A government of convenience

Cesar Legaspi, KARGADOR (1982). Oil on canvas. Paulino and Hetty Que Collection.

By Joe America

The open discussion during my holiday was wide-ranging and deep. I’d like to take an observation made there by Irineo B. R. Salazar and put it into play. I had made a comment about the Duterte Administration’s strategy in dealing with Japan and China and he remarked that there is no strategy. Duterte is transactional.

Indeed, if we look at recent activities and statements of President Duterte, Irineo’s short summation fits perfectly. Transactional. Reactive. All of the recent contradictions and changes in policy and deed are explained. Peace with NPA, then war. Insult the US, then work with the US. Sidle up to China, then make a special visit to Japan when it seems China is lagging in support. Instructions to PNP to kill, then denial that such instructions were made. A lot of changes in staff with appointments being given to political loyalists, as a payoff, not technocrats, for skills.

“Build build build” is positioned as a strategic approach to GDP growth, but all the economic eggs have been put in this basket and projects have been beset by delays. There is no diversified economic plan, no backup. The economy is fraying about the edges.

Services seem as dilapidated as ever. There are frequent train breakdowns. UBER and jeepney disputes. No master transportation plan, only the ballyhooing about approval of the Manila subway, or completion of Aquino projects. The Administration continues with the instability of martial law and ‘EJKs’ even if they undermine investor confidence.

It’s a government of convenience, acting, reacting, shifting gears, doing what is necessary rather than pursuing strategic goals like building a robust economy or elevating the Philippines on the world stage.

The President travels from speech to speech, sets the script aside, and talks about drugs or whatever is bothering him at the time (‘onion skin’ tag, Trillanes, NPA). He has drugs on his mind, for sure. Every problem in the Philippines seems to be caused by drugs. Or the ‘yellows’. Never bad decisions.

Although government is transactional, President Duterte seems to have a personal agenda. We can observe four main thrusts, all serving the President’s personal interests:

  1. Consolidate power. Break down institutional restraints on power in the Supreme Court, Ombudsman, Commission on Human Rights, COMELEC, and Commission on Audit. Entice the AFP to loyalty with bribes/incentives (promise of pay raises), pampering (new jets and arms), or coddling (awards, speeches, praise). Get AFP to join the bands of brothers already supporting the President’s autocratic agenda: PNP, House, and Senate. Intimidate, buy, or neutralize media critics.
  2. Deploy Federalism. Put it on a fast track, not to solve drugs, or for economic gain, or to correct flaws in the Constitution, but to create dynastic kingdoms that Duterte, Arroyo, Marcos, and other families can rule like mob godfathers. The downside of Federalism is ignored: likely infighting between the families, impoverished states, and weak national government; weak defense, weak economy. You need a visual example? Look at the mess of Metro Manila as the separate cities fight for authority and there are no integrated solutions. If there is an upside to Federalism, I don’t know what it is. All the propaganda in the world can’t turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse.
  3. Partner to China. Switch from the US to China for military, economic, and infrastructure empowerment – and ‘commissions’ on deals – under the mistaken belief that China can be ‘managed’. Never mind that sea resources won through hard-fought court efforts of the Aquino government are lost to all future generations.
  4. Obedience. Use drugs (and now terrorism) as reasons to impose ruthless autocratic controls. Martial law. “Destabilization” accusations. Threats and insults. Give millions of frustrated people an emotional outlet and use the cheering, ignorant, vengeful mob as leverage to silence critics.

So the question becomes, okay, how do we see a transactional government, and a President pursuing self-interest, faring in the months and years ahead?

  • Will impeachments run the gauntlet and succeed, and will AFP become loyalist?
  • Can Federalism get past the Senate and past a plebiscite?
  • Who’s on first, who’s managing whom, among the Philippines, China, Japan, and the US/Europe?
  • Will growth in the core of economic might (remittances, infrastructure, agribusiness, manufacturing, construction, trade, and consumer spending) be enough to get investors to look past the instability of killings, threats, insults, and martial law?
  • Can the President continue to hold onto popularity when we are likely to see new taxes, rising prices, and fewer jobs? Will people ask “What has Duterte done for me?” and come up empty? Or maybe they’ll decide “I’m worse off now!”

The national government seems to pursue a lot of activities and do a lot of fire-fighting with absolutely no organized, integrated strategy that commits the nation to success. It’s dismaying to see leaders working with no apparent ambition to build a great nation. Leaders hold positions because they are empowered, and can make money. The way it has always been . . .

I don’t see how this approach can solve the eternal complaint of the Philippine masses: how are you making my life better?

And a government of convenience has little staying power, I’d imagine.

What do you think?


174 Responses to “A government of convenience”
  1. Guess many Filipinos now have a President who does things in a way they understand from their day to day: like a jeepney or tricycle driver drives- and fixes – his vehicle. Filipino bus firms work similarly. The approach fails marvelously with complex rail based systems like the MRT.

    PAB has a great picture of the nation today – a ship floundering. Many Filipinos work as seamen. Would they trust a captain who is like a jeepney or tricycle driver in mindset? When will they get it? A ship of state run like a banca!

    The Chinese might remember two ships then..

    • Or to summarize a discussion between Karl and me from the previous Blog.

      Filipinos work smart and hard. Outside of belief groups or a father figure like Quezon or Magsaysay, they can’t work TOGETHER long.

      Or think beyond a city, maximum, in complexity and structure. Metro Manila Commission run by Mel Mathay was one good thing during ML. Chunking down into regions too – Marcos may have seen his countrymen’s issues with the ‘complex’ system Quezon left them with.

      • popoy says:

        More than any country, any people I think, therefore I am, the Pinoys with TSoH doing, helping a lot, using the scalpel to do: Know thyself. I see in the mirror more healthy skin despite some pimples and warts trying to be cured.

    • PAB is a creative jewel. She simplifies and communicates with clout. She’s the place where journalism, art, and technology come together to throw major shade EXACTLY where it needs to be thrown.

  2. Vicara says:

    Have always seen him as transactional, tactical and transitory. Nothing meant to last; everything is just one survival move after another, with no solid foundation and no long-term objective other than to feed into his personal psychodrama.

    Planned government policies and programs–the ones that are worthy of consideration–have been put forward by his advisors.

    But as a leader he’s a one-trick pony when it comes to programs. And that one trick is death squads. Which he didn’t even start in Davao; he just adapted an existing technology of control through killing, in a time of internecine local warfare, and took it nationwide–in a time of relative peace.

    The way WWII jeeps are perpetually reincarnated in the form of public transport jeepneys. Which doesn’t make sense at all.

    • Vicara says:

      That being said, there are Filipinos who (against all norms of logic or morality) still support him–not just out of political calculation, but out of some deep-seated Daddy fixation. Our future depends on whether they are able to come to their senses and refute him–and more importantly, what he stands for. The warlordism and empty power-play. The inability to think things through–or worse, not caring one way or the other. The inability to come to grips with dark impulses or detach from emotion. The inability to step back and say: I made a terrible mistake.

      • Daddy fixation! I’ve got to work that into a tweet. Ridicule the trolls and the blind.

        • sonny says:

          I was thinking “ad hoc” governance, too. Or “ad interim” they all add up.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            1. Agree. It is an adhocracy, a reactive government. To be fair, the government had (has?) grandiose infrastructure and structural dreams.

            2. But, yes, it is a government of convenience, a government of obscenity (ex John Nery), and a government of incontinence. There are so many negative adjectives one can cook up to characterize the regime.

            3. But if it is a government of convenience, who are being convenienced? And who inconvenienced?

            3.1. In both domains, there are the few and the many.

            4. What I can see is that the regime’s energy that should be directed toward proper governance is being dissipated into (a) petty displays and exercises of power; (b) making poor decisions and appointments; and (c) defending its abuses of power.

            4.1. As JoeAm notes, Duterte’s focus is being squandered on speechifying, just as Trump’s is on twittering.

            4.2. His henchmen and subalterns are roiling in the mud of unfettered power.

            4.3. Increasingly, the regime is being cornered into a defensive posture — a crouch? — that may lead to the disaster of a “revgov.”

            5. This is a government ruling and ruled by emotions. Negative emotions at that.

            5.1. How do we reverse the nightmare? By love? Or by reason? Or another EDSA?

          • popoy says:

            Permanence is transcience is what may be Alvin Toffler wrote in his two books
            long ago. But Judas and his pieces of silver (sadly not gold) is the eternal repentant character of evil which will never be ad hoc. There will always be Judas among humans.

          • They do. I think “band of botchers”, or butchers.

  3. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: this has become a huge thing, with a lot of known names of the modern opposition reacting about a certain pro-government mouthpiece. https://imgur.com/a/vWJT7#bSemXQx

    • Edgar Lores says:

      That’s a very active thread from the AB class (?).

      From what I can see, people are coalescing into some sort of unity, driven by anti-Duterte-something sentiments.

      FB has many disparate anti-Duterte-something groups. Membership is growing. Some groups are active, not only on socmed, but on the streets. (I wonder where they receive funding.)

      This is a hopeful sign. There is no centralization, so its kind of messy and unwieldy.

      My perspective is limited and skewed as I am not exposed to, and do not see the activity on, the other side.

      • madlanglupa says:

        In addition, disillusionment is growing from the once-loyal, as one embarrassment after another come in almost everyday, along with the attendant murders (not even sparing a pregnant young would-be mother).

  4. Sup says:

    Just look at the elections at CNN now…..Democrats winning Virginia, New Jersey…All an anti Trump reaction….A trump dump down….
    More and more waking up in PH to see through the blabla of this administration…The (payed) Pro Duterte trolls and PCOO are infighting now daily….
    All the so called yellow need is a person who ”connect” with the masses to win back those diehards…

  5. Vicara says:

    “Investors to look past the instability of killings, threats, insults, and martial law”? There will always be unsavory investors who are not squeamish about killings, threats and martial law (the last of which, under a leader with a different personality–smoother and seemingly in command–would actually be a selling point to some, as it was during Marcos’ time). The main negative factor, now as always, would be INCONSISTENCY on the part of the governing power, in dealing with investors.

    “Partner to China”? The PRC will never see us as a partner. Maybe as a semi-failed vassal state made up of regional units (federal or not). They will make promises they may or may not keep. They’ll burrow into our economy in one way or another, whether the Constitution is amended to allow foreigners 100 percent ownership of land, or whether they continue to use local fronts or shelll companies. China is making a big deal about corruption among officials on the mainland, because corruption weakens the Party. But it has shown no anti-corruption inclinations elsewhere in the world.

    • The question of who is in the driver’s seat on alliances in Southeast Asia is fascinating. The Philippines pretends to be the driver of it’s destiny, but it seems not. PRC has lagged at providing funding, and possibly the high rate is a sticking point (Duterte is taking hits about borrowing at high rates from China). Japan welcomed Duterte as a friendly equal, and would never shame any dignitary publicly. Behind the scenes, pragmatics rule. I predict Japan will increasingly lead in the region to counterbalance China, setting aside the notion that military is only for defense and playing the PH like a fiddle. Viet Nam will anchor the other end of the first island chain.

      • Vicara says:

        Japan has been preparing itself to be that counterbalance for a long time. It’s ready, Despite–or perhaps because of–the healthy reservations ordinary Japanese have about employing military power to contain others. Even as ASEAN countries are showing themselves to be comfortable with a more assertive and regionally engaged Japan.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Transaction is to customer while an Account Relationship is to client.
    We are treated as customers and not clients.
    In sari-sari stores and the wet market,you have suki, or customers in steroids, you trust them to go back and buy again you even let them lista or buy now and then pay later.

    Irineo said that if one president tells you that he is your boss, he’ll end up being abused, and he tells you that he is your lord and master, he will be idolized.
    Sounds screwed up, but that’s exactly what happened and is happening.

  7. Miela says:

    It is a government without principle and conviction. At least NoKor has! The current gov is two faced and tje worse kind of fence sitter.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    We knew he had no strategy. And hope is not a strategy.


    That was all Duterte had left, after giving away all the cards.

    Poor Philippines! The Chinese keep sending the shabu, Duterte mows down the Filipino, and we keep losing territory!

  9. Abeng says:

    The spectacle of hateful, ignorant, crass Filipinos on full display in social media distorts the true national mood I think.

    1) Decent Filipinos are fast learning not to comment on or even put an emoticon on political issues. Prudent in the office, prudent in social media. But they read quietly. They are appalled that decency is now a dirty word according to Duterte supporters. “Disente = ipokrito / walang ginawa / dilawan.”

    2) The truly poor have no time for social media. They work long hours. My tailor from Dasmariñas recently had his son shot by cops. Found him three weeks after he disappeared. The boy was only one of 20 killed that day. My tailor sums it up to “takutan” or scare tactics. He voted for Duterte but hates him now.

    So this leaves the pro-government propagandists and trolls and gullibles who have access to the internet and too much time on their hands.

    All I know is that right now, on the street, at work, in shops, hardly anyone discusses politics.

    There is hope. We are still mostly a decent nation. But there will be massive cheating. And we need a set of charismatic, credible, honest candidates.

    • NHerrera says:

      Truly an Orwellian World we have: black is white; white is black. Uson reacts to Roque’s statement about her concerning social media:

      “Linawin ko lang po kay Spox Roque na ang mga DDS [Duterte Diehard Supporters] ay hindi tulad ng mga dilawang troll kung saan ay nababayaran upang manggulo at mam-bash sa social media. Ang DDS ay may sariling pag-iisip.”


      • In the beginning, everyone was aligned and roaring for Duterte, then their egos got the best of them, and now they are strutting their individualistic stuff, having bought into the idea that they are actually important, when they are but flies buzzing in the hallowed halls of history. (Go typewriter!)

        • NHerrera says:

          Adobo, I like. But, goodness, not everyday. It is thus really difficult to imagine how the trollish, repetitive, nauseous productions of Uson and cohorts can be sustained for 6 years, even within the ranks of the vaunted DDS (Duterte Diehard Supporters).

    • Abeng, I very much like your viewpoint. The pro-government crowd are increasingly talking only to themselves, and their crowd is getting smaller. Really, it is a very tiresome collection of warped personalities that gather to preen before the media. And media feeds the beast by looking for sensationalism. I hope the 2019 senatorial race does not produce more idiots like the batch serving in the majority now.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > So this leaves the pro-government propagandists and trolls and gullibles who have access to the internet and too much time on their hands.

      Sadly to say, there’s also the emigre groups who were convinced by propaganda not to trust mainstream media and rely completely on social media. Which is why we have these people crowding everytime he shows up, like recently today at Danang, persuaded that he has all the answers.

  10. NHerrera says:


    Dionisio Santiago said in an interview that he was forced to resign as Dangerous Drug Board Chief after criticizing the Nueva Ecija drug rehab center.

    His resignation comes after he criticized the construction of 10,000-bed drug rehabilitation center inside Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija as “impractical” and a “mistake.”


    It may recalled that in 2016 there was a report that the rehab center was financed by a Mr. Huang, a Chinese philanthropist and private real estate developer.


    • Well, military men often learn to speak the truth, because to bullshit during battle is to lose lives. I don’t know why the President hires them. He gambles that they can be ‘turned’ to the dark side, I guess.

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, it is rather difficult to change the ways of military officers trained in military schools such as PMA. To speak only of posture, graduates of the school, till old age, admirably sit, stand and walk erect — unless health disability comes. It is probably difficult to learn to slouch in both posture and behavior after that.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Both Duterte — and Trump — seem unable to countenance subordinates who contradict them, even though the subordinates are factually correct.

      To Duterte, a contradiction of him constitutes lese-majesty. Loyalty is a virtue more prized than honesty. And a submissive agreement is more valued than truth.

      Very few people are equipped with openly inquiring minds that will question their own assumptions and views when presented with disagreement or contradiction. You see this everywhere — even here in TSH. I see it in myself.

      This flaw is perhaps acceptable — I should say tolerable — to ordinary people like us but it is fatal in leaders. It is a sign of weakness rather than strength. It results in the creation of the cordon sanitaire that eventually isolates leaders from the led. And it is the basis of the emperor-has-no-clothes phenomenon.

      • “Very few people are equipped with openly inquiring minds that will question their own assumptions and views when presented with disagreement or contradiction. You see this everywhere — even here in TSH. I see it in myself.”


        Ever since NH brought up the game of Go (not as metaphor against the Chinese or knowing the Chinese mind, but he actually plays it, along side his penchant for Game Theory), i’ve been dabbling in Go.

        I still feel like i’m playing a big Tic-Tac-Toe or Connect Four game, though I get how to surround and eat/capture; and then the “ko” rule of not looping endlessly… the simple tactics of it all.

        But your comment re “myself” , reminded me of an essay I read comparing Backgammon ; Chess ; and Go , i read awhile back while researching Go.


        Backgammon= man vs. fate
        Chess= man vs. man
        Go= man vs. self

        “Backgammon is a “man vs. fate” contest, with chance playing a strong role in determining the outcome. Chess, with rows of soldiers marching forward to capture each other, embodies the conflict of “man vs. man”. Because the handicap system tells Go players where they stand relative to other players, an honestly ranked player can expect to lose about half of their games; therefore, Go can be seen as embodying the quest for self-improvement, “man vs. self”.” http://www.kiseido.com/three.htm (read more there…)

        Which is sort of like this quote,

        Now weirdly, the Middle East loves Backgammon, they play it everywhere; I love Chess, i’ve always equated chess and boxing, and chess and arguments, and chess and warfare, etc. etc.

        Although I’m still quite in the dark in Go, knowing simple tactics only, yet not seeing “patterns” yet, I can see how it’s “man vs. self” (and I guess why NH speaks highly of this game).

        Oh, NH , have you been keeping up with AlphaGo Deepmind?

        • I can watch AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo games for quite awhile, here: https://deepmind.com/research/alphago/alphago-vs-alphago-self-play-games/

          I can appreciate it, like I can appreciate Michael Jordan take off and glide; knowing full well of that action’s impossibility for me—- like edgar’s “Very few people are equipped with openly inquiring minds” .

          Maybe Filipinos should all start getting into Go? Start here: https://online-go.com/learn-to-play-go

          • popoy says:

            If I may, as a wannanotbe troll, I’d say I like to have a happy mind by discussing ideas (I think, I love, therefore I am), events (Remembrance and National Heroes Day), Bob Hope and the Jenniffers). Medio ambisyoso eh. NH Herrera sounds to me like N-Ach, Google David McCleland to know what it’s all about. Which draws the attention of my drowsy students a while back.

            • NHerrera says:

              Popoy, I don’t know, if I initially took up the Game of Go for the purpose of the Need for Achievement (N Ach) and all those psychological things it implies. Perhaps unconsciously, I really don’t know. It really is just an interesting game to me. It is said of the game: Go takes only a day to learn but takes a lifetime to be really good at. I don’t aim to be good at the game. (Please see my note above to Lance.)

              • popoy says:

                Hah, hah, hah. I know many go but not the game of Go. My friend here name Go usually posed for pic with a background of GO Bus and GO Train here in Ontario. I like to eat GOTO sa Makati. Go Man Go is the first movie of the Harlem Globe Trotters. Mahina na kaming kamain ng misis ko kaya palaging meron to GO. sI PresduG0 kahit saan pumunta isang whistle lang nya lapit kaagad ang loyal niyang GO. Kung merong game na STOP NO GO pag aaralan ko. Pero mas gusto kong pumunta sa mga gosino.

              • NHerrera says:


              • lindrell says:

                I’ve got a SMALL mind, Popoy, so all I can do is look up the recipe for GOTO, perchance those with GREAT minds, as the corporal implies, might want to look it up TOO. ☺

              • I ‘m pretty sure NH learned Go for the ladies, popoy…

            • Edgar Lores says:

              Hmm. Strange how things fall into three’s:

              o Need for Achievement – Self – Virtue Ethics – Honor
              o Need for Affiliation – Others – Consequentialism – Loyalty
              o Need for Power – Dominion/Certainty/Absolutes – Deontology – Duty

              The third and last category is not an exact bag of equivalents.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Thanks for the link. Very interesting. That last sentence is dynamite.

          A small quibble. The use of the term “mind” suggests rationality and solipsism. From a Buddhist perspective, perhaps the term “consciousness” is more appropriate in consonance with the concept of “no mind.” Tolle would use the term “Presence.”

        • NHerrera says:

          Lance, I see you have taken more than a look at the Game of Go. I play the game for a variety of purposes: entertainment, something to keep the old brain cranking along. To make me logical or reasonable in my postings here, hehe.

          I visit AlphaGo Deepmind from time to time but not lately.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            So there is an effect on the “quality of the mind.”

          • NHerrera says:

            I would like to thank you, too, Lance for that link of the short article by William Pinckard on the three games of Backgammon, Chess and Go.

            There is indeed great perspective, insight placed on those three games, especially on Go. Edgar noted similarly. The article is written in prose but almost poetic in tone. I read items Pinckard described about the game of Go in various articles, but he put these together very nicely indeed in a relatively short article. I bookmarked that link.

            • Thank you for your encouragement into the world of Go, NH !!! yeah, I’ve printed out that essay and stuck it on the wall. It is worthy of re-reading time and again.

              edgar, as for effect on the “quality of mind”, it sure did humble my mind… Do you play? I can see its importance to A.I. but I just don’t “get it”, like I get all the fuzz about a Jackson Pollock painting, but don’t quite understand why so,

              it’s very humbling. Look thru those games (linked above) played by AlphaGo vs. itself , don’t think about it, just click the play arrow and watch the black and whites populate the board…

              I’m starting to wonder now how my life would’ve been had I been introduced to GO instead of Chess early on… 😦

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Sorry, no. My impression is that its a game of strategy. I am analytical but not strategic. The difference is the abstraction in the direction of time.

              • Yeah, strategy; but i think since its essentially a non-zero sum typa game (right, NH?), so more up your alley re analytical, or better yet procedural vs. conceptual. It’s a lot more vast, i can watch chess games, but get tired quick; but I can pour over AlphaGo games, or watch live online game, for quite a bit.

        • Sabtang Basco says:

          Filipino minds discuss politics !

  11. popoy says:

    as an attempt as wannabe word of wisdom: In any earth place especially, particularly, specifically the Philippines WHEN BAD HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, IT IS THE WORSEST. The cycle is a permanent transcience.

    • popoy says:

      so long and so far, the French and American Revolutions have never been repeated.
      Futile EDSA without blood shed is not likely to repeat itself. Nature’s way or bloodbath is more likely to happen.

  12. Ed Maglaque says:

    Very valid observations which put together deliver only one message: The Duterte administration does not know how to govern.

    On 11/8/17, The Society of Honor: the Philippines

  13. Matthew Montagu-Pollock says:

    “If there is an upside to Federalism, I don’t know what it is”.

    Many, perhaps most, successful countries have federal structures, including the U.S. and West Germany. Very little policy is decided at national level in Germany: only defence, immigration, transport, communications, and currency standards. Everything else is done by the states or by the cities, which have decision-making spheres allocated to them by the Constitution.

    We had a visit here in the UK last week by the Mayor of Mannheim who explained how central this system had been to Germany’s economic success, because the states and cities can flexibly cooperate with local businesses to prioritize key infrastucture, housing, and educational needs.

    He explained how important this had been in Germany to making cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, and Stuttgart very prosperous.

    In the UK we have the most strongly centralised government of all advanced economies, and it leads to no end of problems. Every decision has to go through London, accompanied by a long explanation: “This paper concens the transport policy of Bristol. It is a city in the west of England, with a population of approx 660,000. The major industries are X, Y, Z… etc… (there follow 30 pages of explanation about the geography and sociology of Bristol).” Of course this makes absolutely no sense. Most of these issues should be dealt with at local level, because the knowledge is local, not at the center. The city governments cannot even re-allocate money from one area where some savings have been made, to another where spending is needed – so there is a mad rush at the end of the year to spend money, because otherwise it has to be returned to London. London and Bristol aside, there is no city in the UK where the GDP per capita is above the national average. The cities are absolutely at the end of their tether, the situation is impossible – yet it is hard to see how we can move forward to a more rational, more decentralised model, given that the UK has no written constitution so that whenever power is decentralised, the central goverment promptly makes excuses to re-centralise it.

    So – centralisation is a failed model.

    It just doesn’t work!

    I agree with all your criticisms of Duterte, but this particular sentence suggests to me that you haven’t studied this issue in sufficient depth.

    • Federalism works well in mature societies with a strong middle class and real political parties.

      Giving the Philippines Federalism is as if Italy had given Federalism to its South in the 80s, effectively creating Mafia, Camorra etc. states.

    • Yes, Irineo says it well. The Philippines is very different in terms of ethical esteem. It’s a place where power and corruption flow naturally to the godfathers. It is also a very poor nation, and the impoverished provinces are sure not to get the support they want from reluctant richer states. So argument is guaranteed. If the proponents can indeed propose a model that addresses the weaknesses, of ethics and friction and poverty, then, hey, sign me up. Oh, and defense as well, they should address that. I imagine Manila on a more magnificent scale. “The horror! The horror!”

      • sonny says:

        Joe, could you give a 25-cent lesson on the evolution of America from colony –> core federal states –> territory –> admission to the federal union? Notably, the transition from territory to statehood is quite fascinating. There was something desirable to being a state of the Union, not merely “territory-hood,” – territories asked to be admitted to the Union. Thanks!

    • NHerrera says:


      The arguments seems to be in the form:

      A > B or A therefore B,


      A = Federalism works admirably in Germany
      B = Federalism should work admirably in the Philippines

      But there is a missing element in the Philippines which makes the argument plausible, that is, in symbolic form

      A > B + C.

      The current situation of the Philippines makes the element(s) C necessary for A to work well in the Philippines as discussed extensively in previous blog articles here. Or in other words, the concept of A is premature to apply here until other things C are squared away first.

      As a geriatric hereabouts, I leave others to recall or supply the links to those arguments. Irineo and Joe already mentions some of those arguments.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      It is not about the form of government: Federalism, communism, democracy
      It is about Filipinos psyche. Once they are abroad, they become law-abiding-upright-citizens no matter what form of government regardless what constitution or religion THEY INSTANTLY BECOME GOOD CITIZENS.

      Why do Filipinos become good citizens abroad but not in the Philippines?

      Why do good-citizen-Filipino-abroad becomes bad-citizen-Filipinos when they arrive in the Philippines?

      Why do Filipinos have dual-citizenship and dual-characters? Dual personalities? Maybe Filipinos just hate to be ruled by fellow Filipinos. Maybe Filipinos do not trust each other. Why? Why, oh, why?

      • sonny says:

        Why do Filipinos become good citizens abroad but not in the Philippines?

        A working system is easy to spot and abide by?

        • sonny says:

          It was so easy to drive and get a driver’s license in Minnesota: the requirements were clearly stated in state publications; the county staff and state examiners were no-nonsense; the written and practical driving tests were relatively easy to prepare for; the license was received in the mail in no time; the road signs were as the driving manuals said they were; the consequences of non-compliance with traffic rules and safety were sure and immediate and courteous; the insurance companies also were following state and federal laws on their policy explanations on deductibles and coverages of damage, etc.

          • manangbok says:

            “Walang mang aalipin kung walang magpapa alipin.” Excellent govt services should be demanded; otherwise they will not be given. That is what is missing with Pinoys in the Philippines. We have been so used to shortcuts like “padrino” and “palakasan” that it has made us lazy in demanding better institutions from our leaders 🙂

          • Sabtang Basco says:

            The system is not working in the Philippines could it be because of strong family ties? The provincial LTO examiners do not give friends, families and relatives driver exams because of strong family ties?

            The consequence of non-compliance of traffic rules and safety are not implemented because the police officers are friends of the families and relatives?

            What is screwing this country is STRONG FAMILY TIES . Not good at all. Tribal. Genealogical.

            All third world countries have STRONG FAMILY TIES. STRONG TRIBAL TIES. Not good.

            1stWorld Countries are individualistic. Individualist.

        • manangbok says:

          Even Pinoys who are deployed in turbulent states like Iraq and Palestine are “good” citizens when they are in those countries. Maybe it is not the system in the country per se (although that can be a factor in our good behavior), but how we perceive ourselves in relation to those around us. When we are in the Phil, we are so immersed in being Pinoys, in our pains and our hang-ups; and that cloud our good intentions to be upstanding citizens. But when we are in a different country we become (or we perceive ourselves to be) something else … so we are able to transcend our history and our baggages as a people. And that’s how we become better 🙂

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Filipinos do not have a developed superego.

        • Sabtang Basco says:

          Philippines have working system. Working constitution. Working laws. Working justice system. All copied from America which has working system.

          The system is working but the Filipinos are not making it work.

          Why wouldn’t they want it to work when they clamor for working system?

          Why would Filipinos go abroad to live in working system when all they have to do in the Philippines is implement laws rules and regulation to make the system work?


              • karlgarcia says:

                This desereves a reply.

                Covenience and invonvenience was mentioned.

                In a long thread you posited or perceived that the BPO pros are convenienced by having peace of mind tegarding EJKs.

                Aside from from a WTF or wadapak reaction; Why would they have peace of mind if people get killed?
                How are they convenienced?
                Those left behind are more than inconvenienced by the loss of a loved one.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Mahatir made comments about universal human rights and investors do not care about politics, in additional drug crimes get hanged in Malaysia, but he still states that rule of law is important.


              • BPOs, new rich, new middle class folk see EJKs more as culling, karl.

                it’s like back with the Trolley Dilemma,

                1. Pull the lever that kills the fewest, thus saving (or convenience’ing) the most. Indirect.


                2. Actually push one guy on the track to stop the trolley, stopping it thus saving (or convenience’ing ) more.

                The BPO’s are the lever pullers, culling albeit indirectly; Whereas DU30 and those actually executing said cull are the 2nd (pushing, directly killing).

                or, in this case, are convenienced.

              • karlgarcia says:

                That’s a lot of none sense.
                You cull chicken.
                When people are infected you isolate them.

                Or you find ways.
                Like adding cortisol to probiotics to fight superbugs.

                You find ways other than ejks.

                EJKs equals culling…

              • karl,

                I’m using cull here as selective slaughter, not segregation.

                Do BPOs think its justified? Why? Same way the above photo is justified by ranchers and those living in the woods. Convenience.

              • karlgarcia says:

                It is what I mean by when people are infected you just isolate them, you do not kill a chosen few.

                When you isolate them, you just don’t leave there you rehabilitate them.

                The problem with that is the programs ate voluntary, you leave when you want.
                Another problem is mostbare bread winners, they have mouths to feeed.
                Kill them, then, what the eff would that solve?

              • It looks to me like LCX argues from an amoral, emotionally detached, non-humanistic way. Strictly cold reason. He is the alien life form looking at the Philippines from afar and seeing people not complaining much about the elimination of a few of the species by others of the species. He does not know any of the creatures being killed and the emotions of the families don’t exist, like a tree in the forest that falls and you can’t hear it. The tree might just as well have not fallen.

                It is an exercise in argument, but fairly irrelevant to people who can relate to the tree, or families.

              • Joe,


                But I’m also trying to capture the essence of this continued support of DU30, and i’m positing culling as EJK , like those ranchers, farmers, woodsmen in Montana, etc. wolves to them would be nuisance. Though as a nature guy here, I empathize with wolf families (packs) , I can also see the ranchers’ (etc.) perspective.

                If I were a 20-something, earning what 30K pesos a month , who wants all the new middle class trimmings (ie. lifestyle) over there , i’d see those druggies as wolves too… a nuisance, both potential harm to my person to a mere bother. Make ’em disappear would be my point of view.

                I get the morality angle, but the focus here is why the continued support. TSOH has not answered that sufficiently yet, there’s the tribal explanation, the Filipinos have no morals explanation, why not just see it as it is … culling. Valid as any explanation, no?

              • Edgar Lores says:

                1. …the focus here is why the continued support. TSOH has not answered that sufficiently yet…”

                1.1. “It is apparent that many Filipinos, existing in a collectivistic society as they do, understand and accept state violence that is righteously directed at criminal elements. For them, as for Duterte, there is no forethought, no concern for the value of individual lives.”

                Source: https://joeam.com/2017/09/04/duterte-the-anatomy-of-a-barbaric-autocracy/

                1.2. In Maslow’s hierarchy, safety is the second level of human needs, just above the physiological needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

        • wbar says:

          I talked to a South Korean customer buying bread from our bakery and asked why he chose Philippines to stay. He answered in Tagalog..” Sa Korea kapag bawal hindi pwede, dito sa Pilipinas kahit bawal pwede.”

          • popoy says:

            ABOUT Culls and Culling, the word and its derivative are of POULTRY HUSBANDRY origin. Mostly used for fowls and no other animals like humans. You don’t cull pigs or cattle. Old bomba stars or porno queens don’t become culls. However in Pateros or the banks of the Pasig, old itiks or patos are culled as culls loaded in jeeps to be sold to Chinese Restaurants in Manila and that is not the reason why Manila is a dead city to Connoisseurs or gourmands of Chinese food.

          • I didn’t know cull was poultry specific, i’ve always known this word vis-a-vis wolves in Montana and Wyoming, and ranchers vs. environmentalists.

            Also National Geographic channel talking about culling herds in Africa, from elephants & zebras to gazelles to rodents.

            In my head, cull doesn’t = quarantine ; it’s selective slaughter. EJK to me is selective slaughter. It was advertised during election as political platform, ie. I will selectively slaughter certain Filipinos, and got wide support.

            Thus, making it “official”.

            • manangbok says:

              “But I’m also trying to capture the essence of this continued support of DU30, and i’m positing culling as EJK , like those ranchers, farmers, woodsmen in Montana, etc. wolves to them would be nuisance. Though as a nature guy here, I empathize with wolf families (packs) , I can also see the ranchers’ (etc.) perspective.
              If I were a 20-something, earning what 30K pesos a month , who wants all the new middle class trimmings (ie. lifestyle) over there , i’d see those druggies as wolves too… a nuisance, both potential harm to my person to a mere bother. Make ’em disappear would be my point of view.
              I get the morality angle, but the focus here is why the continued support. TSOH has not answered that sufficiently yet, there’s the tribal explanation, the Filipinos have no morals explanation, why not just see it as it is … culling. Valid as any explanation, no?”

              Valid explanation … yes. Valid justification … no.

              The thing is … people are not wolves; yes, we are part of the Kingdom Animalia, and have a long evolutionary history acting only on our instincts as with other mammals. But we are supposed to be “higher order primates” (whatever that means).

              A rancher/farmer would cull animals as animals will have no qualm about overpopulation or over-grazing or any other environmental inconveniences.

              However political leaders should not have the mindset of agricultural workers (I mean, I would assume, they have studied longer and are more knowledgeable than a Filipino farmer).

              EJKs (on the part of our leaders) is just plain laziness (or a dimwitted solution to a multi-factorial problem).

              So yeah … LCpl_X, I guess I agree with you. I do not condone the explanation, but I agree that it exists 🙂

      • manangbok says:

        Because we are a depressed people whose aggressiveness is directed inwards so we self destruct when we are in our own country? We are self hating because of centuries of colonialism that we cannot manage to shake off our national psyche? We are able to flourish in societies where when we compare ourselves with other nations, we realize that hey, we Pinoys can hold our own too with the best of them; so we become more secure in our strength? Because in other countries, we do not want to be deported so we follow the rules 🙂 My 2 cents 🙂

    • popoy says:

      I did mention above I like to have a happy mind to muse about ideas and realities, events and people. Sometimes I can be happy on surface superficialities. So here goes the retort on Matthew M-P comment above. In youth we used to say “dugong Aleman yan” meaning there is something to having Germanic blood.

      As ROTC cadets we used to say only three kinds of German Military Officers: the brilliant and lazy makes Good Commanders think of James Mason este Romel; the brilliant and industrious makes good Staff Officers; the industrious but stupid officers makes good stalag inmates este guards.

      About events, think of the two world wars or the Battle for Leningrad. Lastly about ideas: failed or whatever, think of Nazism and Fazcism. Federalism as legit son of democracy is peanuts to Germans. The bastard son of democracy is authoritarianism, its daughter probably turned street-walker is political correctness.


      I almost learned German as required language in univ studies because I like then to teach Operations Research but the U of Freiburg rejected me because I was over qualified because I am already Faculty daw even with NEDA’s appeal, to no avail. The bubble dream then of easily crossing the border to know more about Dutch Treat burst into thin air.
      I like Philip de Sousa’s marches. I don’t understand what they are singing, but sounds lots of guts and machismo to me. AT EASE. Listen.


      In UPLB Football field in 1958-59, as I lead my Coy passed the grandstand in evening parade this was my favorite:


      GOT more relaxing time: here’s more.


      • Hmm.. the marches are not available in Germany.. might be there are some forbidden tunes.. when Prof. Xiao Chua wanted to send me the Horst Wessel march (Hitlerian) which sounds strangely like the Bagong Lipunan song, I told him sorry, I cannot access it over here..

        But still, the most martial rendition of Bayang Magiliw I ever heard was on the tarmac of Cologne airport when Cory came to visit Chancellor Kohl in July 1989. The German military band which plays for state visits went by the instruction to play it as a marching tune.

        Three intense days of work for all of us, including me, the saling pusa. Many many stories. Finally Cory was brought to Paris by a Luftwaffe plane, to celebrate 200 years after 1789.

        • It could have been this machine that brought Cory, Manglapus, Teddy Benigno, Volts Gazmin etc. to Paris in July 1989…

          The machine that brought them to Cologne was the regular Manila-Frankfurt PAL 747, top floor reserved for government, that proceeded to the next airport after unloading regular passengers. Lots of Filipinos laughed when the machine came in being towed. Father of a classmate at the University (Luftwaffe Staff Sergeant working at the Porz-Wahn base nearby) told me towing is normal so you don’t have the loud jet engines all the way to the terminal.

          (but of course, Filipinos assuming palpak na naman because Filipino.. isn’t that typical?) Let us ask the carabao what it thinks about all of this.

    • Miela says:

      Shift to federalism at this time for the Philippines spells disaster. Not only do you have to consider the increased power of the provincial warlords, the human development will also be a disaster. Richer provinces who hace high HDI will get to keep more of their money, while poorer provinces who also have low HDI, low literacy rate will sink into humanitatian crisis.

      The benefits of federalusm to the Philippines is overstated. Not even the ARMM benefit from autonomy. Their politicians just squandered them. Still poor, liw HDI, low literacy rate. The ARMM is at par with the poorest African nations

      • manangbok says:

        I agree. Sometimes, I am exasperated by our Pinoy kababayans who feel that they have been slighted by the national govt, so they propose federalism as solution, not taking into consideration the culture and political realities where such a system will be implemented.

        To cite an example: I have a friend whose house in Marawi was not spared by the bombing during the battles with ISIS. She is a Maranao. She feel that they have been diminished and marginalized first by the Americans then by the successive Filipino governments which were all Manila/Luzon-centric.

        She was exuberant when Duterte came into power because now Mindanao has a voice.

        Then Marawi was bombed. Now she is not fond of Duterte. What she told me just before she went back to the Philippines is that she believes Allah may be punishing them because Pinoy Muslims have been remiss in following the teachings of Islam.

        My point is (sorry for the long personal exposition), I want to tell my friend: dear, you will continue getting bombed as long as your kids will follow ISIS and not the laws of the country. I feel for your pain, for the long years that Pinoy Moros have been made to grovel for their own identity in their own land. But dear, you do not have the corner on suffering in this world (or even in this country). The Igorots, Manobo, Aetas etc were also marginalized just like you. Unlike you, though, they do not have ISIS to back them up (and thank the Lord for that!). So get over your hang-ups and work on your family so that your kids will not follow the toxic teachings of Islamic fundamentalism (which is rooted in Wahabism, and not even Filipino or even Asian). Also, my friend, as one commenter in a nice blog I am reading had said: “The benefits of federalism to the Philippines is overstated. Not even the ARMM benefit from autonomy. Their politicians just squandered them. Still poor, low HDI, low literacy rate. The ARMM is at par with the poorest African nations.”

        Thanks for the words Miela. Now I am just waiting for the right amount of nerve so that I can confront my friend.

    • There are many factors that make German federalism strong, worth being studied:

      1) there is a system by which rich states help poorer ones – a common fund. Bavaria was a recipient state for the last time in 1992 (the year the new Munich airport opened) and has been a donor state since end of the 1980s, continuously since 1993. “Equivalent living conditions” is the term in the Federal Constitution that governs budgetary relations between the Federation and the States. Some small states like Bremen and Saarland will always be recipients I think. There is a solidarity tax only West Germans pay to subsidize developing East German states.

      *CONTRAST THAT with the pork barrel system of the Philippines which incentivizes corruption

      2) income tax is automatically distributed: 15% to local governments, 35% to states, 50% to the Federation. Business tax (for factories, stores, etc. in a municipality/city) goes to local govts. Meaning there is an incentive for local governments to work towards attracting business and top earners. They even get 2.2% of VAT. Contrast that with the IRA for LGUs in the Philippines where they DON’T need to do anything at all. Or with the pork barrel, once more.

      “Very little policy is decided at national level in Germany” – not really true. Laws for example are completely national. A lot of implementation is delegated to states and government districts within the states. The principle is subsidiarity – the EU decides on major matters, Germany also, then you have the sub-units that follow the rules from above and add some details but may NOT conflict with the higher rules. The willy-nilly that many Philippine mayors practice, effectively making own rules that contradict national, is hardly possible in Germany. Nor can states simply invent rules that contradict federal laws. If so, they are null and void. Example was the death penalty in Bavaria, from the 1918 constitution which still is the valid one today. Invalid due to the 1949 Federal Constitution, officially abolished by referendum in 1998.

  14. Sabtang Basco says:

    Philippines have tried anything and everything.
    1. they’ve been colonized for 350 years by Spain
    2. They revolted and failed
    3. colonized for 50 years by Americans
    4. they revolted and failed
    5. 5 years under Japan
    6. they did not revolt they just walked to their death in Bataan
    7. they did not revolt Americans gave them freedom
    8. they tried commonwealth
    9. they tried American-style democracy
    10. they tried martial law
    11. they are experimenting with democracy again
    12. they changed their constitution
    13. they wanted to change to federalism
    14. today they are in Duterte’s undeclared martial law

    This I do not understand. Philippines is now in undeclared martial law. They do not know it. They cannot feel it. But they are in Martial Law. Would it really matter if Duterte declares martial law? YES, IT DOES!!!

    They just do not like the phrase “MARTIAL LAW” ! Duterte can kill and kill provided there is no Martial Law.

    Why? What is the difference between killings in undeclared martial law and Duterte’s killings in Martial Law?

    Questions. Questions. Questions. No answers.

    • My belief: A lawless society avoids pronouncements that would bring more lawyers on the attack, thus it is more convenient not to declare martial law, but just continue to kill and otherwise break down people’s obedience to laws. It is an amoral government, and ‘convenience’ is the lake they paddle in.

      • popoy says:

        If I may, I may be dead wrong, JoeAm. I might be seeing, reading here in TSoH comments from people who is hurting, nurturing very deep hurts that time will not heal. Somehow in the recent past some got hurt by gross injustice by some people and circumstances. Some comments here by very upright persons turned social critics plow very deep to gross unfairness to the Filipino society as a whole.

        To dislike, to abhor is REALLY not to hate. This I think amplify the mistake in the United States where hate is thrown against each other warring groups. Hurting is the main ingredient for hate pies. Could be the jet fuel for discerning and astute minds to turn social messiahs. I see too writers here Like you JoeAm who have a vision (where you wanna go) and a mission (how to get there). Others just want to ride along with their own agenda. .

        • Makes sense, popoy. There are layers, and reasons, and lots of hurts driving points of view. Thanks for crystallizing it.

          • She sits in her corner
            Singing herself to sleep
            Wrapped in all of the promises
            That no one seems to keep
            She no longer cries to herself
            No tears left to wash away
            Just diaries of empty pages
            Feelings gone a stray
            But she will sing

            Til everything burns
            While everyone screams
            Burning their lies
            Burning my dreams
            All of this hate
            And all of this pain
            I’ll burn it all down
            As my anger reigns
            Til everything burns

            Ooh, oh

            Walking through life unnoticed
            Knowing that no one cares
            Too consumed in their masquerade
            No one sees her there
            And still she sings

            Til everything burns
            While everyone screams
            Burning their lies
            Burning my dreams
            All of this hate
            And all of this pain
            I’ll burn it all down
            As my anger reigns

  15. manangbok says:

    No difference. Just a rose by another name.

  16. NHerrera says:


    PH-US: The Best of Friends
    PH-CHINA: Better Friends
    PH-RUSSIA: Good Friends

  17. Micha says:

    The ways and methods employed by the butcher from Davao might be crude, yes, but to assume that he has no strategy is underestimating his ability to impose his brutish vision and crude policies for the country.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    Some random points.
    possible alternative-longterm autocracy
    ( we don’t like that)
    consequences- no continuity of programs
    taking credit for successful programs
    legislation, policies are based on immediate self interests.

    On federalism
    first- anti dynasty law
    stable party system
    satisfactory civil service

    parliamentary form- not considered until further notice by Arroyo.

  19. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    It’s an extemporaneous presidency, volatile in character, contemptuous to unity, evil faking nobility but failing in that, too. A spectacular dud, lebentador na supot.

  20. karlgarcia says:

    Back to Nokor.

    It seems Trumps Asian trip is worth it. IF he makes China and Russia put a leash on North Korea.

    Human Rights.
    Some are asking Trump to talk to Duterte about Human Rights.
    Duterte says he will snub him if he dares.
    Let him dare snub Trump, let us see if he can.

  21. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Beijing (CNN) President Donald Trump lavished praise on China for the very trade practices he once lambasted as unfair during a remarkable morning session in Beijing.
    Emerging after two hours of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said he doesn’t fault China for taking advantage of differences between the way the two countries do business.

    “I don’t blame China,” Trump said during remarks to business leaders inside the Great Hall of the People. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.”

    That’s what lavish and no-holds barred Chinese welcome and this, “$250 billion in agreements between US companies and China,” will get you.

    And there goes part of the previously promised $167 B to PH, hehe.

    • NHerrera says:

      And all is well in SCS when the two countries decided that the nine-dash-lake is big enough for the two of them. So, there.

      “The Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States,” Xi said, which drew a smile from Trump.

    • manangbok says:

      “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens?”

      I cannot believe The US President just said that. Who in effing hell does he think he is? He is so much worse than William McKinley and all those white guys with their “white man’s burden” and “manifest destiny.”

      I hope he gets impeached (I am presently rooting for Bob Mueller — sir kindly get rid of this manchurian candidate in the White House).

      The problem is if Trump is gone, I heard Pence is way much worse? https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/23/the-danger-of-president-pence

  22. popoy says:


    mahaba ang pisi ko kay trump at kay kim jun in. ang pisi ng US media nagkabuhol-buhol sa pusali ng yaman ng Hollywood na wala namang produkto kundi aliw at saya sa mga nanonod hindi gamot at pagkain at damit na kailangan ng mundo. Yaman at kwarta, ano ba ang pakialam ng mga umaaglahi kay trump na parang kampi at mas santo si kim. Victor Cha gagawin daw US ambassador sa SOKOR? Ano ba ang apelyido ng ambassador ng Merika sa Pinas ngayon, apelyidong Kano Ba? Bakit ganyan si Trump wala na bang Smith, Jones, etceterang puedeng ambassador sa bansa sa Asia? Racist na ba ang ganitong tanong. Mga Wakarang.. .

  23. Sabtang Basco says:

    GOVERNMENT OF INCONVENIENCE … from the beginning to this day and forever will be? Let us take a look with questions:
    1. Traffic gridlock? CONVENIENCE or INCONVENIENCE?
    2. When it rains it floods? Convenience or Inconvenience?
    3. When it floods traffic is more than gridlocked? GOOD or BAD?
    4. DENR is a tool to inconvenience
    5. DENR environmental impact assessment requirement is only an ASSESSMENT
    6. Construction requiring DENR environmental impact assessment does not stop construction
    7. DENR environmental impact assessment does not assess traffic impact.
    8. Traffic is not environmental issue to DENR it is another environmental issue that should be assessed by another bureau?
    9. What is the need of DENR when I can see from my plane over Metro Manila are mass of clusters of buildings? Not soooo L.A. where they take environment seriously
    10. DENR environmental impact assessment is tool for blackmail?
    11. Like, SALN a tool of politicians to blackmail other politicians?
    12. DENR is just there because other countries have DENRs?

    So many questions … no answers …

  24. Sabtang Basco says:

    Why I like Philippines:
    1. Filipinos love me. When I take my morning and afternoon walk Filipinos hand me a glass of their local brew
    2. They smile at me they don’t at Filipinos
    3. I can get away for not paying jeepney fares. Probably, they do not know english translation of “hoy, gago, bokong”
    4. They say Philippines is dangerous, no it is not. It is dangerous to Koreans. Many Koreans are murdered in the Philippines.
    5. They think I am Jesus because I am skinny like Jesus wear my hair long and a goatee and wear flip-flops …
    6. I do not go to women, they come to me
    7. My dollar goes a long way … I mean, very very long long way …
    8. There are plenty of places in the Philippines that are still undiscovered that I have discovered. It is my secret paradise. I am not going to talk about it, else, it gets inundated by foreigners
    9. Their local shaman and quack doctors works perfectly. No monthly payment. No co-pay. Just bring naked chicken and a kilo of rice. They do not accept money.
    10. There is only one lone dentist in Sabtang graduate from Santo Tomas University. Good fella. Amiable. Passable english. If you do not mind long lines. I recommended patients should have appointments. He said cannot work because her patience walk from miles and from other islands. OK, make sense.
    11. Two doctors from DOH. They are travelling island hopping doctors. One cried. Went home because there was no SM Malls. Other stayed because he needs food on the table for his family in the mainland.
    12. Of course there is no mall here. I hate malls. They are a sign of blight.
    13. i do what locals do. I hang out at the pier by the light house. Smoking. Nibbling on Adidas and Betamax. WHAT? No, Sir, grilled chicken feet is called Adidas. Betamax? That is grilled congealed pork blood. Goes well with my beer while watching the sun set over the horizon.
    14. I love the bleat of goats and cluck of chickens and the smell of cow dung. Look, it is just me. We are different.
    15. IT IS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE NEVER ASK FOR TIME. I realized this when I said to the folks gathering, “I got to go it is already 7:00p.m.” They stopped. Looked at me questioningly. “Where are you going to go?” “What are you going to do?”

    Ahhh, so much convenience … IF ONLY FILIPINOS KNOW HOW TO LIVE AND ENJOY WHAT THEY HAVE AROUND THEM. Well, good for me to say because I got money, they do not. I have done this done that WHILE THEY ARE STILL WANTING TO EXPERIENCE WHAT I have experienced.

    Sabtang is paradise found yet nobody knows where because Philippine maps label it as BABUYAN ISLANDS … The Bay of Pigs.

    • Nice, SB! Looks kinda like Ireland. 😉

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        YUP! The picture looks exactly like what it is today …. the stone houses are similar what you see in those small islets around Ireland. People here are contented. Doors UNLOCKED !!! Well they do not have much, I AM SORRY, I HAVE TO LOCK MY CABIN I got modern devices that are irreplaceable right away. Let us say I do not lock my cabin (homestay actually). They come. They take away that does not belong to them. Where are they going to use them without being notice in these small islands. People talk. People knows who got what how they got it.

        This is the place where nobody might steal or commit crime.

        I GOT PROOF !!! YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE THIS. They have 4-cot jail cell that is totally absolutely EMPTY !!!

        There is still corruption here. If you come and all cabins and homestays are taken … go to your friendly policeman he will let you stay in jail cell with beddings for a fee. Of course, to give you piece of mind they throw the prison keys at you. Sleep tight. Sleep well. If you are lucky, a jail inmate might whip you up a good nice hot brewed coffee for everyone.

        Sssssh … don’t tell. Else, RAPPLER make an issue out of this sweet convenience in life.

        • Ireland in the Philippines, who would’ve thought! Are there sigas and tambays, and shabu , and drug lords and minions, and EJKs over there, SB? It is after all closer to China. 😉

          • Sabtang Basco says:

            Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! IRELAND IN THE PHILIPPINES
            Thailand is Venice of Asia
            Central Vietnam is Swiss Alps of Asia

            Babuyan Island is safe I can tell. Their jail cell is empty. I do not know about drugs because I do not do drugs.

            We are closer to Taiwan than China.

            I hear stories. INCREDIBLE STORIES. Some of them bizarre. Well, Filipinos tell incredible stories. Here is one, I cannot establish the veracity of the story it was told to me over several gallons of fermented coconut wine. Yes, Lance, SEVERAL GALLONS, people here drink wine in GALLONS not your 750ml bottle. GALLONS! Wheeew! And they still able to walk home kilometers away !

            Here is the story: Itbayat is the northernmost town in northernmost island of the Philippines. Pedro got sick. Very sick. They crossed to Taiwan. Hoping to be intercepted by the Taiwan Navy. They were. They were fished out of the water. A towline grabbed their outrigger. Into their hospital. Processed for illegal entry. Sent back with a clean bill of health. No co-pay. Just a reprimand, “Next time always carry a passport”.

            (Hey, I bet these people do knot know what “passport” is)

            As you know, Lance, before they are sent back Taiwan always check their health like in our country check for communicable diseases they may carry. It was found one of the passengers in the rigger was sick. END OF INCREDIBLE STORY.

            It may be true. It may be not. I do not know. Maybe I’ll try one of these days.

  25. Sabtang Basco says:



    They got oil ! They need oil ! They need foreign reserve ! They do not allow oil drilling ! To protect the dolphins !

    One of those things I love about Philippines is A DOLPHIN is worth saving than FILIPINO CHILDREN !!!

    Benigno Aquino, Sr. was wrong when he said “FILIPINO ARE WORTH DYING FOR!” Wrong !!! DOLPHINS are worth dying for !

    • manangbok says:

      There are too many human Pinoy children as it is as we are overpopulated, dolphins are an endangered species. This is a joke. Your words are funnier, though — “DOLPHINS are worth dying for !” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: