Do you see the difference?

Do you *see* the difference? Millions of Filipinos cannot.

By JoeAm

A lot of Filipinos are space cadets. They are children watching cartoons on TV all day, or scaredy cat scouts sitting around the campfire listening to stories about snipes and dreaming of catching one. They are the subject of Kafka’s novels about absurdity, the people doing nonsense because it is simply what they do. I don’t know about their faith, really I don’t. That confuses me. If they had sense or nonsense placed on a plate in front of them, they’d pick nonsense because it is what someone told them to pick.

You can’t teach them anything because they are not in the classroom. They are out playing with matches on the dry forest floor. They have never read a newspaper unless it featured a picture of mutilated bodies or a story about aliens landing in Zamboanga or a fight between movie stars.

They understand friendly and generous because they’d invite you into their house to have lunch at the Fiesta even if they had to spend their last peso, or borrow, to put the food on the table. But don’t expect them to think of you when voting. They are thinking about the cash, or the stories, and voting for people who have “it”, where “it” is reputation or popularity.

The best Filipinos seem to be the quiet ones, hidden from most of the nation. By best I mean that they have the dignity of angels, the honesty of Abraham Lincoln, and the work mantra of a carabao pulling plow all day.

It’s like Leni Robredo. She just does her good works, and trusts that Filipinos will see the dignity of her labor.

Most don’t.

Most can’t.

Their eyes are burned from looking at the sun for too long in search of shade, or a spotlight that gives them meaning.


171 Responses to “Do you see the difference?”
  1. Resty Refuerzo says:

    Maybe you mean quiet ones?

  2. Sup says:

    One is real one botox?
    Gwen before she went to the ”beauty parlor”
    (scroll down a bit for the picture.)

  3. arlene says:

    If you mean the look on their faces JoeAm, one has aged gracefully while the other one looks like “ewan”.

  4. “They are children watching cartoons on TV all day” the postwar Filipino generation, I was told, laughed about how those who got shot at in cowboy or war movies jumped, as they knew they didn’t. They also wondered about the American soldier’s saint called San Amagan.

    The small world the Filipino gets, the big world often not, and some who do like Popoy speak of it in mind-boggling riddles, as if gone mad? Or to warn the others beware of what is there, lots of eche bucheche, Wakarangs and..?

    One must see pictures of VP Leni in Naga to see her character very clearly, practically like in a family setting, among friends. And also to appreciate how she handles the world out there, potentially hostile – but stays balanced.

    Even her accent returns to being more Bikol during her Sunday radio show, I noticed..

    ..Filipinos need to get around more, not only rely on media, then they might find back the empathy they have in small settings. They may need to try just a bit of VP Leni’s path, stepping out of their comfort zones..

    • Yes, the problem is that they are not self-driven to do that. And refuse to be led.

      • Even if they are forced by circumstances to go on a journey – migrants to Manila, OFWs or daily commuters in Manila – they do not really look left or right, but are merely annoyed.

        Even many migrants abroad stick to small, all-Filipino circles, interact with the rest of society only as much as is necessary, care only as much as is needed – it is usually their children who find out how the world is, just outside their door but somehow another place.

        • True, that. I suppose, though, that by collecting in homogeneous Filipinos communities, they are extending the Filipino heritage one more generation before it dissolves, like sugar, into the surrounding water of the world.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    The ombudsman dismissed Gwen Garcia so run to Mama Sara ang munting prinsesa and her munting prinsesa already on her last term and is old already.
    Don’t vote Otso because of the scams like Yolanda, vote HPN because no one is corrupt wink wink.

    • Yes, there you go. The complete lunacy of knowing the candidates are thieves, denying it, and putting them in office. Ethics are meaningless because no one wants to be held to account, so they hold no one else to account. It is backward, from what Christ taught, but resilience is it’s own morality.

      • ” Ethics are meaningless because no one wants to be held to account, so they hold no one else to account.”

        I had a discussion with mlq3 on Twitter where he confirmed my suspicion that many doctors and other urban professionals voted against PNoy and pro-Duterte because they did not like the way Kim Henares was tightening BIR collections. Think Philippine bank secrecy especially for dollar accounts! Of course the tax breaks of TRAIN for that clientele also counted, while the tax amnesty they probably all waited for was NOT signed by Duterte. Would a man like that give up a possible weapon against critics, and a sausage he can dangle in front of the nose of those people? Slave mentality in the masses, master mentality among the rich – and a bandit mentality within much of the middle class. Wonderful!

  6. Ma. Paz Juco says:

    The difference is often obvious, staring at you. Unfortunately for many, they fail to spot the difference. Lured by attractive yet insignificant even harmful details, they fail to see the essence or the truth.

  7. chemrock says:

    Vote for Garcia
    She will buy back the land under the West Philippines Seas from the Chinese.

  8. Most Filipinos I know are not staring up into the sun. Others believe mall security know how to direct street traffic….

    • I write these images, just impressions, these meanings about people disadvantaged and how to reach them. People want to talk about sunglasses and botox. Maybe the situation is worse than I thought.

  9. What IF a lot of Filipinos KNOW exactly who is who, but as a recent video suggests, strive for exactly the same? Meaning to also cheat and steal, because of a mentality that prizes laziness?

    NO, I am not going Tulfo, saying Filipinos are lazy. But being hardworking is not really prized – it is something OFWs and maids do, high status is about having money and doing as little as possible!

    Could that be the reason why Mar (a rich heir) is laughed at for working his ass off for the country?


    and damn, what a fool he is to study if he could have everything even without studying hard!

    of course, such a mentality assumes that there are winners and losers. It also assumes “yellows” are just those who happened to be “luckier”, including speaking better English, than the others!

    Studying? Pa humbug! That is only to get a degree that is a piece of paper, play the decent game of please and thank you nobody fuckin cares about anyway in real life, kissing Westerner’s or elite ass, and getting a good job. Now the new kids on the bloc, don’t need that, WE kiss Chinese ass!!


    that value created by hard work is not necessarily a zero-sum game of looting is forgotten.

    • I’ve got a vague idea that there is something cerebral and psychological going on, that Westerners internalize emotions differently than do Filipinos and perhaps others who have been substantially disenfranchised from life’s opportunities. Aspiration and inspiration are replaced with resentment among the disenfranchised.

  10. Del Rosario and Morales had a press conference today to provide background and reason for their filing against Xi at the ICC. Here is Morales’ simple and powerful statement:

    “We have jurisdiction over Mr. Xi because he committed a crime within Philippine territory.”

    • Andres 2018. says:

      What crime to be exact?

      One could not go to court and expect victory without bringing a strong case.

      But, if it is the value of fighting for what you think is right, may it a win or a loss, then i could give credit to the two of them.

      • I haven’t read the filing, but it centers on fishermen who were denied the right to earn a livelihood, and destruction of the fisheries through massive, illegal dredging. It leans on the UNCLOS win as a basis for the filing and recites known incidents of illegal acts reported in media.

        • Andres 2018. says:

          As heads up, the duo accused Xi of “crime against humanity.” As i personally see it, and if i compared it here to a scenario in our local courts, its like going to court accusing someone who rob you with murder. I don’t think the case would prosper. They should have proceeded with “crime of aggression” but then, even that, the chance of victory is slim. I doubt ICC will give an investigation even if ICC will decide that it have the jurisdiction.

          • Could be. But I liken it to a guy who comes into your home, trashes your home, eats the food in your refrigerator, and when you find him asleep on the sofa, threatens you with a gun. It ain’t right even if the international court says the case is not really what they are chartered to deal with. We’ll see.

      • karlgarcia says:

        You have read the news, I am sure.
        I also asked a hanging question in the other blog, but I just did more readings and observed the discussions.

  11. Zen wolff says:

    Ha ha ha I think that this is the best one yet that I ever read in all your other ‘ excellent articles’. It seems to me that this encapsulates Filipinos of today in a very short read and punches hard in the guturral. All I can say is we need more Leni Robredos and if only our aspirations and expectations could start with the’ basic’ goodnesses in a man like Leni personify then we are on the road to recovery from this atrocious predicament we are in particularly in choosing who to vote for in the coming election. Thank you Joe for your being more of a Filipino than each one of us could even hope for.

  12. Micha says:

    What? You subject people to such dehumanizing and dignity draining level of poverty and still expect them to think straight and acquire the virtues of enlightened nobility?

    • Define ‘you’. I don’t.

      • Micha says:

        You is anybody and everybody in the ruling class, the establishment, the political and economic elite.

        But since it is you, joe the blogger, who is doing the scolding on those stupid Filipinos I would reframe the question in a hypothetical micro level directly at you too.


        When you subject a person to such dehumanizing and dignity draining level of poverty, would you still expect him to think straight and acquire the virtues of enlightened nobility?

        • Okay, that is a good definition, thanks. The blog article does not discuss causality, which has been the topic of much rich discussion at the blog. I suppose readers who do not read regularly might respond to the blog as a scolding rather than a description. They might even read it defensively, thinking I was talking about them. Given that possible interpretation, I am impressed that, among the many people following, reading, and commenting on the blog, only two have implied the author is unfair.

          Well, maybe he is, maybe he is not. The whole thing rides on the interpretation of the last line of the article. And as you approached with a question, I will respond with a question.

          What does the last line mean to you?

          • Micha says:

            The whole tone of the article is a scold, bemoaning the stupidity of Filipinos.

            And why are you afraid discussing causality? Do you think Filipinos’ stupidity just came out of a vacuum, un-acted and un-influenced by forces outside of their sphere?

            Your answer is also revealing. Since you don’t actually expect those poor stupid Filipinos to think straight and behave like enlightened nobility given their economic stations, why are you still surprised by your observation of their behavior?

            • Well, you arrive, hostile, as has become the norm. Full of fallacies and innuendo and ad hominem. Righteous and condescending. Challenging.

              So I gather you can’t answer the question. The last line confuses you? Frightens you? Is outside your grasp? It is a simple request, is it not?

              What does the last line mean to you?

              • Micha says:

                Bullshit! Articles like this makes me sick. It doesn’t help fixing the problem, it only adds to it.

              • Then don’t read them, but allow other readers to read them, understand a little better than you apparently do, and/or engage civilly to dwell on the issues if they disagree.

                You remind me a lot of i-7 Sharp. His hostility was with me as the author, and that became his over-riding concern. There is no future to it. It is my blog, and I do the best that I can. Filipinos far and wide thank me for the effort and the ideas. That you don’t, or can’t, is your issue. I can’t solve it for you. You have to do it yourself. But if you keep on the rant, I must, by policy, once again put you into moderation.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Bullshit Micha! if it makes you seek ad nauseum then puke!

              • NHerrera says:

                If it makes us puke, then we must rebuke?

              • Haha, yes . . . a natural, bio-cranial response.

              • Micha says:


                Well, your blog is a public forum and in some particular way it influences the thinking of some people.

                As a Filipino who is also interested in the well-being of the country and its people, I am obliged to challenge what I deem is erroneous propagation of narratives in your articles.

              • You may do that by contesting the issues, not by ranting and raving and challenging the author’s good faith. Your’s is one view, one voice. It is not the only one. Kindly allow others their right to think differently than you.

              • Micha says:


                Alrighty then, let’s get to the beef of the issue. I’ll ask the question again..

                Since you don’t actually expect those poor stupid Filipinos to think straight and behave like enlightened nobility given their economic stations, why are you still surprised by your observation of their behavior?

              • “Surprised” is your word, not mine. I merely recited the existing conditions in a way that I hope was somewhat impactful, rather like the summary and conclusions without the boring multi-page thesis before it. The ‘good’ people, of whom there are many, are quiet. The masses can’t hear them. (Candidates might consider this, although I don’t participate in campaigns and can’t spoon feed it to them.) The last line is intentionally left to lie there vague to encourage people to get outside themselves and think about what is going on with the masses. NHerrera addresses the same point from a scientific viewpoint.

          • Micha says:

            Your last line is heavy in metaphor. I could only guess. Filipinos are blinded by flaws and superficial beauty.

            • Filipinos are seeking either relief from the unending struggle (shade) or seeking recognition and appreciation, the latter of which they can only get by attaching to others who have it. I have long sided with the poor in the Philippines and hold them generally harmless for their condition. Other readers know this and so read the blog differently than you do, with your constrained knowledge or unrelenting bias.

  13. NHerrera says:


    On the one hand we have this comforting thought from Alexander Pope [the poet featured in an earlier blog]: Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.

    On the other hand we have this [mine]: While our democracy in its infancy (from independence) with considerable initial promise was interrupted hugely by the Marcos’ regime — then partly recovered in the interim — now we have another major interruption by the Duterte’s regime.

    The physical difficulty inflicted; and the damage to the country‘s sovereignty and honor via China’s virtually making PH a province is probably the lesser of the problem. It is the strong embedding into the brain of the masses of a worsened culture that may be difficult to reverse in spite of the country’s “play” of the democratic process. [Disclosure: my thought is helped by Robert Sapolsky’s writings on man’s neurobiology.]

    • Micha says:

      Like joe above, you kept on blaming the masses for the country’s malaise’. But the masses do not exercise power. They don’t have a say on whatever policy decisions the ruling class forces on them which, for the most part, are detrimental to their (the masses) well being.

      As a result, those poor mass of people become dumb and stupid in electing their representatives – the only time an appearance or the myth of democracy is being hoisted – who in turn and in time will realize that they could screw the public to their hearts content and actually get away with it.

      Is this a catch-21?

      Not at all. The system has been rigged for the sole benefit of the ruling class.

      Blame the rulers, not the serfs.

      • NHerrera says:

        Like joe above, you kept on blaming the masses for the country’s malaise’.

        Micha, please read my comment again.

        • Micha’s framing seems to be that the rich and entitled use and abuse the masses. There is truth to that, and if done over enough years (600 being quite enough), then it is difficult to seat Western values and knowledge in the thinking of the masses, and patently unfair to criticize them as if they were the culprits.

          • NHerrera says:

            I agree. Perhaps I am protesting too much, but in my initial comment, I was not blaming the serfs, rather the rulers.

        • Micha says:

          “It is the strong embedding into the brain of the masses of a worsened culture that may be difficult to reverse in spite of the country’s “play” of the democratic process.”

          Are not those your words?

          • NHerrera says:

            Yes, but embedded through the mechanisms of the “rulers” not by the “serfs” themselves. Micha, there is no quarrel here, since I have explained my thoughts. Expertise in the language is not my strong forte. Perhaps I should stick to math. 🙂

          • karlgarcia says:

            For embedding to happen someone must do the embedding, I do not see any disagreement, but I stand my ground, the masses are not helpless, the glue can be removed by turpentine.
            I think a direct democracy Swiss style can ameliorate if not solve many things.

            • NHerrera says:

              Karl, thanks for your note. Including the use of turpentine to remove the glue or the embedding. 🙂

            • edgar lores says:

              In theory, the people are sovereign.

              In practice, they are. Filipinos just don’t know it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Who will tell us?

              • edgar lores says:

                It’s one of those things.

                It’s for me to know and you (meaning the people) to find out.

              • karlgarcia says:

                The preamble can, but what are words for when no one listens?

              • “what are words for when no one listens?” – Karl Garcia.. exactly.

                my father’s approach to overcoming that is to use the native language to minimize misunderstanding. My additional observation is that English is often used wrongly by Filipinos especially politicians, and has degenerated with time into manipulativeness. Unfortunately, even in Filipino there can be the manipulative master-slave language, sometimes it has become part and parcel of the consciousness, hard to extract.

                “It is the strong embedding into the brain of the masses of a worsened culture that may be difficult to reverse in spite of the country’s “play” of the democratic process.” – NHerrera

                one approach is to speak plainly and clearly. I think that both Hilbay and Alejano have the right tone, and their language is that of the people but free of the “master-slave” virus.

                “Filipinos do not understand causality and, therefore, take no responsibility. They do not see the causes of their wretchedness and, therefore, will continue to suffer for it.” – Edgar Lores

                the slave mentality is about passing responsibility to a master. Because the masters are also used to being slaves of a colonial patron, they are “very, very disappointed” when let go of, and seek new masters, which is what happened after 1990, very clear in Arroyo’s time.

                The slave mentality expects the master to fix stuff and in return, the slave renders service. Which is why we are such perfect workers abroad, and so easy to please. All we need is that public transport works, roads are good and the cops do their job – that included ME.

                The slave mentality does not care about the intricate processes of democracy. Did I care that much about how Germany ran its stuff when I arrived here? Nope. It just seeped in with time, as there is an information infrastructure that informs people. Hilbay BTW mentioned the weak information infrastructure in the Philippines as something that keeps people ignorant, they are not dumb and as he comes from the masses, he must be listened to.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Why make knowledge mysterious? No one is asking to be spoon fed too, on your deskarte article you propose that people find ways, so people do their deskarte to find out that they do not know what they do not know.

              • edgar lores says:

                Karl, you have partly answered your question.

                Question: “Why make knowledge mysterious?”

                Your answer is the question: “What are words for when no one listens?”

                In order for people to listen, you have to make words (which is knowledge) mysterious.

                It has partly to do with ownership. I could talk about the sovereignty of the people until I am blue in the face. (And, in a way, we in TSH have been doing that, discussing this together with democracy, equality, freedom, and justice.)

                Do people listen? Have people listened?

                Not really. So sometimes you have to draw back and let people find out for themselves. Not from us. But from them actively asking the questions and earnestly seeking answers. In this way, they come to knowledge by their own effort.

                And because they have, they will value what they have discovered. They can claim ownership.

                A good example of ownership is Irineo’s Bavarian polls.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thrillions of five cents I owe you.Thanks!

              • “So sometimes you have to draw back and let people find out for themselves.” Yes, that is it. And the fundamental contest is whether that enlightenment or chopping up of the Philippines into dynastic realms, each a Chinese fiefdom, comes first.

              • “I think a direct democracy Swiss style can ameliorate if not solve many things.” – Karl

                I have written about how a Bavarian politician who was in exile from the Nazis in Switzerland introduced aspects of Swiss democracy in his state when he came back.

                1998 – first plebiscite I voted in, approval of changes to the Bavarian constitution including the final abolition of the death penalty, which was obsolete anyway as Federal Law is higher.

                2004 – a photobombing skyscraper (Munich Highlight Towers) broke the historic line of sight – “slightly shifted in the historic sightline of Odeonsplatz on Ludwigstraße with Victory Gate to the north” – causing a debate in this very conservative city, within party lines with the popular Mayor Ude (a part-time satirist and intellectual stand-up comedian, or some said satirist and part-time Mayor) against the “people’s advocate” (with his own column where people could complain about things not OK and his team helped, but not violently like the Tulfos, by writing letters, suing and using the power of his tabloid column) former Mayor Kronawitter both from the Social Democrats and both columnists in the center-left tabloid Abendzeitung. Ude = Modernists and Kronawitter = Traditionalists. We, the modernists lost, while the traditionalists popular initiative that no new building may be higher than 99 m (the height of the cathedral!) won. Only a few buildings are higher than 100m over here, the highlight towers are 146m..

                2010 – I did not vote on the non-smoking law, but it was OK for me after a while that no smoking was allowed INSIDE any closed public building, including pubs and restaurants. Having to go before the door, especially in winter, reduced and finally stopped my habit.

                Two things about Bavarian polls:

                1) a sufficiently large plurality has to want them. A popular initiative has to have a minimum number of supporters, then it is submitted to the Interior Ministry, and then everyone who supports the initiative may sign at designated public offices – showing ID of course.

                2) If the required number of signatures is there, it gets an own day, voters are sent invitations, easy as the municipal registry is the voter’s list – or it is done on the same day as a municipal, state or federal election, but it is clearly stated THAT there will be a plebiscite and WHAT the question is. Answer Yes/No. Interesting thing is that plebiscites CALM DOWN AND SHUT UP those who say there is no majority for something. People learn to accept the decision – and even respect it after a while. It is a lesson in causality and therefore responsibility, I think. Of course there is a rule that a question asked once may be asked again only after ten years, to prevent a merry-go-round. And the state itself may NOT start any referendums, to prevent populist misuse. So far it has worked very well.

                Swiss polls:

                1) Switzerland has some degree of open borders with the EU. They decided to take over some aspects of EU laws, but it was a very deliberate process. They also only allow the Western European citizens of the EU to come in freely, that is what I remember.

                2) They did retain their own customs, including rules like you are not allowed to take more than half a kilo of meat per person into the country. In Geneva a lot of people shop across the border in France, but indeed Swiss customs makes spot checks into shopping bags. Milk is also limited I think. Protection of Swiss food security! A Turkish clan who threw a goat or a lamb over the border fence to celebrate a wedding – old story I heard – got BIG trouble.

                3)Some Swiss cantons reserve the right to choose new citizens by popular vote. There is this Swiss man I know who told me about how his father, a Sicilian, applied for citizenship for his entire family and the village had a say during the popular assembly. This is a very traditional way of organizing society, but it works over there.

              • “Why make knowledge mysterious? No one is asking to be spoon fed too, on your deskarte article you propose that people find ways, so people do their deskarte to find out that they do not know what they do not know.” – Karl Garcia

                Often the meaning of words (English, Tagalog, Filipino) are fuzzy logic among Filipinos. Makes it hard to communicate higher and abstract concepts in an accurate manner. Try explaining an IT architecture in English and and in Filipino, where is it easier to do? My answer is that German is the most precise language for engineering- and math-like stuff, but that it became a precise tool because it – and the brains using it – were sharpened with time.

                German dialects remain high-context, especially the village idioms of Bavaria and Swabia (Hä in Bavaria can mean so many things depending on tone and context and roles involved, some with Hö and Hu in Swabian which I get less, possibly pelang does). Ha, ano kaya!?

                And there is a difference between the cant/doggerel of many a DDS and the clear language of Trillanes and Alejano, or even the language of Hilbay which is of the people but NOT the language of “holdaper”. The closer the mapping of concepts between sender and receiver, the better the understanding. If a Bicolano points at a fish in a Manila Market and says “sirâ”, either the Tagalog notices he is Bicolano or tells him to go away, is the old joke.

                “Aspiration and inspiration are replaced with resentment among the disenfranchised.”- Joeam

                I write this only five minutes walk from where Albert Einstein lived in part of his youth. His father was an entrepreneur who among other things provided some tents in the Oktoberfest with electric light. The story (I am too lazy to confirm right now) is that young Albert had the job to install the lightbulbs in the tents his father serviced, as lightbulbs were provided by the electric firm in those days. The Bavarian Free State (which it is called until today) was even founded by a German of Jewish ancestry in 1918, while the last King left “disappointed”.

                Not much later, a movement grew in Munich out of poverty and resentment, out of a peasant/subject mentality that hated modernity and also the people who represented it – Jews who were highly successful in adapting to the new capitalist era, including owning much of retail in Germany then. There were those who made it out like Einstein, those who hid as the child of peasants (while their parents were caught and died) like Charlotte Knobloch, head of today’s Munich Jewish community – and of course the majority dead.

                Postwar modernization that rapidly gave everybody a share of wealth dried up the swamp of resentment, I believe – even if the conservatism over here only slowly dwindles. A colleague long ago asked me why I was going to Berlin, that place full of gays – I said to visit my folks.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Irineo, We first discussed direct democracy when it was mentioned by josephivo whom I am beginning to miss and I hope that he is ok.

                btw my 10:56 am was directed to Guru Edgar.

              • karlgarcia says:

                You made me google what sirs means in Bikol.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Sorry, I still consulted Google even if you told me already that it means fish. Dumbo me( coming soon to theaters).

      • karlgarcia says:

        Bullshit! The masses are not as helpless like you portray them to be.

        I thought you like solutions, aside from MMT what solutions have you to offer?!!!!

    • Yes, that makes sense, and I think is consistent with my observations in response to Andres’ last comment.

  14. Andres 2018 says:

    To me, it should be best that we know the “whys” of things. Why Filipinos behave that way? Being conquered by the foreign void of the opprtuniy to stand by them own feet, stunted, immatured, like a child who knows how to run but never learned the crawl and the walk. There are reasons behind things, we need to understand, it is then that we can address the problem properly. We never had the independence to begin with, independence of a nation free of foreign controls.

    • True, and that has been discussed here. Irineo, in particular, is an objective examiner of Filipino history . . . cause and effect. I might quibble with the “we never had the independence . . . free of foreign controls”. Independence is that, and once granted, is what you make of it. Yes, the US meddled through the Marcos years fighting communism in the main, and had bases here until 1990. But 1990 was 29 years ago. The only way to excuse the failure to become more wealthy and strong is by recognizing that the colonizations, including that by the Marcos family, destroyed the nation’s ability to be managed democratically. The press became tabloid rather than fourth estate. Knowledge declined rather than increased. Obedience and the need to be shown the way took charge.

      • Micha says:

        “The only way to excuse the failure to become more wealthy and strong is by recognizing that the colonizations, including that by the Marcos family, destroyed the nation’s ability to be managed democratically.”

        That’s only half of the story.

        The other half is that in the early 80’s, neo-liberal policies imposed through the Washington Consensus by the IMF and the World Bank is in full swing as Ronald Saint Reagan, the patron saint of neo-liberalism, came to power.

        The extractive and extreme neoliberal strain of capitalism came to town and the country became the dumping ground of consumer goods made by Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, GE, Levi’s, Sony, Coca Cola, etc.

        Local economy consumed but not producing.

        Even the stuff that we were known to be good at producing, namely agricultural products, got competition from highly subsidized farmers abroad.

        The key to prosperity is production, of goods as well as services. Philippine economy was anchored on lots of consumption but very minimal production.

        We were, and still are, the suckers of free market globalization mania.

        • That fits. The Philippines is not a nation of users, but a nation of used. I read a twitter item this past week about a start-up company here in the Philippines that will begin producing tires, starting with motorcycle tires. I asked that they let us know the distributors so we can put them on our bikes and “ride with pride”. Rather than plow billions into cement, how about some “infusion” capital so efforts like this can start up with national name and reach?

        • Filipinos were suckers for consumerism EVEN BEFORE NEOLIBERALISM.

          There is a good reason why some countries withstood that storm better than others.

          Germany, for instance, was always a producing country. To some extent a culprit too but..

          Philippine middle and upper classes were pampered by the United States before 1946 and after, when there was a fixed 2:1 Peso-Dollar course which made Philippine exports simply TOO expensive, while American goods the Pinoys LOVED were cheap. Simple math.

          Japan and Korea strategically devalued their currencies to produce cheaper and develop their competitiveness until they were there. Filipino Sarao jeepneys peaked in quality 1970s.

          See this also:

          Bavarians post-war would have loved to buy long, gas-guzzling cars like those of the GIs (OR those in which the GIs fucked an old Bavarian’s school teacher for PX goods, rocking up and down outside, after which he decided there was money to be made in pimping) but they bought the relatively simple – and small – postwar BMWs instead. Now rich Bavarian kids buy the American vintage cars as a hobby, while Trump complains about German cars and Merkel can tell him most BMWs worldwide are produced in Alabama, what’s wrong?

          INSTANT GRATIFICATION versus DELAYED GRATIFICATION are choices. Of course banks – and usurers – make money out of instant gratification, big kids like Filipinos.

          Of course Germany and its banks also made money out of the instant gratification mentality of half-starved Eastern Europeans craving for Western consumer goods. Helmut Kohls 1:1 exchange rate for Western/Eastern Mark also made East German factories uncompetitive.

          The Euro also squeezed out potential competitors in Eastern Europe. Former communist car plants were bought and modernized by the likes of Audi (Györ, Hungary) or VW (Skoda) or Renault (Dacia). They missed the chance to devalue and modernize by themselves.

          One more thing: the truly criminal aspect of neoliberalism is privatization of natural resources, the kind of stuff I read Nestle is doing in Africa with water. The rest of it is just the old game that those who are able to save win over those who lend. Filipinos are utangeros.

  15. edgar lores says:

    1. The difference I see is that one woman loves her country and the other one loves herself.

    2. The difference cannot be gleaned from the photos themselves but from the narratives of their lives. Well, perhaps it can.

    2.1. In the woman who loves her country, the expression is open and challenging. The eyebrows are rounded, slightly raised in question. And the eyes are quiet in perception, in pre-judgmental mode, focused on impartiality. The question seems to be, “What have you done?”

    2.2. In the woman who loves herself, the expression is one of sadness, perhaps of regret. The eyebrows are arched like the wings of a falcon in predatory flight. And the eyes are dark and downcast, focused internally, not really looking. The question seems to be, “What have I done?”

    3. But the other question is, Why are Filipinos space cadets?

    3.1. There are many possible explanations. Geographical. Environmental. Social. Biological. Psychological. Viral. Mental. Emotional.

    3.2. Going to the discussion in the last blogs about Heydarian, a major part of the explanation seems to be psychological, a combination of a cerebral and affective disorder.

    3.3. What we gleaned was that Filipinos do not understand causality. They do not see the connections between and among character, belief, and action.

    4. I shall give this disorder the name of the Marcos-DDS Syndrome, or MDS for short. It has two main components: the mental and the emotional.

    4.1. Marcos is the mental component, the Master. Like Marcos, this component sees the world as its oyster. “The world is a treasure chest and it is mine for the taking.”

    4.2. DDS is the emotional component, the Slave (or Servant). Like the DDS, this component fanatically supports the illusion of the mental component. It will do anything for the Master – even if it is against its best interest. Even if the Master is killing it. “We are your slaves, Master, and your wish is our command. Use us, kill us, as you please.”

    4.3. As we know, Duterte is both Master and Slave. On further thought, Marcos was one too. Didn’t he say, “I am so very, very disappointed.”?

    5. The defense mechanisms of the Syndrome are Denial and Rationalization.

    5.1. The Master denies he is not all powerful. He has to project an aura of invincibility to attract idolaters and to protect himself. “Only a man who can kill is worthy to be president.”

    5.2. The Master uses rationalizations to justify his decisions and actions/inactions. “We cannot dispute the WPS because we will not win in a war with China.”

    5.3. The Slave denies the Master is flawed, a clay idol. “Only Duterte can solve the drug problem, traffic, and corruption.” Or, “He is not a plunderer.”

    5.4. The Slave uses rationalizations to justify his Master and his support. “Did not Duterte clean Boracay and Manila Bay?” Or, “I will vote for him. Gwapo siya.”

    6. Filipinos do not understand causality and, therefore, take no responsibility. They do not see the causes of their wretchedness and, therefore, will continue to suffer for it.

    • Yes, very good parsing. We can see the dynamics of the Master-Slave thinking today in real time, as it has existed for over 600 years. Both the masters (other than those western-educated) and slaves have it, and act accordingly. Causality is removed from the calculation, and with it, its brother accountability. Or responsibility, as you have put it in point 6.

      And they will indeed continue to suffer for it. Because those who want to break the dynamic can’t speak in ‘slave’ language.

      • There are also natives who are less inside the slave dynamic, this also has its reasons.

        1) Moros as those who were subjugated only later. The boldness of Samira Gutoc is WOW!

        2) Igorots fiercely resisted the Chico dam in Marcos days. Also never-conquered folks. Though in Baguio you will also find loyalist Ilocanos, including Heydarian’s folks, you will also find those who will throw bottles at corrupt politicians.

        3) Bikol has always been a place of resistance due to its hilly topography that
        3a) never allowed big haciendas to form, so power never concentrated that much AND
        3b) always gave remontados / Cimarrones and assorted bandits / NPAs places to hide

        (of course Bikol is where so many opposition people come from: VP Leni, Senator de Lima, Senator Trillanes, Congressman Lagman, Will Villanueva). Middle-class Bikol people like VP Leni tend to be often too nice, too polite, too careful in face of more powerful people, a habit out of centuries as well, but at the same time there was never such a concentration of power that the middle class couldn’t dare, like the Robredos against the trapos in Naga. Bikol is NOT Davao where those who went “too far” quickly ended up forgotten AND dead)

        4) Samar is similar, lots of people hid “from the bells” like in Bikol, helped by topography. More intensely fought by the government over centuries.

        5) Lumads have their own sense of being, but they are caught between being fought by the government AND by Moros, and instrumentalized by their often only allies, the Left.

        6) Tondo is were Florin Hilbay comes from, but also were Bonifacio came from. There is a bit of an unbroken spirit in that place, poor but proud. Also more solidarity I think because it is still mainly Tagalog, unlike the mixed-origin places all over Manila with less roots.

        ADD to that the old semi-Westernized, urban cultures of Manila, Cebu, Iloilo.. of course nowadays there barbarians seem to be winning, but there is still a chance for a turnaround.

    • Micha says:


      On the other hand, Marcos is not the Supreme Master. He is but an obliging puppet of a far greater Master.

    • Micha says:

      On his second term and in the early years of Martial Law, Marcos seemed to have a genuine desire to transform and develop the country. He subsidized the agriculture sector with programs like Masagana 99 enabling the country to export rice, developed and subsidized urban housing for the poor through the BLISS projects, gave micro financing, and attempted to industrialize the country.

      But he was told by the Masters of the Universe – the foreign bankers who loaned him dollars – that no,no,no,no,no…you don’t use those monies to subsidize the needs of the poor or develop your industries. You only use those monies to build infrastructure projects which will need foreign consultants and foreign expertise using foreign equipments and foreign materials. It was very much like what China is telling Digong now on how to spend his borrowed money.

      So Marcos built mega infrastructures like the Bataan nuclear plant, the San Juanico bridge in Leyte, hydro electric dams, roads and highways, and other pet projects of the Madam like the Heart Center and PICC.

      And since the Masters of the Universe were all too willing to lend him more, he figured he could just pocket some (or half) of it instead of subsidizing poor farmers and the Masters will not mind – sovereign guaranteed loans naman kasi..

      • Andres 2018. says:

        “Marcos was a slave of passion. He believes that, for the good of the nation, he should own its wealth, as him being the most able to manage it properly, thats why, a lot of money was in his name. He should, he needed to hide the wealth from other vultures.” This is what someone told me way back in my college.

        The issue, in what authority that someone could own the wealth of the nation no matter what good his intentions?

        One would ask, why despite of accusations of numerous human rights abuses during the martial law years, why is it there are still people, a lot of them actually, both rich and poor, that still believes in Marcos?

        • karlgarcia says:

          I would love to hear you answer your own question.

          • Andres 2018. says:

            1. A monarch, kings and queens, of royal blood.
            2. He did develop certain regions in the Country, he had projects.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Ty Andres.

            • 1a. Monarchic thinking is highly personalistic in terms of sense of responsibility and authority. Filipino thinking is still highly personalistic. This was how Europe was hundreds of years ago, before sense of responsibility shifted to abstract roles.

              1b. There is little sense of role-based responsibility among a lot of Filipinos. Personal yes, which is why many just wake up when “The Mayor”/boss comes. There is an old, funny story from my father’s hometown of Tiwi about a 19th century mayor who did exactly that.

              1c. Before church and laws, the King (the likes of the Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar) decided even what was wrong and right, who lived and died. Duterte is from that era, mentally and spiritually, so Marcos was even modern/legalistic compared to him.

              2a. Marcos had 21 years, from 1965 to 1986.

              2b. Filipino democracy has its difficulties with continuity of projects, because Filipino thinking is still highly personalistic. PNoy was able to circumvent this with his PPP projects, which as long as they were started in his time continued even beyond his time.

              2c. Marcos was good at promoting his projects. The grungy reality behind the airbrushed photos did not spread, as there were no Internet, no mobile phone cameras in those days.

              • Andres 2018. says:

                2b. PPP was already there before PNoy, but with a different name. Why it have it merits, what concerns me about it is that it is a privatization. And as we all know, we have this cancer like problem of unequal distribution of wealth, rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer.

              • I am not for the total privatization practiced in the Philippines, but the trouble is that government is so inefficient. In fact I am TOTALLY against water privatization if possible.

                Munich water is almost like bottled water in quality, straight from the mountains – public.

                Berlin water is drinkable but blah, privatized, owned by a French company. Sometimes I wonder if the French companies that privatize water and bottle water are connected, because bad water from the tap means – buy bottled. In Munich I don’t NEED bottled water.

                Because profit means that if there is no competition – like in water – you will minimize quality to make more money, doing only the minimum you need to do to keep the concession. That is why the proud British railway system is broken as hell after Thatcher had it privatized.

                An intermediate solution is semi-privatization. Munich city utilities (busses, trams, subways, electricity, delivery of water, public swimming pools, fiberglass internet to the home) is a private company but owned 100% by the city. The best of both worlds in a way, it works.

                Making government efficient is a chapter in itself. It is half mindset and half incentives. Karl and myself have had several exchanges on this matter over the past years – a huge topic.

        • “why despite of accusations of numerous human rights abuses during the martial law years, why is it there are still people, a lot of them actually, both rich and poor, that still believes in Marcos?”

          1. They are not accusations. There is a documented list of names at Bantayog ng Mga Bayani. There are tons of historic proof.

          2. Ilocos Norte certainly profited from Marcos. I grew up during Martial Law and upon entering Ilocos Sur and then Norte it was clear how much money had gone up North to develop the place.

          As Filipinos think regionally and personally, these are the conclusions:

          a) those who did not have family members hurt by Martial Law did not care. That is why there are more angry at Marcos in places like Bikol, Samar and Bangsamoro, where there was strong resistance at a lot of military abuse. BBM was surprised at how few votes he got in Bangsamoro but they, especially they, have not forgotten what was done to them by his father.

          b) Those who benefitted from Martial Law and Marcos are often still pro. They remember that their life was good then. Either due to their region benefitting or their family benefitting. Marcos bloated the civil service and the military with positions, to create “utang na loob”.

          c) the urban middle class was initially PRO-Marcos. They hoped that he would bring them peace and order, as Manila in the late 1960s was booming (like Manila in PNoys time) but those who did not benefit from the boom tried to get their share by stealing, or the totally frustrated got drunk (back then) or drugged (nowadays). But because Marcos lent to much money, the economy went down. The murder of Ninoy became an iconic event for them, but I believe their becoming the first “yellows” was because they suddenly were in economic dire straits starting around 1982. Also, the promise of safety was not kept. Unruly people in the streets were minimized, but burglary went up, I know this personally from those days. Water was hardly there in most summers of the late 1970s, worse than nowadays!

          (ONE MORE THING. People tend to filter “good old days” because they are known to forget the bad things, this is proven. Many have forgotten the brown-outs and water shortages of Martial Law, that there was no Philhealth or 4Ps like today, and compare the quarrels of democracy with the imposed “peace” of having only three newspapers, all pro-government. They even fail to notice one thing – how much thinner most people were back in 1986, one only has to look at old photos of the EDSA revolution. I know of good old days syndromes that happened in Germany after the war, in Romania around 2009, in Portugal around 2000)

          • karlgarcia says:

            In fairness, there were a fewer Generals during Marcos, being a Colonel was good enough then. But the few Generals were so powerful while they lasted.

          • chemrock says:

            Bravo – in a few paras you fully explained the Marcos anomaly. But few will understand as I’m sure Andres included. Andres is no doubt intelligent and there are many like him. You have shown the difference between intelligence and wisdom as regards the reading of history. I think this comment can serve as a template response to those many who bring up the false glory of Marcos.

            Just on minor point, not raised to discredit nor grammar policing, but I find some humour. You said “Marcos lent to much money” I’m sure you meant “borrowed”. In my school days I often find students struggle with borrow/lent . Don’t know about Tagalog but in Chinese “chiot” has the same meaning of borrow/ lend depending on the context.

        • Micha says:

          What Marcos plundered is not really the wealth of the country. He plundered the dollars lent to him on behalf of the country by international bankers.

          Why do we still have lots of Marcos loyalists today? Because in the early part of his reign he developed lots of projects which were seen by people especially in the rural areas as having transformed their lives significantly for the better like rural electrification, road constructions, and irrigation system.

          Those were all financed of course by borrowed dollars but it doesn’t matter, they saw those development projects during his term and they credited him all for it.

          • Andres 2018. says:

            Thats how i see things too, things that time. Thats why, i am not in favor of this BBB of Duterte, its history repeating itself. But, should Duterte gives more money to the agricultural sector that would be good. We are agricultural by nature, and that, we should be self-dependent when it comes to food. Imagine, if all of our farmers could have all the 3rd crop of the year then thats like a 30% increase in rice production. And exports, what should we export to offset the interest and principal payments of those foreign loans? Should we export more bananas? more OFWs? I am talking simple economics, i could be wrong given the complexity of things.

            • The Philippines is most probably already:

              1) overbuilt thanks to the Villars

              2) overmined thanks especially to Arroyo, but that got worse Marcos era as well (Samar)

              3) overlogged thanks especially to Enrile, even if reforestation was tried after 1986

              Add to that mountain slopes that have slid off, rivers that are poisoned by mine tailings..

              ..and the best land of the Central Plain already built up, except still for Nueva Ecija.


              ..and the water supply of Manila, which is oversettled already.

              ..and of course water supplies and oceans filled with plastic garbage – a tragedy..

              (600 thousand people in the archipelago in 1521 hardly mined, had simple houses, did not know plastic so who cares where they threw their banana leaf wrappings, kaingin was Ok because there was enough time and space to regenerate the forest – organization failed to catch up with 10 millon around 1900, ca. 20 million in 1950, ca. 40 million around 1975 and even more today) BTW even if I am anti-Marcos I respect that there WAS a Family Planning Program in his period, and a centralized Metro Manila Commission with a good manager..

              • karlgarcia says:

                Overbuilt, hmmm I remember telling the Engineering Dean of a University recruiter that there are no more room for more buildings, roads and bridges and that was late 1987. Man, I just laugh at myself everytime I remember that.

      • chemrock says:

        Subsidising poor farmers is not the job of the masters of the universe. If Marcos or Duterte want infras, hey he is the boss. The masters didnt put them in Malacanang.

        • Of course there are richer/poorer and powerful/less powerful countries in the world.

          How you deal with it is your own choice though, blaming others an excuse. Though Philippine leaders are mostly conditioned to be lapdogs, often lacking the leadership to truly carry their own agenda – though PNoy indeed had something like first indications of an independent and strategic foreign policy and trade policy That included his stronger relationship with the European Union. Before, Filipino politicians ONLY stuck to the main patron (US before and China now) and basically were rude to anyone not most powerful. PNoy was one of the first to realize that you can get selectively better deals from the 2nd row because they may be more interested in getting the deal, and keeping the customer.. just like a strategic alliance with a superpower in its possible sunset (the USA) may be more interesting for the Philippines because they need to keep a foothold. But no, most Filipino politicians think like Congress supermajorities. Let us stick to the biggest guy and get pork.

          • chemrock says:


            When US flooded the world with consumer goods, we put the blame on the $/Php exchange rate.

            When Japan flooded the world with electronic goods — who or what should Philippines blame?

            When China flooded the world with every types of goods — who or what should Philippines blame?

            Industrialisation is very low priority in Philippines economic planning. What are the goods that Philippines produce that the world wants?

            Globalisation is a curse to some, especially Micha, but a boon to many, Instead of capitalising on the abundance of cheap and bountiful labour, Filipinos were driven out to work as OFWs. Philippines has wasted 2 generations and lost a great opportunity to ride on the coattails of the great Chinese explosive growth in the past few decades.

            We are back to square one of the fundamental light TSOH tries to shine. Irresponsibility votes bringing in lackadaisical political leadership that leads the nation nowhere.

            • The Filipino elite’s rent-seeking attitude to making money:

              1) have people:
              1a) work em at home (plantations etc.)
              1b) work em abroad milk em at home (OFWs)
              1c) work em at home for folks abroad, milk em at home (BPO)

              2) have resources
              2a) strip em and sell (logging by Enrile)
              2b) let others strip, get yer cut (mining)


              1) improve people (train, educate)

              2) improve resources (produce goods)

              So the short-sighted greed of the Filipino entitled is cause #1.

              • The laziest way of course is to make your country into a gambling den, which already started when the easy money of PAGCOR was encouraged. Madrid refused repeated overtures by Euro Vegas as it has seen (I know this from Majorca and real Majorcans) young people in tourist spots go for the easy money foreigners and tourism bring – and even not study any more, which is detrimental for the long-term progress of a nation.


                while PNoys strategy of letting foreign factories come in and improving to have K-12 or even the German-sponsored K-12+ was perfect. But now, the factories leaving China because it is too expensive or they don’t trust the Chinese to not steal their intellectual property – are going to Vietnam instead of the Philippines, which COULD have been first choice due to English. But no, lazy money from Chinese buying condos is preferred by the rich Filipinos.


                Needless to say, some Filipino leftists derided K-12 as neoliberal. Filipino leftists are often ivory tower intellectuals who don’t get that a country needs skilled people, even if it decides to become communist it does. Or do they want to put Kadamay folks into future factories?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Just be philosophical ba kamo?
                If there are no OFWs we would be more over-populated.
                If there was no over population and poverty, there would not be adoptions.
                If there was no consumerism there would not be something to mine in the landfills and dumps and there would be no circular economy.
                If there was no mining, there would not be electronics.
                If there was no import-export, basketball would be boring.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Pilosopo Lang dapat, sabi ng Chinese keyboard ko philosophical.

        • Micha says:


          The relationship between lender and borrower is not equal. The party who controls the money dictates the terms. Loan negotiations are conducted only to mitigate the harsh conditionalities imposed by the lender. Even in credit card loans, if the borrower won’t sign the terms and conditions in very fine print stipulated by the lender he won’t get the money, simple as that.

          So if Mr. Marcos was told that the conditions of the loan include not spending on subsidies for poor farmers, he doesn’t have much choice on the matter.

          Why do the IMF and the World Bank impose such conditions? Because the client state exist not to be served but as conduit for corporations like GE, Westinghouse, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, etc to funnel back those dollars in terms of private corporate profits.

          John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man details this scheme. “The book provides Perkins’ account of his career with engineering consulting firm Chas. T. Main in Boston. According to Perkins, his role at Main was to convince leaders of underdeveloped countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects that would primarily help the richest families and local elites, rather than the poor, while making sure that these projects were contracted to U.S. companies. Later these loans would give the U.S. political influence and access to natural resources for U.S. companies.”

          • So, don’t borrow.

            Or as little as possible and as LOCAL as possible.

            PNoys PPP is like borrowing, but from local oligarchs, same currency.

            • karlgarcia says:

              MMT! MMT! Wohoo! Yahoo! Google!

            • karlgarcia says:

              Seriously, I agree with what Chemrock below.
              I will comment here instead of under Chemrock’s.

              Even if I said before that we can do Patriot Bonds and borrow from all moneyed Filipinos, we still can’t finance all projects and balance the budget and restructure all foreign loans.
              We need ODA, because it is vital to development, it is never bad to ask for aid for development.
              I also agree that the IMF which is to control or stabilize exhangr rates and the WB to fight poverty is much maligned.
              To say that they are working with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe(love d action figures) is a stretching exercise.

              • karlgarcia says:

                As to privatization, it is the management.
                Government funded and managed or Private funded and managed is the same banana, someone makes it work or someone makes it worse.

          • chemrock says:

            Chinese loans has no conditions.
            Pay a bit more.
            Keep some in your pockets.

            Loan sharks has no conditions, absolutely none. No signatures required even.

            There are risks the lenders face. They protect the risk as much as they can. They impose conditions so the borrowers don’t mis-use their funds. No bankers lend and hope borrower screw up so lenders can come in and take your land. They don’t want the land or the properties or the ports — they just want the interest and principal returned.

            IMF World Bank etc — they lend with lots of conditions and hope borrowers follow their advice and do well. And many many many borrowers did well with IMF World Bank loans.

            A lender who lends generously — a fool and his money is soon departed.

          • chemrock says:


            I appreciate your heart is in the right place. But I think this IMF/World Bank/Fat bakers-mongering are perfect excuses for the corrupt and inept, and this neo-lib hate a channel for mis-directing intelligent and useful national discourse towards determining casualtities and solutions. If there were no IMF/Worl Bank/Fat Bankers — who are we to blame?

            Well I know who to blame. There is always someone to blame. The right guy.

            South Africa under ex-president Zuma is a perfect illustration. During his time, there was a real ‘state capture’ by foreign entities. It was’nt IMF/WorldBank/Fat Bankers. It was the Gupta brothers. 3 brothers from India who could do whatever they wanted in South Africa because they had Zuma in their pockets. The point to this is, there is a right guy to blame and it’s always not the bankers.

            • Micha says:

              You’re still not getting it chempo. The IMF and the World Bank operate under the direction of both the Pentagon and the Treasury Department. They are tools of colonization and extraction of wealth from other countries.

              Nations mired in foreign debts are cursed to become perpetually poor where servicing interest payments alone take a huge chunk of their national income. They are condemned to debt peonage.

              Irineo above has a good advice : don’t borrow as much as possible.

              Specifically, don’t borrow in currencies outside of your own.

              • chemrock says:

                The IMF and World Bank are the most maligned institutions in the world. It’s fashionable for far left leaning and angry laymen to buy into the fallacies of western-backed institutions’ colonisation and extractive ideologies.. The IMF and World Bank have in reality in their years of existence been instrumental in bringing aid and development capabilities into many many countries. There were great successes and failures. Those that failed can all be traced to corrupt and inept political leadership issues. Yes there were times when their tested economic packages have been inappropriate in light of post-events analysis, particularly of the 2008 Asian financial crisis. But hey, we are all great analysts after the fact.

                “don’t borrow as much as possible” — it’s a truism, and so we use a simple guideline to assess a country’s capability to repay national debt — the debt to GDP ratio. Philippines public debt to GDP ratio is about 42% which is very healthy. (All but forgotten is the Pnoy admin’s responsible management of economic matters that brought the debt down).Not quite sure how much the build build build programme will drive that ratio to what level, but bearing in mind Duterte’s desire to emulate Marcos, que sera sera.

                “don’t borrow in currencies outside of your own” — whilst generally true, need not be the case. In an inter-connected world, there are all sorts of issues at play. You should borrow in a currency where you have other assets to balance out the currency risks. Money is also a matter of supply and demand. You can’t go into the international financial markets to borrow pesos because there is no such market. You can’t borrow domestically for the huge BBB because there is insufficient liquidity. Then there is the enticing challenge of interest rates — pesos prime rate is now about 7.5%pa, Yen and Swiss Francs Libor are negative, US$ 3-month libor is 2.6%pa. Samurai bonds and Panda bonds are very cheap compared to peso debt. What should we borrow? Tough question. But if you don’t want the foreign currency risks and can’t borrow in pesos although that is what you prefer, then there are fanciful financial derivatives or arbitraging mechanisms that allow you to do just that. But then you need those big fat investment bankers that you detest. .

  16. karlgarcia says:

    Masagana 99?
    Sino naging Masagana? Who gained?

    As a refeesher.

    Masagana 99 was discontinued agricultural program of then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.[1] The Masagana 99 Rice Production Program aimed to increase rice production among Filipino farmers though critics said that it left poor farmers in debt and the program was used as a vehicle of political patronage.

    • chemrock says:

      Well what can you do when there are those who want to drive farmers into debt and beholden to the masters of the universe. Duterte wants to revive M99 by the way. Marcos rules beyond the grave.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Vote Imee Marcos, Imee Solusyon! 🙄

      • karlgarcia says:

        I read about green bonds, I noticed all you got to do is to claim that you are green and clean like clean coal or non-incineration incineration (I.e plasma gasification) to get funded.
        Though I support gasification they should refrain from claiming that their plasma torch treatment is not incineration because it is more comparable to lightning,

    • popoy says:

      Careful, careful Karl, better check the figures and statistics of ACCFA and the Rural Banks at the short time when Paeng Salas engineered the country’s rice self-sufficiency. Everything changed when Rice Czar Salas left the country to join the UN as Assistant Secretary General.

      The poorest of rice farmers tell me of financial hardships when nature destroy their crop. I have some ideas but need the statistics on BIG borrowers who cornered the loans for farmers. I was there to know that high yielding rice varieties need high inputs of costly fertilizers and pesticides and adequate water supply in contrast with low yielding native and traditional varieties only the poor multitudes of Filipino farmers can afford.

      I was there during a few Cabinet meetings chaired by the Apo (to answer questions on fertilizer requirements of the country) and NFAC council meetings when quite a few times Sec Salas will ask point blank the Budget Commission honcho: Why can’t you and did not release the FUNDS to the bureaus? Can you do it this afternoon? I will check it. Much much later at the AFP-CGSC, Colonel Sisenando Canding of PAF told me he was Sec Salas’ pilot. Salas could be everywhere most times apparently without rest but he sleeps on a cot on planes after take offs and wakes up after landings.

      During the years of rice self-sufficiency struggle I was (yabang again) a mere rice action team member in Romblon, Antique, and big Rizal Province. In any kind of governance, dictatorship or democractic, a foot soldier to a high squad leader can maintain and stick to his integrity, honesty, and sense of honor to refuse to shoot the innocents and the bastards.

      • “Sec Salas will ask point blank the Budget Commission honcho: Why can’t you and did not release the FUNDS to the bureaus? Can you do it this afternoon? I will check it.”

        This I have mentioned a number of times. Why is follow-up so obviously needed all the time within government offices? Why do people even mistake that for leadership?

        I now have this lingering suspicion: could it be the Makati managers PNoy also had with him were a mismatch to this (postcolonial) attitude of needing constant supervision?

      • karlgarcia says:

        I am glad I was not careful, if I was careful you would not have given your sage wisdom.

  17. popoy says:

    On the photos of the two ladies, I conjecture: …..

    If you are a wannabe artist painter and by experience found it easier to paint in oil or water color a portrait than a landscape (a Mona Lisa instead of the US Grand Canyon) you can be a judge of the best movie casting director who chooses expertly leading and villain characters by their looks (sexy or menacing) by their eyebrows, their eyes, their nose, their mouth, their lips, etc. Two Dutchmen: Rembrandt has to paint more than 100 self-portraits and Van Gogh needed partial blindness to paint outlandish landscapes to produce masterpieces of the ages.

    The eyebrows can make a person LOOK (looks only) angelic or devilish; eyebrows can beautify or horrify the beholder. Like birds in flight, the serene straight unmoving wings of a seagull floating, cruising the ocean breeze can be contrasted with the sharp bent of the wings of a Falcon as it flaps powerfully to climb the sky in pursuit of its prey. If the eyes are the windows of the soul, the eyebrows tell you what you will find behind those windows. Scroll up. Look at the photos again but DON’T jump into judgmental conclusions.

    If you are a pragmatist wannabe portraitist and have the time, do copy and print in black and white the photos, erase and exchange the eyebrows and see the effective difference, but DO NOT JUDGE into conclusions. Over the years Dorian Gray looks different in person compared to his portrait.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Rembrant was the pioneer of selfies.

      • popoy says:

        Karl, if you paint your own portrait as I have experienced, your ugly mistakes do not hurt your feelings but mistakes on the portrait of others especially women, their reactions can make you forget and stop trying hard to be an artist. Even Winston Churchill in a movie burned his life size portrait because it was according to him truly ugly like him in person.

        Even translations in poetry if they are beautiful, they are not faithful.

        • Litrato iyan di portrait. Eh sino sa dalawa ang mukhang mama-san? Di kaya napakaliwanag?

          • popoy says:

            Salamat IBRS yan ang sinasabi ko na wannabe lang ako hindi madistinguish ang litrato sa portait kasi hindi alam sa tagalog ang salitang portrait na iba talaga sa salitang litrato. Keh litrato o portrait otra cosa, eche bucheche yan kasi ang tinatalakay ay kilay (eyebrows) ng mukhang nasa larawan. I stand corrected, naman.

          • popoy says:

            popoy says:
            March 23, 2019 at 8:56 pm

            On the photos of the two ladies, I conjecture: …..

            • popoy says:

              I read the piece and look for the sentence where I said or directly referred to the photos of the two ladies as portraits. NADA. To whom then IDRS is saying “Litrato yan di portrait? Para bang kulang sa straight thinking. Eh.

              • popoy says:

                Painting anything was never in my mind in 1961 but Steve Lawrence was my favorite singer because this song was so easy to sing under the shower.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Wala pang Kodak dati kaya pwede din.

            a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders.
            synonyms: painting, picture, drawing, sketch, likeness, image, study, representation, portrayal, depiction, canvas; More
            (of a page, book, or illustration, or the manner in which it is set or printed) higher than it is wide.
            “you can print landscape and portrait pages in the same document”

    • popoy says:

      And if you want to paint the above
      Essay into a poem . . . persevere to read …

      If you are a wannabe artist painter and
      by experience found it easier
      to paint in oil or water color
      a portrait than a landscape like
      (a Mona Lisa instead of the US Grand Canyon)

      you can be a judge of the best
      movie casting director who chooses expertly
      leading and villain characters
      by their looks (sexy or menacing)
      by their eyebrows, their eyes, their nose,
      their mouth, their lips, etc.

      Two Dutchmen: Rembrandt
      has to paint more than 100 self-portraits and
      Van Gogh needed partial blindness
      to paint outlandish landscapes
      to produce masterpieces of the ages.

      The eyebrows can make a person LOOK
      (looks only, okay?) angelic or devilish.

      Like birds in flight, the serene straight
      unmoving wings of a seagull floating,
      cruising the ocean breeze can
      be contrasted with the sharp bent
      of the wings of a Falcon as it flaps
      with skill and power
      its wings to climb the sky
      in pursuit of its prey.

      If the eyes are the windows
      of the human soul,
      the eyebrows tell you
      what you will find
      behind those windows.

      If you are a pragmatist wannabe portraitist
      and have the time, do copy and
      print in black and white the photos,
      then erase and exchange the eyebrows
      and see the effective difference, but
      DO NOT JUDGE these female mortals
      into questionable conclusions. Because

      inappropriate it may be
      over the years Dorian Gray
      compared to his portrait
      looks different in person.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    The midis and I had a debate on the right to protest something like the celebrity parents bribery of University admissions, her premise that it is what it is, no use protesting, today’s world is puro reklamo. Did I say debate, belay that , I gave her her right to protest.

    • Just be pilosopo and say as long as you don’t become Protestant, nothing to worry.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The misis not midis. If I don’t want pulling my semi-kalbo hair, I would be wise to keep that to my self.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Speakers ng of Protestants, Calvin is one of the influencers of direct democracy.

        • edgar lores says:

          Fascinating. Thanks, Karl.

          • karlgarcia says:


          • some additions:

            Calvin made Geneva what it is today. Even now the elite of the barely 16 sq. km. large “Republic and Canton of Geneva” is Calvinist – especially the secretive private bankers.

            By contrast, the surrounding French countryside – including Voltaire’s home town of Ferney – is Catholic. There is a statue of a man imprisoned by Calvin in one French town, while in Geneva there are monuments to some the French Catholics imprisoned..

            Zwingli was also a Calvinist. Zurich was ruled by him for a while, just like Calvin de facto ran Geneva for some time, like an Ayatollah. Calvinism spread to Netherlands and to France (Huguenots). The Prussian royal / German imperial house was also Calvinistic and took in French Huguenot refugees when the French King persecuted them. Former German Federal Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere is from one such family. Puritanism is related.

            Calvinism for example dictated open curtains – those who have nothing to hide – something you will still see in Holland and at times in the USA whose founding fathers were Puritan.

            Calvinists also partly believe in predestination – that some are born to be saved, others not. Also that economic success is an indicator of being “elect” or destined to be saved, being hard working was seen as virtuous – what Max Weber later called “Protestant ethic”, as opposed to Catholic ideas on charity. That the harshest forms of neoliberalism are somehow related to this mindset is not hard to see. Or even Filipino born-agains tolerating tokhang would conform to the idea that some are damned from birth, and never virtuous..

            Though some of my sources might be biased. Both Catholics and Lutherans disliked them. Cromwell, England’s dictator for a while, was Puritan and banned dancing and festivities. Puritans and Dutch Calvinists were known for all-black, austere clothing and frugality. Their extreme rationality was a predecessor to the Enlightenment, I conjecture. Voltaire may have been influenced by neighboring Geneva, though he dressed in high heels and wore a wig.


  19. madlanglupa says:

    Somewhat offtopic, I just really hope everyone realizes what this chunk of this agreement means to them.

  20. karlgarcia says:


    One other word I had to consult Mr. Webster

    treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

    Reminds me of me, but the inappropriateness is to be blamed on the keyboard and sometimes they are not deliberate.

  21. Lennie dela Rosa says:

    I am saddened by your disappointment in the Filipino. I am hoping that you will appreciate that most Filipinos are unable to read your blog due to many reasons. True they have facebook accounts but they are unable to read long articles such as yours. It is not that we donot care, I think it is because no leader in the likes of Ninoy or Cory is willing to die for the Filipino. We are a long suffering people, maybe because we trust that God will see us through. Remember that in EDSA I, it was the call of Cardinal Sin, God’s representative on earth, that finally moved People Power. It was not to protect Ramos or Honasan or Enrile; it was to follow the voice of the shepherd.

    • I wouldn’t call it disappointment, actually. More acceptance. Democracy requires passion, I think, for voices to be loud enough to change things. It is rather awkward for me, as a foreigner, to be a fairly loud voice of passion, which is what is occurring (witness debate with Heydarian, exchanges with Locsin), versus a passive Filipino citizenry. Yes, there are a number of passionate voices on social media, but they are unable to rally support because they are mainly talking to themselves. Until someone masters how to cross the great divide to reach the masses, I don’t think much will change. It is not my job to reach across, I think.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter 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: