Open discussion: Who, really, is the Filipino, today?

[Photo source:]

By Joe America

The first open discussion thread is getting long. We will leave that one for the lengthier comments that are collecting there to open this new one. I’ll again offer a suggested topic, but it is only a suggestion and is indeed a difficult subject, at least for me.

I very much dislike generalized opinions about Filipinos that seem too often to end up derogatory. I refused to publish a couple of such comments recently, and very much dislike the relentless insults offered up by the likes of Get Real Post and other self-declared experts on human ways and morals. It was made clear to me long ago that I ought not view other cultures through the prism of American ways and values, and, in fact, I’ve grown to be more enchanted by differences than upset by them.

I don’t like the prisms some other people use.

But I’ve had two observations of late that crystallized the issue I’ll put on the table in this article.

First, I read a note on twitter that said the Philippines is sorely missing psychiatric counseling. The nation has only 500 practicing psychiatrists and apparently an estimated one-third of the population need counseling. Holey moley, Batman, that means the line for each psychiatrist would be 220,000 patients long if all the emotionally needful people decided to get help next Monday. Then I look at the high percentage of people expressing trust in President Duterte and I think maybe one-third is a gross underestimation of the percentage who need an emotional oil change. There certainly seem to be some suppressed angers out and about.

Related was my second observation. Sitting at Gerry’s grill in Cebu the other day, I watched all the families and friends having happy, laughing, carefree moments, the kind of simple joys of human togetherness. How can these beaming, friendly faces mask desires for revenge against druggies and popular villains like President Aquino or Mar Roxas, both earnest, decent people? Revenge gives expression to their own struggles, and so they don’t mind bodies in the gutter, taped and bleeding? They don’t mind government lies and rude language? They don’t care if democracy gets switched to dictatorship or the dynastic game of thrones that federalism promises to be?

The joy for Pope Francis seemed legitimate, and so does the enthusiasm for a ruthless President.

Something’s wrong.

Were the people sitting in the restaurant Dr. Jeckylls, and at home there are a lot of Mr. Hydes?

Well, the strange duality also exists in the US, in the UK, and other places. So it is not a racial or necessarily even a cultural thing, unless we are talking about global cultures, say those tied to social media as a source of entertainment and emotional release.

So that is my perplexity. I am not looking for blames or scapegoats, and certainly not demeaning remarks that reflect more of the person speaking than Filipinos. I’m looking for understandings. Who, really, is the Filipino today? Did tribal ways get perverted by too much unrestrained public information (and emotion)? Is there a national identity left at all, or is there just a universal human anger or needfulness that is finding release in the Philippines through a man who serves Filipinos by giving them a convenient outlet of expression? As in other nations.

The overriding emotion SEEMS to be anger. Not joy, not hope, not compassion.

Who, really, is the Filipino, today?


279 Responses to “Open discussion: Who, really, is the Filipino, today?”
  1. Transitioning from the old to the new, quickly. The Internet has I think accelerated this.

    Comfortable and laughing in his core group, still the simple tribal person of old. Overwhelmed by the modern world he lives in.

    Especially when he is unable to manage it – MRT, crime – not for lack of mental hardware, but the software, the culture, isn’t upgraded yet.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    I apologize for being unchained,unbounded and unhinged in the prior open discussion.
    I will now just sit back and read the views of my fellow TSoHers.

  3. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Sigh. Is the noble Filipino found in legend only or is he awaiting the right moment to BE Filipino? Movies and tv trends show what moves us–yes, only love moves us–in episodes perhaps, but we find joy and unity in love. Watch our Christmases. And here lies the paradox: watch our New Year. From the profound and deeply religious to the superficiality, neighbor outdoing each other in noise (Goodbye, Philippines, an apt name for a supercracker). Sigh. I still maintain that President Duterte is both reward and punishment for us. Reward for killing hapless disposable lower caste (New Year noise) and punishment for those who celebrate Christmas, shocking reality. In the five days before Dr. Jekyll melts into Mr. Hyde, I hope some earthly superhero or divine interventionist will snatch us from the jaws of 360 days of shame and confusion. We only have five days of Christmas glory. What is a Filipino? I see love. I prefer to stay in Christmas, hopeful as I am. Five days.

    • Superman died in the last movie.

      Paano na iyan, bahala na lang si Batman?

      Eh kung si Batman tuluyang nabaliw na?

      Mag-iron man na lang kaya si Trillanes?

      Kasi hindi bagay kay Leni ang mag-Darna.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Tee hee chortle snuckle chuckle !

      Yes, a Filipino spends their Christmas bonuses and December pay for a big blow-out !!! They blow it away in smithereens in New Year to drive away “evil spirits” to start the new year. Despite their firecrackers as big as dynamites the “evil spirits” are still lurking in the halls of Congress, Senate and Malacanang.

      It is not the fault of congressmen, senators and presidents … it is the fault of the Filipino people electing them as they are informed by their very own Philippine media’s speculative journalism. The electorates do not blame themselves they blame those people who they put in power and the Philippine Media destroyeth.

      How and where Speculative Journalism began?

      1. It began as gossip under the guise of news
      2. Day after they speculate about gossip
      3. They send out their newly minted fresh-graduates to cover Presidential Palace
      4. They sit, they take notes they do not ask question.

      Whatever happened and where are the “veteran” “journalists”? They get to write loony uninspired columns. Analyzing gossips, speculate, ponder and they call it “deep thinking”.

      • Pablo says:

        With the highest murder rate under journalists, I think it is disgraceful to blame the lack of veteran journalists. Also blaming the Filipino people for electing the wrong congressmen, senators, mayors etc is a bit shortsighted. Matter of fact is that you clearly cannot trust any of them. The guy who looks good today, may turn out to be evil after all. The Filipino is, iike you indicated, a basically happy person who likes to go around and be merry and good to their families and it is amazing how supportive the social structure is. When, in a bigger scale, the political structure fails them, they did not go aggressive, they turned the other way. Probably a very positive attitude, it just does not expose nor eradicate the evil in government. How can you blame them for voting for Duterte and even liking the way things go now? Whole neighborhoods were terrorized by drug-based gangsters and many have been cleared. Yes, there were many (often mainly innocent) victims, but when your neighborhood is again live-able, that got priority. Since birth, all Filipino’s experienced that you cannot rely on the law. The law is there to safeguard the the top 0.1%. And everybody knows it, so people do understand that something else is needed and that is NOT the law. That things are slowly sliding into a swamp, that would require vision and experience to foresee that, something the normal Filipino did not have the opportunity to learn. Certainly sending half the population to the mind-doctors would not help. And the Filipino do not need it, they are very resilient and decent, just desperately looking for a good political system.
        And religion did not provide clear guidance. Yes, there have been some messages read in churches, but nothing strong, no clear moral compass. No leadership.
        What is the answer?
        I did not see any realistic answers..
        Certainly, a good judicial shake-up would resolve 90% of the problems, but then you would have to replace 95% of the judicial system and where would you suddenly get new, capable judges, prosecutors etc? Impossible. And the population feels this very well. So, they feel that a strongman is needed to impose his will….. Hence the rise of the president… A feeling which I can completely understand, born out of despair. Understanding does not equate approving!
        And slowly, the country is sliding into the swamp ever more. Over the past 25 years, I have experienced that the quality of education has been continuously dropping, the environment has been raped at an ever increasing speed, TV is still made for 10-year olds, the economy is dropping (relatively), and the amount of braindrain is skyhigh. Loads of money is being send from abroad, so the pressure to improve is low…..
        Yes, the country probably needs a strongman to bypass the swamp and start a cleanup. But where to find this person? A person who is ruthless on one side, but who has enough integrity to serve the Filipino people well?
        I don’t see an answer. I see many comments like “they should….” But that does not resolve the problems, does it?
        I have done my bit, but got utterly disappointed by what I thought were well meaning politicians and had to get out of it for self-preservation. I don’t see the solution and will hide in my piece of paradise with great people and improve little things on a small scale and certainly not blame the 50+ percent of the people for needing medical care, I think that the people around me are resilient, brave and certainly have a broader world view than their previous colonial powers . When I cannot define a realistic solution, how can I comment on the people around me?
        The country is just gradually preparing for takeover by another more resourceful one. Darwin’s law. Back to where we were in Spanish and American and Japanese and American times. History seems to repeat itself, doesn’t it?

    • madlanglupa says:

      > Is the noble Filipino found in legend only…?

      I find the persistent self-loathing (i.e. comparisons between us and Singapore or Japan) and the tendency to await for a messiah (a second Magsaysay or another Marcos) are both disturbing national traits.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    I guess The psychiatry md course will have more enrollees now due the number of suicides and the controversial remarks of Joey De Leon.

    Here at TSoH we have Cha who is a psychologist by profession.
    Maybe Cha can provide some input on mental health issues and as to why there are not so many of them around.

    • Rank says:

      “First, I read a note on twitter that said the Philippines is sorely missing psychiatric counseling. The nation has only 500 practicing psychiatrists and apparently an estimated one-third of the population need counseling.”

      Psychiatrists don’t do psycho-therapy nowadays. They go by their DSM. When you are sad they give you prozac, paxil, etc. When the placebo effect wears off they put you on a cocktail of zyprexa, abilify, respirdal. And the side effects oftentimes cause people to be suicidal and violent.

      I’d rather go to Cha for counselling. There are no side effects.

  5. alicia m. kruger says:

    JoeAm, many of my friends and relatives are afraid to say something. Sometimes frightened people do not react sensibly. It’s survival mechanism.

    And many Filipinos now have social inferiority complex who pride themselves as educated, civilized and complicit in the thousands of murder of their own people. They only understand the rule of the gun. That the man with the gun makes the rules but they hide their true selves “in plain sight” by presenting themselves as family oriented.

    I call it cowardice and unpatriotic. Period.

    Sadly, this is not the Filipino culture that I used to know.

    • Most interesting. Obedient culture.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > And many Filipinos now have social inferiority complex

      This self-loathing, hence it’s not uncommon to find posts about compare and contrast between Japan, Korea or Singapore (and most people should know that costs of living are much higher in those countries, as well as acutely low levels of happiness and satisfaction).

      • Miela says:

        Self-loathing among Filipinos also come in the form of either seeing indigenous cultures as inferior or seeing the Philippines as having “no culture” due to foreign influences, as if countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand have not been influenced by outsiders.

        Many Filipinos feel inferior because they have absorbed the racist view of what an “Asian culture” is supposed to be and the “monolithifying” what it is to be Asian. It’s like we will only feel good about ourselves when outsiders/non-Filipinos define Filipino culture for us. Kind of like, having to have the constant need for outside validation. It’s like as if we have a “cultural dysmorphic disorder”.

        • This brings me to a frightening conjecture this Halloween…

          Filipino self-loathing PLUS the harsh pecking order of Philippine society =>


          The upcoming middle class who condone EJKs come, with one to two generations of separation, from the same classes as the people whose killings they are allowing. They were ignored at best, killed at worst (“NPA”), and pushed around (in government offices etc.) in their daily lives. “Ordinary people”.

          The parvenus who joined the upper classes (the Imeldific ones) only had to exaggerate their luxury to the point of being tacky to belong. The upcoming new middle class might be doing something even crazier, but logical within Philippine society: THEY ARE KILLING WHAT THEY USED TO BE.

          If before the “trying hard” or moving up was more of using skin whitener, marrying whiter/richer etc., avoid speaking one’s own language, showing off one’s academic credentials, showing that one can buy the latest gadgets… Filipino self-hatred now seems to have reached its perverse extreme.


          Of course a President with an obvious inferiority complex fits into all of this. I doubt that he loves himself, least of all his own nose (c) MRP.

        • wbar says:

          It all boils down to one thing…lack of patriotism.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Again from my dad, but this is just short, it is about the Lumads.

    Lumads in the ARMM/Expanded ARRM: The ancestors of the domain

    ​Amidst the political noise and whispers on the so-called Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between GRP and MILF, a silence on the plight of the Lumads is deafening.
    ​But there are Lumads in ARRM, particularly Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan, that is home to three related etnic groups, namely the Teduray, the Dulangan Manobo, and the Lambangian Manobo. Given the possible expansion of the ARRM territory as rumored in the said MOA, there are also the Subanen in the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Higaunon on Iligan, Blaan and Tboli in the Cotabato area, and other tribes in Palawan.
    ​For the uninitiated, “Lumad” is the Cebuano word for native or indigenous. Its equivalent in Tagalog is ‘Katutubo”. As such, they are the grand ancestors of the national domain.
    ​The non-Muslim communities, at least representatives from 15 out of 18 major tribes in Mindanao, started using Lumad in 1986, as “their self-ascribed collective name as an integral part of their assertion of their right to self-determination’. (Rodil)
    ​The history of their marginalization by colonial policy and later by government-sponsored resettlement or immigration in Mindanao was the same story among the minority groups in the rest of the Philippines where minority groups existed. (Horaldo) The great difference with other minority groups was that the Lumads were peace-loving people and did not resort to arms and violence in response to violence imposed on them.
    ​Fast forward. From a history of marginalization ostensibly to hasten the assimilation or amalgamation of the non-Christians into the mainstream Filipino (which happen to be Christian) community, “special provinces” were formed rather than institutions to recognize the distinct cultural identity. In 1987, however, the Commission of National Integration (CNI) and the non-Christian groups were formally called National Cultural Minorities..
    ​The operative term in government policy was national integration and continued to be so until 1971 for the Moros (through the Tripoli agreement) and 1987 for the Indigenous Peoples (IP) through the 1987 Constitution.
    ​The 1987 Constitution seeks to recognize, promote, and protect the four basic rights of the IP, namely: Cultural integrity, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, and right to ancestral domain.
    ​The enabling laws that embody government policies on IP and the Moro peoples respectively are: Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPIRA) in 1987 and RA 9054, the amended version of RA 6734 (ARMM organic law), as revised in 2001 as a result of the final agreement between GRP and MNLF in September 1996. Both laws set a definite direction towards self-determination, even if limited, or autonomy under the sovereignty of the state and with the integrity of the national territory.
    ​With IPIRA, native title is recognized and the IP can now have their communal ancestral domains and lands titled. The good news is that after 10 years of implementation, the National Commission on IP has issued certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADT) and ancestral land titles (CALT) comprising 1,641,601 hectares benefiting 330,795 individuals. The Lumads are the ancestors of the national domain indeed.
    ​But not in the ARMM. For the Moro peoples, already two of the three agenda of the peace process have been realized and the third agenda – the ancestral domain – is rumored to have been settled in the said MOA that is said to contain “the four strands of concept, territory, resources, and governance. For the IP, the case of the Teduray and the two Manobo tribes in the ARMM is very unusual and unfortunate.There is no law in the country, least of all in the ARMM (IPIRA being inoperative in the Muslim autonomous region) they can use to pursue their ancestral domain.
    ​Likewise in the expanded ARRM. As said earlier, there are the Subanens in the Zambo peninsula; the Higaunan in Iligan; the Manobo, Blaan, and Tboli in the Cotabato area; and other tribes in Palawan.
    ​And there is no clue that the ARRM intends to pass an organic law for the ancestral domain of the Lumads. Conflict is therefore inevitable.
    ​In modern conflicts, Sir Rupert Smith in his book “The Utility of Force” a celebrated work in Europe in 2006, has this to say: “The unspoken but essential assumption on which democracy rests is that the minority trusts the majority not to take unreasonable advantage of their position. In many of the areas in which our modern conflicts have erupted, either the majority genuinely did not respect the rights of the minority, or else the minority perceived itself to be unfairly dealt with.”
    ​This is a message not only to the national Christian majority but also to the Muslim majority in the ARMM, because democracy is the rule of a majority that is concerned with the minority indeed

  7. Sabtang Basco says:


    I know a friend whose nephews are Americans but their parents are naturalized Filipinos. Their children claimed they are Americans. Their parents said they are Filipinos. WHO IS CORRECT?

    They asked me the question because I am open minded. I responded with a question:
    1. Is Charleze Theron a South African or an American? Americans mistake her for an American. Charleze Theron is South African practicing her acting in Hollywood.
    2. Is Barack Obama a Nigerian? An Indonesian? Or, an American?
    3. Is Rachel Weiz a British or an American?
    4. Is Rob Schneider a Filipino or an American?
    5. Is Vanessa Hudgens a Filipino or an American?

    Who are the Filipinos really?
    1. By the looks?
    2. By their parentage?

    Why do they claim they are not Filipnos despite they look like Filipinos?
    1. It is the only country they knew, America?
    2. They do not eat stinky adobo?
    3. They do not “visit” Philippines?

    Why do Filipinos claim Vanessa Hudgens a Filipino when she claims “my parents are Filipinos I am an American”.

    Are Ayalas, Zobels, Sys Filipinos?

    What differentiate Filipinos from hyphenated Filipinos? Like Spanish-Filipino … Chinese-Filipino?

  8. karlgarcia says:

    My dad must have Clintion mind when he kept saying stupid.

    It’s the National Name, Stupid!
    Plaridel C. Garcia

    The Philippines [TP] from Las Félipenas or Filipinas is the national name after Felipe Segundo or Philip II- the son of Charles V who reluctantly commissioned the Magellan expedition. It is said that the son would rather have the Islands named after his father but Emperor Carlos decided: “Felipe, No”. Thus the Félipenos or Filipinos did not become the original Charlies of Asia but only the original Flips. As Samuel 25:25 said: “His name is fool and he acts the fool”.
    The acronym for The Philippines is not TP but RP for The Republic of the Philippines [TRTP] sans double T. Ukrainians were outraged when the international media called their country The Ukraine [TU] during a papal visit, although TU had the sight and sound of Totus Tuus. I would prefer TP to RP because the letter I, the ex-future symbol of the ‘Last Revolution”, secretly inserted to TP is only TIP. To RP it is RIP-the dead strong republic. TP has only the sight and scent of toilet paper.
    Before the new patriots hang this old scoundrel, what is in a name anyway? Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But TP does not smell like roses, even if Filipinas [domestics] wash more often than their Greek mistresses. TP is not a fortune cookie, even if Filipinos [Barcelona pretzels] taste as sweet as “chocolate real con leche” y ponieta. TP is not The Philip-pineapples even if piñas [pineapples] is a secondary crop of banana republics TP is not about pinos [pine trees] either. Salcedo went to Baguio for what was beneath the trees. Now even the pinewoods are almost gone if not the oak wood at Makati. Siam, re- named Thailand, has still the woods and a Tiger to boot after 14 coups. The Thais are proud of their King but Siam was changed to a land of the Thais, not after a King.
    TP is the only country named after King Philip or any king for that matter. Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander, had only a city named Philippi and his son had Alexandria of Egypt. Against Philippi, the politicians of Athens delivered philippics. Philippi is long gone but our politicians are still improving on their “philippinics” that we hear more than the Letter to the Philippians by the apostle Paul. How much longer shall we indulge ourselves with a King that is not even honored in his own country with a barrio?
    To be sure, Philip was the world’s most powerful monarch of his time, a colossus that bestrides a narrow world with the Philippines at the edge. But after inheriting a national debt of 20 million ducats, Spain had to take more than 300 years to recover 20 million dollars from the sale of the Philippines. Some heritage of national debt! The Escorial, which Philip built, was famous for its bureaucracy where resignations were overtaken by death. Morir antes dimitir! It was what Paul Kennedy called the dying empire of the “inept Philips”. But Philip was not a nominal Catholic like most of us. His bedroom was separated from the Queen’s with a huge altar. There was no back channeling. Making love was preceded by a genuflection before the tabernacle. To the marriage was born an infanta, later called Filipina because of a cute pug nose. Filipina I would have been the answer to Elizabeth I of England and English dictionaries would not have listed Filipina as a domestic helper. But the heir-apparent was Carlos, rumored to have been murdered by a demented father. Schiller and Verdi immortalized the tragedy with a verse drama and opera respectively. But our heroes who studied in Europe did not seize the moment at Biak-na-bato, Malolos, and Kawit to change our national name.
    The pains of King Philip were surreal in our national name. The pines of Philip in the Philippines mean anguish, torment, and punishment. As a plebe at the Academy beast barracks a generation ago, I wondered about the name of my country I was being hazed to kill and die for. Was it not the Baguio pines of my affections? But why was the pines pronounced pins? Was it because the leaves of the pine trees are called pins because they are like needles? Some name in pins and needles!
    But my mistahs could not care less. Cadet Trillanes would rather write a book, sire a son, and plant a tree. He must have planted one at Oakwood, Makati. Cadet Pacuño would rather fell the dragon tree. He became Commander Dragon of Abu Sayaf fame. Paraphrasing Shakespeare, they could not care a pin, to mention a few with agenda surreal. But no one would join my proposed coup for name-change. Paraphrasing Quezon, we would rather have a nation pining like hell. It is a cul-de-sac. Dead end. No turning back. As Sartre said: No exit.
    The quintessential Filipino became Juan de la Cruz. His fate is in the crosses he bears. First came the cross of the Inquisition aboard decrepit ships in search of the unholy grail of Cathay gold and the incense of spices. Cara-cruzan! Then the cross of the Reformation came aboard the fleet of “naval imperialism”[Golay] powered by the “yellow press”[Pulitzer and Hearst] and manifested by “divine inspiration” [McKinley]. Double cross-san! The coup de grace was the cross of the Reparations not any holier in the appearance of developmental aid. Dorobo-san! His authentic salvation is in the “green wood”. But there is no light atop a deforested hill.
    If the Filipino is name-crossed, The Philippines is also star-crossed. The destiny of TP is in the sun, the stars, and the moon. Juan de la Cruz could never have a “dark night of the soul” [St John of the Cross]. TP of the John had only a Crescent moon, but it has been waving and waxing for the last four hundred years in Mindanao. Then came the Star of Bethlehem with the Magen David. But after more than three hundred years, the Americans thought of “christianizing and civilizing” the natives. Came the Stars and Stripes with the stars of Hollywood. With too many stars, the Rising Sun must come. So did the stars of Lenin and the stars of Mao.f
    Las Félipenas already pining in penas [punishment] has to be starring as a syndrome as well. Its quintessential national fruit is the carambola [balimbing], “quinta-cara na bolero pa”. When it is cut as a cross-section it resembles a pentagram, the so-called star of Satan. What we should cut horizontally and vertically is the name Philippines instead. We may yet have a Cross of Salvation. It is the national name, stupid!

  9. Sabtang Basco says:

    Do Filipinos are in need of psychiatrists? Are Filipinos psychiatrists? Noticed in comments the common derogatory responses if the commenters have compelling logical rational arguments Filipinos asks:
    1. Have you pop your meds?
    2. Are you mental?
    3. Are you retard?
    4. you are psycho!
    5. You missed your psychiatric appointment?

    There are plenty and it is all about psychology and psychiatry … If Filipino commenters use these, therefore, something is wrong with them?

  10. karlgarcia says:

    The Philippines: A Name-Crossed Nation
    Plaridel C. Garcia

    ​The Philippines may not be doomed or star-crossed, in the figurative sense. But our fate seems to be in the stars, sun and moon, and our destiny is in the crosses we bear. The figurative could be literal and the literal figurative.
    ​First, came the Crescent Moon. Then the Star of Bethlehem and the Magen David. After 400 years of the Vatican (SP Lopez) came the Stars and Stripes. Then after “40 years of (the stars) Hollywood” came the Rising Sun. In less than 40 years, the stars of Mao came. They came, they saw, they conquered what was to be a nation with a star syndrome.
    ​Juan de la Cruz could never have a “dark night of the soul” (St. John of the Cross). Even in the light of day he calls araw (sun) he sees stars while talking text to the moon. In the dark of night, he embraces the shadow of his cross, by the light of a waxing moon.
    ​He is of the “people of light” (Illuminati). In his national colors, the sun and the stars boxed in a triangle, are heavy enough without the crescent moon and the cross. His national anthem ends with “To die for thee”. The pines in his national name did not come from the “tree of life” but from “penas” (torment and anguish). Our Juan de la Cruz must be having a “dark night of the senses” (St. John of the Cross), indeed.
    ​How could he not be saved by the many crosses of his salvation? First came the cross of the Inquisition aboard wooden vessels in quest of the unholy grail of Cathay gold and silver and the incense of spices. Columbus was recorded to be praying the Book of Psalms in the expedition to nearby Americas, but Pigafetta was even scandalized with the nose rings of native women. He must not have heard of the Book of Genesis. After several expeditions and several hundred years, no one was martyred for the faith. San Lorenzo of Binondo and Blessed Pedro of Cebu did their good fight somewhere else. There was no red martyrdom. Magellan died with his pants (armor) down. Some monks scattered their white blood, but it was not white martyrdom either. Our heroes did not die for the faith if the faith was not entirely to blame for their death.
    ​Perhaps that was why McKinley had a dream of a divine mission “to Christianize and civilize” us even if we were named after saints. Then came the cross of the Reformation. But it was in the wake of the fleet of “naval imperialism” (Golay) and the truths of the “yellow press” that was to set us free. A script was written for a mock surrender of white men to white men instead of to indios, also known as “niggers”. $20M transfer price was agreed uncannily, the number of Spanish national debt when Philip II assumed the throne. We were neatly “double-crossed” according to Millis, according to Araneta. Some crosses!
    ​This was the way of the cross of “the only Christian nation in Asia” and “the show window of democracy” of the superstars by superstars and for superstars! These megastars have the benefit of mega-tolerance, not really the poor who are marching with crosses on their shoulders irrespective of ideology or theology.
    ​Yet, what do we do without the Stars and Stripes, the Rising Sun, and the stars of Mao? The Crescent Moon must not be against us if not with us. With problems of their own, sooner or later we may have nothing but paper stars, paper sun, and paper moon by the stars of Hollywood.
    ​Truly humbled enough this All Saint’s Day, we would realize that we have nothing left but the Star of Bethlehem and the real Cross of salvation. By faith, that sufficient enough. The Philippines is star-crossed, indeed.

    • sonny says:

      USec P Garcia is different from my stereotype of the PMA persona. He is renaissance man, mystic, and duty-bound to his ideals. Ganyan ang dating niya ayon sa mg naisulat ni Karl. Ano sa palagay mo, Neph. Tama ba ang palagay ko?

  11. Sabtang Basco says:

    In the U.S. when …

    We utter the N-word we are called racist … blacks would go nuclear … but Ok for blacks to label each other “N” …

    Black on black is OK but not Ok if White kills Black …

    If Emmy and Grammy do not reflect the demographics of the U.S. it is racist …

    Having said that, Filipinos are aware of racism … but OK for a German to represent Filipinos in Beauty Contest with lame excuse that Philippines is a mixed race. The U.S. does not have a race. It is made up of immigrants from dizzying array of countries … Philippines is not an immigrant country … it is colonized country … by China, Spain, British, German, Americans and Japan. They hate the colonizers but they love and drool over their looks that they wanted to be white. SM dedicates two aisles for skin whitening alone. Becky Belo appointments runs two years to have their skin whitened and nose like mine.

    Vietnamese when asked if they are Vietnamese there is always a qualifier: I am Chinese living in Vietnam or I am Chinese they do not seem to answer straightaway without qualifiers.

    Are Filipinos, like Vietnamese, proud of their heritage? Or, are they only proud if Filipinos have German pedigree?

    Are Filipinos racist?

  12. NHerrera says:

    Joe, your trademark fairness shines through again in the current short blog, “Who, really, is the Filipino, today?” — I’ve grown to be more enchanted by differences [in other cultures ] than upset by them; well, the strange duality also exists in the US, in the UK, and other places; so that is my perplexity; I am not looking for blames or scapegoats, and certainly not demeaning remarks that reflect more of the person speaking than Filipinos; I’m looking for understandings.

    Who, really, is the Filipino, today? I, too, am greatly perplexed and looking for understandings — and the irony is I am a Filipino citizen and so were my parents. I hope to be able to get some sort of reasonable answer from the comments in this blog.

    • Cheers, NH. As near as I can tell, Filipinos and Americans are on the same path of abandoning the values that assured some unity, in favor of ruthless and divisive advocacies. Both peoples are getting socially uglier.

  13. Francis says:

    “The joy for Pope Francis seemed legitimate, and so does the enthusiasm for a ruthless President.”

    “Something’s wrong.”

    “Were the people sitting in the restaurant Dr. Jeckylls, and at home there are a lot of Mr. Hydes?”

    “Well, the strange duality also exists in the US, in the UK, and other places. So it is not a racial or necessarily even a cultural thing, unless we are talking about global cultures, say those tied to social media as a source of entertainment and emotional release.”

    Duality is everywhere. I agree. On duality:

    Man is an inherently imperfect being. No man is perfect; thus, it also follows: no society composed of men is perfect. This is just a gut observation, but from what little I’ve skimmed through—I am of the belief that every virtue of a society has a flip side; that is, behind every virtue is a vice.

    Note Japan; efficient collectivism and group (not fuhrer) disciplined leadership—the pound of flesh in exchange: lack of radical innovation, and indecision. Note America; brilliant innovation, freedom to be whoever you want to be, the conviction that rights are your inherent heritage not privilege—the price tag for all that: greed and selfish materialism gone rampant, scared and lonely individuals floating in a anomie as untamed individualism tears down groups (connections between individuals) and makes everyone right, everyone wrong and no one certain in postmodern chaos.

    People talk about discipline, liberty, etc. Yet, it is not often acknowledged that there is a price to every virtue, every value that one aspires society to have. Discipline entails paying in liberty; in reverse, liberty has discipline as a cost.

    What sets apart America, Japan, etc. from our nation? They have somehow found a way (by the arrangement of their institutions?) to channel their culture in such a way that the virtues are maximized and the vices are minimized, resulting in the minimum hinderence to the material prosperity and sense of fulfillment among their citizenry.

    • Francis says:


      What is the USP (Unique Selling Point—the thing that symbolizes, i.e. Sushi = Japan appears instantly in my mind, so ??? = Filipino) virtue of the Filipino; and what is the main vice that results from this?

      Personally, I don’t know for sure.

      Provisionally, all I have is:

      virtue = a strong devotion to local in-group “extended family” (encompassing nuclear family, close relatives and barkada + fictive family like ninongs and ninangs)

      ways in which institutions have shown this strength: with the exception of Muslim Mindanao and Indigenous Cordillera, the diminishing of ethnic divisions among trapos; while low-level trapos political conflict happpens, political conflict on an ethnic level (i.e. Ilocano v. Tagalog) has not manifested violently, as far as I know…

      vice = division—constant splintering and division along familial, factional lines

      ways this vice manifests in: political dynasties

    • Japan seems ready to drift back to angry in the abandonment of the idea that military is for defense only. The only commonality to me is that every land is getting angrier.

  14. NHerrera says:

    I find interesting and persuasive the element of virtue and its associated negative consequence as a help in defining the Filipino, as it helps define the American, the Japanese, etc. But I suggest that there are other major elements.

    1. PH is a melting pot, just as the US is, although the halo-halo in the US is much broader — in the Philippines we have Malayan, Chinese, American, Spanish and PH situation pre-Magellan.

    2. The American character has undergone great changes from the time of the Pilgrims to the present. It has a Constitution which can be admired, but in the early days there were bad guys too, but the pace of things were relatively slow, and US natural resources and demographics were such that poverty was eased relatively early
    at the same time that education was made part of the American system. In the early days, love of family was also an American virtue. It has evolved I submit.

    3. Some parallelism with the PH may be made, but through accident such as Marcos, followed not long after by Estrada, the Filipino still needing to be nurtured, got derailed by decade or two. Then came the great changes the world has seen, including that spurred by technology — internet — when the handy phone makes one see in stark terms how we are essentially at the low end of the comfort zone and helps in the anger and rage of the poor and not so poor.

    4. Thus before the Filipino virtue overwhelms its associated negative aspect (the duality) the latter being stoked by the poverty item — and yes, the associated drug problem, traffic mess, the unreplaceable jeepney, the politicians doing its best under such situation — we have the poverty situation remaining and even growing: doing what it does to humans of any kind under that situation.

    I have only scratched the surface and probably have not explained it well, but I suggest, as I have above, that other factors, among which is the time factor in the scheme of things, are important elements as virtue is.

    • NHerrera says:

      Oops: I messed up the items to be highlighted and those not to be. But I hope the idea comes through.

    • Poverty is a huge barrier to ending poverty. Sounds like nonsense, but there seem to be no solutions emerging from the poor, and only hate for the elite like the Aquino government. The denial of accountability is a fundamental Filipino trait. You can’t find solutions if you can’t recognize truth and be accountable for bad decisions.

      • NHerrera says:

        The current status leads me to agree with “The denial of accountability is a fundamental Filipino trait.” Which I expand to the denial of obvious negative consequence of their actions, which mitigates only slightly the poor. The poor who I have pampered in my thoughts because of their dire situation; and who are not really as ignorant as we or some of us grant.

      • Francis says:

        I don’t think it’s the poor with whom one is most likely to find an issue with.

        The recent SWS survey actually showed that poverty was directly proportional to the dip in the current President’s satisfaction ratings. E reported the steepest drop, followed by D—with ABC reporting negligible change. That is no surprise; they get the brunt of the impact of the War on Drugs.


        It’s a cultural issue.

        Why are the well-off, the supposedly most potentially “Westernized” (by virtue of material prosperity granting access to books, the internet, gadgets, etc.) also the segment that is most supportive of the President?

        My rough sketch of the situation goes like this; the reasons for supporting/opposing the current President, with regards to the poorer segments of PH society and the more well-off segments of PH society, run on different rules depending on where you look. Sorta like how Quantim Physics and “Normal” Physics work differently; rules are different for super-small particles, as opposed to big stuff like your body and elephants…or at least that’s what I remember from my Nat Sci class…but essentially…that’s the metaphor.

        For instance, the reasons for support/criticism in the Class E and, to a lesser extent, Class D—they get affected by one huge key factor: personal experience. They—especially the folk from Class E—bear the brunt of the War on Drug’s Impact. Here, the support/ criticism of the President becomes a “class” issue.

        On the other hand, the reasons for support/criticism among Class D (to a certain extent..?) and Class ABC are probably affected by a different key factor: degree of attachment or identification to the “West” or “Western” concepts such as liberalism and (in a somewhat ironic way) socialism. I confess a lot of anecdotal evidence convinces me of this wild guess: Here, the support/criticism of the President becomes a cultural issue.

        Why in this rough sketch, are the factors different, depending on which segment of society you investigate. I think that the Class E folk don’t care about whatever cultural war (as manifested in the obession with Twitter flame wars and FB rants) is going on; rather, I think all they care about is what’s in front of them and what’s necessary to survive; their reasons are concrete, material and pragmatic: I don’t like what the government is doing because I am scared of the incidents of police abuse possibly affecting me.

        Furthermore, Class E can’t afford to eat much—much less have a phone that can plug them into national discourse. I assume (?) that they are not active cultural shapers (?) in that sense.

        But who shapes culture? Who are the guys (us included) involved in this cultural whirlpools and fissures becoming visible in our society? Those who can shape culture. Those who can afford to—who can afford to buy the smartphones that allows them to plug into the “public sphere” of national discourse. The middle classes, lower and upper—along with the elite. Their motivations, in a rough sense, can be described as “higher up” the Maslow Scale. Having their tummies relatively full, and their thumbs on their smartphones—they can afford to worry about abstract, intangible things: whether that be (for the opposition) concern for the deterioration of constitutional democracy and the rights that underpin it, or (for the supporters of the administration) concern for the abstract unity of the Filipino nation, as crudely expressed in a cult of personality (which is still an abstract thing) around the President. Their reasons are abstract, immaterial and ideological.

        To go back to the metaphor earlier: just as physics runs on two different sets of rules, with one set of rules applying to “normal” stuff and another applying to “super-small” (quantum) stuff—the dynamics of support/criticism of the President probably run on two different sets of rules/factors: one for the culturally-excluded (Class E) and another for the culturally-engaged (everyone else).

        Pardon for the long comment, and for the muddled thoughts. Take with a grain of salt, this is just a guess based on gut.

        • Francis says:


          The one who should be analyzed most seriously in finding out how we got to this point, is not the poor (who actually just want to survive) but rather the middle classes.

          EDSA I. EDSA II. PNoy. Duterte. They have served as the fulcrum of almost all (save the noteworthy exception EDSA Tres, the ONLY time the poor rose up in anger; note how without middle class support, it failed) major recent turning points in the PH. The middle classes have served as the reservoir of both sides: from the ranks of the middle classes, hail both the pro-administration bloggers and their counterparts in both the liberal democratic and red segments of the opposition.

          Note the role of the OFW in the time of Duterte; one of the pillars of the PH middle classes, with the sheer purchasing power of their remittances.

          Perhaps, the answer lies in analyzing the middle class…who are the unpredictable factor…

          …as the elite can only plan around them and the poor (save for EDSA Tres) can only watch.

          • The middle class also supported Marcos and the New Society.

            The economic boom of the 1960s was with new and shiny cars, many people moving to Manila – but also those who did not quite make the dream, ended up as criminals or drunks.

            As the Filipino IS for the most part “swapang” (selfish) they voted for someone who would get the disorderly elements out of the way, so they could enjoy their new wealth. Many of these middle class people became yellow when the economy failed starting 1980s. Q.E.D.

          • NHerrera says:

            Francis, your notes above after your “virtue” posting, gives me better bigger picture. I was elaborating on the virtue factor which weighed heavy in your first posting. Thanks for the elaboration.

            That said, the historical and time factors are relevant in my opinion.

          • That then raises the question of why the middle class acts against the social and economic best interests of themselves? What is the emotional basis for what (to me) seems like irrational choices?

        • As for the pro-Western aspect… the Quezon era plus postwar elites grew up in a time when the Philippines was still the US’s “little brown brother”, but a well-liked little brown brother.

          It was a founding member of the “putangina” United Nations. It had a strong economy, with the Deutsche Mark and the Peso close to 1:1 in 1968, and Peso having more buying power. This was when most other countries were just becoming independent, or still struggling. Only Japan was richer than the Philippine, South Korea lagged behind, and Filipinos were snooty towards most other Asian countries because they did not speak English as well as they. And there was still a substantial mestizo elite in the Philippines before Marcos’ Martial Law.

          A lot of white or nearly white Filipinos left gradually for Spain or Latin America until the 1970s – Zobel might be the only one of his kind left. Probably similar pressures against them like those against yellows today. Filipino crab tends to level down things. Then you had mass naturalization for Chinese in 1975. And since Filipinos tend to imitate whatever is rich and powerful, the cultural peg no longer was Western like before for the new groups that came.

          At middle class level: from JFK onwards, massive migration to the USA. And of course a lot of Filipinos working on US bases, in US embassies until around the mid-1990s.

          Why until then? Because the USA somewhat changed its attitude to Filipinos when thrown out of its bases. Less were employed. The generation that had relatives in the US or working for the US worldwide was friendlier – of course because the US was a sort of “patron” employer. Now the employment has shifted, since 1975 POEA registers OFW numbers, Marcos decided to send people abroad, more OFWs in Middle East, SEA, HK – other patrons, less US contact.

        • sonny says:

          Francis, not to worry. There is no contradiction between Newtonian Physics (big stuff) and Quantum Physics (particle stuff). There is contrast, yes definitely. It is the rules (equations) that take different forms when one “works/toils” in macro environment and when one “works/toils” in the micro environment. Rules (equations) are languages to describe relationships and there are 2 sets: one to describe the macro world and another to describe the micro world. Which is which, is more obvious in physical sciences than in the social sciences and human affairs. If one is looking for a bridge, it is the Math, another name for language. The single attribute of the language is ABSOLUTE PRECISION. The closer human affairs communicate with this attribute, the clearer humans will understand each other.

          Energy is work is (attractions & repulsions) is (displacement & change) in time.

      • manangbok says:

        “The denial of accountability is a fundamental Filipino trait. ”

        Maybe. But from where I am looking, it seems like denial of accountability is a trait of people who feel that they have been slighted/victimized and are feeling self-righteous because of that victimization.

        Maybe an analogy is called for. Here in the Middle East, I see Muslim Arabs who feel that the West have encroached on them too much and have imposed Western culture at the expense of Arabic traditions. Resentments have arisen because of it. This feeling often manifests as anger and violence. Hence, ISIS. I am over-simplifying it, of course, but that is the analogy I can think of.

        ISIS (I am referring to the feeling behind the need of Muslim Arabs to have something like ISIS to avenge their pride against the “marauding” West than the organization/ideology per se), is to the Muslim Arab world what Dutertismo is to the Philippines.

        If you feel downtrodden, you will feel justified in imposing your definition of “justice” (which is actually revenge in real practice) and will not feel accountable about it, because hey, you were a victim.

        Does that make sense?

        Admission of accountability/responsibility is a capability of the strong. We (Filipinos I mean) do not feel strong — we are still an archipelago of slaves 😦

  15. popoy says:

    Media has progressed a lot over the short E-TECH years. It can not only demonize but also VAPORIZE subliminally anyone or any individual it likes to, even country President like Donald Trump. Readers have to be IDIOTIZED first; have a look at these lifted news ( bold and italics mine):

    “As members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, both South Korea and Japan are barred from building or obtaining nuclear weapons. But, per the Times, both countries have both the technological capability of producing thousands of missiles quickly. According to a 2015 report by Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists, South Korea alone can feasibly produce 4,300 nuclear bombs.

    “If we decide to stand on our own feet and put our resources together, we can build nuclear weapons in six months,” Suh Kune-yull, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University, told the Times. “The question is whether the president has the political will.”

    President Donald Trump helped foster these militaristic sentiments on the campaign trail last year, arguing that neither country has paid the U.S. enough for the military protection it provides. In September, the president even offered to sell “sophisticated” military gear to Japan and South Korea, causing worry for possibly triggering an arms race in the region. (underscoring mine.)

    Experts have warned for decades about the threat posed by nuclear proliferation in East Asia.

    AND TO THINK THAT TRUMP WILL GO TO NUCLEAR WAR IF NEED BE JUST TO STOP NOKOR from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. And HE HAS DAW CAUSED THE POSSIBLE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR CAPABILITY IN ASIA? This is the shittist eche bucheche of all idiocy leveled against Trump. People of Political correctness of the world won’t stop until THEY are successful in vaporizing the earth’s people. I know the way the media writes is infectious sometimes.

    As an example of thinking not outside the box but outside the EARTH, an imbecile sort of thinking is to imagine that if US strike first and then as needed totally destroy NOKOR, China, Russia and Iran will NOT repeat not, just BLAST the USA away until they themselves are attacked knowing all other countries will side with US. Political Incorrectness KNOW that China, Russia, and Iran are led and populated by real human beings which political correctness of the West doesn’t think so ( bold and italics mine as submitted).

    • popoy says:

      In an IGNITED nuclear war no country is absolutely indispensable EXCEPT ONE’S OWN. All others are dispensable except allies and others for strategic reasons.

  16. karlgarcia says:

    In Joe America’s blog article Filipino is not a race (link) He correctly states that Filipino is a nation and being Filipino is a nationality, but what is the race of the Filipino. Joe first mentioned an article by Irineo in this blog:

    Irineo wrote an article titled “Being in Filipino” that started with Shakespeare (“to be or not to be”) and wound its way through Europe and across the Pacific to the Philippines where the Game of Thrones emerged from a tribal culture overlaid with the aspirations of conquering Spanish and American overlords (“live and let live“).

    He wrote, near the end of his article: “The hardheadedness of many Filipinos might be due to shifting ground they still stand on.”

    That struck me as an extraordinary bit of wisdom, particularly as I see my own views hardening as they come under pressure from people who insist I agree with them, lest they slap labels on my forehead meant to diminish me to the stature of a worm slithering through the earth. The more labels they slap on my forehead, the more determined I am not to even listen anymore. I think a Spanish overlord or priest in 1823 might have the same affect on those at the bottom of the formal racially based caste system that existed at the time.

    You see, that’s what Irineo did. He sent me directly to get a better reading on “Filipinos“, a word that until now I had interpreted in racial terms. But that is not true, I learned. ‘Filipino’ is not a race just as ‘American’ is not a race. Racial distinctions in the Philippines ended after the Philippine American War when the Spanish caste system, based on race, was eliminated.

    “The system was used for tax purposes. Indios paid a base tax, mestizos de sangley paid twice the base tax, sangleys paid four times the base tax, and the blancos or whites (Filipinos, peninsulares, mestizos de español, and tornatrás) paid no tax. Negritos who lived within the colony paid the same tax rate as the indios.” [Wiki]

    In this extreme heat with record breaking heat index,we love to eat halo-halo for desert.

    In elementary they made it simple first came the Aetas using the land bridges (proven never existed), then the Indonesians, then the Malays thern the Spaniards came. But we learn that even before the Chinese, the Arabs, the Hindus have set foot in our lands. Ten years before Magellan used the Pacific route to discover the Philippines, the Portuguese already set foot on our shores.

    So many people from all over has set foot in our islands,no wonder we are a mixed race. Now this can also be called the Filipino mix.

    • Karl, that is one aspect. But of course colonialism created a pecking order – everywhere. One can see it in the USA between blacks and whites. In Jamaica they have a very strange scaling of color – before white there is “olive” and “fair” which only Jamaicans can distinguish.

      In the Philippines the peninsulares looked down on the insulares, the insulares looked down on the mestizos etc., and then mix that with turn of the century to 1930s American racism and you have the present Philippines – try to marry whiter/richer/taller/smarter/slim-nosed as possible.

      As for psychological stuff, many Filipinos believe things that were typical for late 19th century Europe or up to 1930s: that “craziness”, being “abnormal”, being “criminal” are “in da blood”. Some families research if future wives/husbands of their children have such in their families.

      Just like they of course prefer if the future wife or husband has bar topnotchers, SC Justices or similar in the family. And parents push their children to “top the bar”, “be valedictorians”. The dark side is losers are sidelined, the extreme is now how their being killed is mostly ignored.

      The solution is to give people a chance to gain confidence, each at their level of comfort, something which Angat Buhay or Negosyo Centers do. To rant at the EU nearly every week is more like denying all accountability, the cheap language is like “hey being ghetto is OK”.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks so much for your inputs, insights and suggested solution, Ireneo.

        • one additional point: I think the intense hatred for the “yellow elite” is the greatest among rich Duterte supporters. The recent comment of Krizette Laureta Chu that PAB (Jover) is “only” the “scullery maid” of the LP was so indicative of that. But this is also typical for highly layered societies everywhere. The Bonapartist new aristocracy hated the old French aristocracy the most. Insulares and Creoles were the first Filipinos to rebel against the peninsular Spanish. “Gusto lang naman pala ninyong pumalit” was the reaction of many to Chu’s elitist posting.

          MLQ3 also mentioned that a number of upper middle class Filipinos went cynical in Arroyo’s time, wanting to find a way up to the oligarchy but not quite making it. Probably the ambitions of these people were frustrated once again during Daang Matuwid, now they might try again. Their allies are the new middle class (BPO and OFW money) who also live by the adage: “nobody cared for me, everybody stepped on me, so why should I care about anybody?”

          • karlgarcia says:

            You know very well when the cronies’ assests were sequestered and some of them faded away and never to be heard of again.
            But some never went away like Lucio Tan.
            Danding made a brief comd back,but now he is replaced or maybe just represented by Ramon Ang.
            Ongpin is back.
            The Sorianos disappeared, The Aboitizes still around.
            Old elite just replaced by new elite.
            Or the old elite has the new elite as dummies.
            this Dennis Uy is just a dummy of the old elite in hiding.
            The lobbyists of land reform prevention,land use law prevention are the same agents landed elite.

            We duscussed that Tuason lineage(Mike Arroyo’s ancestors) a year ago, now we see that the Arroyos are still around.
            Imlearned that the Son Tuas were the richest Filipinos and the only Filipino nobility during the Spanish rule.

            Mike Arroyo played golf with the Chinese maybe that golf game is a huge investment.

            Ok, I will stop baka kung saan na naman ito mapunta.

            • say more… one can even start wondering why Highway 54 (future EDSA) was by chance built by Quezon close to the lands of his friends Ayala and Ortigas – (Makati and Mandaluyong CBDs) or did they buy while the highway was being built, simply looking more into the future than the typical Filipino? Go further north and you have Son Tua’s lands, the Tuason mega-estate.

              But Europe also got started that way with nobles, the USA had its robber barons. And then you had anti-trust laws and other stuff which made the playing field more level, the rules fairer.

              Of course that does not happen in a country where people are too passive and meek. Even for rebelling against certain elites, they need a patron who is from a rude counter-elite.

              • karlgarcia says:

                All dictators, emperors,kings,presidents,pms have a band of powerful elites behind them.
                The cast or characters may change, but the dynamics remain the same.

                The inventor of that machine to make garments easier tried to have his invention patented but queen Elizebeth(?) said that many peope will lose their jobs so that poor guy
                did not get his patent and some guy later in the future got the credit.

                Does anti-trust regulate or protect Monopolies.
                Has Linux survived Microsoft Windows?

              • popoy says:

                I grew up in Guadalupe, used to roller skate in highway 54 during and just after liberation. Army six-by-six driven by GIs uses the highway in gping to three camps. When my auntie war widow need to follow up papers in Camp Murphy or Nichols I accompany her walking to the two military camps. Fort William McKinley is just a short walk from our house. Just don’t know why a highway 55 to connect H54 up to Sangley Point was not constructed at the time.

                I heard in Makati that the Ayalas and the Zobels were complaining because the inheritance they got were non-agricultural lands of adobe rocks and mostly cogonal. Makati is nothing but an urbanization serendipity. We used to go biking there in McKinley Road when there were only three houses and roads under construction in Forbes Park.

              • Glossary for the younger ones:

                Highway 54 = EDSA

                Camp Murphy = Aguinaldo

                Nichols = Villamor Air Base (?) later MIA/NAIA were added

                McKinley = Fort Bonifacio (?) => The Fort today

                Forbes Park was constructed after the war..

                Guadalupe is of course where the EDSA bridge over the Pasig is located.

                (fascinating, almost like seeing black and white pictures come alive)

                How long were Buendia and Ayala Ave. still the runways of the old Manila airport?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Uncle Sonny’s dad was the base commander of Camp Murphy, if I recall correctly.

              • sonny says:

                Neph, thanks 🙂 for promoting my dad. He was one of the majors in the Adjutant Gen’s staff during his stint at Fort McKinley (mid-’50s). His younger brother (PMA ’38) was once the FOIC of Ph Navy, office at Dewey Blvd. Both were Bataan vets and imprisoned w/Raul Manglapus by the Japanese at Fort Santiago, 1943. A younger brother was KIA, Bessang Pass, ’45.

                I share Popoy’s idylls during many a visit to my dad’s quarters via Bo. Guadalupe & McKinley Road. My wife’s dad is buried at Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, executed by the Japanese in 1944. He was my model for the Citizen-Soldier, par excellence. He joined the Commonwealth Army as Cadre Training officer 1939. He was graduated from the Adv UPROTC, Los Banos.

              • sonny says:

                Dad’s immediate post-war assignment was at Camp Murphy, 2nd Lt. I spent my weekends at the Camp, learned how to swim at the Base clubhouse and my fill of pass-in-review parades to feed my nationalistic heart in-step with Souza music, watching the best of Filipino manhood march by.

                During Ft McKinley weekends when an army service jeep was available, we would make ‘pasear’ through the winding canopy of fire trees along McKinley Road. Pedestrian & public vehicle traffic were rare along the boulevard. Buendia and other streets had only rustic ambience, kalabaw and talahib were the dominant flora and fauna where the concrete aedifices and pathways of today now stand. Rizal theater then, sitting by its lonely self was the only concession to modernity. Now even the theater is no more.

              • karlgarcia says:

                OK it was his first assignment post WW2, and not as base commander, sorry for not remembering it correctly.
                Anyways, I enjoy you,Irineo and Popoy reminisce.

          • Ah, you answer the question I just asked of Francis.

    • popoy says:

      if not posted here in TSoH before
      this could be a disturbing piece of eche bucheche:

      Don’t Cry For Me Filipinas,
      Cry for Your Elite Who Serve You best

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas?
      I have done nothing for you, nothing of significance.
      I may have loved you, but didn’t fight for you
      I may not have rob you, steal from you,
      I may not have raped you, but I am not your patriot.

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas?
      Being born in you, nourished in your bosom
      Tutored in your schools, grown in your natural wealth
      I was your child, your boy, your man, your citizen
      I am not the kind of your success who live the good life.
      So I have done nothing deserving of your tears.

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas?
      Envious and angry I saw you cry to high heavens
      For your criminal politicians, thieving bureaucrats.
      Greedy, power hungry, insatiable, shameless.
      I saw you bury them alongside your heroes
      And you have cried for them my Filipinas.

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas?
      There are tens of millions of me you don’t and didn’t cry for
      There are tens of thousands of them deserving of your tears
      Your shame is known to the world because of them
      And not because of the toil of the millions of us.
      Never had so few so deserve your tears
      Never had so few of your heroes dishonoured so many.

      If you must cry for me Filipinas, cry for millions like me
      Then face the mockery of your tens of thousands heroes
      Because you did cry when Rizal choose to die by musketry
      Instead of fighting your oppressors. History remembers no tears
      Were shed for Andres Bonifacio, Gregorio del Pilar, Diego Silang . . .

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas who deserve your river of tears
      I am no bishop, not a justice of the courts, nor a member of Congress
      Not a police or army general or a greedy businessman?
      Why cry for me?

      Who am I to say don’t cry for me Filipinas? So arrogant and proud?
      Who can not say much less beg: Please cry for me my Filipinas
      For not standing by you, for not risking my life for you.
      It is I who must beg you, please cry for me Filipinas
      For knowing not like many of your children,
      I have lost my soul.
      August 16, 2008

    • Ah, thanks for remembering that post, and the elaboration on the ‘non-racial’ character of Filipinos. I have no idea if my son is anything but deluxe mix, and I have no idea what to put on the US census forms when they ask about race. Fortunately, they have not found me to ask.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Fortunately. 🙂

        • popoy says:

          TSoH if I may, I got three Am-Fil grandkids and this is a grandpa’s yabang. All three have TAGs (talented and gifted) certs while in elem and high school. Your progenies are the most likelies to be more than what you are. And That’s Genetics though not proven by
          Gregor Johann Mendel. Deterioration of the specie is rare but may happen in severely
          underdeveloped countries. Sorry, as if you didn’t know, but just giving real life example.
          The young Filipinos now (in the movies) don’t look like Filipinos of the previous five generations. .

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Filipinos accept Zaide’s history of Philippines … Americans do not … it is evolving … THE LAST STAND AT BATTLE OF LITTLE BIGHORN … was REWRITTEN. There was not last stand after all. Custer and his 7th cavalry actually RAN. How American historians found out about it? FORENSIC EVIDENCE (to borrow the word***). They ran for their lives. Today American children now know what happened at “LAST STAND” AT LITTLE BIGHORN. No cover-up. Just the facts.

      *** I borrowed “FORENSIC EVIDENCE” because it is a phrase to this day Filipinos are still not clear about even topnotch lawyers. Philippines do not use Forensic Evidence as claimed by MRP which I have validated. They use “Affidavits”. Then the investigation. Then the conspiracy. Then the ACQUITTALS. Then the scratching of their heads. Filipinos wouldn’t be scratching their heads if they stopped relying on unreliablewitness accounts.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Even Myanmar is planning to go nuclear, should we follow suit?

    After Abe revises the pacifist constitution and weaponize all their plutonium and uranium the rest will follow, except where will they get their plutonium or uranium?

    • Two arguments against that: if the plutonium is managed as well/badly as the MRT, Metro Manila will be a city of mutants within just a generation. Second, Filipino factionalism might lead to “mistargetting” warheads: to Naga, to Davao, to Sarrat, to Zamboanga, to Iloilo… who knows.

      • karlgarcia says:

        2nd Concern:
        We will either have more islands or no more islands at all.
        If we will have no more islands, then there is no need to worry about concern number one.

    • NHerrera says:

      Oh goodness, NO, karl. Even if we have some Nuclear Power Plants running — such as Japan and SK have — from which Plutonium may be processed and turned to nuclear bombs, that is a very scary thought. JKU is labeled by some as crazy, but I for one do not think so. His mind is more logical — his understandable rhetoric to match Trump’s aside — than the likes of an Alvarez, Aguirre, to name only these two. I hate to have the PH with nuclear bombs at the disposal of the trigger-finger of their likes. Even an excitable, temperamental Gordon cannot be trusted with his finger on the trigger.

    • popoy says:

      Karl, We can, we can but we should not follow suit. The danger of ineptness and incompetence lurks everytime we remember what had happened repeatedly in Bocaue. Firecrackers lang eh! During this braggadocio times Nuclear capability by the way creates the tinderbox for ultimate population destruction. Have anybody seen In the movies HOW a small armory could be exploded. Countries can play with fire with like SARS and AIDS, but not with nuclear bombs for testing, testing. It is like wearing 7/24 body explosives. Accidents (like attacks) could mean the last trip to kingdom come.

      • karlgarcia says:

        If that is the case, sorry I asked guys.

        • popoy says:

          I see no worry there. If all medium developed countries will be nuclear capable for offense and defense that will be e-high tech genre. And will function only as abusive, obnoxious, belligerent neighbor deterrent. The Need is to worry about the two new country (even continent) deleting weapons (1) uses the scorching power of the sun to burn to ashes targeted parts of the earth, (2) what they call the electro magnetic pulses that if US is targeted, WILL WIPE OUT 90% of its population. Don’t know yet much about these two weapons but if true, nuclear bombs up to 200 megatons will just be replacements for the Mother of all bombs.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      It is still a plan, Karl. What I am afraid of if Filipinos go nuclear. There will be an explosion. A meltdown. An “investigation”. Then a circus. An Entertainment. Then a new political party. Then re-alignment of politics. An election. and the cycle begins all over again.

      Can Filipinos really build a nuclear plant? Have Filipinos paid off the GE Nuclear Plant that was mothballed? Because it was built over an earthquake fault. Wonderful!!!

  18. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Who, really, is the Filipino, today?

    2. At first, I thought that the Filipino is an onion. In this view, each layer represents a foreign cultural influence. An onion, however, does not have a differentiated central core.

    3. Then I thought the Filipino is a fruit. Not a round fruit, which would represent some sense of perfection, but an asymmetrical fruit, like an avocado.

    4. The avocado has a central seed, which would represent the base Malay component of the Filipino. However, I envision the fleshy part not as a homogenous mass but as segments sliced from different fruits.

    5. The major segments would represent different cultural influences.

    5.1. Chinese segment
    5.2. Muslim segment
    5.3. Spanish segment
    5.4. Christian segment
    5.5. American segment
    5.6. Japanese segment

    6. The seed, of course, would contain such memes as Datuship, the social caste system, animism, our master/slave orientation, and the archetypal figures of Filipino folklore. And don’t forget the fun-loving component.

    7. In short, the Filipino is a mishmash – and is it any wonder that he is one confused fellow?

    8. It would be interesting to analyze each major segment and work out their contribution to the Filipino psyche. Just as an overview, I would say:

    8.1. The Chinese influence has given us a sense of commerce, prosperity, and predatoriness.
    8.2. The Muslim influence has given us a sense of intransigent faith and violence.
    8.3. The Spanish influence has given us a sense of arrogance, amor propio (selfishness), and indolence.
    8.4. The Christian influence has given us a sense of the arc of life, forgiveness, and a vague sense of morality.
    8.5. The American influence has given us a sense of liberty, human rights, and knowledge. And technology and Hollywood.
    8.6. The Japanese influence has given us a sense of cruelty, discipline, and lately generosity.

    9. Just on the “arc of life,” the Church presides over our rites of passage: baptism, christening, marriage, and death. I would add confirmation, Eucharist, and reconciliation (confession), but I am not sure how influential these sacraments are nowadays. I definitely would add the fiesta, which is the central social annual event in the provinces.

    10. So Juan can be Jason, Abdul, Diego, Emmanuel, or Bill. And Juana can be Risa.

    • NHerrera says:

      edgar, I think you got it! Now, I am confused no more — I am a mismash, a super halo-halo. 🙂

      • Edgar Lores says:

        NHerrera, your particular version of halo-halo should be sold everywhere. It’s nutritious, sweet and cool.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks Edgar, I tried figuring this stuff up in my link above and you did it only in ten bullet points.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Karl, we think alike. Only I am twice older than you. You know what they say about old age, time goes faster. So I think twice faster than you!

          • karlgarcia says:

            From a song called Tears by the Chameleons:
            We were younger then,the days were longer snd slow, but were we wiser then, I couldn’t say I wouldn’t know.
            From Duran Duran, Do they know it’s Christmas.
            Time runs fast when we’re having fun.

            You have been wise through all those long and slow days when you were young.
            Time maybe twice as fast,but hopefully, you are having fun.

    • sonny says:

      Also thinking along genetic lines, a hybrid of two is good, a hybrid of three is better, a hybrid of four becomes best, and so on and so forth …

      • Edgar Lores says:

        The basic Malay DNA has been genetically modified by foreign strains.

        You are saying the more strains the better? I would have to agree. Inbreeding is generally retrogressive.

        • popoy says:

          Any chance any Cebuano could have the DNA of Magellan. Michelle Obama and George Clooney was told have the blood of George Washington or some other Founding Fathers.
          Are there many Filipinos with the blood line Lim Ah Hong? of Te Ter Du?

    • Good Lord, you do some brilliant original thinking, Edgar. The segmentation and seed of the Filipino. Now if we can just get people proud of their precious mix, ahead of the times for about every other land that embraces diversity and resilience.

      • lindrell says:

        Popoy : I am told that Filipino names ending in SON were derived from the Chinese, hence a proliferation of names such as Sison, Uson, Ungson, Tuason etc. abound in the areas along the Limahong channel in Lingayen, Pangasinan ☺

    • a distant observer says:

      As I just read Edgar’s elaborations, I think this might be the answer to the puzzle I mentioned in my other post. Thanks Edgar.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        The taste of the fruit is at once bitter and sweet.

        And unlike the fruit in the Garden of Eden, it does not bring knowledge of nakedness and shame. Rather, it brings forth naked and shameless desires.

    • popoy says:

      The eche bucheche INSIDE the ACADEMIC BOX:

      One way of conceptualizing the question of “who, really is the Filipino, today?” is to be a copycat of Edgar. That is to use an archer’s bull’s eye as target of critical-analytical musings where at the very big center is marked the REAL FILIPINO; followed outwards by WORLD VIEW; followed by SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS; followed by EVOLVED CULTURE (impunity, lawlessness, corruption, etc); followed lastly by PRESIDENTIAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION. Only five foci to dig and shovel with FACTS may be also with reason.

      Major Variables Changing Over Time:

      O.. Real Filipino
      O.. World View
      O.. Socio-Economic Status
      O.. Evolved Culture
      O.. Presidential Public Administration

      The biased conjecture here to be developed into hypothesis is that the country’s President style and actual good or destructive kind of public administration from President Elpidio Quirino to Noynoy Aquino, eleven post WWII Presidents in all are super variables and determinants in the making of the now Filipino. President Du30 needs five more years for complete consideration.

      The chosen approach is DEDUCTIVE from the outer variables to the inner ones. It’s really going in depth rather than broadening outward. Simply put it is really trying to prove that this and this are the ingredients that cook the Filipino cake. While to be INDUCTIVE is to start at the center of the circle to say the real Filipino is like this because as indicated world view, because of evolved culture, caused by these beneficial or harmful presidencies..

      Although hard to pin down the method, it is really like using a microscope zooming in, magnifying the bigger variables. In presidential public administration: How has the culture of corruption and impunity evolved from nothing to its Apex during the incumbencies of eleven president from Elpidio Quirino to Noynoy Aquino; In whose incumbency has the country’s index worsened or improved as per reports of the UN Human Development Index?

      The now true Filipino is an entity of tangible and intangible macro variables that’s inside the academic box thinking. The loaded may be simplistic thinking is that the country’s president is the most important of all whatever in the polity. The President affects and seriously infects the evolved culture with honor and shame; improve or make worse the socio-economic status of country and people; is the painter in the world canvass of the people’s clean or dirty image; the real Filipino now is a mirror of the President’s character and image. The real Filipino today like most or all peoples of the world always wear a mask to differentiate them from their not too handsome or pretty leaders.

  19. There is an African country where grandmothers serve a role as informal psychologists, they offer their help to all sorts of people who have issues to deal with. Somehow the Pateros mothers who patrol the streets there now seem to have a similar role in making youth go home etc…

    There are of course those who, in their pose of strength, succumb to sheer madness, the President included:

    What’s the difference between Duterte and his predecessors? For one thing, Duterte’s sense of historical time differs from other presidents. He doesn’t see history as moving along a continuum of progress. Instead, what he sees is the stubborn repetition of the same crimes, the same tragedies, the same dangers. He never speaks of his vision for a better world, only about the recurring nightmares of this dystopic one–rapes, murders, terrorism, theft, etc , all brought about by drugs.
    Listen to his speeches.

    They consist of rambling, unfinished sentences held together by a ramshackle syntax looping back to the same murderous obsessions and dark fears. They are difficult to get through not for their complexity but for their spectacular incoherence. He communicates by failing to communicate in any but the most fractured and elliptical way, stuttering between languages, slipping into jokes, non-sequitors, ad hominems, threats and a steady stream of invectives that provide affective juice to a semantically impoverished discourse. Hyperbole, paranoia and self-pitying intimations of his own mortality go hand in glove with murderous rants and promises to kill and kill and kill…And his supporters lap it up.

    For Duterte, then, historical time is like the time he ascribes to the lives of addicts, the enemies he is fond of dehumanizing. Earlier presidents might frame history in mythical terms–paradise, then the fall, where confusion and darkness reigned, followed inevitably by a time of awakening and hope. Duterte will have none of this for he traffics only in vengeful nihilsm.

    His version of historical time is one of unending trauma, where experience outstrips expression. Unable to conceptualize social problems in relation to their social context, he descends into the compulsive repetition of their symptoms. And like addicts, he violently reacts to any criticism, especially from human rights advocates by threatening to violate their human rights.

    This is what is novel about Duterte: the past and the future for him are marked by the same thing: the traumatic experiences which he has never resolved but merely displaces onto his audiences: the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of an American Jesuit, the verbal and physical beatings from his mother, the violence he dealt with as mayor of Davao confronting death squads from the left and the right; the Moro insurgencies; the gangster gunfights; and so on.

    By becoming president, he has imposed on us this view of history as perpetual chaos where experience itself is under constant assault, punishing the very language with which to represent it. He has nationalized trauma as the dominant basis of political discourse as he forces us to see humanity through the inhuman eyes of those he has consigned to extra-judicial hell.

    Perhaps, this is what makes it so difficult for critics of Duterte to develop a counter-narrative. It is not so much that the president has told a compelling story about the state of the nation. Rather, he has told many half-stories over and over again (or what some his critics might call lies) which can’t be consolidated and so pinned down, and thus difficult to refute. It is like the man who tells the same old jokes and expects everyone to laugh like before.

    PS: We can also think about Duterte’s view of history–his understanding of the past in relation to the future–by looking at the campaign slogans of past presidents. Marcos: “This Nation Can Be Great Again”; FVR “Philippines 2000”; Estrada: “Erap para sa Mahirap”; GMA: “The Strong Republic”; PNoy: “Daang Matuwid” (and “Walang corrupt kung walang mahirap”).

    Then Duterte: “Tapang at Malasakit.” Duterte’s slogan is not a program. It is not a vision. It is a set of moral attributes: bravery and compassion. But tapang against whom? Compassion for whom?

    Again, his sense of historical time is not future-oriented, but always returns to an ever repeating present. Hence, his signature program, the war against drugs, is bound to be, as he himself admitted, on-going, with no end point in sight. It is beyond the temporal horizon of what we usually think of as “progress” and indexed only to his own existence. From Duterte’s perspective, as long as he is president, there will always be a drug war because drugs will always be a problem. For every addict killed or every low- or mid-level drug lord put away, there will always be others emerging, hence making it necessary to continue the war ad infinitum.

    This pessimism is curiously the source of his debased hope. The history of the Duterte presidency is coterminous with the history of the drug war. For without such a war and without such a drug problem, what would be the reason for his being? There is no future except what you already have on hand.

    Have Filipinos given up on the future? Given up on bettering their lives? OK, let’s just accept that we are small, dark, rude, but at least not smelly people who will never get anything at any abstract level. The hopeful generation was that of popoy, Edgar, sonny, NHerrera. Is today’s spirit just hopeless?

    • NHerrera says:

      No, Irineo, kailangan lang batukan. (Hindi patayin.) At mahalin pagka natuto. 🙂

      • manangbok says:

        I couldn’t agree more 🙂

        Kaya lang masyado daw effort ang mam-batok kaysa pumatay.

        Una, dapat malakas ang kamay mo para maramdaman yung batok; pangalawa, dapat hindi ka rin ganoon kalakas sa pagbatok para hindi mabuwang/magka-concussion yung binabatukan mo; pangatlo, dapat naiintindihan ng binabatukan mo na kaya mo sya binatukan ay dahil gusto mong tumino sya at hindi dahil sa self-gratification mo lang.

        Pagididisiplinang balanse kumbaga. At mahirap po iyon, hindi ba? Sa mga magulang diyan, ano ang masasabi ninyo?

    • Fascinating description of the non-lineal presidential thinking. Rings so true. I think a hopeful generation is a natural cycle that can be entered once a determined set of pragmatic thinkers has had it with the lunacy of repetitive self-punishment. Probably youthful. Today’s 30 to 65 year-olds are a wasted set, and people older and wiser don’t have enough appetite for risk to change anything.

    • Francis says:


      Thank for sharing the post; that was a very illuminating perspective—that of Duterte’s rhetoric in terms of how it frames time. I am compelled however, to dispute your last words.

      “Have Filipinos given up on the future? Given up on bettering their lives? OK, let’s just accept that we are small, dark, rude, but at least not smelly people who will never get anything at any abstract level. The hopeful generation was that of popoy, Edgar, sonny, NHerrera. Is today’s spirit just hopeless?”

      I disagree. Filipinos have not given up on the future. It is exactly that they believe in the future, that they turn to Duterte. It sounds perverse, I know—but I think that’s the situation in my opinion; a good number of Filipinos have found the present unsatisfactory and the solutions offered by sections of the elite (…the Yellows?) unsatisfying—their likely thought process: if EDSA failed to give us the fullness of the promised democracy, i.e. no implementing law for the constitutional ban on political dynasties, the persistence of enormous inequality and poverty despite economic growth, a party-list system that is now corrupted by the trapos the system sought to mitigate, then what assurance can you give us that we won’t witness a repeat of that disappointment—so the powerful, emotional “dream” offered by the President becomes, in their view, their only recourse.

      Hope is often associated with doves and puppies, but like all human emotions—it isn’t nice all the time, just like how their human wielded are. Love—when mad—becomes a corruption obsession: see stalkers. In a similar vein, hope can be directed towards wanting see a bright future at any cost. Any cost, even bloody.

      (Of course—now we find out that you can’t run a nation on heart alone, but I digress.)

      On the notion of alternatives to Duterte, I sincerely recommend this article below. An article fitting with the subject of hope. In bold font, is my own emphasis.

      The Duterte dispensation

      Dutertismo is a new dispensation in Philippine politics. And for those of us unsettled by this fact, historian Mark Lilla offers some advice: ‘If you are unhappy with the terms of debate during one dispensation, you have no choice but to prepare a new one.’

      Lisandro E. Claudio
      Published 10:00 AM, September 04, 2017

      Updated 10:00 AM, September 04, 2017

      The past few weeks have been bad for the Duterte administration. People decried the death of Kian delos Santos, and Senator Trillanes accused presidential son, Pulong Duterte, of smuggling.

      Whenever a controversy rocks this government, fellow critics get excited for the next political survey, only to hang their heads when they learn that Tatay Digong remains popular.

      For my sanity, I have stopped wishing for a large drop in the President’s numbers. Duterte is no leaden Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; he is unlikely to scrape the bottom of the barometer bottle the way the electoral extortionist did. And if the less charismatic PNoy is an indicator, only time and multiple scandals will make Filipinos more critical of this presidency.

      You want people to despise Digong? A trusted survey junky friend tells me nothing short of a major economic crisis would trigger such a shift. And if that happened, it would be bad for everyone. It would, in any case, be unlikely, given Digong’s unusually competent Department of Finance.

      Duterte critics will continue to scratch their heads about the President’s popularity until they come to terms with one fact: Duterte is popular because he is changing what it means to be a Filipino citizen. If we wish to displace the narrative of Dutertismo, we need to present a new story.

      In his recently published book, historian Mark Lilla offers the idea of dispensations to explain shifts in political climate. A dispensation is a set of rhetorical rules that define periods in a nation’s political development. It is not, however “grounded in a set of principles or arguments; it is grounded in feelings and perceptions that give principles and arguments psychological force.”

      Dutertismo is a new dispensation in Philippine politics. And for those of us unsettled by this fact, Lilla offers some advice: “If you are unhappy with the terms of debate during one dispensation, you have no choice but to prepare a new one.”

      The People Power dispensation lasted 30 years. Its plot arc was one of deliverance: from the dark days of dictatorship to the luminescence of new democracy. Its heroes were traditional power holders given a new sheen: political families, military men, and bishops – all repurposed to become symbols of a “democratic” civil society. Its promise was a rebirth of civil engagement, especially for village-dwelling Manileños.

      But nothing lasts forever. Now the People Power dispensation lies in a historical imburnal. Its partisans knew their narrative could collapse quickly, hence they feared the return of a strongman. The strongman, in turn, knew he had a latent public. And this public, enraged by the platitudes of the genteel, bayed for blood.

      The Duterte dispensation is plotted logically. The elite demonized strongman rule, and presented democracy as the solutions to our ills. This democracy hasn’t worked, yet oligarchs, biased media, Americans, and liberals insist that it has. Only the common tao and their Tatay Digong know otherwise. We then have a choice as citizens: help our new father bring order to the chaos, or betray the nation by spurning him.

      The “nation” that emerges from this narrative is comprised of “regular” people like Mocha, who know what it is like to fear violent criminals and adiks. Those who wish to view politics using “external” criteria like human rights are ignorant of what the rest of the country goes through.

      Critics must face the potency of this narrative, even as we condemn the moral depravity of many who promote it. The only way to beat the story of Dutertismo is to replace it. Alas, among those who challenge Dutertismo, the only group to present an alternative plotline is the Communist Party through its legal fronts of “Makabayan” organizations. As in the 1960s, they insist that the Philippines is dominated by a feudal elite allied with the United States, and that a peasant revolution will bring us one step closer to a socialist utopia.

      There are a number of problems with their alternative. First, it is outdated. Second, it is compromised by the Communist Party’s continued collaboration with the government, the ouster of Judy Taguiwalo notwithstanding. Third, and most importantly, Duterte has coopted much of Filipino Communism’s rhetoric: the hyper-nationalism, the bloodlust, and the conspiracy-minded belief that Americans are the source of all evil. Hence, when Communist protestors carry banners decrying the “US-Duterte regime,” we must dismiss them as morons. Surely we can do better.

      To supplant Dutertismo, we need to reject elements of past dispensations. On the one hand, we cannot imitate the People Power dispensation and imbue elements of the oligarchy with a triumphant moralism. We need a story that is more in touch with everyday experiences. On the other hand, we must reject the Duterte dispensation’s assumption that all truths emerge internally and only from one section of the population. Yes, we must listen to “the nation” and those within it who seek justice after being victimized by criminals. Yet this should not mean the rejection of universal principles like human rights, nor should it mean dismissing all critique as foreign.

      I only have an idea of what a new dispensation should not be. But I neither have the creativity nor the temerity to tell you what it should be. Whatever we come up with, however, it must carry moral weight and it must be grounded on a vision for the future. “Nostalgia,” Lilla believes “is suicide.” In the context of bloodthirsty Philippines, these words become more literal and hence more urgent. –

      If a substantial number of Filipinos direct their hopes towards Duterte—then one must ask why and how. EDSA has unfortunately lost a good position of her luster as a vision, as an aspiration, as a guidepost towards the future. What can succeed EDSA…?

      • manangbok says:

        Actually, gusto kong sabihan si Lisandro Claudio …. dear, hindi lang Communist Party of the Phil ang alternative. Nandyan din ang Kapatiran. Kung ayaw natin nun, meron din Akbayan. Magkakaiba kaya sila.

        (Yung mom yata ni Lisandro Claudio ay si Sylvia Estrada Claudio na dating CPP. Uy meron essay si Ms. Estrada Claudio under the pen name of Sunny Lansang na tungkol sa pagiging puritanical ng CPP ni Joma Sison. Anyway, read Patricio Abinales’s book on love inside the CPP, nakalimutan ko na yung title — something like “Pagpipigil sa Panggigigil?” I think — research ko muna.)

        Yun nga lang, hindi naiintindihan ng mga simpleng tao ang point ng political party kasi matagal na patronage politics ang nakasanayan natin.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        When I read Claudio’s piece, my reaction was: Duterte is not a new dispensation. He is a continuation of the old dispensation of authoritarianism. What is new, if ever, is the greater degree of brutality. And open brutality at that.

        The People Power “dispensation” did not really take root. Cory’s reign was rocked by coup attempts. The last traces of that dispensation was during Ramos’ time. After that, the country went back to the old ways of corruption with Erap and Gloria. PNoy provided a hiatus. And here we are with autocracy redux.

        Duterte is popular because he is a strongman ruler. He isn’t changing what it means to be a Filipino citizen. He is satisfying the cravings of the needy Filipino.

        • NHerrera says:


          I share your thoughts. Re your last paragraph — Duterte is popular because he is a strongman ruler. He isn’t changing what it means to be a Filipino citizen. He is satisfying the cravings of the needy Filipino — let me qualify the last sentence to: He is satisfying the cravings of the needy Filipino in the interim


          The need for a change that will be felt in the stomach of the Filipino especially the poor — whether through jobs, outright dole outs, or efficient government services that lightens the burdened on the already small incomes, etc — is one strong factor that explains the cycle of ups and downs of a President from the start of his term to the end. President Duterte is only 1.3 years into his 6-year term. Claudio himself states that nothing lasts forever and it is said that in politics a year is a century?

          Even the antics of the Administration trolls holding up that Performance Rating cannot last forever, especially since the trolls’ antics are being countered by us here, among others. Competence alone of the man at the Department of Finance and the other Economic Managers cannot be trusted to continue the economic viability we now have — which by the way was made possible by the momentum provided by the previous dispensations — Ramos, Arroyo and Aquino — if the basic policies are questionable.

          If the Build-Build-Build Infra Projects mainly financed by loans from China which have to be paid from local taxes go awry, especially if the greedy “family” hands are in the picture, then the continued popularity of the current Administration is not assured with or without that “magic” dispensation.

        • Francis says:


          I think we differ with our interpretations of what is dispensation. The way I interpreted “dispensation” was more along the lines of “national mood” or in another way, “the status quo of what the status quo ought to be” or “what the people believe society should ideally function as” as it were. A “dispensation” doesn’t have to be successfully fulfilled/implemented—it exists so long as people believe in it, or rather, as long as people feel it.

          In my opinion, a clear example of how this interpretation of “dispensation” would function would be looking at the case of Eisenhower and Clinton. Eisenhower was a Republican in the Era of New Deal and Clinton was a Democrat in the Washington Consensus/Neoliberal/Post-Cold War Era. Dispensation in the New Deal Era: government intervention is good, as seen in the lean towards big government, social safety nets; Eisenhower didn’t question this—in fact, he supported a huge form of government intervention: the interstate highways, and didn’t even consider rolling back the safety nets of the New Deal. You see some Rockefeller Republicans adapt to this situation. Dispensation in the Neoliberal Era: free market knows best, as seen in the perception that government is filled with inefficiencies and glut and preference for solutions such as privatization; Clinton decides to push for welfare reform and gets his gov’t a surplus. You see New Deal Democrats, who like working with business more than unions, pop up.

          “EDSA” was a dispensation that emphasized the promise of civil society, how it could facilitate decentralization and empower the marginalized at the peripheries. No matter how much it failed to be translated in concrete practice, it was powerful enough to be given homage by almost everyone: Cory had members of the then nascent civil society in her cabinet, Ramos had a summit (if I can recall correctly) for civil society, Erap had prominent cabinet members in civil society too—and was ended by the hands of civil society, Arroyo had civil society people in her cabinet too—a lot of whom resigned (if I can recall correctly) in the Hyatt 12, PNoy was literally in coalition with the party that was literally embodiment of civil society in politics: Akbayan. The “EDSA” dispensation may not have been the way things were, but it was (until now) the way people generally believed things ought to be.

          The “Duterte Era” breaks from this “dispensation” a lot. His cabinet is filled to the brim with military men. You get these “Citizen Guards” groups preaching “unity” and jostling for airtime with socialist activists and liberal protestors. And most important and striking of all—he does not deal civil society with kids’ gloves; he calls the CHR Chairman gay, he lambasts the media, the “human rights” advocates with stinging curses.

          And the people clap.

          • I faintly remember that one of Gloria’s favorite words in the beginning was consultations… meaning consultations with civic society groups.

            Well, for most ordinary Filipinos – of whom a number have earned some money thanks to OFW and BPO – all the ideas of civic society groups mean little to nothing.

            The most cynical aren’t quite like the drivers in the movie “Loopers” yet, who simply run over any poor people that happen to be in the way with their SUVs – but close.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            Francis, thanks.

            1. I tend to look at essences and not at peripherals.

            2. What was the essence of the People Power dispensation?

            2.1. Let me quote from Wikipedia: “The People Power Revolution (also known as the EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of 1986) was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines, mostly in the capital city of Manila from February 22–25, 1986. There was a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and alleged electoral fraud. The nonviolent revolution led to the departure of President Ferdinand Marcos along with his authoritarian regime and the restoration of democracy in the Philippines.” [Bolding mine.]

            3. What do we have now? We have (a) regime violence and (b) an authoritarian regime.

            4.So what is new with Duterte’s dispensation?

            4.1. Well, one can say that there is no civil resistance. In fact, as Claudio points out, Duterte has popular approval. The national mood is supportive. But so it was in Marcos’ heyday.

            4.2. In essence, Duterte is a continuation of Marcos. Only he is more openly brutal.

  20. NHerrera says:

    Let me make the proposition that the Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court is a good representation of what it really means to be a Filipino today.

    Then without further elaboration, I conclude that the decision of the SC against de Lima by a vote of 9-6 defines well the Filipino today.

    • Yes. Like da sampol when you make poll. Like SWS or Pulse Asia. Probably the percentages who voted Duterte, Roxas, Poe, Binay also give an idea of the values and orientations. Or the Leni vs. Bongbong numbers, Leni was voted for by many who did not like “elitist” Mar Roxas.

      Sociologists scrambled to reassess German milieus and their attitudes when polling firms failed to predict the victory of populist Gerhard Schröder against Helmut Kohl in 1998. They found out that new media and consumerism had created groups of people ignored in older samples.

      That is where I must join MRP or whatever he has mutated into in criticizing UP and the rest. These experts should be doing their job, finding out how different milieus are, what are their values and expectations. And even if they do it by watching TV Patrol and Tulfo every day.

      • NHerrera says:

        We are still talking about the real Filipino of today. I wrote earlier about the SC Justices as representative of the Filipino. It can’t be, being only a sample of 15 and not quite random. At best it is only a subset of the thinking — kuno — Filipino.

        Let me go to another subset. This is a subset with sample size of about 150,000 but not quite random — the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and always, I exclude the PNP for reason not hard to understand. The AFP subset, I believe, is a representation of a range of Thinking Filipino, certainly not thinking Filipino represented by the distorted thinking of Pacquiao, or even Aguirre. And as a group, the AFP is not a poor second in quality or integrity to the so called Notorious Nine or So at the Supreme Court.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    I talked about Maritime interagency cooperation.
    But as Irineo keeps on pointing out, the concern only for intetest not of the nation, but the interest only of the groups where you belong and even with that situation, there are always infighting.Again, there is no cooperation. We must cooperate or collapse.

  22. Sabtang Basco says:

    OPEN DISCUSSION – Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and name-escapes-me INDICTED !

    There was no circus in their investigation. No leaks in their proceedings. Paul, Rick and the other one were caught flat-footed so were their attorneys. THIS IS HOW INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE DONE !

    They were told to report to FBI DC Office to be arrested, booked and stand before a judge. THEY DID. No perp walk. Can this be done by Philippine elected officials?

    This is not a secret investigation. This is not hush-hush. This is how it is. But if Filipinos and Filipinos in the U.S. keep watching and reading Philippine News without watching American News they think their way is the way.

    They should learn. This should be editorialized. Analyzed. Why Americans do it the way they do not the Filipino way.

    When Muller and Americans indict they do not have piles of reams of affidavits. There is no war of affidavits versus counter-affidavits. They got something better and it is the best. Incontrovertible. Fact-based. Yes, of course, they start off with witnesses from there they build up the case on a foundation of facts and “forensic evidence” (if I may borrow the phrase).

    Philippines churn out top BAR top notchers. But none ever wandered to write a column to analyze how law should be applied instead IF EVER THEY WRITE COLUMNS it is about article this, section that and the law says …. Why not give simple analysis like those in Sunday news talk show like Tapper, Stephanopolous and others.

    American news should be required reading to all college students especially to law students so they can balance their views against the onslaught on speculative journalism.

  23. NHerrera says:


    I am viewing with interest the news of the Indictment of Manafort and Gates former Chairman of Trump’s Campaign for 3 months and Deputy to Manafort in the Election Campaign and stayed on in the Campaign after Manafort was fired, respectivley.

    From the Whitehouse: “These guys were bad guys when they started, they were bad guys when they left” … [On the indictment:] “It has nothing to do with any relationship to Russia” … “It has nothing to do with him [Trump].”

    My comment: Oops — bad guys? Manafort was fired after 3 months in the campaign, but the other “bad guy” Gates stayed on in the campaign and news says that there were indications that this other “bad guy” was known to be a bad guy. And the campaign didn’t mind his staying on?

    Another result of Mueller investigation: Trump’s Campaign ex-foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos pled guilty of lying to FBI about his contacts with Russian personalities. Oh-oh this seems to be a different can-of-worm altogether.

    I thought this is relevant because it compares with the way the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and his creation, the Special Counsel — since Attorney General recused himself — handled things in the US, compared to Aguirre’s DOJ and NBI.

    • NHerrera says:

      And Trump, whines in a tweet — why is the special counsel not investigating Hilary Clinton? Poor little boy Trump and that bad big wolf-investigator.

      Even the Tweeter-Extraordinaire Trump knows he has to moderate his tweets to a pity-me-tweet. Tweeting Mueller and his investigation wrongly will not be received well even by his Republican supporters.

      (Ok, that is enough US news. Can’t help myself. 🙂 )

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        You should help yourself NHerrera because reading US News is worthy to be learned never in Philippine News.

        Here is what you will have learned in Russia investigation and watergate.
        1. They got evidence Filipinos do not …
        2. They start off their investigation from affidavits … Filipinos begins, ends in affidavits … then the circus … then the professional bloggers feeding on affidavits …
        3. When Mueller says report to DOJ to be arrested they report to DOJ because they know they got their facts straight … In the Philippines the accused only knew they are being arrested is thru newspapers …

        Keep on reading US News NHerrera it is educational.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Not only Aguirres DOJ and NBI all the DOJs and NBIs before them ….

      Only very very few tweeterers, facebookers, columnists, “seasoned” journalists knew there is something wrong with Philippine DOJs and NBIs because instead of editorializing about their processes they instead go loco over their supposed findings and charges they analyze it with gusto.

      I more go to the what-is-wrong than the result of their so-called investigation because I am above them all.

  24. Thea says:

    Who are the Filipinos today?

    The Filipinos today are not those we see during the Sunday Mass or the Saturday bible studies of the other churches. The Filipinos today are the OFWs, their children who grew without them and their relatives. We speak of 2.2M OFWs(PSA 2016 Survey), mostly mothers multiply that with 3-4 children plus 2-3 grandparents/relative in one household and/or grown up children facing same challenges nowadays. Add that with those intending to work abroad with or without contract. These are the Filipinos today who are suffering from distress and emotional and mental impairment due to actual or impending separation from their families and homes( and still believe that there is God). We coin this emotion as homesickness. Simple word to those who have not experienced it. But ,in a magnifying glass, homesickness would lead the person to anxieties, low expectations, depression, irrationality, vulnerability, wrong choices and so forth. Imaginative egocentric politicians know this and they capitalized on this weakness. We should not forget the OFWs reactions in the Laglag Bala case and their optimism in the war on drugs. I do not wonder.

    A Christian country supporting Duterte?

    When we continue to ask ourselves, how could a Christian country elect and support a president like Duterte? It does limit our resolve to find an answer why such dilemma,why such chaos nowadays. My share is this, it has nothing to do with religion or religious affiliations or being Christian. It has to do with humanity. What and who we are(Filipinos) as humans and as collective human beings. We go away with our respective religions, then we ask again the question. How could a good human being elect and support Duterte? This question can be addressed to ALL, the Catholics, Mr. Villanueva of JIL, the INC, PDP-Laban, Muslims, PNP, AFP,DDS and so on.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Is psychology your expertise? Please say somethinh about mental health care in the Philippines.

    • manangbok says:

      I am bothered by the fact that many OFWs voted for PRRD.

      I checked the statistics and it show that majority of OFWs, more than 50% (as of 2015, among OFWs, 24% are in Saudi Arabia, 15% in UAE and 5% in Kuwait, 5% Qatar), are deployed in the Middle East.
      please see this link –

      So this is my theory: governments in the middle east are (with few exceptions like maybe Israel) authoritarian, dictatorial states.

      Those Pinoys who were working in these countries felt some uplift in their life from toiling in said states. And because these countries are relatively financially well-off (thanks to oil money), some Pinoys would believe that such system of government may be/can be the key to the development of the Philippines.

      Sadly … Pinoys do not realize that the seeming wealth of these countries are artificial. Oil-money is a house of cards that will eventually collapse over the House of (insert name of monarch of GCC country here — Saud, Khalifa, Qaboos, Al Thani, Al Maktoum etc). Oil is not a stable source of wealth just as an authoritarianism is not a stable form of leadership.

      Once upon a time, we looked up to the US for guidance as far as leadership is concerned. Unfortunately (for us and for the US), President Trump is crazy and we cannot look up to a country that elected a sexual pervert for president. Also, PRRD is playing up the anti-US narrative (the narrative that the leftists of the Makabayan bloc are espousing) and historically, there is a basis for this narrative — but that’s beside the point.

      The point is — Pinoys are misguided, as far as their perception on what constitute “good leadership” is concerned. OFWs specifically, but this also applies to the families and friends that they have left behind in the Philippines 😦 😦 😦

  25. Sabtang Basco says:

    Here is why very few Filipinos enroll in psychology: THE PAY SUCKS!
    Here is the link:

    Those who graduate in psychology works in Human Resources in corporations this is the closest they practice psychology and psychiatry:

    1. they give out IQ exams. Yes, they STILL DO test applicants IQ we do not
    2. test EQ.
    3. gather school transcript of records.
    4. interview applicants
    5. the rest are nothing but pushing papers.

    Malacanang is an adult day care center. Duterte requires full time care with expertise in psychiatry.

    • karlgarcia says:

      EQ is very important.
      I suggest you formulate and standardize the test.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        We have EQ to make sure they fit well with others … except for executive head hunters we already knew who they are … we do not give them exams … their performance evaluation is based on Wall Street ticker tapes and sales history.

    • manangbok says:

      “Here is why very few Filipinos enroll in psychology: THE PAY SUCKS!” So true! It’s like “it’s the economy stupid”

      On the other hand, I disagree that Pinoys don’t enroll in Psychology. A lot of them do. They just do not go into research or clinical Psych because of the economic considerations.

      A saya kaya na course and Psych! 🙂 🙂

      • manangbok says:

        Ang saya kaya na course ang Psych!

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        I do not have numbers of students in Psychology considering there are no mental institutions in the Philippines if ever there are there are only very few … working in mental institutions as psychologist or psychiatrist is not look up to as good employment.

        In the U.S. nurses may be assigned to mental wards and they have training as well … I do not know about Philippines.

        • manangbok says:

          There is the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong which is the government referral center for mental disorders. Their website appear to be down today but here is their FB page –

          We also have the Philippine Mental Health Association – Maybe they have data on number of Psychology grads in the Phil.

          In the Philippines, most tertiary hospitals (whether govt or private) have Psychiatric services. In government institutions, hospitals with Psychiatry wards are manned by nurses and doctors (most of them are specialists trained in 3-4 year residency training in Psychiatry). In theory (mostly not in practice due to contingencies of funding) part of the staff should include social workers, therapists and psychologists.

          In the Philippines, health (mental or otherwise) has taken a back seat in favor of other “more important” stuff — as far as the government is concerned 🙂 🙂

          • Sabtang Basco says:

            … as far as Filipino household is concerned “more important” stuff are:
            1. Food on the table
            2. Bus fares
            3. cellphone text load

            In that order ….

            Metformin …


            and the last of the last is psychotherapy …

  26. a distant observer says:

    “How can these beaming, friendly faces mask desires for revenge against druggies and popular villains like President Aquino or Mar Roxas, both earnest, decent people? Revenge gives expression to their own struggles, and so they don’t mind bodies in the gutter, taped and bleeding? They don’t mind government lies and rude language? They don’t care if democracy gets switched to dictatorship or the dynastic game of thrones that federalism promises to be?”

    Dear Joe, THESE are the questions that stir and plague me in quiet moments.
    You say “Well, the strange duality also exists in the US, in the UK, and other places. So it is not a racial or necessarily even a cultural thing, unless we are talking about global cultures, say those tied to social media as a source of entertainment and emotional release.”
    As a distant observer I happen to observe not only the Philippines but many countries, and I can say that I do not observe this “duality” to the same extents as I perceive it in the Philippines. What is it exactly that makes the Filipino people so contradictory in this regard? I honestly have no clue…

    • Yes, the condition in the Philippines is extreme. We compete with ourselves and others, end up the loser even if we are sincere and good, and get angry about it. If we only know obedience, rather than the ability to self-counsel, then we allow our minds to follow the leader who best expresses our anger.

      That’s the best I can figure. The solution rests in giving people hope, then allowing them success so they feel they are winners. Then their thinking will be better. Doing that in a greedy democracy is tough.

  27. Sabtang Basco says:

    Philippines is

    “Land dear and holy,
    Cradle of noble heroes,
    Never shall invaders …
    … trample the sacred shores.”

    A version of the land of the braves “The Star Spangled Banner”

    I would like Irineo Salazar what phrases in Philippine National Anthem that has similarity to The Star Spangled Banner. I find similar phrases between the two.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Compare and Contrast.

      Land of the morning
      Child of the sun returning
      With fervor burning
      Thee do our souls adore.

      Land dear and holy,
      Cradle of noble heroes,
      Ne’er shall invaders
      Trample thy sacred shores.

      Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds
And o’er thy hills and seas;

      Do we behold thy radiance, feel the throb

      Of glorious liberty.
      Thy banner dear to all hearts
Its sun and stars alright,

      Oh, never shall its shining fields
Be dimmed by tyrants might.
      Beautiful land of love, oh land of light,
In thine embrace ’tis rapture to lie;

      But it is glory ever when thou art wronged
For us thy sons to suffer and die.


      Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

      Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

      O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

      And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

      Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

      Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

      On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

      Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

      What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

      As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

      In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
      Tis the star-spangled banner!
      Oh long may it wave

      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

      And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

      That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

      A home and a country should leave us no more!

      Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

      No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

      And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

      Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

      Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

      Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

      Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

      Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

      And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

      And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

      • “Oh, never shall its shining fields
Be dimmed by tyrants might.”

        I suggest Filipinos all be required to write a one-page essay as to why these lines are in the anthem, and answer one true-false question: “I am a patriot.” T or F?

        • karlgarcia says:

          Good suggstion.
          Going back to the lines:
          The tagalog lines are different somehow.
          Lupang Hinirang
          Chosen Land
          Duyan ka ng magiting
          You are the cradle of the brave
          Sa manlulupig
          The conquerors
          Di ka pasisiil
          You won’t be supressed or they won’t win.

          Still all in the minds of the millenials are that the independence day should be moved to after the second world war.

          Which should not be, For all the devil in the details that we learned, the revolution is still not a sham.

          It is still not to late to learn to be a patriot.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        I somehow like Philippine anthem than American anthem.
        American anthem is full of blood and gore.

        Do Americans memorize Star Spangled Banner and its meaning?

        “A Harris Interactive survey of 2,200 adults has found that nearly two out of three Americans, or 61 percent, do not know all the words to the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem.

        Of those who claim to know all the words, only 39 percent know what follows the line “whose broad stripes and bright stars,” the survey found.” – ABCNEWS

        This was 2004 survey … since then America is inundated by illegal immigrants that doesn’t care about Star Spangled Banner because they prefer celebrating:
        1. Cinco de Mayo
        2. Mexican Independence Day
        3. Philippine Independence Day
        4. Armenian Genocide
        5. … and others …

        Gosh, what are these people doing in my country. They should leave and help build their nations.

  28. Miela says:

    While browsing reddit PH, one poster there shared his story/ask for opinions in his verbally and abusive mother. Most people who replied advised that they send to a psychiatrist or even have her check in a mental hospital. One thing that stroke me was his father’s notion that sending a family member to psychiatry is “abandonment”. There is a stigma in the Philippines in seeking in-patient help outside of a medical hospital, it seems.

  29. josephivo says:

    A Filipino does not exist. Let me explain.

    When I first arrived is Saudi Arabia all Saudis where Saudis, completely dressed in white or black according gender, all listening to the same prayer calls. Year later I started seeing the differences. There are Saudis as my friend who had done his elementary school with French nuns in Damascus (hi mom was Syrian), high school with Jesuits in Beirut, college and university in the US, his French was 10 times better as mine, his English 20 times; there are the fanatic rich Osama Bin Laden types, the fanatic poor Isis fighters, and one of my operators was a black Saudi that couldn’t read or write, his father still a slave in the sixties. They had nothing in common, apart from their formal religion and color of clothing (only color, after a while you see the difference in quality, fabrics and cut).

    In the States I saw the same with immense inequality but a much larger population thus with a lot of people at either side a very flat Gauss curve distribution on all aspects. The best universities, plenty of average ones and useless “Trump universities”, extreme rich gated communities and run down poor inner-cities, amazing culture and plenty of plain trash. All cause by very diverse immigration and economic system without any compassion.

    The difference in the Philippines is equally big, but the distribution is much more askew, a lot of extreme poor in class E, a huge population just surviving in class D and a few in classes B and C and a handful in class A. The cause a collusion of many different historic streams. For centuries a Spanish elite kept the Filipinos as divided and silent as possible, divide et impera or divide and rule; the true Filipinos remained organized in very local clans with traditional values, came the national heroes defining a new nationalism; came the Americans with an emphasis on systems, on formalities, the rule of law; the independence and the careless mix of all the above; more recently the tidal wave of globalization, smartphones and internet, OFW’s trying to be “Filipino” by heart in the new countries they settled. Being Filipino today is not cultural, it is sharing Paquiao, Jolibee and telenovelas. New global identities arising defined by consumption patterns, by “likes” on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

    • Miela says:

      Being Filipino today is not cultural, it is sharing Paquiao, Jolibee and telenovelas”

      If this is the definition of a Filipino, I’m no Filipino. LOL. I preferred McDo over Jollibee due to taste preference not because it’s foreign, I never liked Pacquiao, and I’m not big of telenovelas (not even Koreanovelas) as I prefer more “serious” series, not “love series”.

      • Perhaps you have graduated from the ranks of nationalists and become a globalist, with life attached to the Philippines in the main, but not limited by it.

        • Miela says:

          I’ve long let go of any “nationalist” feelings and I prefer to see myself as a “global citizen”, and as someone who is driven by practicality. I don’t patronize a product just because it’s Filipino. I patronize it because of value (at least, perceived value). Just like how I prefer a Pilot pen (Japanese brand) over a Parker (US brand) or Panda ballpoint (Pinoy?).

          Personally, I don’t find nationalist feelings pleasant. It tends to make people xenophobes or borderline racists. When I criticized how Filipinos have been ill-mannered towards the already embarrassed Miss Colombia, one FB friend told me “parang hindi ka Pilipino” (as if you’re not Filipino). It’s like I’m expected to side with people who are in the wrong simply because I share ancestry/ethnicity/country of origin.

      • manangbok says:

        Hi Miela …. we have to redefine being a Filipino then and convince other Pinoys of our definition. Not an easy task. We will be like Frodo going on a trek to Mordor 😦 😦

        • manangbok says:

          On the other maybe I should be more optimistic … so I will change my emoji 🙂 🙂 😉

        • Miela says:

          How Filipinos define Filipinoness is very limiting. At the same time, when you don’t fit the box, they’ll almost call you a “traitor to your race”.

          I feel that “nationalist” sentiments are usually driven by inferiority-superiority complex, not genuine appreciation of birthland/homeland. It’s more reactionary than pro-active.

          • manangbok says:

            Agree to both. However, we shouldn’t stop with these statements. These should be followed up by questions like:

            How do we define Filipinoness?

            How do we present that definition to other Filipinos in a gentle manner so that they will not “call you a traitor to your race”.

            How do we transform that definition into a symbol/ something concrete that we can rally/root for?

            Inferiority complex (or so google says) is often the result of unhealthy thought processes and false beliefs, so as treatment, therapists will often work with people to reframe negative and/or damaging thoughts and beliefs. How do we treat the inferiority complex of our people?

            These are both questions and challenges for us. And no, I sure as heck do not know the answers 🙂

            But it might be fun (or exhausting) figuring them out 🙂

            (BTW, I have read somewhere is this blog that love for family is something that defines Filipino. )

    • Wonderful response to the question. I can find nothing to argue with.

    • Those that identified with the Philippines as a whole remained a very small group of people.

      There are those like popoy and sonny who can share stories from the early postwar period. There were some institutions (Army, UP, Ateneo) that forged more than the village identity. Sometimes the interactions within these institutions are like within new barangays – UP Campus is one such place I know of course, my own experience. Or the stories of Karl’s father, with the capers they did as cadets, and Trillanes’ father making sure they do not get caught. Or the stories of certain UP dormitories where generations stayed – Enrile, Binay, my own father.

      The OFWs in Saudi will seldom have parents in the military, or UP, or government. Maybe a policeman or an enlisted soldier somewhere, not much more. They will NOT identify with the stories that Karl’s father, popoy and sonny can tell. Their parents may have been servants somewhere nearby, or lived somewhere in the provinces. Their interactions with the formal institutions of the state more distant, maybe even hostile. Some may have been NPAs even. That they identify with Pacquiao, who came from humble beginnings, is a very clear matter.

      There are the principalia, the local elite families derived from the datus, who evolved into trapos during the American and Republic periods. There were the mestizo enterpreneurs, the sugar barons etc., who defined a sort of elite culture in the cities like Manila, Iloilo, Cebu etc.

      The cultural divide is huge between those who demonstrate against EJKs and those who are quietly or not in favor of them. Only one group cares about the founding myths of the nation.

      • I also say myths because killing was often part of Philippine politics.

        Aguinaldo used it against Bonifacio and Luna. And rigged trials – see Bonifacio. – AND:

        Random drug testing among high school students? It’s actually in Republic Act No. 9165, Article III, Section 36, signed into law by GMA, and is reaffirmed in the National Anti-Drug Plan of Action 2015-2020, set forth during P-Noy’s term.

        Shaming of drug suspects? We’ve seen it in 2000 with Interior Secretary Alfredo Lim spray-painting the homes of suspected drug pushers, fully endorsed by then President Erap.

        An opposition senator being linked to the drug trade? Before Leila de Lima, there was Ping Lacson, implicated by “Rosebud” Ong in 2001 — both of them leading the dramatis personae of those tempestuous times.

        Death penalty for drug pushers?

        Mr. Duterte wants it, GMA mulled it, but Ferdinand Marcos actually did it, overseeing the execution of Chinese drug lord Lim Seng by firing squad just a few months after he declared martial law.

        Extrajudicial killings? It’s been happening for a long time—and not just in Davao City — though to a much lesser extent and with far less media coverage, as the Human Rights Watch Annual Report 2014 shows, among many others.

        One only need remember Marcos’ “Secret Marshals” with their shoot to kill orders for holduppers (late Marcos era when they came back).

        Or certain killings of drug dealers attributed to Mayor Lim before – and liked by the people.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Yes, Josephvo, Filipinos do not exist. They prefer to be somebody else than a Filipino. If Filipinos were allowed to go to Europe, Americas and Australia THEY WOULD LEAVE THEIR COUNTRY.

      Would I be happy? Yes. We will have Philippines all by our selves and make it like a country what we have envisioned and we will have these Filipinos who abandoned and desecrate their land of the morning sun apply for Visa to see foreigners’ showcase in the Philippines.

  30. karlgarcia says:

    The extreme factionalism of the Philippines never ceases to wonder me. It is the worst among the pro-Marcos people, a lot among pro-Duterte people and a little bit among pro-Aquino people. The French also had their issues for a long time between traditionalists or royalists, revolutionaries and Bonapartists. The scars of the country took long to heal. The Spanish had a long history of conflict between the Carlistas and the progressives which started with the massive confiscation of Church lands in a country most Catholic – Franco was the last Carlista reincarnation.
    The Spanish only voted non-trapo parties into power last year. Real political parties by the people, with the people and for the people. The Spanish do not know the Filipino meaning of trapo – traditional politician, they only know trapo as a rag. Filipinos I very often wonder how they can be too supportive of politicians that represent any dynasty whatsoever – whether Duterte, Roxas or Marcos. Santiago is non-dynastic but she decided to support Bongbong. Poe is a showbiz politician with insufficient competence, even if she is several notches above Alma Moreno and Pacquiao.
    I have written about the many defects of Filipino politics. Señeres was a viable option for me, in second place to Roxas inspite of his simplistic ideas, because of his non-dynastic background and his sincerity – but he is dead now after having withdrawn his candidacy. Trillanes is a bit of a modern politician in that he goes for what is right, no matter on which side the person is. His leaving the Senate majority group because of Enrile was a sign. Bam Aquino is also a modern politician in that he sees, most among all the Liberal Party people, the need to give opportunities to people. What do both have in common? They are younger. Seems that there is a cultural change slowly taking place. There is of course the opposite of this, which I see in Chiz Escudero, a potential Enrile in the making in his deviousness. Roxas also has one major plus for me in his pushing for the pardon of Erap, and his working for the country even if he may not have liked those above him – but he did show principle by going against Arroyo when things got to be too much for him. These are all just impressions. But going by principles and even by passion is better than factionalism.
    Because in the end the goal of leaders should be to do what they think is right for the country – not what they think is right for a particular group. It isn’t right to think one’s own group is holy and above all others. It was what irked me to no end with hardcore KBL supporters during Marcos times. It annoyed me among many Cory supporters when I witnessed the February revolution. It annoys me among many Duterte supporters – in fact in combination with disregard for due process, it can become truly dangerous. Robredo and Poe supporters are the least factional of all.
    Does it always have to be like in the olden days, when supporters and allies of one datu fought against those of the other? I don’t know. Maybe I have been away too long to understand certain things. Anyway, I think that there are three things lacking among many hardcore supporter types. An idea of what conscience is about, and an idea of what true forgiveness means – Christian values. Forgiveness does not mean not punishing wrongdoing – something Cory missed out on, unfortunately. Forgiveness can be letting go when someone has been punished enough – like with Estrada. My impression is that among some Filipinos, both Christianity and democracy are only skin-deep. Too many Filipinos just say “yes sir” to teachers, to priests and probably many just said “yes sir” to the Spanish priests, to the Americans who wanted to teach democracy, and continued their old ways with a new paint coating on top. Third is real principles of any sort – is it just about winning in the end, because that was what is was about among the tribes and datus before? Because I see very little consistency of principles, there is a lot of selectivity in their application. True, President Aquino has shown many principles but often selectivity, his supporters sometimes even more. How much is just simply a nice paint coating on top of the old tribal culture? I know this is not really nice to the Philippines and Filipinos. Is everything just like rido (vindictive feuds) in Bangsamoro, just disguised as politics and morals? I am asking, because I am really confused now.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks, karl, for the link on Irineo’s reflection on the subject of Filipino and his comments on Roxas, Bam Aquino, Escudero, Robredo.

      Talking about what I characterize as the emotional French and Spanish, like the Filipino, I took in Irineo’s statement, “The scars [and conflicts] of the country took long to heal.” I earnestly hope, for once, that the internet hasten the general unification of the Filipino instead of divide it the more for a long time.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Yes, the internet divides, but as an example I shared a pro Hispanic-Filipino article which maybe disagreeable even to me.
        I guess if we see all the colors of the prism not just the black,white and shades of grey, we will be ok.
        It is ok to have biases and show of passion, but of course we should not forget to have an open mind.

        Pasensya na NH, ang dami kong nasabi.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for the note, karl. I appreciate the elaboration. Talking about your note, ang dami kong nasabi, you tend to be more economical in words to express your thoughts — whereas I tend to be verbose; may be a sign of my old age? 🙂

          • karlgarcia says:

            Kaunti pa pala sa lagay na yon. 🙂
            Sometimes I think that I am the most talkative commenter at TSoH. Especially when I keep on seeing my avatar in the recent comments section.
            Ok lang kung verbose.
            Si Francis bihira lang magcomment kaya all-out sa isang post.
            I read every comment as much as possible, because I learn from all of them.(except the uber-trollish ones)

  31. karlgarcia says:

    Filipino Virtual Bayanihan

    BayanihanThere has been something forming quietly, without being noticed too much by the usual suspects in blogs. I suspect we are a bit too self-centered sometimes. While we have been discussing, some people have started to act – and make websites for virtual bayanihan. Yes bayanihan, the old Filipino community spirit of self-reliance and mutual assistance – as opposed to the oppressive, authoritarian barangay where one relies on a datu-type leader for everything, including what one should think and do. Let me show some examples:

    Overseas Virtual Bayanihan

    There are a few sites which I have noticed in Europe, possibly there are many more, maybe even in the Middle East:

    This is an example of an article from Migreat – which gives practical tips about migration, studying and more for Filipinos in Germany, Spain, England and Italy.
    This is an example of an article from Pinay In Germany – which is a group of Pinays married to Germans, giving tips to other Pinays and also writing about life in Germany.
    This is from Pinoy in Amsterdam. I would say the site is still quite rudimentary, but it does explore a lot of areas. Here there is the possibility of a commercial/business link.
    What is interesting is that the makers of these websites are very unassuming, unlike most bloggers on the political scene. I even would include myself as being a bit self-promoting at times.

    Local Virtual Bayanihan

    Locally, there are two sites that I have noticed. I am sure there are more:

    Efren Nolasco gives not only computer tips, but also tips on how to deal with practical matters like SSS, Philhealth etc. – one example is this article.
    Boklit also gives practical tips on the usual day-to-day stuff like SSS, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG…, but also self-help ideas like this article on how to get out of debt.
    A New Spirit?

    What is interesting is that Efren Nolasco is a former OFW. My first article at Joe America’s blog foresaw a role of those who have been abroad in changing the Philippines. Those who are poorer or less educated in the Philippines are often kept from gaining too much confidence I think – by both the rich and the educated, many of whom want to keep a colonial-style monopoly of wealth and knowledge. Being abroad is not only about earning money, it is also about seeing how things can work differently, and gaining confidence by seeing one’s hard work finally having true results.

    Joe America recently mentioned the possibility of people powered journalism. People Power was not a bad thing – it removed a dictator, or an authoritarian ruler, whatever one chooses to call him, who had plundered the country and driven it into inflation and debt among other things. But People Power only replaced one ruling group with another somewhat better ruling group.

    Filipinos were still hopeful sheep then. It was a necessary stage in the country’s development – away from being intimidated sheep. Now they are regaining confidence as well as community. Virtual bayanihan is in my opinion a major step forward for Filipinos – away from being just masses to becoming empowered citizens. This start is oriented towards daily needs, which I think is a good thing because that is what counts for most people, first and foremost. Between the thought leaders and the virtual citizens, there is still a divide. Bridging it remains the main challenge.

    Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 9. February 2016

    P.S. in response to an article of mine about Rising from Victimhood, Joe answered that the way to rise is knowledge that gives confidence. Will Villanueva added faith to that, and I commented that faith in good things about being Filipino is essential. This is all essential to overcoming the slave mentality that Get Real Philippines points out – but their solution is dictatorial and self-hating.

  32. karlgarcia says:

    What is Filipino?

    We all refer to Filipinos and the Philippines, yet have we asked ourselves what a Filipino actually is? Let us see:
    Many different but related ethnic groups and languages. Difficult national communication.
    Cultural influences from many historical periods, with different impacts on different subgroups.
    A history that is told very differently by different interest groups, no overarching national narrative yet.
    So how can a national identity be defined? There are two things I would consider very important:

    Tradition is not worshipping the ashes – it is keeping the fire burning, said famous German composer Gustav Mahler. Culture changes over time, is a living thing with many manifestations.
    There are many nations with diverse subgroups. Accepting differences can be a better way to increase the buy-in by the diverse communities in a nation than forcing them to go by a standard dictated centrally.
    Modernity and diversity are therefore essential in defining any nations’s identity – accepting it as what it is.

    19th-century definitions of nation and people are outdated. The modern definition of a nation that I like the most is that of a Schicksalsgemeinschaft, a community united by fate. This is probably THE definition best suited to define what a Filipino is. The people descended from those who were shaped by a common destiny of:
    being those who settled in the islands, whatever their origins were
    having been subjected to varying cultural influences to different degrees
    having been part of – or opposed to – a state formed by Spain then the USA
    having lived as part of a nation that became the Republic of the Philippines
    now facing the future and trying to find out how it will look like for everybody
    For better or for worse, this is where the Filipino nation – seen from far away by me – is in my humble opinion. What the people now part of this nation will make out of it is their call – and their identity theirs to define.

    The Americans have the motto “E Pluribus Unum” on their national seal. Out of Many, One. When the great Bulgarian Khan Kubrat was dying more than a thousand years ago, he ordered his sons to break a bundle of sticks tied together. None of them managed. Kubrat untied the sticks and broke them one by one. Unity makes strength, he told his sons – Съединението прави силата is on the Bulgarian coat of arms to this very day. It will be up to Filipinos, as a community united by destiny, to find a way to become one out of many and find strength in unity.
    to find a way to tell their history in a way that acknowledges all influences and all groups involved
    to define their culture and traditions, not to worship the ashes, but to keep the fire burning
    to find ways to communicate, teach and learn in a way that acknowledges diversity and modernity
    There are many different approaches to achieving this, why not try to put the best of all approaches together? Different groups can talk to one another, listen to one another, try to understand and learn from on another to achieve enormous synergies. The country has enormous talent. To weave a bright multicolored fabric. Identity.

    Irineo B. R. Salazar, Munich, 14 May 2015

    Tradition ist nicht die Anbetung der Asche, sondern die Weitergabe des Feuers

  33. karlgarcia says:

    “To accuse the Spanish, over and over again, of having brought us all sorts of things, mostly evil, among which we can usually remember nothing very valuable, ‘except, perhaps,’ religion and national unity, is equivalent to saying of a not very model mother, that she has given her child nothing except life, for in the profoundest possible sense, Spain did give birth to us — as a nation, as an historical people. This geographical unit of numberless islands called the Philippines –this mystical unit of numberless tongues, bloods and cultures called a Filipino– was begotten of Spain, is a Spanish creation. The content of our national destiny is ours to create, but the basic form, the temper, the physiognomy, Spain has created for us.

    Towards our Spanish past, especially, it is time we became more friendly, bitterness but inhibits us; those years cry for a fresher appraisal. –Nick Joaquín (La Naval de Manila, October 1943)–

    So many writers and scholars have claimed that our race has no identity of its own. They say that we are still seeking an elusive national identity. Most of them somehow have this “warped” view of the subject, stating that more than three hundred years of Spanish colonization hindered the development or natural evolution of our identity. Some say that the Filipino identity started to exist only when the Philippines revolted against “Spanish tyranny and oppression”. And some argue that we still have to develop it.

    “A definite national identity has continuously eluded the Filipino peoples,” declared Gabriela Network. “Colonizers and imperial powers have thwarted fledgling attempts at nationhood, redefining the archipelago for their own benefit.” The late statesman, Carlos P. Rómulo, wrote intrepidly that “our history is a record of the search for the Filipino identity,” implying thus that there is an absolute absence of it. “The examination is urgent because we are witnessing a resurgence of the spirit, expressing itself in a boldness with which we like to conceive our politics, our social organization, our intellectual and artistic tradition, our system of education, and, more significantly, the assertiveness with which we like to regard ourselves in relation to the larger context of Asia,” he continued.

    Retired colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (and author of the History of the Armed Forces of the Filipino People) Dr. César P. Pobre even tried to explain why there is a lack of such an identity: the country’s archipelagic nature, a deficiency of unity and unifying symbols other than the national language and flag, colonial policies, the protracted terrorism of local communist and separatist groups, and demographic diversity.

    But to say that we do not have our own identity is tantamount to declaring that we have no country, that we are not a unified network of nations. Or that perhaps we are a nation of fools. From Aparri to Joló, aren’t we all proud and united in joy whenever boxing hero Manny Pacquiáo waves the three stars and the eight-rayed sun in victory over a devastated (and pre-match loudmouthed) opponent? Our nationalistic pride is always stirred up whenever a kababayan receives honors abroad. And we are angered in unison whenever we receive news that one of us is harmed overseas. Our nationalistic fervor is alive. We acknowledge each other’s united presence even in other countries. Doesn’t this prove that we already have an identity? We already have a concept of nationhood, but the problem is that this concept is somewhat bigoted and not wanting in atavistic blindness. In this age of information and ecumenism, we are no longer finicky toward racism. It’s (supposedly) a thing of the past. Why then are we still behind in identifying our very own identity as a people?

    We do not need to seek nor build our own identity. It’s already here, ready to strike us in the face. What needs to be done is to simply identify it. It is already within us. We just need to tap it. And make it known among ourselves.

    But what is national identity? It is generally accepted that this concept refers to a group of people’s distinguishing characteristics or specific features, making each of its member feel a warm sentiment of belongingness to that group. Sentient commonality is present regardless of racial origin (i.e., regional attributes) or creed or regional peculiarities. Its importance thus cannot be taken for granted.

    “A nation strongly built is a nation secure,” remarked Dr. Pobre. “To be strong it must have unity. And to have unity it must have, among others, a national identity. Hence, the quest for national identity is an imperative to building a strong national community.” It is so true. Therefore, if we already have a national identity, why are we still a weak and blighted nation, blind with rage toward our past, particularly at our glorious Spanish past? Because we haven’t been able to identify this controversial identity. Or we refuse to do so.

    The words “glorious Spanish past” has to be mentioned and even emphasized because it is exactly from that epoch that our identity was first formed and forged. Before the Spaniards came, there was no Philippines and no Filipino people to speak of. The Filipino identity is the product of the Filipino State that began to exist in Spanish on 24 June 1571. The Filipino State was founded together with Manila on that same date, with the government having Spanish as its official language. It’s as simple as that; no more need to use effusive language and pretentious arguments.

    With the birth of a nation follows the birth of its people’s own unique identity. Before 24 June 1571, each tribe (called indios) living all over what is now known as the Philippine archipelago had their own petty kingdoms, languages (including a system of writing), culture, traditions and customs, beliefs, and identity. Technically speaking, they were divided as various independent states or countries. That was all changed when Spain occupied the islands and united all of them into one compact and homogeneous body (that is why those who refused this generous Spanish act should not consider themselves as Filipinos in spirit).

    In nation-building, the people has to be united first and foremost. And in order to be united, its peoples should acknowledge a shared identity among themselves. Our forefathers, the first ones who synthesized the concept of nationhood back in 1571, avowed to this shared identity through concepts and newfound knowledge brought about by Spanish culture. “In our orthodox history education, it’s regrettable that the core appears to be lessons in history with a ‘nationalist’ attitude,” wrote fellow nouveau “propagandist” Arnaldo Arnáiz. “That in order to glorify the homeland, we must acknowledge that colonialism was entirely immoral and therefore never produced any meaningful transformation, that we have an obligation to focus on ways to remove its influence, and that we must to go back to our pristine origins — that the more aboriginal our mindset is, the more Filipino we become. Along this line of thinking, there are those who argue that to be a Filipino, the correct attitude must be above all that of an Asian. This essentially puristic approach is an attempt to undo the path of our evolution as a society. The trouble with this is that the Filipino’s base can only be traced in its mestizo genesis. Even the formation of its name, ‘Filipino’ and ‘Filipinas’, is the outcome of that merger.”

    This is not to say that the Spaniards were pure saints and that they didn’t do us any wrong at all. “Colonialism has its faults,” says Arnáiz. But it should be noted that the Spanish takeover was mainly for evangelization because unlike other colonies, the Philippine archipelago had no spices nor any major gold deposits (save perhaps for a few places such as the one in Paracale, Camarines Norte). This country, in fact, developed into a progressive nation through the latest technologies and economic breakthroughs coming from the West. And this economic progression later on paved the way for former US President William McKinley’s infamous “Benevolent Assimilation” proclamation in 1898, thus shaming and mocking the precepts of his own country’s Monroe Doctrine.

    Such a fact prompted another “modern propagandista” and foremost Filipinist/Hispanist of our time, the great scholar and 1975 Premio Zóbel winner Guillermo Gómez Rivera, to observe that “the Filipino State became so rich and so vibrant that from a mere missionary outpost it went on to become a colony, in the Spanish sense of the word. It went on to become an overseas Spanish province under a Ministerio de Ultramar until it graduated into the 1898 República Filipina which the invading American forces of the 1900s literally destroyed with an unjust war by murdering one-sixth of its total population.” Señor Gómez further adds that “the Americans claimed the Philippine Islands as a ‘territory of the United States of America’ but never gave any American citizenship status to the Filipinos as Spain did from the start of her rule. Thus, while it was the Spaniards who started for all Filipinos the organization of what was later to become their own Filipino State, the basis of their national patrimony and rights, the American WASPs* took away from the Filipinos, their own STATE.”

    If only today’s generation are still Spanish-speaking like our ancestors, the abovementioned facts would have been very easy to grasp. And more facts would have been uncovered, especially those that were twisted by today’s educators who are under the influence of WASP neocolonial policies. Another colleague of ours, José Miguel García, correctly ascertained that “many of our documents, records, and literature were written in Spanish. These are records of our past. Without records of our past, we do not have access to our common origin as a nation. Without our common origin as a nation, we do not have a common identity. Without a common identity, we do not have anything to do with each other as a nation…”

    Once our true Filipino Identity, an identity based on our glorious Spanish heritage, has been correctly identified and made known to all, nationalistic pride and patriotic love will have more sense and meaning. That is why it is imperative to bring back the Spanish language in this country. It is the key to identify and recover our national identity.

    “Only when we become aware that we have an inheritance and how and where it was taken can we recover our national identity,” wrote García. “Only then can we recover our beautiful stock. Only then can we recover our national genetic code and regenerate once more our beautiful stock from which development of not only the once glorious Manila will again spring, but our once glorious Filipinas.”

    Ladies and gents, the ball is now in our hands.

    *White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

    • karlgarcia says:

      This is the link to Cesar Pobre’s Executive Policy Brief about National Identity as an imperative to building national community.

      Click to access EPB_pobre_natl%20identity.pdf

    • Fascinating. So westerners robbed Filipinos of their true Spanish heritage and identity. I think Jose Riza’s would not agree. But whatever the case, Filipinos will not be Filipinos until they stop blaming others for stopping them from being what they want to be. Who is providing the definition today, China through a vicious puppet government? It SEEMS like that is what most Filipinos, in the majority, wish to be. The educated elite, who have botched their credibility through corruption, seem to want corruption. Well, that fits the Chinese model where power triumphs over equality and compassion, so I guess we have a kind of people Filipinos want to be as the poor angers join with rich greed to make it a nation much like what it’s like to drive here: order within a system of every man for himself and pay the cop off if he stops you. Unless, of course, the cop gets paid to shoot you and toss a pack of shabu and a .45 into your car.

      • karlgarcia says:

        My thoughts.
        I don’t think it is Spanish or Mandarin that should be taught we are global filipinos.
        Wether the ultra nationalists like it or not.
        I am biased for English instruction, but afterwards more languages should be taught like Nihongo and German.

        The Chinese can no longer blame the Brits for the opium war, they are spreading the opiates worldwide. It is now a problem in the US.
        And Duterte says he overdoses Fentanyl.

        We too must look forward and build a nation, but we must also demand justice and accountability, because it is very hard to move forward without justice, no matter how short a memory we have.

        But, wr must stop the blame, demanding accountability does not mean finding who is to blame, it is very easy to point fingers, look first at the vanity mirror then the rearview mirror, the side mirrors before looking at the windshield.

      • NHerrera says:


        A medley or mix of many islands and dialects in a country is not conducive to making a viable Filipino identity and polity.

        One cannot even sense the nuance of cuss words with possible similar meanings — buwang, sira-ulo.

    • Miela says:

      Sorry Karl, but Fililino Scribbles is one of the worst source on Filipino identity. It overglorifies the Spanish(Filipinos were only Spanish citizens during the Cadiz constitution, the vibrant trade of the natives with neighboring peopled were cut off upon Spanish arrival, the islands became dependent on subsidy from New Spain for a very long time) with blatantly puts down non-Hispanized indigenous cultures despite their contributions to contemporary Filipino heritage.

      I am not anti Spanish/Hispanic but there is so much lies and white washing in Filipino Scribbles blog.

      Look at his other posts and he does not make it a secret that he disdains and look down on ethnic minorities particularly indigenous peoples like the Igorots, Lumads, abd Moro. He even goes to say that they don’t deserve to be Filipino, part of the nation, have “backwards” culture despite their national contribution.

      The Indian reservation act was an offshoot of the Cariño doctrine where an Igorot man sued the insular government for coveting his land. This doctrine also serves as the source of indigenous lands right. In addition, Ifugao is the province that has the most UNESCO heritage contribution.

      His very thought will dismantle the republic. Imagine if his sentiments become national. Mindanao will breakaway, so does the Cordilleras as oppression towards indigenous groups will be worse.

      And Jose Mario Alas (Filipino scribbles) ,like Guillermo Gomez Rivera blames the Yankees for all the Filipino problem like Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro does.

      One of the most underrated Filipino intellectual is Trinidad Pardo de Tavera. He is a creole who is a nativist. He is obscured by Philippine History simply because he was a federalista. But looking beyond that, he is one of the best Filipinist and pragmatist the PH ever had. Too bad he is not appreciated. And Filipino Scribbles hates him for that alone, warranting him to disregard de Tavera’s contributions.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I agree, this is is like sharing an fb post that I regret sharing, but what’s done is done, and hopefully an open and objective mind would know what to do with disagreeable posts.
        Thank you for additional info on them.(scribbles)

        I was just looking for Cesar Pobre, who just happened to be cited in that Filipino scribbles article.

        Click to access EPB_pobre_natl%20identity.pdf

        • karlgarcia says:

          Miela, may I ask for your thoughts on Pobre’s paper.

          • Miela says:

            I find his paper of “national unity” and “national symbol” very vague. He hardly offers anything specific. He disregards a lot of things about the Philippines namely:

            – First, there was no Philippines before the Spanish came. Just bunch of small communities. There was Tondo (the “kingdom”), then there was Seludong (present-day Manila) which was a Brunei satellite or territory even. Some claims that most elites of Seludong were not native Tagalogs but Bruneian immigrants. To add to that, there are some scholars who believe that our favorite pre-Hispanic hero, Lapu-lapu was not Visayan but a Bornean pirate who did not want to be subordinate to Rajah Humabon. The national unity we have, no matter how flawed, is a result of Spanish colonization which was later cemented by US occupation (I am inclined to believe that the Republica Filipina will dismantle had the US not occupy the Philippines a la breakdown of Gran Colombia after the death of Simon Bolivar. Iloilo was loyal to the end, the Cordilleras and Mindanao were not thoroughly incorporated).


            -Secondly, the Philippines is a diverse group and not everyone can exactly relate to each other. As someone who had grown up in the mountains of CAR, there are many cultural aspects of the lowlands that I do not relate to. Even lowland descendants born and raised in CAR could hardly relate to their lowland born and raised brethren. Reyna Elena and the Nazarene devotion are among the many. At the same time, I doubt many lowlanders can relate to many Igorot cultural aspects like animal sacrifice and the significance of oral genealogy and wearing the bahag/tapis. To the lowland, their “traditional attire” are the barong and saya or traje de mestiza o camisa de chino. To the Igorots, it’s the bahag and tapis. Why does the Philippines have to adapt a singular national identity when it can celebrate its diversity? Why do we have to imitate homogenous nations like Japan or Korea when we’re not even a homogenous nation? Never was. By pretending to be homogeneous “Malays”, we alienate the Spanish mestizos, American mestizos, Criollos, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians, and even our own cultural minorities. We’re just on our way to make our country racist and xenophone if that’s they way we ought to look at things.

            -Thirdly, identities are always evolving. The identity of the US when it was young used to be the WASP identity; now it’s multiculturalism/melting pot/tossed salad. Likewise, American country music and cowboy attire, believe it or not, have become a symbol of one’s Igorotness or to be more general (to include the non-Igorots who have been in CAR for generations), Cordillerans. Presently, Filipino identity has been evolving. Once we stop evolving, that’s the end of our “civilization”. Pancit and Lumpia are among the known Filipino food here in the US (among non-Filipinos) but we all know these are Chinese contributions to our culture. Should we throw out all “non-native” aspects of Filipino culture?

            – Fourth, the seeds of nationalism in the Philippines was planted by the Insulares/Philippine creoles as early as the 1820s. As in the Spaniards born in the islands. Luis Rodriguez Valera, the Palmero brothers, and Andres Novales attempted to either fight for greater autonomy to full-blown independence. Andres Novales headed a mutiny int he early 1800s in an attempt to overthrow the Peninsulares from the Islands. Then there’s the Palmero brothers conspiracy which details are a bit fuzzy, but rumor has it that it freaked out peninsular Spain so they repressed the issue so much. Worth researching, TBH.

            The kind of national pride that he is advocating is the Philippine version of the right-wing/GOP American “nationalism”.

            • Miela says:

              correction: I mean *xenophobe, not xenophone

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks Miela for the elaboration. Very informative.

            • karlgarcia says:

              I am learning a LOT from you Miela. I hope you share more.
              Have you visited Irineo’s site.
              You can chime in there too.

              • I am happy to see that Miela’s points are congruent with mine:



                Kota Selurong (really Malay, Bolkiah dynasty influence, they have run Brunei since 1300), Maynila was the native Filipino name for the place, first Malay then Spanish fortress Manila.

                Count Novales, the Insular who witnessed the French revolution. Then the different military uprising, first by creoles. Even Rizal mentioned numerous military uprisings in “The Philippines, a Century Hence”. Then Propaganda I (priests), Propaganda II (intellectuals)

                Finally the Katipunan, with its native, semi-religious aspects and symbolisms, then the Revolution and the Republic which Aguinaldo got even the Visayans to (nominally) recognize, but not the Moros. Full territorial control by the US in May 1920 ONLY.


                so many POVs in both Philippine history and even worse in Philippine politics. If in Philippine journalism there are Tiglaos, there are similar sources in Philippine history as well who twist things beyond recognition. One has to look for the common denominators of truth, always.

                Hence, a Spanish-speaking Philippines is not only debatable, but too late. If ever there is a “mainstream Filipino”, it is the Catholic lowland villager who was ruled by the principalia. The other mainstream might be the urban Filipino and the mestizo traders of the cities.

                Both only rarely spoke Spanish. Americanization was more thorough with the Thomasites. Even if only “epol” arrived in some boondocks and not “apple” pronunciation. Then the institutions of Quezon, including schools, spanning the archipelago, really Aparri to Jolo.

                Magsaysay sending people to Mindanao. The result is that there is a Christian majority there now – a third colonization, that of Mindanao by mainstream Filipinos. Duterte (born in Cebu) is part of that, so are Marcos’ wars there, and the destruction of Marawi, more than sadly.

                This is where I agree with popoy who once wrote a poem that Mindanao could be the making or breaking of the Philippines. The violence exiled to there in the 1950s to facilitate internal colonization has now come bite back even Luzon as tokhang. This is where we are now.


                The violence in Mindanao is the result of a sheer gold rush, I think. But as I mentioned elsewhere, probably nobody has been as rapacious in stripping the archipelago bare to lay open its riches than Filipinos themselves. What will remain for your descendants to enjoy?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Di na ako nagpaalam sa iyo, I shared some of your work here .

            • sonny says:

              I’m speculating that peoples of CAR originally came from Yunnan province, China. They either came down the Mekong River then crossed over to the Cordilleras and built the rice terraces. Or, from the Mekong (still from Yunnan) proceeded by land to the island of Taiwan crossed over to northern Luzon and went up the Cordilleras and built the rice terraces.

              • sonny says:

                This is using geography/internet juxtapositioning. The cultivation of rice is latitude specific. The Yunnan region of China matches the extensive terrace-building of Ifugao and Banaue in the CAR region. Couple this theory with the OUT-OF-TAIWAN theory of the peopling of the Philippines, and factor in the presence of the two monsoon seasons of our islands and Voila! Makes sense, noh? 🙂

              • sonny says:

                Also, our brothers in the Cordilleras are more fair-skinned than the lowlanders of Luzon. (This is purely sonny’s anthropology, i.e. a little learning may be dangerous 🙂 )

  34. Sabtang Basco says:

    Are those Filipinos who left their country have the right to be called Filipinos?

    Americans call themselves Irish, Germans, Europeans, Caucasians, Asians … SO, WHO ARE AMERICANS ANYWAYS?

    • They are people from around the world who believe in a system of laws, self-accountability, hope, and awareness that unity is best found by sacrificing a little of self for the nation.

    • manangbok says:

      “Are those Filipinos who left their country have the right to be called Filipinos?”

      Hmmm … maybe it depends on their reasons for leaving and for their allegiances when push comes to shove.

      I will cite an example: my aunts are all OFWs who chose to take on the citizenship of Justin Trudeau’s country.

      Every year (or as often as their finances permit), they come back and visit their hometown and tinker around the house they built with their dollars. They have sent 6 of their nieces and nephews to school, all of whom are all professionals now. They take care of my grandmother who is living with them in a that foreign country. They love going around Philippine tourist spots like Palawan, Oslob, Boracay etc and proudly post their adventures on facebook for all their friends to see. They invite their friends, Pinoys (dual citizens or otherwise) and other foreigners to visit the Philippines.

      My aunts are not rich (all their money had been spent taking care of the family they have left behind in the Philippines); they are not intellectuals. They are apolitical, pragmatic and while they have adopted some customs of their adopted country, they still maintain (some form of) allegiance to the land of their birth.

      So … my aunts are Filipinos — though their passports will say otherwise 🙂

  35. Micha says:


    Just wanted to share this Paul Manafort story re his connection to the Marcos dictatorship.

  36. Sabtang Basco says:

    Paul Manafort is sleazeball expert aggrandizing to sleaze. May he burn in hell !!!

  37. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    I generally do not view the Murdoch news network, among which is Fox News, because of its extreme bias in one form on another. Today , I viewed the this link posted in CNN and I then viewed the associated news in Fox News:

    Sure enough, the reporting is bad, to be charitable. Probably worse than what Joe attributed to Inquirer in the past.

    • NHerrera says:

      Sorry, another off topic item.

      Read this:

      ” … currently has three US passports, each under a different number. He has submitted 10 passport applications in roughly as many years … wrote on loan applications and other financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016 … In some months, … [his] assessment of his total worth fluctuated. In August 2016 he said his assets were worth $28 million, then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.

      The fellow referred to is not some Mafia member. He is the former Trump Election Campaign Chairman.

  38. Underratedgirl says:

    “The joy for Pope Francis seemed legitimate, and so does the enthusiasm for a ruthless President.”

    They are very much alike because Francis is the Antipope who destroys Catholic religion, see more of that here ( and Rodrigo Duterte is the destroyer of Philippine Republic. But, Francis is more dangerous because he will lead souls to hell.

    “But none are so blind as those who refuse to see. So, for those who have eyes to see, please see!”

    • NHerrera says:

      Francis is more dangerous because he will lead souls to hell.

      Assuming there is hell, that statement is debatable.

      • Miela says:

        Pope Francis is not leading Catholics to hell. He is merely continuing the Catholic heritage of using Greek philosophy and rationality to defend the faith. To do the opposite is to abandon the Catholic heritage…and we will end up similar to the Islamic world where science and rationality will be subordinate to biblical literalism (remember that the bible itself has violent texts).

        One of the tragedies of Islam was the decline of the Mutazilite school of thought. They’re kind of the equivalent of St Anselm and St Thomas Aquinas in the Islamic world. What prevails now is the Ashirite school of thought that promotes holy book literalism…which gave birth to Wahabbism.

        You can watch more vids on this on CaspianReports youtube channel.

    • I see Pope Francis as trying to meld modern values and practices with strict doctrine of the church. The Church has been becoming less relevant to many, and he wants to make it relevant. Gay rights, for instance. If that is leading people to hell, then you and I have different understandings of who Jesus was, and what he taught.

      • Underratedgirl says:

        No one can make the Catholic Church irrelevant because she holds the truth. It’s not a human institution, it’s divine institution. Even the gates of hell can’t overcome it. Yes, gay rights will lead people to hell if they will not repent, remember sodom ang gomorrah?because sodomy is one of the sin that cry to heaven for vengeance. We can’t reconcile because I’m a Catholic and our dogmas are irreconcilable.

        • NHerrera says:

          May I, with respect, ask:

          Yes, you are a Catholic in the Philippines. But do all in the Philippines subscribe to your brand of Catholic? Isn’t the Pope the head of the Catholic Church? Aren’t there Catholics who appreciate what the Pope is saying?

          • Underratedgirl says:

            That is why was created to inform and educate those people in the vatican II sect because they are the victims of a cruel fraud, they thought Francis is the real pope. They wish to compare and contrast the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith. Just pls. click the link and read, if you have questions you can ask them.

            • Second posting of that link. Three gets you sent to spam. Discuss the ideas. Don’t use the blog to promote your cause.

              • popoy says:

                JoeAm if I may, everybody in their lifetime have to contend with taxes and the rubbish everybody can’t avoid producing that’s why there’s government service called Waste Management; there’s waste also in it that’s why there’s TV fiction series like the Sopranos. In the internet there’s need for rubbish vigilance that seems to proliferate like bacteria. In blogging, rubbish control is the 90 percent perspiration T.A . Edison was talking about. Rubbish is not what makes the world go round. Carry on Guru.

              • Yes, true, some waste is tolerated in hopes that the producer will come to see the wisdom of giving the gift of respect.

        • Miela says:

          The Church seeks the truth, that is the heritage of the Church, which was born out of its Greek heritage. The absolutist mentality was what lead to the Galileo controversy. The absolutist mentality was what lead Islam to abandon rationality.

          Why does the Church seek the truth? It’s its way of knowing God, the creator. Before science was appreciated for its pragmatic purposes, the Catholic monks were practising science because they wanted to know God through his creations. The best philosophers of the faith aren’t the ones who tell people they will burn in or go to hell, but the ones who used rational thought to know God and to defend the faith.

          Rationality is the heritage of the Catholic church, not absolutism.

        • Agree. Thanks for your view.

  39. karlgarcia says:

    Sabtang and Manangbok.
    Psychiatrist’s rate is about Php 1500 for the first hour and 500 per hour beyond that.

    lets say 15 patients a day and 3 days a week.
    a minimum of
    (1500 *45) 4= 270,000 a month. Not bad.

    • NHerrera says:

      I tutor neighborhood kids math for P250 per hour. Math thinking may be more effective than the positive results of Psychiatry. Methinks I should up my fee to P251 per hour. 🙂

    • karlgarcia says:

      Of course you pay rent,your assistant, and others maybe 100k so 170k a month is still not bad.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      How many Filipinos can afford php1500 1st and 500 per hour when two thirds of Filipinos earn Php380/day?

      • karlgarcia says:

        Not so much.
        That is why Joey De Leon said that if you are rich you get depressed, if you are poor you just lose hope.

        • Sabtang Basco says:

          Chuckle! Chuckle! Chuckle! I do not know who Joey de Leon is but the quote “if you are rich you get depressed, if you are poor you just lose hope” IS ORIGINAL !!!

          • chemrock says:

            Joey is the co-rapist together with vic sotto plus another departed pinoy. The trio who raped Pepsi Paloma who later died under suspicious circumstances but declared as suicide. Tito Sotto was incriminated in her death — presumably to protect brother and family name.
            Meanwhile, Filipino families continued starry-eyed on the TV and laugh at silly jokes of Eat Bulaga and ejoyed the pranks of the rapists who anchor that show.

  40. karlgarcia says:
    A stable country

    necessitates stable institutions, first and foremost. Then it needs stable politics. If politics are like in the Philippines, winner-take-all and leave nothing for those outside one’s group, there can never be enough trust to be able to work together. Germany is able to have varying coalitions of colors not because all parties are basically the same (the extreme right and the extreme left would disagree) but because there is enough self-discipline to stick to the commonly agreed rules and not to be sophists about them like Filipinos often are. And to negotiate in good faith when making coalitions.
    Engage or Avoid?
    Contrast that with the bad faith which I think was present from the very beginning between the Philippine Left and the Duterte government. Dealing with Filipinos can sometimes mean that you are on very shifting ground. Transactional, one-off stuff works better, longer-term cooperation for mutual benefit is not easy to establish. Extortion attempts, reinterpreting rules and possibly even whining about unfairness can happen easily. And then getting mad because you tell them to stick to their part of the deal, or even trying to insult or intimidate the other side – tiring power games.
    Which brings us to the major part of stability – stable people. If you are dealing with people who shift the goalposts all the time, forget it. It is the kind of Filipino mentality the leaders of today represent. PLUS the narcissistic rage than some may know who have heard of “My Way” killings or white foreigners getting bludgeoned because they accidentally pissed off someone drunk or high. Possibly just wounded his fragile ego, maybe even so long ago that they forgot about it, but not the man who waited for them in the night with a knife in his hand. Why deal with that willingly?
    Dangerously unstable egos
    Who knows why Jee-Ick Joo, the Korean they wanted to extort money from, was strangled in Camp Crame? Did he get fed up and ask why are you doing this to me, thereby pissing of the cop’s egos and they just killed him. How about Kian Delos Santos? All he asked the police who were hurting him was to go home as he had to review? Did they take his forthrightness as “arrogance”, thinking “who is he to mention that he is studying, does he think he is better than us”? People have indeed gotten beaten up by security guards and cops in the Philippines for “answering disrespectfully”.
    An unstable President who has the same hang-ups as many a Filipino drunk (link): “So you think that you are the conscience of the people? That you are the right ones because you are the white? Excuse me. Are we talking of a monkey here or…” will of course bring out the worst in his people. The threats against the more Westernized and educated sections of the population (so-called “yellows”) at present might only be the beginning, just like Hitler’s propaganda only gradually led to more and more harassment legal and illegal, then expropriation and finally killing of its targets.
    Cut the excuses
    Colonial centuries are excuses even some very intelligent Filipinos use as a bargaining chip, again one more example from Duterte’s recent ramble: “When you left my country after 400 years, you brought home the best of everything in this country. Tapos ganunin ninyo ako? [laughter]”. Probably the worst logging in the Philippines took place during Marcos times with forest cover visibly reduced. There are indications that some of the most rapacious mining has taken place in the last 20 years. And population increased 5 times since the 1950s, when Manila was still spacious.
    So there certainly was colonial exploitation, but the stewardship of the land by its own people was not much better. Who is apparently allowing the Chinese to take soil from the Philippines to build islands on atolls in the West Philippine Sea? Of course many Filipinos think that wealth is usually stolen – again Duterte’s rant: “You were ahead in the industrial race of the planet Earth because you stole the greatest resource of the Arabs and that was — that’s oil.” Wrong. The English mined coal in the late 18th century, had to drain mines, and invented the steam engine to help in this.
    That started the Industrial Revolution, including steamships and the Suez Canal. Later on, different kinds of internal combustion engine were invented, making oil interesting. Germany probably also was calculating when it helped its ally, the Ottoman Empire, build the train line from Istanbul to Baghdad. To blame Western powers alone for the chaos after the Ottoman empire disintegrated is foolish, but so is most of Duterte’s half-analyzed history. Or not to see that China is very calculating in helping the strategically located, mineral-rich Philippines. And play one’s cards better.
    Irineo B. R. Salazar
    München, 14. October 2017

  41. karlgarcia says:
    Cooperate or Collapse

    The latest research has looked into the causes of societies failing or collapsing more extensively than ever. This could help in finding out how to fix Philippine society. Why Nations Fail (link to blog) by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson as well as Collapse: Why Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (link to Wikipedia) by anthropologist Jared Diamond are the strongest works on this matter to date. Wikipedia (link) summarizes the reasons for societal collapse as follows:
    Common factors that may contribute to societal collapse are economical, environmental, social and cultural, and disruptions in one domain sometimes cascade into others. In some cases a natural disaster (e.g. tsunami, earthquake, massive fire or climate change) may precipitate a collapse. Other factors such as a Malthusian catastrophe, overpopulation or resource depletion might be the proximate cause of collapse. Significant inequity may combine with lack of loyalty to a central power structure and result in an oppressed lower class rising up and taking power from a smaller wealthy elite. The diversity of forms that societies evolve corresponds to diversity in their failures.
    Damage to Culture
    A lot of things point to the Philippines as a society that has already collapsed in the past. Rizal and others have written extensively on how the fabric of society was damaged by the encomienda system, “producing a race without a mind and without a heart” according to his milestone work “The Philippines, A Century Hence“. Get Real Philippines, while being exaggerated and pro-dictatorial in its conclusions, has indeed described phenomena similar to those in James Fallows’ “A Damaged Culture” (link). One of the most damaged cultures is that of the Ik (link):
    * an ethnic group numbering about 10,000 people living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya…
    * were displaced from their land to create the Kidepo Valley National Park and consequently suffered extreme famine. Also, their weakness relative to other tribes meant they were regularly raided. The Ik are subsistence farmers who grind their own grain…
    * The Ik people live in several small villages arranged in clusters, which comprise the total “community”. Each small village is surrounded by an outer wall, then sectioned off into familial (or friend-based) “neighborhoods” called Odoks, each surrounded by a wall. Each Odok is sectioned into walled-off households called asaks, with front yards (for lack of a better term) and in some cases, granaries.
    * Children by age three or four are sometimes permanently expelled from the household and form groups called age-bands consisting of those within the same age group. The ‘Junior Group’ consists of children from the ages of three to eight and the ‘Senior Group’ consists of those between eight and thirteen.
    * No adults look after the children, who teach each other the basics of survival. However, it is not certain whether this practice is typical Ik tradition or merely triggered by unusual famine conditions. Joseph A. Tainter proposes this fragmentation to be an artifact of the dire circumstances where each person must depend on their own resources alone to find food and the age peers band together primarily to protect themselves from older stronger children who would take their food.
    Much worse than the batang hamog that Karl Garcia mentioned in the past article, showing that there are degrees of damage to culture, much like there are degrees of how one can burn oneself. There is a study by the anthropologist Turnbull which is controversial, but does summarize the worst aspects of what happened to the Ik as follows:
    “There is no better or more heartbreaking example of the alienation of the human capacity to love than the story of the Ik tribe of Uganda. Colin Turnbull in his book Mountain People documents how Milton Obote nationalized traditional hunting lands as national park for European tourists, and prevented the Ik from hunting in their traditional hunting grounds. After a couple of generations of starvation conditions, the Ik, originally a cooperative, child loving tribe, became a group of selfish cruel people who don’t trust or help anybody.
    Subsidiarity, Solidarity, Humanity
    are the three aspects of a functioning society that Manong Sonny has mentioned. Karl Garcia in the previous article on serving the community and the environment has looked at how to build some degree of subsidiarity and solidarity – thereby increasing humanity in the long run – at the barangay and municipal level. This is the bottom-up approach, but I think one must add:
    * the state has to protect communities against impunity, i.e. armed violence. Lumad communities in Mindanao even organize their own schools, I have read, but are often prey to impunity.
    * the state has to make its basic services more accessible to communities. Not force people to go to different offices. Have extension offices in regions, municipalities, even in barangays.
    * the state has to develop more of a service-oriented mindset. This is hard in a country were not even banks are truly service-oriented yet. It would be less of a foreign body for the people.
    Negosyo Centers, Justice on Wheels mentioned by Karl, pilot projects with courts working in Filipino like I mentioned are ideas like this. The popularity of both Binay and Duterte rests mainly on their having implemented citizen services at the local level. Even if they made their workarounds. I suspect that the principalia, the native chiefs whom the Spanish coopted to help rule, often made workarounds for their respective villages and were loved by their people if they did for their benefit. Hated if they insisted on implementing often impracticable Spanish laws to the letter.
    The Polder Model
    The Dutch have polders (link) and each community is in charge of not only warding off the sea, but managing its own natural resources and keeping things clean. Dutch water boards (link) are among the oldest democratic institutions of the country, democracy in its best form being people cooperating for their common interests. In the case of the water boards these are the interests:
    managing water barriers, waterways, water levels, water quality and sewage treatment in their respective regions.
    In the Philippines it could be making sure mountains are reforested (link) or at least planted with crops like moringa (link) and disaster mitigation. This is one level above the community level that Karl has mentioned in the previous article. Communities that are in the same zone could be encouraged to form alliances to ward of ecological collapse, mitigate natural catastrophes and increase agricultural productivity, possibly even allow for ecotourism. This is regional. The Dutch polder model (link) is also used to describe cooperation and balance of interests at a national level:
    The Dutch polder model is characterised by the tri-partite cooperation between employers’ organisations such as VNO-NCW, labour unions such as the Federation Dutch Labour Movement, and the government. These talks are embodied in the Social-Economic Council (Dutch: Sociaal-Economische Raad, SER)… During the postwar period, the Catholic, Protestant, Christian, social-democratic, and liberal parties decided to work together to reconstruct the Netherlands, as did unions and employers’ organizations. Important institutions of the polder model, like the SER, were founded in this period… ever since the Middle Ages, when the process of land reclamation began, different societies living in the same polder have been forced to cooperate because without unanimous agreement on shared responsibility for maintenance of the dykes and pumping stations, the polders would have flooded and everyone would have suffered.
    In the Philippines, the system of warring barangays worked well for a long time. But there were only about 4 million people in the country around 1800. Today there are 25 times as many people. History I have read mentions that landownership, for example, hardly mattered in the old Philippines because there was always enough new land to slash and burn, then leave after a while to regrow the forest. Now there are hardly any forests left. The population when Marcos rule ended was almost three times that of when Magsaysay’s plane crashed. Now there are nearly twice as many Filipinos as in 1986. Even if what they say is true that the Philippines could export rice during Marcos days, the present population and the land do not allow it anymore. The countries of the Mekong delta can produce rice more cheaply and in larger amounts. Time maybe to look at the Dutch way, people of the sea, survivors of calamities. Cooperate – or collapse.
    Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 14. April 2016

  42. karlgarcia says:

    About Philippine Priorities
    This is about a comment about Filipino priorities by Singaporean banker chempo at Joe America’s blog. It has made me seriously ask: what priorities does the Philippines have?
    To fight corruption?

    This is the relevant part of chempo’s comment:
    If the objective is to help fight corruption — I can name other priorities —
    – Anti-Dynasty Act
    – Banking Secrecy Act — repeal or amend to permit criminal investigations,
    – Persons-with-criminal-records-cannot-sit-in-congress/senate- or- some- other- high- institutions Act,
    – Anti-universal Sufferage Act — no person or institution can demand group endorsement of candidates in an election,
    – Anti-Corruption Unit Act — set up an independent body with wide ranging powers to investigate.
    – Anti-bloody-nonsense TRO Act
    – Anti-Representation Act — charge all giver and taker, tax-disallow representation expenses.
    – Anti-switching-of-parties-after-election Act
    – Serious-Notarisation Act — have proper gazetted lawyers to do this, not in a side street that advertises “Notary Services” & “Photocopy Services” on the same sign board, parties need to appear personally with ID and proper attire (respect for the law and a solemn event) — cannot send messengers.
    ETC ETC ETC — give me time, I can give you 100 priorities.
    To dispense justice?
    Well, I answered and named two more priorities for the country:
    1) Legal reform – the Criminal Code Draft of 2014 was just the beginning as is somewhere in that goddam lazy Congress.
    2) Justice reform – Rizal said more than a hundred years ago that the reason why the English are respected in their possesions is their swift and speedy justice system. He was criticizing Spanish judges and the Penal Code of 1884 which is STILL today’s Filipino law.
    To look good?

    To be fair, the Congress and Senate have finished quite a few laws in the past years and the President signed them.  I did give credit to this here:
    At least there is now a Philippine Competition Commission, meaning the Philippine Competition Act is being implemented. We worried about IRRs some months ago.
    BUT I have a caveat – I read that Philippines EU FTA (free trade agreement) talks have started. Guess what one requirement of the EU was for FTA – you got it, competition legislation and implementation. We Filipinos – me included – need pressure to get moving.
    A few reactions
    Joe America’s answer – for which one must remember that former NEDA Secretary Balicasan, a man of high competence and integrity, is now heading the Philippine Competition Commision:
    Yes, I was impressed that they met the deadlines. Commission formed, a good data-oriented, analytical head appointed. Saved me a blog article to complain about it, because I was tracking it. Kudos to both Aquinos, senatorial and presidential.
    In the publications of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Manila there is an an article about Aquino’s 2015 SONA which specifically mention the Philippine Competition Act:
    The Philippines has seen steady economic growth in the past years. In addition to that, the new Competition Act is a positive signal for international investors.
    Back to the beginning of chempo’s comment, which I quote which it is appropriate in this context:
    We have to ask ourselves first and foremost, what is the objective of the FOI in the case of Philippines? My base feeling is it’s just a showpiece — to show the world there, we too now have an FOI. We have joined the league of “clean” nations.
    Figuring out things

    My New Year article mentions the clean and dirty kitchen in the houses of those Filipinos who can afford it:
    Because of colonialism, the Philippines have had the clean and dirty kitchen everywhere. The clean kitchen to be shown to guests, especially foreigners, and the dirty kitchen were the maids cook. Daang Matuwid was theoretically about honesty, about cleaning up the dirty kitchen. The Ombudsman seems to be hyperactive in smoking out corruption; BIR seems to have been cleaned while Customs remains a problem. And yes, charges were pressed in the Tanim-Bala scam. BBL was not handled well, and has failed. The MRT and Manila traffic not handled with enough foresight.
    Walls were built to hide squatters from both visitors of the UNCTAD V conference in Manila during Marcos times, and the Pope. Does it sound similar to some things that happened this year? Yes. There are more honest Filipinos now than then in my opinion, but brutal honesty must increase. Not to hit back at “the other side”, but to solve the many problems the country has. The country is in the process of maturing, and maturity means adressing issues without resorting to passive-aggressive sullenness or denial on one side and aggressive blaming on the other.
    Get Real Philippines is looking at President Aquino’s dirty kitchen all the time, while ignoring Marcos’ much dirtier kitchen. President Aquino, by virtue of having been in the United States and his mother having been there too, does have a bit of an American attitude about kitchens I think. Just like some of Aquino’s supporters have bit of an American attitude to dogs. Could this be the problem of Daang Matuwid, and most especially the Roxas campaign? The group that runs it is definitely well-meaning and seems to know what it is doing at least in theory. But they live in the clean kitchen part of the country. The Fast Forward video ad of Mar Roxas shows it clearly. And Korina Sanchez nearly fits the stereotype of the old Apo Hiking Society Song “Ang Syota Kong Burgis” (my high-class girlfriend): di pupuwede, sakay sa jeepney, sobrang usok at sikip. She can’t rid a jeepney with me, it’s too smoky and crowded.
    Has Mar Roxas ever taken the MRT to work from Cubao where he lives to DILG which is EDSA Corner Quezon Avenue? Former Interior Minister Günther Beckstein of Bavaria took the Tram No. 19 every day to work. Angela Merkel goes shopping in the evenings – accompanied by some security people of course – and cooks for her husband in the evening. To Filipinos who can’t believe this, much like Europeans did not believe Marco Polo when he came back: the thing about Beckstein I just remember, and about Angela Merkel is in TIME magazine – there you have a US source:
    Unified Germany is a relatively new democracy. It has no finished official residence, and if it did, Merkel would continue to live in the central Berlin apartment she shares with her husband, whose name is on the buzzer. “I always show it to Latin American visitors,” says Wissmann, who was Transportation Minister when Merkel ran the environment department. “I don’t know if it’s 100 square meters or 120, but that’s for a world leader. She is living modestly.”
    The most powerful woman in the world does her own grocery shopping, dragging a small security contingent to the German equivalent of Kroger’s. “If you have good luck, you meet her on a Friday afternoon at the supermarket buying a bottle of white wine and a fish for dinner for her and her husband,” says Wissmann. “That’s not a show.”
    I did like Duterte a bit when I first heard about him, the fact that he dresses simply and talks to the people of Davao regularly. But some of his statements have shown that he is too much from the dirty kitchen of the Philippines. So what does this have to do with priorities? I can only quote one of my favorite movies. This is from the end of Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone:
    John Spartan: Whoa, Whoa. I’ll tell you what gonna do:
John Spartan: [to Chief Earle] Why don’t you get a little dirty?
John Spartan: [to Edgar] You a lot clean.
John Spartan: And somewhere in the middle… I don’t know. You’ll figure it out.
Alfredo Garcia: Fuckin’ A!
John Spartan: [impressed] Well put.
    Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 3. February 2016

  43. Edgar Lores says:

    Very rich discussion thread. Very deep and very broad. But…

    Need to prioritize.

  44. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    A sampler:

    “Those shameless critics,” [in Filipino] if before you were not being hit even though you were throwing stones, now, get ready because when you hit out, it won’t only be stones I’ll throw at you but hollow blocks.”

    Read more:

    • NHerrera says:

      As long as we are on the subject of searching or commenting on the real Filipino, I would like to add this:

      It turns out, Roques “throwing hollow blocks” statement is a milder obscenity than the one uttered by Andanar. I was born a Negrense and the Ilongo word used is a lot more obscene than what John Neri in the link translates to “sex.” I will not post it here, except via the link. No wonder Neri titles his opinion piece as Government by the obscene.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Pag bastos ang mga tao ng gobyerno

        Kilala ang administrasyon ni Duterte dahil sa patayan. Ngayon, kilala na rin sa buong mundo dahil sa kabastusan.

        Patuloy ang pagdanak ng dugo. Walang katapusan ang pagpaslang sa mga mahihirap, na binabaril nang walang awa na nababalita kasama ng mga karumaldumal na retrato ng mga bangkay sa lansangan.

        At ang mga tao ni Duterte? Nakukuha pa nilang magpatawa, mambastos, magpasabog ng kalaswaan, habang pinagtatanggol ang presidenteng pasimuno ng patayang walang katapusan.

        Hindi rin nakapagtataka. Ganoon ang pinuno ng gobyerno niila, ang lider na tinitingala nila.

        Noong kampanya pa lang pinakita na ni Duterte ang galing niya sa pambabastos, mula sa pagbibiro tungkol sa panggagahasa sa isang hostage hanggang sa pambabastos sa reporter na babae. Nasanay na rin ang bansa sa walang tigil na pagmumura at pang-aalipusta sa kahit sinong kumontra sa kanya.

        ‘Ganoon lang talaga si Digong,’ sabi ng mga supporter niya. ‘Kuwela lang talaga si Digong. Palabiro. Masa kung magsalita. Mahilig sa prangkahang usapan. Hindi mahilig sa worsh worsh.’

        Ang problema ang depinisyon ng prangkang usapan at pananalitang pang-masa e pambabastos.

        Duterte to NPA rebels: Surrender, get houses, jobs
        Para sa mga tao ni Digong, ito ang patakaran: ‘Iyong mga namumuna kay Digong, mga alang kwenta iyan. Paulanan lang natin ng kabastusan.’

        Iyan ang diskarteng Duterte.

        Noong Marso noong pinuna ng European Union ang lumalalang patayan sa Pilipinas, birada agad ni Lorraine Badoy, assistant secretary ng Department of Social Welfare and Development,: “Iyong mga taga-EU, mag-online child porn muna kayo. D’yan naman kayo magaling eh.”

        Anong klaseng sagot iyan sa isang napakahalagang isyu? Kung matino kang opisyal, bakit ka bibirada nang sagot na walang kahit konting katuturan sa pinag-uusapan?

        At galing iyan sa isang doktora, isang manggagamot, na isa ring mataas na opisyal ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas na hindi makasagot nang matino sa seryosong tanong tungkol sa human rights at karahasan. At ngayon, ginawa pang undersecretary ng Presidential Communications Operations Office.

        Tapos nitong mga nakaraang linggo, si Martin Andanar naman ang nagpasiklab sa kababawan at kalaswaan ng gobyerno ni Digong.

        Iyong mga opisyal ng European Union na pumupuna kay Duterte? “Palaiyot,” sabi ng presidential communications secretary.

        Yung mga maingay na palaiyot, ’yung mga maiingay. Alam mo, ang problema sa kanila hanggang ingay lang sila, wala namang napatunayan.”

        Pero kung meron talagang nagpatingkad ng kababawan ng pamumunong Duterte, si Salvador Panelo ang panalo. Sa isang interview ng isang Swiss journalist, walang pag-aatubili at walang kahihiyang sinabi ng chief presidential counsel ni Digong: “I fuck like an 18-year-old.”

        Paano gagalangin at paniniwalaan ang isang gobyernong puno ng mga taong ganito magsalita at mag-isip?

        Pag bastos ang mga tao sa gobyerno, paano pa makakaasa na seryosong humanap ng sagot sa mga malalaking suliraning kinakaharap ng bansa?

        Pag bastos ang mga tao sa gobyerno, paano pa makakaasa seryoso ang gobyerno?

        Nakapanlulumong tanggapin ang realidad ng Pilipinas ngayon: walang humpay na patayan at walang hiyang kabastusan.

        Visit the Kuwento page on Facebook.

        On Twitter @boyingpimentel

  45. popoy says:


    Lie, Lying, Liars
    Yeh, you who
    are spokespersons
    the public knows
    who you are
    with and by what
    you do.

    You don’t lie
    you MIGHT say
    when you just
    repeat unchanged

    what you are
    paid for to say.
    That’s kielbasa baloney.

    You did not do
    or invent the lie
    but when you spread

    what you know is a lie
    which hurt and
    harm the public good

    You at the very least
    is a gossip monger
    You at the very worst
    is a lying criminal

    and should be
    hailed posthaste to jail.

    • popoy says:

      some professions and occupations
      have built iron clad in their syllabi
      to be trained proficient
      to be truthful or TO LIE
      in dirty black or clean white lies
      to be or not to be
      truthful or stinking liars
      become part and parcel
      of their daily grind.

      Now think of village priests
      of medical doctors, agriculturists.
      of artists, of engineers and teachers
      you can’t avoid superficial contrast
      but think also of lawyers,
      of businessmen and salesmen.

      Darn, everybody was born
      innocent to be truthful
      but must lie to survive
      and lie for the good life.

      Judge not or yeh be judged
      life can not avoid
      lies and truth like
      nights after days.

    • NHerrera says:

      Popoy: well said in poetic terms what I myself may not say well in prose. (With the note, however, that I like kielbasa sausage, not the baloney kind though. 🙂 )

  46. popoy says:

    “As time goes by,” so warbles a song, nudged me to hazzardly observed here in TSoH in the posts by WV, Karl, Me too, Edgar, et all are becoming longer, bonier and meatier, or doctoral, even doctrinaire, that the comments’ contents based on events says it succinctly: It’s not about “the Sick Man of Asia” but lucidly about the “Sick Country in Asia” only because the healthy men and women have left as emigrees or OFWs.

    Those healthy ones who stayed behind must confront and prove this to be a wrong notion. The thought is far fetch, and faulty, but is it right to tell patient in his sick bed how sick he is when already comatose, he can hardly open his eyes?

    The point? Deductives’ comments seem to be getting sharper and deeper as time goes by.

  47. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    The Filipino

    Is there such a person as a Filipino?
    Is Filipino a race or a state of mind?
    Is he a promise or a broken promise?
    Can he be put in a box and labeled?

    Strange as it may seem,
    thinking of the Filipino
    only gives me a headache,
    just as math or quantum physics does.

    Yet I love being Filipino,
    Traveling to other lands does
    give me an idea of what a Filipino is,
    he’s a concept, she’s a philosophy of life.

    Someone dies, we all gather around
    the bereaved; someone passes the bar,
    the whole town erupts; someone gets a
    US visa, wow, gongs and cymbals, success!

    Can anyone define a Filipino,
    the way a frog is dissected?
    I doubt, because a Filipino is both
    blessing and disease, leprous and inspirational.

    I will stop looking at myself in the mirror,
    for I have promises to keep,
    the wife awaits, for I have the kaldero,
    she will eat only when I come home.

    Isn’t that what a Filipino is?
    Beloved and loving, needed,
    needy, wanting, wanted, leaving,
    arriving, fleeting as the wind?

    Wilfredo G. Villanueva
    November 1, 2017

    • NHerrera says:

      There is a wide range of thoughts expressed almost from alpha to omega in the current blog and comments, the mishmash edgar calls it, but these I like from what you noted, Wil:

      – the gathering around the bereaved;
      – the joyful feast due to passing the bar;
      – the waiting for the beloved to share in the supper.

      In the end, the journey in the search for the Filipino, may really be what matters– that is, as long as we continue to search for what may really be illusive, like truth is sometimes illusive.

      • popoy says:

        Filipino ? Ano ga yun, eh?

        to me and only to me
        the yabang of me
        it is really no worry
        to be a forever Filipino.

        to fidget, twitch and fiddle
        on what or who is Filipino
        is to eche the bucheche
        of splitting hairs.

        To travel as Willy says
        helps to know respect
        for your kind
        by what they see in you
        you also see
        in the eyes of others.

        In Bedford, UK’s National
        College of Agric Engng in
        All Male studentry Dinner
        Sat as guest of honor,
        A young Filipina Agric Engineer.

        Postgrads Studs came
        from many countries but
        only a Filipino did a Seminar
        about his country
        for the college constituency.

        In Papua New Guinea after EDSA
        A newly arrived OFW was
        invited by the Foreign Ministry
        to debrief theirs and other
        dignitaries on the success of EDSA.

        In a national conference years later
        of Provincial Administrators in
        that same South Pacific country
        the Minister of Provincial Government
        said: “Oh good you are here
        Prof would you
        like to speak to the delegates?”
        “May be I should not Mr. Minister.
        I am only an assistant to one of them.”

        In Australian Management College
        in an advance management course
        for senior officials in the region
        A Pinoy academic was elected
        to chair the group
        on International Management.

        In East Timor to build a new country
        UN appointed a An AFP Pinoy General
        to command the entire multi-countries
        peacekeeping force.

        In New Delhi, in a UN sponsored
        Development Administration Seminar
        Bangladeshi participants said:
        “You know friend, every time
        you raised your hand, the resource person
        already know he is in trouble.”

        Wala yan pasiklab na yan, Not even
        a drop in a small dama juana
        of Samar’s bahalina.

        heto pa umpisa lang meron pang ibang links:

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Mr. Villanueva, defining who Filipinos are is sickening. You’d lose your patriotism and nationalism. The only way is to redefine Filipinos and re-engineer its meaning like black people in the U.S.

      They were …
      Negroes … then
      African-American ..
      Blacks …

      Educated blacks do not want to live in their neighborhood …
      If they do not speak Ebonics they are looked down as black-wanting-to-be-white
      If they graduate from Ivy-schools they are derogatorily called white-wannabe

      Good thing about being colored in the U.S. they can live anywhere … but whites cannot live anywhere … that is why we have our own community of whites so we are safe from other culture … loud rap music … Impalas … Navigators … Escalade … with shiny chrome wheels …

      They call it racist … but liberals protect their culture yet actually racist using our feet. We cannot and do not live with them. We go suburbia away from inner cities that requires cars not buses to get to work.

      • All true, I think. We are all genetically defined to seek comfort with our own, which is why LA has its Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Korea Town, Armenian enclave in Glendale, and on and on. It’s like dogs find their way home by finding their magnetic comfort zone. We do the same. But we are rational and so have the ability to articulate our decisions by blaming others for our insecurities.

  48. Sabtang Basco says:

    Ease of doing business indicators, the Philippines’ ranked 173rd in starting a business, 101st in dealing with construction permits, 31st in getting electricity, 114th in registering property, 142nd in getting credit, 146th in protecting minority investors, 105th in paying taxes, 99th in trading across borders, 149th in enforcing contracts and 59th in resolving insolvency.

    Somebody got to teach them how to jump the hoops: GREASE MONEY !

    If they greased their palm Philippine will rank number 1 in starting business to insolvency.

    • karlgarcia says:

      That is the problem wemake laws against corruption,but ending up making everyone’s lives difficult.

      Procurement laws, municipal,barangay pemits, we pay barangay officials to congressional staff or even presidential staff if you are unlucky.
      The higher the position of your connection the higher the rung in the ladder.
      So you have a usec as a contact, pay him and his assistants and most uecs are newbies and they pass the bucks to the real wheelers and dealers.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        My dear Karl, those laws, policies and regulations are to make the implementors have extra money … not to protect the country. If it is happening in my country … IT IS ALSO HAPPENING IN YOUR COUNTRY BETTER THAN OURS.

  49. karlgarcia says:

    Rewind April 2000.
    Ted Benigno writing about discontent at then president Estrada.
    Even comparing Lacson to Ver.
    He is wishing for a third force
    Hindsight Lesson: Be careful what you wish for.

    Is a Third Way possible?

    We have sought the millennium since the fight of our forbears against Castilian
    Spain, against the Krags of the Yankee, the hobnailed tramp of the Kempetai,
    the wholesale loot of our wealth and human rights under the Marcos
    dictatorship. And, yes, since the white doves flew at EDSA. In our mind, the
    word millennium signified the best of things. Now that indeed we are
    into the Third Millennium, there is very little to be thankful for except that
    we are alive. We didn’t do so badly under Corazon Aquino, despite six or seven
    right-wing military coups sought to upend her administration. We figured we had
    settled on a stable plain when Fidel Ramos succeeded her except that the 1997
    Asian financial crisis vomited its blight and there were some big-money

    not_entBut all in all, we figured God was good and God was kind and he would tide us over.

    Maybe God was asleep when the presidential elections of 1998 came around. For
    if we are going to look for a defining moment for all our present troubles,
    those elections were it. First, they divided the Filipino people right in the
    middle. They divided the poor against the rich and affluent. Second, while the
    masa remained steadfast behind Joseph Estrada, the AB classes divvied
    up in a shameless display of their presidential candidates’ arrogance, vanity,
    conceit and vainglory. Patriotism? Love of country? C’mon. What was even worse,
    the Church or churches were divided. Bishops of the Catholic Bishops’
    Conference of the Philippines voted as they wanted. There were anywhere from
    seven to ten elitist candidates against Estrada. The result was of course
    disaster of historical proportions.

    The opportunity then was indeed heaven-sent for Joseph Estrada. He got about a
    whopping 40 percent of the total vote. Fidel Ramos won by only 23.4 percent of
    the vote in 1992. Miriam Defensor Santiago about 20. As in 1992, the rest of
    the 1998 presidential candidates got only paltry portions of the total ballots.
    But where Fidel Ramos was able to parlay his 23.4 percent to a majority on most
    occasions in presidential approval ratings conducted by national survey
    organizations, the opposite happened to Joseph Estrada. The man who could have
    spearheaded “The Revolt of the Masses” in due time began to flounder and came
    slowly apart. His net satisfaction rating is now five.

    * * *

    Erap had the poor genuflecting in the hollows of his hands. They were ready to
    follow him to the ends of the world and back. Do his bidding. If he desired, he
    could summon them in the hundreds of thousands, lead them to the citadel of the
    rich and powerful that was Makati, make the elite keel over. He could have told
    them the imperium of the poor had arrived. And if they, the rich, really wanted
    to help his government overcome poverty, then all the institutions of
    government were there to be availed of. It didn’t happen that way. And that’s
    where again, we run into another of the many curious strands that 21 months of
    the Estrada presidency have woven into a Gordian Knot.

    We wanted to believe. And yet we couldn’t believe.

    Joseph Estrada didn’t bring the poor with him to Malacañang Palace. Nor
    to Makati. That was just the trouble. He brought back the Marcos past. He
    brought back the cronies. He brought back men and women who had embellished the
    Marcos dictatorship. He brought back thoughts, reflexes, mental habits,
    political infirmities that served Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos well but are
    total strangers in the knowledge and information world of today. The verdict of
    the media and almost everybody else is that he brought back the kumpadre
    and kumadre system, the kaibigan and kamag-anak. He
    denies this with all the ferocity he can command. All you have to do is to look
    at the men and women around him. That’s why Lakas president Sen. Teofisto
    Guingona demanded that the president resign.

    It is a pity, the same way we always said it’s a pity, when introspectively we
    looked at the Marcos dictatorship. Marcos had almost everything, a highly
    sophisticated intelligence, a political mind that could soar with the eagle, a
    commanding personality, the sly Armenian’s feel for power. And yet he not only
    failed and fumbled. He crashed and he was doomed by history. Macoy too loved
    his cronies more than he loved the country. He accumulated wealth that made
    Fort Knox look at him in envy. But there was a difference. He lived and ate
    frugally, loved women, yes, but avoided the carouse of the Casbah, the heady
    boister and roister of the bottle. He needed heaps of money to buy off his
    enemies, corrupt the military. Corrupt everybody in his way. If that did not
    prove effective — kill. And thus did Ninoy Aquino die. Macoy loved power too
    much to give it up.

    President Joseph Estrada, I think, isn’t made of the same metal.

    * * *

    He loves power, yes, but he’s willing to give it up — in 2004. He does not
    have the manic obsession for power that Marcos had, or the mailed hand in your
    face to frighten the citizenry. General Panfilo Lacson might frighten some but
    he is not General Fabian Ver. Ping is a power technician, not a strategic power
    genius. Somehow we all sense that Erap Estrada will not declare martial rule.
    First he doesn’t have that control over the military as Marcos did. Second, he
    wouldn’t last. It’s fear of a military takeover that is keeping the Estrada
    regime alive, for many fear the military. And they believe a coup will shatter
    the nation even more. So until the next survey comes — the hope being that it
    will not be fatally negative — Erap breathes. And the military checkmated.

    It is in this context that the Church maintains its support for President
    Estrada while allowing its followers to join protest demonstrations, enlist in
    the Silent Protest Movement. It is also in this context that vice president
    Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, certainly in her mind and persons avidly critical of
    many of Estrada’s policies, seeks to project a neutral no-see, no-look, no-hear
    stance that may eventually do her in. And it is certainly in this context that
    the local business community and lately the Asia-Pacific Council of American
    chambers of Commerce gave Estrada what looked like a medium-size leash.

    And, finally, it is in this context that the political gongs are being banged
    for organization of a Third Force or a Third Way.

    The dreamers of EDSA are back. They seek a peaceful way out of the surrounding
    barbed wire of traditional politics. They want patronage politics to vanish.
    Tradpol politics has brought the country to the cliff by virtue of money
    politics, men and women seeking powers so they can make a fast buck, graft and
    corruption eating away the vitals of the government by the hundreds of billions
    of pesos stolen annually. What terrified many, in fact shocked this columnist
    to the roots of his hair, was the recent meeting chaired by executive secretary
    Ronaldo Zamora. And who were the guests at that meeting? The biggest gambling
    lords in the country. My God! There were about a dozen of them, consorting with
    the Palace and new PCSO chair Rosario Lopez. These guys should all be in

    * * *

    So the Erap government is into high-stakes gambling now. Bejesus!
    Malacañang seeks to set up so-called STLs, Small Town Lottery (read
    Whole Country), the main loot of which will be pocketed by Malacañang. I
    needed this side-trip on the STLs, as Exhibit-A for emergence of a Third Force
    or a Third Way. Many of our neighbor countries succeed through the
    entrepreneurial initiative and genius of their peoples and leaders, their great
    strides in education, their disciplined but energetic entry into science and
    technology. We? We bring in Stanley Ho. We procreate gambling casinos. Our top
    leaders meet congenially with our top gambling lords who should be in the

    But all this talk, all these efforts to organize a Third Force or a Third Way
    will come to naught unless the brightest and the best of our society join hands
    to define what the whole thing is all about. There must be an agonizing
    reappraisal. A Third Force or a Third Way will have to be structured, its
    manifesto for change a clarion call for national purpose. It will have the
    support of the Church and churches. It will have to be EDSA with brass knuckles
    and a legal sword. Otherwise, we’ll just muddle through. Or implode.

    What will be necessary is a series of dialogues among those who avidly seek a
    Third Force. The French Revolution of 1789 was preceded by hundreds of meetings
    daily for a year by leaders of the middle class. These meetings identified the
    main problems, the wrongs, committed, and often passions spilled over. But
    there can be no revolutions, no great reforms without passion. We remember
    Diderot anew: Il n’y a que les passions, et surtout les grandes passions qui
    puissent amener l’ame aux grandes choses. (Only passions, and most of all the
    great passions, can transport the soul to great things.)

    I am deathly afraid all this talk about a Third Way or a Third Force will
    simply find its way to the scrap heap unless the many groups now discussing it
    unite, bang their brains together. And even if they should succeed, they will
    certainly need a new constitution to mirror the myriad complexities of the
    Third Millennium. Our politics is still in the horse-and-buggy stage, still
    stuck in the same old language, the same old reflexes, the same old patron and
    client relationship.

  50. karlgarcia says:

    Updates on the ICC case: under investigation.

    International Criminal Court Opens File For Philippines Leader, Rodrigo Duterte

    Netherlands–International Criminal court Chief prosecutor Ms. Fataou Bensouda has this morning announced that she is investigating Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on alleged extrajudicial killings.

    Speaking hours after visiting victims of the war crime in Mali on Monday, Fataou confirmed that the Philippines strongman is under investigations.

    “Our court won’t leave an unturned stone. We have dealt with Africans and we are headed to Philippines. This court has investigated Mr.Duterte and we are going to put him on trial as from January.” she said.

    “We won’t allow head of states to continue butchering people just because they are in power. I have recorded over 9,000 extrajudicial killings and we are going to take action uninvited. Duterte is the modern Hitler in Asia.” she added.

    Early this year, Duterte said he would not be intimidated by the prospect of the International Criminal Court (ICC) putting him on trial over his bloody war on drugs, promising that his campaign would continue and would be “brutal”.

    More than 8,000 people have died since Duterte took office on June 30 last year, and began his anti-drugs campaign.

    A third of the fatalities were killed in raids and sting operations by police who say they acted in self-defense, while the rest were killed by unknown gunmen.

    Rights groups said many of the deaths were assassinations of drugs users with police complicity, allegations that authorities have denied.

  51. karlgarcia says:
    Why nations fail or prosper
    Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is there a template that the Philippines can adopt to eliminate poverty and ensure equal opportunity for all people?
    While there is no single formula for any country, I have started rereading  a book published in 2012: WHY NATIONS FAIL: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Darong Acemoglu and James Robinson. Back in 2012, the authors predicted in their book “…China under the rule of the Communist Party is another example of a society experiencing growth under extractive institutions and is similarly unlikely to generate sustained growth unless it undergoes a fundamental political transformation toward inclusive political institutions.”
    The book’s major thesis is that inclusive economic institutions are the major engines of growth and prosperity. However, society, through its leaders, determines the types of economic institutions that will dominate its economy. Then it adds that politics is the process by which a society chooses the rules that will govern it including the leaders who will govern the nation.
    The book illustrates the critical stakes in the 2016 elections when the Philippines will choose its next leaders.
    Inclusive economic institutions
    Inclusive economic institutions, such as those in the United States, Japan and Australia are those “that allow and encourage participation by the great mass of people in economic activities that make best use of their talents and skills and enable individuals to make the choices they make.”
    To be inclusive, economic institutions must feature secure private property, an unbiased system of law, and a provision of public services that provides a level playing field.  It must also permit the entry of new businesses and allow people to choose their careers.
    Naturally, a businessman who expects his output to be stolen, expropriated or entirely taxed away will have little incentive to work, let alone any incentive to undertake investments and innovation.
    Among the biggest obstacles of inclusive economic institutions are crony capitalism; money laundering through legal institutions like banks and other so-called “wealth management” institutions; and, taxation corruption which allow rich people to pay a smaller percentage of their income for taxes compared to ordinary office workers.
    “To function well, society also needs other public services, roads and a transport network so that good can be transported, a public infrastructure so that economic activity can flourish and some type of basic regulation to prevent fraud and malfeasance.”
    The government is the enforcer of law and order, private property and contracts, and often the key provider of public services. Inclusive economic institutions need the state but the government must be also inclusive.
    For example, the legal institutions like the Supreme Court can be the tool to prevent discrimination against the mass of the people and ensure equality before the law. But the Supreme Court can also be the tool to discriminate against the masses and ensure elitist justice. This is the controversy regarding the approval, by the Supreme Court, of the bail petition of Enrile.
    Institutions which have opposite properties to inclusive institutions are called “extractive because such institutions are designed to extract income and wealth from one subset of society to benefit a different subset.
    When taxes on the poor and middle class are increased or public services are minimized while the rich continue to evade taxes and money laundering is not curtailed, then the tax system is still extractive.
    Inclusive Political Institutions
    Politics is crucial for economic prosperity for the simple reason “…that while inclusive institutions may be good for the economic prosperity of a nation, some people or groups will be much better off by setting up institutions that are extractive. “
    During the Marcos dictatorial regime, Benedicto was given monopoly of the sugar trade. This may enriched his family but the sugar industry practically collapsed and thousands of people became unemployed.
    “When there is conflict over institutions, what happens depends on which people or group wins out in the game of politics – who can get more support, obtain additional resources, and form more effective alliances. In short, who wins depends on the distribution of political power in society.”
    Enemies of prosperity and creative destruction
    If inclusive economic and political institutions will lead to growth and prosperity, then why are there such strong opposition to creating those types of institutions?
    The answer is that economic prosperity and growth creates both winners and losers. Opposition to economic growth and technological change, unfortunately, may seem logical to certain sectors.
    For example, take radio commentators. A large segment of radio audiences are those riding in vehicles who will switch to television when they get home. It may sound weird, but traffic jams actually benefit radio commentators who have a “captive” audience for those hours before and after work. But this is an audience that need to be angry to listen to commentators who, therefore, must also convey righteous anger. If traffic jams disappear, car riders will have less listening time and will probably shift to listening to music instead of “angry” commentators.
    Economic growth and technological change result in what economist Schumpeter called “creative” destruction wherein the old are replaced by the new. “New sectors attract resources away from old ones. New firms take business away from established ones. New technologies make existing skills and machines obsolete.”
    Companies that rely on monopolies or tax evasion to be profitable will not be able to compete in an inclusive economic environment. It can be expected that beneficiaries of a level business playing field will push for a politics that ensures the rule of law and the dismantling of elitism in the economy.
     It can also be expected that politicians who rely on patronage politics and businessmen who fear “creative destruction” will form alliances to perpetuate a society with “extractive” economic and political institutions even if this results in preventing economic growth and prosperity for the country.
    Education and technology
    The two engines of prosperity which thrives in a society with inclusive economic and political institutions are technology and education. Economic growth can only be sustained by continuous technological improvements. This is linked to education of the workforce acquired in schools, at home or on the job.
    Nations fail because “ they fail to create incentives for parents to educate their children and by political institutions that fail to induce the government to build, finance and support schools…the price these nations pay for low education of their population …is high. …they have many potential Bill Gates and perhaps one or two Albert Einsteins who are now working as poor, uneducated farmers, being coerced to do what they don’t want to do because they never had the opportunity to realize their vocation in life.”
    Nations must encourage technological innovation, invest in people and mobilize the talents and skills of a large number of individuals in order to achieve economic growth and prosperity.
    Daang Matuwid
    During the past five years, the Philippines has changed its direction and started on the road towards a society with inclusive economic and political institutions. This is Daang Matuwid – the road to economic growth and prosperity; but, in the words of the poet Robert Frost, we still have “ many miles to go before we sleep.”

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