and understand that world, I am a former rebel from a family with a lot of military men in it, my mother is Prussian and always taught me to open my visor, didn’t always stick to those values but I have that compass so I have always returned to true north (not Ollie North) when I did go astray. Inspite of my own pettiness and stupidity at times, I am willing to apologize and also to forgive, I have apologized to Joe already, but he seems to have become very Fiilpino, people who go native usually are more extreme than natives, just like Islamic converts are the first suicide bombers. My offer to work together stands to all and sundry, to Joe, to Parekoy, even to GRP I know you are reading here benign0 you smart asshole SOB! 🙂

            • cha says:


              “So the question for you, is how to make it into a movement, ala the Arab Spring, now that’s revolution via the net.”

              If we view social movements as having a life cycle and not simply a one-time event or phenomena, then I would say that there is already a movement going on to rid the country of corrupt officials and practices. The question is whether that movement can progress through its life cycle towards eventual success.

              Herbert Blumer, an American sociologist, identified four stages in the life cycle of social movements : 1. Emergence 2. Coalescence 3. Bureaucratisation 4. Decline

              The first stage, Emergence, is the stage of “widespread discontent”, there is little or no organization spurring the movement, potential participants to the movement are unhappy over some policy or some social condition. (I would think that as early as the days of Gloria Arroyo as President, the movement for a corruption free Philippines was already emerging and is in fact, what catapulted Aquino to the presidency.)

              The second stage, Coalescence, is the “popular stage”. It is when the individuals who were woken in the emergence stage become more aware of others like themselves and reach out to each other such that they no longer are just ‘random upset individuals’ and become a group/s that band together with a more strategic focus or are in the process of finding their way towards one. This is what is happening among readers of Raissa’s, Joeam’s and other blogs and social media platforms. Another example is the Million People March sometime last year at the Luneta.

              The third stage, Bureaucratisation, is the stage of formalisation and is characterised by higher levels of organisation and coalition based strategies. There are formal support structures in place and resources available to carry on day to day tasks towards goal accomplishment. Groups like (backed by the Makati Business Club) and Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance (backed by the Ateneo School of Good Government) are examples of attempts to “bureacratise” the movement.

              The fourth stage is Decline or institutionalisation. There are four ways in which social movements can decline : repression, co-optation, success and failure. I suppose there is no question as to where we hope a movement towards good governance in the Philippines can go.

              I hope an understanding of the life cycle of social movements can give us ideas individually on what each of us can still do to help progress the movement towards good governance in the country. Better still if it can spur further discussion on what the Society can do together.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              “I look forward to reading your response! Great discussion.” Thanks to you, Lance Corporal, for bringing out a great discussion here. And bringing my stuff to the table.

              I very much appreciate forthright help from American people – and from soldiers like you.

              What I hate for a reason is Ollie North and Quiet American type skullduggery from anyone, and that for a reason as well. Lot of stuff like that happened in Marcos days and shortly after, some of it necessary, some of it total bullshit with shady deals included.

              Much of what I now are old rumors which may not even be true, but where there is smoke there is always a bit of fire. This kind of experience shapes you, Mamasapano brought out memories of things I heard about and maybe was partly involved in that were strange.

              Forthright cooperation with the United States – Si señor! Skullduggery on both sides with possible shady business – No Sir! Something about Purisima rubs me the wrong way, sorry to say, my take on it is that he had some bullshit going in with some rogues on US side.

              • Joe America says:

                I find a contradiction in a remark you made about me revealing DFA secrets because that is not very smart. But you abhor the secret ways of the US. I frankly have given up on privacy and figure the NSA reads everything. It’s rather like walking at a nude beach for the first time. Uncomfortable, then you get used to it. The enemy the US fights is a bunch of really nasty bastards. Any tool that works, go for it. Need my hard drive, I’ll plug it directly to NSA. Want to mike me up, just plug it in and point me in the right direction. Are there aberrations? Do Filipinos government workers play free cell? It’s the human condition. The US is not an ogre. The ogre is the other guys.

                And I didn’t reveal any DFA secrets. The information I shared was passed to me in a public forum (twitter), as in, “yeah, sure, we work with all our neighbors at some level”.

              • Joe America says:

                I find a contradiction in a remark you made about me revealing DFA secrets because that is not very smart. But you abhor the secret ways of the US. I frankly have given up on privacy and figure the NSA reads everything. It’s rather like walking at a nude beach for the first time. Uncomfortable, then you get used to it. The enemy the US fights is a bunch of really nasty bastards. Any too that works, go for it. Need my hard drive, I’ll plug it directly to NSA. Want to mike me up, just plug it in and point me in the right direction. Are there aberrations? Do Filipinos government workers play free cell? It’s the human condition. The US is not an ogre. The ogre is the other guys.

                And I didn’t reveal any DFA secrets. The information I shared was passed to me in a public forum (twitter), as in, “yeah, sure, we work with all our neighbors at some level”.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “The US is not an ogre.” It often has been Joe. It is better than the other superpowers.

                But ask Salvador Allende about it. Ask the victims in Abu Ghraib that – BTW the US General who revealed it all was General Taguba, a Tagalog, Rumsfeld and guys made fun of him passing by in the White house and stuff. Even the US has to guard against evil.

                So it is not wrong to watch people to keep things straight. Think about Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal, now what would the States become without democratic checks and balances and a powerful free press? It would be like Russia and China within 20 years.

                Now this is why I am for Purisima and his US contacts to be investigated thoroughly, by “A Few Good Men” like in the movie Tom Cruise played in (one of the few Men of Honor in the otherwise dastardly Scientology organization) on US and on Filipino sides.

                The Lance Corporal is one of the Good Americans, I feel that. You IMHO do not want to see that there are shades of grey in many situations and that one has to be forever vigilant against “corruption in high places”, like Norman Mailer wrote in “Harlot’s Ghost”.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “The enemy the US fights is a bunch of really nasty bastards. Any too that works, go for it.”

                Those who fight dragons may become dragons themselves, to quote Nietzsche once more.

                Those who fight for the good side of the force must always guard against the dark side.

                The Ring of Power is dangerous for its bearer, as it can cause him to become addicted.

                Keen lessons from philosophers and movies. America during Dubya going wrong ways.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “I find a contradiction in a remark you made about me revealing DFA secrets because that is not very smart. But you abhor the secret ways of the US.” Every nation spies. Every nation has its secrets. For the benefit of the audience here, I mention once more the German BND which fired one of its agents for helping the CIA outside official channels. And Merkel who protested towards Obama because here mobile was eavesdropped from the heavily fortified US Embassy in Berlin. But Germany and US still cooperate!

                You have read all of this before, and I am getting the impression that you either don’t want to get that I am not a stupid leftist or nationalist, only a realist. Now if there were no balance of power in this world, if smart countries like Turkey and Germany did not know their own interests INSPITE of being US allies, the US would rule the whole world then what? POWER CORRUPTS, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Competition keeps things straight, keeps any power from abusing. Latin America is rising against the US, and I prefer Spanish to be the second global language to Arabic, Russian or Chinese, these guys are bastards I agree with you. Now I won’t really give much of an answer in Raissa’s blog, the people there are pros and understand my stuff, but here I am summarizing.

          • Poverty and corruption, I think, are two of the causes of mediocrity.

            Let me offer a practical example here.

            My dream was to be a scientist, or failing that to be a medical doctor. Lack of funds, resources and proper contacts to guide a promdi (from the province, I lived in a far flung barrio) I ended up being an accountant after I literally crawled my way to finish the cheaper course, all members of our family helped so I can finish the degree, my parents farmed and raised cows and hogs and loans, my sister worked in a factory and I contributed by trying to maintain academic scholarship in a mediocre college. (the one who offered scholarship, a Laurel political figure died in a helicopter crash, which led me to enroll in an unfinished secretarial course, unknowingly ruining a possible scholarship in a better course). Cancer, TB, stroke in the family intervened along the way, the result – a mediocre career path.

            Multiply that to thousands in the provinces and barrios and slums in cities and metropolis not counting those too poor to continue schooling (no CCT programs in those days yet) because feeding the family and getting medical help when needed is the priority – those end up to be “sending servants abroad and have them remit money back, but that’s no resource to be proud of.”

            Blue collar jobs, yes but honorable ones compared to drug trafficking, stealing and skin trade recruits. There is no shame in that, and a little remittance each when combined with others go a long way as part of resources which partly help keep the economy afloat.

            A few of them like Ireneo who were of the middle class to begin with, managed to succeed and be affluent in the country they now live in, some are successful professionals like my cousins in the US and Canada, but most are mediocre ones with families to support.

            That is why I am so enthusiastic and wary of unthinking destabilizers (like Joe) in our country now, with the present government’s effort to fight corruption and at the same time improve the economy so that eventually, the sterling growth as reported will trickle down the poorest of the poor, to raise the standard of living, for schools to be of high caliber but affordable to them so this mediocrity can be a thing of the past for us to be a worthwhile partner of America in national and regional security.

            • (is that a dangling modifier there, woot !….. (like Joe) should follow the word enthusiastic, I didn’t mean that you’re among the unthinking destabilizers, sorry….

              • A better way to express it ” That is why, like Joe I am so enthusiastic and wary of unthinking destabilizers in our country now……”

              • Joe America says:

                I got it, and chuckled at the fact that it could be taken either way. I know we are on the same wave length, which is astounding considering how different our paths were. Yours is what I see locally here. The families band together to try to get at least one or two kids “out” of the constraints of poverty. Some of them do make it, and are so appreciative they spend a lifetime repaying the debt in small installments. I am most proud of the college scholarships I granted to three kids on Mindanao, one the high school valedictorian daughter of my housekeeper, who graduated and went to work at her chosen profession, IT. Two others, the sons of a fishing family who befriended me when I first arrived in the Philippines. The mother kept crying for some reason when her eldest son became the first college graduate in the family. He was hired by a businessman in Butuan. Incredible discipline and determination in that kid.

                They returned the favor by letting me know what the local NPA were up to, and other ways that kept me safe.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                @Joe, I am now truly proud of you. And I do not regret having badgered you so much.

                Because I am Filipino, I know the kind of unspoken suspicions and doubts superstitious people have – like even my Tamil Tiger grocer who suspects you might be receiving a monthly check from Langley to make sure certain things happen in Philippine politics.

                At least this is now out in the open for all the silent ones to see, strengthening your case.

              • Joe America says:

                I gave an elaborate response to one of your comments at Raissa’s blog, but it went off to moderation. I hope it pops out in a day or two so I don’t have to reconstruct it here. It dealt with my motives, goals for this year, alimony (haha), and how much I appreciate the people who comment here. Intelligent, well-meaning individuals who define themselves rather than needing feedback from others to figure out who they are.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Ronald, you are the talk of our entire meatpacking district barrio at our Tamil suki now, with the Tamil talking in his loud voice, the Punjabi Sikh who witnessed the war against China and Pakistan pitching in just as loudly, the Serb nationalist who hates Camp Bondsteel being in Kosovo (that is our territory, damn NATO, damn the EU, fuck Germany), the Iraqi Kurd (yeah great, the US is helping us get the ISIS out of our home, good they are in Erbil), the German butcher and former skinhead dressed US redneck style (damn America, that place is run by Jews), the former Swiss-German mercenary sniper for Serbia against Kosovo (who hid in the forest helped by Russian GLONASS which is their GPS equivalent and shot down Kosovo leaders from 2 km distance), the Turkish imam of our local mosque and German hippie and rich kid students pitching in.

                I said guys, I really don’t know about that American Joe, he could be anything, I will taunt him to get him mad and force him to let down his mask, then I will know. Now I know more. Won’t have time for that stuff next week, next customer is up now. But for the sake of the Philippines I wanted to make sure you were not a “Quiet American” like the one Graham Greene mentioned in his famous novel. The Lance Corporal shows his true colors, which is why I respected him from the start. You are showing your true colors now. Very good.

              • Joe America says:

                My only relationship with the various US security agencies is the file the Los Angeles FBI has on me for attending an anti-war rally. I drove and they recorded all the license plates as we listened in the rain to Kunstsler, Rubin and Hayden. For a few weeks afterwards, a nondescript van could be noticed parked here and there along the street outside the house we lived in. They gave up when they discovered that I am not really such an exciting guy, except to my wife.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “Intelligent, well-meaning individuals who define themselves rather than needing feedback from others to figure out who they are.” Ronald, you are right in your allusions.

                I am in the process of defining myself, that is becoming clearer and clear. What I do appreciate more about the Lance Corporal is his soldier-like clarity and bluntness.

                Your style of alluding to things is more corporate, something that rubs me the wrong way. But it is a good thing that we are communicating more clearly now, no more bullshit.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Many Filipinos lack clear self-definition. They need borrowed identities to survive. Either by hanging on to Uncle Sam (many Filipino GIs are like that) or to Germany/Bavaria like I have often done, or by identifying with Filipino nationalism to go against insecurity.

                Now my deceased mentor Rainer kept asking me: “who are you”? And I looked at him truly tanga, and finally he answered “simple, you are Irineo Salazar, who else”? The reason why I am being so verbose about my own journey is that it is a journey of many Filipinos.

                Not the members of the Society, they have ARRIVED. I am still on that journey but almost there, but I can show the silent readers who are still on that journey that it is POSSIBLE. Self-confidence through knowledge, an important thing after rising from victimhood. 🙂

                I understand that you are still pissed of at me. Now Parekoy is also a brother for me, but he still has his way on his own journey, if he wants to make it also is his choice alone.

                So I am not contradicting myself if one looks at the broader picture of things y’all.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “My only relationship with the various US security agencies is the file the Los Angeles FBI has on me for attending an anti-war rally. I drove and they recorded all the license plates as we listened in the rain to Kunstsler, Rubin and Hayden. For a few weeks afterwards, a nondescript van could be noticed parked here and there along the street outside the house we lived in. They gave up when they discovered that I am not really such an exciting guy, except to my wife.” Thanks.

                Now I shall be very open too. I did some freelance stuff, more of being a messenger for certain circles close to the Philippine Embassy and Filipino students studying in USSR. Funny that all these students went home, like on command, just before the Berlin wall fell.

                Some people closer to the top of those networks had suspected CIA links, some had possible BND links but I am only speculating, I have no true information. Don’t even know what was in the private letters I took along for some people when I visited my great love who was studying in USSR – and then faked some papers with connivance of some people in DFA to get her out. All statutes of limitation are elapsed now, the people involved either retired or dead. My ex-girlfriend died of a sudden heart attack in 2010 at around 40 years. Found her KGB ID – Committe on State Security, I can read Russian fairly well – in her sports bag when I rummaged it out of jealousy more than 25 years ago. I suspect that she may have played both sides or maybe the Filipinos were doing it as well, you never know.

                Now I am in Munich working for a defense contractor among many customers, this is even risking my clearance if this is read by anyone but I don’t care. I am taking this big risk because cha and you challenged me to tell the truth, I have risked so much in my life…

                Now the reason I talk the way I sometimes talk is my unique experience, and many things I still cover up and embellish to protect people I care for who still might be affected. Myself I risk when I want to. But for all you know, I could be a BND man or a freelancer who don’t care because I live close to their HQ and have protection doing the dirty work for them, making sure Germany has its stake in the new lucrative business of the Philippines. So I do recommend that the NICA do its work on Irineo Salazar – and Debbie Luisa Infantado.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Joe, you hate war movies for a reason. I don’t read Tom Clancy for a reason, only the older stuff like John Le Carre and Graham Greene, and even that gets me worked up so I stopped and donated all those damn books to the Munich municipal library years ago.

                Debbie and me were young and foolish, I was 23, she was 19, we were pawns in a bigger game we hardly understood, she more knowingly me more like Forrest Gump which my father very rightly once called me, a lucky innocent fool stumbling around the world.

                A confused fool with Mensa IQ only now finding his own way and helping others find theirs, especially my folks back home who are plenty confused, especially those who are now being fools by helping China, just like sexy, sweet, temperamental mestiza Mindoro girl Debbie was a fool by helping the Russians or playing both sides. At least I may have unwittingly helped destabilize the Warsaw pact and bring the Berlin wall down, so my conscience is somehow clean now. But I was totally foolish and didn’t see the game then.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                I am a nerdy type, socially handicapped, possibly an Aspie. Could be that President Aquino has that as well, who knows. I have also been mistaken for a sociopath, like him.

                Now I am NOT asking for pity, just for the benefit of the doubt that I too mean well.

            • Mary,

              Thank you so much for that example. And I do apologize if my choice of words seem offensive or condescending, my intention is for honesty, ie. if we are honest in defining the problem, then solutions come easier. It’s habit, and I just realized how incredibly personal this all is. So my apologies, I do have the Philippines’ best interests in mind, even if I may seem without empathy.

              I met many like you in Mindanao, similar case of poverty and the lack of safety nets. One in particular was a beautiful well read girl from a small town, who practiced her English with me and ended up helping me out with some interpreting. She was on break from her schooling in Zamboanga, hotel management, she wanted to work for a cruise line and tour the world, specifically to learn languages, that was her big plan–and judging from her English, she was a natural linguist (also spoke rudimentary Arabic). Then a few months went by, on my way out thru Zamboanga had some drinks and met her again right outside a local KTV joint, working as a GRO. Same story I’ve heard many times, Dad got sick, ran out of money for school, in need of money for hospital, GRO was quick money.

              Your story and Joe’s description of his kid as privileged, was also a theme I noticed during my time there. I didn’t get to talk to my pretty interpreter last I saw her because she was actually about to leave with what seemed another privileged old Filipino in a nice ride. So there’s this dynamic of the poor playing a cliched role paralleled by the rich’s similarly cliched role–the rich screw over the poor, both literally and figuratively.

              How do you fix this? I can’t imagine fixing it at school, since they’ll not meet there. I noticed TV shows, Wowowee was popular when I was there, they take poor people and rich hosts, for some reason there’s always an annoying gay person, everyone seems to love (but I digress…) Instead of condescending game shows and dramas, do you guys think, since Filipinos already love TV, that “Good Will Hunting” type dramas will alleviate this divide? How else, what other ideas would bridge such a wide societal gap?

              As for remittances, I meant the nation as a whole, the system to include the people (both victim and victimizer) participating in this positive loop, should not be proud of sending servants out to remit money back. The point should be to keep all that national resource in. I know those OFWs are working hard out there and what they are doing is honorable, I’ve met Filipinos in the Middle East and their lives out there is not to be envied, not to be glorified. I as an American go out into the world, if anything happens I know my gov’t will do everything it can for me (well maybe not everything, depends on circumstances of course).

              Like Joe if something happens to him the US Embassy will send emissaries. The Philippine gov’t encourages leaving the country, after it refused opportunities to the very people its lionizing at national heroes, and they can’t even provided basic supports to its citizens out there–there’s something inherently wrong with this. I meant there is no pride in that regard, not an attack on the Filipinos out there, but the system which brought them there.

              • Joe America says:

                Re last paragraph and support for OFW’s, I actually think the support provided is pretty good, and improving, but the demands are just huge considering the numbers of people, the many nations/languages/customs to be dealt with, the challenges in low-security nations, and the various fly-by-night operators. OFW’s are not just left on their own. Indeed, they often ignore instructions to leave dangerous places when trouble is brewing.

              • Actually, no need to apologize… but then I appreciate the deed and accept the same with grace.

                I Just felt I had to say something in defense of my countryman’s mediocrity, not being defensive but facing the fact that it’s true, we are mediocre in more ways than one.

                I pity your pretty interpreter and can empathize with the likes of her who has to bite the bullet of being in that business of being used by the rich, because circumstances and lack of better options brought her in that situation. I cannot judge her, knowing her reason.

                When my father was struck with cancer, I sought the help of the DSWD, I provided all the documentations they required, we got qualified to be helped and were able to see him through the end in comfort.

                Yeah, the system sucks, victimized by poverty, by corrupt officials, by illegal recruiters who don’t coordinate with the government so their recruits (oftentimes undocumented, making it hard for the DFA to come to their aid), some DFA staff becoming the problem instead of a source of succor.

                The current government is currently doing something to alleviate all these, unfortunately, six years is not enough to make it all happen. Hopefully the poor voters will help in putting into office somebody who will continue the programs, if not improve upon them.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “Same story I’ve heard many times, Dad got sick, ran out of money for school, in need of money for hospital, GRO was quick money.

                Your story and Joe’s description of his kid as privileged, was also a theme I noticed during my time there. I didn’t get to talk to my pretty interpreter last I saw her because she was actually about to leave with what seemed another privileged old Filipino in a nice ride.”

                I played the role of the rich old Filipino with a young Romanian student, Marian Rivera look a like once – but she did have the courage to tell me what I was doing, being an a-hole, the discernment to see that I actually have a good heart and not play the tricks she played on rich German men here in Munich and even tell me how she tricked them, even gave me tips to on how to get out of my mid-life crisis and find my own girl again.

                She is back home now, OK I know from looking at her Facebook page (hacker in me) that she has contact with a major Romanian Liberal Party politician, a clean guy compared to the rest of the bunch there, but that’s her thing, she has a teenage kid in private school…

                And I know a former classmate from high school, son of a big shot, who liked to sponsor poorer girls in Manila at the beginning of his business career just after finishing college. Told me how the game works, play charming but be an asshole all the while… Very sad.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “OFW’s are not just left on their own.” When Filipina OFWs left Kuwait in the early 90s, many of them had to be just as “nice” to some Muslim DFA people in Saudi Arabia, similar to the story of the two girls the Lance Corporal wrote to us about.

                It is just something I heard from other DFA people, might be a rumor, but if the testimony of the Lance Corporal were not here, I would probably have been dismissed as wacko.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “some DFA staff becoming the problem instead of a source of succor.”

                I experienced firsthand a story of a Labor Attache who wanted money to help an OFW.

                That OFW was my former yaya, an Ilocana, pressured by her first German employer.

                The Filipina church NGO woman who was supposed to help her used her as a slave.

                We – my mother, my yaya and me, investigated her and found out about her corruption.

                She – my father’s kabit at that time – had to leave the NGO quietly, things were hushed up.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Now Mary, people, you see why I could not tell the whole truth? Do you the relevance of my stories to the Philippine situation now? I was part of the looting at that German NGO with my father originally.

                But out of loyalty to my second mother, my yaya, and my mother, I turned whistleblower. My father hit back at us several times, I avoided the country due to threats.

                Now my father and me speak again, things are forgiven, but the truth is the truth.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Mary, you are an accountant. My father was on his kabit’s payroll. She misdeclared his taxes and we almost got into trouble. My father hated us for leaving the country and did not help us out, on the contrary he threatened my mother at the dinner table.

                From years earlier, I remembered where my father had his secret bank account. My mother had him give power of attorney to her and went to that bank.

                His kabit was caught days later trying to deposit the money she owed us on that account.

                Now you understand why I was against the culture of impunity, but silent. It is painful to have to betray your own if you know they have done bad things. I understand Grace Poe.

                I was indirectly threatened by my father in case I came home to the Philippines. In return, I found contacts to the red light district of Munich, tricked them into thinking I would deliver Filipinas. My father found out about this and threatened to charge me with trafficking. Before my mother and sister went to launch her book which got the National Book Award, I threatened Tatay that he would reap the whirlwind if anything happened to them, insinuating that my contacts had contacts in Angeles and two men on a motorbike would not cost much, I wouldn’t harm him but he would be a VERY lonely old man after a while. Almost Wangwang for my mother and sister when they went home hehe. All is forgiven now but not forgotten, but I know what the culture of impunity can mean. I was part of it.

            • Joe, I can understand the tears of the kid you helped thru college… that’s generous of you.. thank you.

              When my benefactor-to-be died at that helicopter crash I cried in disappointment and rebellion, relatives advised me to enroll in a vocational course not knowing that it will ruin a chance to be an academic scholar in a 4-year course as a valedictorian graduate. Loans from generous grandma (the 95-year old we are now taking care of) to be repaid from the sale of piglets my mom was raising started me on the right track.

              Victims and victimizers… I refused to be a victim… If I may, I’d like to offer one more experience…

              On my second semester at college, knowing that I need the money as the academic scholarship pays only the tuition and not books, room rent or food, I was on the look out for a job to help out.

              One man who claimed to be the brother of the dean in the Commerce department offered me a job @ PNB so I went with him, thinking I will be interviewed at the bank. Instead we went to a establishment and was offered a a soft drink (already in a glass).

              Mindful of something I read, I refused to even sip it and asked that we go to the bank for the interview, he hemmed and hawed and so I walked out on him.

              I asked the dean about it, he got angry and asked why did I not accept. To cut the story short, he gave me a grade lower than the required to maintain the scholarship. We got another loan to be able enroll in the next semester. I regained it only after the succeeding semester.

              • Maria,

                Yup, that’s on par with what I saw there when it comes to those in positions of power. I went to Dumaguete for a quick trip. On a small passenger ship that goes to Cebu only I wasn’t going to Cebu, slept in between bunk beds next to crates of chickens and bundles of huge jackfruits.

                And there was a commotion that was real curious that caught my eye, because they tried to keep it quite. Which involved two pretty ladies, 18 or 19, pretty but provincial, maybe the first trip to Cebu. Supposedly one had no boarding pass or both, maybe was lost, I was mostly reading body language, and some harsh words were exchanged. The girls said no several times.

                It looked like the two girls had lost or were not carrying the right documents, so the 2 officers (in white) negotiated that a meeting at the bottom quarters would set everything straight. So both girls looked at each other, after having pleaded for what seemed minutes, they felt there were no other choices. Reluctantly, they went to the lower deck, with the 2 officers.

                After they came back up, the two girls were smiling and drinking soda, but they were walking a little differently. It’s not quite date rape, as yours would’ve likely been, but what kind of rape was that? is there a Filipino phrase for that type of sexual escapade? it looked like another normal day at the office for those two two guys, but to their credit they did look pretty distinguished.

              • edgar lores says:

                It’s stories like this that make me want to be a Christian. Then I can believe the Dean is roasting in eternal hellfire.

              • @ edgar lores LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)

                yep, my caution prevented me from graduating cum laude, but well, that’s life… but at the time I cried buckets of tears in frustration but not regret. In my anger, I boycotted the graduation ceremony.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Doesn’t surprise me. I once posted something about girls in a certain Visayan city engaged in survival sex, especially during the time tuition fees were to be paid. Which shows the virtues of CCT and other programs to avoid exactly that conondrum.

                Because from Romania I know that “survival sex” or “student prostitution” can become a habit, a lot of guilt involved there in a religious Orthodox country, very family-oriented as well (Latin culture) so they are afraid that parents might find out, so they are vulnerable to extortion and being forced into even more professional prostitution by pimping gangs. Macho men (Latin culture again) often want sex without condom, fortunately Romanians don’t usually have sex outside their own people much except for pros, so little AIDS there, but once you have a child you cannot account for your family puts you aside except for being a source of money, so many women become prostitute OFWs sending money home.

                I know some stories from U.P. that corroborate Mary’s stories, even some about my father. Macho society encourages that stuff. Sponsored a Romanian student doing stuff in Germany for a while as well myself, Marian Rivera lookalike, very friendly and nice, but she managed to get me out of my asshole mode and see what I was actually doing. That woman is my friend now, she has finished her studies and is back in her hometown. Yeah she told her parents she is working in a Munich restaurant, I lied on that count as well…

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “Victims and victimizers… I refused to be a victim…” Good. I often was not a victim, but I was a small snake like Grace Poe was callled by Joe. To small to strangle people like the python I have now become, I was played instead of me being the one playing.

                Tried to find a way out without harming people I cared for, harmed people I cared a little less for only a little, did not really make my stand where I could have, being a snake.

                I admire that you made your stand, that Ninoy did. I am ashamed my father and me didn’t, I am proud of my German grandmother and my German mother who either kept quiet and did make their stand. my mother who switched our bags and our passports in the plane from Hongkong to Singapore, we left as Filipinos and arrived in Lee Kuan Yew country as Germans, we knew from DFA contacts that Hong Kong was not being watched so much because it always was a shopping destination, we booked fake return tickets to Manila…

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Lance Corporal, thank you for giving me a voice in this community that has so often ignored me. I am truly a stable and strong person, given what I have experienced.

            Anyone who is truly forthright and compassionate will see the truth in my words, even if I am still covering up for some people I care for who I do not want to hurt, a Filipino trait.

            Yes I have lied, but given the vindictiveness and lack of compassion that nearly ALL Filipinos have – exceptions prove the rule, sonny realized through my story of being put into a jail with common slum criminals how many people and opportunities Marcos destroyed, Joe acted as if I was putting a crown of martyrdom on myself by being open, showing the same lack of compassion that he wonders about among Aquino’s enemies, yes I don’t have a bullet in my neck but I have stuff that I pushed away in many years, who is to wonder that I only slowly came out with my stories, only when Raissa confirmed in her blog that I was truly part of the U.P. world, not arrogance but truth, did I started being open.

            I am here to help the Filipinos find out more of the real story, I am far away and have overcome being a victim, thousands at home have not or even have Stockholm syndrome. Nais ko lang, ika’y tulungan, katotohanan ngayo’y matagpuan, like Sharon sang in the famous Filipino movie Kaputol ng isang awit. Hindi magkakaiba, simula ng ating buhay, mula sa sulok ng daigdig, na kapos sa kapalaran we come from the same part of the world down on luck, like Gary Valenciano likewise sings in that movie.

            Now it is up to all of us to Listen Without Prejudice like Sting once sung, if it was not Sting, cha or Joe, please correct me, but without insinuating that Amalayer! 🙂

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              And it is NOT about ME, ME, ME like you Joe and jameboy have insinuated.

              It is about hundreds and thousands of others who have experienced similar stories and cannot or will not talk, who are damaged because of what that goddam dictatorship and it minions did to us even abroad in cooperation maybe even with rogues from your US side.

              It is about enormous pain that the country relived with Mamasapanow which was only a trigger, if I did many others may also have the same motivations. Now if you don’t care, that is fine, but here I am reaching an audience that may care, some may have similar experiences and may feel comfort in knowing they are not alone, so this is not about my finding myself or whining, this is the courage of one who has survived and is coming forth to testify. It is also addressed to the misled young people who want to vote for Bongbong. Damn Joe can’t you see that for all our difference I AM ON YOUR SIDE, wadapak Ronald?

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Now I am willing to listen to your version of what is now happening on the ground, Ronald.

                You should also be willing to understand what led to things being the way they are now, seems like ancient history but as long as there are people alive like me who experience it firsthand, you will have to listen to that part and not brush it off like it is just “superstition”.

                It is as real as the stuff you saw in Nam Joe. And once we are both listening to our sides, that would be a MIGHTY glue between us and many others. The glue of understanding.

            • Joe America says:

              ” . . . so often ignored me . . .” People have things to do, they can’t read your fast and furious tomes, and people have said this straight up. Don’t dump on them. They also tire of your personal revelations and compliment you on your insight. They’ve said that straight up. Life’s a mix. It’s rich if you want to find it. It’s troublesome if you expect others to take care of your needs. We all have our own to worry about. Try sticking with the issues instead of the persons . . . me, you, Parekoy. We aren’t the subject of the blog. We are irrelevant to it, other than as catylists, teachers and students. The lesson is not psychology, I would add.

              As for apologies, I seldom do them, seldom expect them, and don’t have the inclination to sort out whether they are genuine or not. It is too much effort to get wrapped up in the neediness they seem to represent (e.g., Parekoy demanding I apologize when I have absolutely no idea what I am supposed to apologze for; having a different opinion than him??) Make a mistake? Rectify it and move on. I make a mistake? Grant me some humanity and move on. Others make a mistake, smile and move on. Shit happens.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Well, I guess my personal revelations are irrelevant to people who did not experience those times, but to Manong sonny I believe they were a revealing eye-opener.

                It ain’t psychology, it is about thousands of people who have not spoken up. The regime had an enormous effect on Filipino culture and psyche. OK then we are all needy.

                In this article, I have finally made my point, in the fullest and clearest way possible.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “I make a mistake? Grant me some humanity and move on. Others make a mistake, smile and move on. Shit happens.” Hehe, you remind me of my business partner.

                Guess many of us Filipinos still need to learn that form of equanimity. I am more open about it than most, and give my views from a perspective strongly based on personal experience. None of us is truly objective, but I do label my subjectivity. 🙂

            • “Lance Corporal, thank you for giving me a voice in this community that has so often ignored me.”

              Not ignored, tolerated and welcomed is more appropriate.

              A lot of members of this Society have finely honed BS radar and gifted with gobs of thoughtful discernment, Ireneo. We read what you wrote. We did not call you a liar. We were merely upholding the Society’s values and beliefs: honor, honesty, and integrity – while trying to bail water from the good ship, Philippines.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Thanks Juana, you always have been straight with me and very fair.

                If you read my full story, the relevant parts of it now out, you will understand.

                I was caught in the middle between impunity and honesty – within my own family story.

                Joe was right, some nationalist want to force their people to stay at home at gunpoint.

                Finally I have found the strength to reveal the truth about impunity – so people may learn.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Impunity works Mafia-style. They make you dirty when you are young and innocent, by the time you realize what you are in they have the goods on you and you can’t get out easily. My story is the story of one that got away, is safe and can tell about it.

                So before anyone judges Grace Poe, think about what she may owe somebody. Think about what she might have been involved in and cannot easily get out of at this point.

                If that disqualifies her as President, it is truly a pity. She may hit back once she has power.

  2. Tolerance is a nice virtue, tolerance of each others’ weakness or fault when it’s not coupled with malice and sefishness thus willing to learn and be corrected, with teachable hearts and minds; acceptance of each others nature and individual uniqueness.

    The death of Ninoy and Cory has united the Filipinos, the 2 EDSA people power revolutions demonstrated that tolerance has a limit when democracy has been abused and corruption was unashamedly practised and seem to be a way of life rather than the good old honest public service.

    Thank you for appreciating this, Joe and proving to most of us who are losing faith in our countrymen, much like Mariano and others in diaspora, that there is hope and beauty in our country despite all the negativity that abounds all around.

    Truly, the Filipinos are worth dying for – Benigno S. Aquino II, our modern day martyr.

    Some other principled and well meaning leaders add, the Filipinos are worth fighting and living for.

    • edgar lores says:

      On May 2nd, the Filipino nation will come together, and the bond will be… Bond, Manny Pacquiao Bond.

      For a few hours, even days, the nation will reel with pride, proud to be brown-skinned, proud to be a world-class beater, proud to be a mighty champion.

      One-hundred million hearts will beat as one.

      Or maybe not.

    • Joe America says:

      That is true, isn’t it. There was a uniting under EDSA and Cory (that unfortunately eroded) and under her son that seemed to melt with Mamasapano. That “individuality” is the smallest division. And if we respect that, we would, I think, respect the nation, too.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      That is another form of unification, stronger than tribal in the Philippines: religious stuff.

      Noynoy was a martyr, his wife and son continued. Rizal was a martyr for the Revolution.
      Gabriela Silang continued the fight of her late husband Diego Silang with great support.

      The Iglesia Ni Kristo unite people and even tell them whom to vote and they really do it.
      The Pope united the people for a short while in harmony. Mamasapano destroyed it.

    • sonny says:

      @ Mary Grace PG

      I hope you don’t mind me hanging this reminiscence under your comment, apropos the glue that binds. Your mention of Ninoy and Cory as the symbols of our national unity also points to our, to me anyway, symbol of ‘breaking asunder’, Ferdinand Marcos. Until recently, I gave him the benefit of the doubt; that he meant well. Now I have to admit that at the very least he opened up a climate of extreme disunity. His grab for power set many of our democratic institutions and cultural conversations back to a condition of quicksand where any movement in our political, social and economic lives makes us only sink. The consequence is that we have become heavy dependents and even mendicants to external bodies for our subsistence. So I think his body should be given a real rest and send it off where it belongs, the earth’s dust. His vision is gossamer material. Took me all these years to be disabused of these thoughts of him.

      • edgar lores says:


        You are a big man. Better late than never.

      • I’m glad, not just glad – mightily glad. Thank you for expressing it.

        As Joe pointed out, that unity (from the 2 EDSA people’s power) quickly eroded mainly due to what Erap and GMA’s regime of corruption and the latter’s attempt (much like what Marcos did in his time) to destroy government institutions – judiciary, military, the church..even the legislature who time and time again refused to impeach GMA in exchange for favored PDAF allocations and releases. It resulted in a culture politics of favor and horsetrading which the future sitting presidents would find hard to fight so their reforms and programs could finally take off.

        This is the reality, an obstacle to any good minded president like PNOY that had to be hurdled to cleanse our society of the corrupt and scalawags… he had to play the political game to obtain result unless he go the way LKY of Singapore’s benevolent dictator, a hard pill or bullet to bite considering his parent’s fight for democracy.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Exactly. Until he is finally buried, he is like a zombie haunting the country.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Kudos to you, sonny.

        It’s never too late to change one’s view in light of evidences contrary to your old one. It is better to embrace a newfound wisdom than to suffer cognitive dissonance forever.

  3. karl garcia says:

    We need a glue to unite us all. What we don’t need are the solvent or rugby sniffing boys that plagues our youth.
    Even in prison samahang ilocano samahang bisaya,caviteno,etc leads to gang wars.
    Is it true thar even abroad the disunity abounds?

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Regular fights between Tagalog and Kapampangan basketball teams during all-Filipino tournaments in Germany back in 1980s. The youth team of Filipino-German migrants that I managed hated the guts of the Filipino GI team from US bases. And so forth…

      Bikol association I was a grey eminence of – because the President was my uncle’s barkada from Legazpi – split up into Albay and Sorsogon groups due to one quarrel.

      Tagalog and Kapampangan clans even started fighting in the bowling alley sometimes.

    • Joe America says:

      Political disunity in the US is getting extreme. It is poison. That’s what led me to understand that democracy is always changing, an evolution or in the case of the US, erosion. For me, the Philippines is in a very exciting point of its democratic timeline.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      A constitutional monarch for the Philippines. Not necessarily Eddie Ramos, even if he does look like King Bhumibol of Thailand. Because aside from tribal, the next thing that unites Filipinos is religious or ritual stuff. A constitutional monarch with certain rituals would give a basically superstitious – as Joe says it – people a figure to identify with. Especially during days like June 12 and December 30. Make sure he has a Bentley limousine and uniform.

      Even better if he has a daughter who can sing and is friendly, and an elegant Queen.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Where I live abroad, I do not see a lot of division based on old provincial ties. Sure, they shout, “kabalen,” “kabayan,” “manong,” “inday,” and other common Filipino greetings to each other but I have not heard of the Kapampangans duking it out with the Ilocanos. What I am familiar with are petty party brawls between close friends because they were under the influence of San Miguel. Most, keep a united front and are refreshingly helpful to each other.

      • Joe America says:

        The Philippines should require young people to do peace corp type projects domestically. Like, Manila high school graduates go spend two years doing good works in Mindanao, and Visayans spend a couple of years working in Manila. Break down the provincialism.

        Then we would hear protests about the loss of our local identity.


        The local identity is going away no matter what. Put it into a museum and move on . . .

        • That is a good idea, Joe. It is true that we fear what we do not know. Stereotypes abound because we are afraid of debunking the myths by immersing ourselves in an unfamiliar milieu.

          Let me recount here a true story related to your local peace corp project. In the late 70’s, Tarlac public schools started hiring “local” teachers. People generally think of Tarlac as an Ilokano province. Nope. A small portion of Tarlac municipalities and barangays are populated by Pampangos. Some Ilokano teachers were posted at Pampango speaking towns and barangays, most of them women. Understandably, some of the Ilokano teachers did not report to their assigned Pampango schools. The brave ones did. Most of them stayed and married Pampango men. As time passed, more Ilokano teachers flocked to the Pampango regions of Tarlac and vice versa.

          How about a new teachers’ corps to challenge provinciality?

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Excellent idea, and a way to unite communities into a nation by people knowing each other.

          Similar to our batch in Philippine Science back then – we laughed a the Visayans for talking funny at first but they became our friends after a while, even the Muslims…

  4. We’re tribal. I think this tribal mentality makes us focus on differences; helps make us less proud as a nation.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it’s hard to see that tribal component when one is stuck in Manila traffic, but there for sure are deep loyalties to the small communities, the tribes and clans and families.

  5. josephivo says:

    Talking about strong glue, in the 70ies I worked for Monsanto, then still a petrochemical company. One of the products we made was GMS glue, it was so strong that when you touched it and glued by accident two fingers together, you had to go to the hospital for chirurgical separation of your fingers.

    One day I had to fly to the UK with a sample of 2 liter to get it tested in a prototype canning machine. This was just after plane was high jacked and Brussels airport was inundated with heavily armed special forces. The custom officer, a lady, must have seen my nervous face and she stopped me to open my luggage. When she saw the jar with the lethal glue, she asked to open it, while I hesitated a curious guard with an impressive FAL automatic rifle looked over her shoulder and asked with heavy voice “can’t you see this is a plastic explosive?” She looked frightened, he laughed, then she too and I could go.

    Glue can be dangerous, especially in the wrong place.

  6. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    The main glue in the Philippines are personal bonds. Trust and acceptance a rare commodity.

    Finding out today that Raissa Robles’ father was the one who got me out of Pasay City Jail back in Marcos days – they did not take us to Crame, no they took us to be in one big cell with youthful offenders from the slums of Pasay city – makes a difference, knowing who I have in front of me.

    The glue has to be through groups and personal links. And leaders of groups showing that they accept leaders of other groups. I KNOW Raissa who accepts Joe so I finally accept him. 🙂

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      The Binay way of unification is a variant of this. The Duterte variant as well – he has a Muslim and a Lumad sidekick to unify Davao. Old rajahs had their datus under them and called them brothers – their little brothers of course who paid tribute to the stronger.

      Nearly everything works that way in the Philippines, the tribal culture runs so deep that the only way to create a nation that people care for is a sort of modern tribal federation. Duterte for all his faults is native enough in mentality to understand and espouse this.

    • edgar lores says:

      Personal bonds — that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? That’s favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, the Us-Them model.

      The bond, the loyalty, should be to an ideal of what is right and not to a person. A person, a leader, can be right or wrong. And if he is wrong — an Ampatuan, a Marcos, an Estrada, a Binay — then the bonds will lead one astray,

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Let us say that in the case of Raissa, I know for a fact that her father, her sister in fact her entire family are truly decent people – being friends of my mother, and because her father helped me at his own personal risk. Knowing that they are decent people, their judgement on other people is a form of recommendation. In a society where you hardly know who is telling the truth and who is lying, you need something to hold on to. That was my point.

        • edgar lores says:

          Thanks. I was aware of your point. I was looking at the broader picture and questioning the general statement: “The glue has to be through groups and personal links.”

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            The general statement alone is really not enough. But in a low-trust society where people do not trust for good reasons, networks of decent people may yet form a trusting society. It was a really great feeling this morning finding out who Raissa really is in her blog. TRUST I never felt in many years came back. I went out to buy some stuff and the world seemed like new. Especially remembering her father. I am alive and here now due to him.

            Somehow when I read about the 1950s Philippines, there was still some kind of glue there. Marcos times left many of us with a deep scar. Mamasapano reopened mine after years. Possibly to allow for healing and finally acceptance. That the world can also be good.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              One could literally say Raissa’s father saved my ass. Who knows what would have happened to this mestizo if he had stayed longer in a cramped cell in Pasay City jail?

              Entertained the cell boss, a 17-year old drug dealer, the entire night with stories of German autobahns/cars. He and sidekicks asked me if all German girls had big breasts..

              Around 16-18 people in a cell where we slept side by side on the floor in four rows…

            • edgar lores says:

              I can imagine discovering personal connections in such a serendipitous way is uplifting. Not only down to street level, but having a personal bridge.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                The bridge to the childhood that ended when we got arrested, definitely. Back to life.. 🙂

                Now think of how many people are around 50 and older now, multiply my story by hundreds and thousands in variations, and you know why distrust/anger rules the nation.

              • edgar lores says:

                I’m trying to remember the times of my father, pre-Marcos, if there was anger and distrust then. I’m not sure but it seemed like a more innocent time… and a gentler time.

                I can recall Dad though fulminating at politicans on the radio and at Marcos on the TV. But the Senate was an august hall then, populated with honorables like Tanada and Recto.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Try to think of those who did NOT just spend one night in city jails like we did and could literally not save their asses, but of course never talked about it to anyone – in a culture where they hide the mentally ill or put them in straightjackets. Think of the story the Lance Corporal wrote about yesterday, about the NPA who does not believe in Communism, but joined because he saw his mother and sister raped by police while the Army watched.

                The regime not only killed many people, it broke and scarred many. Some who were coerced into working for it may have suffered or still suffer from a Stockholm syndrome. What also was perverse is that it targeted the best people, half U.P. was in jail early 1972.

              • @ Ireneo

                “Try to think of those who did NOT just spend one night in city jails like we did and could literally not save their asses, but of course never talked about it to anyone”

                Like Ninoy Aquino who was jailed for years (was it 7or more)… in solitary confinement, transferred to Laur, (North Luzon) while blindfolded, tried by military tribunal, considered then as a kangaroo court…. it’s a measure of the strength of his character that he did not succumbed to the Stockholm syndrome… as he said in his various speeches, Marcos almost broke his body but not his spirit, strengthened it in fact and made his wife and son strong, stoic and principled.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “it’s a measure of the strength of his character that he did not succumbed to the Stockholm syndrome” True. Not everybody in the country was as strong as him.

  7. josephivo says:

    Glue, gluer and gluing. A common history can be a glue and a future goal can be a glue.

    A common history of suppression, a common history of poverty for most citizens… but who can exploit this strong glue? Where are the guerrilla and union heroes? Look at retired Lulla in Brazil or better José Mujica the retired president of Uruguay. A president who liked more to help others then to help himself. An ex-guerillia fighter, still living in a simple hut outside the capital with his wife, a three legged dog, some goats and some chicken, living from cultivating flowers. He drives a Volkswagen Beetle from 1987, it was only property item on his “SALN” (was sold in an auction for several million, he gave it all away). Gave away 90% of his presidential salary too. Such a figure can glue the poor together. Poverty in Uruguay in 10 years’ time decreased from 32% to 11%.

    A common vision of poverty reduction, same examples, same story.

    What party has the courage to find this Filipino? No not Binay, a Mujica type of person who loves the others more than himself, there are plenty of this type of strong motivated people, look at the ates and kuyas abroad, got to the squatter areas, the mountains, the nameless NGO heroes, the odd municipality with a Robredo…

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Crispin Beltran was a Mujica type. He was our contact person for union teach-ins.

      He was later Anakpawis rep in Congress and died falling from his own roof he was fixing.

      Filipino society is way too feudal for that kind of idol. Better have a constitutional monarch.

    • I would say Jesse Robredo was a Mujica type to a certain extent. He lived simply but not as frugal as Mujica. He was charismatic and loved by his people. Most importantly, his leadership style was effective in changing Naga City. This was the man I wanted to become president one day. He could have been our Lula. sigh….

  8. Micha says:

    Disunity seems to be the fate of humanity at large because 73% of what’s in the universe is made up of dark repulsive energy.

    Scientists have found that an unexplained force is changing our universe, forcing galaxies farther and farther apart, stretching the very fabric of space. If unchecked, this mystery force could tear even atoms apart.

    Not surprising that in the human level, hatred, bickering, war, poverty, greed, violence, cruelty, dishonesty…anything that we regard as repulsive or evil dominates our world. It’s global. Filipinos don’t have a monopoly of that phenomenon.

    That’s because in the tug of war between attractive and repulsive energy, between positive and negative, between good and evil, if you may, the dark repulsive side is, in cockpit parlance, llamado.

    Sooner or later, even the mighty bond won’t stand a chance.

    • Joe America says:

      A rather unnerving perspective that seems to have a lot going for it. The negative force is certainly persistent, because, as a species, we seem unable, even with our large brains, to master the art of happy.

      • Micha says:

        Yes it is. When I think about it, I usually get depressed.

        The hope is for humanity to be able to have advanced scientific knowledge to somehow reverse the polarity. The ideal is 50% attractive matter and 50% repulsive dark energy.

        Otherwise it’s all for naught.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, we are consigned during our lifetimes to this crappy bickering planet, then. Although there’s always a one-way ticket to Mars for a fresh start. Elon Musk is a pretty determined guy. But, on second thought, the bad force is there, too.

          I think I’ll just buy a boat . . .

          • Micha says:

            Whether we like it or not, if humanity is to survive, we need to make Mars habitable. The Earth will soon be toast. (although some are ecstatic that with a warming planet they would be able to plant tomatoes in Greenland).

            • Joe America says:

              I’d wish the genetic specialists would design some gills. I’d order up a pair. Seems easier than all that rocket work and groveling on the red planet. But the silliness aside, I think science and technology is the great hope, whether here or on Mars.

              • Micha says:

                Science and technology, yes.

                Which is why it’s important for humanity to get rid of the baggage of organized superstition. What it has done and is continuing to do is promise false hopes and multiply the pain and the suffering and the violence and the cruelty we do to each other.

                Pope Francis has just bewailed the recent beheadings of Christians by ISIS warriors.

                It’s sheer madness.

          • I find it so hard to understand that some people would pay millions just to live indefinitely in Mars….

            • Joe America says:

              Self-sustaining existentialists. Their rational minds control the emotions that we “normals” experience, and their joy is found in conquering the natural impulse to be afraid or need others. I agree it is unusual, but more power to those willing to give it a go.

      • Bert says:

        “The negative force is certainly persistent, because, as a species, we seem unable, even with our large brains, to master the art of happy.”

        Be careful what you wished for, Joe. Master the art of happy and you will be happy the rest of your life. That will make Heaven in the afterlife a very boring place to live. That’s not good for the religions of the world.

  9. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    As for American unity, it was formed by people coming into a completely new land – not completely new in fact, but sparsely settled. Australia and America are NEW types of countries as compared to all other countries in the world. OK Latin American countries were also settled, but except for Chile and Argentina which are also new countries, there was a significant percentage of black slaves and/or indigenous people that mixed with the settlers, creating another kind of nation.

    Old nations like those in Europe or Asia (African nations are a difficult case, because they were often drawn across tribal lines and still suffer from this) were formed out of tribal federations or royal dominions. France was a royal dominion, Germany in the Middle Ages – the Holy Roman Empire – was basically a federation of tribes that regularly elected its emperor, Switzerland was and is a collection of mountain tribes that decided to go their own and not let any kings rule them, fierce mountain people who like the Igorots Steve described would take Scheiße from no one. 🙂

    India also has hundreds of languages, but its unity comes from having been under Mogul rule for centuries before the British came. Philippines is a country that came together by colonialism and people migrated inward, never identifying truly with the state, keeping their identity to themselves. Now it is not that easy to form a national identity. Nationalists try to but don’t succeed. Regional identities like that of the Bikol or Ilokano have epic legends like Ibalon and Lam-Ang as the glue. Epic teleserye Amaya was a recent attempt at a Filipino epic legend based on historical facts.

    Since Filipinos are emotional, give them a figurehead monarch. Make it the Sultan of Sulu so that the Muslims can feel that they are part of the country too. Reinvent ancient Malay royal rituals.

    And weave national, regional, local, clan and family histories into a rich tapestry of narrative, colorful and beautiful as a fiesta. To open people’s minds, you have to win their heart first.

    • “Reinvent ancient Malay royal rituals.”

      I was talking to a Philippine Marine, who was teaching blades and swords, and I asked why blow-guns, bow/arrows, use of the shield was not part of the curriculum, when black & white pictures of natives/lumads as late as 1950s showed them with these implements. And if what youre teaching us is truly from the ancient Filipinos (or Malays) why aren’t those implements there? He got kinda frazzled.

      And a PNP guy who’s from Bukidnon (a lumad, a really cool guy) chimed in, yeah kinda like how the PNP logo is upside down! And proceeded to explain. The Philippine Marine, from Manila, just had no real native/ancient knowledge, yet he was so arrogant when faking his funk!

      So when you make things up, especially for cosmopolitan Filipinos from cities, better to research and visit Anthropology museums first. OR just be honest and say we’ve lost most of what we were and have to start from scratch–instead of making things up. It’s called being honest.

  10. andrewlim8 says:

    I don’t consider our tribal tendencies or our regionalism that big a problem, and it can be overcome with stronger forces like economics. We are actually lucky we are not like the Serbs and Croats who wanted to decimate each other not too long ago. Or the tribes in Africa. I cannot imagine Kapampangans wanting to kill all the Ilocanos.

    Sure, those things exist, can’t deny them but to illustrate my point: if tthere is a force strong enough to pull disparate ethnicities together, things will still improve. Take NYC for instance. A very diverse city and people still live along ethnic lines. But if a new building or restaurant is built,
    various nationalities will come to work on it: Jews and Wasps will fund it, Italian-Americans and African Americans will construct it, Latinos and Asians will man the backroom and security. Sure,
    there will be friction and everyone wants to be the top guy, but it gets done anyway.

    Sports heroes are a unifying force, but it is ephemeral. Economic heroes create something that can go on and multiply the good it creates.

    I’d like to pose this question to Society members: how many jobs have you created in your entire life?

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      “I cannot imagine Kapampangans wanting to kill all the Ilocanos.” Some Moros want to kill all Christian settlers, from what mindanaoan once wrote here. And some Ilagas want to kill all Muslims, from what Steve once wrote. Mindanao is a bit like Yugoslavia sometimes.

    • edgar lores says:

      As consumers, aren’t we all economic heroes? We may not have created jobs directly, but we have sustained many.

    • Micha says:


      Not so sure if economics can be a unifying force. There’s a civil war going on in the Keynesian school of thought alone.

      Maybe you meant an improved economic condition can be a unifying force?

    • Micha says:


      Not so sure about economics being a unifying force. There’s an on-going civil war in the Keynesian school of thought alone.

      Maybe you meant an improved economic condition will be a unifying force?

    • Joe America says:

      300, directly, net of those I eliminated, and thousands indirectly through my lavish spendthrift lifestyle. Mysterious question . . .

    • ” I’d like to pose this question to Society members: how many jobs have you created in your entire life”?

      Could you please explain the point of your question? Where are you going with it?

      Directly, very few as a business owner and hoping to create some in farming in the near future. Indirectly, I’d say several not in actual job creation but in sustaining pre-existing jobs by sending kids to college, giving money to business start ups, buying people groceries and necessities, etc.

      If the answer lies here: “Economic heroes create something that can go on and multiply the good it creates”.

      Aren’t we all economic heroes for fueling the economic grindstone?

      What sustainable business with positive multipliers do you think will be feasible for Filipinos?

      • Sounds almost American, huh, Joe? If you’re not job creating, you’re on welfare, vote Jeb Bush.

        Agree with Juana, sometimes the most significant and important contributions cannot be measured.

      • andrewlim8 says:


        My objective in asking that question was to counter the inherent negativity in all of us, myself included. Joe came up with this article, looking for that “glue” and after fewer than 10 posts come all that negativity once again. Look at racism in the US – it is still there, less than before, but it’s still there. But does it stop the economic narrative of the US?

        My point being, you can’t cite regionalism or tribalism as an obstacle to progress and then stop there. If forces stronger than it can be found, then it can be shunted aside. My question re the number of jobs one has created highlights the power one has in gettting things done, even in a small way.

        Yes, being a consumer helps the economy.

        • Joe America says:

          Right, it is rather interesting, the power of national bond is built strongest by respecting the smallest possible division, the individual. Then the various communities or organizations we belong to are incidental. They are “adds”, not take-aways.

          Thanks for crystallizing that concept, andrew.

        • Thank you for the clarification, andrew.

          Yes, everyone has the power to make a difference, one deed at a time.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    The bond that glues the Filipino together is: CONTROVERSIES. SCANDALS. Since Filipinos have very very very little life-altering contributions to the world, THEY RALLY BEHIND the anointed Doctor of Humanities, Brigadier General, Boxing Sensation, Basketball Player Congressman Manny Pacquiao who attended 4-days of congressional hearings paid in full the whole year without single Filipino complaining or rallying to return the rest of his pay. They’re lovin’t it. Life is Goot.

    Of course, Filipinos have IRRI, which Bill and Melinda dropped by to use Los Banos, to help developing countries to grow miracle rice for Philippines to import if not smuggle in. INQUIRER was miffed Bill and Melinda did not made courtesy call at Malacanang and arrived in shroud of mystery incognito. So they say. INQUIRER did not understand that Bill and Melinda are private citizen like me when I visit Philippines. I do not tell INQUIRER of my arrival. No gun salute. No military brass band. No parades. No speeches. Bill and Melinda are like me. We treasure our privacy. We still have our heads together. We do not ask Filipinos at the airport if “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? YOU DO NOT KNOW ME?” Or, “DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS?” Nothing like that.

    Filipinos have lost their pride in them. Their dignity. There are no single traditional looking Filipina picked to represent the Filipinos in international beauty contests. The government prefers to import half-white half-breed half-Filipino english-snob imported ex-colonist-look beauty queens instead. I just realize that past Miss Cebu and current Miss Philippines are half-and-half with foreign last names. My mother quit beauty contests when her skin turned sunkist-brown toiling under the sun planting IRRI miracle rice which she found out too late it doesn’t grow in the Philippine clime after all. Bill and Melinda must have realized that. They only stayed for less than two hours and did not bother to rouse the U.P. regents.

    Another bond that glues the Filipino together is: AMERICAN IDOL. Their eyes were glued to the television. When the traditional looking Filipina contestant lost, The Filipinos were glued to the controversy that American judges discriminated her. Gave her the most difficult song so she’d lost. Then dropped her like hot banana cue when she told the world thru Fox News that she’s a Mexican not a Filipina and she will cut a Mexican album complete with Mariachi Band.

    One thing about Filipinos. They do not want to hear the bad about them. They’d rather talk about it in private and in whisper. They never publish what is wrong with them in editorial, OP-ED. Filipinos all went to school they were taught Total Quality Management. They cannot seem to know the tenet of TQM is: TO KNOW THE SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM, KNOW WHAT IS THE PROBLEM.

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Mighty Bond only works for a few days in the Philippines. The Filipinos bond in every EDSA Revolution then fall apart few days later. Why? Mighty Bond I used is made in the Philippines. Try Made-in-USA might bond. It sticks forever.

    Filipinos rally against Janet Napoles. The reading sectors against the U.P.-educated Binay Families and U.P.-educated Arroyos. Of course, U.P.-educated Jinggoy Estrada. Yikes! Bong Revilla graduated highschool from my Alma Mater! Karamba! Thank goodness, Fairfax High did not produce locally-grown corrupt high school students.

    DOH acting director and former dirictor were also trained from U.P. Gosh, I cannot list all of them because they are so many. Yes, we got a sprinkling from Ateneo and la Salle but the U.P. monopologizes corrupt bureaucrats and elected officials. Before I forget, Marcos came from there.

    Tanda supported Marcos. Fought against Marcos. Then came back with his natural antics: Corruption. Gimme a list of all those who fought against Marcos. Fast forward today, most of them are in the same cottage industry as Marcos was. Those Filipinos against Binay will eventually become corrupt. No doubt about it. The motto is: BINAY OUT! IT IS OUR TURN!

  13. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    My parents fought against the devil American colonist so they can run the Philippines like hell than run by Americans like heaven. Eventually they gave up. They faked and forged our documents. All bags are packed. Ready to go. Took one way Pan-Am tickets to America. Hopped on DC-9. Surrendered to Americans and applied for re-colonization. Now our lives are run by Americans like heaven. America may have porn on the streets for free next to NYTimes dispensers. No state-sponsored religion. No prayers in school. Yes, we have corruption, too! Despite, WE BECAME TO BE THE MIGHTIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

  14. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    Communities do not have to be racially pure, that is nonsense. Communities are the stakeholders living in a certain place. Whether it is a town, a region or a nation. Communities should help one another, but never exploit or dominate one another, or interfere without being asked to.

    Now I am not qualified to say what the interests of the Filipino nation as a community are, but yesterday THIS was posted in the forum, and it has to do with United States interests:

    It is high time for Washington to find new avenues of approach. The U.S. has critical interests at stake. They include naval access to sea lanes necessary to keeping the peace in the Taiwan Strait and Northeast Asia; the secure, long-term, uninhibited flow of seaborne trade; and the security of the Philippines…

    First, the U.S. must give up on ASEAN’s central role in managing the problem. ..

    Second, the dispute should be “internationalized.”…

    Third, the U.S. should consider changing its non-committal position…

    Joe America posted as an answer to this on April 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm:

    A very interesting read that I’ll add to the “Must Read” list. It essentially melds what I am saying, from the Philippine perspective, with what Lohman is saying, from the broader global/US perspective. The conflict has moved past the Philippines. Indeed, he is saying it should move past ASEAN because ASEAN has not demonstrated any power at all, and China’s reclamation work reflects China’s attitude toward the entire global arena. One of great disdain.

    Well, yesterday, President Aquino acted in PHILIPPINE interest by announcing an alliance with Vietnam to share islands. This is in national interest, minimizing the need for the USA.

    Now Joe, I acted very angry, but in my anger lost track of the most important trigger for it.

    If you are really for the Philippines as your adopted country – as I am for where I live now, Germany, you would try to find solutions that minimize intervention from your old home.

    Let us assume for purposes of discussion that I were a Filipino Moro and would call for Filipino Moros from Cotabato to help solve some problems that Germany has. What would I be called?

    And what would I be called if I suggested the German navy come to the South China sea?

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      The Lance Corporal, who posted very good stuff here yesterday, also called on the US to help but that is OK – he is an American living in the USA and may do so.

      I would not even have a problem with an American permanent resident in the Philippines calling for that, if he did not claim to be all for the Philippines like you Joe.

      President Aquino is doing the right thing – organizing neighbours to get rid of the bully, while having Uncle Sam only as a backup at arms length for the moment…

      • In governance, the Philippines needs American help–they have no viable military, no viable police, the tanods are better keepers of the peace. The culture flaws they’ll have to do it themselves, but this can be done thru American intervention also only not by white Americans but diaspora Filipinos, whose kids have grown and attended the best schools in America. As a matter of fact many of those yuppie entrepreneurs I met (and are still in contact with) were from the states or UK or Australia. Once those guys hit critical mass and have fixed the cultural flaws inherent there, they sky’s the limit. Until then, we’ll all have to cross our fingers.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Good to know that the diapora is already making its presence felt. I’m really OK with American help as long as it is help helping oneself and not geared at dependency.

      • Even if Malaysia and Brunei joined this pact, they would still be flies on an elephant. The US and Australia (as well as Korea and Japan, Taiwan’s balls are basically in China’s hands) have to work smartly, together, period.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Vietnam does hold quite a few islands already. Would that not be a starting point?

          • I agree with your point of dependency, Irineo, because the Philippines’ leadership are greedy mendicants by trade, there has to be a balance. The US has to be there, that’s the whole strategic point, national interest.

            But if the Philippines’ leaders have their own definition of national interest, then the country will always get the short end of the stick, always. Until they realize what real national interest means, that it doesn’t mean outside bank accounts or homes in the US.

            I was on my 2nd deployment there, when that whole ZTE scandal unfolded. The US, knowing they’ll be affected with Chinese broadband infrastructure inside the Philippines, nudged the country a bit.

            If your buddy’s about to go inside a short time motel room with a guy dressed as a girl (not that there’s anything wrong with it, but for the purposes of this analogy, false advertisement and false intentions is one directional and serve only one side, ZTE is PLA owned).

            Perfect example of Filipino leaders selling the Philippines out, US (with their national interest in mind, which so happens to coincide with the Philippine over all nat’l interest) nudges people toward realization of what a bad idea this was.

            it didn’t stop with ZTE, China’s companies are still in the Philippines carefully undermining the nation, and with leaders such as the ones involved with the ZTE scandal, you will need American and Australian help. The Philippines just can’t go at it alone, this is the big league, and they are still playing little league.

    • Joe America says:

      “If you are really for the Philippines . . . you would try to find solutions that minimize intervention from your own home.”

      No, if I am for the Philippines, I would look at the facts and take a decision that is best for the Philippines. Where I live now or lived in the past is irrelevant. The bias here is yours, not mine. You carry the weight of your personal travails like a huge chip on the shoulder that gives you a special right to judge, a personal morality that looks down on those who have not suffered so and who come up with different views than yours. Hey, I live in the Philippines, and will die here. My kid and wife are Filipinos. This attitude of yours that I cannot be as pure in dedication to the Philippines as you are is pure Parekoy . . . which is to say . . . horseshit.

      • @ JoeAm

        Yes, I also observe Parekoy and Ireneo’s common bond – both are so sensitive in their perceived “meddling” by an American. IMHO, it’s not meddling, it’s pure, unadulterated and honest concern for the country you have decided to adopt as your own.

        We live in a world linked by interlocking and mutual interest… we, Filipinos try to elect into the highest office and other leaders that would promote independence, self sufficiency and pride, hence our support to this particular president in the face of counter productive and insane criticisms.

        But let’s face it, the way it is now, we need all the help we can get although not to a point of mendicancy, that I also abhor. Even the American citizens are wary of that attitude as their country has economic problems of their own and taking care of us their little brown buddies at the expense of their own citizen is not on their agenda.

        • Joe America says:

          Never have the interests of two nations been so tightly joined as between the Philippines and the US, at this point in time. Even Duterte, who despises US engagement in the Philippines, yesterday said that if China keeps pushing, the Philippines has no choice but to rely upon America. I’m not sure why my patriotism to the Philippines should be challenged if I say the same thing.

          The Philippines need not bow to the US, as, indeed, its negotiators did not in shaping EDCA. The Philippines got everything it asked for, short term, ownership of all facilities built by the US, and right of official visits anywhere at any time. Sovereignty is not found in being isolationist, but being in control of one’s own destiny. It is found in being smart, not emotional (said thinking of Senator Santiago);

          I also find it interesting, if the US suddenly went isolationist and withdrew from Asia, it is likely the Philippines would go down the power checklist of allies and immediately go to Japan for backstopping. The nation that ravaged the country would become the savior. Time has a way of remaking circumstance, and we’d all get along better if we could undergo some kind of medical treatment that diminished the past as an element of our emotions, other than the lessons we could think about. All these deeply ingrained biases from the past provide a poor foundation for looking at circumstances today.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            “I’m not sure why my patriotism to the Philippines should be challenged if I say the same thing.” The moment you speak more Cebuano and at least understand one native group fully, you will understand the concerns of Filipinos as a whole better and be credible.

            Take a Chinese living in New York Chinatown, permanent U.S. resident. Would anyone take his being for the U.S. seriously if he only spoke Chinese? Don’t think so.

            • Your logic here is so flawed.

              A Chinese person living in any Chinatown enclaves in the US is a very poor comparison to Joe’s lifestyle and credibility. He is living with his Filipino wife and son in a Filipino community in the Philippines. He is part of the native community. I can’t vouch that he understand the natives FULLY but he is a smart man who understands that most of humanities’ issues are universal and can deduce those that are indigenous to a region. He could have chosen to live in gated communities where Americans live surrounded by other Americans in the Philippines but he did not.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                True, that is the important difference. And he plays basketball with Filipino neighbors. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                There are two kinds of knowledge. One is tangible, practical. Like language or the dates and events of history. The other is conceptual, or analytic, or even theoretical half-way to being proven. It is the putting together of behaviors in a way that makes some sense and can point to ideas. The latter is generally the area of my expertise. My knowledge of history is incidental, I go to it to help explore different subjects. But never study it as a discipline. My bookie Sal says I know about 1.3% of the practical stuff and 63.2% of the analytics that bind the facts in culture.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          ” IMHO, it’s not meddling, it’s pure, unadulterated and honest concern for the country you have decided to adopt as your own.” Concern, yes. But he does not fully get the culture.

          When Joe fully learns at least Cebuano – like my German mother learned Tagalog or like Steve here learned street Tagalog – I will see that he truly wants to understand the culture.

          Joe, when you write your first blog in Cebuano, you truly are part of the community.

      • Joe America says:

        Please re-read the blog, the part that says unity is found in acceptance. Not relentlessly looking for the differences and making them what is meaningful.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          I accept you. But you are not fully connected to the country. By your wife and son yes.

          You didn’t grow up in the country, doesn’t matter. But at least speak one native language.

          Or if you can’t, try to read up a bit more on our history and culture to understand better.

          And if you want to be accepted, accept the cultural differences, not only color differences.

          Trying to exclude everyone except the Americanized LP from participation is not OK either.

      • karl garcia says:

        horse shit,cow dung,bird crap,carabao manure.
        When we hire foreign consultants, we welcome any form of meddling.
        Sure those bar mishaps and other rest,relaxation and recreation may sometime lead to pro creation but so what? just balance our perceived hospitality a little bit.
        We need all the help. If we think we don’t, who are we fooling? sure we must find solutions, but to paraphrase MRP, what’s the problem?

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, indeed. Work on the quality of facts and the assessment and the quality of response. No one delivers spy-in-the-sky facts like the US. Sovereignty that denies that quality if information is half-baked sovereignty. Viet Nam can’t provide it, I might mention.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Ang consultant, parang import player. Hindi masama iyan.

          Pero hangga’t kulang ang kaalaman ni Joe sa kasaysayan at kultura ng Pilipinas, iyong mga Inglesero lang ang maiintindihan niya, hindi iyong mga normal na Pilipino, kaya hindi pa siya maaring magsalita para sa bansa dahil hindi niya alam ang mga hangarin nito.

          Kung matuto siyang mag-Cebuano, hindi na talaga siya bisita o dayuhan.

          • karl garcia says:

            How would you know that he is not studying the language, he does not have to prove anything to you.Do not compare him to Steve, Steve might have been here since the eighties and he might not want to be compared with anyone as well.I don’t get what exactly the problem is, Irineo. START that damn blog and vent there.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Well, this blog article is obviously aimed at me – and Parekoy. So I have answered it.

              I am only giving my opinion – he does not have to prove anything to me – in fact when my blog is up, he will have the chance to criticize my lack of knowledge on local conditions.

              • Joe America says:

                Ahahaha. I have to keep telling my young son, “son, you are not the center of the universe.” Irineo, you are not the center of the universe. The blog is about the lack of national unity in the Philippines.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Well, I did see you as the white blogger being speared by half-naked Parekoy and me. 🙂

                But I guess it is like with the ink blots that psychologists show you. I do get the point of your text and I think our discussion in that direction is very fruitful – CONTINUAMOS! 🙂

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        “Hey, I live in the Philippines, and will die here. My kid and wife are Filipinos.”

        But you do have a fallback position, which is your American passport.

        You can still go back to the States with your wife and kids if things go wrong.


        Fernando Poe was something like 3/4 white, part Spanish mestizo, part American.

        But he was a Filipino citizen, grew up in the country and spoke its language well.

        Try at least to know more about Filipino history and culture before you judge.

        Before you call people helping one another, which has its reasons, impunity.

        Before you call Grace Poe being silent on Binay connivance instead of caution.


        “Where I live now or lived in the past is irrelevant. ” That is very true Joe.

        But your attitude that favors the business crowd over other Filipinos is wrong.

        You should also ACCEPT other Filipino subculture than the Americanized one.

        Not the Binay criminal culture, but at least the “Quiapo culture” of Fernando Poe.

        The honest version of his flawed friend Erap’s subculture, the Filipino Bollywood.


        “I would look at the facts and take a decision that is best for the Philippines.”

        Now what is the Philippines? The sum total of all the communities that make it up.

        If you favor the LP money subculture over all the others, you are taking a side.

        Noynoy is an exception, Bam Aquino too, good men among the Mafiosi in suits.

        Grace Poe is also a good person coming from the subculture of Mafiosi in jeans.


        Now if you spoke at least one native language well, you would get the culture better.

        With only English, you do not really get how the common Filipino thinks and feels.

        How can you truly be part of the community if you don’t really get their concerns?

        Learn at least Cebuano Joe, then I would see things differently. Language is soul.

        You don’t have to learn street Tagalog like Steve, or real Tagalog like my mother did.

        • Joe America says:

          You have these simplistic little ideologies that you use as lines for qualifying a person as being of substance in your eyes. I speak the official language of the Philippines, the one the government speaks, and I don’t need to speak Cebuano or worship as a Catholic to think and live according to principles. As near as I can tell, speaking Cebuano is like speaking classical Greek, great for you intellectual snobs but totally impractical in the scheme of what I find enriching, which are the ideas behind the language. So you stick with your simple lines of exclusion that put others into little buckets you can sneer at with condescension, and I’ll keep my eye on the goal of striving to accept people whose ideas I can’t understand or don’t accept. Even you.

          • Joe America says:

            Plus I find it quite amusing being lectured by a German about my qualifications as a Filipino.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Well, Cebuano is not ancient Greek. It is the living language your community speaks. Your wife speaks it, the people around you do.

              Yes, I am a German, a Filipino-German. Just like you are German-American. I guess lecturing, being missionary is something in our common Lutheran heritage. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                I comprehend Visayan and a little Tagalog. My wife speaks Visayan, Waray Waray, Tagalog, and English. She has no trouble getting her ideas across, or understanding mine. She laughed at lunch and gave me a kiss. “We are a funny couple aren’t we? Isn’t it great?”

                My son rolled his eyes.

                Nationality is largely irrelevant, in the scheme of what is important. It’s a construct. Not an ISIS-like statement of worth in the world.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Joe, I am not a nationalist. I am all for communities sticking together. If you are part of your local community in that way, it is great. Then you are a credible part of the national community which is the sum total of local communities. Just like it is over here.

                Monday in front of my Tamil Tiger grocer, a former skinhead, a Punjabi Sikh, a Serb patriot, a German hippie student, the local Turkish imam, an Iraqi Kurd and me all stood outside the grocery store and talked in a mixture of Bavarian, High German and English.

                We are all part of the community called Schlachthofviertel, the rapidly gentrifying meatpacking district of Munich. Now what do you think WE would all do to a terrorist or anyone who tries to mess with us? Same loyalty you have to your new home Joe. 🙂

  15. Great assessment, Joe. Basically confirms what I witnesses when in Cebu drinking with Cebuano local entrepreneurs with new restaurants they consistently complained of Tagalogs coming to Cebu and screwing things up–making it Manila. They were particularly peeved that Tagalogs cornered the real estate market, and just want to build and go, but opening up condos, new homes, for other Tagalogs.

    And then I go to Manila, hang out with similar yuppies and when I tell them I’ve been to Mindanao and Cebu, they ask about it as an American would ask about Afghanistan or Iraq, with lots of ignorance. That’s the province, they say, that’s not real Philippines. I guess most middles class Tagalogs have Bisayans for servants, they have this bias already embedded in their minds.

    • Steve says:

      I live in a community n the Philippines that restricts ownership of land and business to people from this town. the Tagalogs (occasionally referred to hear as “Tangalogs”) can visit, but that’s about all. It’s also a place where nobody is hungry or homeless, and the crime rate is so low that it might as well not exist… people often don’t bother locking doors at night.

      All of this, oddly, comes out of “tribalism”, which people often dismiss as a negative factor, but which can also accomplish some positives.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        That is positive tribalism, similar to that of the German Igorots, I mean Bavarians I live with. Igorots often say “you have to be wise”, actually meaning smart, which they are.

        You are a white man more credible than Joe in speaking on Filipino concerns because you do speak at least street Tagalog and therefore understand the people.

        Probably you also speak one of the mountain languages, even better.

        • Steve says:

          I am learning Kankanaey, though slowly… I think partly that is age, and partly because people up here speak English so well that I’m rarely really forced to use it. I learned Cebuano in a barangay in Agusan del Sur where the average resident’s command of English was limited to “hey Joe” and “wow, legs”, which definitely accelerated the earning curve. I also drank a lot of tuba (being young and single), an excelent opportunity to practice. I learn Kankanaey mostly from my son, so I talk like a 6 year old.

          I would maintain that “street Tagalog, as opposed to formal Pilipino, is the real Tagalog, the language spoken by real people. Many years ago I used to frequent a carinderia just behind the SSS building on East Avenue. I lived a block away on Malakas Street, and if I got in just before the lunch rush the food would all be freshly cooked. They made an excellent sinampalokang manok. Anyway, of course I was a bit of a celebrity there, the pink who spoke the language. One day I was there and Randy David was on the TV, discoursing eloquently in academic Pilipino. They asked me if I understood him, and I said I really didn’t. The woman in charge laughed and said “neither do we”.

          Languages certainly change your experience in the country, and they do provide some insights one wouldn’t otherwise get: language has a way of reflecting and revealing culture, sometimes in unexpected ways. I would not, however, assume that someone with linguistic skills enjoys some unique understanding, or that someone without them lacks understanding. There’s a wide variety of perspectives out there, informed by various combinations of factors.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            “street Tagalog, as opposed to formal Pilipino, is the real Tagalog” It is. My aunt – former early 70’s hippie and hardcore first-generation anti-Marcos activist, first quarter storm – and me – early 80’s jeprox and second-generation anti-Marcos activist, pre-EDSA – always told my father (Randy David was our neighbour at U.P. BTW) to please use more normal Tagalog in his writings so that it gets to the people. I learned my street Tagalog in Balara.

            ” I lived a block away on Malakas Street” we lived on Matiwasay for a while. 🙂

            “Languages certainly change your experience in the country” Tell me about it. My Bavarian I learned during my mid-life crisis – in Bavarian pubs. Now I get this place more. They are the Igorots of Germany, straight-talking, no nonsense, pragmatic mountaineers.

          • I agree with Steve here. I had a sum total of 1.5 yrs there, mostly in the south, with visits to Cebu & Manila. I spoke English the whole time (although I learned some phrases and bad words here & there to impress the people I was working with), they spoke English to me (with a little joke or insults thrown in Tagalog, Bisaya, Illongo, Tausug, etc.).

            Now I’m not saying I understand more than Joe or Steve (are there other expats here?). But so far everything I’ve written/said we are in agreement with, correct, Ireneo? Forgive me for my confusion here, Ireneo, but where is this unique understanding of Filipino culture that you speak of?

            I am not saying I understand Filipinos completely, but from my travels in the MidEast, S America and the rest of SE Asia and E Asia, the human condition is pretty similar where ever you go, people eat, sleep, poop, pee & have sex (more or less). And everything people do pretty much is in conjunction with those rudimentary of behaviours.

            Steve, how is it that your place can deny access to Tagalogs (and outsiders), is it protected by the national gov’t or is it de facto type of regulations, with sharp implements involved?

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              You are right – you don’t necessarily need the same language to understand other human beings. You need humanity and a feel for what other people are about. I have seen that “you feel” the Filipinos, don’t always see that in Joe.

              Someone who is part of the local community should at least try to understand them, kudos to outsiders like you who DO! Joe also is, with some Visaya and Tagalog, and lives their life, just like I life the same life as local Bavarians and other migrants.

              Joe’s issue IMHO is that he does it from the head and not enough from the gut level. Same problem I sometimes have. It is this Lutheran thing, being way too rational.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              “is it de jure type of regulations, with sharp implements involved?” Bavarians, the German Igorots, deny access to outsiders by playing confusing games with them. Once you show that you are making an effort to respect the natives, they become open and let you in.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Some villages here have land “for natives only” – native meaning anyone who has been a permanent resident for ten years so the whole thing is legal.

                A marketer I once knew said he will not take foreigners, I told him anti-discrimination laws forbid it – he told me well then I will write “perfect German” as a requirement and I decide what perfect German is for me…

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I think it is OK for people to protect their turf, the place they live, their livelihood, their future and that of their children. Against the homeless ones, the one percenters who just exploit. You just have to redefine family, clan, tribe, region and nation to be more inclusive.

              • Micha says:

                Kasamang Ryan, I can see you have not yet outgrown your KM idealism.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                No I haven’t, which is good if tempered with realism.

                My blog is now open:

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Joe, I reach out my hand to you in peace and with for gute Nachbarschaft – good neighborly relations – between our blogs. Now that I have my own virtual Gäststätte – guest house – and am a host too, I shall be more respectful of your virtual guest house. 🙂

              • Ireneo, I tried to comment to drop you a Hello! but there’s no comments window. I shall return.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                There is a link you can click on called “Hinterlasse einen Kommentar” which means “Leave a comment”. No comments window, just very bare functionality, not much graphics. Good for me and for the blog – keeps things disciplined and sober.

                I am using a German WordPress freehoster called, so please bear with the lack of some English translations. Should be easy to figure out most stuff though.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

       is rudimentary, even Spartan. But no admin except occassional editing and classifying comments as spam, everything else is done by the hoster. Entering comments is not as easy as here, so no fast commenting like here, one is forced to reflect first. 🙂

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                This blog unleashed my craziness, long kept in check by German discipline. A Spartan blog will give me a chance to be creative without going all nuts like over here.

                And thereby channel my energy in a way useful to the Philippines and all.

              • Joe America says:

                Congratulations. I hope it becomes an influential force for good thinking.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “Congratulations. I hope it becomes an influential force for good thinking.” Thanks Joe.

                The choice to do only knowledge is also because political stuff brings out the worst in me.

                And the choice of audience forces me to check my facts thoroughly. Keeps me busy. 🙂

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Discovered some of the bells and whistles, very surprising for a free hoster…

                My comments policy is very strict, also to keep myself in check… See y’all. 🙂

            • Steve says:

              There’s no national government role, in fact it’s a bit of a sticking point with the national government. The government fought a war with the Igorots and Kalingas in the 70s and 80s, and the government lost: the projects that provoked the fighting were abandoned. Now he government treads pretty lightly and tries hard to avoid stepping on local sensibilities.

              The rules are simply local rules, and the community enforces them. The rule on selling land is that it has to be offered first within the immediate family, then the clan. Even if you are local you can’t buy a piece of land unless everyone in the seller’s clan has passed on it. They will not sell to people who are not from this community. The town won’t issue a business permit to non-locals. Of course these rules are not enforceable in court, but so far they have held up pretty well. Enforcement with bladed instruments (or, more likely, assault rifles) is a possibility but it has not come to that, at least not where enforcement of those rules is concerned. Some foreigners and lowlanders who rented places here and made themselves obnoxious have been instructed to leave. They have always complied.

              The Igorots are friendly and hospitable people, but they do not do deference, to anyone, and if pushed they will push back.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                I remember a song from an Igorot activist from Sagada, at that time “stranded” in Germany like me, about the war in the 70s and 80s:

                Oh Makus balileng nagpaorder… Maraming helicopter.. sasakay Jungle Fighter… patungo sa encounter… Marcos ordered many helicopters (BOs from Bavaria, Strauss and Marcos were hunting buddies) for Jungle Fighters to ride in (one of my uncles was 2ID, wonder if he had a role there, he is dead now though so I can never ask) to go to the encounter. And in case government agents came, the song shifted to this stuff:

                Mahirap baleleng maging pogi… marami kang babai… buti pa maging pangit…

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                “The Igorots are friendly and hospitable people, but they do not do deference, to anyone, and if pushed they will push back.” Typical mountain attitude. The Swiss founded their Eidgenossenschaft (sworn community) back in the middle ages when they were fed up with German nobles and their Vögte (katiwala) oppressing them. Wilhelm Tell had to shoot the apple on his daughter’s head but did not miss, and led the first three cantons in the Rütlischwur (Rütli oath) of a unified people. Nearly every valley has a different dialect…

                Or the Bavarians – the 1705 rebellion against Austria was led by the Oberländer, the men of the upper country near the Alps who died in a last stand near the Sendling church just 10 minutes by bike from my place, all the streets there are named after these rebels. Friendly people, often called racist but they are not, they will respect you if you respect them and are a Gscheiter (the right kind of person) for them, they will respect you even more if you speak their language a bit, but push back if you abuse their hospitality. My part of town, the Schlachthofviertel, is mixed and friendly, but in this spirit, we do have our ways of making legal pintakasi against anyone who tries to push us, including some friendly hellos in dark alleys if needed, even newcomers are infected by that mentality. 🙂

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Carpio said the 1959 doctrine was established under the guidance of the 1935 Constitution, suggesting that it may be outdated. Therefore, without ado, without Constiutional Convention and Charter Change, by the power under Sereno, she struck down Aguinaldo Doctrine because it is outdated.

    AWESOME! NICE! The commenters in Inquirer are agog in a tizzy of success.

    • Joe America says:

      The Supreme Court justices, CJ Sereno and Leonen and Carpio, were magnificent in cutting the Binay camp’s legalistic legs from under them. If the ruling comes down reflecting the tenor of yesterday’s hearing, the Philippine judiciary will have made a huge turn toward honesty and honor over patronage and corruption.

      • NHerrera says:

        Joe, talking about GLUE that binds a country, a competent Philippine Supreme Court that is acting with integrity and the good of the country not only in the short-term but in the long-term is a very good component of that glue that binds.

        I said in Raissa’s Blog that I can personally accept scalawags in other sectors of the Judiciary (any organization has its share of them), but if the SC is true to its responsibility we are going to be OK. I analogized this to the Philippine Catholic officials. If the Bishops are true to the spirit of their calling — living and acting like Christ that they are supposed to represent — these scalawag priests are just some pesky items that can be dealt with.

        I feel good about how the likes of Justices Sereno, Leonen and Carpio, and others, dealt and questioned the counsels of Mayor Binay in the second oral arguments in Baguio. Our SC may just become a Super-glue.

        • And what makes me feel even better (after yesterday’s dressing down by the CJ of Binay’s lawyer) is the fact that she will be CJ for a loooong time (16 more years?), hopefully to effect cleansing the SC and the whole justice system particularly the the CA (where the corrupt and the wealthy shop for TRO on a regular basis) of scalawags and judges for sale. Thank you PNOY for not following tradition by naming Madam Sereno as CJ.

          • NHerrera says:

            I agree. Thanks to Pnoy’s appointment of CJ Sereno and the fact that she will be at the helm for 16 years. It augurs well for the Judiciary, hence the country.

            • Joe America says:

              I had question marks until yesterday. But the decision to provide live video was brilliant, and the final ruling will seal the deal. The SC will have climbed squarely on the path of fair dealing and honor rather than patronage. If we want modern heroes, we might be able to look right directly at the Supreme Court. Now kindly increase their funding and pass a mandate that courts take charge of their calendars to make speed a part of fairness.

          • karl garcia says:

            refreshing and uplifting comment.
            I will bookmark comment.

        • josephivo says:

          A fish rots from the head down. May be a fish heals from the head down too, at least that seems to be what the president beliefs (gone are Gutierrez, Corona, Arroyo, 3 senators and the effects on the underlying organization are so visible…. and now VP Binay, and the mayor of an important city Binay, and an other senator Binay, and a representative Binay, and a former mayor Binay?).

          What a beautiful morning.

    • The constitution is a living document subject to interpretations and amendments. The 1935 constitution has been amended already with the thrust in anti corruption and administrative and criminal abuses by government officials.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      STRONG INSTITUTIONS (political, judicial, administrative) as a super-glue in addition to COMMUNICATION which includes many aspects like being less self-centered – as individuals and as communities – and fully accepting and respecting other communities.

      I shall continue to summarize important matters here, and no longer goad Joe anymore.

      In my blog I shall also incubate ideas, and bring them here for discussion as well.

  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    All Elected Officials should be incancerated because they are in violation of Article XI of the 1987 Constitition that directed them TO LEAD MODEST LIVES which they are not.

    Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which stipulates that “public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

    • There you go… the 1935 constitution was already replaced by the 1987 constitution, there was no need for “Therefore, without ado, without Constiutional Convention and Charter Change, by the power under Sereno, she struck down Aguinaldo Doctrine because it is outdated”…

  18. Bing Garcia says:

    The Supreme Court is making history!

    • Joe America says:

      They will if the ruling comes down in line with yesterday’s arguments. Unfortunately, there is a reality that there is an SC political bloc that favors the culture of impunity . . . the Arroyo appointees . . . and they outnumber the honorable justices. We best not cheer too much just yet. We can cheer the individuals, though. Sereno, Carpio, Leonen . . . They spoke loudly against corruption and the rules that allow it to persist (condonation).

      • haha… hold our horses eh?…

        My delight is in their decision to have this oral argument covered by the media, and live at that…

        Those Arroyo appointees beware if they do decide to be killjoys and rule that that condonation doctrine should be outlawed first before it is prohibited to be applied in MB’s case, jurisprudence be da….ed. Public outcry will surely follow, unless they want to be branded as justices for sale or that they will be so thick skinned to care.

    • Joe America says:

      The discussion thread to this article is most heartening. I’d advise sorting the list by “best” so that those with the most likes rise to the top. Thanks to NHerrera at Raissa’s blog for pointing this out.

  19. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    Joe, try to at least understand the concerns of other Filipino subcultures better. You don’t have to accept the criminal subculture of Binay. But the Filipino Bollywood subculture of Poe at least.

    You don’t even have to learn formal Tagalog, which is my father’s requirement to take anybody seriously who wants to be for the nation. You don’t have to learn street Tagalog like Steve, which is something I respect a lot, he gets the native attitude more. Don’t even have to learn Cebuano.

    Just stop trying to Americanize the Philippines – again. Stop favoring the Americanized LP always. Accept that there are other subcultures that are valid – like the “creole” subculture of Grace Poe. That subculture may go by different codes than yours and Drilon’s, but is valid. And not criminal.

    The old nationalists like my father are wrong in insisting on one language, that of Manila, even to the detriment of his own native Bikol. The local cultures are valid parts of the national community.

    English is valid too, but only if it accepts the homegrown stuff. The common Philippine culture that is constantly changing is a creole culture, a mixed tropical culture like Cuba. Fiesta and Jolibee. It will never be a copy of the United States. It will never have exactly the same values. Fortunately.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      There already is the glue forming through national media. It is the language and culture one can see in Raissa’s blog. English and Filipino, sometimes a mix. The creole culture of the Philippines, the colorful tropical mix the country is. Fiesta, Jolibee and jeepney.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Fortunately, the Philippines does not need you – or me. We are both outsiders. You in being in the Philippines, but not fully getting the culture, not even speaking at least one native language like Steve does. Me in not being in the Philippines anymore.

        Our points of view are both valid, but they are not truly Filipino points of view. They can only add to the Filipino point of view. So your blog is valid, just like my blog will be. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          I’m thinking your blog will not last 6 months. There is idea and there is real. But you are always welcome here, and if your blog is successful, the Philippines will be better off. In that spirit, I wish you well.

          • Joe America says:

            By the way, this is two threads in a row that have gotten off track by your obsession over my personal character and qualifications as a Filipino. It is hashed out enough, and so I would ask you to focus on the ideas, the concepts, and not my personal standing in your eyes. People get it already. You won’t change me and I won’t change you. Kindly move on.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Well, your blog article above was an obvious response to me, so I responded back.

              I think we have exchanged views enough on this matter, so let us continue with ideas. When I believe an idea is not suitable for the culture, I will point it out – BRIEFLY. 🙂

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Thanks Joe. I wish your blog well too. Well, competition is always good for business.

            Challenges like mine in your direction, and yours towards me, are always healthy if they are not crabbing, but keep people on their toes and alert – both you and me Joe. 🙂

        • ***Fortunately, the Philippines does not need you – or me. We are both outsiders. You in being in the Philippines, but not fully getting the culture, not even speaking at least one native language like Steve does. Me in not being in the Philippines anymore.***

          Oh, BINGO, there it is. I’m trying to figure out why you’re giving Joe such a hard time, but more than civil with me and you roll out the red carpet for Steve.

          Joe & Steve, regardless of language acquisition, are in, they are in the Philippines, on the ground, living there. They are vested, whether they embrace it or not (in this case both seem so) they are part of the Philippine fabric.

          You, Ireneo, are not and not to play Freud here, ie. penis envy, no matter how nationalistic you are, a super proud Filipino, no matter how much news about the Philippines you read, you are not on the ground. And this is just my military sensibilities here, but if you’re not on the ground, you don’t matter. The choice is yours in the end, because you can always return.

          So my friendly advice, frankly I’m sick & tired of having to sift through all your bs against Joe, the best course of action is forget this whole they are in the Philippines and you are not comparison, and just focus with the discussion at hand–you have a lot of solid points, it’s just tiring to sift through all this drama, and all because you

          are there and not in the Philippines. Let it go. Please, it’s easier for me to read with less clutter.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            “if you’re not on the ground, you don’t matter.” Correct

            “just focus with the discussion at hand– you have a lot of solid points” thanks.

            “Let it go. Please, it’s easier for me to read with less clutter.” I will, thx for the straight talk.

    • sonny says:

      On Filipino and English languages as bonds that truly bind the country.

      My uncle, the late Bonifacio Sibayan, former president of Philippine Normal University was the recognized doyen of Philippine Linguistics. He had this to say way back 20 yrs ago about the importance of the intellectualization of the Filipino Language. And now the DepEd and informed politicians still recognize his findings and are using them as principles to guide language curricula in the country. (I have linked this before but now is a more appropriate time to read him on the subject of unity)

      What others say.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Great sources, sonny. I am also very appreciative of your bringing your uncle in.

        Our culture will always remain clannish and familistic, being Austronesian = Pacific.

        Pride in our ancestors is part of the fabric of national pride. Just like regional pride is.


        As for SLI (source language of intellectualization) – for Latin is was Greek at first.

        For European languages, Latin and Greek. For German it was neighbouring French.

        For Philippine tribal languages it was Spanish, later it was English. This is normal.


        As for national language, I suggest three national languages: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano.

        English as an official but not national language. Maybe even Spanish – once again.

        Spanish is a UN language, our culture influenced, Latin America a huge trading bloc.

        • sonny says:


          *language remains an essential pillar of any culture. Our historical base happens to have 3: our regional, Filipino, English, Spanish. Our national strength must include this fact. We can assign proportions to each of these languages, not imagined but factual so we can own them: our regional because we are born into; Filipino, because our immediate community as a nation is immediately tied to this language; English, because we grew and developed with it and because our dynamism as a global participant depends on it, Spanish, because our tutelage (333 years) as a nation was accomplished in it.

          *… “Our culture will always remain clannish and familistic, being Austronesian = Pacific.
          Pride in our ancestors is part of the fabric of national pride. Just like regional pride is.”

          This notion is quite rich and has many takeaways especially as a unitive factor for us as a people. Our racial substrate is Malay. For me this means, among other things, we come from the tropics, where life is expressed in so many forms. This is part of our oligarchic strain or predisposition. Rightly or wrongly we must stay alive.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            True: Filipino should be the national language, English and Spanish official languages.

            Filipino will continue to grow with additives from all regional languages and the official languages, “bakla” was one of the first coming from Cebuano, it says much about us, “pintakasi” comes from the Moro languages, “pakshet” from modern call center slang.

            Spanish is also important for our global dynamism. Latin America is becoming a strong counterforce to the global English world, they have gone beyond Che Guevarra and Fidel and are now beginning to beat the Yankees at their own game and I am happy about it. Globalization is not a bad thing if it is not monopolized by one global language alone. Better Spanish as second global language than Chinese or Arabic, if you ask me señor.


            As for clannish and familistic – there is nothing bad about it as opposed to the individualistic traditions of the Germanic peoples to which the Anglo-Saxons also belong.

            Even Tacitus once said of the Germans that a man, when he assumed a position, became his position and his family and friends became irrelevant, while among Romans it wasn’t.

            The Latins have also remained a major cultural force, a counterweight to Germanic, Latin Americans have adapted the tools of globalization but not changed their true attitudes.


            It is only the corrupt aspects of cultural attitudes that must be diminished and the good aspects that must be encouraged. The strength of Malay and Latin cultures is that groups take care of each other more, no parents left in nursing homes like in Germanic cultures.

            The aggressive individualism of Germanic cultures has brought much progress to the world, but also much suffering due to their zeal for conquest and conversion. The storm that destroyed the Roman Empire continued and went West to America and even further.

            Yet even the most aggressive cultures are tempered with time. Latin American culture is a child of the conquista, but tempered by the mixture with natives and slaves. US American culture is Germanic, but tempered by migrant and slave influences. There is a dialectic in this world, a balance that always finds itself in the end. Greek culture, founded by pirates, once had energy but now is laid-back. Mongol culture meditative. Nothing lasts forever.

  20. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    THIS is an example of the glue, true Filipino culture. One of the Apo Hiking Society members was in love with an Ateneo student who happened to be taking German lessons with my mother who knows the story. All the young shy girl could answer to him was EWAN, don’t know:

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Why brings me to one important thing: we who have somehow been “deeply touched” by the Filipino experience – whether in the original sense or in the sense meant by Gary Lising

      – every Filipino at home and abroad, no matter what languages they still speak

      – foreigners who were there like my mother, foreigners who are there like Joe

      – whether they learned at least one language like Steve and my mother or not

      ARE ALL PART OF THE FILIPINO EXPERIENCE and must accept each other, and accepting also means understanding differences in attitude, not only with the head but with the heart. Only the crooks must be excluded, and the bullshit artists… 🙂

    • cha says:

      Errr, the song Ewan was composed by Louie Ocampo, lyrics written by Rowena Arrietta. The two, who were in a relationship at the time collaborated on the song at the Greenhills Music Studio of music professor Carmencita Arambulo.The more widely known story at the time is that Ocampo wrote the song for Arrietta. The APO were only the performers of the song at the Metro Pop Music Festival where it won second place.–with-Rowena-Arrieta

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Ewan ko lang – I just know what my mother once told me. Or what I remember… Truly nice song and part of the culture which is an important glue anyway, thanks for the info.

        • cha says:

          The truth can be a more powerful glue.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            True, but in this case I just posted what I knew/remembered. Thanks for correcting.

            Next time I will ask my mother what exactly she told me – when I was a teen or so.

            • cha says:

              It is all fine and dandy to say we all must accept each other for all our differences. But first we must seek and then accept the truth.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                My mistake OK? No intention to spread lies. Good if it never happened to you…

              • cha says:

                Oh, the last two comments were not really in reference to you or your story anymore. I was following through on the statement about culture being an important glue and I was simply arguing that the truth can be more potent but only if there is acceptance of it. Relax mate 🙂

  21. “And in that unique identity, among all those troubles, we discover that great harmonizer . . .

    Acceptance” – JoeAm

    Why does your acceptance and your seeing things differently of Joe be dependent on his learning one dialect? Maybe Steve has been a resident here far longer than Joe has.

    Why does he need to prove himself over and over again? You mentioned earlier that “I KNOW Raissa who accepts Joe so I finally accept him. :-)”.. then your doubts surface again.

    He is favoring LP, is he? He is entitled to his preference, is expressing them, it’s up to his readers to agree or disagree, he is not twisting our arms to do so, he is even saying he will keep quiet come campaign time.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Mary. By the way, Raissa once offered to sponsor me for citizenship. I think she might have been joking, but it felt good nonetheless. And for every Parekoy and Irineo, there are 30 people who have thanked me for expressing what they, as Filipinos, would like to say.

      So on the scoreboard, I’m pleased, and will just keep doing what I do. Can’t satisfy everyone . . .

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        If you want to be accepted by true natives like Parekoy and half-white “natives” like me, try to stop being too much of a missionary. OK be missionary if you want, but adapt it to native customs, try to get them at least. Or you might end up like in your picture above. 🙂

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      It is fine as long as he accepts other Filipinos too, as long as they are not proven crooks.

      Grace Poe is from another Filipino subculture, for me her silence on Binay is caution and not connivance. A person who wants acceptance should give people benefit of the doubt.

      He does not have to learn any dialect, but he has to at least try to understand different attitudes in the Philippines, as long as they are not clearly criminal like that of Binay. Americans – and Germans – often only accept their own way. Missionary peoples…

      • Joe America says:

        I accept Grace Poe as a political player. You have no idea of what my goals are. I write, not to you, but to Grace Poe and her followers, to try to encourage her to speak up to Binay. You are a nothing in my scheme of doing things and I have no idea of why in God’s great green earth you think I have to listen to you or cater to your whims.

        Go read each of my 800 blogs and then come back to tell me if I have made a decent effort to understand different attitudes in the Philippines. Read the comments, too, as that is where I learn. Particularly read the dialogues between manuelbuencamino and me. He had great patience to get me from crab to enthusiast.

        You listen to the echoes of your brain and they are not filled with facts, they are filled with misconceptions. And then you go out and live and write to them as if they are truths. That’s why you say one thing here, the opposite tomorrow, and something quite different the third time, before returning to the original thought. You are writing to echoes.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          You don’t have to cater to anybody’s whims Joe. I am only pointing out the impression that I have from recent blogs, that you are trying to demolish any competition Mar Roxas has.

          And raise a former AVP up to high heavens while ignoring Grace Poe’s achievements.

          • hahaha… you know, Ireneo, thinking about it, it makes me laugh.

            Before you came along, several blogs ago, I think it was in Raissa’s blog, we had an exchange pf posts regarding Grace Poe. Man, was he incensed by our position, he defended her to high heavens.

            Like I posted before here, I voted for her as senator and I am expressing my regret…. there, I have said it. Impressed as I was before, I was disappointed in her recent actions and inactions.

            • Joe America says:

              That’s true, I was worked up. The interesting thing is, there is no inconsistency. I was arguing that she should not be measured by her parentage, but by her deeds. I found the idea of demanding a DNA test from her horribly offensive. My change from pro, politically, to con, is BECAUSE of the deeds. Keeping silent about the most significant and damaging cultural quality, clear and evident corruption in high places, is a deed. So is drafting a fact-finding report in aid of legislation as a political piece.

          • Joe America says:

            I was also an AVP at one time. It is a stage, not a statement of full accomplishment. I am not trying to demolish competition for Mar Roxas. I am trying to sort through the political players and write influential pieces that are to the betterment of the Philippines. I always encourage people to read the discussion threads, as that is where the valuable ideas are. You make the common misconception that my blogs are set in cement pieces, and to change them is a reflection on my manhood. No, I’m not Filipino. They are ideas presented in literary fashion to strike up a dialogue. If someone tells me they are wrong, and explains why, great. The dialogue is richer. If someone tells me I am a substandard character because the ideas don’t match theirs, they can take a fat flying leap, because they are getting off into irrelevancies.

            • Joe America says:

              By the way, I’m surprised no one mentioned it during the discussion of “looking east”, that two years ago, Senator Grace Poe recommended that exploration of Benham Rise be moved to a top priority to move the Philippines to self-sufficiency in energy. I was impressed.

              • Joe America says:

                She’s still a political snake, but might become well tamed during a six year stint at Mar Roxas’ vice president. he he

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Yep, fully agree. But maybe political realities – the popularity ratings – may force it to be the other way around. Her as LP-bound and Noynoy sponsored presidential candidate and him as VP candidate.

                Anyway, you will have two fine representatives of Philippine creole culture – the “whiter” creole Mar and the “olive” creole Poe, I refer to the culture here not to the real skin color – leading the entire creole culture on its way to the future. Am having real fun now. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Fine work, fine work. Thanks.

              • I wished she also made sure that they had provided funds for the exploration and development of Benham Rise when they did the budget deliberations for that particular year, right after she made that recommendation. Then something might come out of it.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              ” If someone tells me they are wrong, and explains why, great.” Many Filipino’s don’t, that is the problem Joe. They are too much in awe of your white skin and my almost white skin. They either take it as gospel truth or see you as the white devil which you ain’t either, or they keep silent because I dare contradict you which is wrong. Confident and nice Filipinos like Mary, whom I have come to respect very highly, are still very, very rare!

              Which is why I will keep my blog articles purely informative and knowledge-based.

              Even if I have a political opinion on something I will not state it. I shall use Socratic dialogue to get often timid Filipinos out of their shells.

              To guard against the Germanic missionary that I have in me – just like you have – and to not become an intellectual Duterte who kills all other arguments like my father often does.

              Never get too comfortable Joe. You are very welcome to goad me in my future blog. Competition and criticism keeps things straight, which is why I am an advocate of democracy and markets – with courtesy and rules of course to prevent abuses. I think that our having mirror blogs yet visiting each other, and discussing in the fair and square way we have developed now through some battles, is a way of improving the quality overall.

              • karl garcia says:

                I will give you five seconds after a political comment on your blog to state a political opinion. You are becoming very condescending Salazar. Assuming pa.Awe on white skin??? wadapak man wat da hel is rong wid yu???

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Regulars here are not like that, but some visitors I observe. Sige, ikaw ang mag-audit kung tutuparin ko iyong pangako ko. Sa artikulo, wala talaga akong ilalagay na political opinion, dahil eedit ko muna ng husto, sleep over it – BBL article style ang gagawin ko.

                Sa mga komentaryo, tama ka at baka sagutin ko kaagad, baka madala na naman ako ng aking pagiging impulsive. So I have to control myself there, an important exercise.

  22. edgar lores says:




    • Joe America says:

      Whoa, all caps. Got the passion going. Where is the damn like button around this joint?

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      But it helps if you listen to some like I have in Munich dive bars. It is chilling and interesting.

      Alexander von Humboldt understood both Indonesian Kawi language and old Tagalog. Fedor Jagor, the Russian-German ethnologist and businessman from Berlin who wrote a lot about Bikol where he was, did not speak Bikol but relied on a Spanish friar who knew the language. My German great-grandfather was a Lutheran missionary in Sumatra, as far as I know he did not speak or understand Batak, so he was one step behind Joe who at least has some Visaya and some Tagalog. But he did write an interesting book about there, which led to my mother taking up Bahasa in Paris – and meeting a Filipino who also was… So let us find ways to accept our differences in THIS community, and see them as enriching.

    • Got it ….

      Why is is that some people like you, Joe and the others here can express yourself so clearly in just one sentence while I do halfway there in circuitous paragraphs. I guess that’s why I’m an accountant and not a writer…hahaha.

      • oops, that one is for edgar lores…

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        And I am also still learning to write shorter, being a former writer and speaker who somewhat lost his touch in years of being a software person. It takes longer to write shorter, sometimes it is better to write it all in a draft and then let it ripen for a while.

        But sometimes, in the heat of passion, I write my drafts here and summarize later, so I too have a learning curve, but I know how it should be done properly and still am practicing.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          You do know how to express yourself concisely. I admit to some envy on my part.

          But instead of crabbing, I am turning it into something positive – competitiveness. 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            When will your blog be up? That will be competition of a good kind. That is a better place for the style of personal commentary that you insist on bringing to this blog. As much as I can tell, you are merely trashing a discussion thread here with your own personal needs. I don’t really appreciate it much and am a click away from removing your presence from this discussion.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Sometime in May. I am going for lunch now. Continue your discussion. I shall contribute to it later in the evening with comments. Without personal needs or stuff.

              If I do not keep that promise, feel free to suspend or expel me from this blog.

      • edgar lores says:

        What is important is not the expression but the sentiment. It’s having the right stuff. Most who post to this blog and to Raissa’s have the right stuff. Given any issue, they will fall on the right side… either by good instincts, parental training, education, moral compass or superior intellect.

        You have this, Mary, in spades.

        Which means that there are people who have the wrong stuff… and there are people in-between. It’s not about IQ, EQ or any metrics we have discovered. It could very well be the alignment of stars at our birth, as fortune tellers would have it. We are lucky we were not born… under the moon for the misbegotten.

        • Am humbled here, sir, by the praise… thank you.

          At the risk of being accused of being in a mutual admiration society, may I say that your comments (and Joe and the others here) here, in raissa’s, rappler and in the inquirer (sometimes) having what you termed as the right stuffs, are very much appreciated. A glimpse of your avatars in the comments sections, guys, and I’m in full attention, eager to learn from the golden nuggets of wisdom offered. I guess I got it from my mom and my maternal grandpa who are politically aware and involved.

  23. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    Two different topics here: this blog, and the Philippines. Two different summaries from me:

    1. This blog is an international community of people interested in the Philippines for some reason. Of course, those on the ground, whichever color of skin or nationality they have, really count. Those of us who are abroad can only contribute from our experiences and with added insights.

    2. As for patriotism. I think it is OK for people to protect their turf, the place they live, their livelihood, their future and that of their children. Against the homeless ones, the one percenters who just exploit. Just have to redefine family, clan, tribe, region and nation to be more inclusive.

    As for the binding glue of the Philippines: the Philippines is a tropical creole culture, like Cuba, so:

    3. It is up to the people in the Philippines to find the right blend of varying colors. Jolibee, fiesta, jeepney are examples. The mixture of Filipino and English used at Raissa’s blog reflects the true communication in the Philippine mass media which is forming a binding glue by communication.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      And the blogs that exchange ideas, where COMMUNITIES overlap and talk to one another, like this blog and Raissa’s blog, are part of the binding glue of COMMUNICATION. My blog also will be, unlike some which decide not to communicate with others and are NOT glue.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        In addition to COMMUNICATION, INSTITUTIONS are a strong glue as well for any COMMUNITY of people. As evidenced in the discussion on the Supreme Court.

      • Joe America says:

        People may be glue in their own way, whether they comment or not, whether they read or not. I welcome all readers and appreciate their willingness to consider a “foreigner’s” ideas, which is a kind of glue, when you think about it.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Yes, that is also very true. And even those like me who directly discuss the ideas with you are part of the glue – more than those who just throw stones at you from other places.

          In the end, it is the memes that are developing and going all around town that count.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            And regarding those that do not share and communicate – I meant GRP – even they read here and some of their articles are obvious responses. They are weak glue though.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Now COMMUNICATION, INSTITUTIONS and ACCEPTANCE are three binding glues at the RATIONAL level which Joe is very strong at.

      For a COMMUNITY to be strong, you need binding glues at the EMOTIONAL and GUT level as well.

      At the EMOTIONAL level, you have movies, fiesta and many other things that comprise the living CULTURE of a place, of a community. You have RESPECT in talking and dealing with the different individuals, communities and social classes, with migrants and original natives.

      At the GUT level, you have the DEFENSE of the community against those that wish to destroy or exploit it – against outside enemies like the Chinese, against corrupt politicians, against politicians that sell out and then leave for their second homes in USA or Canada.

      If have all these glues at all three levels – rational, emotional and gut – the community is solid as a rock and cannot be destroyed or oppresssed, only conquered for a while maybe.

    • edgar lores says:


      Article 19.

      Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Very good. That is the communicative glue for the biggest community of all – the world.

      • Joe America says:

        That is true. An asterisk, however. As editor of a public forum, I have the right and obligation to ensure that the discussion meets editorial standards conducive to the kind of discussion contemplated in the Human Rights article. Those terms are clearly stated in the tab labeled “Policy and Terms”. The pertinent paragraph is reprinted here to save the librarian the trouble of looking it up:

        “The Society aspires toward open and constructive dialogue. This is not a chat site. It is a forum for thoughtful discussion. Contributors who speak in OPPOSITION to Joe America or other authors and contributors are welcome and are allowed to present their views freely as long as the focus is on issue rather than insult, and the intent is to open minds rather than close them.”

        • Joe America says:

          The decision as to what meets standards is wholly mine, and Irineo falls short on two counts: (1) personal insult, and (2) dominating the discussion and making it an inhospitable place for free and open access by others. The latter is a form of closing minds, or barring entry to open discussion.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Throw me out, if that is the consequence I accept it.

            You shall still be welcome to my blog when it’s up.

        • edgar lores says:

          Isn’t the occasional insult liberating?

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, it is. And engaging in a war of insults is often invigorating. But it is the sort of thing that feeds on itself, and soon, the tenor of the discussion threads changes. I’d rather we strive for an open, welcoming exchange that sets the personal stuff aside. That’s hard to do, especially with the broader readership that has developed. The blog has a reputation for being open and constructive. This is the second thread that has gotten off track, and readers have pointed out that it is not good. I agree. If Irenio wants to do a blog at his site that challenges my qualifications to participate in the Philippine political dialogue, that is a legitimate topic. There is a reason Immigration warns foreigners not to meddle in the elections.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I am not challenging your qualifications, Dear Joe, by making another blog. My blog will have another focus and that is on knowledge. No party politics, especially since we who are outside of the Philippines have no business meddling in that. In fact, with my name on the blog due to German press laws, it can cause me to be listed as an undesirable alien. We also want to be inclusive, especially to talented people across all party/nationality lines. So we will focus on knowledge, on policies, on events, development and trade.

              We have now discussed all that was to be discussed, let us finally stop doing this.From now on I shall discuss only the topic at hand, briefly. Feel free to ban me if otherwise.

          • @edgar

            Yes, it is but perennial insults are annoying.


            1. To be accepted for what and who you are, you need to learn how to accept others unconditionally.

            2. Refrain from projecting your insecurities on Joe.

            3. It is possible to express disagreement without being disagreeable.

      • josephivo says:

        Freedom of expression, but no freedom of thought (opinion)? You can say what you want but we (or others even now God) will not accept you if you do not think like us.

    • josephivo says:

      @ Irineo
      There is communication and there is dialogue = two-sided communication. Dialogue is balanced in talking and listening, dialogue is balanced in advocacy and enquiry.

      Your hyper-speed makes dialogue impossible for most of us with just an average brain. More then half this blog is now occupied by you and I started skipping most of your writings. That’s a pity you often have brilliant ideas, but listening weeks in a row to someone who is only talking in a advocacy mode is tiresome, not my ideal picture of a rewarding dialogue.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:


        that is the reason I am moving my energy to making my own blog. It will force me to distill my ideas and concentrate them there. And take part in a much better discussion here.

  24. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    Back on topic: you need to have glues for a community at three levels: head, heart and gut.

    A. HEAD
    1. Communication – exchange of people, exchange of views and knowledge
    2. Strong Institutions – administrative, judiciary and political for stability
    3. Inclusive Growth and equal economic opportunities

    B. HEART
    1. Culture – living culture like fiestas, movies and music
    2. Acceptance of diversity among all stakeholders

    C. GUT
    1. Rituals – inclusive national rituals that give all a sense of togetherness.

    And a bottom-up approach to communities – clan first, then ethnic group, then nation. The culture is what it is an IHMO will modernize faster if one recognizes the reality and works from there.

  25. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    The latest fashionable vogue in the Philippines are:
    1. T.R.O.
    2. Witnesses without evidence
    3. Affidavits
    4. Turo-Turo allegations
    5. Name-and-shame
    6. Philippine Media instigate tit-for-tat among protagonists

    • Joe America says:

      1. The TRO will get a blog. Thanks for mentioning that. It is a strange creature, a tool of disruption and infringement of the Judiciary on other branches of government. Ambulance chasers like Harry Roque love it, and work the Supreme Court to mindless oblivion over trivial complaints.

      2. I see witnesses without evidence as a part of the tabloidian press way of conducting business, but the courts do require evidence and testimony, first hand. Also, the Anti-Money Laundering Council is being relied upon for plunder cases to provide the actual money tracks, so the out-dated bank secrecy laws don’t put up a total wall between investigator and crook.

      3. Affidavits are a legal mechanism used just about everywhere. The difficult here is that the charge levied in one is often enough to put a person in jail without any confirming evidence being gathered. So for me, the problem is in the concept of a charge coming from an authoritative source being sufficient to hold a person in jail for years without trial.

      3.1 The other thing I’ll blog about is speed of justice or, rather the lack of it. It seems that the legal procedures are so meticulous that the system gets tied up in the system, and judges lose control over their calendars.

      4 through 6 are, again, mostly attributes of trial by publicity, but no really problems in the courtroom.

      7. Policital judges

  26. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Doctor of Humanities, Brigadier General, Boxing Sensation, Basketball Player, 4-time attendee of congressional hearing Congressman Manny Pacquiao IS THE GREAT UNIFIER OF THE FILIPINOS.

    Manny Pacquiao, thru naive Philippine Media, promotes Education-Optional Sports Boxing whose skills are honed in Prison rumble, domestic violence and street fight.

    Manny Pacquiao has made the Filipinos tough and brave …. leading to epic Clash of the Titans: Philippines Vs. China.

  27. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    As what I commented above, Sereno has prejudged the case already, TYPICAL OF FILIPINOS. Sereno struck down Aguinaldo Doctrine because it is “OUTDATED” to accomodate the anti-Binays.

    My defense of Aguinaldo Doctrine is not a show that I am pro-Binay. What I am saying let us respect whatever left of the constitution without bias and pre-judgement.

    Sereno is not a mighty bond. She’s making the bond weaker.

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely backward readout. You are an advocate for a constitution of no flexibility to adjust to changing values or national needs. The Aguidaldo Doctrine is one of the mechanisms in place to protect the entitled, the powerful, the corrupt. It erases crimes upon an officials re-election. It is like Catholic forgiveness on steroids. To argue that getting rid of this protection for crime is wrong because it disrespects the constitution is arguing the form and not the substance. CJ Sereno made the strongest statement for honesty in government that has been made since the 2010 election. She was joined in this expression by Justices Carpio, Leonen and Bernabe. If the arguments hold up in the final voting, it will have been a dramatic turnaround of the courts in favor of honor and honesty.

      • It looks like Sereno, Carpio, Leonen, and Perlas-Bernabe are the judges who will fight to do the right thing. As for the other seven judges, who are all GMA appointees, I am not sure about their honesty and integrity.

        Anybody has a guess on who will vote to strike down the condonation doctrine and who will not? Who will invalidate the CA TRO and who will not? 4 judges already inhibited, any more in the offing?

        I am glad the SC proceedings are now televised. It provides great education to all viewers. It may even goad bright and honest youths into the legal profession. Sereno is a great role model for all young Filipinas.

        • Joe America says:

          The attorneys and legalistically inclined at Raissa’s blog have been weighing this. Rather than try to summarize it, I simply refer readers to that discussion:

        • I agree on all points…

          If they are insensitive to adverse public opinion, those GMA appointees will vote NOT to strike down that pesky condonation doctrine.

          Binay is trying to get in the good books of GMA to attract her supporters… He really is something else, walang masamang tinapay…as can be seen in his UNA roster, good principles, justice and righteousness all be damned just to get to the Palace in 2016. He has been at it since 2010.

        • edgar lores says:

          On YouTube. the number of listeners/viewers for the first and second SC oral arguments stand at 20,448 and 20,336 respectively as of now.

          In contrast the Senate hearings on the Makati Parking Bldg have peaked at 167,966 views 5 months ago. The April 16 hearing slumped to 37,861… which is still higher than the SC hearings. This is understandable because the Senate hearings have audiovisual drama whereas the SC hearings have only audio drama.

          The IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) has 40,000 members. Sereno also mentioned the total number of elected officials is 600,000 plus. And what is the number of students engaged in legal studies? (The number of bar examinees ranges from 3,500 to 6,500.)

          What strikes me is the relatively small number of viewers against the expected core audience size. (Note the qualifier “core”.)

          (The numbers do not include the people who viewed the proceedings in “live” mode, which may be negligible for the SC hearings.)

          What does this say? Is it another indicator — and proof — of mediocrity? And is the TV a good glue device?

          • edgar lores says:

            Assume an average of 5,000 bar examinees per year. Assume further that 2,000 are repeat examinees. Law is a four-year course. So we are talking, at least, of 12,000 law students.

          • Sadly, our people are more interested in telenovelas, showtime or eat bulaga or any noon time shows.

            So few has the desire to watch these kind of documentaries and most youth are so into video games and sharing pictures and jokes in FB… case in point – I post and share meaningful blog articles, even shorter comments mindful of their attention span, I get one up to 3 likes maximum without any comment.

            I share some of my zumba pics, and whoa! almost a hundred likes and comments…so depressing.

            It got to a point when I offered monetary gift to a kasambahay who failed to make good on her promise to tag all my posts to all her friends.

            And we wonder why the likes of Sotto, Lapid, Pacquiao, Revilla, the Binays and the Estradas are voted in the Senate.

    • That constitution you are referring to is the 1935 constitution, replaced already by the Marcos constitution (1973) and further replaced by the current 1987, deliberated by learned men and women and approved by the citizen in a proper plebiscite, one whose thrust is in the elimination of graft and corruption by the government officials. The Aguinaldo Doctrine, if I’m not mistaken, sprung from the 1935 Constitution.

      Even the current one (1987) is a living document, subject to interpretation by the SC and amendment through proper process. Personally, I prefer amendments (like the 5th in the US) rather than scrapping the entire framework.

  28. nagimasen says:

    I think the reason why the Philippines didn’t glue as a nation is the absence of a dominant ethic majority, say 2/3 or 70% of the nation. the tagalogs know it, the ilocanos know it. heck even the Visayans (Cebuano) could not claim special status because the Ilonggos are also numerous in Mindanao which the Visayans claim as Cebuano speaking region too

    that’s the reason, akin to weak coalition in a parliamentary system

    if one ethnic group is supermajority and all the others are just minorities, I think this supermajority ethnic group could have imposed its will (glue)on the other ethnic minorities

    • Joe America says:

      Very sharp observation. Enlightening. I wonder if the middle class, which is an amalgam of many minority groups, could become that patriotic hub. . .

    • jameboy says:

      if one ethnic group is supermajority and all the others are just minorities, I think this supermajority ethnic group could have imposed its will (glue) on the other ethnic minorities – nagimasen
      Imposing its will is different for being a ‘glue’. The former smacks of dominance and control that leads to imbalance really. When one ethnic group is a supermajority it would appear to be just like what happened during Marcos’ time when Ilocanos lord it over the rest of us. Not good. They all have the goods on them. The offices, the positions, connections and promotions, the perks, and all the works! Bad. A supermajority ethnic group is fine on regional or local level because oftentimes geographical make-up dictates such state. But on national level it’s counterproductive because it tends to be biased in favor of the people of the dominating region.

      With regard to the ‘glue’ I think there is a need to identify where exactly we want it applied and whether there is really a need for it. On my part, as a nation, I don’t see the necessity of a ‘glue’ for we are united in terms of having common culture, dominant language and territory. We always come for each other for assistance and succor against other countries, for example in the case of Singapore (Flor Contemplacion) and then with Hong Kong (Luneta hostage-taking). We are also united in our call against China’s constant incursion and her bully ways in the South China Sea. The same can ne said with regard to unity against foreign adversary. We are united in being with our allies in conflicts around the world that we often volunteer our services in peacekeeping, goodwill missions and other humanitarian endeavors.

      As a country, I agree on the line in the article that says, “We accept that there is beauty in our diversity and harmony in our different voices.” In fact, that (diversity) is what I see as a glue holding us together because while it alludes to our differences, i.e. regional culture, dialects, practices, etc., it really signifies understanding of our differences and coming together in spite of that differences. Another factor that serves as a glue, except with Muslims, is the Catholic religion. Obviously, there is no question when it comes to the country as God-fearing and united under “the aid of Almighty God” as what the Constitution imparts.

      Lastly, political personalities also serve as a glue or unifier in times of necessity. Politics maybe a divider but politicians in certain instances gets to unite people by just merely being themselves like in the case of Cory Aquino and in a more subtle way, her son, Noynoy.

      At present, the country may need another unifier or glue in the face of recent issues that made some people draw lines of separation in terms of reason, principles, political leanings etc. With Pres. PNoy’s watch practically over, presidential wannabes are now trying their best to present themselves as ‘glue’ for the country. So expect the campaign period to be dominated by call for unity and cooperation and strong governance, etc. In short, the call for the glue will be in demand again. But the call does not mean we get the glue we want. We are not even sure if we’ll get a ‘glue’ this time for based on popularity surveys, those leading the poll does not really symbolizes the glue or unifier. They are in fact merely paste masquerading as glue.

      It’s not Mighty Bond but merely Elmer’s Glue. So be very careful. ☝

      • Nagimasen says:

        It is just my theory but look at multicultural societies like Singapore, China, Russia, even the US. The common denominator is one dominant ethnic group.

        Compare that with the old Yuguslavia where one ethnic group (Serbs) couldnt hold together their Federation coz they are not really majority

        I still believe though that it is not the multicultural nature of the Philippines is the problem. It is the lack of strong ang honest leaders.

        Maybe if we could elect 3 more Presidents in the mold of PNoy who will continue the good policies like appointing good Ombudsman, Justice Sec, Finance and other critical agencies then evrything will be ok

    • That’s why we also have a unifying language – English which is global.

  29. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe, a suggestion (assuming you and the Society are in favor): when you go on vacation next week, how about leaving a “blank wall” here so that members can continue discussing whatever topic they deem relevant, e.g. Binay trials, SC rulings, China issue, etc.

    No need to appoint a moderator for it, I dont think trolls will become a problem since there will be no set topic anyway. And they can just be ignored.

    • I’d like that. something like halo halo of Raissa’s. … just free wheeling discussion of day to day developments affecting our nation. Like chopsuey, or smorgasbord even…(heck, getting hungry now – time to return to my cold breakfast hehe)

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve got a blog set up and ready for run as I head out the door that is just that. I do suggest a topic, indeed about 20 of them, but just to spark ideas. It is a free form forum. I think I gave it some innovative title like “Open Discussion”. 🙂

    • edgar lores says:

      Ah, a cyberspace tabula rasa. Good idea, Andrew. I second it.

    • Bert says:

      Very good idea, Andrew, I agree.

      Joe, I wish you and your family a very enjoyable vacation.

      • Joe America says:

        Thank you Bert. We have a fun schedule of play (for the kid), shopping (for the wife) and eating (for me) lined up. And with the customary ogling that tourists do when they rummage through new places. I’ll report upon return. I also suspect that we will find there is no place quite as nice as home. Cheers!

  30. karl garcia says:

    open discussion next week. Joe, time For R and R .

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Ako naman Karl, hindi na manggugulo. Nabasa mo o mababasa mo iyong buong istoriya.

      Napatawaran ko si Tatay sa pagkasalbahe niya sa amin noon, ako napilitan maging salbahe para mabigyan siya ng leksiyon – sa magandang paraan. Binibigyan ko siya ng pag-unawa dahil maaring naging ganyan siya dahil sa ginawa sa kanya ni Makoy.

      Pasalamat kang hindi mo nadanas iyong ganyan na sitwasyon sa loob ng pamilya.

      Ako, napilitang maging salbahe rin kahit hindi ako ganoon para maprotekta kami rito. Malungkot pa rin ngayon ang mga mata ng sister ko gawa ng lahat ng nangyari.

      Noong pagbalik ni Tatay galing Paris, kaibigan siya ni Ninoy, parang Jose Rizal II ang tinging ng mga tao sa kanya. Biro mo, pati ganyan nasira nga salbaheng si Makoy? Hindi lahat ng Pilipino, naging kasing tatag ni Ninoy Aquino. Tulad ng naramdaman ni Manong sonny, malaking trahedya ang nangyari sa bansa gawa ni Apo Lakay. Marami sigurong istoryang katulad ng istorya namin, pero alam mo naman, sa Pilipinas sira ka kapag ikinuwento mo iyon. Kaya ako na ang nauna bilang ehemplo kahit masira pa ako. Kahit ma-google pa ng future customers ko iyong pangalan at istorya ko. Mas makatao na sila rito ngayon sa Alemanya, natuto sila sa panahon na higit pa sila sa hayop: 1933-1945.

      • sonny says:

        Kasi lang ng tadhana na kami (magulang, mga kapatid) ay napa-ibang bansa (US) noong panahon ni FM. Kaming magpipinsan nakatatanda, lahat laking Phil Army at Navy. Maraming bulung-bulungan tungkol kay FM, mas bata ng limang taon si FM sa father ko. pero sold ang generation nila kay FM. Nahinang ang mga kalooban nila sa pagkakaisa hubog ng mga nakita nila at naranasan dulot ng digmaan. Kaya always on the optimistic side ang take ko kay FM dahil na rin sa mga kwento, inside-story baga. We only wanted to listen to the dream and vision that we conflated with the FM story. Ang suspetsa ko, sa totoo, si FM ay maysakit (malaria) noong kabuuan ng WWII.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Sana maipaliwanag mo rin kay Joe na wala akong problema sa kanya. Hindi lahat ng Amerikano masama, kaya lang noon panahon ni Makoy, maraming kabalastugang ginawa ang mga hawak niya, kasama ng iilang mga hindi tuwid na kawani ng CIA.

          Kaming mga nakaranas ng ganyan, hindi namin basta-basta maalis iyan lalo na’t maliwanag na may kinakampihan si Joe. Kaya for the good iyong mga tanong ko.

          • sonny says:

            @ Irineo
            Sa ngayon, awat muna kayo ni Joe. de rapido ang pasok mo hindi ma-sort ng mga tulad ko kung ano ang puno’t dulo ng mga sinabi mo.

            Dapat mong isa-alaala, magkasabay ang Cold War at ang drama ni FM sa Pilipinas noon. Nakatutok (USSR-USA) sa isa’t-isa mga nuclear weapons. Ang CIA ang nasa frontline, Subic and Clark were major geographic and political bases of operations. Si FM ang may control (sovereign) for good and bad. Ang backyard ng America punong-puno ng destabilizers. Lahat ng mga mayperang Amerikano pumapapel; ang mga namamatay, Amerikano rin. Maraming Filipino immigrants natapon at namatay sa Vietnam.

  31. David Murphy says:

    I can’t find the comment but someone wrote earlier that they saved time by skipping the entries from Herr Salazar. I tried it and discovered that not only did it save me an amazing amount of time, the other entries assumed a much more coherent and related flow of ideas. I was considering dropping this blog because it was taking far too much time to read it all, including the comments, which are generally informative and thought-provoking. Now I can read all the (other) comments in a reasonable time. I’m sure that I’m missing something but it’s better than not reading at all. FWIW.

  32. dzandueta says:

    “remember an old glue commercial where a hefty guy hangs upside down on a cross-beam, his shoes sealed to the beam by a few daubs of Mighty Bond glue, or some similar product. My recall is a little fuzzy on the particulars, but not on the upside down man.”

    A bit late and maybe off-topic, but that “old glue” product is Bulldog. I use it because I find it better than Mighty Bond. 🙂

  33. I really like reading through an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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