Love in the Time of Marcos


Brotherly love, by Patricia Hollinshead, watercolor on paper


by Wilfredo G. Villanueva ’70

(Dear reader, you may have noticed the numeric beside my name.  I am using that number to designate my batch signifying the year—1970—I joined a Greek-letter fraternity, germane to the following story.  That is how we are known exclusively, with the batch number.  Also, I placed a rendition of the Eiffel Tower by our family’s youngest Maud in the middle of the article to show our solidarity with France and the rest of the world in its fight against extremism.  May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.)

This time I am going to talk about fraternity love.

What?  How can love exist in fraternities when all they do is to injure or kill neophytes and injure or kill members of rival fraternities?

In the United States and in the Philippines, frats seem to be a young man’s or a young woman’s tether or life line in campus. When you’re indoctrinated and sworn in, you’re in it for life. Yes. It’s all about loyalty and any perception of disloyalty is met with ostracism, the death of all deaths especially in a country such as ours where social acceptance is the gold standard.

Those of you who have followed me these past months would never believe that I am a frat man.  Some say that I am the emo type, always talking about love.  But I am a frat man.

I come from the same fraternity as Ferdinand Marcos. Wait, before you turn the page. It’s also the same fraternity where Ninoy Aquino comes from.

Some of the country’s illustrious men come from the fraternity—called the Upsilon Sigma Phi—why, because it’s the oldest fraternity in the country, and it has netted some genius-level students (with some notable exceptions like me) in the Diliman and Los Baños campuses of the University of the Philippines.

It has several issues raised against it, such as being elitist, bourgeois, detached.

Mel “Spooks” Glor and Mer Arce, whose names are recited by NPA cadres up to now because they died in glorious battle against Marcos’s army and police are Upsilonians, members for life. Our roster says about them: Glor, member, New People’s Army; Arce, commander, New People’s Army. So there. Detached?

I write this with a little trepidation. Checking my life line, it’s secure, my brothers in fraternity will not disown me, but see, I may be close to spilling secrets.  Bad.  It’s omerta. We’re that way. It just isn’t done, a brother talking about the frat in public, because you’ll never know, most members are jealous about information on each other because when we talk, we talk heart to heart, with a bottle of cold beer actual or virtual, no inhibitions, let it all hang out, your secret’s safe with me, brother.

These are special times, and maybe some things can be shared, particularly on how we are able to get along well, on how an organization such as ours can survive wars, conflict and crises and still retain its particular brand or way of doing things.

We’re cobbling together an anthology or collection of writings by our fellows. We’re talking Salvador Lopez’s Fall of Bataan broadcast in 1942, Marcos’s 1965 inaugural address, Ninoy’s speech at the airport in 1983, delivered by our brother Doy Laurel, poetry by Jimmy Abad—Palanca hall of famer.

Where has the frat been, now that we are three years afield from our centenary—100 years in existence—in 2018?  This question comes to mind while doing the anthology.  Consider:

One, we’re an open city for politics—go where you want to go, be with the candidate you want to be identified with—as you may have imagined from the foregoing. There’s a group now inside the frat, Brods for Mar, and they’re campaigning for Mar Roxas. Mar’s father Gerry and brother Dinggoy were Upsilonians.  Dick Gordon and Martin Romualdez are brods, too, and it’s no surprise that some brods are rooting for them as well.  Bongbong, too, on account of his father;

Two, Brod Elmer Ordoñez, foremost Filipino writer, former head of the UP Department of English, self-exiled during the Marcos years for acts inimical to the dictatorship, sits with Roquito Ablan, as Marcos as Marcos can be, in a dinner table on the occasion of their batch’s 50th anniversary. “There was palpable ice between us,” Ordoñez admitted, “but the next time we meet, and there are few of us left in the batch, I’m sure the ice would have thawed.” Ablan, Ninoy and he come from the same batch;

Three, a brother needs expensive medical treatment.  His batch mates pitch in.  The treatments continue, thanks to brods.  “Would you do it if the brother had a different political persuasion?” I asked a batch mate of his.  “Political persuasion?” he answered, “I don’t even like him that much because he’s a Mensa genius and he can be overwhelming.”  It’s how we were brought up in the frat, each his brother’s keeper.  Liking or not liking has got nothing to do with brotherly love.

So you get the picture. Having come from a rib of the country, we reflect everything about it—riven by conflict, full of opposite forces, seemingly at odds with each other.  What’s the word, internecine, mutually destructive?

But you know what? The wonder of our brotherhood is that we remain brothers in spite of everything. Oh yes.  If you consider the marbling of our politics—fat tissue incorporated into lean meat, inseparable—you will understand the kind of dynamics we have as an association of forever (borrowing from AlDub).

What do we talk about then when we’re together, considering the marbling, the issues that separate us? Everything under the sun, as brothers do, a lot of admiration, a lot of affirmation, feel-good times.  Why not tear into each other?  No such thing.  We will die if we try to separate ourselves from each other because the fraternity is simply made up of fellows from all walks of life, from different parents and teachers, values formed way before we joined the frat, bringing our own set of beliefs and principles into the mix. We were, however, singed by the same fire that shaped us into one brotherhood.

There are many things we could do, being students from the grandest academic system of the country, but there are also some things we would not do even if we could. We could pursue our dreams and aspirations given the survivor mindsets we have but when we meet in our gatherings, it’s like coming home, family love, fraternity love.

pray-squareWhen you consider the open-heart-surgery issues of the country, think how a fraternity such as the Upsilon can survive. But it has survived—survived and lived in a grand manner.  Brotherhood heals, able to transform natural enemies into one flock moving as one.  Brothers will not turn on each other, because turning on each other will kill all adversaries, nobody wins, and we do not want that. If there’s a laboratory on how to come together in spite of differences, fraternities such as ours could be used for their wisdom and experience in keeping the house whole and in order, keeping brothers with their own individual passions intact, yet united under one name all the time.

The beloved country will live because the business model of loving is being practiced in fraternities, young men (and women in sororities) in one formation, shorn of bitterness, getting a fresh perspective, gaining in understanding, tolerance and kindness. Perhaps, the country can learn from our victorious struggle to keep body and soul together in the face of tumultuous seas and land constantly being rearranged by forces over which we have no control.

In gist, love is love when it’s not easy to love.

Some practical applications of fraternity love vis a vis country love:

One, in crisis or in celebration we stand as one.  One thing that JoeAm cannot comprehend is why we cannot stand behind our President in important events which define our country, especially to other nations.  Read naysayers’ comments in news websites on the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) this week, which has 21 members that include the United States, Russia, China and Japan.  And be ashamed.  Citizenship must be likened to brotherhood or sisterhood.  We can be different only up to a certain point, but we must unite behind our leader when the name of the organization or the country is at stake.  I used to think Americans have perfected this act of patriotism, but President Obama has had more than his share of catcalls and outright prejudice;

Two, notwithstanding our differences, we celebrate the achievements of individual brothers.  There are no such things as trolls, detractors, negative thinkers in the fraternity.  As long as you exhibit talent and passion in a particular activity, you are recognized, we do not pull each other down such as in a basket full of crabs;

Three, we have a hero mentality.  Stories of heroism and acts that engender unity are constantly being circulated and nurtured, burned into the memories of new recruits, kept alive in anecdotes and literature to foster fraternity pride.  How can a country such as ours gain traction if we have a short memory for those who have done well, and a long memory for those who have done us wrong or put us to shame?  Students asking why Apolinario Mabini was sitting all the time during the movie Heneral Luna is a case in point.

Four, love, even hunger, for tradition.  The fraternity system calibrates itself, such as the total ban on physical initiation, but certain traditions are sacred and cannot be moved.  Seniority is one institution that cannot be compromised.  Why?  Keeping the form and substance of fraternity is the number one goal of every set of officers so that the Upsilon of today is the same as the Upsilon of yesteryear.  How many times do we have to change our country’s constitution?  England doesn’t even have one written down.  The U.S. will not change the character of the country by changing its constitution, introducing amendments instead.  Change for the better, yes, but change for the sake of change, as JoeAm said, may not be beneficial to one and all.

Five, keep it light.  Sometimes the country takes itself too seriously.  Every rumor or turn of event is worked for its drama and ability to put the country on the brink of destruction.  We have fiestas that celebrate patron saints, but do we have celebrations that uplift each other in all lightheartedness?  The country seems to have a predisposition to accepting pain as a necessary element of living.  Can we try accepting joy as a necessary element of living?  Fraternity fellows hang out for the merriment of the moment.  Maybe that is why I was struck by the unifying effect of AlDub.  It’s not every day that we can look at a certain thing about us and be kilig together.  A country needs to laugh and be thrilled as one, too.

Six, an Upsilon face.  This is a bit sensitive because Filipinos love their country but will move to another one if the opportunity presents itself.  Fraternity is a brand on one’s person, as if the brother never left campus.  Living in another country to earn a living or for a better future is one thing, dissing (disrespecting) it, talking against it, leaving it for dead is another.  Once an Upsilonian, always an Upsilonian.  Can we say the same of Filipinos in general?  Example:  Canada is a land of immigrants.  Canadians love diversity.  Do Filipinos live in Canada as Filipinos to enjoy the benefits of the adopted country, or do they live in Canada to copy Canadians, to be indistinguishable from the rest?  Canadians would like them to be distinct.

Seven, indoctrination is key.  Admit it, we would love to be Americans.  Upsilonians do not for any moment consider themselves as brothers of another fraternity.  How is that?  Pride of place, which can be accomplished by ample training or indoctrination and leadership by example.  Slay Uncle Sam already.  We are grand the way we are.  Fraternities can teach us love and appreciation of pinanggalingan or base or territory.

We are a country in progress.  Someday, we will join the community of nations as Filipinos without looking with a moist eye at another country’s flag.  Love, pride of place—different from each other, yes, conflicted, yes—but belonging to one country, with one flag.

Philippines, anyone?


170 Responses to “Love in the Time of Marcos”
  1. “Some of the country’s illustrious men come from the fraternity—called the Upsilon Sigma Phi—why, because it’s the oldest fraternity in the country, that’s why, and it has netted genius-level students (not all) in the University of the Philippines, Diliman and Los Baños campuses.”

    Does this fraternity also get into rumbles or are they too powerful and are way above stuff like that— like the Skull and Bones, ?

    • Wil, on average how many civic groups, secret orders, chamber of commerces-type organizations, do fraternity-types join? Are these same folks also inclined to join and/or take leadership positions of religious groups or actual churches, ie. starting their own?

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Brods do get into leadership positions in other organizations you mentioned, LCpl_X, founding or co-founding their own, as a general rule.

    • There are a number of fraternities in the Philippines… Alpha Phi Omega is one, there is also another frat to which my father and Senator Rene Cayetano both belonged to, don’t remember the name though… there are ex-PMAyers for whom loyalty to one’s mistah or batchmate (Karl correct me if I am wrong, my uncle Gen. Carbonnel was a jungle boy and jungle fighter from Tiwi, one of the few generals who was not a PMAyer, but his loyalty was to his PHILCAG comrades-in-arms from the Nam days where he went under Fidel Ramos).. there are batchmates in Philippine Science High School where I went, our political loyalties go from wanted NPA commander to fervent yellowists up to Duterte followers and even one or two children of Marcos cronies, really big-time, we know where each person is and where he stands, and it is beer and pulutan when Kumander … comes into town even if he is a wanted man until now, and we know where the children of the Marcos cronies live now.. the entire Philippines is like that LCPL_X, ties that bind. Circles of loyalty merge into nation.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      LCpl_X, sorry, I’m not at liberty to discuss that. Reporter-source confidentiality.

  2. stpaul says:

    ” Someday, we will join the community of nations as Filipinos without looking with a moist eye at another country’s flag. Love, pride of place—different from each other, yes, conflicted, yes—but belonging to one country, with one flag.”

    This gets me teary-eyed Will. I hope this happens in my lifetime :(!

    Congrats Sir Joeam for being a finalist in the Bloggy’s :)!

  3. karl garcia says:

    I knew you were Upsilon because we are FB friends, and In fb messages I even asked about The truth of the loyalists posts sourced from Manila Times.
    Marcos and Ninoy were brods,but hated each other and the whole nation and even the world witnessed that.
    They are the outliers,but generally frat brods are indeed closer than brothers comparable to the brotherhood in PMA.

    • karl garcia says:

      That brotherhood in the senate is something. Mary Grace was fuming mad last night,she extended it to our mini fb group.I just read it this morning.
      Btw it was regarding the SET.

      • Am still fuming mad…am thinking of PRECEDENCE, not only Poe…they wrongly bought the self pity mode of Poe who mistakenly think that foundlings are stateless which is very far from the truth…They are deemed citizens just not natural born citizens precisely because their unknown parents could be foreigners.

        Am wary also of the SC and the Arroyo 8 there…Half a century ago, the SC then ruled on issues that become part of the law of the land from the hated condonation doctrine to the later years of overturning the illegality of midnight appointments of an outgoing president. It takes years and another set of principled SC majorities to correct those defective rulings.

        Busy watching the APEC tv coverage, hence my silence till now.

        • karl garcia says:

          Are you team Nieto or team Trudeau?
          drop a message at FB.

          • Team Obama. He was awesome as he led the panel discussion on climate change, economic growth and business. He was relaxed and playful, joking and encouraging at the same time. He encouraged support for our very own Aisa Mijeno in her quest to expand production of her product which she herself invented.

            “A Filipina who co-founded Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALT), a company that makes innovative lamps powered by saltwater, was thrust into the global limelight at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit on Wednesday as a great example of a young entrepreneur using technology to solve everyday problems.
            Aisa Mijeno, an engineer and environmental advocate, thought of making the saltwater-powered lamps after living with the natives of the Butbut tribe in Kalinga who relied only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores. The main inspiration to come up with this lighting application was when she learned that because of scarce transportation in this community, people had to walk down the mountain six hours every other day just to get kerosene for their lamps.
            No less than US president Barack Obama engaged Mijeno in a panel discussion that also included Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who built Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce platform.”

            Read more:

            • karl garcia says:

              been following Apec news myself.If you notice some of my fb posts it is about innovations and inventions,so I am pressing the like button on your comment.

            • sonny says:

              Mary Grace, I wish we could talk at length about Obama. Sometime.

              • karl garcia says:

                We have an fb group we discuss off topic there, what is your fb handle Uncle Sonny.Don’t have to answer here,just find us under joe’s friends.

              • sonny says:

                Thank you much, nephew. I’ve totally recused myself from fb. No reason, really.

  4. karl garcia says:


    Have your kid or someone take pictures or video of the bloggys,thanks.

  5. andrewlim8 says:

    I would liken membership in a frat to the French term “terroir” which is used to describe the uniqueness of a wine- the “sense of place”. There’s no direct translation in English, but it includes all the characteristics of what figured into the creation of the wine – the micro-climate, the soil, the processes, etc.

    Having said that, an uncle and his son (my cousin) are also Upsilonians. My uncle was imprisoned by Marcos as well, but he was worried/embarrassed when he was released because some might think it was due to the brotherhood. In any case, principles were never compromised and he just continued his anti-dictatorship activities till Marcos fell. Bayan bago ang fraternity.

    • andrewlim8 says:


      By the way I liked that reference to Gabriel Garcia Marquez in your title for this blog.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Thanks, andrewlim8! I liked the reference to GGM, too! Loved the book. Yes, it is: bayan muna bago fraternity. Conscience muna bago frat. We don’t want robots.

      • Joe America says:

        I had to look that up. “Love in the time of Cholera” is a story about a long term romance of two old people, both married, who were murdered in a boat in Acapulco by the boatman. Now, as I understand it, the Marcos dalliances caught up with him and gave Imelda great power, and that is when the power over the nation shifted to her.

        To tell you the truth, I don’t understand the title in that or any other context, but Will pegged my dismay right, that the Philippines lacks national cohesion, or the love-bonding between individual and nation.

        • andrewlim8 says:

          Joe, in the book cholera (from which the English word “choleric” can be derived) is seen as both disease (which the doctor helped eradicate) and extreme passion. The two male leads are contrasts- one with extreme passion, the other with so little.

          Marquez used the cholera epidemic as his background theme for love – the extremes with which it can be taken to, and how we struggle to choose how much to have of it.

          • Joe America says:

            Ah, thanks, andrew. Light bulb moment. I understand the title now.

          • sonny says:

            Andrew, as metaphors go ‘choleric’ is closer to its etymology, i.e. bile. IMO. (I refer to the personality quad: choleric, sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic).

            Addressing the topic of fraternity: lately I am espousing the triad social ethic of solidarity, subsidiarity and human dignity as the healthy context of fraternity.

            Early on, I was introduced to the fraternity practice of a Benedictine house which included the ideas of tradition, order, truth, eschatology and community life.

    • Thea says:


      Just to explain. Since you are speaking of wine, “vin di terroir” is “vino del territorio” in Italian. In English, that means the “wine of the territory or region”.

      • sonny says:

        Very interesting metaphor, ‘vin di terroir.’ gave birth to ‘vintage.’ Am not a wine drinker, but I heard it said, California wines don’t have the years of vintage because the weather in sunny California is the same from year to year as far as grape growing is concerned. Hence I suspect differences among California wines lie somewhere else. Maybe lie in the congeners.

  6. edgar lores says:

    Sorry, Wilfredo.

    1. As an individualist, I have always been wary of fraternities.

    2. Fraternal love is exclusive, not inclusive.

    3. Fraternities are secret societies. Their purpose is to propagate the organization… and that purpose may not align with the common good.

    4. The loyalty of fraternal brothers are to each other and may be greater than their loyalty to other constructs — community, church, nation. Fraternal loyalty may cause violations of ethical values.

    5. Fraternal love does not necessarily translate to patriotism. Au contraire.

    6. Hero mentality? Who then is the hero — Ferdie or Ninoy?

    7. It is quite clear — from mentions of the need for silence, omerta, and confidentiality — that there is a shadow side to fraternal love.

    8. It follows that the underlying general philosophy of fraternal love does not adhere to the openness and all-encompassing nature of Jesus’ second greatest commandment.

    9. Tradition and indoctrination are conditioning. The path to real brotherhood is not through conditioning but through individual enlightenment and to the individual realization of our common humanity. This is the essence of the second greatest commandment.

    10. Accordingly, the fraternity of men should embrace the whole of humankind and not the microcosms of Greek-letter societies, churches and even of nations.

    11. We all have our own individual and communal ways of celebrating life and finding joy.

    Disclosure: In the waywardness of youth, I, too, was a member of a fraternity, a founding member. We did not have initiations; if we had, I would not have joined. Membership was based on having similar outlooks and values. And I have never surrendered my individual judgement to that of the group.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      No need to say sorry, Edgar. I’ll just borrow the last line of your comment to justify the truth I wished to say about a particular fraternity, my own:

      “And I have never surrendered my individual judgment to that of the group.”

      I’m still the man I had hoped I would become even with a fraternity. A younger brother asked me: “Hmm, brod, how is it that you don’t drink and smoke, and yet you can be part of fellowship where most brods usually drink and smoke?” My answer: “I thank the No Smoking rule for public places so smokers will have to leave a common area and smoke on their own, so I have no problem with second-hand smoke. As to drinking, I’m thankful that I turn red after a bottle of beer so I didn’t take up the habit, and the brods know I don’t drink.” We don’t make tagay—passing a single glass filled equally for each member to quaff as previously defined—so I’m politically correct. See, a frat is stripes, spots, brindle, all colors. I can only stand for the frat I speak about, though. Thanks, Edgar.

    • Joe America says:


      1. Do you adjust or compromise your individual judgment to benefit a group? I would say so, or maybe you would not pay taxes.

      2. If a fraternity is a subset of nation, and you argue that fraternity allegiance compromises national allegiance, does national allegiance compromise global allegiance? I’d say there can be allegiances within allegiances, and it is the individual principles or values that make them all work the way they are supposed to.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        In the end, it’s still about conscience, morality, doing the right things. Frats won’t stand in the way if you are convinced yours is the right way. That’s why frat fellowships and reunions are sweet because the sweetest wine is served. It’s called Courage&Conviction 1970 (referring to my batch).

      • edgar lores says:

        1. No, not if I can help it. In my judgement paying taxes is NOT a compromise. It’s a communal duty and obligation that I freely recognize that works to the benefit of myself, the family and the community. I do drive the roads, don’t I?

        1.1. You would have to offer a better example of compromise. I do not play the stereo loudly at eight o’clock in the morning — although I would like to — in consideration of the neighbors. If that’s a compromise, I am happy to oblige. The exercise of my free will should not impinge on the domain and comfort of others.

        1.2. It’s a fine line… and you have to appreciate the given situation and consciously weigh options all of the time.

        2. Yes, definitely, national allegiance can — and does — compromise global allegiance. Cheney’s push for the Iraq war for example. And the allegiance of Chinese leaders and generals who map out the physical realization of the nine-dash line.

        2.1. True, there are allegiances within allegiances. Again, one has to be aware of where the boundaries lie so that conflicts can be avoided and do not occur. But, again, this is very general and very vague.

        2.2. A specific and common example in the Philippine situation is that allegiance to family should not undercut allegiance to nation.

        2.3. The ultimate allegiance is to individual conscience. Important: this does not mean selfishness. Indeed the paradox of enlightened individual conscience is that it may — and often does — sacrifice itself for the common good.

        2.4. My thesis is that limited fraternity love goes against the ideal of Jesus’ second greatest commandment. Fraternity love is like the love of organized religion. It is exclusive and limited.

        2.5. Don’t people see the irony?

        • Joe America says:

          I see the irony, but find that marriage has the same demand, fidelity, and for that we have a union that benefits all, including the kids, so there has to be room for togetherness. I find organizations demanding, impure with cliques and favoritism and nonsense, and could only last in Boy Scouts for about a year. I saw the pastor smoking a cigarette when I was 11 and that ended the attraction of churches, as skepticism and reading eroded faith (later rebuilt on my own terms). The army was a strange organization, I discovered, as my ideals of heroism and Sgt York nailing turkeys and Germans dissolved into fragging and a nasty war only half fought. I almost received an Article 15 for driving my own jeep (against the orders of the Colonel who got up each morning to receive divine guidance and issues orders that made no sense). I didn’t like the silliness of fraternities, the demeaning initiations or pretense of superiority, or even the arrogance of anti-war protesters. I did enjoy the corporate life, but that was because it was challenging and good to me, and I was an individual within it, of considerable autonomy and authority.

          But, yes, I see the irony.

          • sonny says:

            I understand the irony and put under the heading of enigma, also conundrum.

            • Joe America says:

              That’s interesting, sonny, because “enigma” to me has spiritual connotations, and “conundrum” has rational connotations. So perhaps it needs both headings.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, it seems the elements of irony (juxtapose contraries), enigma (inscrutable), conundrum (riddle ridden) and spirituality (transcendence) are necessary properties of human relationships where cohesive and adhesive qualities are operative, viz. fraternity and family members must stick together (centripetal) side by side with differences (centrifugal) in order to prevail inside and outside of the group. I hope the words do not fail me now. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                They did not. For sure, they did not.

              • sonny says:

                I do appreciate the heuristic nature of conversations in the blog, Joe. Thank you.

        • NHerrera says:

          I like the thread starting on November 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm.

          1.2. It’s a fine line… and you have to appreciate the given situation and consciously weigh options all of the time.

          Not an easy thing to do, but made easy for those of us who have striven and formed a philosophy of life centered on a good set of values and default/frequent use of conscience.

          Which goes back to the great merit of education in its truest and broadest sense. An education not only learned from schools but from our great store of human knowledge and the interaction with others real or virtual — a continuing journey less distracted by the need for money, power and comforts, more than already satisfied.

        • 2.1. Feudal allegiances are an example. The peasant in the middle ages owed allegiance to his immediate lord, the lord (baron or the like) to a higher lord, that duke or count owed his allegiance to a king, the king to an emperor, the emperor to God. The Pope usually claimed to be God’s ambassador on Earth, and that the Holy Roman Emperor owed allegiance to him, but that was not always followed in practice. Charles V’s soldiers (the father of Philipp II who rule when the Philippines was “discovered”) plundered Rome…

          In the EU concentric allegiances are know as subsidiarity. The BBL also uses that term. Since the EU is a kind of Confederation, and some countries within it are Federal, you have a number of concentric allegiances. Every German federal state has a representative to the EU in Brussels to look after its interests in addition to the German ambassador to the EU. German LGUs (Kommunen) have their own statutes and have their own Council of LGUs nationally, while dealing with their Länder (federal states) first an foremost. Bavaria has prefectures within itself, is federal without and centralistic within.

          Most EU states are NATO, but not all. Many EU states are part of the Schengen border agreement, which includes heavy police cooperation and a common police database. Lots of EU states are in the Euro, which means that they have ceded monetary sovereignty and recently also a lot of control over their own budgeting, with Merkel, Troika etc. giving guidelines to many poorer EU states in a similar way the IMF does to poorer countries.

          2.2. in Germany there are laws that you can remain silent as a witness towards police and court if you could incriminate a direct relative – parent, child or sibling. Possibly this notion even goes back to old Germanic tribal laws. You can remain silent on matters where you could incriminate yourself in cross-examination or police investigation. The right to remain silent in general does exist, but not for witnesses, and is not recited to you by the police like in American movies. Also in courts, there is no such thing as objection your honor… 🙂

          Concentric allegiances grew in Germany from the olden days, where the Holy Roman Emperor was just a supreme tribal chief and Imperial Diets were held only occasionally, like Lumads hold their Kahimunan among many related tribes. The civilized people were the Romans and their descendants, the barbarians were Germanic. Law was spoken by a council of elders known as the witan, the wise men, based on precedents known to them. Gunnar son of Olaf stole a pig three generations ago and was made to pay 20 chickens, so we now sentence Thor son of Eric to pay 40 chickens for stealing two pigs from Leif. It was similar to the arbitration of the old Filipino datus and barangay captains, and was the root of Anglo-Saxon – and American – precedent-based law. Codified law came from the Romans, the code of Emperor Justinian is the ancestor of the Napoleonic Code, which is in turn the ancestor of the French, German and Philippine Civil Codes… but I digress. 🙂

        • josephivo says:

          Choices. Isn’t it all about choices, consciously and unconsciously? Do I like music more than the harmony with my neighbors? In this situation do I value my family more than the nation? Do I want to optimize my personal wellbeing or the wellbeing of the universe?

          And isn’t enlightened to take well reasoned conscious decisions?

          • edgar lores says:

            Totally agree… in particular the last bit. Being conscious in that sense is to go beyond culture, beyond habit, beyond advertising, beyond unconscious biases.

            I should note that optimizing personal well-being may not necessarily contradict the well-being of the universe. More likely than not, it may be in consonance.

            • josephivo says:

              When there is no conflict you don’t have to decide. Yes in most cases there will be no conflict, especially if you can take your time to enjoy the beauty of nature (and our inborn mechanism to cope, to relate, to adapt, to enjoy…).

          • karl garcia says:

            So long as music does not disturb neighbors,you will have harmony with neighbors.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      I espouse the same outlook, Edgar.

      I particular like #9.

      Some says that the American ideal of individuality has infected me to the core. Not true, I was born independent and my longtime friends can attest to that. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum.

      I did not join a sorority but I am always present at causes I deemed important such as leading the clothing drive for the homeless, collecting food for the food bank and books for inner city kids, donating my harvest to the homeless shelter, volunteering my time and skills to NGOs and worthy advocacies…

      • edgar lores says:

        Juana, thanks.

        I guess there is a certain misapprehension when you or I claim to be independent and “individualistic.”

        For me, the term has no connotation of being anti-social or anti-community. It’s mainly being self-reliant. It is not about cutting one’s self off from society… which is not impossible nowadays but impractical. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the shoes we put on, the books we read, the music we listen to, the popcorn we enjoy — all of these come from others.

        (Oh, I forget, you raise your own food.)

        No, self-reliance does not mean that one is fully independent of others. I recognize we live in communities and that we are interdependent upon one another, that as we “take from” or “exchange with” we must also “contribute to” the community.

        That saying that it takes “a village to raise a child?” I am not saying that the child is more important than the village. There is no dichotomy between village and child. But the importance is in raising the child in the right way. And to be able to do that, the village must also raise itself to what is the right way.

        Individualism for me is about raising that child properly… not through blind conditioning (acculturation) but giving him the tools to evaluate things himself. We have not reached this stage yet.

        So individualism, for me as an adult, is about how I… apprehend the world… according to the values which I consider to be important. Most of these values lie at the heart of the world’s religions, and people (including myself) pay lip service to these values, but do not really understand them or even try to understand them… as evidenced by the way we live our lives and treat our fellowmen.

        • Yes. It might seem paradoxical but most independent people I know do not live their lives out of selfishness, rather, they are able to look at the big picture and beyond. They operate under the umbrella of what is good for humanity now and for the future generation. They often stick like sore thumbs because they are mostly introverts who do not pontificate about their deeds but do their work/vocation earnestly and without the need for fanfare and recognition. They are inner directed so clamor for attention and fame do not really matter much to them. Their pursuit of happiness is grounded on intangibles and the hope of better lives for their progeny and humankind.

      • edgar lores says:

        The effect of fraternities on national life has been alluded to in my item 4: “The loyalty of fraternal brothers are to each other and may be greater than their loyalty to other constructs — community, church, nation. Fraternal loyalty may cause violations of ethical values.”

        Here’s an example of that:

    • 10. Different peoples have different ideas of how this fraternity should look like…

      The ideal is in Schiller’s Ode to Joy , sung in Beethoven’s 9th symphony:

      Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
      Daughter of Elysium,
      We enter fire imbibed,
      Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

      Thy magic reunites those
      Whom stern custom has parted;
      All men will become brothers
      Under thy gentle wing.

      May he who has had the fortune
      To gain a true friend
      And he who has won a noble wife
      Join in our jubilation!

      Sounds like the World United of Edgar Lores,
      With Will Villanueva’s AlDub Love doing the job…

      But the reality of the world is communities united by different motives, and concentric circles of loyalty among them, and different ideas of how the balance between power and freedom, Confucian order and Taoist naturalism are to be calibrated…

      – America is about individual freedom, yet the state finally is God on Earth…

      – Philippines is about freedom of groups – families, clans, tribes, with the government as the bounty they try to win for their own benefit, and little individual freedom within groups

      – China is about the State as God and Devil, as everything, the individual is nothing, has never been worth anything in 3000 years. Their notion of unity is totally different one, their idea of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) is the deadly silence after that square was emptied.

      – The EU is a modern version of the Holy Roman Empire, with many small and big principalities under a conferation that is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire, with varying degrees of cooperation (monetary, border, defense) and personal freedom not as unrestrained as in the United States – national IDs on the Continent, police databases, residence registration laws, nothing like the First or Second Amendments anywhere…

      – The Arabian world is about clans being free, individuals not. Ever since the last Turkish Sultan and Caliph was deposed, there have been rulers who controlled nations that were basically groups of tribes and clans, but like despotic civilian Caliphs. Saddam and Assad. Atatürk managed to be a civilian, democratic Caliph, and establish his Six Arrows and his Atatürkism as a civilian religion, inculcated into the population. Yet even in his country, there are those who want the Caliphate of old back – the worst proponents being the ISIS.

      The Roman empire saw some unity under one civilization and one ideal, the Eastern Roman empire survived its Western part as the Byzantine Empire for 1000 years. And why did Constantinople get the works? That’s nobody’s business but the Turks.

      The American empire of today with all its dependencies – the EU, Japan, South Korea, Philippines etc. – is today’s dominant civilization. Instead of SPQR, the golden arches of McDonalds rule the world today. Yet the barbarians (ISIS), the Parthians (Russia) and the Egyptians (China, a hidebound old civilization, hardheaded in its ways and writing in abstractions of hieroglyphics) challenge its rule. English is the modern day Latin, having found its way into many languages already. The global civilization of today may yet fall apart, because the other powers are not inclusive enough of other influences which America is at least to some extent to be more than overlords. So global unity is definitely a long way off, and may never come, or in the 23rd century, when Captain Kirk might be…

    • josephivo says:

      In last year high school, we boycotted the traditional trip to Athens and Rome as it was too expensive for some and especially for me and another orphaned friend and maybe even more important we didn’t like Greek or Latin.

      At the university we saw fraternities as elitist, a hiding place for those with poor ideas. “A good idea sells itself, it does not need close knit networks.” (…same to IS in Paris: people feel that only extremely bad ideas need terror and fear to sell them.) “Workers and students one front”, convinced that power should be by those who create added value, not by those who inherit wealth, students could help in organize, formulate, link with media… We went allover to organize rallies, support strikes, debate, and having a great time feeling important in ’68. Than graduated in 1970 too.

      Later in live I learned that good ideas are not enough. The result of an idea is not only proportional with its quality but also with its acceptance. Networks are very helpful to give an idea traction.

  7. Juana Pilipinas says:

    Below is a cross cultural study (Filipinos vs Americans) of morality. The findings are as expected but there are a few gems for those who like to synthesize knowledge into wisdom:

    Click to access vasquez.2001.pdf

    • Joe America says:

      It is fascinating to see such a rigorous exercise in study aimed at sorting out that which we try to define on the fly in lay terms. I find that tome hard to read, frankly, as my patience is rather thin unless a grade or money is on the line. Enlightenment is not enough incentive. I suppose, like most, I am comfortable in my ignorance. 🙂 But if anyone ever castigates me for making stuff up, I’ll refer them to that document. I admire the kind of mind you have, to take on such a feat. I did read “Heart of Darkness” though . . . and almost all of the 1,200 plus pages of “Don Quixote”, short only by about 100 pages . . .

    • edgar lores says:

      Juana, thanks.

      I skimmed over it but got the central ideas which are quite useful.

  8. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    The movie Stanford Prison Experiment—link above—probes the limits of men acting like prisoners and men acting like prison guards. The line of the movie I think is that “no one stopped the experiment,” or that men who find themselves in a prison environment (or the extreme conditions of physical initiation such as in a fraternity) would normally play out their roles whether as oppressed or oppressor to the hilt. Philippine law has stopped physical initiations, and fraternities have entered a new era where young men and women could be trained in closed quarters on the value of obedience, resilience, project start and completion, things of value to the citizenry. The Philippines is a young nation and any form of training or indoctrination on obedience, loyalty and commitment in spite of hurdles and adverse conditions is most welcome. I do not speak for the fraternity in which I belong, but I present my own personal experience as a product of a fraternity that lends itself flexible and welcoming to individuals with their pre-formed principles. That some brods did become heroes in spite of what most people think is the brainwashing or the conforming atmosphere inside a fraternity redeems the concept of young men banding themselves for common good. Love in the Time of Marcos is an apt title for the article because even if the fraternity was rocked by changes, it continued to exist, and the brothers in its fold have redeemed themselves as well, in service to their god, country, family, community and fraternity. In essence, the article says, there is a particular force or element in our society that could rise as a model for good citizens to emulate. It’s not perfect, but it’s a resource that’s available and ready for use anytime. (Note: I did not capitalize the “g” in “god” because the frat is not a religious organization but recognizes the different faiths of individual members.)

    • Switzerland is the oldest fraternity of all, more than 700 years old, founded on rebellion against lowland overlords (not Ilocanos but Germans) by highlanders, led not by Conrado Balweg but by the legendary Wilhelm Tell, with the legendary Rütli oath as its true spirit:

      We want to be a single People of brethren,

      Never to part in danger nor distress.

      We want to be free, as our fathers were,

      And rather die than live in slavery.

      We want to trust in the one highest God

      And never be afraid of human power.

      The word Eidgenossenschaft, until now the name of the Swiss state, is translated into English as Confederacy, but in reality it is more. Eid means oath, Genossenschaft means comradeship or community. So in that sense, Switzerland is an old, oath-bound community.

      Jose Rizal knew why he translated Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell story into Tagalog. I could not find it, never read it I admit, but I re-translated the Rütli oath into Tagalog myself.

      To be found in this article: – I promised in that article to Jose Rizal that I will not translate it into Tagalog a second time myself, so I will not post that Tagalog translation here. But also my other article “Reconstitute the Philippines” is about the sense of community and cohesion that must be found in spirit, CONSTITUTED to be the BASIC LAW that people follow, without which any Constitution, Basic Law or Saligang Batas is just a worthless sheet of paper, lip service.

    • Joe America says:

      Love entails a great deal of sacrifice, done willingly, for the joys of the union. When I try to intellectualize the weak sense of national sacrifice here, the critical nature, I get intellectual arguments back justifying that free speech is important. Big disconnect. I think people are not getting enough joys from the union. A part of that is money. A part is being treated like a servant or lesser being (congestion is read in those terms). If I were a president or candidate, I might try to figure out how to give people more joys.

      I once dated a prison warden. She was hot, intelligent, funny, and kind. Rather crushed all my misconceptions in that arena.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      “…there is a particular force or element in our society that could rise as a model for good citizens to emulate.”

      You are always optimistic, Wil and it is very refreshing.

      Binay ruined Boy Scouts as one of those force or element. So aside from brotherhood/sisterhood from fraternities/sororities, what other force or elements PH have to usher unity?

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Thanks, Juana. The mining of the Filipino soul continues. I’m brushing off Motherly Love and Son’s Obedience. Let me see if I can polish the gem for all to see.

  9. I guess I have unique qualifications to talk about this “love”— but I’m more inclined towards edgar‘s thoughts on this matter.


    I asked about rumbles because when I think Filipino fraternities that’s the first thing that comes to mind, having been inside a small mall over there when one broke out. Over here, I’ve been to parties held by college fraternities, ex. UC San Diego, UC Irvine, etc. where drunken fights occur but usually only involves the students (or outsiders who’re crashing). You’ll never see these fraternities affect public life, if they do the universities control them.

    So from the outset fraternities don’t get to exercise their “loyalties” to the extent of causing a public nuisance over here— in comparison, I think fraternity membership over there is more or less seen as a license to act a fool, whilst protected by a larger group. The fraternities here, don’t compare to the fraternities there— over there, IMHO they would be more similar to Motorcycle Clubs (MCs) than simple student groups.

    (MCs aren’t like organized crime syndicates or petty street gangs. You can be a member of Hells Angels or the Mongols, and never really be involved in crime, ie. you just like the “fraternity”. MCs are more like the Masonic order, but w/ shady dealings done in the back room.)

    I’m more inclined to think that too many MCs (in whatever guise) is not so great for nation building. So that’s my bias here.


    I asked about these frat brothers starting their own groups, because in Mindanao, I saw a bunch of cults, though mostly PMA’ers (but also other frats, because they advertise this point) turned some sort of “prophet” or Jesus himself. And their rites of passages are similar to fraternity’s or that of military academies. Wil, maybe your fraternity, enjoys a certain elevated status guaranteeing its members don’t have to preach to the lowest strata, but the ones I saw melded with cults perfectly– I know the Guardians aren’t technically frats (now split into different sub-groups), but them too.

    So not only are there MC-type organizations over there, on top of all that you have a variety of cults. Echoing Ireneo‘s sentiments (especially with clans & families) and edgar‘s worries, I’d like to know how many Filipinos really think in global terms (acting locally), rather than tribal mentality. That’s my question, but I think I already have the answer— it’s very similar to the Middle East, in which you’re still dealing with tribes and not nations.


    I don’t think America or Western Europe has a monopoly on this wider concept of “nation”, because over here, there are also “tribes”, but the concept of “American” trumps this thinking— if you talk to FOXtards, they’ll tell you that this concept is being attacked, even diminished– just scare tactics. But from my vantage, it’s a solid enough concept that it will continue. Though I don’t know why it’s a solid concept, I was born in it and as I was going to school, just accepted it as truth.

    So my understanding of this process of solidification I get mostly from the U.S. Marine Corps— if you talk fraternities, this organization/culture hands down is the biggest tribe in the US. Number 2 would have to be the Church of Latter Day Saints, that’s in gov’t service.

    The purpose of the Marine Corps is as follows: “We make Marines. We win our nation’s battles. We develop quality citizens. These are the promises the Marine Corps makes to our nation and to our Marines.”

    I think developing quality citizens is the promise/purpose of all other branches of military service over here. But where the Marines get a leg-up on other branches is their understanding of the word “elite”. There’s two ways to understand this word, one of exclusivity— and that of inclusiveness. A litmus test to whether one’s organization no matter how big or small, secular or superstitious, is a positive force, can be found in their views of exclusive and inclusive.

    So a Navy SEAL or Army Ranger will understand the word “elite” a little differently from say a Green Beret or a Marine Raider— but a Marine Raider will have a more inclusive sense of “elite” than a Green Beret. And that’s because of his up-brining (in bootcamp).

    With the exception of the Ranger SEALs, Green Berets & Marine Raiders have long training pipelines (from 1 to 2 years). If a SEAL doesn’t make it, he’s back in the regular Navy. Same with a Green Berets trainee. But a Marine Raider applicant, at which ever point he either disqualifies or self-selects out, he is encouraged to take whatever he’s learned, and spread it to the rest of the Marine Corps (Marine officers only do one tour w/ MARSOC, and are mandated to return to the Fleet, tasked to spread this Special Ops knowledge).

    So the idea is that all Marines are elite (after bootcamp). Though the physical aspect of the training is grueling, it isn’t impossible, the notion of “elite” comes not from the physical but the psychological/cultural calibration that happens in bootcamp. This is the reason, whether you’re in the private sector or gov’t work, and there’s a Marine or group of Marines, and especially if there’s work to be done, they’ll be making pseudo-Marines of people.

    That’s inclusivity,

    if your organization can replicate this type of “elite” or love of nation or whatever “greater good”—type of concept you’re trying to espouse, then it’s balance positive towards the nation as a whole. But if it’s more Us vs. Them, special treatment for him, but not him, adds to more cronyism, etc. that type of crap, then it’s balance negative.

    Whether tribe or nation, I agree with edgar this is what you’re trying to mitigate or improve on:

    5. Fraternal love does not necessarily translate to patriotism. Au contraire.

    • It can if fraternities find unity like here:

      The Hambacher Fest was a German national democratic festival celebrated from 27 May to 30 May 1832 at Hambach Castle near Neustadt an der Haardt in present-day Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The event was disguised as a non-political county fair.[clarification needed] It was one of the main public demonstrations in support of German unity, freedom and democracy during the Vormärz era.

      National and liberal ideas were strongly advocated by student fraternities (Burschenschaften), the first Urburschenschaft was founded in Jena, Thuringia in 1815 and adopted the Black-Red-Gold colours of the Lützow Free Corps forces, who had fought against the Napoleonic troops. A corresponding flag was already carried along the procession to the Wartburg Festival in 1817. Suppressed by the 1819 Carlsbad Decrees, the German democratic movement gained new momentum by the French July Revolution of 1830 as well as by the November Uprising in Russian Congress Poland, sparking unrests in Saxony, Hanover, Hesse, Brunswick and even in the Prussian capital Berlin. The insurgents witnessed the implementation of the French constitutional July Monarchy and the Belgian Revolution, but also the suppression of the Polish National Government of Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski by Russian troops. About 10,000 emigrants fled Poland in the so-called Great Emigration to France via the German states; they were well received especially in Saxony, Baden and Bavaria, where several pro-Polish patronage associations (Polenvereine) arose.

      The republican flag of Germany was flown for the first time at the Hambach festival, a 19th century German nationalistic Woodstock, with speeches full of pathos, and the present German national hymn in its old version sung – Deutschland über alles was then meant in an idealistic sense, Germany above everything else in the world in the hearts of patriots, the first two verses no longer sung today because the German revolution of 1848 failed, the democrats lost and in 1871 the German empire unfurled its black-red-white flag…

      From various platforms eloquent speeches were made by Doctor Siebenpfeiffer, Wirth, Scharpff, Henry Brueggemann, and others, representing the sad condition of Germany, its insignificance in the council of European nations, its depression in trade and commerce, all owing to the want of national union, the division into thirty-eight States, large and small, with their different laws, different weights and measures, different currencies, and most of all to the custom-house lines surrounding every State. The orators complained of the pressure which Austria and Prussia exercised over the German Diet at Frankfort, compelling even liberal-minded princes to the adoption of unconstitutional and illegal measures. Brueggemann, whose speech was one of the most eloquent, addressed the meeting as the representative of the German youth, which, in spite of criminal persecutions, he asserted had kept the idea of the liberty and unity of the Vaterland alive. Persecuted by the government, ridiculed by the indifferent and by the organs of the government, the Burschenschaft had ever represented the union of all the German races, had obliterated State lines, and had persistently propagated the necessity of a national union throughout the land by its members. It was an exciting moment, when, at the close of his speech, he called upon the assembly to hold their hands up and to swear the oath which the delegates of the three Swiss cantons, on the height of the Rueth, swore, as given in the glorious language of Schiller in his “Tell”.

      Rizal of course was an honorary member of a German fraternity in Heidelberg, and heavily influenced by the German version of nationalism, which as opposed to the French version was very ethnic in nature. Germany had ius sanguinis only until recently, because of the origins of Germany as an ethnic nation coming from mists of time when German tribal chieftains, renamed into nobles, formed the Holy Roman Empire which as Voltaire famously said was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire – in reality it was a tribal confederation which voted its Emperor for life among its kings, while France as the Grande Nation – nation is related to natus which means born in Latin – had ius solis since its Republic was founded, just like America which was the brother nation of the French in Revolution.

      • I don’t know, man. Maybe Wil can add his thoughts on this. Also I’ll defer to your Balara days at UP. But my personal reading is more on rumbles and cronyism, Ireneo, which means it’s still light years away from that sort of melding into nationhood you’re describing.

        And since it’s now 2015, shouldn’t these frats just be relegated to collegial stuff or places for networking, instead of being afforded undue importance in the process of building the nation?

        I can totally see the historical significance, of these sub-groups prior to the Western concept of nation (ala “Gangs of New York”), but in the information age ( ie. the time of meet-ups, online dating, bloggy awards, etc.), there’s newer ways to fast-track “community”—- I don’t know these newer ways of community-forming (being more of a Luddite), though I think Juana would have some ideas, or

        even you, man. But I think these fraternities, like churches, are obsolete.

        • FYIY, I don’t mean that Wil‘s fraternity or fraternity experience is unimportant—–

          when I say undue importance, I’m speaking more comparatively, ie. the decline in membership of fraternities here (maybe there too), similar to the un-Churching/un-Mosque’ing of youngsters, which lends more to this new ability to create communities online.

          The ability of the virtual world to provide the same sense of belongingness (which of course has its upside, though currently in the news it’s the downside that’s more prominent).

          • What I think Will is trying to say is that the nation has to find a spirit of unity similar to that of fraternities… which finally are tribal groups like nearly everything in the Philippines… Stanley Karnow who wrote “In Our Image, America’s Empire in the Philippines”, famously said something like “we put our institutions on top of country which is tribes in disguise”… tribalism is the first stage of culture coming directly out of the Stone Age, so to speak…

            America was at first only a collection of states striving for a “more perfect union”, and that union nearly fell apart in the American Civil War. Before that there was no United States Army, every state had its own army which led to the civil war, the only troops directly under the command of the President were the Marines, and there are historians who allege that George Washington had dictatorial allures and they were his Praetorians, semper fi to HIM first and the United States second. So nations in theory become nations in spirit later on…

            Even the Rütli Oath of the three Swiss tribes that rebelled against lowland overlords, and their first Constitution, were only declarations of intent… the last civil war between Swiss cantons was in the 19th century, they were in origin very much like Cordilleran warriors… the Cordillera found its unity in fighting Marcos under Conrado Balweg and is united now… Ilocos found its unity after long vendettas and warlordism under its Apo Lakay Marcos… Bikol found its unity fighting adversity and volcanos after centuries of strife, Davao found its unity under the harsh rule of Duterte, Mindanao partly has its own sense of unity now after long divisions and is as tired of so many generations of killing as the European Union.

            Philippines may find its unity in fighting natural catastrophes and China, like the Dutch found their unity by fighting the sea and the Spanish – which the Belgians never really did, fighting only the Spanish and later each other… the British found unity in being an Empire, America as well… Spanish were united as an imperial power, then nearly fell apart later when their Empire was gone, just like Germany fell apart after the Holy Roman Empire did, only to be reconstituted in 1871, not by democracy, but by blood and iron, Bismarck said… fell apart again because of too much blood and iron in 1945, and was reunited by the lessons learned after that defeat.. Poland reincarnated several times after always being partitioned by others and relocated like squatters across the Central Plains of Europe…

            Nothing is really sure in history. The Philippines were just a territory early 19th century. The first Filipino nationalist was a Spanish count born in the Philippines, Filipino was the term for Insulares, creole Spaniards born in the islands. Mestizos were mestizos, Indios were indios, Chinese were Sangleys, Aetas were Negritos… Rizal and his gang who were mostly masons, anti-clerical to the hilt, decided to call everybody on the islands Filipinos – the triangle in the Filipino flag is a faint memory of the masonic origins of the nation… Bonifacio, Aguinaldo and Luna were all masons, but it did not prevent Aguinaldo from having the two others killed allegedly… But one of the first Filipino groups in Spain which Rizal also belonged to was called “Los Indios Bravos”, kinda like “Niggaz with Attitude”, and Bonifacio called the nation he wanted Katagalugan, the Tagalog nation… Quezon made Tagalog be called Filipino, somehow in that spirit… OK Tagalog is according to the German linguist Humboldt the purest and most complex of all Malay languages, echoing its origins in the ancient kingdom of Tondo… but a true Filipino nation is only starting to grow in spirit before our eyes.. it was only an idea for Rizal and a few before, a project just starting for Quezon, a project continued by Magsaysay and Noynoy mainly who cared, but not understood by those between these three great leaders and misused for personal ambition… the spirit of the nation fell asleep in between these leaders, it hibernated… and will either grow into something full and real or totally disappear in my opinion… let’s see…

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t think they are obsolete, yet, but if they keep engaging in sex parties and killing people during initiation rights, they will be. If they grow up, they might persist. Same with the Church.

  10. caliphman says:

    This is out of topic but I am sure some of you would either love or hate to know that the SET decided to rule in favor of Filipino foundlings being full-natural born citizens in conformity with the thinking of the international community and those who are not blinded by their political biases and unable to get in touch with their basic humanity. It does not matter if Poe, Roxas, or someone else will go on and win the presidential election but at least for the moment, we have shown the world that we as a society are capable of transcending petty politics and come out on the side of justice and caring for those who have been abandoned by their parents and threatened to be abandoned again by what should by right be their own country.

    • Joe America says:

      Critics of the ruling say it was a political ruling, senators taking care of one of their own. Senator Poe evidently took it to mean the SET group wants better government, like “her”, or that God had favored her. I do think the lady has delusions of grandeur, although I could be wrong. Maybe she would be a good president, and that fanatical tendency would get things done, I don’t know. She still has to get past the Supreme Court, which ought to be most interesting. I’m pleased the SET moved expediently, and I hope the SC does as well, so the election will be “straight and true” with no clouds hovering over it.

      • edgar lores says:

        Legarda and Sotto specified their support went to the issue of recognizing foundlings. The others have not spoken yet (?). It could be a matter, as you say, of collegiality.

        • Caliphman says:

          SET is a constitutional conception like the Ombudsman and its composition and process as a senate tribunal will necessarily reflect the politics and judicial biases of its members. I disagree with Carpio and the two other justices take on naturalborn citizenship which was his minority view in FPJ’s SC case and apparently so did the majority of thr panel for their own reasons. But for now, Poe as can any foundling can legally run based on her citizenship. Its up to her, Mar, and Binay to convince the Filipino people to vote them ino office, warts, character and personality defects, resume ussues and all. Maybe Pinoy was right after all, unless the SC reverses, let the people decidr…vox populi, vox dei!

      • NHerrera says:

        Back at Raissa’s place I saw the comment of BFD who linked to a post of one Arbet Domingo. I find it relevant to post here while on the subject of Poe and her campaign on “Ayusin natin ang Pilipinas.” May be Poe will indeed be able to do that given the chance to be President. I try my utmost to be balance in that last statement, considering the notes of caliphman and Joe above. In any case, the link is:

        • I repeat the content of a post I just made at Raissa’s. A consulting and management coach I now once said that in every organization or project, these three dimensions should be as equal as possible in every role, bigger in big role, smaller in small ones of course:

          – responsibility
          – authority
          – work

          Now Senators have much authority, but little responsibility – and little real work if they don’t want to do any, filing bills is not mandatory. A perfect breeding ground for irresponsible grandstanders. Presidents have much responsibility and work, but Congress and especially the Senate can easily undermine their authority. Cabinet Secretaries are the only ones with right mix of nearly equal responsibility, authority and work. Skewed system.

          • NHerrera says:

            I agree. A very good point.

          • edgar lores says:

            1. “Presidents have much responsibility and work, but Congress and especially the Senate can easily undermine their authority.”

            1.1. If I may: “Presidents and the Ombudsman have much responsibility and work, but the Judiciary and Congress and especially the Senate can easily undermine their authority.”

            1.2. The Judiciary has much responsibility, authority and work… but sometimes do not act responsibly in the interests of the nation; sometimes arrogate authority to themselves beyond what is just and fair; and not sometimes but all the time work slowly.

          • Joe America says:

            “If they don’t want to do any. . .” Yep. And they don’t. They have no vision of their role in building the Philippines, no plan, just a bunch of self-interested bill filings and catch as catch can political game plays.

        • NHerrera says:

          With respect to the SET ruling, I still have to read detailed official statements or from the SET members; I only found out about Sotto and Legarda’s note concerning foundlings from edgar above.

          I would like to think that the SET members put on their critical thinking hats on this. That may be so, but they are also politicians. Questions like how may my vote affect my political future surely must have been factored in, aside from collegiality already noted. Also, there is a convenient “out” on this — let subsequent moves be Comelec’s and the SC’s.

          • edgar lores says:

            The Pontius Pilate manuever, eh? Also known as passing the buck. That is understandable as they are politicians and would not want to antagonize voters unnecessarily. For Nancy, it’s do or die; she has the courage of her father’s imminent political mortality.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks, I was going to do a blog about MRT which is looked at so simplistically by most, but this article gets to that point well.

        • NHerrera says:

          Just for the record, I gave attribution to BFD on the FB commentary re Poe’s “Ayusin natin and Pilipinas” ad. I correctly copied BFD’s attribution to Arbet Domingo — which, however, is the incorrect name, a mistake not uncommon. The correct name went past me as I delved immediately into the article. The correct name is Arbet W. Bernardo (his post written on Monday, November 16, 2015).

          • karl garcia says:

            off topic

            nherrera, can i befriend you on fb? i cant find nherrera. and i cant find bfd as well.

            • NHerrera says:

              I sure consider you as a good friend here, karl. However, as I posted here somewhere — can’t even do a search on that post here in the Society of Honor — I do not do FB, Twitter, and the like. Sort of preserving the remaining cells (and hopefully the replacement cells) as much as I can, he he — till at least the new dawn (?) after May 2016. Re BFD, he is a contributor here as well as in Raissa’s.

              • edgar lores says:

                Why discount the possibility that FB and Twitter will spark the growth of new cells? He he

                (Disclosure: Have a dormant FB and a canceled Twitter.)

              • karl garcia says:

                Thank you Nherrera .I know BFD and Baycas for years from commenting in Mlq3 and other places .I also know Arbet he used to call himself lord dracula.
                At Raissa’s one guy called you Herr Era was that parekoy?

              • karl garcia says:

                Edgar when you decide to be active on FB again, just find us under Joe’s friends.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Karl.

              • NHerrera says:

                Karl, yes Parekoy gave me the moniker Herr Era. As in a bygone era I suppose. Which to people my age and that period can say — yes, those were the days; when life was simple. When one made sure that one’s pants and shirt were properly washed, starched and ironed; and shoes shined before visiting a girl friend; or I won’t pass the girl’s parents. Yes, those were the days; or Love in the time of the 50’s as Will will say it.

                edgar, yes there is the possibility of sparking new better cells with fb and twitter. But there are negatives too on facebooking and twittering that I don’t want to start enumerating as I think about them — see, that tires me out already. It is enough to interact here in Joe’s and Raissa’s place and do my own slo-mo googling, compared to the fast-paced (?) fbing and twittering life. Got to do the errands for the better half and all those things that make the remaining years in nice balance.

              • karl garcia says:

                NHerrera just think he is just making it sound like German.
                Yeah in FB ,there is also the possibility of arguing with friends,relatives,coleagues,teachers….plus Mary and Gian and Irineo have encountered some loyalist trolls just recently.Nakakastress din. After bring Dormant,when I became active again, I was like a volcano or like Irineo with my multiple posts,now I am already fatigued.
                You are techie enough, me I still have a hard time repeating the same stuff to my dad when I assist him in techie stuff,and he is just a few years older than you.

  11. cha says:

    Would Maslow’s hierarchy of needs still take the shape of a triangle if applied to the Filipino mindset?

    Would it still be broadest at the base, where physiological and then safety and security needs lie or would it be widest in the middle, where our need for love and belonging reside?

    Many of us seem able to get by with so little it seems. And yet with whatever little a Filipino has, he would so often willingly spare for those he loves or cares about. Heck, sometimes even with those he barely knows. The poorest of the poor Filipino family will still offer to share their food with you if you happen to be a guest at their house. Invited or uninvited, it doesn’t matter.

    The Filipino has much capacity for love. Love, whether given or received, is like the soothing salve that comforts the Filipino in times of pain and grief and then prods him on. He can lose everything in a flood, fire or what have you but for as long he knows he is not alone, that there is at least one other person that knows and feels his pain, you will not find him giving up. He can smile, laugh, even dance all over again.

    But where is this love nowadays? What has happened to us as a people? Why are we now so torn apart, getting at each others’ throats over which political candidates to support, howling angry shouts of protest at a government that is often really just trying to do its best for the country, and just generally being inconsiderate and rude to each other whether on the road or while engaged in social media?

    I’d like to be able to say I know what needs to be done. But maybe I really don’t know.

    But there’s one thing I do know. I can start with me.

    We all can.

    “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
    ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

    • edgar lores says:

      The image I get is that of a Christmas tree. The base is that of an inverted trapezoid with the wider of the two parallel lines at the top. This would represent the needs — and the neediness — of the Filipino in the three bottom layers. Then there’s a very tiny triangular tree on top, representing the two top layers. He he.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks for this, cha. Mabuhay ka, mabuhay tayong lahat!

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        I read cha’s post over again. It can start with one individual. Yes!

        • bauwow says:

          Cha, thank you for the GGM quote! Reminds me of a the , every step is a step towards renewal.
          Why is everybody waxing poetic today?
          If the SET cannot impart justice, maybe poetic justice will put Grace Poe in her right frame of mind.

          • cha says:

            Ah yes, that’s the word – renewal. Something that needs to transpire in many a Filipino heart.

            Here’s another quote on that subject that you might like, from our very own Carlos Bulosan (America is in the Heart) . Still applies to the present :

            The old world is dying, but a new world is being born. It generates inspiration from the chaos that beats upon us all. The false grandeur and security, the unfulfilled promises and illusory power, the number of the dead and those about to die, will charge the forces of our courage and determination. The old world will die so that the new world will be born with less sacrifice and agony on the living … -Carlos Bulosan

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Can’t get enough of this:

      “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
      ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

      Really, thanks, cha!

      • cha says:

        Love in the Time of Cholera is the first Gabriel Garcia Marquez book that I’ve read. It broke my heart in some places, for sure.

        I don’t know if our love for our country can be enough to get us all through to the fulfillment of our shared dreams and aspirations. I’d like to believe it could. Just as soon as we get over trying to tear ourselves and our country apart maybe. The future that seems just within our reach is a source of hope and inspiration but the present is often just sad and
        heartwrenching. So like a GG Marquez novella. 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          I haven’t read the book. After reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” which I believe is unsurpassable, I didn’t want to be disappointed. I might now give it a try.

          Another book I loved was “Birds Without Wings” by Louis de Bernieres. It is an anti-war novel that records the rise and times of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

          Still another is “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. This is a book I never wanted to end. It contains the best rendition of a stream of consciousness from a dog’s point of view bar none. Yes, a dog.

          • cha says:

            Have been putting off One Hundred Years … for a while now. When the right time comes, that book will find its way to me,as was the case with the other Marquez books I’ve read.

            Haven’t read the two other authors you mentioned at all. Will look them up one of these days. The second one especially has got me all curious. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about a book. I usually can’t wait to know how it all ends. I like having closure. Haha.

  12. edgar lores says:

    Gadzooks! This is such a rich thread. The insights of Irineo and LCpl_X need a lot of time to chew and digest. Thanks to Wilfredo for his provocation.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Agree, Edgar. But don’t provoke a frat man. Joke!

    • Bert says:

      Agree. Three great guys of wisdom, three counterpoints to a great writer of love, each one enlightening in its own ways like a beacon of light in a dark room, and can’t seem o have enough of them. More please.

    • Looking forward to an accounting of everyone’s position, and a crisp conclusion, edgar! One I’m sure worthy of Love.

      • edgar lores says:


        I have to beg off, recuse myself, from making an accounting of everyone’s position because I am one of the proponents of ideas. I have no objectivity. I agree with some of the ideas espoused by Irineo and LCpl_X but some of my conclusions differ.

        1. Example 1

        1.1. Edgar: “Fraternal love does not necessarily translate to patriotism. Au contraire.”
        1.2. Irineo: “It can if fraternities find unity like here: [url on Hambach Festival].

        1.3. Edgar: My stance is based on the thesis that fraternal love is intrinsically flawed. I will agree with Irineo that fraternities can come together and accomplish certain objectives. However, I am pretty sure that the unity cannot be sustained because of the intrinsic flaw. At some point in time, fraternities, like religions, will come to contentious disagreements, either in the manner of how objectives are supposed to be accomplished, or in the exact definition of the objectives, or when the limited objectives are successfully obtained. By the way, we did not mention the frat wars, did we?

        1.3.1. ”Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas. They were significantly involved in the March Revolution and the unification of Germany. After the formation of the German Empire in 1871, they faced a crisis, as their main political objective had been realized. So-called Reformburschenschaften were established, but these were dissolved by the National Socialist regime in 1935/6. In West Germany, the Burschenschaften were re-established in the 1950s, but they faced a renewed crisis in the 1960s and 1970s, as the mainstream political outlook of the German student movement that period of period swerved to the radical left.”

        2. Example 2

        2.1. Edgar: “Fraternity love is like the love of organized religion. It is exclusive and limited.”
        2.2. LCpl_X: “But I think these fraternities, like churches, are obsolete.”

        2.3. Elsewhere I have quoted Nietzsche’s “God is dead” and it would seem that, with the emptying of church pews and the rise of the “Nones” – that is, people who do not belong to any religion — churches will indeed become obsolete.

        2.4. Although at one time I have shared the sentiment that LCpl_X expresses, I do not think this will be the case now. The reason for this is because there are three types of people.

        o Firstly, there are the true believers – in the Erich Hoffer sense of “people who are attached to a particular beliefs even though these beliefs are untenable.”
        o Secondly, there are the true/untrue guides who lead the true believers.
        o And thirdly, there are the people who are neither true believers nor true/untrue guides.

        2.5. The first type are comprised of the vast majority of people. They are the salt of the earth. They have no inclination to ask the whys and wherefores of existence. They are content to accept the current religious paradigms… and go on with their untroubled lives. (In Cha’s quote from the Marquez book, these people are only born once… assuming we have only one life to live.)

        2.6. The second type consist of the religious leaders who may be true or untrue guides. As stated by LCpl_X one litmus test for true/untrue guides “can be found in their views of exclusive and inclusive.”

        2.7. The third type are those who stand outside accepted religious paradigms. I think this group will always be a minority.

        3. With respect to conditioning, I have said we should arise above cultural indoctrination. The best education would be some sort of indoctrination that allows the individual to see through all types of indoctrination. LCpl_X maintains that Marine training teaches inclusivity, and that it may be one such methodology. I have read the Wiki entry, and the training seems to be very intense, with an initial de-conditioning followed by a virtual reprogramming of body and mind. I am yet to be convinced: I will concede the training does result in an altered perception but does not result in the cleansing of the doors of perception in the Aldous Huxley sense of direct perception free from the lens of native culture. (Incidentally, Pemberton, the accused in the death of the transgender Laude, is a Marine. I draw no conclusions from this.)

        4. In summary, I would say that we have presented some alternative insights and it is up to people to choose what applies to them according to their level of consciousness. I may be a true believer but I do not want to be an untrue guide.

        4.1. The greater reason for this stance is that no one knows what is true and valid in terms of ultimate ends (eschatology in religion and teleology in philosophy). Personally I believe that all that we sincerely hold as true… is true. Perhaps even the abhorrent Islamic State. It would be a great injustice if this were not so, and I believe the universe is large enough to contain what seem to be contradictions. As there are black holes and Dark Matter, there are also light holes and Light Matter. These are yet to be discovered

        4.2. And if the two main choices were between Wilfredo’s Panglossian perspective and LCpl_X’s arid austerity… between fire and ice… I would, in a heartbeat and without any hesitation, choose the fire of Love.

        • “By the way, we did not mention the frat wars, did we?”

          You mean there are actual wars, than just the public nuisance (bordering on public safety issue) at the malls and drinking halls by way of group fights ala “Westside Story”?

          “2.4. Although at one time I have shared the sentiment that LCpl_X expresses, I do not think this will be the case now. The reason for this is because there are three types of people.”

          I can still go either way on this one, and to Joe’s point, ” If they grow up, they might persist.” On the 3 groups, 2nd “true/untrue guides” & 3rd, the people who’ve opted out— these are the groups I’m addressing in my Sunday article.

          “2.7. The third type are those who stand outside accepted religious paradigms. I think this group will always be a minority.”

          I agree. But the value of this minority is that they can offer a much substantive critique of any superstition, than the ‘my delusion is better than yours’ approach which only serves to exacerbate situations, where inclusiveness should be focus.

          So this minority has to be doubly vocal of their unbelief.

          But that’s a different story. Fraternal love, though I love that accompanying article painting by Patricia Hollinshead, , I don’t see as some sort of idealized concept, or a form of reminiscing.

          Fraternal love for me is death or serious physical/mental lost— by way of self-sacrifice.

          “3. With respect to conditioning, I have said we should arise above cultural indoctrination. The best education would be some sort of indoctrination that allows the individual to see through all types of indoctrination. LCpl_X maintains that Marine training teaches inclusivity, and that it may be one such methodology… I am yet to be convinced.”

          I agree with you on “best education”. The Marine indoctrination process isn’t that. Though inclusivity is one aspect learned. But through the context of—- “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”. The point is you are part of a collective.

          For example, Bataclan theatre (I’m hearing that the regular police waited, treating it as a hostage situation, when it should’ve been an active shooter situation, which means all officers break-up in 2-3 man teams and search/kill the shooter/s— Ireneo, is this being discussed over there?),

          Circumstance and the battlefield will dictate your tactics. The theatre incident in Paris looked more like the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, than say a mall or hotel shooting where there’s more cover/concealment options.

          Those people, w/out the luxury of this ‘collective’ indoctrination, acted exactly how people would act in times of chaos— save yourself. You run away from the threat. If that had been a room full of Marines (or a room full of rugby teams, etc.— collective training is the point), those closest would take one for the team, rushing head on to attack the shooter, self-sacrificing “so others may live”.

          This is exactly what happened in Chattanooga, TX when a lone gunman entered a Naval Reserve site. Without firearms (the armory was located in another site) Marines broke off in two’s and searched for the the gunman, to draw his fire away from the larger group, mostly Navy personnel—that’s basically a suicide mission.

          So Air Force, Navy and Army non-combant personnel (though many I’m sure would opt for self-sacrifice when situation calls for it) because of their lack indoctrinating the “collective” concept by way of Infantry training, will act more like civilians inside Bataclan theatre.

          Self-sacrifice (in blood) is the most extreme iteration of this collective understanding, but it need not be performed just understood. To me that’s Fraternal Love, and if this is understood when mixed with the concept of a Nation, there in lies inclusivity.

          (I’m not arguing that Self-Sacrifice isn’t found else where, indeed it is, I’m arguing the point of consistency, so whether it’s a Vietnam era Marine or a future Marine, his idea of Fraternal Love & Self-Sacrifice will be in line with mine.)

          “(Incidentally, Pemberton, the accused in the death of the transgender Laude, is a Marine. I draw no conclusions from this.)”

          If you think you have a pretty girl. Whether or not there’s money-exhange involved. You get all hot and horny, and you’re going for a frontal reach around to check (just one more time, to make sure— this your Sgt. or Cpl. should’ve advised before you got off the ship, like checking for Adam’s Apple, etc.), and you discover that youre both carrying the same equipment to the fight—- it’s a major disappointment.

          I’m not too familiar with the incident, but what if this was simply mutual combat (two guys fighting) that went south— it happens. Some Marines upon discovery of the falsely advertised wares, will demand money back, a fight can ensue.

          The least likely scenario, was that he did the frontal reach around, discovered the undiscovered country, and went crazy— crime of passion. Because from the git-go, while still in California, you’re advised that stuff like this happens/can happen, hence due diligence— but once you’re holding someone else’s nuts, either you take the experimental route, or you politely bow out and get another girl down the street, it’s less than $100 bucks for chrissakes,

          but when you’re a PFC or LCpl that $100 is a big enough amount ( “LCpl_X’s arid austerity…” ) to justify the demand for refund, that I think is what happened.

  13. OFF TOPIC:

    Another great article about President Aquino by an objective non-native:

    Gising, Bayan! It’s time to stop whining and give Noynoy some love.

  14. I’m familiar with several of the Guardians tattoos and what they mean, though I’m not so familiar with tattoos re fraternities/sororities over there. Wil, can you describe tattoos (if not privileged information)? And how they’ve changed over time? Thanks.

    That’s Gen. Smedley Butler (USMC),

    “The Marine Corps sent him to Manila, Philippines.

    In October 1899, he saw his first combat action when he led 300 Marines to take the town of Noveleta, from Filipino rebels known as Insurrectos. In the initial moments of the assault, his first sergeant was wounded. Butler briefly panicked, but quickly regained his composure and led his Marines in pursuit of the fleeing enemy. By noon the Marines had dispersed the rebels and taken the town. One Marine had been killed and ten were wounded. Another 50 Marines had been incapacitated by the humid tropical heat.

    After the excitement of this combat, garrison duty again became routine. Butler had a very large Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tattoo made which started at his throat and extended to his waist.” (Wiki, Smedley Butler)

    I’ve always wondered who did the tattoo for him in 1899, in the Philippines. Was it fellow Americans, or local Filipinos?

    “Prior to 1891, the tattooing that men like Hildebrandt and O’Reilly did was done by hand. The tattoo machine used by these men consisted of a set of needles attached to a wooden handle. Tattoo artists of this age would dip these needles in ink and move their hand rhythmically up and down, puncturing the skin two to three times per second. Tattooing by hand was an extremely slow practice that took years of experience to perfect, even for the greatest tattoo artists of that time. This manual way of tattooing all changed when O’Reilly revolutionized tattooing in 1891 with his invention of the first electric tattoo machine, which was a modification of Thomas Edison’s perforating pen.

    This invention transformed tattooing into a quicker, more attractive process even though the pain one goes through to get a tattoo will never dissipate.”

    Would there have been Filipinos in Manila knowledgeable in tattooing? Or was tattooing mainly done in areas far from Manila,

    Whether done by locals or fellow Americans, it would’ve most likely been done by hand. Anyone here have a different take on this? 1899 is the year in question, in Manila, during the Philippine–American War.

    • Joe America says:

      Three links sends a comment to moderation where it may get delayed a good while.

    • Bert says:


      Tattooing shops are proliferating here in Metro Manila, inside Malls and main streets and even in side streets and done by tattoo artists using sophisticated tattooing machines. I don’t know the brands or what country of origin those machines came from but maybe our friend karl here can enlighten us.

      The ones with wooden handles are still in use but confined mostly inside local jails where inmates with talent for artistry use it on fellow inmates who enjoyed their skin being used as art canvas.

      • karl garcia says:

        i don’t know,but my wife just had a tatoo from a shop in SM las pinas

      • Bert,

        I think before it was basically just in Subic and Angeles to cater to the US military. The proliferation of tattoo parlours here also coincide with its popularity amongst the Yuppies and hipsters, more of them means more tattoo parlours.

        I heard though that there was a resurgence in tribal tattooing over there, using ancient ways and designs— my question is was this in Manila in 1899? Because I know not all tribes partook in tattooing (or did they?), it was popular in the Visayas and I think northern Luzon too, but would this ancient tattooing have also been in Manila in 1899?

        With US Marines returning to the Philippines, if the location and method of tattoo performed on Gen. Smedley Butler is found, the story re-discovered… an enterprising person can stand up and tattoo parlour/bar, and enjoy a steady stream of American dollar.

  15. Bert says:

    Joe was disappointed on Bam Aquino’s stand in the SET decision. My take on it is that it was a calculated political move by Bam, possibly condoned by the ruling Liberal Party or even by Mar Roxas himself, to prevent a potentially damaging situation of a Binay presidency if Grace Poe is disqualified. I think that if only Mar Roxas campaign is gaining traction and his rating picking up, will yield a different result in that SET decision. As such, this move by Bam Aquino I will consider a patriotic move. Prevent a Binay presidency by all means.

    My slip is showing, right guys?

    • Joe America says:

      So Poe and Binay are drawing from the same voters? My speculation is that if Poe did not run, Santiago would pick up a lot of votes, Roxas a good many, and Binay very few. Furthermore, your reasoning contradicts the LP effort to put Poe into the VP slot to get her out of Roxas’ way. Thirdly, it makes LP a scurrilous scheming trapo party and I don’t have the impression that Bam Aquino is trapo. He is a nice guy though.

      • Bert says:

        Joe, consider that Bam Aquino is not a political island. He is a bonafide member of the Liberal Party. He is also a kin of the president. He can’t possibly make a major political move without consultation with all concerned. And, most of all, there is no other way to figure it out why he did what he did that made everyone of us so perflexed. Plus, and this is a big plus, that if Poe is disqualified it would be easy to imagine that she will not take it sitting down. Let’s imagine her campaigning vigorously for Duterte and/or for Bongbong Marcos. Can’t we see the implications here for Mar Roxas if all these happened?

        Mercedes, hmmpth!

        • Joe America says:

          Well, obviously you are not one of the famed Filipinos who cannot see into the future. You’ve outstripped me, for sure. What can I say? I have a hard time viewing Bam Aquino as such a pointed political player, but I must confess, I have not been in his mind or heart lately. He SAYS he voted to protect the rights of foundlings.

          • Bert says:

            Sorry, Joe, just expressing an opinion on an issue at hand. Outstripping anyone never entered my mind in all my participation in discussions in anyone’s turf, or mine. You may have the last word, Joe.

          • NHerrera says:

            “Is a puzzlement” says Yul Brynner in “The King and I.” If those low-quality justifications came from Sotto, or even Villar or Legarda, there wouldn’t have been a puzzle.

            Another theory (mine): Bam’s vote of support for Poe (although he claims it is not for Poe but out of principle) puts a nice flavor to the earlier Aquino and LP move to get Poe as VP for Roxas. In any case, it seems the case will go to the SC as is likely.

            • caliphman says:

              My response to all the above comments is if its possible that Bam Aquino actually did something really simple: he voted in accordance with his principles as he had publicly stated. Why must a convoluted spin, rinse, masee and conspiratorial angle be involved? The good senator is very bright, of quite strong character, and apparently a leader who is guided by his own compass, unlike perhaps other senators in that tribunal.

              By the way, in case anyone missed it, the Times and the Inquirer reported the results of a just released Pulse survey. Poe significantly widened her lead over Binay with Roxas slightly trailing him, the last two basically unchanged in the low twenties. Escudero topped the VP poll in the low 40’s and Robredo was near the cellar at 7%. I actually prefer Robredo over Escudero whose high numbers concern me because those who chose him did not know if Poe would be disqualified.


    • mercedes santos says:

      Yes if you wear kilts ♣

    • Why in the world can’t foundlings be doctors and nurses if they are not declared natural born citizens? I can’t understand that part of Bam’s justification.

      • Joe America says:

        Thanks for posing that question. I did not get it, either, unless there is some arcane law we don’t know about. But another thing wrong with the Aquino stance . . . it seems to me that this quasi-judicial body took it upon itself to use its ruling to recast the law, whilst the three justices interpreted the law. If the law is wrong, it is because the Legislature is negligent in its job of keeping laws up to date. They ought to re-write laws in official session, not for expedience during an election by quasi-judicial interpretation. Then Poe took the ruling and spun it to say SET wanted better leadership for the nation . . . huh? What does that have to do with foundlings, and is that not a gross politicization of the decision?

        • edgar lores says:

          Exactly right. Just like the SC decision on the release of Enrile from detention. It’s bleeding hearts stuff.

        • Senators Pia, Loren, Cynthia and Bam got it wrong…and they are not in the levels of Senators Lapid, Sotto or Revilla, still they were not able to discern that international laws have granted foundlings ctizenship to avoid statelessness, but the nature of that citizenships they left to the respective governments knowing that jus soli or jus sanguinis doctrine are options taken by each countries as they see fit. Plain Filipino citizenship vs natural born one…..

        • Hmmm… This reminds me of my jury duty last week. Though it is not my first time to be part of a jury, it always strikes me that this civic duty is just, fair and objective to all concerned when the judge spells out the law in question and gives the juries the parameters of said law in order to arrive at the right decision. It works and had been a mainstay of American justice system because it is grounded on law, not on the juries’ opinion.

          • Joe America says:

            The jury process, I think, is one reason Americans respect their courts and judges, and are proud of their nation. The experience is awesome, if a little tedious for the waiting. I’ve been on three separate juries, and each was impressive, for the demeanor of the judge, the respectfulness of the process and the sincerity and passions of debate in the jury room. I was also a witness on a case once, which is bizarre. One feels as king and cockroach at the same time.

            • karl garcia says:

              Maybe having juries will make cases run faster, because juries would not allow a case to go for decades.We should have copied that system.

      • caliphman says:

        That is because under law one needs to be a natural born citizen in order to become a senior appointed or elected official or to practice a licensed profession in the Philippines. Well now you know these senators knew the law on foundlings and deserve more credit than just having their votes dismissed as merely being politically motivated.

  16. chempo says:

    Wil, it’s a great piece from the literary point of view. I know where you are coming from but I’m with Edgar on this.
    I’m very apprehensive of secret societies, maybe I’m from that part of the world where this is always associated with violence and gangsterism. What I’m worried about is the old boy networks in the real world. How much critical decisions have been compromised due to old boy connections in business dealings, in the courts, etc one will never know. In the 2010 Philippine Bar exam bombing incident, the perpetrator Anthony Leal Nepomuceno, NBI’s from an Alpha Phi Omega went into hiding and eventually surrendered to fra senior VP Binay. I always remember what Binay said — one look in his eyes, I know he is innocent. That’s fra loyalty for you.

    Of course there are many with strong characters like you in the frat that makes these societies meaningful, but it’s the rest that makes me worry.

    I like Lcpl’s exclusivity / inclusivity. That’s a great idea.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks, chempo, for your appreciation. It’s good you mentioned Binay and Alpha Phi Omega. I had the germ of the idea for Love in the Time of Marcos with such misplaced loyalty in mind. As in anything, fraternities were birthed bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh for humanity. It’s on the ground of herd mentality where fraternities fumbled. Instead of being ensconced in sacredness because of France’s “libertè, ègalitè, fraternitè” the word itself was corrupted to mere “frat,” object of revulsion for its association with pigs and slime. What a waste of word. If you were to see any fraternity’s raison d’etre, you would say as my Nanay asked me when I had gone astray: “What happened to you, my son? You looked like an angel when you were young.” Hence, I have invited the reader by way of this article to consider the model, not the human interpretation of it, as a way for the larger fraternity, the beloved country to rise above its own quagmire. I hope we continue to discuss things that will redound to the good of the Philippines, the beloved. Thanks again.

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  1. […] discussion in Will Villanueva’s recent article “Love in the time of Marcos“, touched on the lack of national cohesion or love, and why Filipinos seem so capable of […]

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