The Philippines: “Slip slidin’ away”

Art Garfunkel (L) and Paul Simon (R) [Photo source: BBC]

By Joe America

I love Paul Simon’s work. He was asked once how he developed such rich lyrics and he said they just came out, and he wrote them down and sang them. Sometimes they had no meaning.

Well, I suppose they have whatever meaning the listener overlays onto them.

I overlay the Philippines onto the lyrics for “Slip Slidin’ Away”. What we have is not what we expected, or wanted. What we expected, or wanted, is slipping away. We end up afraid, regretful, resigned, or defeated

That’s depressing if we let it be, I suppose. I dunno. I lean toward resigned but not defeated. Even hard times are good times, if we live to look back at them.

I tend to look at what we are going through as something like swimming in the ocean. But we got caught in a rip tide. That happened to me once at Pismo Beach, California, USA. I was swimming leisurely beyond the breaking waves. When I looked up, people on the beach were suddenly small and fading fast. Not really what I had expected or wanted. I ended up about a quarter mile away from the beach. Fast. I recalled the instructions I had read. “Swim sideways and catch a flow back to the beach. Don’t fight it.”

As I swam sideways, a lifeguard boat pulled up beside me about 10 yards off and one of the buff young fellows on the boat called out: “You need any help?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

The Philippines is kind of like that, to me.

Simon should have penned that verse, too.


“Slip Slidin’ Away”
by Simon and Garfunkel


Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

Whoah and I know a man, he came from my hometown
He wore his passion for his woman like a thorny crown
He said Dolores, I live in fear
My love for you’s so overpowering, I’m afraid that I will disappear


I know a woman, (who) became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life
She said a good day ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day is when I lie in the bed
And I think of things that might have been


And I know a father who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he’d done
He came a long way just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and he headed home again


Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man
We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip sliding away

[Chorus 2x]


Here Simon and Garfunkel are in Central Park, New York, 1981, in front of a small audience of 500,000.

66 Responses to “The Philippines: “Slip slidin’ away””
  1. Sup says:

    Why? The Philippines is best country in the world to invest…
    But…………….it is ranking 49 in best country list?

    Oh…wait…this USNEWS.COM is like…. Like Davao the best city in the world?
    This is what WIKI has to say about USNEWS..

    ”The rankings are popular in North America but have drawn widespread criticism from colleges, administrations, and students for their dubious, disparate, and arbitrary nature. The ranking system by U.S. News is usually contrasted with the Washington Monthly and Forbes rankings.”

    • chemrock says:

      Sup, the USnews report is not actually that bad.

      Senators Villar and Gatchalian are fools if they thought the report was referring to the Duterte admin’s efforts.

      That report certainly can’t be based on 2017 data BECAUSE MANY OF THOSE DATA ARE NOT OUT YET.

      There is a certain time lag to between such reports and the data from which they are based. Without expanding any effort into checking the USnews site, I bet my last dollar it was based on data from 2016, 2015 and beyond.


      And silly Gatchalian and Vaillar and Dutertards are slurping up that report. So they, and every Filipino should be saying :


      Did’nt we hear it before during Pnoy’s time? — Philippines was no longer the sick man of Asia as far back as 2013.

      Wonder where were Villar and Gatchalian in 2013. They should put on a dunce cap .

    • Head to Pinoy Aka Blog and read her blog about PH being the best country to invest in. She explained that the title is a prediction based on economic data gathered from years 2011-2016. The prediction is a tailwind from PNoy’s administration but PH is now beginning to feel the headwinds of the PRD regime.

  2. edgar lores says:

    The Paul Simon song that resonates with me, with respect to the Philippines, would be “The Sound of Silence.”

    In particular the first two lines:

    “Hello darkness, my old friend
    I’ve come to talk with you again…”

    The first two lines of this verse:

    “Fools, said I, you do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows…”

    And, of course, the first four lines of the last stanza:

    “And the people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made
    And the sign flashed out its warning
    In the words that it was forming…”

    Neon god — that’s Duterte. All colorful gas that kills and no steady life-giving light.

  3. It’s ironic that I’ve lived on an island for the past 8 years, surrounded by water, and can’t swim. But I still have a plane ticket. “…then he turned around and he headed home again…”

  4. NHerrera says:

    Joe: I lean toward resigned but not defeated.

    Not silenced as demonstrated by the continuing vitality of the TSH blog.

  5. arlene says:

    Still hopeful. I just wish some people would see the truth and the light. They are resurrecting old news to give fragrance to this otherwise dirty and polluted political atmosphere. Good morning Joeam!

  6. I myself like “The Boxer.”

    “I have squandered my resistance
    For a pocketful of mumbles
    Such are promises
    All lies and jest
    Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest”

    That reminds me of Filipino followers of PRD. Non-resisting, promise and lies believing, jokes applauding, non-listening, country disregarding &%@*#.

    Hmm, boxer…?!

    • A favorite of many Pinoys – I wonder why?

      There is a sense of struggle and futility in it.

      • It has a catchy tune and tells a story some Filipino OFWs, immigrants and those wanting to leave the country could relate to: getting away from the Filipino cyborgs.

        “We are the tradpols. Lower you expectations and surrender your dignity. Resistance is futile.”

        And some Pinoys really believe it is so. They keep putting opportunists back in power so the cycle of struggle and inefficacy continues ad nauseam.

        And those who got away feel relieved but have heavy hearts for their countrymen and nation.

  7. chemrock says:

    Slip sliding away is a lamentation of resignation to the vagaries of life.
    It is something that we should not be drawn into. Keep the passion strong no matter how low the times. When all around seems bad, focus on one sweet spot that gives you hope. And there are many if you look carefully. Eg
    – I see many people slowly awakening to the madness in the Philippines. Note how the good folks in Baguio and the mayor got pissed off with Bongbong and Imee gatecrashing that flower festival event.
    – That photo of the new heroic colonels of the Reserves, how many real combat soldiers will be pissed off by that.
    – A crooked Anti-Corruption Commission to look into Duterte’s bank accounts — a huge coverup is in place, but it may backfire as pissed off BPI insiders may leak more info. BPI board may need to do something to buy insurance to protect themselves over next and future admins.

    There are many more sparks of light. My money is still on the TRAIN wreck by end 2018.

  8. NHerrera says:


    “Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
    ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
    The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
    And I’ve a many curious things to show when you are there.”

    Oh no, said the Fly. But not our fly who instead said, “Betcha.”

  9. Sup says:

    International Women’s Day

    “Mahabol nila, eh, pero pagka ngayon magkasalubong kami, ah lalo ‘yung mga abogado nila, ‘yung itim pati ‘yung isa ’yung payat, si Callamard, undernourished, walang kain (They can pursue it, but if we meet along the way now, especially their lawyers, the black one and the other one who is skinny, does not eat)…,” he said.

  10. NHerrera says:

    Inflation Rate from BusinessWorld for info.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Let us not be defeated or we will end up like another Paul Simon song.

    I am a Rock
    Paul Simon

    A winter’s day
    In a deep and dark
    I am alone
    Gazing from my window to the streets below
    On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
    I am a rock
    I am an island
    I’ve built walls
    A fortress deep and mighty
    That none may penetrate
    I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
    It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
    I am a rock
    I am an island
    Don’t talk of love
    But I’ve heard the words before
    It’s sleeping in my memory
    I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
    If I never loved I never would have cried
    I am a rock
    I am…

  12. Sup says:

    slidin, slidin, slidin….
    ”Duterte reappoints to govt post axed cousin of Honeylet Avanceña ”

  13. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    Simon says : Simon sings. The Ballads of Simon.

  14. Maybe we should move sideways then.

  15. Sup says:

    slidin, slidin, slidin….

    ”Duterte spokesman: Mocha Uson is a role model for women”


    Philippine president Duterte needs psychiatric evaluation, says UN chief

    United Nations hits back after Philippines lists special rapporteur on terrorist ‘hit list’

    (this reminds me of a joke about a traffic announcement on German radio)

    “attention one car counterflowing on the Autobahn 555, please keep right and be careful”

    lone driver: “what one car counterflowing? hundreds of them! hundreds!”

    Who is now counterflowing / crazy depends on whether you are UN or DDS. Take your pick.

  17. NHerrera says:

    Slippin’ and Slidin’

    Jacob L. Shapiro of GPF (Geopolitical Futures) writes an article on Xi with some terms which may apply to the Philippines although in a reverse or perverse way.

    Mao turned on the Chinese people. Xi will turn the Chinese people on the world.

    Duterte turns on the Filipinos. He turns the Filipinos against the world, but toward China, who he showers with favors and from his viewpoint can do no wrong.

    Xi will aim to create the legitimacy of change not with revolution but with national pride. And nothing is more generative of national pride than powerful enemies abroad.

    Duterte creates the legitimacy of urgent change, including the Build Build Build Program, with an assault on all branches of the government and a Constitutional Change he believes constrains the urgent change he seeks. He aims too to generate national pride in a perverse way by a foul-mouth supposedly beloved by the poor.

  18. Wake up, Little Susie! Maybe she is waiting for her Bridge Over Troubled Water……

  19. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    After the liberation from the Japanese armed forces in WWII, when there were no pre-school, no kindergarten, just plain grade one in shorts and old t-shirts in wooden clogs, with lots of 5 to 7 year-olds every Monday mornings and Friday late afternoons, we put our right hands on our chests and sang with our voices might, this song in English only Alzheimer and death can delete from our brains. No songs or lyrics can equal the love we have in our hearts.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      In our distant historic past
      In the days of yore in Mactan’s Lapu-Lapu
      In Pangasinan’s Prinsesa Urduja and
      in Aklans Datu Sumakwel, in Ilocos Gabriela,
      in Tondo’s own Andres Bonifacio
      Legend has it
      Men and Maidens have two balls
      between their legs.

      And in our renaissance history
      only many decades ago, culminating
      in EDSA there happened in Ayala Avenue
      colorful confetti’s drop and float down
      the cars, buses and people walking below
      in celebration of liberty and bravery
      of people born to three languages
      of freedom and gaiety.

      Sum up in short poetry:
      Patria Adorada
      Perla del mar de Oriente
      Region del Sur querida
      Morir es descansar.

      At the start of the morning coffee break
      Before people throng out of building doors
      as they start to go home in the afternoon
      Let this music of a mantra be played
      the days Oracion of patriots . . .

      Nice and Wise to listen to, many times, isn’t it? Eh.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        From 1945 to the late 1950s I think. were the Filipinos wakefulness to GREATNESS. From the death of Monching Magsaysay started the slumber to REM to long nightmare of what Philippines is today of snoozers in Noodle kitchens of impunity.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          Sorry, I forgot to mention these were culled from said to be Jose Protacio Rizal’s long jottings in his last night at Fort Santiago (Go Tia San) :

          “Mi Ultimo Adios:

          Patria Adorada
          Perla del mar de Oriente
          Region del Sur querida

          Morir es descansar.”

        • sonny says:

          Popoy, I agree strongly. I was in 2nd yr high school when the Mt. Pinatubo went down and took away RM, and with him the beginnings of a great national tomorrow. There were inequities surrounding the disengagement from the American colonial leadership, for sure, but many critical ones were not insurmountable. The long, long Cold War was beginning and we needed a Magsaysay advocating for short & long term erection of our governmental superstructures and national infrastructure. Our current pathology corrections must include those years ‘at mga iba pang winaldas ng kung sinu-sino.’ Our leadership suffered and was balkanized in succeeding generations. To pick some specific areas, our national revenue and educational systems are still horribly benighted and neglected.

          • The “one-leader” weakness of the Philippines could be the issue in itself.

            Why did both Quezon and Magsaysay fail to create a crop of mid-level leaders to follow things through? As Popoy rightly said about Germany (or the Luftwaffe) there are indeed several levels of leadership over here. “Lazy” and brillant (the big picture people) at the top, industrious and intelligent (but averagely smart) in the middle, the ones who coordinate every aspect, and hardworking but simple (and following instructions to the letter) at the bottom doing everything from parking tickets to numbering houses – yes, a specialist for numbering houses on streets was once introduced in a German TV show. The message of the original leaders of the Philippines seemed to have been vague, or lost in translation. Otherwise I can’t really explain the reason for the Balkanization. Unless of course all were EXACTLY like the people around Marshall Tito – nice and orderly when Papa is there and out with their knives the moment Tito Marshall dies, I mean, well I forgot.. Milosevic etc. ..

  20. Bill In Oz says:

    Words from Oz, the land of sun beach & seas..
    When you’re swimming at the beach, and get caught in the rip,
    don’t try to fight it by swimming against it.
    That’s exhausting. Lots of folk die that way exhausted and drowned.
    As Joe said up above, swim sideways,
    and escape the rip current.
    Then you can head for the beach.

    Here’s a link to some photos of rips showing what happens

    I think this advise is actually very apt for the situation in the Philippines…An analogy which suggest avoid becoming stressed and exhausted faced with the stagey ‘performances’ of the government …

    • chemrock says:

      Bill, thanks for the link. That’s educational for a poor swimmer like me.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        A pleasure Chemrock.. Surfers here use the rip to get out into the waves quickly so they can surf back in…

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          There’s a kind of Mecca for creatures of the strongest waves called Surfers’ Paradise as if there was such a place in Adam’s Eden. Go for it, it’s Australia’s gem of a sea sideback. The Flow, the FLOW in philosophic terms, a magnificent read not by Lebron James but by Aaron James. There is no more genius in the FLOW of life than he who knows how to surf the FLOW of Life. The book (may be) is like Sartre for Dummies.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            Hah, hah, hah. I read in full Heller’s review of James’ book on Surfing, este Flow, este Sartre. And was I high floating not on slippery ice but in the magical world of words where there is no freak wave to bury me under cynicism and writer’s vice. I need to borrow the book again and understand it more. .

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Popoy. the true places to surf in Oz are a secret to the surfing cognoscenti.. And Surfer’s paradise” is a tourist trap. It always was that but now is mostly frequented by Chinese tourists…getting away from ever present for life Xi !!

              Your philosophy is too deep for me.. So I shall not comment on it..

  21. Sup says:

    Every time i read something ”stupid” i think ”it can not get lower”
    It can………
    The people need to follow the President elected by majority of the electorate even if he’s “a son of a bitch”, President Rodrigo Duterte indicated on Saturday.

  22. Sup says:

    Freed for Humanitarian reasons…

    ”Enrile may be part of prosecution at Sereno impeachment—Umali”

    Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile could possibly stand as the adviser of the private prosecution panel against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at her impending impeachment trial, House justice committee chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali said on Sunday.

  23. chemrock says:

    Man walks into a bar, orders a San Miguel, took a few sip and turned to another man sitting on his right who was watching a Senate Inquiry on TV.

    Man says: “You know Philippines’ problems are all caused by them stupid senators. Those guys are real imbeciles. Hey you wanna know a stupid senator joke?”

    The man watching the TV turned around and says : ” My name is Dick, Senator Dict on the TV there. This guy here on my right is Senator Sotto, careful, he carries a gun. (Sotto showed the man the gun that he showed to Pepsi a long time ago), and the guy to his right is Senator Pacquaio, Filipino boxing pride (Pacman roled up his sleeves and cracked his fingers). So, do you still wann tell us your stupid senator jokes?”

    The man took a sip of his San Miguel, cleared his throat, and says : “Not if I have to tell the joke 3 times”.

  24. NHerrera says:


    DFA’s Cayetano hits the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after the latter said that President Duterte needs a psychiatric evaluation.

    Cayetano made the statement even as Duterte himself kept hurling insults at his critics, including UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard and International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, whom he called “the undernourished one” and “that black woman,” respectively.

    Cayetano’s pro forma defense is probably meant more for the international audience — considering that the expressed need for psychiatric evaluation is old news hereabouts and did not merit any Admin official statement. I doubt though if there is any “buyer” from UN member countries of this formal defense by DFA — even from BFF China — who may dismiss the news in a so-what-else-is-new attitude.

    • NHerrera says:

      In my opinion, another point about this back-and-forth which has gone into some crescendo is to energize or motivate the ICC the more in its Preliminary Investigation of Duterte’s case. That may be dismissed by the Administration but the international community will be watching with the spotlight focused on the issue.

      • The probinsyanos (by own definition, CHINESE probinsyanos) in Malacanan might be hoping that Xi Jinping will threaten the ICC, the UN HRC and others with impeachment. Cocksure to be in the right up-and-coming global supermajority, these poor imbeciles.

        And of course (by all their actions this seems to be the case) assuming that global politics works the way Filipino local politics does, probably even exactly like in Mindanao – haha.

    • I tend to think his posture is for the adoring masses as he paints the President as their soul-mate, a victim of the arrogant elite. The President lashes out viciously because he is also their priest, giving act to the lashing they would like to do.

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