Killing that ridiculous myth that Leni Robredo is soft or weak

Gabriela, movie version, played by Christine Patrimino. Gabriela was not Vice President. [Source: You Tube by John Wong]

By JoeAm

I find it astonishing that people of laws, civility, and human rights destroy their own best electoral hopes by doing the trolls’ job for them.

They wanted President Aquino to be a tall, handsome guy striding into a SONA with the wit and charisma of John F. Kennedy and the mistake-free talent of Jesus Himself. They wanted Mar Roxas to slap Mayor Romualdez upside the head and hand the people of Tacloban free houses and popcorn in week one, as if wading through the rubble and dead bodies to get the vital airport lifeline open were not heroic enough. Now they want Leni Robredo to lead a pack of rabblerousers up to the Palace gates screaming obscenities and spitting in President Duterte’s eye, otherwise they will step boldly forth and declare her weak, or soft.

Myths promoted by well-intended people kill off good leaders as effectively as Baygon takes out roaches.

Let’s deal with this myth, this lie, that Leni Robredo is too weak to lead the opposition.

Contributing author Edgar Lores provided the counter-facts off the top of his head. It was easy. Because the TRUTH is Leni Robedo is stronger than a drunken sailor swearing at the Pope, stronger than some macho idea that it takes shouts, fists, and threats to make a leader, stronger than a cowboy waving two six-shooters in the air as if he had two penises.

Enough of the male-defined, Duterte-patented stereotypical rubbish that a calm, cool, measured, principled, respectful, intelligent woman is weak or soft.

As Edgar says, the FACTS show Leni Robredo’s strength:

  • She ran for the office of the vice-president and decided to serve the country despite the fact that she was newly widowed.
  • She won the vice-presidency even if she was a relative neophyte and came from behind.
  • She is fighting Bongbong’s electoral protest despite his abundant resources and her meager ones.
  • She has traveled all over the islands, to the farthest barrios, for her projects.
  • She is raising her daughters — all of them scholars — successfully and singlehandedly.
  • She has managed to earn Duterte’s respect which he tries to hide by saying she is weak when in actuality he is the one who is weak and a coward.
  • She has turned aside Duterte’s attacks by telling him to focus on his job and not on her.
  • Did you see her photo during Independence Day — standing tall in the rain?
  • A tongue is soft but it is not weak and it outlasts the teeth.

But take it a notch deeper. Consider what POSITION Leni Robredo holds. And for the love of all that is good, get outside yourself.

She is the Vice President of the Philippines. She is the Vice President of the rich, the poor, the arrogant, the meek, the left, the right, the powerful, and the powerless. She is Vice President of the yellows and Vice President of the trolls.

A lot of seemingly principled people want her to corrupt her position in their favor, to play politics on the people’s tax money, which trolls and malcontents pay, too. Do you realize the incredible strength it takes to walk the principled line when even your friends and allies are complaining and calling you names? Weak. Soft.

Leni Robredo does not have to be John F. Kennedy, Jesus, Gabriela, John Wayne, or rude, crude, and brutal to be strong. She redefines what strength means every time she walks up to another Filipino and smiles. Mother, protector, friend, countrymate, person of impeccable values, sincere, honest, caring, uplifter of human spirits. Policy-maker, public servant of ethical principle, an executive who actually manages programs that help people, and a lover of Filipinos.

Here’s the straight talk, if you can handle it. If you can take it as well as you want Leni Robredo to dish it out.

Your only job as a person who believes in laws, civility, and human rights . . . if you have the strength of ego and clarity of perception to do it . . . is to appreciate her, and appreciate her incredible strength.

And stop dignifying that ridiculous myth.


104 Responses to “Killing that ridiculous myth that Leni Robredo is soft or weak”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    I hope the contributor who quoted Bruce Lee and others repost his comment.
    I could find it, but Joe asked him/her to repost it.

  2. Quaddie says:

    Soft but definitely not weak.
    Re-posting from Wednesday’s artcle “Why Yellows are Losers”

    Quaddie says:
    September 14, 2018 at 7:08 am
    I’ve always thought that softness overcomes hardness. Maybe not in (Philippine) politics).
    Softness triumphs over hardness,
    Feebleness over strength.
    What is more malleable is always superior over that which is immoveable.
    This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them,
    …of mastery through adaptation.
    – Lao Tzu
    “When you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot”
    – Bruce Lee
    “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”
    – Muhammed Ali
    “To be hard is easy. To be soft is hard”
    – Martial proverb
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”
    – Proverb

    • Thanks for posting the wisdom from the minds of strong people.

    • edgar lores says:

      While we are at it, allow me to repost my response:

      Love the Bruce Lee quote.

      It takes a while to sink in.

      For me, it takes on three levels:

      1. That soft water takes on the shape of its hard container. (This is the literal meaning.)

      2. That water, which is essential to life, can be combined with other elements to enhance life. (This is a figurative meaning for the significance of water.)

      3. That the teapot is a utilitarian vessel — that is, VP Robredo — in which the spiritual essence — that is, water — offers service to life. (This is a figurative meaning for the significance of the teapot.)

    • karlgarcia says:


    • Milo says:

      What about …
      2 Corinthians 12:9-11 New International Version (NIV)
      9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    • popoy says:

      Leni Robredo does not have to be John F. Kennedy, Jesus, Gabriela, John Wayne, [El Cid, Joan of Arc, Princess Urduja, Xena,] or rude, crude, and brutal to be strong. She redefines what strength means every time she walks up to another Filipino and smiles. Mother, protector, friend, countrymate, person of impeccable values, sincere, honest, caring, uplifter of human spirits. Policy-maker, public servant of ethical principle, an executive who actually manages programs that help people, and a lover of Filipinos.

      Mr JoeAm, this one is excellently written to specify what’s already written in Philippines’ destiny. Me, a manghuhula? Nah just observing the ladies in Carriedo prophesying with their little tables, reading cards and palms.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. VP Robredo weak? Ahaha!

    2. This YouTube video (5:02 minutes) is an interview of the Vice-president by Rappler published on Sep 13. It’s about the Trillanes caper. At minute 3:45, VP Robredo states the President projected weakness! And she says it with an amused smile!

    3. This lady kills… softly… with a smile.

  4. andrewlim8 says:

    People ought to remember how she did a verbal judo of Bato dela Rosa after the ex PNP chief advised her to set aside her political ambitions.

    She replied: “WALA AKONG STANDEE OR MASCOT SA MALL.” (I dont have a standee or mascot in the malls.)

    Bato has been hypocritically promoting himself this way, even appearing in cinema ads. So this boomeranged on him, and he has been silent since.

    That’s how you take down the bad guys.

    And don’t forget how she flicked her hair on TV, when asked a question during the elections. That’s how composed and confident she is amongst all the evil witches of the PCOO and Duterte’s trolls. (someone pls post a video of this)

  5. arlene says:

    I remember her words before the election, ” the last man standing is a woman”. She is strong and a breath of fresh air in this otherwise corrupt govt. Good morning!

  6. NHerrera says:

    Not to diminish the inherent principled actions of Leni Robredo seen as soft by some (many?) which I agree is a myth that should be “killed,” but to go along with the challenge by the poorly-intentioned or bait by the ill-intentioned that she shout profanities — even if scaled to a tenth of what has been the practice in this Administration — is indeed playing into the Administration’s and Trolls schemes. And thus essentially doing the Trolls work for them as the blog has stated.

    Thanks Joe for elaborating on the thoughts of edgar.

    • NHerrera says:

      There are actions of one serving the interest of the country and there are actions of those with only narrow self-interests disguised as serving the country. Therein lies the big difference: the motivation that drives the actions.

      • Yes, indeed. And I would postulate that within the group tagged as “Yellows”, there are those who want Leni Robredo to go tribal and stop representing the people who elected the President and are largely satisfied with his performance.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          The administration’s goal of divisiveness would be achieved if she goes tribal. It will further undermine the call for national unity. A divided country is a weak country.

  7. I am deeply impressed what Leni Robredo and some other women have achieved and how they stand their ground against intimidation and insults of the mobster gov, their dirt bloggers and troll armies. Leno Robredo has a lot of good characteristics but one is outstanding and rare to find: she embodies hope and sets a counterpoint to Duterte’s dystopia. They know it and that is why they feel so threatened by her.
    As we are speaking of a strong woman, want to close with a quote by a strong woman:
    “Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long.”
    Angela Merkel

    • Pau Corvera says:

      Hey, I stalk your twitter account. Hehehe. Love the part where you said that you had Duterte cursed by a witch. Can I make a request, and have Arroyo and the Marcos family be included in the curse too? Thanks.

  8. LG says:

    Leni is the voice of justice and reason, the servant of Filipinos, especially of the marginalized. Viva La Vida de Pilipinas.

  9. when duterte said she is, that should’ve made it clear that it’s the narrative they’re selling and that one shouldn’t buy it.

    what is disappointing is that those who complain about her being weak are those who are away and rely on soundbites in social media, or those who don’t even go out in the streets. (some even complain about the protesters in social media while a rally is ongoing!😒)

    will she have their back when THAT time comes? it’s a scary thought that when the *proper* time comes and not enough people will be there because “the leader is weak.” it’s a scary thought that if she takes her place and she starts the cleaning, people would be impatient again like what happened with PNoy cleaning up after 9yrs of GMA’s corruption.

    but who knows, she had people’s backs during elections.

    • We have the case of Cory Aquino who was attacked regularly by the corrupt (intellectually and monitarily), and her son, the same thing. What Leni Robredo has is a fantastic ability to be disarming by being honest and unaffected by the deceits and maliciousness. Maybe she can reach people differently and interject hope. Hard to tell. When people don’t want to be helped, it is hard to help them.

      • “When people don’t want to be helped, it is hard to help them.”

        this. like what i told PNoy about drowning people who don’t want to be saved. i feel like we still have a lot of things to learn, why the evil is still here.

  10. chemrock says:

    Today’s blog we are getting all drenched. For many, all these watery quotes may well be simply just that — fanciful quotes. For some it is a reference to the strength of softness over hardness. This of course is physically well-established in nature as we see the erosive power of water that carved wonderful structures out of hard rock formations. In technology we have the abrasive jets that can cut through solid rocks and metals, yes metals – how amazing!

    Let me try on my Aristotelian cloak and relate the water analogies to the blog in a different way.

    It is not just in politics, but in our everyday discourse, we must always strive to understand things around us. Understand why your neighbour say that, why our kids did this, why we should or should not do that, etc etc. The essence of understanding something requires of us 2 things — (a) the ability to view things from different perspectives, (b) the ability to change our own perspectives after understanding. If you don’t have these 2 capabilities, there can never be ‘understanding’.

    Take for example an aeroplane. View it flying in the air we marvel at the aerodynamics. Look at it at the airport we realise the huge infrastructures around it that makes it possible for the aeroplane services. Get onboard we understand what it is to fly. And so on. Another example — look at the pyramid from the side – it’s a triangle. Viewed from the top it’s a square.

    In many situations, we need to look at an issue from the perspectives of others. We actually do this all the time — it’s called empathy. If you can’t look from the perspective of others, there can never be understanding.

    If we have viewed at an issue from all perspectives, and if so came the realisation our own perspective needs to change, then there is ‘understanding’. But ‘understanding’ is useless if there is no strength to change our perspectives. The unwillingness to change is due to (1)the devil in the brain, the big fat Ego, that stands in the way, and (2) the profit in the endeavour – succumbing to self-interest. It is absolutely impossible to believe that Calida has no understanding that his attempt to arrest Trillanes without warrant is illegal, that would be an insult to him and his law school.

    Leni is the water flowing over all issues, taking the shape of the teapot when necessary. She has empathy and tries to view issues from various perspectives. I believe that is the reason why she has appeared at times to be appeasing the admin. Water flows over rocks but only for a while. It accommodates the jaggedness of the rocks and flows by the force of gravity along cut lines. In time, its erosive powers take hold and it determines how to shape the hard rocks to facilitate its flows. There comes a time, after understanding from all perspectives, the realisation that action is necessary, that the jaggedness of the hard rocks need to be smoothened. I have a strong feeling that the turning point has come and we will increasingly see the pressurised jet sprays from Leni.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:


      “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.”

      ~ Ovid

      • popoy says:

        Ho Hum! I took a photo of a rain drop using an ordinary still camera (Canon QL 17) because it is like the DNA of soil erosion which I made my PG dissertation and I was offered to continue to take DPhil because my Director of Studies thought nobody can do that. To find the weight of a droplet of rain use the formula Water density = weight over volume.

        Before that event I read in a book on Brainwashing and Torture if you want a prisoner to sing like a canary figuratively or literally. Get him in inside a sound proof room, tie him down on a bed or on the floor; spike both sides of his forehead so he can’t move it in four directions, let a tap with enough distance above his forehead drip, drip, hitting the same point in his forehead. The prisoner will sing like a normal canary or lost his mind to sing like a crazy canary.

        In high school I saw Tyrone Power gave life in the silver screen the life of Cole Porter and how he composed a song one rainy night with the drip, drip of rain drops.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Hahaha! Sorry if my post bored you.

          Yup, it is called waterboarding. It sounds benign but must not be if it can break people into confessing.

          I am partial to “Singin’ in the rain” by Gene Kelly. Kelly singing a happy, bouncy song and dancing in the rain is truly iconic.

          • popoy says:

            yeah my bad, its really Eddie Duchin, but Kim Novak’s neuron’s sexy particle of memory interfered; that umbrella dancing in the rain is classic thespian art that will never die.

      • sonny says:

        @ JP

        Bravo on Ovid’s quote. He was my last & futile foray into Roman literature, long ago & far away.

        The water metaphor that I would like to use on the VP and her praiseworthy juggernaut of political goodwill is the river Mississippi from headwaters to confluences that carry riverine transport currents on its journey of more than 2,000 miles to the Gulf.

        @ Popoy

        I like Cole Porter’s music like crazy (Cary Grant’s movie Night & Day). Also Tyrone Power’s portrayal of Eddy Duchin’s music. 🙂 Cheers. (babad ako sa cine-surot, double-program)

        • NHerrera says:

          babad ako sa cine-surot, double-program

          Sounds like my days of yore too — movies at cinema theaters in Quiapo area and Avenida Rizal.

          • popoy says:

            Oh Gosh, the surots in Inday Theater always have a bloody field day every time there’s a floor show. That modest edifice should have been made heritage house which was truly a symbol of innocence in the days of yore sans impunity and corruption by ratus ratus Linn.
            Sorry, gibberish na naman kasi. Eh.

            • Somewhat like the corruption is this old provincial movie theater, shown in the movie Serbs by Brillante Mendoza in 2008 – where the old matron owner still acts as if everything is like before while everything else is rotten and corrupt, especially the inside of the movie house..


              Service is a drama that follows the travails of the Pineda family in the Filipino city of Angeles. Bigamy, unwanted pregnancy, possible incest and bothersome skin irritations are all part of their daily challenges, but the real “star” of the show is an enormous, dilapidated movie theater that doubles as family business and living space. At one time a prestige establishment, the theater now runs porn double bills and serves as a meeting ground for hustlers of every conceivable persuasion. The film captures the sordid, fetid atmosphere, interweaving various family subplots with the comings and goings of customers, thieves and even a runaway goat while enveloping the viewer in a maelstrom of sound, noise and continuous motion.

              What is especially sordid are of course the baklas offering “Serbis” inside the movie house. Although movie theaters in Manila proper were also basically cheap alternatives to motels by the 1980s/1990s from what I have been told by Filipino migrants to Germany. In both cases, one can imagine that all kinds of pests are happy about the body fluids that.. OK, I guess sometimes popoy’s gibberish and mystery is better than my Germanic clarity.. istap.

          • edgar lores says:


            This is a partial list of the theaters recreated from emails with friends and from the link below. It’s based on faulty memory and can stand correction.

            1. On Escolta: CAPITOL, LYRIC, VISION

            2. In Plaza Santa Cruz: SAVOY (or ASTOR), TIVOLI, ROXY

            3. In Plaza Goiti: CLOVER


            5. On Florentino Torres: DELUXE and REPUBLIC

            6. On Echague: SOCIETY, RADIO (between Echague and Carriedo), ILLUSION (formerly INDAY, also between Echague and Carriedo)

            7. In Quiapo: MAYFAIR, PALACE, LIDER and GALA

            8. On Quezon Boulevard: LIFE, TIMES, GLOBE, CENTER, MAIN, DALISAY, CINERAMA


            10. On Ongpin: REX/KINGS, DRAGON, JENNET

            11. In Malate/Ermita: GAIETY, LUNETA

            12. In Paco: BELLEVUE, DART and RIO

            13. In Sampaloc: MODERNO

            14. In Cubao: NATION and DIAMOND

            15. In Makati: RIZAL

            16. I believe there are some more theaters along España Boulevard: METROPOLITAN?


            • My childhood memories of movies center around Circle and Delta theatres, both near where Quezon Avenue intersects with Timog and West Avenue. Teenage memories center around the movie houses in Ali Mall Cubao, very new then shortly after the Thrilla in Manila

              Most of the movie houses along Aurora Boulevard were already quite decrepit then, but they at least still showed movies. The only time I went into a Rizal Avenue movie house was in my late teens – to watch an illegal strip show with some of my high school barkada.

              Only men/boys going into the “movie house”, which still was a movie house “officially”. Boys like us gave up their balisongs, men their guns. Around 15 minutes of very old movie was followed by the lights going on and a woman came on the stage to get undressed..

              I have read that Avenida Rizal completely lost whatever flair it had left when the LRT 1 was built from 1984 onwards – it simply became a dark tunnel of a place.

              Azcarraga: for the younger persons here, that is Claro M. Recto Avenue.

              • sonny says:

                PiE, seems like the demise of Avenida Rizal was sealed by the flight to Makati. Were it not for the presence of the university belt population, the ‘devastation’ would have been worse.

                The urban sprawl notwithstanding, the beat of Manila (now Metro) is still the country’s heartbeat and cosmopolitan raiment.

              • True, the old center of commerce was Escolta.

                Add to the move to Makati all the housing along EDSA and beyond: QC Projects, Murphy Cubao, UP Teacher’s Village, Greenhills, Fairview.. the middle class left the inner city.

                Then all of the developments along SLEX: BF Homes, Ayala Alabang.. Rustan’s Cubao and Unimart in Greenhills – shopping centers – then Ali Mall, Virra Mall, SM North and more..

                But a bit of planning would have helped, more proactive politics, more structuring.

                What is truly tragic these days is to see Baguio drowning in mud, what a waste. 😦

            • popoy says:

              Was there not an Embassy Theater in in old Aurora Blvd or was it in Espana?

            • sonny says:

              Memories (1949 – 1969):

              1. Capitol & Lyric: Always first-run; 1.20 pesos admission; mostly United Artists films
              2. Astor: X-rated, only film, not live
              3. Clover: Zarah’s Extravaganza, stage, live comedy skits and dance numbers; affordable entertainment for Juan & Juana de la Cruz
              4. On Avenida Rizal: Hollywood Row; Filipino, American consumer “clearing zone;” cultural window to the world-outside; original Alemar’s and Goodwill bookstores, where hotdogs, hamburger, comida Tsina were all ‘de rigueur’ purchases
              Ideal: first-run, MGM films exclusively; Avenue: first-run, 20th-Century-Fox; Dalisay: first-run, Tagalog, LVN & Premiere Productions & Lebran films; Odeon, Galaxy, first-run admission
              6. On Echague: Cine Metro, the last of the triple-pgm movie offerings; Society theater a few steps from Quinta market and the Chinese stores that sold best hopia (baboy, mungo, Hapon), bagong-luto for pasalubong; Magnolia ice cream outlet, flavor-of-the-month
              8. On Quezon Blvd: Life theater (exclusively Tagalog, Sampaguita Pictures only)
              9. Vista theater (post-war): my mom’s favorite theater, my first taste of cinema at 7 yrs;
              13. In Sampaloc (Legarda St), Cine Moderno: guaranteed you’ll go home with surot; 50 centavo admission
              14. In Cubao: Cine Coronet, home of Bruce Lee movies
              16. Metropolitan was the premiere theater from before the WW2; most bombed and never rehabilitated for post-war entertainment, now a heritage landmark
              17. In San Juan, Aurora Blvd: Holiday theater; must eat snack at La Pacita Biscuit outlet, pancit, cookies & ice cream 🙂
              18. In Marikina beyond the river: Lion theater (english); Kababayan theater (Tagalog); snack is special goto, only 10 centavos

              “Though nothing can bring back the hour
              Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
              We will grieve not, rather find
              Strength in what remains behind; …”

              (I’m sure Wordsworth will not mind) 🙂

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Thanks, Manong.

          Yes. She can be likened to the Mighty Mississippi. She possesses an impressive inner strength belied by her unassuming demeanor.

        • popoy says:

          Sonny, about rivers as seats of civilization, Miss I, Miss SSI, Miss PPI (to remember daw spelling it correctly) that US river is where from its people by its river banks a choir boy name Elvis learned and polished his unique music which eventually sent him to desert Las Vegas.

          One can’t study in depth urban planning and development without encountering the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, the Yangtse, the Rio Grand, the Thames, the Hudson, the Danube, the Rhine and the Seine, etc., etc. Few OFWs had been bitten by Tiger mosquitoes that breed in some parts black, some parts brown 112 kms mighty Sepik in East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea.

          A river’s name also appeared in one of my published wannabe poems, a short portion:

          Pasig River
          From its headwaters in Napindan
          To its watery grave in Manila Bay
          Bulwark of Manila’s civilization
          Since time began, Pasig meanders
          Brown many months of the year
          Like a wet rope, red after the rains
          Grey like light diesel in the summer.

          • sonny says:

            Popoy, somewhere in my fantasy land I see the harnessing of typhoon waters in MetroManila as it travels from headwaters in Norzagaray, joining the Marikina River with intermediate holding reservoirs and systems of pumping stations feeding aqueducts that service purifying drinking water for distribution, channeling semi-treated water for fountains and irrigation and flushing infra streets and treating before joining the Pasig then on to the China Sea. All this as practice and challenge to our hydrologists and civil engineers to maintain the beauty of Mutya ng Pasig & surrounding. Truly a wet dream to enjoy. 🙂

            • popoy says:

              I wrote here ASVEN in the past; excavate the old highways connect them to the Pampanga River; how much typhoon water can be saved every year for transportation and domestic use. I don’t have the time think of the hydrological aspects.

              • sonny says:

                Popoy, suffice to say I would love to seat and listen to a venue where you are commissioned to “think of the hydrological aspects” of maintaining the watershed of the Central Plains to help both agricultural needs of the rice fields and “horticultural” needs of Metropolitan Manila and environs. 🙂

        • The Bicol river also winds through fertile country, Naga in its delta, just like the purported pre-Hispanic capital of Libmanan nearby. The following story, though recently written, reflects the spirit of the region and its people even in belief and battle:

          The conquistadores came one day in the 16th century and built a villa where there was only the wide river separating a small settlement from an older town named after the Serpent.

          Naga. Naga, the Serpent.

          A church was built near the river, and another smaller church was set up closer to the Remontados, or those who had gone back to the mountains. A school for priests, or at least for young men who would approximate the holiness of those who would move on to wear a special vestment and guard the shrines, was laid out.

          A group of brave, perhaps naïve, perhaps fatal to fate, Catholic Sisters of the Hijas de Caridad or Daughters of Charity would wade ashore somewhere in Pasacao, in 1868, after traveling for months from another distant shore and far-off culture. A school for girls they would set up. These girls would be taught to pray and be good wives and mothers. When learning changed, the prayerful girls and women would go into subjects that made them think.

          Now, that settlement, which was given the name of the conquistador’s birthplace out there in the Old World, has embraced the town by the river. Nueva Caceres it was known first, and then the site went back to being Naga again. The old men and women said the name was after the tall trees that were plentiful in the area. The other old men and women remembering old tales remembered the Serpent in the River. The Serpent, when angered, summoned the flood and swept homes and hearts by the river bank. The Serpent was the Naga. On its head was a crown. When destiny was being explained, these people by the River that wound and wound did not look at the stars but down to the Earth, as they searched the position of the Serpent.

          It would not take long before those who had gone back to the mountain of Isarog were said to have requested that an image of the Virgin be made and be devoted for them infieles or infidels. A tiny image was carved out of santol tree. The eyes of the Virgin did not assume the Caucasian face of the conquering colonizers but retained the pili-shaped gaze of the indigene.

          The Serpent was indigenous. The Virgin made herself a native, as well. The Serpent was moody and unpredictable. The Virgin was always calm even as jewels were made to cling around her.

          The Naga, the Serpent, was feared and haunted the land; the Virgin was loved and was called “Ina.”

          It is September once more. The second Friday will see the Virgin being transferred from the Basilica to the Cathedral. It is called Traslación. The Virgin would ride a carroza shaped like the Globe. You can read meanings from the shape of the vessel that would move the Earth as the Virgin Mother travels to a sacred spot where she would receive the faithful. But then, even faithless men are helpless before the Virgin. When the round Earth moves, the Virgin would be there at the center as men clamber up to touch Her. But the technology of this carroza would not allow the devotees to embrace and hug the Virgin, the Mother. The path to extreme believing is a slippery one.

          Nine days of prayers will be said in that massive church. Then the River takes over once more.

          A fluvial procession takes place on the third Saturday. As in the Traslación, women are not allowed to stay close to the Virgin, the Mother. If any woman, they say, is caught hitching a ride on the barge, then that boat bearing the Virgin would flounder and sink. The women are not complaining, for at the center is a woman. The men are also not complaining, because at the center is the Mother. Religion is never easy. After centuries of believing in the sacred and in the figure of a woman who was born without original sin, the origin of genders separated in the rituals for Ina remains a mystery. Or, perhaps, we do not want to examine the equivalent of inequality in the secular world, which the universe of the spirit ignores for the sake of the truth.

          There is a greater mystery about the place of the Serpent and the Virgin Mother, and it is about a cruel King living in the Palace by the Other River. This King is afraid of any body of water. This King is also afraid of women and mothers. He is angry that a woman who scares him comes from a place that he believes is a hotbed of poisonous plants.

          This cruel and dumb King has consulted his men and women how he can banish the woman who is his enemy. The woman called Blind Injustice whispered to the King a method:
          Kill the Virgin Mother and resurrect the Serpent now hiding under the riverbed.

          Whereupon the King’s men and women journeyed for nine days through forests and rivers, until they reach the settlement by the River. The fluvial procession was already underway when the King and his men and women attacked the procession. They threw a net around the Virgin Mother, but the crown of the Divine Nurturer ripped the net apart. The barge twisted around and around but soon found its bearing again.

          The devotees scampered away. Those who were by the riverbank remained. They were praying hard and loud. A moan coming from the bowels of the Earth soon filled the air. It was loud and lonely. The river whirled and twirled. Then, without any sound at all, the huge tail of the Serpent curled hard and straight till it reached the low-flying clouds of September. The tail curled again and fell into the water. A dark wave came next with a wail. A mouth as big as the ancient crater of the sleeping Mount Isarog appeared from the river and swallowed the King, his men and women, including the priestess named Blind Injustice.

          Then, with the river becoming placid once more, the Serpent disappeared to fulfill what He and the Virgin Mother have agreed many moons ago: that they would fight any kind of evil, because the Serpent in all of its ancientness is Good and the Virgin Mother in all of her silences is Wise.

          And the King in all of his senselessness is dead and dumb.

          • edgar lores says:

            An allegorical narrative for our time. I know the name of the Other River and who the priestess Blind Injustice is.

          • Ah, tremendous story, Irineo, thank you.

            I think it is a story. Seems to have some relevance. Maybe a prophecy. Would not be all bad, especially the destiny of that dumb king and the priestess named Blind Injustice.

            • popoy says:

              Oh God what have I done with that yabang of having photographed a single raindrop and splashes that led to ripples starting soil erosion into red rivers of neglect and avalanche of death. How appropriate though in TSoH peroration it was amplified and magnified nothingness into something to be of Leni’s holy grail of a Presidency.

              In USA the Alamo bled the first drops of heroic blood for the colonies; the greening of America started with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority); for equivalence Philippines had Tirad Pass and Bataan and the Bicol River Basin Development as the failed copycat model of the TVA. What remains is the Bicol Express powered by siling labuyo. Sili is mini chili that stings more than a Jalapeno; labuyo is jungle cock (gallus gallus bankiva). Leni is the tiny variable that can sweep away even just PART of the social-political debris left by corruption and impunity.

    • Very descriptive way of defining VP Robredo’s peculiar strength. She is a seer, and does not operate from a need to impose her will, but to understand, and care. To the extent people need to see ego to find strength, they won’t really see her.

  11. “Weakness is not your weakness.”-Jon Gomm,”Passionflower”

  12. During the election 2016 VP debate Yes or No portion, all candidates were given a sign they could use as a thumbs up or thumbs down. When the moderator asked “Engaged in any corrupt activities?” VP Leni rotated her sign sideways to point at BBM. That showed me that she is an outside-the-box thinker, has a truthful and wicked sense of humor and has the courage to stand up against the “kalakaran.”

  13. There are, I guess, different expectations at play in the Philippines:

    1) the leader as a “heroic champion” – so that people don’t have to do anything by themselves. There are either good messiahs (PNoy, Cory) or bad-ass messiahs (Marcos, Duterte) but as there are no miracles in real life, Filipinos drop these leaders as soon as reality shows what is possible.

    2) the “revolutionary” leader – foreign invasions and tribal conflict have conditioned a mindset of violent, quick solutions. Rizal warned that rebels can become tyrants. This danger is often ignored.

    3) the community leader. This is what VP Leni is, in the spirit of bayanihan. It is her real strength.

    Magsaysay also was a community leader, but he skillfully used aspects of 1) and 2) which he also had to convince Filipinos then.

    A capability VP Leni IMHO has in common with FVR is consensus-building. Somehow I see her hand behind the opposition Senate slate. FVR managed to get different groups to work together. This is a golden capability in a “tribal” society. Making different folks stragel and stragol together.

  14. NHerrera says:

    Rappler has Mood Meter Charts on what it considers the Top 10 Stories for a short period ranging from a day to more than a day. This is supposed to be the mood of the readers giving their votes on these stories. I tried to get a listing of these Mood Charts so I can view them for some trending sentiments for at least the year 2018 to date. I have not gotten the list. One way of course is to view the Rappler News daily from 1 January to 17 September 2018. I don’t have the patience to do this [Oldies’ laziness].

    Two examples of such charts are:

    The Rappler readers’ votes generating such charts are of course not scientifically obtained for randomness, but I believe it is rich in data for the analysts to draw some insights. Data miners-analysts can have fun with those.

    As I note above, this Oldie does not have the patience [of my younger version], so nothing came out of my initial interest. However, I find interesting the last Red Item about Rogue signing a statement urging amnesty for Trillanes and other mutineers. [I am not posting the link to that news or I go to moderation on 3 posted links; I will do so on the next post if allowed.] Essentially I saw a word I have not encountered for some time, not being much of a ballet fan. As it relates to Roque, it refers to his big but not too lovely pirouette from a Human Rights activist when he signed the statement to the Administration’s spokesperson — aka apologist — of the Administration.

  15. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    In my latest interview with VP Leni Robredo in Naga months ago, as I was closing, I said, “I always pray for you, everyday in Holy Rosary.” Her face turned a bit stern as she thanked me. I was a bit puzzled. Her face could have melted into that of a victim of circumstance, relying only on prayer to pull her out of the mire of politics. But no, she knew we needed divine intervention, but prayer is not the only weapon in her armory. She will do everything humanly possible to solve the problem named Rodrigo. She’s not a nun, that’s my impression, but a general in command of troops.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks Will for the observation. She does seem to many of us as one with a good arsenal — most kept in reserve — deploying only what is required. The use of the phrase general in command of troops is rather apt.

  16. WanderingWoman says:

    Thanks for this and YES, she’s definitely not weak.

    ‘When they go low, we go high’ Michelle Obama

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Off topic:

    It is like Dominguez and Diokno telling us that we are not in a crisis, because it was worse during the time of Marcos.

    Off topic 2:

    Why only no to MAD.

    Make it no to MADE.

    (Estrada or Ejercito)

    • karlgarcia says:

      Quotable Quote from the link.

      “We are not panicking,you are panicking”.

    • NHerrera says:

      The Trio of Pernia, Dominguez, and Diokno want to project that they are not panicking, only their critics are, including those living on a hand to mouth existence, but their phraseology betrays, if not panic, anger at the critics. I find particularly irksome Dominguez’ statement:

      “We are not in a major crisis. It may be a serious problem for some people, but for the nation in general, it’s not a major crisis.”

      “Serious problem for some people” — meaning at least 50 percent of the population? Of course, the likes of Uson et al are not hurting or panicking. They are included in the “nation in general” as well as the likes of Calida, Go, the businessmen, the Trio themselves and all those who received manna from the Administration.

      • sonny says:

        Other descriptors: NIMBY, manhid – real gems of humanity and brotherly love.

        • The manhid and kapalmuks types seem to be a plurality in today’s Philippines.

          Maybe part of the process of modernization and urbanization, when people discover that they are in a mostly strange, not always friendly world. For many OFWs, hard I think.

          Then you have false identification figures like Duterte and Mocha, who might seem cool, meaning able to cope in a harsh world, tell the feared elite and Kanos to fuck themselves..

          The Nazis also attracted disoriented people, especially in the troubled cities, with a mix of rusticality (Hitler’s Austrian accent and charm) and modernism (Goebbel’s hectic ways).

          Fear can eat up the soul, minimize empathy, make people change for the worse.

          • Francis says:

            “Fear can eat up the soul, minimize empathy, make people change for the worse.”


            A solution to that fear is indispensable in addressing the root of our woes—of which Duterte is only a symptom (albeit a vicious one) of the disease.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    It is settled that only the face of Leni is soft because she is not kapalmuks.

      • Karl, please follow the convention of stating what a link contains so people know what it is about before burning bandwidth poking around to find out. Thanks.

        • karlgarcia says:


          • karlgarcia says:

            The comment before the video was my intended explanation.

            Leni is not kapalmuks, kapalmuks is the street lingo vernacular for thickfaced.
            Thickfaced people are reckless, they have no shame, they have no ethics, and they have no civility and Leni is none of that.
            Since she is not thick faced she has a soft face.

            In addition…..

            Do not click if you are not familiar with the song and to save on bandwidth, here are the lyrics.

            What about the time you were counting hoursand then
            For I go as soft as your face
            As I count the minutes the hours descend
            And I just want to know what’s in it
            Want you over/under my place
            For every word you speak is tongue and cheek
            and Tongue and cheek
            ‘Cuz tongue me out of place
            For I go crazy I go as soft as your face

            What about the escape As I grow myself with them
            I’m looking from that Inside walls I can see your world
            As it’s turning around I go as soft as your face

  19. NHerrera says:

    Inquirer’s Neri visited Trillanes and they discussed, among others, what may be considered as Mysteries associated with Trillanes amnesty revocation. There is also this quote from Trillanes in response to the suggestion by some about his running for the Presidency because of being brought to prominence lately:

    “There is only one leader of the opposition, and that is VP Leni. I know my place in the sun.”

    If the reader has the time, at least a quick scan of the link is worthwhile.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Confession: I voted for Trillanes for VP, last elections, but this time I will vote for Leni for President and Trillanes if he runs for VP. I guess he won’t run for president unless Leni gives way.

  20. popoy says:

    For recycle here in TSoH, look at what I found,
    in my draft compilation for Book II –
    “Noynoy: The Son of Icons” still in the pipeline.

    4 Her Character Is Her Fate, Her Destiny

    Events and people make history
    which is food that nourish
    the brains of philosophers;
    which help scientists to establish
    the truth about nature;

    which time washes into conjectures
    like your character is your fate
    and your fate is your destiny;

    which the passage of time constitutes
    to come to the aid of your countrymen.

    Fate and destiny were all written for Leni
    when her Jesse went missing and
    Noynoy and Mar stayed with her
    for days till everything was okay.

    Leni’s fate and destiny then
    became quite clear she will likely
    replicate that of Cory and so are
    all the events that might happen.

    Wait and see. They who sleep and
    stay snoring in the noodle house
    will one day wake up like Rip Van Winkle
    to see the changes wrought by fate and destiny
    brought down on the shoulder of a woman;
    VP Atty. Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo.

    -TSoH October 17, 2017

  21. Floyd Gonda says:

    Oh so you are saying that VP Leni being weak is a myth? Can you imagine what would happen if Miriam Defensor Santiago is still alive and VP and Duterte/Mocha/Nieto will do the things they did to Leni to her? Can you just imagine? Really, try hard to imagine…

    • Irineo Salazar says:

      Miriam had enormous popularity on her side. Leila de Lima went similarly ballistic and bombastic when Duterte attacked her but it did not help her, it made her look bad. The yellow image was terrible then, the storm surge of Duterte’s popularity at it’s peak. Of course Leni’s personality is different, not bombastic like Santiago and De Lima (pre-jail). Could also be she just chooses her battles more wisely. She is making herself heard more now that the Duterte storm surge is going down a bit, might become more in the future. Of course the preference of most Filipinos I guess is to see street fights, even catfights like the one movie scene where Angel Locsin drags Mocha by the hair. Or at least a shouting match with strong words.

    • Hypotheticals only confuse the situation, I fear. Everyone has their own personality and circumstances. Beyond that, I wonder what you gain by suggesting that VP Robredo somehow does not measure up to the late Senator Santiago. It is such a needless suggestion for anyone who is pro-democracy, pro-civility, and pro-human rights. VP Robredo is here today, now. She was elected because her views resonate with a lot of people.

  22. Yes, JA, and I would be a tad happier to see “The Subtle Strength of Leni” or “Leni’s Ways of Skinning the Cat” (hahaha) as the title of this post.

  23. NHerrera says:


    Psychologists who have attended numerous trials of an accident and have studied the phenomenon report that witnesses — who are known to have no bias to tell the court about the incident — vary in their reports of an incident occurring in broad daylight. Sense of sight, hearing and ability of recall, among others, vary. Of course the situation gets worse when there are bias to start with or ulterior motives [ref Mocha and Roque].

    Let me show the picture below. In the upper part of the picture are two vertical marks indicating a total interval of 10 units — on the left there is a mark indicating a five in the middle of the vertical marks; on the right the same interval are marked by ones. In short, we have a case (Left) of the interval marked in fives and a case (Right) of the same interval marked in ones. In a situation like what we have when the interval is so small, and a vertical indicator so thick — as a metaphor for when our eyesight are not in the best of shape or affected by other factors — marking the interval in ones is no help. Gauging the unit number in the gap of the interval in fives is the better and convenient deal [see the lower part of the picture].

    I present the analogy above as a way of attesting to the truism of the statement “we cannot see the forest from the trees.” Two many trees as in the Right side of the upper part of the image indeed does not aid in gauging where the vertical indicator is situated. The Left side makes the estimate better. Thus, a paradox of sorts.

    Back to the topic of the blog. Many may be gauging Leni from the prism of so many trees to see the forest.

    [Disclosure: I am writing as an engineer who was educated in the Slide Rule where gauging a number in an interval is a habit after year 1 in Engineering School. The slide rule was a wonderful device at a time when calculator of even the simple (+, -, x, /) variety was not even used. Forgive this Oldie for the fond memory of the Slide Rule which made engineering feats possible even in those days.]

    • sonny says:

      It was mostly using the C & D scales plus scientific notation of powers of 10 for me, NH. 🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes. It is amazing how the slide rule — in a multiplication of a series of numbers in the numerator of a quotient divided by a series of numbers in the denominator — can give a quick result correct to two decimal places and a third, a near estimate. The math of logarithms spawned an industry for the engineers and technicians for the required task. Humans are wonderful beings. [We have to stop talking like this, sonny; we are dating ourselves as ancients.]

  24. Ramon B. Pasicolan Jr. says:

    After the dystopian Duterte years, what we need is the soft touch of ‘ healing heart’,
    that can mend all the broken pieces of self- respect, sense of honour and dignity
    we lost along the way….and that she is.

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