Fireworks for the New Year

Manila New Year The Guardian

Manila New Year [Photo credit: The Guardian]

It is always good to start the new year with a bang, as Manila knows so well. Manila can do fireworks.

So let’s put some important issues on the table, cerebral fireworks. Mind benders.

To get the discussion rolling, we should look at some issues that we may not yet have found consensus on or, who knows, never even considered. We should strive to discover the facts, di ba? The statistical truths. After all, polling is considered by so many to a reasonable substitute for voting. So we bow to the thought that we, too, can create the truth through our opinion mongering.

One vote per person on each question, please.

The polls herein use a cookie to make sure we are getting only one vote per question per person, and they say that can be problematic for some. So if you have trouble voting, just scream your answer. It won’t count for anything, but it will feel good. We have to employ this cookie discipline lest the Chinese trolls descend in hordes once more to restate the truth and create new realities.


That should do the job.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

It is ALWAYS more fun in the Philippines.

296 Responses to “Fireworks for the New Year”
  1. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    I sided with the winner in every question, Joe. Loved the near zero of Teddy Casino, the matched status of the two Ks, and the kulelat (last frame) of Binay. Hahaha! Thanks for this.

    • Yep, it is quite funny – I didn’t see it on my browser, but on my tablet it works…

      But the serious stuff I posted downstairs, food for thought at the root cause level…

    • Jonet Morales says:

      Wishing everyone here a healthy and successful 2016. Interesting poll. With regards to the two navies, I voted for the American Navy because that would mean they are here. It would be quite disturbing if one of the vessels of the Chinese navy would be found grounded on the reefs!

      • Joe America says:

        Happy New Year to you, Jonet.

        Yes, indeed. It would be very disturbing for a Chinese Warship to be sailing within the islands where the Reef is located. It is not disputed territory. It is the Philippines.

        • Little Prince says:

          Very disturbing indeed…. usa would try their best to make amends, China would claim it as lost island reef that they first “discovered” thus rightfully theirs…..

  2. – I had several issues in my New Year article:

    – creating real education
    – creating equal opportunities
    – creating effective justice
    – forming good leaders
    – forming good citizens

    these as the base stuff that need to be done to address the root cause of some major symptoms:

    – rebellion
    – poverty
    – crime

    Finally the first thing that is needed is NATIONAL COHESION, this is my vote how to create it:

    – inculcate mutual respect (Filipinos are very different, so avoid envy and snobbery at all times)
    – cultivate effective communication (mature, hard-nosed realism oriented towards solutions)
    – live responsibility (promote understanding towards solutions instead of confusion and anger)

    The nation and the people need to get their act together, like the Senate and the People of Rome (SPQR) did in glorious olden days, and the Philippines will become a force to be reckoned with. Albay already is, Governor Salceda, the towns and the people have forged unity out of disasters.

    The other votes I will give as separate postings, this is just about what Joe called binding glue…

    • Creating real education. Filipino miseducation – leftist Constantino was one of the first to diagnose it, but prescribed the wrong medicine – is due to two things:

      – elites want to look educated, not be educated. “Education” is often more about memorizing stuff, like the Ladinos of old, the first Indios to serve the Spanish colonial regime as scribes. They were the first BPO workers. A Filipino enterpreneur who did a lot of IT projects for the UN told me that the reason for so many Filipinos at the UN is simple – the Filipino is servile. But the UN guys often looked down on “ordinary” OFWs and migrants.

      – Filipino intellectuals often mock those who do not know their terms, instead of teaching. The less educated have brains but are not able to train them, because the trainers are like fitness coaches who give you the heavy weights at once and laugh at you for being weak. This is also related to postcolonialism – the “Indios” who got a bit ahead of the rest, or the mestizos who were ahead, or the Spanish Insulares – originally the only ones called Filipino – stepped on those lower than them, while those higher and highest stepped on all others.

      So K-12 is perfect as a plan, but it must be made sure that it is rolled out properly. Teachers must be truly able to get its ambitious message across. Not just report success.

      Again a postcolonial thing. Spanish monks in the Philippines had the attitude of “obedezco pero no cumplo” – I obey but do not comply. Local workarounds and reporting bullshit to higher ups were the old way. Clean and dirty kitchen – no more of that please this time.

    • Creating equal opportunities. The colonial period was about getting ahead and not letting the others up. Even UP, founded in 1908 by the Americans, was once about opportunities. Now there are professorial dynasties. The original McArthurian AFP was the same thing.

      This is why I place a lot of hope in Roxas. He as the most “royal” of all Filipinos can give the first shot to open up things, like Juan Carlos paved the way for Spanish democracy.

      The great-grandson of a Spanish colonial soldier COULD help end postcolonial mentality.

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year!
      ps my latest comments in your blog disappeared.waaah.

  3. Some questions have no answer.

  4. Wow! as I write this…a lot of voters want to see the Americans crash and burn in the West Philippine Sea. Did not know you have a lot of Commie followers Joe! hahaha

    • Jonathan says:

      Well, I voted for the Americans with this logic: if the US Navy crashes into Tubbataha, that means that the Chinese won’t.

      It’s a question that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

    • Joe America says:

      Maybe they want only American ships here, so no Chinese ships will crash. Or maybe they don’t like the Chinese, and want their ships to crash while American’s sail through without mishap. We only know the answers. We don’t know the rationale, unless people explain their choices here in the comments.

    • josephivo says:

      IF the Americans crash, they restore and pay a lot. If the Chinese crash, they build an artificial island around the ship and adjust the dotted line.

      • edgar lores says:


        • Filipinos are even more ingenious – they just stay there, like the BRP Sierra Madre does. Reminds me of a politically incorrect joke they tell over here in Germany:

          Reagan and Gorbachev are in Gdansk harbor, formerly German Danzig in 1985. Ronnie brags to Gorbie: “our submarines can stay underwater for a year without refueling!”.

          Mikhail retorts: “our nuclear submarines stay underwater for two years without refueling, and our hardy Russian men are used to hardship, like crew of Mir space station!”

          Bubbles come out of the water of the harbor. A World War 2 U-Boat surfaces. The captain comes out and says: “Heil Hitler! Where can we refuel over here!”.

          Now if the crew members of the BRP Sierra Madre often look like Pacquiao unshaven, these “Das Boot” crew members must have looked like ZZ Top….

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Nah. It did not say crash and burn.

      I voted for the Americans too because I have faith that they will face the repercussions and will try to do the right thing. I do not know the Chinese well enough to trust their reaction.

  5. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Joe
    I voted..But I felt as a foreigner I shouldn’t. Still a delightful process all in all.

    But I am puzzled how the Catholic church emerged as the body with the most moral standing. I voted for the boy scouts ! i was brought up ( compulsorily ) Catholic until I grew old & big enough to tell my mother ‘No” . Since then I have never been inside a catholic church apart from the odd hatch, match & dispatch.

    I wonder if there has been as much sexual, physical & spiritual child abuse in the Philippines by the ( celibate ) clergy as we now know has happened in Australia, Ireland, the UK, Italy, Germany ( with sexual abuse accusations against retired popes own brother ), the USA and other countries. It was hidden and not talked about in any these countries until finally the victims demanded the public’s attention. And so now as an example, the Australian Cardinal George Pell has been summoned to appear at the Australian Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children in care.

    Also it would be really interesting to see Pia Wurbach representing the Philippines on the international stage. She has already shown extraordinary poise in truly bizarre situation. Go Pia !!!

    • Joe America says:

      The voting has just begun. So it is early to decide winners.

      I suspect the Boy Scouts in the Philippines are penalized by having a leadership that is satisfied with Jejomar Binay as President. Testimony in the Senate suggests pretty definitively that he is a crook and a liar. The Catholic Church does represent the moral foundation for about 80% of the population. I suspect voters favoing the Church ignore the political shenanigans of the CBCP and imagine Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle as representing that morality. Perhaps people will drop down and explain their selections. That’s the idea of the polls. To start conversations.

      • Joe America says:

        There have been incidents of misbehaving priests, but that has not gotten major play. I suspect that is because the nation has an abundance of misbehaving people, and there may also be a reluctance to embarrass the Church. Like psychiatry or psychotherapy is not actively practiced here . . . some things remain hidden or undiscovered, for the shames attached.

    • karl garcia says:

      I voted The catholic church,but half surprised of the result because there are regulars here who are non catholics.
      Pedophilia,children sired by priests have been implied on comment threads and if on print it would be on tabloids and of course gossips.Where there is smoke……

      I really don’t follow beauty queens after pageants,who do ot end up as actors or politicians.
      But I am interested ito find out what happens to Pia, since this is the first miss universe from the Philippines I have witnessed since Margie Moran.

      • karl garcia says:

        I was too young too have watched Margie Moran.

        • sonny says:

          For your records, nephew:

          First Miss Universe (1952): Armi Kuusela (Finland), later Mrs. Virgilio Hilario (Filipino)
          First Filipino international beauty queen: Gemma Cruz, Miss International (1964) later
          Mrs. Gemma Cruz-Araneta
          First Miss International (1960): Stella Marquez (Colombia), later Mrs Jorge Araneta (Filipino)

  6. Jonathan says:

    “Which Philippine institution has the highest moral bearing?” -> this question truly deserves a “none of the above” option.

  7. edgar lores says:

    My votes:

    1. Duterte – because I am more concerned with the Philippine eagle than the American eagle
    2. American – because I would rather have American ships than Chinese ships here
    3. Pia – because she’s beautiful and Teddy is not
    4. Kris – because she spars with sportsmen and not politicians
    5. Boy Scouts – for the same reason as Bill in Oz
    6. Leni – because she is beautiful, intelligent and graceful
    7. Grace – because she has real guts

    I scored only 3 out of 7 – Duterte, Pia and Leni — against the popular choices so far.

    • edgar lores says:

      6. Leni – because she is authentic

      • so is Pia… confidently beautiful… the excellent comic artist of Cebu Daily News captures that like he captures so many things… and also captures that what makes out her beauty is NOT her being mestiza… her features are very much that of a typical Visayan beauty.

        That certain confidence is also very Visayan, dey can be biri istreyt and direk… the best example was our physics teacher, immortalized in Pisay the movie… Miss Basas from Liti.

      • sonny says:

        2. American – because I agreed with edgar

        7. Grace – because I knew: not Miriam, not Binay


    • karl garcia says:

      I forgot Joey Marquez was a sportsman,so yes she spars with sportsmen.

  8. Bill in Oz says:

    I am curious about why so many voters opted for the Chinese to crash into Tubbahata reef. Surely that runs the risk of them a) never removing the ship and/or b) creating a new ‘chinese’ territory island as already has happened in the West Philippines sea.

    Being completely ignorant about the Tubbahata reef I looked on Wikipedia..Interesting entry :
    ” On January 17, 2013, the US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground at Tubbataha Reef.[26][27] The U.S. Government initially blamed the grounding on faulty maps.[28] Between 2011 and January 2013, before the grounding of the USS Guardian, there were eleven incidents involving ships, including two Philippine ships.[29] The U.S. Navy concluded that towing the ship off the reef would cause more damage and decided to dismantle the ship in place.[28] On March 30, the last section of the ship was removed from the reef.[28] No evidence of fuel leakage from the grounded vessel were found.[30]

    On April 8, 2013 the U.S. Navy turned over digital navigation charts and other relevant documents and data of the Guardian to the Philippine Maritime Casualty Investigating Team (MCIT) and responded to various technical and substantive queries.[31] The MCIT conducted its own independent investigation and made recommendations on how to avoid such incidents in the future.[31]

    The U.S. Government apologized for the incident and relieved five officers from duty.[32] The initial investigation clearly indicated that these officers did not adhere to standard US Navy navigation procedures.[32]

    The World Wide Fund for Nature–Philippines and the Tubbataha Management Office, measured the damage area at 2,345.67 square meters (25,248.6 sq ft).[33] The U.S. Federal Government was assessed a fine of 24,000 Philippine pesos (about US$600) per square meter.[citation needed] On January 20, 2015, the United States Government paid to the Philippine government a total of 87 million Philippine pesos, or US$1.97 million – 59 million Philippine pesos for the damage and another 29 million pesos to reimburse for services provided by the Philippine Coast Guard.[32]”

    It’s definitely better if no one crashes into this lovely place.. But if Yep I think I prefer the Yanks crashing into the reef. to the Chinese..

    Bill in Oz..

    • edgar lores says:

      1. Filipino voting — and wishing one less ship in the Chinese navy?
      2. Filipino voting — and wishing Chinese government will pay for damages?
      3. American national voting — and wishing no damage to American ships?
      4. Chinese national voting — and wishing extensive damage to Philippine resources?

    • Joe America says:

      There you go. Thanks for letting us in on your thought process.

    • There is an immense amount of crow eating involved when a large ship is driven up on rocks.

      I was just enjoying the idea of the Chinese losing some face.

      It could turn into a political mess as suggested by Bill in Oz, which I wouldn’t like.

      But it is a quiz … idea is to snapshot viewpoints rather than spur research that might change one’s opinion. 🙂

    • sonny says:

      “… The U.S. Government initially blamed the grounding on faulty maps.”

      Now I know the US did not include the Tubbatha Reefs in their original charts of the Islands.

  9. hiddendragon says:

    Seriously now, who came up with these questions? 😉

    • Certainly not Ang Lee, the director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

      • hiddendragon says:

        Okay now, if I am to question the questions, then maybe I should explain why, or rather why, upon viewing the result of each, I am aghast. This of course means I did answer the survey too and in the spirit of discourse with cybermates whom i admire and respect, here goes.

        1. Donald has, from where we stand, stood for not much more than hateful, racist sentiments. Worse, he ends up shooting himself in the foot by not acknowledging the very minorities that have contributed the society in which he thrives. Rod, on the other hand, has done to Davao what we, in our deepest, most secret selves, have always wanted for our own: a peaceful city where we can take evening strolls not worried about drug-crazed wackos. Human rights for criminals? I will say a word or two about UNHCR and that thing called collateral damage for now, if Duterte wins (and I’m not voting for him), I will just shrug and say, “Hey, vox populi.”

        2. Got this one wrong. I read the word crash to mean an unintentional landing resulting in irreversible damage. But to dock and to deliver, I would choose our 20th century bestie of course, never mind that they are not exactly the benevolent white brothers we think them to be. Chinese food, yes, but for liberal democracy, I’ll take the US of A anytime. A trip to S&R? Anytime!

        3. Do you remember your posting about our Filipino craving for heroes & saviors? Do you really think Pia is the person to represent us? Will Pia address the UN in her lovely gown and glittering tiara and really do our domestic helpers in HKG good? Teddy’s politics I don’t agree with but, but, but,…. Sigh.

        4. A real boxing match? Well, Korina, of course. She’s taller and of stockier build. What? What did you say about Kris Aquino that I haven’t already heard for years now? Why did I even bother answering this question?

        5. The CC has been getting a bad rap lately. But the small misbehaving minority aside, the institution has done a lot of good works, has educated the great majority of us, and is the shelter people run to in times of emotional, spiritual and physical (disasters) need. Bash the CPCP, we love doing that, but our priests where I come from, we love them and the work they do for our community. Well, most of them.

        6. Best represents, or best represents what we would like to think are the ideals of modern Filipina womanhood? Let’s face it, less than a fourth of our women, no, our whole population would come up short with the ideals that Leni has demonstrated and lived, and for that, she deserves to be our future President. To be beautiful, to do well, to grab at every opportunity that comes our way (US migration and citizenship), to have a happy, supportive family, now what Filipino woman wouldn’t want that? (majority, that is). Grace Poe it is for this question.

        7. Seriously, can you send her to talk to the Chinese after she has accused them of inventing corruption? Someone who shoots off her mouth and alienates everyone, then sells two volumes of her joke compilations. A good, respectable Secretary of Defense that would make. Now, a lady who charms and negotiates in a diplomatic way, one who doesn’t make anyone lose face, and can maybe charm her way to an agreement the other party would probably regret down the road but can’t do anything about, wouldn’t that be a better choice? Binay? Not fit for anything, really.

        So there, that’s the least I can do now that I’ve dipped my toes into this survey. I can’t wait to see Part 2 of the CTHD series, and with two good movies withdrawn from the MMFF, there’s going to be no movie viewing from me this week. (Why do we always get into this ‘after the fact’ situations? From elections to beauty pageants to film festivals, something always comes up when decisions should have been final).

        • Joe America says:

          Very interesting reading, hiddendragon. Thanks for sharing your rationale. I can tell that you place a premium on results (Duterte) and the idea that “a woman’s reach should exceed her grasp” (Poe). Excellent out-of-the-ordinary thinking. Regarding question 3, I think Pia is more than a pretty face. She has a brain and composure and diplomatic skills far above what a youngster ordinarily has. I’d be disappointed if she does not get into substantive work other than being a pretty face for commercials.

          Question 7 was the toughest, no doubt, and I like your rationale. All three have said they would negotiate with China, which means they would have to acknowledge China’s sovereignty in Philippine seas as China’s precondition to such talks. Also, none of the three has stated a defense plan. Senator Santiago just wants the US out. Senator Poe was very undiplomatic with the US Ambassador on one occasion, essentially telling him that the US can’t be relied on because they put their own interests first. But, after all the debate, I agree with your conclusion. She would probably be more pragmatic than Senator Santiago, and Binay would sell the Philippines out.

        • Crews says:

          Regarding your no. 3, better if Pia addresses the UN wearing her swim suit then she can say anything she chooses and nobody would care.

  10. Bill in Oz says:

    On the issue of whether to have a Chinese or an American ship crash into a Philippino coral reef here is something that was published here on the ABC. I have no idea if these satellite images were published in the Philippines. But they show exactly what the Chinese have done in the Spratley coral reef of the West Philippine sea.

  11. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Joe, re Chinese in the West Philippines sea : Is this a breaking story in Manila yet ?
    It is here in Oz now.


    It seems that some younger Pinoys are concerned enough to take protesting action even though discouraged by the Philippines government…..

    Go Pinoys !!

    Bill in Oz

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it is in the news today, along with China’s angry response that it represents a provocation. The Philippine Government had asked the young people not to undertake the adventure because of the risk of sea travel, and because the Philippines does not wish to antagonize China. But the group of about 30 people (not the 10,000 they had tried to get) made the trip out. They’ll camp there for 3 days.

      • Me says:

        When will they bring a visit to Vietnam’s occupied islands ?

      • “The Philippines does not want to antagonize China.”

        Ummm…I will echo PNOY’s question…”Why would China keep us away from our own territory?” I understand we have occupied that island for so long now, we have citizens there, a functioning government. Those youth just want to protest China’s bullying ways.

        Although I can understand the view of the government that prudence dictates that we don’t antagonize the bully for it might escalate into something while we wait the ruling from the Hague, but that fear of antagonizing her has prevented us from occupyong other territory which we own the way Vietnam did theirs. Ok, thinking about it, we can’t, as China has resorted to escorting their poacher fishermen with paramilitary ships bearing strong weapons We did not have the capability to match even an exchange of water cannons.


        Although from what I read from posts shared by my millennial FB friend Jhomz Rey, slowly but surely, PNOY has continued to build a substantial augmentation to the sorry state of our defense system, fighter jets, helicopters, and now, a big navy ship is 90% built and launched, ready for delivery next year to help defend our territorial waters and most of all, assist in reaching disaster areas and bring succor and relief to our many inter islands in times of disaster.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, it was Pnoy who directs the DFA and Defense departments who encouraged the youth not to visit. He is a pragmatist and would prefer China to be a passive beast as the Philippines pursues law-based solutions. Once the law-based solutions are completed, and if China remains belligerant, then I’d expect he would adjust his thinking . . . not that he will be President when that rolls around. Or, if Binay or Poe or Duterte or Santiago are President, the kids can help the regulars move off the island as we concede certain rights and territory to China in return for the favors they might offer.

          • Aww…that would be a real shame, after all the efforts of our legal team in the Hague, all those speaking and forum exchanges done by the Honorable SC Senior Associate Justice Carpio regarding the West Philippine Seas using old maps dating back from many centuries ago.

            Hats off to you, SC SAJ Carpio. Here is one citizen who truly appreciates your efforts in this very significant area of our country’s sovereignty and territorial scope and limits as embodied in our Constutution.

            To our President PNOY, I may not have voted for you but from day 1 of my candidate’s conceding speech, I have supported you all the way, prayed for you and the rest of your team. This citizen thanks you for a job well done, not perfect, but only God is.

  12. NHerrera says:

    Nice “fireworks” article to end the the year.

    Of the seven questions the others clearly are questions whose critical thinking answers are clear.

    My comment on the following questions are shown below (I scored 7/7 BTW):

    2. Whose Navy would you rather see crash into the Tubbahata Reef?

    4. Who would emerge the winner from a boxing match?

    5. Which Philippine institution has the highest moral bearing?

    7. Who would be the best Secretary of Defense?

    I will comment on Item 2 last.

    – On boxing match, I believe Korina has more brains than Kris and so I thought that the match will go to her — a thinking boxer all things being equal;

    – Catholic church of course should score higher; the reason Boy Scouts scores higher is that the lower ranking officials and the majority Boy Scout members, I believe, still have the idealism lost to Binay and high officialdom of the BSP; whereas the Senate is composed of the Senators and we know how they behave;

    – I rated Sen Santiago higher because she acts the way she does when she rightly makes fun of the idiots (reference: Sotto) in the Senate and other officials and of course ensures her continuing votes from her youth constituency who loves her contrived antics; but I believe she will act sanely when required in an international stage.

    – I rated the Chinese for the “fun” of having this bully embarrassed. But I noted well the contrary view.

  13. Hmmm, Kris was set up. But, never mind, she has a sense of humor.

  14. cha says:

    My very best New Year wishes to Joeam, Edgar and all the other “noisy” and “disgraceful” people who sit in this circle called the Society of Honor and constantly “move outside the tangle of fear-thinking”.

    May you all continue to “flow down and down in always widening rings of being”. 🙂

    From one of my favorit poets, Rumi, a tribute to you all :

    A Community of the Spirit

    There is a community of the spirit.
    Join it, and feel the delight
    of walking in the noisy street
    and being the noise.

    Drink all your passion and be a disgrace.
    Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
    Open your hands if you want to be held.

    Consider what you have been doing.
    Why do you stay
    with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?

    For the security of having food. Admit it.
    Here is a better arrangement.
    Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.

    Sit down in this circle.

    Quit acting like a wolf,
    and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.

    At night, your beloved wanders.
    Do not take painkillers.

    Tonight, no consolations.
    And do not eat.

    Close your mouth against food.
    Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

    You moan, But she left me. He left me.
    Twenty more will come.

    Be empty of worrying.
    Think of who created thought.

    Why do you stay in prison
    when the door is so wide open?

    Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
    Live in silence.

    Flow down and down
    in always widening rings of being.


    • Joe America says:

      Ah, a beautiful close to the old year, and opening of the door to the New. Thanks, Cha. Happy New Year to you.

    • Happy holidays, cha. Am missing your posts here as well as Chit’s. Bill in Oz is very actively posting here nowadys.

    • edgar lores says:

      In the book “Nine Lives” that I was just quoting from in the other post, “Christmas Love”, there is mention of the Sufi saints. Sufism, according to the author of “Nine Lives,” emphasizes “the individual’s search for direct knowledge of the divine.”

      The poet Rumi was a Sufi mystic, and his poetry “expresses his longing for union with the Divine” from which/whom man has been cut off or exiled.

      In this poem, the tension is between the community and the individual.

      The poet urges one to join the community and “sit down in the circle.”

      But before that, he enjoins one to surrender individuality. “Drink all your passion,” he counsels, “and be a disgrace.” Go crazy.

      In the next line, he says “Close both eyes to see with the other eye.” Here, he is referring to the third eye, the “eye of insight,” which gives us the ability to see things beyond the ordinary.

      And the next line gives us an eyeful of insight: “Open your hands if you want to be held.” So simple and yet so profound. Open your arms if you want a hug.

      The next verse shifts the view to a second party, the “mean-spirited and dangerous partner.” Who is this partner? It seems to be the husband who provides security (food) or the unfaithful spouse who has abandoned one. Could it also refer to our real selves?

      One has to laugh at the couplet, “At night, your beloved wanders. Do not take painkillers.” Rumi lived in the 13th century, and yet he sounds so modern. Painkillers? Hah!

      And if the beloved wanders, of course there will be no consolations tonight!

      But why the restriction against food?

      I think the poet is suggesting asceticism. Abstain from earthly pleasures (eating) in order to attain spiritual union, the taste of “the lover’s mouth in yours.” Can you imagine that, the intensity of that imagery? Sometimes, remembrance of a thing is more real than the reality of the thing itself.

      And stop whining, the poet says. There are more divine moments from where that single moment of divinity came from.

      Thinking is the enemy. We are held in the prison of our own thoughts, our fear-tinged and fearful thoughts.

      The poet tells us to “live in silence.” But isn’t this the opposite of what he first proposed? Of “walking in the noisy street and being the noise?”

      The ambiguity is there for one to resolve… as we widen the “rings of our being.” Being is all encompassing. It may be existence, awareness – consciousness, as I like to say — or the community of the sacred (and sometimes the profane) spirit that is in others and in us.

      Thanks, Cha.

      • mercedes santos says:

        HOORAY for Cha !!! cha,cha,cha PHips . . . and G’day matey ☀

      • cha says:

        Aaaw, thank you Edgar for such a beautiful exposition of Rumi’s poetry.

        I discovered Rumi through Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, he was one of the poets whose words the child Amir would recite in his class. In the movie based on the book, Rumi’s “Who are we in this complicated world” was used.

        And then in that paragraph you quoted from Nine Lives in the other post (which I just looked up) , the last line – “that there is paradise within us, if we know where to look” -reminded me so much of one line that’s been stuck in my head long after reading Hosseini’s book – “there is a way to be good again”, The idea in both lines being that happiness, peace of mind, goodness, and all that is noble and ennobling, they are there in the heart and mind of each of us, waiting to be summoned and set free. Luck are those who find the key and even more fortunate those who find the courage to actually use it,

        So anyway, I just wanted to say that somewhere there you just helped open up a window for my understanding and appreciating Hosseini’s writing even more. So thank you again, you modern-day Rumi.

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year!

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    The issue of residency was laid aside at the SET Senate Disqualification Case which she won because clearly Poe met the Constitutional requirement of residency for a Senate candidate in the 2013 election. The legal opinions of the three Justices — Carpio, Brion and de Castro — on the NBFC issue at the SET is a matter of record. They can inhibit themselves on that issue at the SC; and they earlier announced that they would do so. But why should Poe insist that Justices Carpio, Brion, and de Castro inhibit themselves also on the matter of the 10-year residency issue for the Presidency? There is no logic there. It is just possible that one, two or all three of them will vote in favor of her in the SC on the residency issue. How does she know? The 10-year Presidential residency issue was not discussed at the SET. In any case, it is the decision of the 3 Justices whether they inhibit themselves or not on the 10-year Presidential residency issue.

    Methinks the lady’s slip is showing. Poe’s Camp is in panic mode.

    • Joe America says:

      Open discussion. All topics allowed.

      One of the things I learned during the Mamasapano hearings is that Poe does not have a well-developed sense of how the institutions of democracy work. So she ends up time and again disrespecting them. She disrespected the purview of the DFA when speaking to the American Ambassador. She disrespected the courage and decision-making a Commander in Chief is obligated to make (no matter the popular impact) during Mamasapano. She disrespected DOJ with her INC remark. And, like Binay, she disrespects any institution that goes against her wishes. COMELEC, justices, anybody. Frankly, I think it is beyond panic, even, but is a serious deficiency in understanding and commitment to democratic principles and institutions.

      • NHerrera says:


        (I should really refrain from that kind of note at this time just before ushering in the New Year. But your “open discussion” note kindly allows it. Thanks.)


      • edgar lores says:

        Cha’s Karpman drama triangle enters into play. Grace the Victim, Comelec the Persecutor, and the SC the Rescuer.

        If the SC delivers an unfavorable decision on her citizenship, she might have a trump card — and simply reveal the skeleton in the family closet.

        If the unfavorable decision is on her residency, she will have been cornered by her “honest mistake.”

        She will still be the Victim, the government instrumentalities under the current administration the Persecutor, and the Rescuer?

        The family I guess.

        My guess is she will become spiteful. She will be finished as a political force in the national arena.

        If the SC decisions are favorable to Grace, my further guess is that the rationale will be that the issues are of the nature of “the political problem.”

        So far the elections have been a rollercoaster ride of bends, hills and troughs. As we enter the wild big-loop portion of the ride — with our tummies in our chests and our hearts in our throats — there is only one certainty: we will be munching more popcorn.

        • NHerrera says:

          The New Year’s resolution, then, among others, is to stock up on bags and bags of POPCORN. I have got to check that my Microwave Oven is in good shape.


        • Joe America says:

          I think if she wins at the Supreme Court, she will thank them for recognizing the will of the people, who see her as a hero, overcoming all kinds of travails to rise to the occasion and save the Philippines. In 30 years, disciples will start writing a book about her . . .

          You can take the story from there.

          • mercedes santos says:

            HEAVENS FORBID !!!! The woman has no morals, no shame , a PERIL to the country. Juan Luna will say PUNYETERA !!!!!!!!!!!

      • In fact Poe was present at a few events of the the Adenauer Foundation in Manila…

        I wonder if she thought that she could ingratiate herself with Germany by doing this.

        But then again, many Filipino politicians have been opportunists and wannabe lapdogs.

      • jolly cruz says:

        Why is it disrespect when she speaks the truth. Isnt it true that Purisima should not have been part of the plan since he was already uspended. Isnt it also true that the US sees to her own interest first before any ally. Wasnt she just expressing a sentiment that bothers most Filipinos about a one sided alliance. Why is it that when it is Poe it is a character flaw but when Roxas commits his many gaffs its always that people dont see the bigger picture and that they are nitpicking? Just asking.

        Why is Poe always the demon and Roxas inspite of his many blunders (dont ask me to enumerate because you already know them) the saint who commits no wrong .

        • Joe has written about Purisima and Mamasapano. I will try to re post it here later.

          Blunders of Roxas, like the motorcycle spill, and the spliced tape to make it appear that he is the monster instead of the one who was there in Tacloban the day before the super typhoon’s arrival, the guy who was first (even before the mayor made his appearance) to try to clear the roads so relief can pass through, what other blunders? Not resigning because he was kept out of the loop in the Mamasapano tragedy?

        • Joe America says:
          March 19, 2015 at 3:42 am

          Take out all the 20/20 hindsight judgment and slip back to before the operation. Consider three factors.

          1) Espina is a temporary head, interim, just assigned a couple of weeks ago. He has no security clearances and does not have the President’s trust and confidence yet.

          2) Purisima, on the other hand, had intimate knowledge of prior operations, the American engagement, and all the players involved, including secret intelligence channels. The working arrangement with the Americans requires absolute confidence because it could reveal American operating secrets in the global war on terror. In exchange for the silence, the Philippines gets the best of the best, in information. Satellite, drones, undercover plants, whatever.

          3) Napenas gives a bad briefing to the President. He suggests there will be only a few dozen enemy forces in the village where Marwan and Usman are located. The mission is postured as routine. This explains the President’s reaction to Purisima when he was informed the mission was in trouble. Why are they in trouble from a few enemy forces?
          Given that set-up, and the big prizes available at one place at one time, go for it. Simple, no need to make it a huge national exercise because it is just a local police operation.

          Joe America says:
          March 19, 2015 at 5:57 am

          Source that use of Purisima was illegal? De Lima says it was not. Aquino as civilian leader can cross lines of authority as he wishes. There were legitimate reasons to use Purisima.

          Joe America says:

          It will become increasingly apparent that the Poe senate report is another part of the mudslinging. It is a political document, not fact-finding. If one considers Poe’s chosen emphasis on what was, or was not, in the report:

          Downplay Pangilinan’s failure to deliver artillery

          Downplay the cease-fire team’s failure

          Ignore President Aquino’s prior televised acceptance of responsibility and admission that he will carry the grief of the mission for the rest of his life and to his grave.

          Why? Because these matters detract from the main purpose of the document, to place responsibility with President Aquino. To find culprits outside his line of command is to relieve him of culpability. The Poe report chooses not to do that.

          Read the few paragraphs devoted to AFP and cease fire, versus pages and pages dedicated to Aquino, and you will see whitewash in pursuit of a political objective.

        • Joe America says:

          Okay, good questions. Let’s back up and ask, what is good for the Philippines? Institutions that are held in respect, or institutions that are . . . for political gain . . . brought into disrespect. I think it is important to have strong institutions that are respected. And politicians should be big enough of mind to recognize that a democracy functions best if its institutions are strong and respected, for the difficult challenges they all have. Sometimes those jobs are critically important, like defense or justice or good elections, and we ought not be mucking with them for political gain.

          That’s where I start. So then we can look at both Senator Poe and Mar Roxas. I’ll cite how I think she undermines the strength of Philippine democracy, and you can tell me how Roxas does. Name the institution and the way it is undermined.

          On Purisima, the institution is the position of Commander in Chief, where executive war-waging authority rests. Under that authority, it is the President’s discretion as to whom he consults, and he picked the guy with all the knowledge about people, players (US) and operations (Purisima). Many military operations go bad, for reasons that no one wants. Take the US accidentally shooting up an Afghan hospital. How many Republicans and Democrats were calling for Obama’s resignation over that, or even trying to lay the blame there? Zero. Because the people held accountable are the operations people who botched the mission. Who made the mistake. Senator Poe, by trying to shift blame up to the President, showed a lack of understanding of this executive imperative, and undermined the authority and power of the Commander in Chief. This set a horrid, horrid precedent. She weakened the Philippines.

          The institution is the prerogative of the President, through Foreign Affairs, to manage the Philippine relationships with allies. This is not the job of legislators such as Poe. Legislators have oversight as a committee function where all views are represented, but Senator Poe took it upon herself to declare a needed change in foreign policy that pushed the US away. She was out of line, intruding into the President’s affairs. Again, I don’t think she even comprehends what is the dividing line between Legislature and Executive and independent agencies, evidenced by her multiple challenges (for political purposes) of COMELEC, the Ombudsman, treading in DFA territory, and undermining DOJ with her remarks defending INC. Her acts are not “a refreshing change”. They undermine Executive and the agencies. It is not a character flaw. It is the work of a very green, unseasoned, unknowledgeable person.

          The character flaw would be her failing to recognize her own limitations and tromping through the tulip patch gleefully undermining government institutions.

          I’m aware of what people perceive as Roxas’s gaffes, of photos and an argument in Tacloban (a maliciously edited video), but I’m not aware of him disrespecting any branch of government or independent agency. If you know of a case, I’d welcome knowing of it.

          • jolly cruz says:

            Ive had a pesonal experience with Roxas’ office when he was still senator. This is the reason why I dont believe anything he says. This was way back during the failure of the pre need companies. I distinctly remember Roxas saying publicly that his office would receive and entertain all complaints against all pre need companies since he was if I am not mistaken chair of the committee that handles these issues.

            Stupid me to believe him because I thought he was not a politicin but a technocrat who would really dig deep into the shenanaigans of the pre need cos. I went to his office in the senate but his staff just told me to right the company Im complaining about and narrate in writing what the complaint was about.

            I never got a reply nor an acknowledgement. And I never read anything about what he was doing to investigate these companies.

            If my kids did not graduate from the Philippine Science High School and were not fortunate to get scholarships from the Ateneo and the youngest not accepted at UP. I would never have been able to send them to the best schools because I had invested in the priciest educational plan when it was still affordable.This is the reason why I ill never vote for him. He is all talk and no action.

            Forward to today. My daughter who works for an NGO engaged in governance in government tells me that the reason is such a mess is because Roxas’ people are still entrenched in the agency and the reformers can not do anything about it. As proof, I bough a Trailblazer last May and would you believe that until now I dont have a car plate.

            I complanied to the dealer and they said that it was the LTO who was at fault. I asked which LTO branch was this and I went there only to be told that the people handling the car plates are all Roxas proteges and were not releasing for one reason or another.

            So you see Ive had personal experience with the Roxas leadership/management style so I can not be convinced by propaganda.

  16. NHerrera says:

    Congratulations Joe. That’s a nice Word Press Annual Report on your Blogsite. The short crisp presentation of statistics is nicely presented and appealing. Aside from the Blog topics which has made your site a go-to-site, I find the Global Reach Map of your Blog very informative with the numbers of visits shown when the computer cursor arrow hovers over the country. Sample:

    Philippines 1,145,796
    United States 380,625
    Canada 83,748
    Australia 49,811
    Saudi Arabia 35,042

    Nice comparison: the Louvre Museum’s 8.5 million visitors per year versus your blog’s 2.0 million visitors in 2015.

    In short — GREAT JOB!

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, NH. It was quite a year for the Society, and I think we can all reach around and pat our own backs, for the great conversations we’ve had here, inspired by some provocative and thoughtful writing.

  17. sonny says:

    Wishing everyone the peace and joy of the days to come. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • Dr. Rizal said: what if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow?

      President McKinley said: the Filipinos are unfit to govern themselves.

      President Quezon said: I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos.

      All of these men were right, each in their own way, proven by history.

      Happy New Year – and may the years to come prove this is obsolete.


      Footnote: DR. Rizal finished his medical studies in opthalmology in Madrid.

      After that he practiced in Heidelberg, was and is called Dr. by the Germans.

      Germans take the title Dr. very seriously, there are laws on using that title.

      Unlike the Italians, who call every educated person dottore, half-seriously.

      Given the penchant of Filipinos for exaggerating their titles, I researched…


      Consuelo de bobo: several German politicians lost their Dr. titles recently.

      Hacktivists posted their theses online and crowdsourced proofs of plagiarism.

      Meaning that there are also sottocopiers in Germany, who lost their Dr. titles.

      One of was a federal minister:

      Her doctoral thesis was about the development of character and conscience.


      She is now ambassador to the Vatican, I guess Dr. Merkel sent her there.

      Dr. Merkel is a chemistry Ph.D., her doctoral thesis is top-level and original.

      Which goes to show that everywhere you go, you find similar sort of stuff.


      Rizal BTW wrote his Noli in Berlin, Jägerstraße 71, near Checkpoint Charlie.

      Mark Twain also was in Berlin, I wonder if he and Rizal ever met personally.

      Rizal was also in the United States, Mark Twain was against McKinley’s war…

      • NHerrera says:

        My New Year Greetings to “Herr Doktor Doktor Professor Irineo” — conferred, honoris causa, by one of The Society’s commenter — NHerrera. (I understand a double Dr. Dr. is allowed for a double Doctor’s degree in Germany.) Thanks for the many appreciated thoughts you brought to Joe’s Blogsite.

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year Uncle!

  18. Allois says:

    Seems Aquino is preparing the pad for next President that will pro China.–finance.html

  19. karl garcia says:

    Happy New Year Society of Honor!

  20. karl garcia says:

    After a few years not commenting in the blogosphere,2015 was the year I decided to start again and I found a home here in the Society.I met Joe in the Filipinovoices and when he started his blog,I was one of the early lurkers. I have seen him duke it out with the getrealists and the antipinoys.Now he has to deal with Chinese trolls and other trollolols.

    Cheers to you Joe!

    • Joe America says:

      He he. I got thrown out of both blogs. Bong V and benigno did the tossing. I read today that Kobe Bryant, when he was first drafted by Charlotte, was told by former Celtic player and Charlotte general manager Dave Cowan, that the team had no need for him. It was like a wake-up call, and Bryant said it turned him from smiling kid to a guy with a killer instinct (wanting to win). I owe BongV and benigno the same favor. With FV dwindling and those two on the anti-rampage, I had nowhere else to go for sincere discussion but my own place.

      Happy New Year to you, Karl. You were always one of the good guys, not playing the personal power games. I appreciated it then, and appreciate it now. Best wishes for a healthy and hearty 2016, and the capacity to roll with anything, head up.

    • sonny says:

      Surf’s up, Joe. The uglier the troll, the more beautiful the ride. Ride ’em, uncle Joe! 🙂

  21. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    The days in 2015 that rocked my world (not necessarily in order of importance):

    The day when:

    Family was complete for Christmas;

    I met Joe America and was welcomed into The Society of Honor;

    Quincy was born and we didn’t know Liz the Belgian Malinois was pregnant because she was 12 canine years old equivalent to more than 80 years old for humans;

    I got a FitBit, an Aussie brown ‘roo leather bush hat, a portable solar-powered Firefly lamp, a diary, a hipster dress shirt, shirts, walnuts, and all that loving from Baby and the girls for Christmas and year-round;

    I realized what a Yamashita treasure I have in Baby my wife whose life is all about me;

    Baby and I completed a nine-day Misa de Gallo novena;

    I became a writer with a reader base, part of my bucket list;

    Visited Naga of my heart, saved from a possible road accident at 60 kph on a bend;

    Mar-Leni consistently inched upwards in surveys;

    Walked up Mount Pinatubo with daughters;

    Our daughter and her fiance announced their engagement for a 2016 wedding;

    I completed 2015 with love, gratitude to God, loved ones and neighbor, in spite of surprises and life-changing events.

    Thank you, God, for completing me in 2015. Thank you, family, relatives and friends for having me.

    Happy new year, members of The Society of Honor! Looking forward to 2016!


  22. NHerrera says:

    For Joe and others in the Society who appreciate a good speech from President Aquino, this one an Eulogy to Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc:–pnoy-on-letty-from-the-commander-in-chief-to-the-editor-in-chief

    You can imagine my shock when, during our noche buena, the news came that Tita Letty had passed away. She was an institution, and with institutions, you tend to forget that they are also people, with a beginning and an end. Even if I knew she had a chronic condition, there was the belief that, like every other instance of her having an illness, she would bounce back—livelier and more feisty than ever. There was a period of disbelief, tinged with sadness for the passing of such an icon and friend.

    What snapped me out of my depression were the vivid memories of her. For instance, if you would ask me to describe her, the image of the famed German nuns from St. Scholastica or the Irish priests from Ateneo always come to mind. I am sure all of us have had mentors and teachers we considered terrors. You know, I guess, what I mean. Tita Letty could give you the kind of look that would turn the blood in your veins to ice: at once direct, intimidating, and soul-searching. Every time she looked at me like that, I couldn’t help but think that a major sermon was in the offing.

    Thankfully, that never happened. At some point, she would always break out either with a smile or a very infectious laughter. Of course, given the intensity of her signature look, it always took me a few seconds to realize that she was finally smiling—at which point I could finally relax and return the gesture. For Tita Letty’s truest and deepest nature was of a nurturer with a heart of gold—a nurturer who was still tough precisely because she expected you to meet the challenge of her very high expectations.

    Every time she spoke to me in the terse tones that marked her as a true professional, my blood pressure probably rose by at least five points—which is funny, because those were also the times when I felt like a college student again. One of my economics professors in Ateneo was an especially brilliant man, who seemed to enjoy making life hard for me. Three times a week, the last fifteen minutes of every class was reserved for an intensive debate solely with me. I felt that he had it in for me, and that passing the class was not a possibility. Eventually, I learned that the reason my professor was challenging me in this way was because he admired my father greatly, and that he wanted to train me to be as sharp and as good. In the end, I got a B+, but that was because my professor could not finish teaching the course due to health problems. I’d like to think that he would have given me an A, if we had been able to finish the semester—because he probably held back the final grade so that I would continue to keep striving.

    With Tita Letty, I’d like to think that her smiles indicated that she was pleased at how I was rising to the challenges confronting me—and that she approved of my answers and my efforts. In that sense, perhaps I drew some of her motherly instincts to the forefront. Having read the tributes written by a number of writers in the Inquirer, that seems to be an experience we all share in common.

    Joe, knowing your Germanic roots, I thought the second paragraph I excerpted may strike a chord.

    • My German mother is coming to visit me over the New Year, and I have been busy cleaning my apartment since this morning. I know exactly what the German way is – unerbittlich, meaning no excuses and don’t try to hide stuff in the dirty kitchen they will look there too. 🙂

      I was part of Embassy Staff (casual) when Cory made a State Visit to Germany in 1989. One of Cory’s staff asked me and the driver where he could buy stuff in the next town. Talked a bit and then took him there in the “For Official Use Also” Embassy Mercedes.

      He looked at the streets and was surprised they were just as clean as the official route. Well, I told him, there is no bullshit in this country, no squatters to hide behind walls. Wonder if he told Noynoy something – he wasn’t part of the entourage, neither was Kris.

      Because that incident may have been one of many things that led to Daang Matuwid. Which I now see as for real, except maybe SOME of those implementing don’t get it yet.

      Protestantism applied, work on yourself… Happy New Year to all of you… in diesem Sinne.

    • sonny says:

      The second paragraph rings true at the Ateneo and most of the Catholic schools in the islands. There is Belgian, Dutch, German, Irish, Spanish/Basque, French, Polish, Italian, Greek and others. The multi-cultural exposure of anyone connected to the campus has that unmistakeable flavor of multiethnicity, one catholic, one universal orientation to God’s work. Before, the Philippines was a missionary destination, now she is a missionary source.

    • Joe America says:

      My mother also had that withering look. But she too often forgot to smile. 🙂

      Thanks for those touching excerpts which give the lie to those who claim President Aquino has no heart or compassion.

      • sonny says:

        Ah, yes. the mistress of the house is the kindest person you will meet on this earth. Nonetheless she’s got a glare that unmistakeably says you are but firewood to her.

    • Joe America says:

      Corruption. Playing games instead of working diligently. That’s the Brazil lesson. What a mess. Botched democracy. A good and fair warning.

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year Giancarlo!

    • NHerrera says:

      When the manna from the commodities prices, from oil, etc, came tumbling down coupled with the endemic corruption and political shenanigans, Brazil came tumbling down. This next line is a tired refrain — who would be in a better position to see that coming and institute measures were we placed in a similar situation: Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas or Santiago? But the refrain is worth singing.

      And one thing more — though I must admit I am going far afield in my competence here. We may have a better Central Bank and NEDA, except of course during the time of Macoy where those officials succumbed to Macoy’s persuasion on top of Imeldefic putting one Impact/ Show projects after another.

  23. The research is relatively new so we cannot fault Duterte on not knowing it but we can fault him in implementing policy without study.

  24. yesnoy46 says:

    December 30, 2015 by yesnoy46


    In the latest SWS survey (Dec. 12-14 *BusinessWorld*-SWS pre-election survey), Mar Roxas is now running 2nd only to VP Binay who was tied for 1st place with Senator Poe. Roxas scored 22%, overtaking erstwhile front-runner Mayor Duterte who slid to 4th place with 20%. Trailing poorly with only 4% of the voter preference, Senator Santiago is as good as eliminated from the presidential race. Hence, the erstwhile 5-way contest is turning out to be a 4-way race to the top. [image: presidential survey infographic]

    *Infographic by Business World Online*

    In the same survey, Leni Robredo is closing the gap with Escudero. Robredo garnered 19% and is tied for 2nd place with Marcos; Cayetano remains in contention with 17%. [image: vice presidential survey infographic]

    *Infographic by Business World Online*

    According to Mahar Mangahas, the most striking finding was the drop of Duterte to fourth place at 20 percent, or below Mar Roxas third place at 22 percent.

    The points lost by Duterte went primarily to Roxas who rose to 22 percent or only 4 points behind Binay and Poe.


    Ending the year with a BIG BANG!

  25. Happy New Year to all!

    Looks like I am in tune with the voting crowd except for the last question.

    I chose Binay as Secretary of State because I know he has the ability and capability to do the job as long as the budget is being watched like a hawk. If he is not jailed for the corruption allegations, I think he will go “straight” as he went through very harrowing circumstances due to the alleged misstep. I am hoping that the Binay of Cory era will resurface as penance for the excesses and lapsed good judgement he is charged with.

    I did not choose Poe. I believe that she does not have the pre-requisites to hold the position. The usual KSA to be Secretary of State, IMHO are missing in Poe’s curriculum vita. I will not belabor the issue of KSA as it is self explanatory. The bottom line is Poe gave me the heebie-jeebies from the day I read about her. I hoped that as time goes by, that uncomfortable feeling will go away and I will be proven wrong. The feeling has not dissipated. There is just something about her that gives out bad vibes in my direction.

    Santiago is a no go. Her bombastic and off-kilter behavior can only be tolerated in PH. In international arena, she will be an embarrassment for her condescending style of communication.
    Her “hyperboles” will not be amusing to other international representatives and I believe she will pull down PH gains in international diplomacy. These are the same reasons why I hope that PH voters will not vote for Duterte as President.

    Just my two cents…

  26. edgar lores says:


    Which presidential contender’s action is most despicable:

    a. Binay concealing the whereabouts of his dummies (Limlangan and Baloloy) to prevent discovery of the magnitude of his plunder

    b. Duterte pushing death squads to savage criminals without due process to establish peace and order

    c. Poe not letting the dead rest in peace to prove natural born citizenship

    d. Roxas marrying Korina to prove love is blind

    • Joe America says:

      On point c, I think it was Poe’s attorney, not the Senator, who arranged for the digging, and they may have done it at the initiative of those close to the dead soul. I think Senator Poe is most despicable for not respecting institutions essential to good governance: COMELEC, Ombudsman, DOJ, and DFA, among others. She undermines and divides.

      • edgar lores says:

        Good point. I’m just wondering: can Poe disclaim foreknowledge — or permission — of the exhumation? Surely her attorneys sought her go-ahead signal.

        In the same manner that Binay disclaims all knowledge — or connivance — in the non-appearance of his dummies.

        I also wonder at the relatives of the dead: what is their motivation for disturbing the eternal rest of the departed? Do they really believe or know Poe is kin? My impression is that Poe’s failed DNA test was with another family.

        So many ethical issues abound.

        • edgar lores says:

          There’s the legal concept of plausible deniability, the lack of evidence to prove an allegation.

          Poe’s lawyers probably said something along the lines of, “Ma’am, there is a probable solution, but we won’t tell you about it so you can deny foreknowledge.”

          Some call it the “art of plausible deniability” which provides a way for disowning responsibility and accountability.

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t grasp much of what the Senator does and have stopped following all the arguments because there are so many contradictions. The referees can make the call better than the fans in the stands. My understanding is that her return from the US makes her naturalized, rather than natural born, so the digging and DNA seem moot. I’m giving the Senator the benefit of the doubt on the arranging of the digging.

          • edgar lores says:

            If they are digging, then the issue is not moot.

              • Joe America says:

                I would note that the reaction to the digging in the comment columns is pretty hostile. I think maybe people object to the dead being disrupted from their slumber for someone’s political aspirations.

              • edgar lores says:

                That is part of what I am trying to find out: the attitude of Filipinos to the “desecration” of the dead.

                Binay’s corruption seems to be “acceptable.”
                Duterte’s death squads seem to be “acceptable.”

                In the relative limits of what is acceptable, where does “desecration” lie?

              • It could be hostlle because someone alive would not suject herself to DNA matching test to give rest to the ugly rumors but disturb the resting ones ( a tradition that is not to my liking for I believe in forensic science like MRP) just to prove the unrelenting search for the lost parentage. That ugly rumor persists to this day and they are the ones who contribute to its persistence by not coming forward to prove it is just that – a malicious rumor. If I am RS or JSP, I will gladly agree to the test to stop tongues wagging, but that is just me. On the other hand, if the rumor is true, that past is not relevant anymore in these days of liberated norms, if you love your daughter, why not come forward and save her from all these legal woes as far as her citizenship is concerned?

          • Some legal minds insist that she is natural born and repatriation returns the repatriated citizen to his/her original status before losing the citizenship.

          • butod says:

            That is in fact the tenor of the Comelec Division 2 ( or is it Division 1) ruling — i.e. even if Poe were natural-born, she could no longer have reclaimed that status when she repatriated her Philippine citizenship since doing so only makes her at best a naturalized citizen.

            However, this portion of the ruling breaks away from current Supreme Court jurisprudence (Tabasa V. CA I think) which holds that repatriation fully restores the nature of one’s previous status. I think this was also the gist of Caliphman’s minor protest to the Comelec decision — that it would’ve sufficed to rule against her for failure to prove that she was natural-born; and that heading forth into a hypothetical is not only moot and a pile-on, but also what lawyers call a judicial overreach, layspeak for presuming to know better than the Supreme Court.

            • Joe America says:

              Right. Poe supporters want international law to take precedence over Philippine law, due to the way they want the case to work out. Judicial overreach would be to declare Philippine law invalid because it differs from international law. I’d say such overreach would be a “political decision” of the court, and would not represent the court well.

            • Layspeak for us citizens (not Comelec) is just us exercising our freedom of speech and expression, no matter how the SC decides this, we are entitled to our own opinion as the SC rules are subject to a numbers game, cases in point, Enrile’s bail, midnight appointments, Estrada pardon, etc etc…SC decisions take on the nature of law and jurisprudence but sometimes they are not morally correct. We can do nothing about the SC rulings but we can vote according to how we understand issues as lay persons, and pray that the next president will appoint the next SC associate justices, who will form the next majority, that are unlike these Arroyo 8 justices.

              The so called experts in law would like us non experts to not express how we feel or believe or how to form opinions that may differ from their own. Where then is the freedom of speech and expression? That’s only true and applicable to them? It’s up to us who to believe, whether to believe the thick pages of the Comelec decisions, the equally thick published dissenting opinions on SET DQ case and not the 1 or two page opinions of the columnist ex CJ Pananiban, Tan as well as that of the senators who issued political and not legal opinions, in my opinion not yet a law, either. Am not an expert but I have a right to my own understanding of what I read, and readers here can choose to ignore or believe me.

              The Comelec believes as the 3 associate justices of the SC who published their dissenting opinions that Poe at best could be presumed naturalized FC, before lexpatriation, as her parents are unknown…repatriation only restores her to that former status. I am one of those who agree with them.

              Her “honest mistake” in the 10 year residency issue has been decided by the Comelec, the Commisioner’s dissenting opinion notwithstanding. The SC will have the final say on this, too. IMO she has legal staff (including Escudero) who could have advised her in preparing her CoCs, failing to follow simple rules and procedures and excusing her for that just to accommodate her is not fair, she is expected to know the rules and procedures as she is not just anybody, she is offering herself to the electorate to occupy the highest position of the land. She created her legal woes relating to this residency issue and blaming others just reveal further her character to the public except her avid supporters.

              • butod says:

                Hey Mary. If I’m reading you right, please know that my comment wasn’t meant to diminish your or anybody else’s opinion about the Poe ruling. I’m not a lawyer myself, so my reference to a “layspeak” refers to a shorthand of what I came to understand about judicial overreach as they’re used by lawyers — about lesser tribunals handing rulings that depart from a prevailing Supreme Court doctrine — and not as some oblique shady comment about other people’s thoughts about the matter.

                I think we can all agree that as far as her natural born status remains unproven, Comelec’s decision to cancel her CoC is what it is. But in so far as that portion of Comelec’s ruling (not even sure anymore if it’s part of the main body of the ruling or just Chairman Bautista’s separate concurring opinion) about the consequence of citizenship repatriation — assuming Poe does find DNA proof of her natural born status for the repatriation question to become relevant — what will ultimately matter for the SC is how it still feels about its Tabasa ruling these days.

                By the way, don’t lose too much hope about the Arroyo 8 just yet; sometimes they do end up on the very side that you wish they would. Two of them — de Castro and Brion — voted alongside Carpio with the majority at SET.

                Peace and a happy new year! Oh and a happy new year to you too, Joe!

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks, butod. Have a great year yourself.

              • Peace, and happy new year too, butod, that post was meant not for you, but for others that seem to resent us when we speak about legal matters which we are not experts of…we experienced that not only here but in raissa’s blog too, and you could say that I was smarting from their personal attacks and insults. I try to talk about issues but when their candidate’s issues are being discussed, they tend to attack the commenters while rebutting.

                I truly hope that your are right about the rest of the Arroyo appointees. Thank you for providing another ruling from the SC that I can search on (Tabasa). I have read the one on the pettion of Bengzon which the SC dismissed.

    • NHerrera says:

      Of the four in the list the most acceptable is d. I bet our friend Will will agree.

      • edgar lores says:

        I agree. But, Herr NHerrera, you are avoiding the question, nein?

      • edgar lores says:

        Sorry, I do not mean to put you on the spot. Just curious as to what people think.

        • Joe America says:

          Which presidential contender’s action is most despicable:

          The most despicable to me is Duterte’s summary justice, deciding on both guilt and a severe punishment that does not allow for mistake or rehabilitation. Binay hiding his witnesses is culturally acceptable in the Philippines and until it is not, it is hard to condemn. Poe’s deed (or her camp’s deed) is not illegal even if it is emotionally disconcerting to some. Roxas should be cheered for finding a love that is right for him, and those condemning him and Korina should go somewhere on the despicable deeds list.

        • I am puzzled as to what you mean by d. Brings back memories of MRP’s ax to grind with Korina that he substantiated by mere hearsay.

          Korina is easy on the eyes so the blindness you are referring to could not be attributed to her visual attractiveness. The flaw then is not just skin deep. What is it, edgar?

        • NHerrera says:

          Right edgar. I thought I will get away. Stern German taskmaster.

          Ok here are some thoughts.

          I was hoping, on coming back, that Joe would not have his December 31, 2015 at 11:48 am comment, because there is something in that I will use.

          – If the forensics requirement is needed that importantly (laying aside the fact that the most accessible DNA source is right before her very nose and once done can at the very least lay to rest the ugly persistent rumor of Rosemarie-Marcos parentage) this is not despicable to me. What is despicable is doing number 2 and desecrate the dead before doing the easiest number 1 before attempting 2.

          – The Duterte punisher approach to criminals if it is a case of 10,000 criminals against a possible 1 among them not a criminal — from a pragmatic approach is not as despicable to me (mea culpa to my confessor). But we know that is far from probable with his implementers or he himself being human are most subject to grudges .

          – Binay’s despicableness fails in comparison with Duterte’s punisher approach.

          SO I VOTE FOR Duterte’s approach as most despicable.

        • edgar lores says:


          1. Right. All very good responses.

          2. I will try to categorize my thoughts into (a) analysis and (b) criteria, but first let me respond to Juana’s question.

          2.1. When making the list, I tried to enumerate the most “controversial” act the contenders are charged with. I know Mar’s act is benign in comparison to the others, and I was being a bit facetious, but some people’s main reason for not supporting him is Korina.

          2.2. Since Mar’s act is not at the level of the others, I will say his act is the least despicable. This aligns with JoeAm’s opinion.

          2.2. The analysis will be based on (a) motive; (b) legal category; and (c) consequences.

          2.3. The criteria will be based on Rawls’ notions of justice consisting of (a) freedom; (b) equality; and (c) fairness.

          A. Motive, Legal Category and Consequences .

          3. Motive. Ultimately, the motive of the other three contenders are the same: to gain or exercise power. But this is too general, so I will impute the following “immediate” motives:

          o For Binay, it is to maintain his wealth.
          o For Duterte, it is to establish peace and order.
          o For Poe, it is to qualify as a candidate.

          3.1. Both Binay and Poe have selfish motives; only Duterte has an altruistic motive.

          3.2. Therefore, from the viewpoint of motive, Duterte wins.

          4. Legal Category.

          o For Binay, hiding accomplices is not illegal.
          o For Duterte, vigilante justice is illegal. (I will assume so.)
          o For Poe, exhumation is not illegal; it may be taboo.

          4.1. Therefore, from the viewpoint of the legal category, Duterte loses. And I would rate Poe as the winner in this category.

          5. Consequences

          o For Binay, corruption diverts government resources away from the public welfare.
          o For Duterte, vigilantism equates to human rights abuses.
          o For Poe, exhumation breaks down a social taboo.

          5.1. Therefore, from the viewpoint of consequences, Duterte loses… because the death of innocents is graver than the discomfort of the public.

          B. Notions of Justice

          6. Freedom. Only Duterte’s vigilantism affects human freedom.

          7. Equality. Binay causes economic inequality and Duterte causes human rights inequality. Arguably, Poe is fighting for equality.

          8. Fairness. Both Binay and Duterte treat people unfairly. Arguably, Poe is being treated unfairly.

          C. Conclusion

          9. Using a score of 1-3 (3 being the best) for each of the above factor, my results are:

          o Poe 17
          o Binay 13
          o Duterte 8—Most despicable

          10. This aligns with both JoeAm’s and NHerrera’s conclusions.

          • karl garcia says:

            Happy New Year Edgar!
            Before cremation was never an option.But never say say never,even never is not permanent.Some people refuse autopsy even if their loved one was a victim of foul play,I think the police will heed the relatives request,unless they want a judge to intervene.If the relative allows exhumation then what other people’s disgust would not matter.

            Since we are into digging,I hope those who will testify against Binay’s not yet six feet under.
            Korina Hated by some of Mar’s supporters,but true supporters must support both Mar and Korina.

            • edgar lores says:

              Happy New Year, Karl! May the new year bring you all that you desire… except the most thing you desire. So that you always have something to look forward to.

          • NHerrera says:

            Seems like a prelude to the 2016 fireworks. Thumbs up, edgar (sherlock) lores.

  27. Juana Pilipinas says:

    “This is the oath of a Knight of King Arther’s (sic) Round Table and should be for all of us to take to heart. I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.”

    ~ King Arthur, in Le Morte d’Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table

    What a beautiful oath to live by!

  28. bauwow says:

    Happy New Year Everyone!!!
    Happy New Year Manong Joe!!!

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year Doc!

    • NHerrera says:

      What is nice about people my age is that saying you forgot is enough of an excuse for a lot of things.

      🙂 I read that somewhere.

      HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, bauwow, and your family!

    • Joe America says:

      Say hey, Doc. Happy new year to you, and thanks for the cup o’kindness.

    • edgar lores says:


      I didn’t know until today that “Auld Lang Syne” was written down by Robert Burns from a traditional song.

      And that auld lang syne means “to times gone by.” It’s about remembering friends and not forgetting them.

      The phrase a “cup of kindness” resonates.

      Cheers, Doc!

    • Happy New Year, Doc.

      I hope the hospitals won’t have that much patients tonight and tomorrow…our parting joke at the office is to raise both hands with a complete inventory of fingers.

      Last year, we spent the year-end with a little one with a respiratory issue, confined at the hospital, upon getting home I had to rush another little one with blistered hands who had to be given 2 anti-tetanus injections, a painful procedure in the ER and burn ointment prescription. Money, tears and stress for a few hours of revelry.

      • bauwow says:

        Wow! Mary, I feel extremely blessed, and the year has not yet started! edgar “Da Guru” lores read my post and responded to it! Now I feel part of the Society! Wohoooooo!

        Here’s your bottle of San Mig “Da Guru”! Cheers!

  29. “Word Press compiles an Annual Report for bloggers using the Word Press platform. Here is the URL for the Society of Honor for those of curious demeanor:

    wooooooohoooooo! I came in 5th! My high school English teacher would be proud. Thanks for letting me blog and comment on here, Joe, it’s been fun. HAPPY NEW Year, everyone!!! —— one more day over here, but I’ll be gone tomorrow and the weekend. See you all next year. 😉

  30. NHerrera says:

    TRIVIA — one more for the road.



    – The Supreme Court is sworn to uphold the Constitution, expressing the will of the people through a plebiscite, more so since the SC is the body whose legal opinion is the most weighty, if not final;

    – The SC, by reason of practice and effective experience, seeks as many relevant documents and arguments as possible to render wise decisions that can stand the test of time.


    The same day Poe asked for and was granted by SC TROs against Comelec cancelling her COC for the Presidency, the SC required Comelec to submit its comments within 10 days and appear for Oral Arguments on January 19. The next day, the SC amended its instructions to include the petitioners for the cancellation of Poe’s COC — to likewise submit their comments in 10 days and appear for Oral Arguments on January 19.


    In view of the premises, this development (inclusion of the petitioners in the submission of comments and appearance in the Oral Arguments), methinks does not augur well for Poe. It “adds fuel” to the strict interpretation of the Constitutional requirement for one seeking the Presidency — particularly the natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency issues. Elamparo et al are not amicus curiae. They are petitioners themselves.

    (One centavo worth of trivia.)

  31. bauwow says:

    Hey Karl! Congratulations! And you even took a break! Partida pa yan kay IRBS. 🙂

    • karl garcia says:

      oo nga ano,pero puro one liner e 😜

      • Di naman lahat one liner, and even those one liners are like bombs…explosive…a good talking point or spring board for further discussion…a man of few words, a man after mercedes and balayang’s heart who have issues with verbose diarrhea ..ha ha ha!

        • sonny says:

          Mary, James Fallows described some of our Filipino journalists as suffering from acute logorrhea. I could just imagine your terminology: verbose diarrhea. ha ha

          • Can’t claim the honor, not that original…not sure if it is balayang or somebody else….Happy New Year, good health and long life is my wish for you all!

            • sonny says:

              ALL the good things of the New Year come your way, Mary Grace!!

              • And yours, too sonny…thank you.

                Love that song..lyrics like “.and then I spolled it all by saying something stupid like I love you…” Comes from the golden years…remnds of me of my mother and her favorite songs.from..Pet Clark, Nana Mouskouri, Frank and daughter duet

              • sonny says:

                Memories are an elusive bunch. Even so New Year’s day allows some of us to remember the times when celebrity was also then, as now, a respite of sorts. Here are some of the faces. Maybe you’ll recognize some. 🙂 (Tessie Quintana sent me to afib)

              • Did I get it right, sonny, afib, as in atrial fibrillation? Not good, that’s irregular hearbeat or skip beats, right? My mother had that and it caused her stroke which left her bedridden for 8 years. She never regained use of her left arms and legs. Antibiotics for her pneumonia damaged her kidneys on her 8th year, that last year was spent in and out of hospital for dialysis sessions and other ER episodes. Your son will be very familiar with this health issues, I believe. I know you are, too with your sodium and other medical terms in your comment once.

              • Stars of the golden age, I only remember Amalia Fuentes, Susan Roces, FPJ, Gloria she is still active in grandmother roles now, the same with Susan Roces, adoptive mom of Grace Poe, the rest are not familiar…thanks for a glimpse of the past, sonny. Amalia is the mother of the late Liezl Martinez and I learned from my aunts that Amalia Fuentes is the Elizabeth Taylor of the Philippines. Ahh, I saw Eddie Gutierrez, father of Ruffa, Eddie Garcia is still active in grandfather roles nowadays.

              • sonny says:

                Mary, I had the ‘afib’ of a 9-yr old’s extreme infatuation with Tessie Quintana the actress.

                I’m sorry about your late mom. She was a wonderful lady to have had the likes of you. I too carry a Damocles sword over my head. Will tell you off-line, MG. Take care for now.

          • mercedes santos says:

            How nice of you, Maria Gracia : feliz año nuevo, tambien and also to Mariano, wherever he be ☺

            • mercedes santos says:

              he be is deliberate: my husband introduced me to the Little Rascals … the good old days of a peaceful usa . . . joeam might disagree but I find that era more in line with peace in the usa; along the lines of he am and I is. I really dig for american english ☺

        • karl garcia says:

          naakala ko nga nung napansin ni bauwow si mercedez nung nag sulat sya ng one paragraph tungkol sa koreans in subic,etc. …testing the south china sea waters.

        • butod says:

          And who can forget Primer Pagcarunungan’s distinct volubility? Always comes off to me like the slightly developmentally-delayed spawn of a business letter and the first draft of a post-grad dissertation. Cracks me up everytime. Pasensya na sa singit dito ha, just couldn’t hold back hehe.

  32. sonny says:

    Not quite near the New Year hour yet here in Chicago. It is the 4:54 am of the 31st. But I’m dedicating my most favorite dancing instrumental to all. So turn up the volume, take your beloved to the dance floor and bring in the New Year. 🙂

  33. Steamed salmon with lemon, anyone?

    • sonny says:

      shrimp cocktail w/sauce close enough, MG? 🙂 (ok rin samahan ng merlot/blackberry wine blend). Cheers!

      • Yep, sonny, that’s close enough…cheers! And all the best to you, too. Happy new year!

        • sonny says:

          PS Mary. I just ate two balut (yum yum) then chased with Blackberry/Merlot. Sarap, walastik talaga! 🙂

          • Balut in the US of A? Incredible. Mind the cholesterol, please. We take rosuvastatin here.

            • sonny says:

              We get the balut from other Asian communities, not sure who the balut/duck eggs are from. It is the variety of Philippine fruits n produce that we miss a lot. The cholesterol and rich foods (pastries galore) and other bad foods, we get from the processed products here. Salted foods, meat, poultry we are superabundant. So Philippine putahe that is healthy there is murder here – alta presion, diabetes, coronary disease, etc. Waaah!

              • karl garcia says:

                nag enjoy ako sa handa nyo….that was how i celebrated, i enjoyed the joy of others.And I also watched the neighbor’s fireworks.

              • Haha…waah indeed. I keep asking, why is it that healthy foods taste like sh…t and unhealthy ones taste great? We need to train our palates or excercise great willpower.

              • Good for you karl, unfortunately, I wasn’t able take even the merest of glimpse, had difficulty of breathing, (I hope my lungs are alright) so I stayed in our room the whole time, and let hypotension scram. That rascal KJ was on the prowl again, last night of all nights. My postings are full of typos, excuses, excuses…hahaha.

              • sonny says:

                New Year was also special for the young ones noon: pagkain, kwitis, lusis, rebentador, triangulo, kanyon kawayan at lata ng carnation ang bala! Laging sunog ang kilay ng kapit-bahay na kalaro blowing sa butas ng kanyon! we enjoyed.

              • Ahaha, my cousins have revived that bamboo canon, sonny. That is, in our far flung barrio In Batangas as they don’t have that much money to burn, literally and figuratively. Tradition being passed on from generation to generation…the guys do it, while the gals take the kettles and calderos and create as much noise as they can. Those who can afford burn their money via all pyrotechniques, kwitis, bin laden etc.

  34. Bert says:



    And to you, Joe and your family…all the best.

    My whole family are one with me in greeting the Society of Honor’s denizens a HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :), etc.

    I don’t know how to say it good enough to tell you guys how happy and proud I am to be a small part of this crowd here in this esteemed Society.

    • Joe America says:

      Best to you Bert, and I’m glad you are a durable and witty part of the group. Happy, happy new year. More power to us all . . .

    • karl garcia says:

      To one of my oldest blogging buddy Bert,All the best for 2016!

      • Bert says:

        Hi, karl!

        HAPPY 2016 to you.

        If you think sea snorkeling is a good substitute for depression drug, come and spend a week with me in my Namanday Island in Bicol this coming summer. I must warn you though that it’s a wild place without much amenities so you have to be a certified nature lover to enjoy the place but sea foods are abundant. And, and, I can’t handle a crowd, but a group of four including me will be just fine. And, you must know basic swimming. Gears required are: good quality swimming goggles, swimming sandals with straps, long sleeves t-shirt, mosquito repellant :), lots of sunblock jelly, that’s all. Sagot ko ang food, ang boats, at accomodation (tents) :). Sandals with straps is important for feet protection because adventures involve lots of sea walking on shallow waters during low tide on coral stones/formation looking for sea shells na pag ulam, hehehehe. If that’s not challenging enough for you then you ain’t heard nothing yet, :).

        • karl garcia says:

          Hi Bert thanks for the invite.😎🤔

        • Bert says:

          karl, aside from the challenges mentioned, here are what you can expect while there in my Namanday Island:

          1. Depend on your preferences: Deep sea or shallow sea fishing with me, night time or daytime.
          2. Daily early morning stroll, or nigh time stroll along white pearly sand beaches under the mellow glare of a full moon and millions of star lights.
          3. Daily cruise and picnic to and around small offshore islets surrounding my island facing the Pacific Ocean.
          4. Snorkeling and/or spear fishing with me on coral reefs surrounding those islets.
          5. You’ll get to visit and step on a coral island at the middle of the sea with no vegetation, only white pearly sand and broken corals. about half a kilometer diameter in size and teeming with fish in it’s surrounding reefs.
          5. Or just play tong-its with my folks on lazy hours when you’re not up to cruising around. Be warned, you have to be good at it, :).
          6. While in the City of Tabaco, that’s the jumping off point to the islands, you’ll get to have a marvelous view and be able to see the grandeur of our famous Mayon Volcano. Or, if you’re up to it, go halfway to the summit of the volcano, to a place called ‘Rest House’ by car.
          7. And much, much more.

          • Bert says:

            And, karl, we can go to the town of Tiwi, that’s the town of our dear friend Irineo here, about seven kilometers from Tabaco, and have a glass or two of the famous Tiwi halo-halo, the best tasting halo-halo in the world.

          • edgar lores says:


            You describe a virtual paradise. I have always had this affinity for the sea, and I was privileged to live within a stone-throw’s distance of one for four years in early youth.

            When I need to calm my mind — like before taking a blood pressure test — I will recall a balmy day by the sea cove, with the slightly rippled aquamarine waters before me, the coconut palm trees along the shore, and the emerald mountain in the near distance.

            There is nothing like living to the rhythm of nature’s seasons in a rural landscape. I have come to a sense of peace in the suburban residential area where I live, with its quiet streets and a park nearby, but on many a winter’s day I dream of a return to living with the ebb and flow of the tides.

            Mate, I envy you.

            • Bert says:


              Not during winter’s days. In my place during the months of November to February it’s the season of ‘amihan’ or easterly wind coming from the Pacific and the sea could go from rough to very rough. I don’t like that. I am a man of the sea but not that adventurous or reckless, you know.

              You’re in Australia now? Edgar, come here May, June or July and be my guest in my paradise island.

              August to September are vacation months for siphonophores, those dreaded jelly fish you blogged about. Just thinking about it gives me the creep; I was a victim of it when I was in grade three, swimming after school without clothes on as kids of that age usually does in my rural area, two or maybe three tentacles seared my behind, the acid eating into my flesh, the wounds lasting three weeks to heal.

              A week stay is good enough, less than that is ‘bitin’ and not worth all the troubles, :).

              • Joe America says:

                I’m told by “they” that you are supposed to pee on the sting to neutralize the poison, but I guess that is hard if the jelly fish got you in the butt, and it is not the kind of medical care we want delivered by others. I wonder if Doc endorses that treatment.

              • Bert says:

                Joe, I think it’s okay to be peed on if your life is in grave danger, 🙂 and that somebody is trying to save your life, but during that time my playmates did not bother to do anything of that sort because all of us little kids don’t know anything at the time and I was panicking due to the pain. I recalled two of the little guys rubbed sand on my butt. Don’t know if that helped.

                I read somewhere, an advice from a medical journal, to take along raw coconut vinegar when swimming in unfamiliar sea, because it is an effective neutralizer to jellyfish sting.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, maybe tuba would work, too. For adults. If the sting does not ease, one can swig it.

              • Bert says:

                Yes, Joe, the already fermented tuba treated with some bark of a tree reddish in color and aged for a couple days already, might work. Though the newly harvested tuba from the coconut flower, sweet and delicious to drink, I doubt. A swig, or a liter of the sweet kind is all I can take. To me preferable to any kind of soda drink. The pure coconut vinegar is not treated with that reddish bark juice and not suitable for a swig, heheh.

              • Joe America says:

                🙂 My father in law, among other businesses he’d run on the cusp of legal, peddled tuba wholesale. I like the stuff, actually, with coke. Mild high without the headache I get from Red Horse.

              • Bert says:

                🙂 that reminds me of juvenile days, drinking tuba with my barrio folk barkadas, raw oysters for pulutan harvested straight from mangrove roots by wading in knee-deep muck pervading in nearby mangrove swampland, hehehe. Never liked the taste then but just for the fun of it.

            • sonny says:

              “… to live within a stone-throw’s distance of one for four years in early youth.”

              edgar, which stretch of beach/coast is this? If I may ask. Am strongly interested. It’s Luna for me and exactly the same sentiment for the sea as you described. I’ve seen the beaches of Tagudin, Bangar, Currimao, Pagudpud, Bangui and Laoag.

              • edgar lores says:


                If you google the map of San Esteban Ilocos Sur, you will find a photo of the sea cove taken from the pier.

                If you click on “Photos,” there is a mountain that resembles Diamond Head in Hawaii, although the arc is left-to-right instead of the other way round.

                If you zoom in on the map, the barangay is Villa Quirino.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, JoeAm. That deep “V” right of center — the cleavage — is where my love of nature was nurtured.

              • Joe America says:

                Click on the map for a larger view.

              • sonny says:

                This nostalgia is killing me. I wanna go home! Mine was Darigayos Cove in Luna. The same/similar nurturer for me – the coves of the Ilocos coast, hence the name. The analog of Sam Clemens childhood along the Great Mississippi, Joe. I could feel it walking along the river walk in New Orleans. I could hear the cry, mark, twain from the paddlewheel boat. 🙂

                I expect to go this summer. The coves of Darigayos, Santiago and San Esteban will be a must visit. (hope you don’t mind, edgar). BTW, St Stephen protomartyr’s feast is an important date for me.

                Darigayos and Santiago coves were the landing sites for submarines USS Gar and USS Stingray to supply Filipino guerillas and elements of US Sixth Army in 1945 liberation campaign.

            • sonny says:

              I was thrown off by Quirino. A little google to Bacnotan does show Quirino as one of the barangays of Bacnotan. On the side, the income from Holcim alone probably is the reason the town is a first class municipality. This is also the hometown of notable brother-sister duo of Fr Nebres, SJ and erstwhile Jesuit superior and Sister Nebres, ICM also superior at St Theresa’s College, at QC.

              The commute from Sn Fernando to Luna can be through Bacnotan or Balaoan. One has traditionally done “city things” at Sn Fernando, the regional center of Region I. Bert, did you pick up some Ilocano phrases during your visits to Bacnotan Cement? 🙂

              • Bert says:

                Just one, Sonny, often uttered to me by a comely and pert and pretty food-server in one resto I frequented in San Fernando…’ayayatenka’…perhaps charmed by my generous tips, or maybe by my habit of looking at her with sticky and charming eyes specially if she stares back, hehehe, I don’t know, maybe my way of appreciating her beautiful smiles thrown at me every time, for I love staring at beautiful things, human or nature, :). But that’s all there was to it, honest.

              • karl garcia says:

                The food server professed her love for you,Bert. 😄👍🏻

              • sonny says:

                Bert, you rascal, Romeo, you! 🙂 And yes, San Fernando has its charms, down homestyle town feel. The city is deservedly our contact with the country and the world.

            • sonny says:

              edgar, I did see a photo of mountains in the background and similar to pics of Diamond Head.

    • sonny says:

      A Happy New Year to you too, Bert!

      Can’t help but notice the lively thread. Bicolanos figure prominently in my social circle, people and places: OL of Penafrancia, Ragragio, Ordonez, Bausa, Rebanal, Vinzons, and many more; Naga, Oas, Tabaco, Daet.

      Regret that my US-bound passage (APL Pres Wilson) through the Bicol region was at night, en route through San Bernardino Strait to the Pacific.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Hi Sonny! If it’s Mayo or Butch Ragragio, he’s my high school classmate. If Jun, he’s a year older.

        • sonny says:

          Sigh, my age is showing Wil. Juan Ragragio was my English high school teacher. He was from Ateneo de Naga, don’t know where he got his BSE. Note: Sen Raul Roco was in college dept (San Beda) at the time, also Sen Rene Saguisag.

      • Bert says:

        Happy New Year, Sonny!

        I’m somewhat familiar with your places, Sonny and Edgar, but only in transit. Been a supplier of maintenance chemical, mostly specialized lubricants for quite a long time, to Bacnotan Cement in Quirino and had a view of the surrounding seas and seashores of the place from afar. Not anymore. When the youngest of my four kids finished her Computer Science degree and started working I stopped working. What for, I told the four of them, all professionals. I’ve done my job…now do yours! Wholeheartedly and with smiles on their faces all agreed.

        I’m actually by nature and by heart not a town or a city guy so not very familiar with places even in my Bicol region. Developed resorts or high rise structures even the Dubai kinds where I’ve been many times does not much appeal to my taste. I’m just an ordinary barrio guy through and through. I’m here in Quezon City presently, but my heart and soul lies in my Namanday Island by the Pacific.

        • sonny says:

          Happy New Year, Bert!

          Really a small world it is. The Holcim plants in Bacnotan, La Union is one town away from Luna. This plant complex used to be known as CEPOC (Cebu Portland Cement) when I was growing up, in mid-1950s. I don’t know the relationship to Bacnotan Cement in Quirino. I can thoroughly relate to bringing up 4 children, I got two.

          I’m a wannabe country person myself. I grew up in Manila but my heart is in the Ilocos of my childhood. I used to ride the MRR train going north from Tutuban as the Bicol Express was going south. The train trips always were the highlights of my summers. I often wondered about town stops of the Bicol Express and just imagined the end of the line somewhere in Bicol. An image permanently etched in mind is the Cagsawa ruins with Mayon in the background from our geography books.

          Thank you to the Internet as a I clicked on Wiki looking at pics of Bacacay, Tabaco and Oas – the Bicol region as I imagined looking at the MRR Bicol train. 🙂

          • Bert says:

            It’s one and the the same cement plant, Sonny. Bacnotan Cement, Quirino, Bacnotan, La Union, now Holcim. Quirino I think is the name of the barrio, or, sitio, or barangay, whatever they called them in your place, Bacnotan the town, La Union the province. I used to ride the jeepney from San Fernando, La Union to Quirino on my frequent plant visit to Bacnotan Cement, getting off at the main entrance of the plant along the way, the main entrance being right, fronting the the sea at the left, an ocean…is that the Atlantic?

  35. chempo says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone here at the Society.

    I am here on the rooftop of my condo watching the fireworks light up Makati sky.

    • karl garcia says:

      Happy New Year Chempo!

    • sonny says:

      Happy New Year, chempo!

      I got to do the same thing (12th floor window I think) at Dusit Hotel in 2004. Quite a sight compared to the quiet skies of my pre-martial law years. July 4 is our fireworks day viewing from a 20th floor solarium and watching the whole Chicagoland area skies light up.

      • Happy New Year, chempo! I watched Karen Davila’s Headstart with Chinkee Tan as guest . That was a very enlightening and inspiring episode about financial independence – a very good start for the coming year. He discussed IRF (Income Replacement Fund) in case something happens to the family’s bread winner, how to be debt free, how to live within the budget so a target savings fund can be attained, to use credit card as convenience and not to augment your spending spree habits (you discussed this already with us)..interesting insights worth remembering loke investing with greed in mind leads to losing everything, when there’s something you really hate (like being perpetually in debt) you will wish to change or be free from it, something you tolerate will be there indefinitely and will not lead to change; business is not for anybody without the required discipline to make it a success, pawning ATMs ( a practice of our drivers in the company’s fleet of cars) is worse than using credit cards unwisely.

        • karl garcia says:

          I wish the pre asian crisis double your money in five year types of offerings by banks will happen again. Only PNSLAI and AFPSLAI can come close to offering it but you have to be in the service or at least retired to have an account.Today time deposits go for 1.2 percent per annum and that is the best rate.

          • Chinkee Tan mentioned about investing in banks Trust Fund something, or in Mutual Fund of insurance companies as safe investments. Anyways, 1.2% best rate will do to safekeep your money, (although not enough to take care of inflation upswing) better than in pyramid scams that will tempt you to double your money in so so years with PDC fo a year, making them good until you trust them enough to double your investments, then those PDCs will start to bounce, and that would be the time to say goodbye to everything, principal and possible interest… in reality, the interest you got before was your own money used just to tempt you to invest more.

          • Bert says:

            Try Mutual Fund, karl, I did five years ago with one of the leading insurance firm at the time, now the leader. They showed me their five-year statistics promising 100% return in five years depending on the movement in the stock market share value and true enough after five years my investments now double. They have this thing they called Balance Fund the safer kind and the Equity Fund more risky, both belonging to Mutual Fund category. My investment in the Equity Fund yielded more than that of my investment in the Balance Fund. After five years, now matured, it’s still there, sleeping and growing.

            • Bert says:

              ‘showed’, not ‘should’, damned chinese keyboard! 🙂

            • karl garcia says:

              Good for you Bert. Balato naman. Three suspects Sun Life,Philam and Manulife.Maybe you chose Sun Life like papa Piolo. 😉😜

              • karl garcia says:

                my kid is just grade four and the high school rates are 100 k. It might increase by the time my kid reaches high school. I mentioned Pnslai and afpslai because my i am fortunate too have a dad who retired from the military.Better be prepared. Good thing I only have one kid.Thanks Bert!

              • Bert says:

                No, karl, I won’t tell, sorry. I will not endorse any product until Joe decides to accept paid advertisement in the Society.

              • Joe America says:

                Which will not happen, as money makes strange things happen, most bad.

  36. I did not answer all questions, that shows my inability to deal with conceptual thinking. I’d hate Cinese ships in our inland or territorial waters in the WPS, and I wouldn’t want American Navy ships to suffer another mishap in any of our coral reefs, not good for our water resources, plus another navy ship cut in pieces so they can be removed from there is too much for me to wish for our American friends, the unnecessary expenses in damages (theirs and ours) and and source of irritating noise from the left leaning groups.

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