The science of civility and inclusion in the Philippines

doubledeckersAt first I wrote “The art of civility and inclusion” because sometimes it seems like we are just winging it, going with the flow, living our lives in chaos and contempt for all the problems others give us.

But I think how we get along together is a science, or should be. It is the science of drawing lines that separate us from sin, or bad behavior, or incivility, or bigotry. It is a rigorous discipline, much like it took in algebra to solve for unknowns in a quadratic equation, or finally grasping in trigonometry that the cosine is the relationship of the adjacent side of a right triangle to the hypotenuse (don’t worry about it).

Here is an example of how lines can be drawn. We can choose:

  1. To swear or not to swear.
  2. To steal or not to steal.
  3. To talk behind someone’s back or to their face.
  4. To judge a person by our standards or judge them by their standards.
  5. To praise a president for his successes or condemn him for his faults.
  6. To give of ourselves or take from others.

Civility is our ability to work well with others, to lift people up.

Inclusion is our ability to be civil to people who look, think, believe or behave differently than we do.

It seems to me that way too many people in the world, and in the Philippines, take pride in not being civil. Donald Trump and his supporters. Mayor Duterte and his supporters. Trolls, crabs, bigots and political candidates . . .

  • Trolls are people who intend to be offensive as a way to challenge views they don’t hold themselves.
  • Crabs are people who can’t stand to see others succeed and try to knock them back down.
  • Bigots are those who see one trait they don’t like and ascribe it to an entire class of people.
  • Political candidates lift themselves up by trying to undermine others and bring them down.

And bluntly put, if these people can’t do civility . . . by definition . . . they can’t do inclusion. They are divisive.

We don’t see in these people much sense of humility or integrity, where humility is our ability to let others rise and integrity is our ability to lift ourselves up. It is all pretty demeaning to the human condition to see the rancor and slanders that flow forth during political campaigns. Deceits, lies, manipulations, nasty memes, dirty tricks . . .

Well, the Philippines has problems to face. No doubt about it. Poverty is what drives most of them, along with its bar-bell opposite, entitlement and impunity.

The middle class is “stuck in the middle wit’ chew.”  These career-building workers have the brains to understand integrity. They know that fair dealing is important when people are competing on a career track. I’d guess that most just want a simple, decent life but it may seem that they get very little of that. Their days are filled with struggle. One of the struggles is that they are the tax base of the nation as they pay their VAT for condos and cars and purchases at the mall. Too little money goes into the ATM account and too much goes out.

The poor elect . . . well, the actors and crooks and charlatans who make government policy and laws, and who seem to impose infuriating practices that just make things hard. Rather than help. These actors and crooks and charlatans are also consumed by the need to grease the pipelines of wealth for those of the privileged ilk, the oligarchs and businessmen and local mafia bosses disguised as mayors and governors. The Catholic Church is like the Greek choir, yodeling in the background as the priests play the part of enablers of both the poor (“No contraceptives for you!”) and the powerful (“Give generously and we’ll keep you in our prayers.”)

What’s left to the educated class, the decent people who are not users, not game players, not crooks?

  • Many of them go to other lands and thrive.
  • Some stay here and shade either toward poverty or entitlement, turning bitter or proud depending on which turn they take.
  • And many, many try to live a life of civility and inclusion.

Why?

Because they know from parents or church or school or living that there is little dignity to be found in being rude and crude. That there is a quality of character to civility that is good. That drawing lines is important. That sacrifice is strength. That there is an enlargement of the heart that comes from being inclusive, as if welcoming others to the family were an everyday thing, not just a show for holidays. They know that Jesus and various fabulists and philosophers talked about higher minded values, about kindness and love and doing good deeds.

These principled members of the thinking middle class feel good by being good. It seems to me that these people make up the new heart of the Philippines. They are the nation’s conscience, its reason, its compassion.

EDSA was supposed to reset the nation on a proper track. But the twin powers of poverty and entitlement have worn away a lot of the good will. Some still exists.

And as for the new kid in town, the social media, we can also see a core of goodness to it as well.

Not to mention a lot of trolls and hostility. Crabs, bigots and politicians.

But I do believe that there is no stopping the Philippines from rising to meet her destiny as a pearl . . . not just of the Orient . . . but the tumultuous planet Earth. The core principles of civility and inclusion are too big, the character too strong to hold her back.

Now the poor may elect a batch of bad leaders once again, and the cycle will twist toward incivility.

But that is just a cycle. The downs that make the ups so cherished.

I wrote this in “Notes from the Editor” on the spur of the moment the other day. There is a secret wrapped up in the words, and it is time to let it out:

It struck me that the Philippines really is the fun capital of the planet. I mean, sports as entertainment, entertainment as sport, Miss Universe lookin’ good, Nat Geographic featuring the many gorgeous locations . . . an underground river, fer cryin’ out loud, where you have to wear a helmet to protect from bat droppings.

Rambunctious fiestas where everyone makes you feel like you are their long-lost cousin returned. Enough fireworks on New Year’s eve to keep China edgy as she sits in glorious splendor on a bunch of hard rocks in the middle of the rising oceans. A pack of candidates that makes those yahoo American extremists look normal.

I mean, Filipinos are stylin’ and funnin’ every day.

More power!

Do you know what it will take for the Philippines to become First World?

Confidence in knowing “who we are”. Satisfaction . . . and happiness . . . in knowing “who we are”.

The rest . . . all that GDP stuff  . . . is the pragmatic way to take care of people who today don’t have a lot of things. That’s the brains part. We should do that, yes. And deal with other pragmatics like transportation, electricity and bandwidth.

But the Philippines will be First World when Filipinos stop trying so hard to be somebody else. And let the World come to them.

That shouldn’t take 30 years.  The Philippines for sure has “the right stuff” . . . the heart . . . right now. The nation has the character right now. And the capability is there, but for the application.

It is not for me to lecture or pretend some great wisdom. But it seems to me the middle class . . . those earnest, underpaid, over-worked, over-taxed citizens . . . is where the science of civility and inclusion will emerge to give the nation its First World character and confidence.

Science, after all, is an exercise of mind and self-discipline. Civility and inclusion can power the Philippines to prosperity and fair dealing . . . and great personal satisfaction.

More power to the everyday scientists, and best wishes as you pursue discovery of a new brand of Filipino confidence and success.

 

Comments
194 Responses to “The science of civility and inclusion in the Philippines”
  1. Do you know what it will take for the Philippines to become First World? Confidence in knowing “who we are”. Satisfaction . . . and happiness . . . in knowing “who we are”.

    But the Philippines will be First World when Filipinos stop trying so hard to be somebody else. And let the World come to them.

    Exactly. Thanks Joe. That is what Vietnamese, Indonesians, Thais do. Just be themselves. Imeldific-era tourism promotion failed. I know why. It tried to sell a second Hawaii or California.

    There are of course the MRPs who have a problem with the mixed aspects of the culture, who go by the Marcosian ideology, which is trying too hard to be different from foreigners. But that is I think a phase that should be long gone, like that of a teen trying to be different from its parents.

    The Philippines is like Brazil or Cuba a mixture. It’s jeepneys coming from jeeps. It’s Jolibee that tastes better than bland McDonalds. It’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobo#Filipino that tastes better than anything else called adobo in the old Spanish realm – and was there before them. It’s many languages that have assimilated Spanish words and are now AlDubing English words. It’s fiestas which are Spanish in name but indigenous in spirit. It’s own brand of Catholicism with a very special kind of spirituality that goes back to the old ancestral religions. The capacity of the Filipino to improvise and survive – an aspect Romanians have too and used to build a fast Internet http://motherboard.vice.com/read/why-romanias-internet-is-so-much-faster-than-americas which the highly educated English-speaking Filipinos failed to do – why? Because they probably were too scared of being looked down upon as “jologs” or squatters.

    A German who worked with some BPO outfits in Mandaluyong told me that there seems to be no Filipino food, all restaurants he was taken to were foreign. Now the Filipino streetfood restaurant “Ayan” in Berlin sells food no denizen of Intramuros, ay Makati pala, would be caught eating…

    Who imported Lambanog into Germany and made it into a high society drink sold even in Sylt, THE place were Mercedes SLs park in summer? Two Munich importers. Not the sosyaaaal crowd, the a pronounced in a wannabe American way. Who imports UFC Banana sauce, Datu Puti vinegar, Chippy and more to a Vietnamese store in Munich, where there is hardly a Filipino community and it is Germans who buy it? A Dutch importer based in Indonesia. That food is probably too “bakya” for most Filipino businessmen, who would eat that “Indio” garbage hey?

    Now I am doing a sophisticated MRP simulation which nobody can mock for its bad English. And I do know that some of the stuff I am referring to here is so 1990s and dated, like the stuff MRP is referring to are 60s/70s attitude. The Philippines is starting to like itself more, people from the elite speak Filipino in public, something they would not have been caught speaking in private generations ago and would have been fined for in many exclusive friar, I mean Catholic schools. Found it great that Joe showed acceptance to YY who used an obviously Filipino grammer in his English. Talk and talk means to talk much, salita ng salita. Repetition is a standard way of denoting plurals and much in Malay languages. Let us like and like the Filipino way pa more. Which I can see rising – there is less and less (that is correct English) Imeldific-era trying hard.

    There are elegant fabrics and handicrafts that are Filipino-made. Italians love their own food, their own handicrafts, their own wine they have no Lambanog maybe Grappa comes close. But because they do, Italian names are classy. Just like Borakay Finest Lambanog is now on Sylt.

    • Oh well, for the old sosyal crowd I know – Germany lang iyan hindi Stateside di ba?

    • Joe America says:

      Glad you found your way around the moderator who was asleep at the keyboard. 🙂 I think every Filipino should carry around two buckets. In one, he puts all the joys he finds here. In the other, the complaints. Then, every once in a while, he should sit down with the complaint bucket, go through it, and think about what to do, without blaming someone. Pretty soon, there will be one bucket that is huge. And a wee tiny one for the complaints. For the poor, as in all things, they will carry two large buckets for a longer while.

  2. Micha says:

    “That there is an enlargement of the heart that comes from being inclusive…”

    You need to see a doctor, pronto, if you have an enlarged heart Joe. 🙂

  3. But the Philippines will be First World when Filipinos stop trying so hard to be somebody else. And let the World come to them. Correct. Two examples. Both doing well.

    • German tour operators are discovering the Philippines now… because it is showing its own true character.

      Imeldific-era tourism promotion was so trying-hard to be Hawaii or California – but those who want that will go to the original, not to the Philippines of course.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      This is one classy unique and original Filipino restaurant. Never seen something like this in the U.S. Filipino restaurants in the U.S. are stinky. Parking-challenged. Tienderas are grouchy with anger issues.

      Sparse condiments usually: Apple Cider Vinegar; 2) Thai or Vietnamese Fish Sauce; 3) Philippine soy sauce. No Jalapeno. If you asked for one they look at you like crazy as if 3 jalapenos makes them go bankrupt. No Basil. No Celantro. No mint. Nada! Just Vinegar, Fish Sauce and Toyo. Nothing more.

      • I know… most Filipino restaurants in Germany were like that before like the ones you described… sometimes talking only to one another and serving only their own barkada or some foreigners they liked or thought were important… all went broke… but this is a new wave, a new thinking, a new spirit… there is a second Philippine restaurant in Berlin also very nice… run by mother and daughter… just have heard about it haven’t went yet… still am overcoming my disenchantment with things Filipino… I will report on both at some point.

        http://www.yelp.de/biz/pinoy-philippinische-spezialit%C3%A4ten-berlin – Yelp is an evaluation site for restaurants… I wonder what made the new batch so good maybe the competitive economy over here, maybe the realization that the same old way will NOT work anymore because Germans will go to Vietnamese (extremely strong in Berlin, these are ex-Communist OFWs who lived in East German labor camps) or the Chinese…

  4. Grace Reyes says:

    I came across this thought from Albert Camus. Maybe if Filipinos stop believing these kinds of politicians and vote wisely, then there is hope.

    “Every time I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed; that they gamble – yes, gamble – with a whole part of their life and their so called ‘vital interests.”
    ― Albert Camus

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, so perfect. The misrepresentations, spin, lies and distortions being peddled by most of the top political candidates is indeed horrifying. As if that is the best Filipinos can be. As if that is the example for our kids to follow. Thanks, Grace, for that slap on the forehead.

      • Grace Reyes says:

        I know another quote from Camus that is most suitable for some politicians and the men who chose to believe them.

        “Don’t lies eventually lead to the truth? And don’t all my stories, true or false, tend toward the same conclusion? Don’t they all have the same meaning? So what does it matter whether they are true or false if, in both cases, they are significant of what I have been and what I am? Sometimes it is easier to see clearly into the liar than into the man who tells the truth. Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.”
        ― Albert Camus, The Fall

    • Bert says:

      Seems to be the problem is universal and not of recent vintage thus that Camus thought applies to other countries as well and not only to Filipino voters, politicians, and leaders.

      As if voting wisely is the sole domain of wise men when even the thinking class has its diverse choice not confine to any one candidate. One’s best candidate is another’s worse., I think.

  5. “1. Many of them go to other lands and thrive.

    2. Some stay here and shade either toward poverty or entitlement, turning bitter or proud depending on which turn they take.

    3. And many, many try to live a life of civility and inclusion.”

    1 is true for me… 2 is sometimes true for me when I look back at the Philippines like I do here…

    3 is true for my life here in Germany where I do not meet any Filipinos whatsoever, I have found some degree of civility in this blog but remain skeptical at times, I sometimes see civility in the new Filipinos that have arrived in Berlin but still I can’t quite believe if it is just the old “keep smiling”.

    Because I have seen enough… discrimination and exclusion in the Philippines… exclusion can also be subtle and polite on the surface or consist of looking away or above people or sideways. It can also consist of those who would cast the first stone even though they are not without sin.

    http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-40.htm And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

    Of course those who have been hurt can become exclusive toward groups who think have hurt them, may generalize. There will be rage and hurt than can become incivil. If one can one should try to approach them in a manner that does not exclude them, unless they do bad things.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, there is a long way to go. But like Sisyphus, we must push the rock, lest we sit down and just cry. Our gods are different than his, and maybe ours will cut us some slack if we can get enough people pushing.

      • 15 years ago, I watched with face-palmed shock how Filipinos chased out Erap (rightly so) and put Gloria on her glorious throne (wrongly so), and neither cried nor went griping like GRP. I just turned my back on everything Filipino, they are hopeless I thought forget them.

        This time is gonna be different – I will keep an eye on things, ask questions and give ideas, maybe I should have asked in 2001 – how can one trust a woman who says that she is coming back to the place where she grew up – Malacanan? In fact I got one interesting feedback from a Duterte supporter who discussed politely with me on my FGLC FB page – why should trust Mar, we already had Gloria she was an economics expert and fooled us? Now if Roxas supporters can answer questions like that, their likelihood of winning rises…

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Filipinos thrive in the U.S. as what this stats says. Now that I have crunched the numbers I’ll share it with everybody unless I am too late 🙂

      http://aapidata.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/AAPIData-CAP-report.pdf

  6. You said sensibly that the poor can once again vote into office a bad leader. But even the poor can’t make enlightened choices, blighted as they are by poor governance, a repetitively inane media of bad telenovelas lurking as stories reflecting our culture, and a media that gets paid at every turn by the big politicos.

    The poor are after the money wagon and stoops down for a one-day cash take from the corrupt. They won’t vote at all or at least 60% will cast their vote. In fairness to our people, I think the turnout of voters will just be lower this year than in the last presidential election that brought Pinoy to power.

    The millennials among the voters are the first to join any bandwagon and the first to reject the politician that has deep pockets. It is quite saddening that they are not the vanguard of our brittle and tenuous democracy. They belong to a different country, where food gathering is a painful act as there are no jobs in the farms or from the municipio. A hueteng-harassed majority, they have perfected the virtue of hope amid hopelessness when even a small win is tantamount to big time. In the barangays, drinking and kicking imaginary asses during dull evenings is the lot of the menfolk. Our people watch politicians pass by in their new SUVs and don’t even wonder why they act like big shots as they throw handful of candies to their unshod and sickly children playing on the streets fronting their unkempt and unrepaired houses.

    It is a sad state of things when even journalists and writers aren’t averse to receiving beer money from politicians. Media, in general, kowtow to the corrupt and corruptible politician as their ATMs.

    The civility and honest caring from politicians is a put one. As we are wont to say, they cultivate the table manners of monarchs and the smile of movie actors–even they way they dress up– and require obeisance and homage from the common folks. And they spend millions for this cinematic act.

    Lest we forget, the Left doesn’t care a whit, too, as they curry favor from the moneyed and popular only to betray them when the wind of liberal ideas blow their way and as their syndicalist morality is threatened.

    A person with a keen sense of history had once described us as a people without a history, hence we are lost in the swirl of events, tumultuous or not, like national elections.. Regrettably, we don’t find history as a source of wisdom and truth. A derivative to a wise reading of history is a way of life that can withstand the tragedy of uncivil and corrupt men who aspire to lead the nation to greater heights.

    To pontificate as such is the only sensible thing to do at this point. We can always choose the silence of the viable seed inside the pod of historical realities.

    • Joe America says:

      You have nailed the wind in our faces, and in the faces of the Middle Class. The Inquirer is horrifying in their irresponsibility and refusal to provide honest, balanced articles. I’ve did a content analysis of that rag’s February headlines, and caught a couple of their more sordid headlines (brothels and MRT attached to Roxas), and it is clear that their editorial view is “anyone but Roxas”. But I’m in my apolitical mode, so I just drop that off here as a personal comment, a verification of what you see and say. I can’t write to the point. Woe, Philippines. I often feel that way.

      Then I grab myself by the ears and pull me back to standing, and walk to the typewriter . . .

      Thanks for that well-stated, realistic, if discouraging view.

    • Micha says:

      @Crispin Dannug

      Your observations pre-supposes that real power are being wielded by politicians. No sireee, political offices and the crooks, I mean the folks that occupy them are but the tools of the entrenched oligarchy that’s the real power behind the ones that we see.

      Watch out for slimy masters like Danding Cojuangco, Manuel Pangilinan and all the rest of them including both the old and nouveaeu variety.

      The current line-up of presidentiables from Poe, Duterte, Binay, and yes, even Roxas, unfortunately, will guarantee the preservation of those wealth and power in the hands of plutocrats.

      So, unless there’s a remarkable re-arrangement of economic order and the bridging of economic polarization, Joe’s dream and admonition for inclusion will remain just that.

      It is not in the interest of the oligarch to vanish poverty and ignorance from the ranks of the voting public.

      • The current line-up of presidentiables from Poe, Duterte, Binay, and yes, even Roxas, unfortunately, will guarantee the preservation of those wealth and power in the hands of plutocrats. Even Duterte… and some still think he is that different.

        Now I see that Roxas has some plans… it will be up to his supporters to prove that these are not just window dressing and alms (4Ps and BUB) and up to him to prove that real change can happen if he wins… otherwise you may well be right but then it will be up to the middle class to form real political parties that represent them and not run after any political families anymore, something that recently happened in Spain, FINALMENTE.

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t share Micha’s negativity toward the oligarchs. They give the Philippines the financial muscle to build, and with GDP growth at 6.5% and population growth at 1.5%, it is only a matter of time before poverty diminishes. The Competition Act passed, so there is a core of legislators interested in promoting balanced growth and wealth dissemination. The don’t call it the “liberal party” for nothing. It’s too bad that we don’t have two more years under President Aquino, because we are just at the threshold to that becoming evident. Signals are better jobs, less unemployment, and OFW’s looking for ways to stay in the Philippines. Small hints.

          • Micha says:

            @Joe

            Financial muscle? Like Cojuangco stealing billions from coconut farmers so he could buy San Miguel?

            • Joe America says:

              I think he is the exception, not the rule. Business people will get away with all they are allowed to get away with. Break down the networks of impunity, and that becomes even more the exception. I’d rather focus on the construction being done, perhaps a third national cell phone network, large buildings, large malls, new hotels, re-built airports. You can’t do that with Mom and Pop shops. Not as fast as the Philippines needs it. Gotta power the beast.

              • http://motherboard.vice.com/read/why-romanias-internet-is-so-much-faster-than-americas

                The Romanians built one of the fastest Internets in the world using “squatter/gypsy methods”… sometimes big monopolies are just as slow as Communist corporations.

              • Micha says:

                Phone networks, large buildings, hotels, malls…

              • Joe America says:

                Well, if you focus on the negative, you’ll find it. If you focus on the positive, you’ll find it, and a lot more than six years ago. You can show a picture of the traffic jams, but when you are here you recognize that there are a LOT of new cars on the roads. Cars cost from P800,000 to P3.5 million. What is important is the trend, not the absolutes. I could show you a photo of bums along 4th Avenue in Los Angeles. Or shacks and poor people in the southeast. Or dead kids shot at a school. If you live in the negative, there is lots of evidence that you are correct to be complaining.

              • Joe America says:

                May I ask, when was the last time you were in the Philippines? Have you visited Palawan or the resorts? Have you seen the new roads, the franchises exploding across the nation, stayed at an upper end hotel? Tacloban is re-built and Robinsons is adding a huge addition to the mall there. How’s New Orleans doing?

              • Joe America says:

                “O beautiful, o spacious skies, o amber waves of grain . . .”

                You can find what you look for. What you look for is up to you.

              • There was a group of PR people who made a set of satirical suggestions for campaign posters to help the “Democratic Socialists” (ex-Communists) win in Germany… A young bum near the subway.. with “Dead End Capitalism” in big red letters… and the logo of the Democratic Socialist Party at the bottom.. If I wanted I could argue anybody’s case even Binay’s and even do it convincingly… but that is so very boring…

                The balanced picture counts and if this were basketball Roxas would have at least 20 points lead with 5 minutes left if we would score by programs… but many Filipino people don’t score by programs i.e. goals shot but by who struts better on the court.

              • I know you ain’t asking me, but I will give testimony nonetheless from reliable witnesses.

                “Have you visited Palawan or the resorts? ” my mother and my sister have – they visited Susan Evangelista and were on Coron and other places just a few years ago.

                “Have you seen the new roads,” my former yaya was there with her daughter just recently, told me the roads are very clean, Manila is cleared of squatters compared to before. And she is as simple as it gets, and a very very critical person, suspicious and distrustful. 🙂

                Top Gear Philippines shows pictures of some drivers behaving disorderly… but I who have known the roads from Marcos days see VERY clean roads and many new highways… they only cleaned the roads for propaganda pictures in those times, they were DIRTIER then.

                What I also see is pictures on FB from people who are living in my old province of Albay- the place is zooming up. This is NOT LP propaganda this is reality, why should my folks post retouched pictures? And these are very normal people whose lives are improving.

              • Joe America says:

                I get upset sometimes that I have to be the guy selling the Philippines to Filipinos. It seems to me there is a class of people who are Filipino by ethnicity but are busy justifying why they are correct to still be outside the country (the GRP crowd), and so they run down their own nation.

                Well, in fact, I think it is no longer their nation. They are only loyal and patriotic to the ideas in their heads. Not the Philippines. I’m more Filipino than they are. Indeed, a lot of people tell me that . . . that I am more Filipino than a lot of citizens here . . . because there are so many negative people and tear-down artists working at building themselves up at the expense of their nation.

              • You don’t carry our baggage.. the emotional baggage of centuries… it took me 15 years and a year posting here to unload some of it and sometimes it still comes out… now if “Getting Real” is about seeing the whole picture not just parts of it, then one should strive to see all, including one’s own part in the entire misery. Grimwald is the (local!) most compassionate of all the GRP crowd, he occasionally shows grieving which is something benign0 is not capable of anymore – grieving is one step forward to find peace inside.

                And we all bear our tribal prejudices and resentments… my “elbowing” Will recently, I have realized, was the hill Bikolano versus the lowland Bikolano… but I did remember what took my grandfather Atty. Irineo a lifetime to realize, that one must be kind and remember that each of us has taken his own way – now in a way I was like the man to the left in this old picture.. hey nigger, why you wearin’ that cross, you think you better than me man? 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Point taken. But there are a lot of Filipinos who see it like me, and they obviously have carried the baggage, too. They love their nation. They’d defend her, not look for ways to run her down to win an argument. You mentioned Will . . .

              • Sometimes loving the nation can be like having a friend who is a drug addict – I have had friends like that. You want to help but you don’t know how. You feel like helping and then you feel like just abandoning that person – one of these friends of mine died last year.

                Actually, I have found my way of helping – to give advice, but the nation or those who are willing to take the points that are useful, leave what isn’t useful, add their own stuff as they wish – will have to help itself, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I weren’t confident that there are at least some who will listen and learn. Everything I have been posting here and in my blog is part of a search for solutions, with occasional lapses into ranting I do admit. But at every step my analysis becomes clearer, and the suggestions better.. I never stay stuck.

              • Micha says:

                Yes, even in the US the same social dynamic is at play : the capture of wealth and power by the few and rendering many of its citizens modern day serfs and paupers. White middle class are not exempt.

                Plutocracy is going global. Manufactured consent allows us to be dismissive to the real violence of poverty.

                Many are pushing back, of course. We can see this in the rise of left and right insurgencies represented by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

              • Joe America says:

                Donald Trump vs Bernie Sanders. Both thrive on the emotions and their ability to speak into them. I watched a Sanders/Clinton debate and thought Sanders came across as limited. His substance was railing about the 1% and his solutions were like the promises of Binay, general and largely impractical in anything but a dictatorship. No clear foreign policy solutions. But, no doubt, Clinton is an establishment candidate. I get the feeling that people are not so much fed up with poverty as with the lack of civility and progress. And opportunity. The US is no longer going anywhere, nor are they. There is no where to go, really, on a planet tapped out and fighting with one another, except toward simplicity and austerity. And that SEEMS like it is not going anywhere.

              • Joe America says:

                I wonder if the Chinese leaders, who are good at stoking the nationalistic outrage of their citizens, realize that America is a steaming pressure cooker just looking for release. A good war is what America needs right now.

              • Micha says:

                We’ll see Joe. The contest is turning out to be very interesting.

              • chempo says:

                For Micha the glass is forever half empty.

              • OzyBoy says:

                @Joe ” if you focus on the negative, you`ll find it, if you focus on the positive, you`ll find it ” I live in Metro Mla and already got used to living with rats and roaches; I lived in Jersey City, Manhattan and Toronto in Ontario and found rats and roaches in apt bldgs, too.” ” Now in this mid-class village where I live, traffic inside is becoming like that in EDSA because cars from Montero to BMW to Hummer and MB keep zooming by. Aquino`s Daang Matuwid has done the Phil’s great things. I believe RORO can make this country a first world nation.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for checking in with that dose of reality, OzyBoy.

              • One only has to look at Top Gear Philippines to see the new affluence in terms of cars.

                I now think those who want to vote the other candidates are often those who have forgotten where things were just six years ago or more, who have not yet reaped the fruits some have reaped and are impatient. Maybe they should be reminded of the Filipino folk wisdom “ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa kinaroroonan” – those who forget where they came from will never arrive at their goal.

              • Fellas, those 2 homeless photos, you’ll never see a child or family & children in the American version of homelessness, because they’d be scooped up by social workers and/or Dept of Children and Family Services, and prioritized for gov’t room or housing, with all sorts of tax-payer support.

                Also, those American homeless have beds available indoors, only they don’t like going to these shelters because of all the Bible preaching, plus more incidence of crimes indoors, ie theft to rape.

        • Micha says:

          Ah yes, Podemos Party in Spain gaining some ground.

          In some parts of the world, their citizens are waking up saying, we are here, we deserve a hearing, we are human beings too, in case you forget about that.

          • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/popular-political-participation/ just wrote about that, now there is not even a real, constructive citizen’s initiative to watch the MRT for example… that would be a start to learn the cooperation needed for real people’s parties, something Filipinos have not mastered to be VERY kind… if Filipinos learn confidence in taking things into their own hands one thing at a time, they might not run after Duterte…

            @Joe: “The Competition Act passed” now that is a major argument for the Liberal Party… the question is do they have youth organizations, do they have locales like real political parties in most of the world… because most have, and grow their leaders from the ground.

            • Joe America says:

              There are youth groups working on the Roxas campaign, and the campaign’s visits to various cities have been WELL attended. Large rallies, enthusiastic about Roxas. You get a sense of an LP organization definitely having its act together. Can that offset the neediness of the masses which does not allow them to care about the character or truthiness of their pick? Or their not connecting any national effort to themselves? Or the wild promises of Duterte, Poe and Binay which have no fact check (or funding check)? I dunno.

        • Micha says:

          In the US, Her Royal Consort, Hilary Rodham Clinton (HRC), used to be the shoo-in for the Democratic nomination according to James Carville. But because she very obviously prostituted herself for big money donations from Wall Street, her campaign is now shaking in their boots as the Bernie Sanders insurgency is posing a very credible challenge.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      “A person with a keen sense of history had once described us as a people without a history, hence we are lost in the swirl of events, tumultuous or not.. Regrettably, we don’t find history as a source of wisdom and truth.”

      I am a stranger from a another land. I am studying Filippino history and writing a bit for Irineo as well..I am amazed at times of the tragedies, the sadness, the beauty and the greatness that lie hidden in the Philippines past. It is worth knowing for it’s own sake.But yes it also offers lessons for the present day Filipino people…

      What a pity that so much of Filipino history lies locked away in files and books in languages that now few Filipinos can fully understand; in places that are distant !

      I have met the Filipino sense of civility and inclusion..It was a blessing for me, as I said a stranger…

      • Bill, as nice as we can be to strangers… we can be truly hateful to one another at times. History may be a way for the nation to confront its own past and come to terms with it.

        But often it is used – also by historians and by politicians – selectively to find a culprit. Be it the Spanish, the Americans, the datus, the principalia, Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel Quezon, the Japanese, Marcos, Cory Aquino… instead of looking for causes, and for solutions.

        But it is hard because each Filipino has his own perspective and prejudices, often not even conscious but passed on through generations and groups, so it helps to have either foreigners to help us or those of us who have been away long enough from all of it.

        Thanks again Bill for helping me with McArthur… you spared me the label “anti-American”.

        Everything in the Filipino discussion is somehow labelled. You see just a little good about Marcos you are a loyalist, just a little bad about Cory you are unpatriotic… AAAARGH! 🙂

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Ahhh Irineo, Filipinos are not alone in that skill.Aussies can take each other on at the drop of a hat…Especially if there is any alcohol in the picture…:-)

          I have been a bit absent here the last few days to allow myself the mental space to digest and really know what happened with the return of MacArthur to the Philippines in 1944-45.

          I discovered an enormous tragedy of which I knew nothing till now…Today I read a Rappler report by former General Ricardo Morales on this..He sees in that tragedy some of the seeds of modern day Manila’s problems…For me history is a way of seeing into the psyche ( Soul, Joe ? ) of a nation…It is not a way ‘finding a culprit’…A people without a history have no way of explaining themselves to themselves..never mind other peoples…

        • sonny says:

          That’s what keeps me glued on history – everything is fait accompli, just waiting for discovery, storage and interpretation. It is the pathology that gives the lesson and the advance of knowledge and a strong leverage to progress.

  7. josephivo says:

    The science of civility and inclusion is not taught in school, not in the family, not in the church. It cannot be taught by listening or reading, but only by observing, doing, experiencing. Traditional civil society is the arena learn these skills. Mature democracies have an extended and well organized field in between politics and the economic actors, people belonging and active in many organizations

    Just to list a few: The academia (school, college and university student organisations…), activist groups, charities, civic groups, clubs (sports, social, etc.), community organizations, consumer organizations, cooperatives, churches, cultural groups, environmental groups, intermediary organizations for the voluntary and non-profit sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), policy institutions, private voluntary organizations, professional associations, religious organizations, social enterprises, trade unions, men’s/women’s groups….

    Civil society in the Philippines is almost absent. Local fiesta and basketball organizations, fraternities, a few isolated activists… The result is almost a monoculture of societal behavior. In a rich democracy one learns to behave in many ways according the different needs and cultures on all different groups one belongs to, (although internet and the virtual world is killing the middle-field at high speed or is a new kind of civility and inclusion developing?)

    • Joe America says:

      There are civic organizations but they are light of weight. There is no Civil Liberties Union, for instance. Attorneys are a part of the hired class, along with media editors and producers and some public service people. The people doing the hiring are the powerful patrons of favor and impunity, several of whom are running for high office.

      It is incredible to me that so many smart people are willing to let their nation go down the tank. I mean, I can’t fathom a set of social and ethical rules that permit known crooks and killers to run for President. Just stunning. It’s not just the poor who are behind the wicked. It is attorneys and professors and businessmen and esteemed people with something to gain. The poor are pawns. The Middle Class are the burdened. And the hope.

      • ” It is attorneys and professors and businessmen and esteemed people with something to gain.” MRP’s “U.P. crooks” but they are not all UP in reality, and not all UP folks are crooks.

        • Joe America says:

          And it feeds back into your observation that there is little national unity, just group loyalties. Yet there is a national glory or pride . . . for ANY desperate sense of being a winner.

          Hey, how about everyone comes to the realization that “I’m a winner” without sports victories, or singing championships, or beauty contest wins. Then there would be better caretaking of “who I am now”. And they would not be picking whackos for top government positions.

          • Joe America says:

            It just struck me that people are demanding change because they have such a poor sense of self. And they blame someone else for that. The only thing that needs to change is Filipino self satisfaction. That does not mean complacency. There is lots to work on. But self-satisfaction would mean people would be working on the RIGHT things.

            • It is the message of my “Beauty and Confidence” article – Pia did not have it that easy. But without that confidence she has, she may well have gone the way of some mestizas who went back home like Maui Taylor, a British-Filipina who was part of Viva Hotbabes…

              The message of the article is, the Philippines has enormous beauty but little confidence, and to be the Miss Universe among nations it could need some of Pia’s confidence, but what you add to that is that confidence starts within each person and spreads out.

          • And the endless cycle of put-downs and crabbing among Filipinos would end. The vicious cycle that started with the datus who made the deal with King Felipe and started Felipinas would finally end. Pilipinas, proud of using P instead of F, would be a healthy nation.

          • chempo says:

            @ Joe “Hey, how about everyone comes to the realization that “I’m a winner” ”

            Sorry, every which way we turn there seems to be difficulties. There is a science of how success encourages dishonesty.

            Two Isreali researchers Amos Schurra and Ilana Ritovb find that besting others in a competition predicts unethical conduct— ie, winning leads to cheating. When people win a competition in which success is measured by social comparison rather than by a fixed standard, they are more likely to engage in unrelated unethical behavior. Their rationale boils down to this — such winners begin to feel self-important, which leads to perception of entitlement.

            Link to the research paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/7/1754.full

            To raise the civility and inclusion bar, the Filipino souls need some inward moral and ethical cleansing, not outward competitive motivation.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          I had a list of celebrity UP crooks and incompetents. It got zapped for some reason. I’ll draw up a list again. The top crook of U.P. is Marcos … followed by Gloria … Binay … of course, Tony Tiu was from U.P. so was Jinggoy.

          U.P. doesn’t seem to care they garnered the most crooks in the government. The government that funded U.P. cannot seem to see it. They still keep funding the University.

          If this happened to Ivy-schools in the U.S. there is hell to pay but not in the Philippines. In the heyday of Marcos era, U.P. used to be known as cesspool of communists. U.P. was proud of it. Prouder still is putting plenty of U.P. graduates in the government that lined up their pockets and they turned a blind eye.

      • Madlanglupa says:

        > It is attorneys and professors and businessmen and esteemed people with something to gain.

        Indeed, asides from some rock bands and matinee idols, I find it also jarring that those who have fought down the first dictatorship with the pen have thought otherwise and become vocal supporters of a would-be strongman or a supercrook. Because sadly in the 30 years since EDSA we have a set of developed conditions — crime, corruption, poverty, and unerring oligarchs, some of which exaggerated in the tabloid media and Facebook — that makes the revival of dictatorship or plutocracy possible.

    • There are some civic society groups now – a lot of them are behind Leni Robredo.

      I remember how most Filipino migrants before used to live in monocultures of social behavior as well – their world became almost claustrophic to me in it’s social monotony.

      OK, there are now middle class Filipinos who travel in small groups abroad and actually are interested in more than picture-taking and Eurodisney, or even ALONE that was seen as being totally mad before. Filipinos who interact with other nationalities outside of work abroad, even with other Asians not like before when they looked down on them… for not speaking good English… the “classy” crowd of Malate is inbred as well even though they have all the superficial traits of international sophistication… UP, Ateneo, PMA are inbred… but there are many scholar abroad now who go unnoticed – dozens in Berlin – who are developing a more open mind, also by moving outside their circles.. things are changing.

  8. ” I think every Filipino should carry around two buckets. In one, he puts all the joys he finds here. In the other, the complaints. Then, every once in a while, he should sit down with the complaint bucket, go through it, and think about what to do, without blaming someone. Pretty soon, there will be one bucket that is huge. And a wee tiny one for the complaints. For the poor, as in all things, they will carry two large buckets for a longer while.”

    This editor’s note so much deserves to be preserved. The poor can’t even complain like some of the middle class do. They can’t even talk and talk like we do because they work and work if they have work at all. Much Philippine issues are non-issues. Or just conflicts within elite groups.

  9. Madlanglupa says:

    > Not to mention a lot of trolls and hostility. Crabs, bigots and politicians.

    In a flash of genius, after having become exhausted with trying to weather the yodeling, lionizing and posturing of the toxic and the robots in the country’s largest broadsheets, I decided to do something with Disqus: I simply went to uBlock, then entered disqus.com and blocked it.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I block Facebook by not tending to any comments but my own blog threads, and withdrawing from every group that people put me into. I ignore it. On Twitter, I block individuals liberally if they troll. So my thread is pretty clean and useful as a reference to this article or that. Basically, Twitter is my reading service, and a place to practice being intelligent in 140 characters.

      I can understand how refreshing it would be to drop that load.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    In this world of twitter bashing,and suicide due to bashing,There is still room for political correctness,exemplified by that admonishing of Paquiao due to his discriminative remarks.
    But respect begets respect,if you are respectful and still treated shabilly,then it is not your problem.
    On another note.
    We all know the saying of It is a dirty job,but somebody has to do it.
    We strive for equality,,but what if everyone is on equal footing,soon we will hire from poorer nations.Just saying.

    • Joe America says:

      That would be a nice problem to have. Maybe 50 or 60 years . . . work as we know it will end. Computers will do everything and occasionally we will have to interrupt our siesta or reality game to answer a poll or make sure the infrared signal powering the robot feeding junior is set to the right frequency.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Our partylists system that were supposed to have the marginalized represented,instead we still have the dynasties and the rich running those partylists.
    The communist party only has it leaders here and abroad who become rich.

    • I wonder about some groups… Seneres was not from a dynasty… of course he WAS an ambassador he is dead now, but you can’t do much without the necessary tools and in politics you have to have to know how to communicate, in Pinas education is optional 🙂

  12. karlgarcia says:

    some of reactions on the RH blog are saying that the poor should fend for themselves,have control not to have sex,etc.
    Wrong and right. Wrong because helping is always right, and right because everything can be abused.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    GRP is correct sometimes in saying that we pinoys have the loser mentality,the problem is they are not suggesting anything to make us feel winners.They downplay every achievement as misplaced pride,it is never enough for them.

    • The putdown and the crab mentality of Filipinos are just two sides of the same coin… GRP is a sterling example of the putdown mentality. You put down or you crab to feel better but it does not make you more confident inside, it is just a drug that lasts for a while.

  14. caliphman says:

    It’s so easy to throw all these verbal rocks at the huge masses of uneducated poor and complain that it is they and not us, the enlightened, which is the heart of the problem why our political leaders are so inept and so corrupt. Are we not guilty then of the same lack of inclusivity and civility that we so loosely speak of here? Is it not these masses who comprise the huge bulk of our nation who represent the heart, soul, and face of who we truly are as a Filipino? Sure the sliver of us who congregate and communicate here can be radically different in how we think, act, and make choices but it is a reflection of the deep divide in the economics, education, needs, values and culture between us and them.

    Fact of the matter is, there should be no us or them for in reality we are but one people and one organism. Does the brain complain that the hands are so dumb, the stomach that the mouth talks too much and neglects its hunger, the feet that the heart has no idea where it wants to go? It is for us to accept that this there is this huge part of us as a country that behaves according to its nature and that we are no better or worse as a small but different part of it. Does one blame the tiger for devouring the sheep or the masa for picking the leader who they rightly or wrongly consider is best for them?

    My view on the politics of all this is that to fail to include these masses in our one person one vote democracy in choosing what and who is best for this nation is naive, ignorant, unrealistic, shallow, selfish and short-sighted. Sorry for the harangue and if my verbiage stings but this is what comes to mind when one brings up inclusivity and civility in today’s setting.

    • FULL ACK! http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/the-accidental-nation/ – final passage:

      The entire elite bear a certain responsibility for this situation. Who bears fault is another question. But responsibility for ones legacy goes back four generations according to Jewish tradition, if I remember correctly. The advantaged, who have the knowledge and the capabilities to change things, are the ones who will have to remedy the situation. Otherwise there may come those who use the situation to their advantage, or even chaos. The accidental nation can only become a healthy nation if all people see they have a part in it.

    • Micha says:

      Excellent points caliphman.

      Please allow me to have a rant of my own.

      Capitalism is not inclusive. It is inherent, embedded in the nature of the system itself, to produce winners and losers or, more specifically, very few winners and many losers. Adam Smith himself has warned us of the very real dangers of alienation and vile maxim characterizing the system.

      The project, if we can call it that, is not so much to dismantle or throw the system entirely but to give it a facelift, a makeover, to reform, make it more humane, less violent, less cruel.

      This they have already done in very significant degrees in most parts of advanced democracies, particularly western Europe : strong social safety nets, excellent public education, universal health care, etc. It’s a marriage, a sprinkling of features of both capitalism and socialism.

      Our generous host seems to believe that free market solution is the way to move forward, citing the building of hotels, malls, office towers etc. by our capitalist overlords as a sign of near prosperity that will very soon trickle down to the poor masses who will then have access to the information superhighway, hopefully get a little bit enlightened, and vote for Mar Roxas instead of Poe, Binay, Duterte, or Marcos.

      I hope he is right, but I’m not holding my breath.

      End of rant.

      Thank you.

      • Joe America says:

        I’ve seen better rants. To say that the hundreds of millions of Americans who live in nice homes, have a couple of cars, go to movies and dine out half the time are “losers” is rather a perverse look at things. African babies with flies in their eyes and ribs sticking out are losers. There aren’t many Americans in that condition. There are a lot of Filipinos who could use a lot of good meals. They don’t really need a couple of cars. So where is the wealth going to come from that feeds them?

        End of mini-rant rebuttal.

        • Micha says:

          Hah, nice homes and a couple of cars indeed. All courtesy of credit default swapped toxic bundles which bubbled up and went comatose in 2008; revived only through corporate socialism, is now on a limped recovery but could very well suffer a second stroke.

          Where is the wealth coming from? Bernanke has had it in his computer keyboard.

          Wink, wink, don’t tell mom.

    • Joe America says:

      It doesn’t sting at all, because you make excellent points. It is the human condition to speak from ignorance and presume moral superiority. Still, if we look at the results and work backward, based on the knowledge of what has gone before in the selection of public servants, one can see that the skill set is missing some tools. But It is intelligent people supporting crooks, liars and murderers, so one ought not say the culprit is simply “dumb poor people”, and I for sure did not mean that when I said the poor elect thieves, crooks, etc. But they do cast the millions of votes, versus the middle class hundreds of thousands, and the oligarchs 100’s. I can’t figure out who the right thinking moralists are speaking to. Mostly themselves. Because there SEEMS to be a lot of thinking going on that, if it continues, is going to produce the opposite of peace and prosperity.

      • caliphman says:

        The point is that its not an if, but it will continue that the masa have their own priorities and criteria which may not be the same as ours. That is a given and when those who think they are clever and enlightened enough, its not a skillset issue on the part of the masa but ironically on the part of candidates like Roxas who many of you consider the best choice but is not the natural pick of the uneducated poor. I think Irineo is not far off track in affirming it is the elite’s responsibility to accept and figure out how to deal or possibly fix how and why the masa vote the way they do. Not enough thought, resources, and effort has been exerted to address this perennial problem which affects both local and national elections so is it any surprise that in 2016 the surveys show what the masa want and not necessarily who you want them to prefer. Is it Einstein who defined stupidity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result? Not that the masa picks can turn out to be good leaders like Magsaysay or Aquino but one would argue thats just luck and for the wrong reasons.

        • Leadership as Service is a concept that is still weak in the Philippines or among Filipinos. Like MRP wrote about the old breed of Filipino restaurants where service was shoddy, but there is a new breed now that are not ashamed to serve and succeed by giving service.

          Now it looks like Aquinos (especially Bam) and Roxases have overcome old senorismo, but other groups and especially many voters have not overcome caciquismo, which is a colonial perversion of datu leadership embodied by Apo Lakay and Bongbong Marcos. Binay and Duterte PRETEND to a service-oriented datuship while Jesse Robredo was one who embodied it just like Governor Salceda does. Which means there is a culture change going on that is not yet full over – Mar Roxas’ video actually adresses that quite smartly.

        • Joe America says:

          I think you draw an excellent, accurate picture. I agree the elite, assuming they have the best interest of the nation in mind, should figure out how to speak . . . and listen . . . to the masses. It seems that the language is “star power”.

  15. sonny says:

    “But the Philippines will be First World when Filipinos stop trying so hard to be somebody else. And let the World come to them.”

    Is it too simplistic to take lessons from the richness and beauty of the life-forms that surround us, even from the nutrition that the flora and fauna provide for us for the taking. And all this happening with or without help from us, the human forms. Welfare, education, organization models are awaiting to be identified, emulated or even just simulated. Let atis be atis, chico be chico, kamias be kamias, even baboy be baboy. For the fruit forms, all deliver fructose (energy) in their own way in their own seasons. Baboy and chicken furnish us essential amino acids in a very fast way all year round, even kambing only needs vegetation. The flowers that easily grow around us give us their own smells and aroma to our preferences (my mom grew rosal, roses, dama de noche within our 205 sq meters in Cubao; she drew the line at caring for cantutay). Maybe we can identify the dynamic groups around us that do not need intervention or maintenance from political divisions. If again for example we are surrounded by the DE sectors there must be negotiations and compromises we can carry out as to whether they are talahib that can nitrogenize the soil or transplanted somewhere else or catalyzed someway to do their thing and contribute to the common weal given a caring study and push. Anyway, I hope Joe’s vision of Philippine Elysian fields can be realized in the here and now and will not become the wearying busyness of Sisyphus. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      I once read 28 pages of Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” before my brain went into a giant cramp, and I had to withdraw to go shoot hoops or somesuch. Camus’ great philosophical question is, “should I commit suicide?” Because life is so wretched. But he figures out that even wretched is worth living, and can be fulfilling and a reason for being. So I look at the Philippines as a walking, talking lab exercise straight from Camus. It might have been on page 36, I don’t really know.

  16. James de Valera says:

    I think being so called Philippines as a happy nation doesn’t really make sense, when people seems to be cool & relaxed without any idea where is the next meal will come from, it seems to be shallow mentality rather than happy or avoiding the responsibility & being lazy.There should be a genuine reason to celebrate for being happy.
    People that are worry, anxious etc., about certain situation are often being so responsible about the future not only thinking about the next day.

    • Joe America says:

      When life is simple and has no opportunity for anything but that simplicity, the choice is be happy or not be happy. I think the choice is good, for without it, there would be a lot of murdering going on.

  17. For MRP: http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/all-in-the-family-at-philippine-cuisine-and-groceries – also for Manong Sonny because he might want to have a look at it. 🙂

    Filipino values are maintained in the family where respect and the work ethic are learned at an early age. This is reflected in Philippine Cuisine and Groceries, a popular spot in Crestwood, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago. The restaurant-grocery store is a family endeavor of the Lubatons.

    Hospecio “Shiong” Lubaton and his wife, Stella Deypalubos Lubaton, are from Marbel, South Cotabato, and Iloilo City, Iloilo, respectively. They met in Manila. What they have in common up to this day are the Ilonggo language and the love of cooking.

    • http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/theater-review-dogeaters-distills-the-time-of-the-conjugal-dictatorship – also interesting…

      For audience members too young or too distant to be familiar with Philippine society in the waning days of the Marcos regime, the new play Dogeaters at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, may seem a bit surreal.

      But for those who lived through that period, the frantic, chaotic, paradoxical production presented by playwright Jessica Hagedorn, director Loretta Greco and a large, multi-talented cast, vividly captures the contradictions of life under the Conjugal Dictatorship.

      It was a time of extreme poverty and economic collapse, yet the Marcoses insisted on a glitzy parade of wealth and glamour, touting their intimacy with Hollywood stars and confident of the support of their friend in the White House, Ronald Reagan.

      There was no bread, but plenty of circuses – and this is the world that Rio Gonzaga (portrayed by the engaging Rinabeth Apostol) finds when she returns home from the States for the funeral of her beloved grandmother.

      The daughter of tycoon Freddie Gonzaga (Chuck Lacson), Rio is taken aback by the changes in the 14 years she has been away – including the preferred option of canned calamansi juice in the Jeepney Café in the fanciest hotel in town. (She pointedly chooses fresh.)

      In contrast to the lives of the rich and powerful, director Greco also brings us headlong into the world of the lumpen proletariat: a slum in Tondo, where Joey Sands (Rafael Jordan) is desperately trying to break free from drugs and prostitution and become a DJ; a tawdry drag club run by the glamorous Perlita (Jomar Tagatac); and a rundown movie theater where a provincial girl and a wannabe action star swoon over romantic films.

      These disparate pieces of the mosaic are drawn together by radio hosts Barbara Villanueva (a stand-out performance by Esperanza Catubig) and Nestor Noralez (Melvign Badiola), who read news headlines and the melodramatic radio series “Love Letters” with equal fervor. Through Rio’s eyes, we are drawn into the complex family and social relations of the Philippines – where a flamboyant patron of a gay club is Imelda’s personal hairdresser, a famous drag performer has ties to the underground revolutionary movement, and a beauty queen, betrayed by her military officer uncle, joins the NPA.

      http://static1.squarespace.com/static/508da03be4b0d28844ddf21c/t/56c44b26b09f95c8b3b4a2fd/1455704880423/?format=1000w

      • http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/countdown-to-the-revolution-part-2-the-election-and-its-aftermath – this is a good account of the February revolution and the forces that led to it… worth reading.

      • Joe America says:

        If I were a student in the film department at the University of Southern California, I’d do my doctoral thesis on the “Movies of the Marcos Era in the Philippines”. That thought just struck me. I wonder if anyone has done that, to look for themes of good vs bad, and moral lessons. Or protest.

      • Joe America says:

        If I were a student in the film department at the University of Southern California, I’d do my doctoral thesis on the “Movies of the Marcos Era in the Philippines”. That thought just struck me. I wonder if anyone has done that, to look for themes of good vs bad, and moral lessons. Or protest.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Could not find a Thesis,so here is an essay of the History of Philippine Cinema.

          http://www.aenet.org/family/filmhistory.htm

          • Martial Law declared in 1972 clamped down on bomba films as well as political movies critical of the Marcos administration. But the audience’s taste for sex and nudity had already been whetted. Producers cashed in on the new type of bomba, which showed female stars swimming in their underwear, taking a bath in their camison (chemise), or being chased and raped in a river, sea, or under a waterfall. Such movies were called the wet look… One such movie was the talked-about Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (The Most Beautiful Animal on the Face of the Earth, 1974) starring former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz.

            However, the less-than-encouraging environment of the 70s gave way to “the ascendancy of young directors who entered the industry in the late years of the previous decade…” Directors such as Lino Brocka, best remembered for his Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, In the Claws of Neon Lights, 1975), Ishmael Bernal, director of the Nora Aunor film Himala (Miracle, 1982) and Celso Ad. Castillo, whose daring works portrayed revolt, labor unionism, social ostracism and class division, produced works that left no doubt about their talent in weaving a tale behind the camera.

            Brocka, Bernal, Castillo had to hide their messages well to get past the BCMP or the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures which became the MTCRB later on. There was of course the notorious involvement of Marcos man Maceda in motion pictures and a film company which according to Primitivo Mijares’ book on the Conjugal Dictatorship was a provider of mistresses for Marcos. Probably the indirect involvement of Marcos in the commercial movie industry paved the way for the alleged “crimino-showbiz elite”…

  18. cha says:

    There are a number of Filipinos, lawmakers included, who are choosing, working towards civility and inclusion in Philippine society. It’s just that both mainstream and social media are often drawn to those moving in the opposite direction. Go figure. So, anyway…

    Civility and inclusion, case in point #1 :

    MANILA, Nov. 13 (UPI) — Four Philippine lawmakers seek to change a dress code at government meetings they say discriminates against the poor.

    House Bill 6268, The Open Door Policy Act, would allow anyone visiting government buildings or attending meetings to dress without regard to the current requirement of “proper attire,” which one sponsor, Teddy Baguilat, called discriminatory against marginalized members of society.

    “They are Filipinos who often belong to marginalized sectors of society — farmers, fisher folk, urban poor and indigenous peoples — they are Filipinos who should be given due priority by government,” he commented, noting there are citizens who cannot afford the clothes demanded by the stringent requirements usually stipulated by government agencies.

    The dress code requires collared shirts, pants and shoes are generally required to obtain service.

    Baguilat joined representatives Leni Robredo, Jorge Banal and Kaka Bag-ao in presenting the bill.

    “In public offices, professionalism isn’t in what citizens wear when they avail of services that they should rightfully enjoy. It’s in how government officers and employees treat the people whom we serve,” Bag-ao said. “Clearly, this is a form of discrimination that must end. The Open Door Policy Act challenges government agencies to continue to enforce security measures that are crafted and implemented with sensitivity to marginalized Filipinos.”

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/11/13/Lawmakers-Filipino-dress-code-discriminates-against-poor/6111447424711/

  19. cha says:

    Case in point #2 :

    “I am a Muslim from Lanao del Sur with underlying roots from Bulacan from the Philippines, because of my mother. Her side of the family are all Christians, while my father’s side are all Muslims. My sister and I have lived our lives studying and learning about both religions and our families’ culture, tradition and diverse backgrounds. I belong to a family with one of my uncles being part of the Moro National Liberation Front (MLNF), fighting for peace and development for the Bangsamoro People and a family of peace mediators who have always been trusted by the community to resolve issues and reach peaceful settlements.

    As I went on with my journey as a young professional, having returned to the Philippines, I have been advocating and working for peace for almost a decade. I have seen how kids at a very young age are divided by culture, religion and other forms of stereotypes due to generations of conflict in their own communities and that they will likely grow up with and exercise these same divisive practices all over again. Such differences have served as barriers in building trust and care for young people of different religions. Just like in the case of some conflict areas in Mindanao (which is the second oldest internal conflict in the world), the culture of violence has been passed on from one generation to another. At a very young age, children, have been exposed to an environment of armed conflict and violent family feuds, coupled with poor access to education and social services that eventually lead them to turning into bandits or rebels. Some of them, as young as 10 years, already know how to handle firearms. Many see revenge and hatred as the solution to their differences while believing that there is no hope for peace and understanding.

    The young generations are most affected by conflict, but rarely play a substantial role in peace building. In the Philippines, youth account for a big percentage of the population, and hence to secure the future, it is important to empower the younger generation to think about conflict prevention and peace building. There is a need to strengthen their voices and their capability to create greater opportunities for children and youth involvement and to forge inter-generational partnerships between adults and the youth.

    Based on this belief, I decided to form Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement, a non-profit organization with a mission of making every Filipino child and youth a peace builder. Since we deal a lot with younger generations, we use innovative and creative strategies to impart a Culture of Peace and Dialogue, through music, art, sports and service. This movement believes in the importance of teaching peace in the formative years of a child and integrating an intergenerational approach on peace building. There is a great need for programs to educate the children and youth to appreciate the values of peace and be able to apply it in their daily lives.” – Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, Founder, Teach Peace, Build Peace Philippines

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bai-rohaniza-sumndadusman/building-a-culture-of-pea_b_5529494.html

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks cha. “Teach Peace” is what the various churches could be doing, but are not. Their introspections usually come with condemnations attached rather than direction and uplift that is real-world.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks cha. “Teach Peace” is what the various churches could be doing, but are not. Their introspections usually come with condemnations attached rather than direction and uplift that is real-world.

      • cha says:

        And then, there’s Father Joel Tabora, SJ. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, to every rule there is the exception. I think the PH should switch to a triumvirate leadership and the three people leading the nation should be Tabora, Bello and Ayala.

          Hmmm. No women. If we were to go with women, which three would you choose? They have to bring opposite disciplines/ideology but be good of character.

          • Cha Coronel Datu says:

            Leni Robredo, because she easily inspires trust which any new administration (all women or not) will need to be able to unite a very much divided Philippines. She is not only matino (trustworthy), but also mahusay(competent) as evidenced by her performance as a legislator.

            Conchita Carpio-Morales, because apart from enjoying high levels of trust herself, she also has inside knowledge of the Justice system, the current state of which is a major obstacle to instituting many of the reforms needed to fix so many of the problems of the country, from law enforcement to good government. The culture of impunity needs to end and the justice system as it is at the moment is one of its major enablers.

            Teresita Deles, because the country needs to find a way to peace in the south. And Deles has spent many years advocating, finding opportunities, opening doors and reaching out to those who are likewise seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Mindanao. She may have her detractors among those who are against the BBL, but I would think that she still has the trust and respect of many muslims from Mindanao. (I was actually trying to look for a Filipina muslim for the list but I realized I am actually not familiar with many politicians or other prominent publuc figures from that part of the country.)

        • sonny says:

          Ahhh yes, cha, 🙂 Fr Joel. Time was when he was just one of the promising Math majors in the campus. (‘Twas a small campus. a finishing school, as Irineo put it.) sigh… Tipak mga Jesuits, as usual. 🙂

          • cha says:

            He’s a good man ‘no? Lot of Ateneans I know are also good men. One of the more memorable ones for me is the late Onofre Pagsanghan, because of Sinta. And such a great teacher, even if I never actually sat in his classroom (never knew him personally) I feel as if I have also learned from him from what’s been written and said about him.

            • I think the UP-Ateneo tribal feud – across Katipunan road – is quite over by now.

              La Salle has grudgingly (puwidi na rin..) been included among the Big Three. 🙂

              Who knows the old venerable San Beda and UST, which had been relegated to pedestrian status, may become part of a future Big Five?

              Fortunately UP and Ateneo are now all over the country. Otherwise I would agree with MRP better fund more colleges across the nation.

              Still, there is too much brand-name thinking when it comes to education, some are truly educated just like Manong Sonny, there are many who just see it as a finishing school which I quoted from James Fallow – meaning the rich kids who just want a nice degree.

            • butod says:

              Cha, I don’t think Mr. Pagsi has passed away. Baka na-late lang sa traffic when you checked, hehe. I don’t know him personally, but he was interviewed by Pia Hontiveros just months ago, and I came away impressed by the man. Already in his 80s but still up and about, ever cheerful, always demanding honor, integrity and excellence in his students. He has this thing about teaching kids a culture of niceness — yes, Joe’s civility. He’s now hard of hearing so that’s always among the first things he reminds his students about on the first day of class, to be more patient with him…such endearing humility. And diction, always proper diction!

              Fr. Joel last I checked was with Ateneo de Davao, where he’s very comfortable celebrating cultural diversity and tolerance, both of which Mindanao — and the country — need badly.

              • cha says:

                Oh no, I’m so sorry. I must have mixed him up with someone else who passed away recently. Father Bu (Bulatao) , another great Atenean.

                Apologies to Mr. Pagsanghan and those who know him.

            • sonny says:

              Cha, I need to qualify “… he (Fr Joel) was “just” one of the promising Math majors…” During my time we used the grading system, 1 = highest, 2 = above passing, 3 = passing, 4 = condition, 5 = fail. We also had the practice of putting final course grade results in the bulletin board the whole student body to check and see how each fared. Standing joke namin, everybody is a summa cum laude in our minds during freshman year, first semester. Pagdating ng second semester, magna cum laude na lang (reality check). Pagdating ng sophomore year mas marami nang kulot (3) ang grade. Si Fr Joel, mga grade niya nakatayo (1) pa rin ang karamihan, tulad ni Manny Pangilinan. Kaming mga ‘hoi polloi’, somewhere above C-level. 🙂

              • sonny says:

                I didn’t have the honor of being taught by Mr Pagsanghan. He continued the bright tradition of the Ateneo theater started by Fr Henry Irwin (Shakespearean), Fr Reuter. He taught in the high school.

                Many wonderful stories, including Gary Lising. For another occasion na lang, cha. 🙂

              • Gary Lising was your classmate? He was one of the most intelligent comedians the Philippines ever had – or has?

              • sonny says:

                Gary L. was our perennial college student. Seems like many batches have Gary tales to tell. 🙂

    • This looks like a great group, cha. Thanks for sharing this!

  20. caliphman says:

    http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/2/77-hours-the-behind-the-scenes-at-the-1986-edsa-people-power-revolution

    The story of the first EDSA revolution would not be completely without grasping two essential trurhs. Firstly that Enrile, Ramos and RAM mutineers were not so much trying to save the nation but their hides as the their planned coup d’etat against Marcos in Malacanang was discovered. Secondly, even as the millions of citizens and nuns protected the puny numbers of the plotters against the besieging tanks of the Marines, Enrile was trying to undercut Cory by negotiating a powersharing deal retaining Marcos in exchange for a subsequent presidency for Cory. She refused and the mutineers were forced to cast their lot with Cory and the revolution.

    The success of that revolution owes little to Enrile or Ramos or to the RAM. It was Ramos’s loyalty to Cory’s administration and the new Constitution in the face of repeated coup attempts and civil chaos that was his redemption.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    Erap won because of the masses, then we call them bobotantes.
    If a president suck,it is the fault of the bobontantes,if the president that suck gets replaced by someone worse,it is the fault of the elite.It is a good thing that pattern stopped.

  22. NHerrera says:

    Joe, in the many blog articles you have written, you wrote about the nice, unique, even wonderful, things about the Filipinos and the Philippines. It sometimes seems you are Tourism Industry Philippines rolled into one. But there is a missing ingredient to make that Philippine Cake the country and the world will truly be proud of. I believe you have found that missing ingredient in this article on Civility and Inclusion, not 100% — very difficult to attain that — but only a critical mass of Filipinos practicing civility and inclusion: an appropriate combination from all social classes, especially at the top layers. The poor seeing or sensing this will naturally get “infected.”

    The road to that critical mass can be helped along greatly or derailed depending on the outcome of this coming national election. I hope you share in my optimism.

  23. andrewlim8 says:

    In the never-ending discussion on the Philippine condition, it is important to note a few things:

    1. Whenever a statement- whether positive and uplifting, or negative and downgrading is made, we should remember that it is always a battle of the anecdotal vs the statistical. Meaning, what matters is if the statement holds true for a larger majority of the population, if it is enough to determine the outcome.

    Example: “Filipinos are a whining, destructive, crab-mentality group.” Of course that’s true for some, but not for others. So which group predominates? When we say we are a corrupt society, or a religious society, which group has more practitioners – the corrupt or non-corrupt? the religious or the secular?

    I’m putting these thoughts down because I have noticed in recent months the growth of the restaurant industry- original, one-off concepts sprouting all over- QC (Maginhawa), Marikina, Pasig (Kapitolyo), etc. and these are entrepreneurial efforts of young people who found it worth their time and money to

    Whenever I eat at these places, I am more than pleased- not just with the food, but because they have convinced me that they still love this country even if it has so many problems.

    And it’s not just the food industry – fashion, retail, services, etc are all flourishing thanks to these young entrepreneurs. They never complain about comprador bourgeousie or the oligarchs.

    Those who can, simply do. They have no time to whine and roll on the floor and die. They simply execute.

    2. In the movie “Bridge of Spies”, the Rudolf Abel character frequently answers the question “Aren’t you worried?” with this remark: “Does it help?” Abel was on the side of the bad guys, but this attitude was worthy of emulation. 🙂

    • andrewlim8 says:

      erratum: “… who found it worth their time and money to invest in.”

    • Example: “Filipinos are a whining, destructive, crab-mentality group.” Of course that’s true for some, but not for others. So which group predominates? When we say we are a corrupt society, or a religious society, which group has more practitioners – the corrupt or non-corrupt? the religious or the secular?

      Let me have a look at our colony in Germany….three excellent Filipino restaurants in Berlin and one in NRW and maybe even more, where it used to be that all there was were unsuccessful wannabe restaurants of the type MRP mentioned that failed eventually. The Internet reviews of the Berlin restaurants show a new enterpreneurial and even service-oriented culture – in a city where the competition especially from Vietnamese is truly stiff.

      Aside from the usual Barangay, Bayanihan, regional, religious and family organizations, there are now a number of charitable organizations, some even officially registered charities. The UP Alumni Association in Berlin is fulfilling its role and has done a number of important projects – it used to be more of a “paimportante” (self-important) club, but they got rid of the one person who was “pasimuno” (instigator) of that and was better known for looking down upon “uneducated” Filipinos. The Dona Victorina mentality is retreating.

      They simply execute.

      Not only talk and talk. Good to know. Maybe the third part of the unfinished Noli/Fili trilogy is now finally being written but with a happy ending – that is un-Filipino, nearly American! 🙂

    • karlgarcia says:

      I think even netizens never talk about burgouisy and oligarchy with their offline circle of friends.

  24. chempo says:

    Picking up from Caliphman’s comment “…it is the elite’s responsibility to accept and figure out how to deal or possibly fix …(problems)…”

    and applying to the civility and inclusion issue generally.

    The point is there are always divergent opinions to solutions. We can certainly agree that those with personal agendas form the renegade side of the divide. But those with the same national interest too do have conflicting opinions. This is where the science of Joe depends on the arts for solutions to be accepted. Whilst the science provides the solutions, in the real world the art of selling solutions is as important, if not, more important.

    Case in point: Comelec says they suppressed the print “receipts” function but some Congressmen especially Glenn Chong objected vehemently because they felt if voters can’t see physically how they voted then there is a strong avenue for computerised cheating. (Personally, I think it’s a stupid argument — the source-code has been audited !). Comelec’s reasoning is a better one, in the context of voting history. Printing the “receipts” simply plays into the hands of vote buying scams. The candidates will simply require compliant voters to present “receipts” to collect their representation.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      That will really computerize vote-buying!
      *****

      • It probably did in past elections. The Konrad-Adenauer Foundation Manila, in it’s country report on the 2013 elections, reported massive vote-buying and local intimidation.

        Looks like this time PNP has already identified hotspots and is strict on the gun ban.

    • “We can certainly agree that those with personal agendas form the renegade side of the divide.” Yes. But inclusion can bring them back into the fold if they accept it of course.

      The biggest renegades are outcasts of the elitist system – often by choice or a wild youth. Somewhat like the “failed mandarins” that caused much trouble in China before – the most famous being the one who started the Taiping rebellion.

      Erap is from the mestizo Ejercito family, but hung out with people from the street – Estrada.

      Duterte is from a provincial elite family, but he failed at Ateneo and finished at San Beda – which is a venerable old school but is together with UST “behind” the “Big Three” of the “finishing schools”, his hitting at Mar Roxas’ Wharton degree appeals to many because of the status-based nature of Filipino degree-holding. You ain’t UP, Ateneo or La Salle you are a nobody in some circles. The toxic mixture of Malay and Spanish feudalism is still part of the system at the back of many people’s heads. It will always produce new renegades.

      The moment the society becomes less harshly exclusive – there are signs of this already happening like a Filipino student in Australia who is proud to work as a janitor part-time to finance his studies who was reported in social media – less “failed mandarins” will ensue. Especially when the society becomes truly competitive and not only rent-seeking – after all the position of mandarin was also a rent-seeking position in old China. That’s the way to go.

    • and please tell us if the owners are flat-nosed and dark-skinned.

      they don’t have to be pandak, after all Magsaysay was tall.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      One thing I cannot stand about Filipinos in parties like this is thier laughter. Why do Filipinos scream-and-shout when they laugh? What are they trying to prove? That they are happy? Is this a show that Filipinos are seldom happy and they wanted to know their neighbors that they are happy to scream-and-shout their laugh?

      Their laughter is bothersome. Disconcerting. Annoying. I was in Olive Garden enjoying my soup … the silence was pierced by … screamed laughter … around the corner where I canot see them … I knew right away that was the laughter of Filipinos.

      And sure does …. they were Filipinos. The whites were looking at them. The Filipinos relished the attention thoughting that the whites were jealous of their happiness.

      NO, Filipinos! They were not jealous. They were annoyed. The whites cannot tell Filipinos to cool it down because the racist Filipinos would accuse whites of racism. Because in America only whites are capable of racism according to the schoool of thought.

      That is why whites move to their own enclave far far far away from minorities that they allow to thrive and import from other countries.

      • Joe America says:

        I find your observation disheartening because it clashes so strikingly with all I tried to say about civility and inclusion. It presumes all Filipinos behave badly, it presumes that all Americans have little consideration of cultures different than your own, it concludes that people can only be happy divided, and it sets you up as the great moral authority from the Philippines who judges Filipinos as substandard. I find that dismaying in the extreme, as I do Micha’s relentless hunt for faults to show the Philippines in a particularly bad way. The Philippines is a complex nation with a history that has not been easy. She has many subsets within her population, poor and rich, experienced in the world and not, insecure and not, rowdy and not. This need to judge so easily, so broadly and so harshly I find far worse than the boisterous restaurant behavior. I believe there is a core of more worldly and secure people about, and if there are many rumples in the stiltskin, I would hope we would be larger than to look to discrimination as the solution.

        • NHerrera says:

          A nicely worded reply, in keeping with the current blog topic.

          • I don’t think this is necessarily a race or culture issue.

            It’s more a single (to small group) vs. large group dynamics. When there’s a big crowd of Marines we tend to be pretty loud (and drunk), but stick us by ourselves or in small groups say in a Green Berets or SEAL chow-hall, and numbers become relevant.

            Also, when you’re in a crowd in public, you tend to speak loudly to be heard within the crowd you’re in.

      • Madlanglupa says:

        Being overseas and alone for the first time can cause culture shock for some Filipinos. To find another Filipino and sitting down for dinner is like coming home and be able to ease their worries in a foreign land where almost everything is alien to them. Same thing with some other nationalities whose table manners could be seen as boorish by locals.

        Now try imagining an American suddenly assigned to a job in Tokyo. It’s even more difficult with the language and cultural barrier in that after a few days they do get homesick and wanting to find company with another expat. It’s no wonder why some of them vent off their dislikes on, say, Japan Times.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s an excellent point. White foreigners in my home town here have their watering holes where they collect to be loud and boisterous, and spend a share of that time grousing about the Philippines. I avoid such gatherings like the plague. I wonder if Mariano would really want to join them.

  25. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Manny Pacquiao is an example of tigas-ulo-bahala-kayo-dyan-kasi-mi-pera ako.

    http://www.si.com/boxing/2016/02/18/manny-pacquiao-gays-bible-verse-instagram-post-deleted

    TO WHITES! Never criticize Filipinos like Manny Pacquiao because they stick to their guns despite knowing they are wrong.

    To change, means giving up their pride and dignity.
    To change, means Filipinos are wrong and the critics are right.

    These are Filipinos. Not even Filipino columnists would say it or write about it.

    • TO WHITES! Never criticize Filipinos like Manny Pacquiao because they stick to their guns despite knowing they are wrong. To change, means giving up their pride and dignity.

      To admit a mistake – or even worse say sorry – in a Philippine situation is an admission of weakness. You are no longer the hunter, you become the hunted it is that simple.

      The only way to convince a Filipino is NOT to tell him directly what you want to convince him about. Say he is right BUT… but put the but in a very careful way just like you put some extra chili into a sauce. Then you have the shift from BASTA to head-scratching and hmm…

    • Sadly, Manny Pacquiao is NOT wrong, it’s right there in the Old Testament, same with the Qur’an— although Jesus doesn’t talk about homosexuals in the Gospels, Paul doesn’t hide his dislike for homosexuals (though I don’t think he ever calls for their death as punishment, he was focused more on the victimization aspect of homosexuality during the Helenic/Roman period he lived in).

      But what should piss you guys off is that this is an American export, just like cigarettes and green house gases—
      http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/08/05/obama_criticizes_homophobia_in_africa_he_should_also_criticize_the_american.html

      Manny Pacquiao’s NOT wrong, what I’d be more interested in is his church, American-ties, and the skeletons in their closets— Evangelicals are the biggest hypocrites I know, so you’re bound to find something. It’s not just Evangelicals, there’s a bunch of conservative Catholics and Mormons, exporting this stuff (knowing it’s less popular over there these days) to countries like the Philippines where they know they have a captive audience.

      • James de Valera says:

        In reality even the Bulls or the female cow are humping with each other so it’s not true that animals in same sex have no affection with each other, again this whole idea that you are right because it was written in the bible even though you can disrespect somebody it’s just absurd.

        • James, I agree. And exactly the point of Joe’s article. I know for sure that Jesus never brought this issue up, and that Mohammed never punished homosexuals during his time, though it’s in the Qur’an. The laws are definitely in the Old Testament, but how often these laws were meted out, I’m thinking less since homosexuality as victimizing was more a Greek/Roman thing, not Jewish.

          As for bulls and cows showing affection, establishing dominance through mounting and other behaviours occurs through-out the animal kingdom, more especially among primates, is common… but my counter to this “affection” as “something normal” point, is that animals never really penetrate.

          The only true lesbian behaviour documented aside from Humans are among Bonobos (chimps) where female-female pleasure each other via sex organs, though male-male has never been documented. Females regularly use sex (ie., they have sex with male Bonobos) to neutralize aggression, ie. when males fight each other.
          http://www.livescience.com/44464-bonobo-homosexuality-natural.html

          So male-male homosexuality, so far as we know, only happens among Humans— not that there’s anything wrong with that.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m also struck by the notion that the Bible says “Thou shalt not steal” . . . and I look at the affiliation of plundering thieves who represent UNA, Pacquiao’s chosen political party. He must follow the “pick and choose” rule for applying the instructions of the Bible.

  26. Bing Garcia says:

    These principled members of the thinking middle class feel good by being good. It seems to me that these people make up the new heart of the Philippines. They are the nation’s conscience, its reason, its compassion.

  27. Some Filipino conflicts remind me of this cartoon – Asterix in Corsica. Asterix is the Gallic/French answer to Caesar’s De Bello Gallico nearly 2000 years after. The cartoon ends with the datu, I mean Corsican chieftain, telling the Romans: we will only accept an Emperor who is Corsican.

    Well, there was once a time when on an archipelago, many from a proud and thrifty people, Ilocanos, decided to accept only a King who was Ilocano himself. Today, many from Davao wish to place a God-King on the throne of the archipelago who is one of their own. Island stories…

    http://blogwatch.tv/2011/11/philippine-historian-xiao-chua-says-aquino-cojuangco-video-is-propaganda/ – now this rebuttal of anti-Aquino/Cojuangco propaganda by historian Xiao Chua (Prof. Michael Charleston Briones Chua) is the antithesis of insularity and magical realism, this young man – he has called me “Kuya” on Facebook, as his intellectual father is my biological one, and I am still duly embarrased – is an embodiment of a new spirit of objectivity and civility:

    If you read all my Ninoy and Cory articles, I always stressed that they are not saints. They will say the same thing themselves. I have shown their flaws but also their positive effects on Filipinos. These are the historical facts that can be verified by historical sources: Cory Aquino restored free press and the democratic institutions, development in her administration was hampered by coups and calamities. Ano pa ba hinihingi natin, ayaw niya nga maging presidente, tayo naman ang pumilit sa kanya na maging pangulo, isang pribadong babaeng hasyendera na sinubukan at nangahas na maglingkod. Ano pa ba hinihingi natin ipinagpalit na niya ang pribasiya niya para sa mas mataas na tungkulin?…

    I go for a more balanced view of contemporary history (kapanahong kasaysayan), like what American historians are doing to the Kennedys, demystifying them but also emphasizing their positive contribution to that society.

    Asterix comics mock one person a lot – Julius Caesar. Just like Bill in Oz is now showing a clearer picture of the American Caesar McArthur to all of us now. Caesar may well have been a bit like McArthur a vain self-promoter… even Margaret Mead who lionizes him in her novels sees that.

    Xiao Chua BTW wrote a documentation called Tortyur on the Marcos years, one of the few real documentations. Raissa Robles is finally coming out with the first real book that have heard of about this period. History must be told to put things in proper perspective and prevent legends and magical realism from taking over. History must be told with both the good and the bad, yes objectively but also in a civil manner. True understanding of history – I await, eager yet patient, Will’s next article – is important for a nation to be able to know where it stands and chart its course.

  28. OT: http://www.rappler.com/entertainment/news/123173-berlin-film-festival-lav-diaz-wins-silver-bear

    eight long hours… but this movie which ties in Rizal’s Fili and the Revolution I heard was excellent.

    Of course it shows once more Aguinaldo’s impunity – the murder of Andres Bonifacio by his goons.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I was about to ask you about that film festival.

      • http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/berlin-review-lav-diazs-8-hour-a-lullaby-to-the-sorrowful-mystery-20160219

        Somewhere around the 300th minute of Lav Diaz’ immaculately chiseled glacier, the two most prominent characters have a discussion about art. Isagani (John Lloyd Cruz) believes that it is too romantic a notion to think that art can save the world, but Simoun (Piolo Pascual) encourages him not to give up writing poetry and singing lullabies because only through art can true emancipation be achieved. In the context of “A Lullaby To The Sorrowful Mystery,” this emancipation is directly linked to Pilipino liberation from an oppressive Spanish rule of over 300 years. In a 480-minute sea of conversations, it is one of the more jolting discourses because of its meta nature. The core of Lav Diaz’ intention with his most personal film to date is unmistakably shackled to the idea of emancipating the spirit of his homeland through art. To get even more poetic about it, you could take it even further and say it’s about liberating that abstract, ineffable concept we call “soul” from the human condition.

        It is an immaculately chiseled glacier like Manong Sonny… or like the numerous conversations we all have had in our time as blogging veterans, with insights nudging and sometimes pushing each other with me as one who pushes a bit too hard at times but unlike GRP I rarely punch. My mother told me it was pretty hard to watch inspite of a one-hour lunch break in between, and hard for non-insiders to really get all nuances – but that is of course the nature of the Philippine scene, island-like, mahirap mahuli sa balita.

        Back on topic: http://xiaochua.net/2016/02/08/looking-down-on-each-other-the-filipinos-and-the-chinese-a-history-of-racism/ – this is a beautiful work on this article’s main topic.

        Chinoy patriotic historian Xiao Chua follows the modern way of reconciling differences by promoting enlightenment through more learning – not being in a state of denial and not being a “Get Realist” which is just looking for blame. He is a pioneer his work on Tortyur in the Marcos years, and his show “It’s Xiao Time” which brings history into Filipino reality, makes the old stories like part of the national village narrative, much like town square talk.

        • I am a Filipino with Chinese blood. My great grandfather who was pure Chinese married a Filipina, making me more Filipino than Chinese—I wasn’t able to acquire the culture and the language simply because I was raised by already Filipino parents. Yet recently, my historical articles in a network website were flooded by comments basically saying, “Why should I listen to him, he is Chinese?”

          Sounds a bit like those who commented: is Andrew Lim a Filipino?

          Speaking of the nation, it should not defined by race, but by the feeling of wanting to be part of that nation. I dream of one nation that is also more inclusive to the many cultures and ethnicities within it. That nation is still in the process of defining itself, I think. It has a great soul, but it’s mind is not yet fully awake after sleeping in the pancitan for so many centuries. But more on that at some later point… “mamaya”. 🙂

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