Filipino Identity Revisited

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

June 8, 2008: Germany vs. Poland soccer game, 2:0. I watched how the two Polish-German strikers/forwards Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski seemed hesitant for long in the game against their old country. Finally, young Podolski scored a goal against Poland, which had once refused him on their national team. I saw the mixture of rejoicing and pain on his face. I told a Bavarian yeah, that is the joy of winning for the new country and the pain of dealing a defeat to the old country. The Bavarian told me “you have to choose”. I didn’t answer. Some people have a much easier choice.



Some people asked me as a child (maybe “jokingly”) which side I would join if the Philippines and Germany would go to war. I couldn’t answer that either. Now I know I would probably have risked going to jail as a draft dodger. I have family in both countries, people I care about somehow. The first and truest bond we have is family. The selfish gene theory by Dawkins says that we are altruistic towards next of kin because we share the most genes with them. The second bondwe have are those we grow up with. In the movie “Stand by Me”, they say we have the best friends at age 12. Germans who grew up with migrant children often treat them exactly like everybody else, I observed. Working-class youth slang in many German cities is German peppered with migrant words. Prof. Vicente Rafael in his book “Motherless Tongues” showed Spanish and Hokkien words in Manila slang.

Soccer/football in its rituals of cheering, jeering and taunts can be like war in ancient European times,  somewhat like the Scots lifting their kilts and showing the English their bare butts in “Braveheart”. Hooligans can make it a gang fight similar to the Irish and “nativist” gangs in “Gangs of New York”. Groups can fuse into nations. Albanians including Kosovars often had clan feuds, but I have seen Kosovar professionals post on social media relatives who died in 1999 fighting Serbia, like family heroes within the ethnic nation. The gang fights may go on between ethnicities, even in soccer.

Fights between groups can start about women (like the GombeChiimpanzee War among our closest ape cousins or Helena being taken by the Trojans), about resources or especially about honor. Bonifacio in Ang Dapat Mabatid ng MgaTagalog” (What the Tagalogs must know) and the “Holy Order” of the Katipunan states that the Spanish did not honor the old deal made centuries back, that Spanish priests “fornicate with women”, and that Spanish colonialists lived in comfort off Tagalogs. Tagalogs and Filipinos would of course be larger groups, bound by common culture and/or language.

Bonifacio’s idea of the bayan seems a bit like the German idea of Volk or people. The word Volk in German is related to “folks” in English. Ethnic nationalism is roughly “my people are my folks”. Sometimes Katipuneros chopped of the European noses of saints in churches, something the “legendary” MRP might agree with, as his definition of true Filipino is brown skinned and flat nosed. Rizal’s nationalism wanted to consider all groups of people in the Philippines as Filipinos, regardless of the old classifications into Insulares(Philippine-born Spaniards), Chinese, mestizos or natives.

English nation, Spanish nacíon or French natíon are all derived from Latin natus or birth. In the USA being born on US soil makes you a citizen. The Philippines insists on one Filipino parent at least, though foreign youth who grow up there can naturalize since 2000. Every country has a mix of ethnic and modern nationalism. The Katipunan had many Chinese mestizos and some Spanish mestizos. Rizal probably didn’t see Spaniards from Spain as Filipinos. But the 1898 Republic also had Spanish soldiers with “native” wives on its side, like the Andalusian grandfather of a Filipino colonel we knew.



Now it is true that the emerging 19th century Filipino elites at first only wanted to be recognized more by the Spanish rulers. They didn’t have the same sense of suffering as the poor, though it would take middle-class Bonifacio — who worked for a German firm – to articulate that sense of grievance. But their own being executed like Gomburza in 1872 or Rizal’s family being harassed by the Dominicans they leased land from also led to a sense of grievance and not being respected. Executing Rizal, a man who lived up to European ideals, was I guess the last straw for many Filipinos. But many ilustrados did not join the original revolution of Bonifacio. The relationship of the local elites around former barangay captain and mayor Aguinaldo to Bonifacio was cagey at best, I think. Aguinaldo seemed to have more experience at organizing people, not surprising with his background. Bonifacio went by old Filipino community values of kapatiran (brother-/sisterhood) and kaginhawaan (well-being) while Aguinaldo obviously went by the rules of face and power that Joe once observed. Ilustrados like Heneral Luna only joined afterAguinaldo declared the Republic, others didn’t even.

That people with different interests who happen to be of the same people diverge isn’t a new thing. When Bavarian highland peasants and local leaders marched upon Munich against Austria in 1705, the peasants and their leaders camped outside on a hill near Munich, while the local mayors and officials stayed in an inn. It was Christmas Eve and freezing cold.  The next day, the Oberländer (highland) rebels approached the city. The residents of Munich who had promised to open the city gates for the rebels did NOT. Austrian troops chased the rebels uphill, Hungarian cavalry killed many. The Bavarian Duke was nowhere to be seen during those events. It was only over a century later that Bavaria, by then a Kingdom, honored the rebels as part of the nationalistic symbolism of those days, but not that prominently. The early 20th century had streets in Untersendling, by then a working-class district of Munich, named after rebel leaders. The Plinganserstraße is on the hill where the rebels were on Christmas Eve 1705. Notary public Plinganser was imprisoned then pardoned. Kidlerstraße is the parallel street downhill. Peasant leader Kidler was drawn and quartered in the center of Munich.

Braveheart too was drawn, hanged and then quartered in the movie. King Robert the Bruce who is shown hesitant at first in the movie in the end follows Braveheart’s lead and wins in Bannockburn. Bonifacio today has a traffic-encircled monument in Caloocan where EDSA ends. I recall how the bus conductors in front of Farmers Market Cubao shouted “Mento, Mento!” when the bus was going to Monumento – I knew my bus was to Philcoa at least as direct busses to UP Campus were very rare. Rizal, the initially hesitant writer, skeptical of revolution, has a central place in Luneta of course.

Many middle class and people were together in the Katipunan in 1892-1896 and again back in 1986. EDSA 2/3 are seen as a split where the elites and the middle class were together versus the people. 2016 according to Manolo Quezon had the old middle class and the established elites versus the new middle class that formed mostly due to OFW and BPO money andmore upstart elites. 1972 had it seems the urban middle class who had problems with crime and upstart elites who mostly became cronies against the old elites that were called “oligarchs”. Many who became leftists were part of the intellectual elite that didn’t have the chance to join the economic elite, then mostly Ateneans, which is why a lot of activists came from UP, and were possibly not clever or unprincipled enough to join the government elites many from UP ascend into – though Ateneo also had its principled activists, belying the stereotype of Ateneans often purported at UP of them being conformists raised by Jesuits and Rizal having been one of the first of his kind.  And there were principled UP activists too, belying the stereotype some Ateneans have of UP people as manipulative and cunning Harry Roques.



As the present administration sees both Ateneans and UP Iskos (scholars of the people) as enemies – except of course if they are coopted like Cayetano and Roque – there was some degree of unity between Ateneo and UP for a while especially after the Marcos burial. Sometimes I feel that there is a lack of sympathy for the red-tagged from some classic “yellows” – as sometimes the Left can be highly manipulative – though Parlade tagging very popular, beautiful and articulatepersonalities like Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray and Angel Locsin was foolish. Angel Locsin ventured into politics when ABS-CBN was shut down, Liza Soberano was threatened with rape and then spoke out, Catriona Gray believes in speaking out for causes. Highly divided Filipinos, like the Kosovars before 1999, are often more absorbed in the quarrels with other groups than in more common interest. Divided and ruled.

But like “original” Germans and migrant kids find common ground by being in school together, there is the Filipino concept of pinagsamahan, having been together in common struggles. Karl and myself who write in tandem are from “tribes” that would hardly have met in earlier years. I grew up in UP Campus where my father had a professorial house and Karl grew up in Camp Aguinaldo where his father was a military officer – and where my father was detained for a while during early Martial Law. “Those activists” was what “they” said about “us”, “those jailers” was what “we” said about “them”. Someone like Sonny Trillanes being identified as “yellow” by some or being for PNoy was unthinkabledecades ago. Some activists in 2019 didn’t vote for Gary Alejano while Chel Diokno was OK for them. Some OtsoDiretso candidates like Chel Diokno were open to the Left while classic “yellows” weren’t.

Now other countries have also gone through long processes of sorting out groups and allegiances. Germany once had the major split between Roman-influenced and not, then the Bavarians and Saxons who were fiercely tribal, then loose unity under elected Kings, the Protestant-Catholic split and the Thirty Years War, later those who joined Napoleon’s Rhine Army and those who didn’t – or those who first hesitated, then joined and then switched sides after their troops were decimated protecting the French retreat from Russia, like the Bavarians. After that those who wanted Austria in Germany and those who didn’t, those who wanted peace with France and the alliance with America and those who didn’t, then the split between the more American- and Western European-influenced West and the formerly Communist East. Every country is work in progress, and finding unity is hard.



While Rizal and the Luna brothers in Europe went for all the trappings of Spanish machismo including fencing, guns and moustaches – and Heneral Luna lived it out to his end by Filipino vindictiveness, Bonifacio had more of the “native” warrior mentality while the calculating Aguinaldo had a mindset akin to many a warlord or trapo of later decades. While Bonifacio’s Katipunan was based on a mix ofEnlightenment and native ideas, many a Katipunero wore amulets, something Indonesian gangsters and freedom fightershave also done, like many a Filipino rebellion had cultic and religious aspects.

While the Bikolano Valentin delos Santos and his LapiangMalaya in the 1960s believed in amulets – which didn’t work against the bullets of the Philippine Constabulary under Marcos – Will Villanueva who is also a Bikolano was driven by faith in God and democracy in February 1986, certainly doesn’t believe in amulets and knows bullets can kill you, but now proudly swings the Filipino flag these days. Ethnicity and allegiance, belief and reason, group and nation are all part of the mix in the Philippines. Different subgroups too – some Bikolanos say that looking for fights is a Tagalog thing, others will say Bikolanos are nice but like volcanos if challenged head-on. Some Ilocanos say Visayans are dissolute, while some Visayans will say most Luzonians are just less open about some things. I know from experience that Visayan women are open and friendly, but NOT “easy” as some in Luzon might say.

There are certainly different temperaments among Filipino ethnic groups and then often bitter fights and prejudices between political, academic and religious groups. But of course there is the common cultural ground, there is the common destiny of having been under (or resisting or avoiding) Spanish rule, then having all been under American rule, there are the common interests of all who live in the same country or are somehow bound to it in some way – all these things SHOULD make for unity. If the USA has “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one), Indonesia has the similar Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) which comes from a Majapahit era poem with the following significant stanzas:

       It is said that the well-known Buddha and Shiva are two different substances.

       They are indeed different, yet how is it possible to recognise their difference in a glance,

       since the truth of Jina (Buddha) and the truth of Shiva is one.

       They are indeed different, but they are of the same kind, as there is no duality in Truth.

It is like an old Kankanai from Baguio once told me how he reconciled the faith that his parents had acquired from American missionaries and the faith of his grandparents in Apo Kabunian. He said he had read the Bible about how Abraham sacrificed an animal instead of Isaac, and that his folks had once sacrificed to Apo Kabunian and he concluded God and Apo Kabunian were one and the same, though my father when he heard that from me asked “then why not worship Kabunian instead?”

It shouldn’t matter. Valentin delos Santos believed in amuletsand was very crazy, while Will goes by his faith in God, democracy and the Philippine flag – and is very determined but not crazy at all. But as Bhinneka Tunggal Ika says, there is no duality in the TRUTH. Truth vs. lies should be the duality. Unity with unrepentant Marcos loyalists can’t be, just as in Germany those who do not respect the Constitution are either observed if their allegiance is not clear or even banned from politics by due process if it is proven they are out to destroy the basic order stipulated by the 1949 Constitution. Aside from liars, it certainly makes sense to ban the unrepentantly corrupt and violent as well, since unity and diversity cannot work if different groups of people lie, cheat, hurt, steal, even kill others. Bonifacio’s brother/sisterhood or Will’s love mightbe too idealistic, but the other extreme is awful. What is realizable is the idea of “damayan”, the kind of mutual respect and consideration that one finds in church, was found on EDSA 1 and 2 according to many, or even in malunggaypandesal lines.

There is yet another awful legacy of Aguinaldo that is seen in the Preamble of the 1899 Constitution:

       We, the Representatives of the Filipino people.. havevoted, decreed, and sanctioned..

The US Constitution starts with “We the People” even though the Founding Fathers were definitely elites as well. But the House of Representatives in today’s Philippines often represents mainly itself. Now that can be an issue in any democracy, but to go by “popular will” only can mean manipulated surveys and referenda (the latter was Marcos’ specialty) and those who pretend to be pro-people. Balancing the top-down and bottom-up aspects of a republic isn’t easy, as it isn’t easy to give local and regional more competencies and still keep things aligned. Recent examples during Covid have shown what a balancing act that can be. One can criticize theFilipino IATF and how it sometimes collars local leaders, but then I know how hard Angela Merkel has it coordinating different states in Germany as health is mainly a state matter over here, or how Bavaria allowed cities and counties to decide what to do in case certain threshold values were reached but now has created a traffic light system of measures that they have to adhere to, based on thresholds, to have some uniformity.

“It’s complicated”, Facebook would say, and as I don’t live in the Philippines AND have been away for very long, I don’t presume to make too many suggestions. Filipinos at home will figure out the right balance and the country will go through its own learning process as well, for better or for worse.



I do take the liberty of giving ideas, though one thing I never will do is to suggest revolution, as I would have to be in the Philippines, taking the same risks as everyone else, to suggest bloodshed, and if it does happen after all – I really hope not -rebuilding after that will have to be done properly. Some say there will have to be at least a reset. Germany and Bavaria had a big reset due to the war. Everybody was affected similarly, so I guess it was easier to go for “Rama Dama” and rebuilding. LCPL_X said the AB-classes might just shirk their share of work in trying to fix the Philippines.

There is of course the Great Cultural Divide between the more Westernized and those more “native”. Secretary Locsinsometimes insults people as “stupid natives” and dislikes Filipino, preferring English. My father who studied in Paris and raised me with French wrote his last English articledecades ago. Prof. Xiao Chua who does his history videos in Filipino only and writes in English for the Manila Times will converse with Manolo Quezon – who writes only in English – in English or Filipino, depending. Visayans like Chai Fonacierwrite a lot in Cebuano and will use both English and Filipinonationally.

Now the Philippines is still better off than New Zealand which is bilingual (English/Maori) but with two distinct peoples, or even bilingual Peru (Spanish/Quechua) which has lowland “misti” (mestizos) and highland natives. Or India where Hindi as a national language is hindi puwede (no go) because most Southern Indian languages are from a completely different language group. Seen from outside, the differences among Filipinos AREN’T that big. And for me it isn’t about “tribe” but about attitude. There are highly Westernized and individualistic old rich like Romano Cortes Jorge who are socially conscious and want a country with better distribution of wealth and education, while there are newly rich like Cynthia Villar who mainly speak Filipino but are very condescending to the poorer people.

The best thing might be if the less privileged get more learning, opportunities and affirmative action, and those privileged contribute more, while those who have forgotten their heritage learn about it. Forced unity might just lead to exiles, labor and “reeducation“ camps, seizure of property and worse. Those would like to isolate the Philippines for a while to consolidate forget that the country is no longer on the edge like 500 years ago – it is now in the middle of things – and in a very fast world. Unity may have to be forged by working together while tolerating differences – but not violations.

It is sad to see a Philippines where the likes of Carlo Katigbakof ABS/CBN are attacked and asked by the likes of Congressman Remulla “would you like me to repeat that in English, or with an American accent” even if he spoke purest Filipino, just because some portray him as an “elitist”. It hurts to see Maria Ressa who is very Americanized because her parents once left as unpatriotic – though she came back and has stayed. There is an echo of how the Nazis taunted and harassed those who were seen as too cosmopolitan and allegedly foreign-controlled, especially Germans of Jewish descent.

I myself have not gone to the Philippines for long as I sort of felt that kind of stuff approaching – the only skin in the game I have left is in my heart and by putting my name out in the open, meaning I can only hope for a modern, innovative and open-minded Philippines in my lifetime. Come what may.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Munich, 24 October 2020​

This is dedicated to a Filipina friend who characterized me well: German in mind and Filipino at heart.


136 Responses to “Filipino Identity Revisited”
  1. Joe, many thanks! BTW inspite of all the division, here is a heartwarming example of what Bonifacio called kapatiran and Will calls love. Very often extended brotherhood in the Philippines is through religion, and of course the warmth that so many Filipinos have is what makes retirees and expats love the place. The other side of it is of course often the total meanness/indifference to those who are outside one’s own group. Like from those who put the one in jail who is writing to Will’s group.

    • I think the movie Moana applies here, Ireneo. Let me connect it to the fact that most Filipinos can’t swim. Because inability to swim means you know less about your country, the best parts.

      Like when Moana finds her ancestors boats in a cave. Filipinos got to the Philippines and pretty much everywhere else (Austronesians) by boats big and small. And the spirit of adventure, not because drowning might cause death therefore don’t learn to swim- type of thinking.

      Thus Filipino identity, one that A, B, C, D, E Filipinos all should share like a common cord that binds them, the love of being in the seas, the mountains too, but mainly the seas for my point, because as Moana learnt, the sea is where great possibilities are at: teamwork, commonality (there’s no A thru E when everyone’s lives are on the line), and yes identity!

      So find your boats again, guys!!! 😉

      • This is how the Visayan caracoas (warships) of old allegedly looked like.

        It isn’t a surprise I think that the biggest urban centre was already Sugbu (Cebu) when Magellan came as it is in the middle of the Visayan sea. I mentioned in “From The Edge..” how Visayan pirates even raided Taiwan, juxtaposing it with the Greeks and Troy even if that was earlier.

        The other aspect was Manila (nice natural harbor through the bay) trading with Brunei and Japan (use of katanas in Manila is documented, I have also mentioned, and the presence of Malay cannons known as lantaka, used BTW by Moros until the late 19th century with new rifles). Possibly the legendary Bicol kingdom of Handyong, located near present-day Naga, traded with the Pacific and fished in Kapulingawan (“the lonely place”, aka Benham Rise) as it faces there. Though the legend clearly has the Bicol river shifting its flow from into the Visayan sea into the opposite direction due to a major eruption, so probably the old trade was more with the Visayas (similar languages mean contact) – trade with China, Vietnam, Thailand already existed as well.

    • Thank you for keeping our brains working deep in a time of shallow reasoning.

      • Welcome Joe. Especially in this age of shallow thinking and populism due to it this is important.

        The German thinker Herder for instance uncovered the importance of groups of people and their culture in relation to Germany which was in his time still very tribal. Sometimes it still is, like when Saxony sent Bavarian Red Cross vehicles BACK during the 2004 Elbe flood, or when Munich working class people will look down upon immigrants from East Germany and mock the Saxon accent while the Saxons will say – correctly – that Saxon is closer to “real” German, which is is thanks to Martin Luther defining “real German” as HIS German when he translated the Bible.

        But there were weirdos like Chamberlain who twisted ideas of Herder into glorified racism and those like Hitler who further made fascist legends out of Chamberlain in his “Mein Kampf”.

        Of course liberal nationalism (most embodied in the USA which was of course a post-tribal project, a new nation on another continent for those not happy in Europe because poor or too enterprising or with a religion not accepted there like that of the Amish people, or in France) is better, but even the USA and France have their “tribes” inspite of all idealism. In the USA it is roughly European-Americans (“whites”), Afro-Americans (“blacks”) and Latinos – the Native Americans are a minority now, the Asian-Americans mostly very assimilated to some extent, the Irish-Americans and Italo-Americans who used to be “outside” the US “white” mainstream as that was once Protestant and they are Catholic (Kennedy was the first Catholic US President) now “in”.though before Rudy Giuliani you had the time when a lot of Italian-Americans were “Mafia”.

        France has Muslim Frenchmen who DON’T always accept the liberal and secularist values of the Republic – but that is also due to “white” Frenchmen not always treating them as the equals they are in the theory of “Equality, Liberty and Fraternity (Brotherhood)”.

        We human beings aspire to a lot of higher things but our brains are of course still Stone Age. Still I go by the adage of the multi-ethnic French funk band Alliance Ethnique that the true choice we have to make in life is between Honesty (Sincerité) or Jealousy (Jalousie) – dealing straight or being crabs or face and power types. Or like kasambahay said “Vive la difference” – which implies respecting differences. Not always easy to do as the ape in us has good and bad sides. – What politicians can learn from chimps

        Chimpanzees are intensely political animals. They live in social groups of about 50 with male leaders who have to engage in a variety of political manoeuvres to get to the top.

        Professor Frans de Waal’s book Chimpanzee Politics details the shifting coalitions created among chimpanzees to take power at Arnhem Zoo in the Netherlands.

        He argues that it is not enough to simply be the strongest.

        “The best alpha males in chimpanzee communities are not necessarily the biggest and strongest males,” he says.

        “You have to have supporters which means you have to keep these supporters happy. You have to be diplomatic.”

        Part of this diplomacy involves forming coalitions with other males. This can be very strategic and mirrors what we see politicians within parties doing all the time.

        “If you have three males and one of them is overwhelmingly strong then there’s a tendency for the other two to gang up together against that male,” says Prof de Waal.

        “Because if they attach their political weight to the top male who is that strong male they’re just an accessory to his power.”

        The other crucial part of diplomacy is getting support from the masses. This involves being “nice” – would-be chimpanzee leaders are as keen on kissing babies as human politicians – but also distributing resources, typically meat, to build up support:

        “The Japanese scientist Toshisada Nishida studied one chimpanzee who ruled for 12 years,” says Mr de Waal.

        “He would appropriate the meat of other males and then selectively share with his supporters and selectively not share with his rivals. He had a whole bribery system that worked very much to his advantage.”

        In effect, that chimpanzee leader was taxing the group and then returning those resources to selected supporters. Clearly bribing voters with their own money is not unique to human politicians.

        Another similarity involves conflict between groups. Chimpanzees often raid and ambush other troops, brutally killing rival group members. They also face danger from other animals such as snakes.

        And just as in human politics, these external threats can silence internal dissent and shore up support for leaders.

        Marc Hetherington, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, studies how voters sometimes “rally around the flag”.

        “George W Bush in the early 2000s went from not being a particularly popular president, especially at the beginning of his term, to having 90% approval after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks.

        “This is one of the textbook examples of rallying round the flag.”

        Other primates show the same tendencies. Dr Alison Cronin is a primatologist, and director of Monkey World in Dorset.

        “If you have an external threat that’s a danger effectively to everybody, it brings the group together, you rally together,” she says.

        “And people who you might not even like on a day-to-day basis, if you’re going to join up as a band of brothers to defend the realm, then all for one and one for all.”

        • Will has noted how dogs are human in terms of empathy – of course empathy is because we are mammals, mammals raise their young while reptiles don’t. Many of us will hug dogs, sheep, deer etc. but not even those who keep iguanas as pets will hug them I am sure.

          Even damage to empathy can be traced to abuse and is passed through generations even among monkeys, and there are enough indications that abused societies among humans are often somewhat damaged in empathy as well – see the Ik tribe of Uganda I posted about. Gideon Lasco BTW in his recent book “The Philippines is not a Small Country” wrote that more empathy would do the Philippines good – I said damayan like Prof. Rafael does in one book, or like Bonifacio said brotherhood and Will says love, though at the very least more tolerance would do – yes even Dutz said “if we can’t love each other then let us try not to hate each other too much” which shows how far away he is from human empathy, for whatever reason, like many DDS.

          • From articles I didn’t publish that served as preliminary work for this one upstairs:

            1) Of course language is what sets us apart from apes. Even researchers who taught sign language to apes managed to give them only the vocabulary of 3-year-old children. And they probably have the mentality of small kids – once a monkey signed “you dirty monkey” to another monkey who took its food – the immature idea of fairness is “what is fair for me”.

            2) But we have aside from empathy, the mammal instinct, stuff like body language and social interactions which preceded language. I have noticed the body language of REAL Africans as opposed to Afro-Americans (who lost their languages as slavers separated those from the same tribe) when they “jive talk” is very similar. Italian-Americans especially in Mafia movies have similar body language – and familistic interactions – to REAL Italians who still speak Italian – as we know Michael Corleone needed a translator when he wooed his wife in Sicilian Corleone. Giuliani doesn’t have any Italian body language anymore meaning he is very mainstream.

            Fil-Ams may communicate low-context but still are familistic to some extent like “homelanders” as one Filipino called Filipinos back home. Obama has “whiter” body language, I guess this is because his mother is “white”. Contrast that which the exuberant body language of his wife.

            3) Language doesn’t necessarily mean unity. People can stay clannish and village-oriented. Neurologists have found out we can only really store about 150 people as those we really know – the rest we “know” as belonging to other groups. Some researchers say this might have been because the average size of a Neolithic (New Stone Age) village was around 150 people. Clans of course are extended groups of families – Scottish clans, or the ancient five Bavarian clans recorded in the Lex Bavariorum, the first semi-tribal, semi-Roman military law of old Bavaria.

            Clans can within an ethnolinguistic group have elaborate codes of vengeance and restitution – Sicilian vendettas, Albanian “Kanun” laws of revenge, Maranao rido, Igorot rules of conflict and “bodong” or peace pacts akin to Native American “smoking the peace pipe”.

            4) Common stories bind us – the Aborigines of Australia are known for their extensive stories, Greek epics, ancient Filipino epics like Handyong (Bikol) and Lam-Ang (Ilocos) or the Old Testament which is the story of the Israelites. Religion starts with stories and goes on to beliefs.

            5) Common beliefs bind us even more. Conflicts between beliefs can be bloody as well. Yugoslavia’s biggest conflict was between Catholic Croatians and Orthodox Serbs. Democracy and rule of law are “Western” beliefs while the belief system of Xi Jinping is totally different from that of the Anglo-Saxon countries, Europe and modern Asia (Japan, Sokor, Taiwan) – though Singapore and Malaysia are a mix of “Western” and “Asian” belief systems. Turkey and India today are conflicted between “Western” belief systems and more traditional ones. Philippines is totally confused I think, as there are true believers (Will!), unbelievers (Dutz) and fake believers who will easily switch “beliefs” according to convenience – think of Cayetano.

            Eastern Europeans are stronger believers in religion (Poland abolishing abortion very recently, Putin and his strong links to Russian Orthodoxy, Greeks who kiss their saintly icons like idols) than more secularized Western Europeans – that may yet rip the EU apart. “It’s complicated”.

            • VERY Catholic Poland has a heavy conflict between traditional Poles and modern secularists, even harsher than the RH Law conflict in the Philippines:


              For the first time in Catholic Poland, people are protesting in churches. There has also been pandemonium in parliament. The unrest comes after the Constitutional Court decided to tighten abortion laws.

              Protests against the tightening of abortion legislation have a long tradition in Poland — but never before has the country seen protesters enter churches and disrupt services. At the weekend, 20 young men and women held a sit-down protest in front of the altar of a church in Poznan, chanting and holding up banners. The disruption was so massive that the priest broke off the Mass.

              The recent movie “Corpus Christi” – which I unfortunately missed – is about an ex-con who finds Christ due to a kind priest in prison – and then decides to pretend to be a priest instead of doing his rehab work in a sawmill:

              Citing inspiration in real events, the movie follows Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), a prisoner who wants to enroll in a seminary. A chaplain tells him he won’t get admitted as an ex-convict. But after being released, Daniel plays hooky from his new job and wanders into a nearby church, where he claims to be a priest — and soon ends up serving as a substitute.

              Although Daniel has to learn on the fly (he reads a guide for confession on his smartphone), his loose style of preaching never appears to give him away. It also resonates with the small town’s residents, who are grieving from a car accident that killed seven.


                “Each of us is the priest of Christ,” a juvenile detention center priest tells the members of his wayward flock, advice one of them takes very literally to heart in the Polish drama “Corpus Christi.”

                That young man is Daniel, whom Bartosz Bielenia plays with a commitment that’s both charismatic and haunting. With his chiseled facial features, wiry frame and piercingly clear, blue eyes, Bielenia is a dead ringer for a young Christopher Walken, and he carries glimmers of the veteran actor’s unsettling intensity, too. There’s an unpredictability to his performance, a sense of both swagger and searching that’s fascinating to watch. Director Jan Komasa’s film—nominated this year for the international-feature Oscar—may feel a tad slow at times, but Bielenia is never less than totally compelling.

                The script from Mateusz Pacewicz is inspired by true events, although it sounds like an insane premise. Daniel leaves the correctional center at age 20 after serving time for unnamed crimes. Having experienced a spiritual epiphany behind bars, he’d like to pursue a career in the clergy, which his mentor, Father Tomasz (Lukasz Simlat), tells him is impossible because he’s been a convict. But you can practically see the light bulb go on over Daniel’s head when he hears the priest’s powerful words, and rather than report for duty at the small-town sawmill where he has a job lined up, he walks into the Catholic church, kneels down in a pew and begins praying.

                In no time, the same streetwise survival instincts that got him in trouble as a kid kick in, and he tells a young woman praying near him (Eliza Rycembel) that he’s a priest—quite convincingly, actually. Soon he’s donning a clerical collar and agreeing to take over at the parish when the aging vicar (Zdzislaw Wardejn) becomes ill. Watching Daniel fake his way through his first meeting with the elder priest, you’ll find yourself holding your breath, hoping he’ll tell the right lies.

                Along those lines, “Corpus Christi” raises intriguing questions about when it’s OK to fudge the truth—or in Daniel’s case, fabricate an entire persona and represent yourself as an ordained man of faith. Certainly he means well, but he’s encouraging people to make themselves vulnerable and trust their secrets—nay, their very souls—to him, a privilege he hasn’t earned. (Although it is amusing to see him figure out what to say on his side of the confessional partition by looking up the words on his smart phone.)

                Komasa takes his time letting us get to know this place and these people. He sets the mood with a striking widescreen shot of Daniel’s bus pulling up to this middle-of-nowhere village with its lush green meadows and rolling hills, the complete opposite of the gray, bleak place he just left. We get a feel for its rural rhythms, the quiet punctuated only by the occasional sound of birds chirping and church bells ringing. But despite its physical beauty, this is a wounded town that’s still reeling from a car accident that claimed the lives of several of its young people. As Daniel drinks and smokes by the lake with the remaining residents his age, positioning himself as the cool priest who shoots from the hip, it’s unspoken but clear that he might have been one of those passengers in the car himself if he’d grown up there.

                But while he does much of his preaching on the fly, it’s evident he takes this new job seriously. His methods are unorthodox but he’s speaking plainly from the heart and connecting with people. And because he’s been to dark places in his own life, he actually has real-world advice for these folks who need it. He’s naturally attuned to their suffering, and the healing he provides is hard to deny.

                This is a complex character full of layers and contradictions. Daniel seems cognizant of the gravity his new job requires, but he also brazenly shakes things up in this insular place and forces people to face feelings they’d rather suppress. He thinks he’s doing the right thing for the greater good but eventually asserts himself further as he feels his influence grow, and puts himself in danger in the process.

                It’s easy to imagine that an English-language remake of this film would probably be a wacky, fast-paced comic farce about a charismatic con artist constantly on the verge of getting caught. Mercifully, “Corpus Christi” is more interested in exploring the potential gray areas of pious deeds, and doesn’t necessarily make the road to redemption a smooth one.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          “Nevertheless, most scientists now feel they can say with confidence that some animals process information and express emotions in ways that are accompanied by conscious mental experience. They agree that animals, from rats and mice to parrots and humpback whales, have complex mental capacities; that a few species have attributes once thought to be unique to people, such as the ability to give objects names and use tools; and that a handful of animals — primates, corvids (the crow family) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) — have something close to what in humans is seen as culture, in that they develop distinctive ways of doing things which are passed down by imitation and example. No animals have all the attributes of human minds; but almost all the attributes of human minds are found in some animal or other.”

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    “MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested renaming the country “Maharlika,” a word originally meaning warrior class, to pay homage to the country’s pre-colonial past.

    Duterte has revived an idea advocated by Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines’ former president and dictator who implemented martial law to keep himself in power for two decades. During his regime, Marcos popularized the word and named the state broadcaster, a north-south highway and a presidential hall after it.

    Marcos promoted the term to mean nobility, but historians say Maharlika refers to the warrior class that served the ruling clans during pre-Hispanic times”

  3. Karl Garcia says:

    “If we want to be truly independent, then we should throw away the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity,” he said in a statement. The bill calls for the creation of a commission to look into renaming the Philippines.

    “Many nations who were formally under colonial yoke have reverted back to their former pre-colonized name as it gives them a sense of national pride and identity as a free people,” Alejano said.”


      BTW it seems that the debate whether the national language is Pilipino or Filipino allegedly took up a lot of time during the public debate on the 1987 Constitution, Great sense of priorities.

      The basis for the Philippine national language is Tagalog, which had primarily been spoken only in Manila and the surrounding provinces when the Commonwealth constitution was drawn up in the 1930s. That constitution provided for a national language, but did not specifically designate it as Tagalog because of objections raised by representatives from other parts of the country where Tagalog was not spoken. It merely stated that a national language acceptable to the entire populace (and ideally incorporating elements from the diverse languages spoken throughout the islands) would be a future goal. Tagalog, of course, by virtue of being the lingua franca of those who lived in or near the government capital, was the predominant candidate.

      By the time work on a new constitution began in the early 1970s, more than half the Philippine citizenry was communicating in Tagalog on a regular basis. (Forty years earlier, it was barely 25 percent.) Spurred on by President Marcos and his dream of a “New Society,” nationalist academics focused their efforts on developing a national language — Pilipino, by that time understood to be Tagalog de facto. Neologisms were introduced to enrich the vocabulary and replace words that were of foreign origin. A much-remembered example is “salumpuwit” (literally, “that to support the buttocks”) for “chair” to replace the widely adopted, Spanish-derived “silya.” Such efforts to nativize the Philippine national language were for naught, however, since words of English and Spanish origin had become an integral part of the language used in the everday and intellectual discourse of Filipinos.

      This reality was finally reflected in the constitution composed during the Aquino presidency in the latter half of the 1980s. The national language was labeled Filipino to acknowledge and embrace the existence of and preference for many English- and Spanish-derived words. “Western” letters such as f, j, c, x and z — sounds of which were not indigenous to the islands before the arrival of the Spaniards and the Americans — were included in the official Filipino alphabet.


        BTW many Filipinos still think the languages of the Philippines are “dialects”. They are not. Batangas/Cavite Tagalog, Laguna/Quezon Tagalog and Bulacan Tagalog are dialects of Tagalog, but Bikol is never a dialect of Filipino. Dialect means it is still somehow understandable. Liverpool dialect is an English dialect, so is London cockney, but I assume Joe America will understand them more or less with some effort but may have to ask what some slang words mean. Jamaican creole is already another language than English I think.

        GERONIMO SY (Lawyer and columnist. Manila Times): It is equally true that speaking English cannot be the end all and be all of our education system, that not to churn out good English speakers condemns the entire learning apparatus to hell and hence the fate of our nation. If it were so, then how do we explain the ascendancy of Japan, the rise of China, the emergence of Korea and the fast coming Vietnam—all with kindergarten English?

        Studies now point to the use of the vernacular as a medium of instruction in the early years to facilitate teaching and learning. Media has long embraced Filipino as our lingua franca that sends the message home. It is acceptable and downright fashionable to speak deep and high Tagalog in political circles. It is time we take English what it is – a tool to communicate. Stop the circular arguments on which language comes first.

        TESSY ANG-SEE (famous civic leader): Master our own first languages first and we can master the second language better!! In our case, we mastered Tagalog first, then learned Hokkien (our local dialect, lingua franca of the Tsinoys here), then learned English and then learned Mandarin!! We are able to master the first three, mandarin is something else because there was no speech community to support it and it is more alien to us, being a language of the north while Hokkien and Tagalog belong to the austronesian linguistics group…. [i managed to pick up mandarin much later in life while doing research]

        DAVE LLORITO (journalist, researcher): Would anybody hire a graduate for her/his “mastery” of Tagalog? (I dont call it “Filipino” because its really is Tagalog.) as English-Tagalog translator maybe, or a Tabloid reporter, but not much else. Should we master Tagalog so that in the real world, in the world of jobs, entrepreneurship and business we are going to use English as the medium of communication? But that’s my dilemma. But maybe there is no conflict here. but how do we translate that to policy? Maybe we should learn the basic dialects/language from the first and third grade then shift to English later until college. so we will have Visayans or Tagalogs, or Ilocanos using their languages first in early elementary before they eventually shift to English as medium of instruction. Sounds good to me. But Tagalog should never be imposed. But hey, isn’t English also part of our Filipino heritage as a nation? I’m just sharing my random thoughts here, actually.

        ADDIE SUZARA (Finance expert, technopreneur and computer geek): I was born in a large family where Tagalog, Bicolano, English and some Spanish were spoken. I then went to schools where English was the medium of instruction but where Pilipino was taught as a subject and I learned grammar and read literature. I also took up formal Spanish in college.
        I can now speak and write English well, speak Tagalog well but write with a little difficulty only due to lack of practice, speak Bicolano with a little difficulty because of lack of practice, haven’t tried writing in Bicolano, and can’t do much oral and written Spanish. I think it worked out OK for me.

        DAVE: Addie, You are a very good case study. The fact is you enrolled in schools using English as medium of instruction and where Pilipino is taught as a subject and it worked well for you. Pilipino only as one of the subjects, and not as medium of instruction! I like that. And I guess no one could question Addie’s nationalism, identity and patriotism.

        ADDIE: Thank you Dave but let me hasten to add that, until I went to Kindergarten at age 6, Tagalog with a Bicolano flavor was my primary spoken language.

        TESSIE: [We are] missing the point entirely when we insist that to find jobs we should know English. We miss to consider the fundamental role of language in establishing identity and ethnicity…

        DAVE: I was raising a practical, real world perspective. The job market, the world of entrepreneurship and business, are using English and in that world mastery of this language, plus skills in the math and science are what really matters. I know because I have lots of friends who are nationalistic but who actually enroll their kids in exclusive schools that are teaching purely English. Most of those who actually argue for Tagalog, ehe Filipino, are doing their finest points in English. And they use English extensively at home.

        TESSIE: For people from educated families, lower middle class and above, there’s no problem using English as a medium of instruction. These are people who have access to other media, books, newspapers, adult conversation etc. Being a nationalist Filipino or not has nothing to do with it. No one becomes less Filipino just because he learns English or another dialect first and not Filipino as a first language.

        However we are speaking of 60 percent of our population who live below the poverty line who should have a good grasp of a national language before a second language is forced on them. If you go to Malaysia and Indonesia, what welcomes you at the airport are all Malay greetings and Malay music ..It is a language that binds the nation. Contrast that with what greets us and our kababayan at our airport!

        ADDIE: While I do come from the 40% of the population who live above the poverty line, I would not say that those from the 60% did not have all the opportunities available to me in terms of learning other languages.Let us not forget that most of us grew up in at least a two language environment – the local dialect and Tagalog. I spoke Tagalog and Bicolano because my mother was from Taagalog soeaking Labo while my father came from Bicolano speaking Daet. Both these towns are in Camarines Norte. I agree with Dave that the gut issue is when to use English as a medium of instruction. I say “a” instead of “the” because I think we can have more than one medium of instruction. I think our kids wherever they may be can easily absorb a third language. The areas of improvement are in the school system.

      • sonny says:

        Irineo, this discussion can be well served as a continuation or imbedding into one of TSH’s blogposts:

        • Ireneo, sonny,

          the closeness of Bisayan and Tausug is even less well known, and those 2 ethno-linguistic groups are always talking crap of one another (and both talk crap about the Bajaos, who too are linguistic siblings of theirs).

          Tagalogs talk crap about Bisayans; Ilokanos talk crap about Tagalogs (this is probably only after Marcos), and everyone in the Philippines talks crap about the Ilongos i noticed. But no one fucks with Warays, and they are neither Bisayans or Tagalogs linguistically.

          Bicols I’m not familiar with, but they seem akin to Chabacanos of Zamboanga area.those are a confuse bunch too.

          But I agree w/ sonny… teach kids (especially under 5) as many languages as possible. they are like sponges. The bigger the gap, say English and Chinese the better.

          Have you seen A to Z , the First Alphabet, sonny? turns out if it’s an alphabet (not characters) it came from one source, the Sumerians… baybayin/Filipino script came from Sumeria! imagine that.


            The Cebuanos tend to mean their own language when they say Visayan, but linguists group Waray as a Visayan language. Waray especially from Samar has some similarities to the Bikol in Sorsogon, the southernmost part of Bikol where my paternal grandma came from, I have been told by “Samaritans” – usually good people from my experience but yes, Warays have a reputation that you better not mess with them.

            Bicol according to linguistics has several variations – click on Bikol in the article above, Bikol Central being what is spoken in big cities like Legazpi and Samar – most of the places one can easily reach, but Naga I have heard has a specific dialect different from Legazpi. Then there is Rinconada Bikol, the Bikol of a small part of the Visayan sea coast which interestingly has a special form of “angry speech” used in sarcasm – something no other Austronesian language has. Also the interesting fact that the Agtas/Aetas of Bikol have their own kind of speech.

            There is this interesting article by author Maryanne Moll, who is from one of the few families one can really call hacienderos in Bikol. Reading The Story of Abaca book that says Majorcan families married to local mestizas and my incidental vacation knowledge that Moll is a typical name for Majorca makes me surmise her folks are from that group. Also, my folks had some kind of land sale or buy transaction – haven’t quite deciphered the old document yet with a landowner named “Ana Moll, mestiza” from the time the racial markers were in official documents.There also is a land buy or sale document of my folks with a person marked as a “negrito”, and a lease document with a person marked as a “chino” and signing in Chinese characters in the 1880s. The Bikol mix is amazing – thus I have some Chinoy cousins and a partly Spanish mestiza grandmother, and possible traces of the Aeta coming out in features of our folks including me, then a lot of people with Pacific features as well. BTW the mestizo speech habits Moll describes are also the speech habits of the Filipina I dedicated this blog to, from an old Tagalog mestizo family – especially b’s sounding like m’s. The clicking/clacking sounds on the “native” side are something I have also read about Bikol Aeta/Agta speech – could be from the original Bikols to the Agtas, like it is mainly migrants today in Munich who still speak the old Bavarian rolling R.


            I grew up in a barrio deep in the heart of Camarines Sur, in the Partido area, where the Bikol was old and deep and rich with double meanings and multi-layered metaphors. I never read in Bikol, but the spoken Bikol that wafted around me when I was in a crowd was fascinating. It was brisk, loud, and had an intonation distinct to residents of the area. The best speakers of Bikol were the older common folk. To punctuate the sentences or stress certain words, they would raise their voices, already rendered gravelly by decades of smoking, several notches higher upon the last syllable of the word, and would sometimes clack broken, tobacco-colored teeth after a sibilant to express either indignation or awe. My own elders, however, spoke a different kind of Bikol. Their voices were louder but somehow their tones were softer, their consonants blended smoothly into the vowels – b’s would sometimes sound like m’s and sh’s would sound like th’s — a habit borne out of a Spanish ancestry. Their vocabulary was also a bit different, and our houses would reverberate with words like periodico, calzeten, descalzo, empieza, este, saludar, bien, porque, otra vez, cuidado, dormido, comedo, sentences like vamos a comer, de donde a vienes, que hora es, vaya con dios, quiero mas, and interjections like dios mio, madre mia, jesus maria y jose (not susmaryosep). This kind of Bikol was uttered in rich and robust tones that sounded so smooth to the ears, and they were spoken by tall, large-boned people with sandy-colored hair and pale, freckled skin, the women in brocade dresses and the men in their daily wear — impeccably-pressed khaki outfits and leather shoes with matching belts and a hat, like in this photograph of my great-grandfather, Sebastian Moll. Its sound and effect was quite the opposite of the rougher Bikol of the smaller, darker, barefoot and unperfumed farmers, which is a Bikol seemingly rife with hard and abrupt consonants. Yet both kinds of spoken Bikol held a magic for me that had grown to the level of myth.

            Strangely enough, I never thought about the possibility of writing in Bikol. My earliest attempts at writing were in English, and I upped and left Bicolandia, literally dropped the life that I used to have, and transferred to Metro Manila to study and practice writing in English together with people who write in English. It felt like the most natural thing for me to do, and the only thing that remained for me to do. It was not that the Bikol language was not in my heart. I just felt that my relationship with the language was too deep and ancient to ever be deconstructed, not like my relationship with English, which is a language I can deconstruct and rework and reinvent all I want, bending it to the rules that I want, taking it wherever I want. Perhaps it was a kind of fear. After all, Bikol is the language of my forefathers, of my childhood, and of my earliest instincts, now bathed in the color sepia, and these things are sacrosanct. And like all things sacrosanct, the language and all that it entails has embedded itself into my soul so perfectly, so impeccably, so dogmatically, that it has disappeared into the deep and murky waters of my being, never to surface again.

            • I meant Legazpi and Naga. Camarines Norte Bikol has a lot of Tagalog in it, I was told, and is all but gone nowadays due to the dominance and close contact to Tagalog. The residents of Buhi around the mountain lake of the same name speak their own Bikol which seems very different. The actor Rez Cortez comes from Buhi, Camarines Sur – the contrast between a picture from his youth and older pictures give an idea of the kind of mix Bikol people are:

            • My wife is Waray. I concur with your assessment. 🙂

        • Thanks sonny. I am also a proponent of using both English and Filipino – in fact I think Filipino should be used for more subjects while English should be improved to the same level that your generation still had, while teaching math and science in it.

      • That is the westward expansion of the Alphabet; the route it took to the Philippines would have to come from India. Let me examine Hindi script next.

        • Karl Garcia says:


          According to Jocano, a total of 336 loanwords were identified by Professor Juan R. Francisco to be Sanskrit in origin, “with 150 of them identified as the origin of some major Philippine terms.”[2] Many of these loanwords concerned governance and mythology, which were the particular concern of the Maginoo class, indicating a desire of members of that class to validate their status as rulers by associating themselves with foreign powers.[12]

          Indian honorifics also influenced the Filipino honorifics.[13] Examples of these include Raja, Rani, Maharlika, Datu, etc which were transmitted from Indian culture to Philippines via Malays and Srivijaya empire.

          The origins of various pre-colonial native filipino scripts such as the Baybayin, the Visayan as badlit, the Ilocano kur-itan/kurditan, and the Kapampangan kudlitan, can be traced to the Brahmic scripts of India and first recorded in the 16th century.[14]

  4. The “FilipinX” debate:

    FilAms referring to the Philippines as the acronym PI while they are calling homelanders for the use of Filipinx and Pinxy is peak irony. That is without adding these two facts: the letter F is a loaned letter in Tagalog from the oppressors (and its corresponding phoneme too) and that the demonym is an appellation to Felipe II of Spain. And for someone like me who reads and writes in Baybayin since age 15, to write a Baybayin X seems like a dark humor scene in a Taika Waititi comedy. (Yes, I do Baybayin shiz for fun, but not as serious as Kristian Kabuay and NordenX.)
    I first encountered PI among FilAms during Christmas vacation 2002 in LA; and Pilipinx when I joined the theatrical production of a FilAm musical at CalState East Bay in 2016. I understand that it is their culture and I respect it, and I assimilate. I easily assimilate with what I call my Nickelodeon voice, which I have acquired from when jailbroken cable services became a thing in Mega Manila and through my theatre background. But when in Rome, we live the Roman way, so as the Santa Mesa-born foreigner, I have to hide that dark laughter every single time someone uses PI.
    But of course, 2020 had to make us see PI-using FilAms pressuring homelander to use Filipinx, citing political correctness and gender neutrality (while white American Pemberton, the killer of Filipino transwoman Jennifer Laude, was given an absolute pardon by Duterte).
    So, let us start my TEDtalk.
    P.I. is a colloquial acronym for Putanginamo (the equivalent of Fuck You [and not its literal translation that ‘your mom is a whore’ because we have a Putanginamo principle in Philippine jurisprudence] because Putanginamo is very versatile).
    “P.I.” is used by conservative Filipinos who probably are only retelling a story.
    Tsismosa 1: “Minura ni Aling Biring si Ka Boying.” (Aling Biring cursed Ka Boying)
    Tsismosa 2: “Oh? Ano ika?” (Really? What did she say?)
    Tsismosa 1: “Malutong at umaatikabong PI.” (A hard and surging PI.)
    Then I imagine PI as the curse when FilAms say some sentences:
    “Are you flying back to Putangina?”
    “I miss Putangina. We went to Boracay.”
    “Duterte is President of Putangina..”

    The latter is of course not completely false considering Dutz’s language. BTW older Filipinos in Germany still used “PI” so obviously it is a holdover from American times and some Fil-Ams just didn’t get the memo yet. This part of the post is also interesting:

    ..FilAms who only watched TFC wondered who Regine Velasquez was when ABSCBN welcomed her like a beauty queen. Those with the GMA Pinoy TV have a little idea. But they did not initially get why the most successful Filipino artist in the US, Lea Salonga, does not get that level of adulation at home that Velasquez enjoys. Was it just Regine’s voice? No. Well, kinda, maybe, because there is no question that she is a damn good singer with God knows how many octaves, but it is the culture she represents as a probinsyana who made it that far and chose to go back home and stay – and that’s already a cultural nuance Filipinos understand and resonate with, without having to verbalize because the Philippines is a high-context culture in general, versus the US which is low-context culture in general. I mean, how many Filipinos know the difference of West End and Broadway, and a Tony and an Olivier? What is the cultural implication of R2K and Araneta Coliseum? What does a Famas or a Palanca mean to a FilAm, to a Filipino scholar, and to an ordinary Filipino? Parallel those ideas with “Bulacan”, “Asia”, “Birit”, “Songbird”.
    You think Coach is that big in the Philippines? He was there for the global branding of the franchise because he is an American figure but really, Francis Magalona (+) and Gloc9 hold more influence. And speaking of influence, do FilAms know Macoy Dubs, Lloyd Cadena (+) and the cultures they represent? Do FilAms know Aling Marie and how a sari-sari store operates within a community? Do FilAms see the symbolic functions of a makeshift basketball (half)courts where fights happen regularly? How much premium do FilAms put on queer icons Boy Abunda, Vice Ganda? Do FilAms realize that Kris Aquino’s role in Crazy Rich Asians was not just to have a Filipino in the cast (given that Nico Santos is already there) but was also Kris Aquino’s version of a PR stunt to showcase that Filipinos are of equal footing with Asian counterparts if only in the game of ‘pabonggahan’? Will the FilAms get it if someone says ‘kamukha ni Arn-arn’? Do FilAms see the humor in a Jaclyn Jose impersonation? Do FilAms even give premiums to the gems Ricky Lee, Peque Gallaga, Joel Lamangan, Joyce Bernal, Cathy Garcia Molina, and Jose Javier Reyes wrote and directed? (And these are not even National Artists.) How about AlDub or the experience of cringing to edgy and sometimes downright disgusting remarks of Joey De Leon while also admiring his creative genius? Do FilAms understand the process of how Vic Sotto became ‘Bossing’ and how Michael V could transform into Armi Millare? Do FilAms get that Sexbomb doesn’t remind people of Tom Jones but of Rochelle? Do FilAms get that dark humor when Jay Sonza’s name is placed beside Mel Tiangco’s? What do FilAms associate with the names ‘Tulfo’, ‘Isko’, ‘Erap’, ‘Charo’, ‘Matet’, ‘Janice’, ‘Miriam’, ‘Aga’, ‘Imelda’ and ‘Papin’? Do FilAms get that majority of Filipinos cannot jive into Rex Navarette’s and Jo Koy’s humor but find the comic antics of JoWaPao, Eugene Domingo, Mr Fu, Ryan Rems, Donna Cariaga, K Brosas, Ethel, and Vice very easy to click with? Do FilAms know Jimmy Alapag, Jayjay Helterbrand, Josh Urbiztondo? Oh wait, these guys are FilAms. Lol. Both cultures find bridge in NBA, but have these FilAms been to a UAAP, NCAA, or a PBA basketball game where the longstanding rival groups face each other? Do FilAms know the legacy of Ely Buendia and the Eraserheads? Do FilAms know about Brenan Espartinez wearing this green costume on Sineskwela? Do FilAms know how Kiko Matsing, Ate Sienna, Kuya Bodjie helped shape a generation of a neoliberal workforce? Do FilAms know that Karen is whom lolo saves the hamburger for because she is his favorite apo?..

    Of course this is a bit like the scene in “The Wire” where Baltimore gangsters find out (and smoke out) New York intruders on their turf by asking them about specific DJs from Baltimore. Or the classic of the Bible. But of course common narratives, stories and experiences shape groups. BTW the common thing Jews/Christians/Muslims have are the characters of the Old Testament: Moses/Musa, Abraham/Ibrahim, Jesus/Isa etc. etc. but of course some Arabs will emphasize their ancestor Ishmael was the brother of Jacob/Israel and Muslims will see Isa/Jesus as a prophet only, Jews will maintain he is not the Moschiach/Messiah, so when it comes to narratives and beliefs the first splits are there, experiences as well:

    Now, look at the practical traffic experiences of the homelanders. People riding the jeepneys, the tricycles, the MRT/LRT, the buses, and the kolorum – the daily Via Crucis of Mega Manila only Filipinos understand the gravity of, even without yet considering the germs passed as the payments pass through five million other passengers before reaching the front. Add the probinsyas, people from periphery islands who cross the sea to get good internet connections or do a checkup in the closest first-class town or component city.
    Do FilAms know the experience as a tourist’s experience or as an experience a homelander want to get away from or at least improved?
    Do FilAms understand how much an SM, a Puregold, or a Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking branch superbly change a town and its psychology and how it affects the Pamilihang Bayan?

    • I shoulda trademark this. Too late. LOL!

    • sonny says:

      The simplest takeaway from biculturalism/bilingualism is humor. I remember this phenomenon from my growing up years, being Manila-born & -bred: the difference of being “promdi” and not promdi, for example. This happens spontaneously at the linguistic borders wherever and whenever; there are the “Kiangan” jokes among Baguio polyglot residents, as another example. I can now imagine comedians having a hayday.

      • Like Dave Chappelle’s ‘the beauty is in the attempt”, sonny. His son supposedly is doing stand-up now, as you know he’s half Filipino, if his son does make it as comic, i hope he informs his comedy with your above Filipino jokes,

        • sonny says:

          My latest addition to the cultural door is this entry to the French/Filipino intersection courtesy of FRANCE GOT TALENT; the pre-performance exchange between the French lady-judge and the Filipino contestant just blew me away. 🙂 (What can I say – I am easy)

          • Wow. From the heart directly to the heart. Amazing. Thank you, sonny.

            • sonny says:

              Most welcome, Joe. After listening, this must be how it feels taking in an Italian aria – just coeur to coeur as you said.

              • Filipinos and especially Filipinas are smashing at singing contests around the globe (I follow Inday Espina-Varona, somewhat left-wing writer and great-grandniece of Visayan ilustrado Graciano Lopez Jaena on that as she is a music lover too) – my time in Romania was 2008-9 and I didn’t see (or maybe didn’t want to meet at that time) Filipinos there, but there are more there now and one smashed The Voice in 2016, another X-Factor in 2018. The second video give an idea of how Romanian sounds, the strange mix of old Latin (meu for my) and Slavic (Da for yes) elements at the Eastern edge of Europe. Bella Santiago in the second video may look a bit “too sexy” for some but in general the Eastern European style is like that – it is also amazing how quickly and well she learned Romanian after just a year in the place as a pro entertainer – the young men in the background are her band who used to (guess now during the pandemic they don’t) play regular gigs in an upscale place in Bucharest. My own experience with Romanians is that they like Filipino flexibility (they to have had the hard knocks of history, around 3 centuries of Ottoman rule / influence and a dictator they removed in 1989) and are also fast learners of language (big in BPO) so there. And as the Easternmost Latin people of Europe they are BIG on loving music, I recall fun karaoke nights in Bucharest during my freelance consulting stint there.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      “ FilAms who only watched TFC wondered who Regine Velasquez was when ABSCBN ….”

      An out of touch observation by the author, what about the internet and the news?

  5. Karl Garcia says:

    What’s in a name?
    By Plaridel C. Garcia

    Shakespeare said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But The Philippines (TP) is not a rose. TP is not even rose-scented although Filipinas (“domestic helpers,” according to one dictionary) wash more often than their Greek mistresses. TP is not a fortune cookie even if “Filipinos,” those controversial cookies, taste better than the Barcelona pretzel that is chocolate real con leche y ponieta. TP is not Philippine-apples even if piñas are a secondary crop of banana republics. TP is not about Baguio pines even if they are going, going almost gone. TP is not The Ukraine (TU) where Ukrainians during the recent visit of the Pope had the sensibility to consider TU derogatory. With our international reputation and national self-esteem, will we ever realize that TP smells as sweet as toilet paper? Don’t shoot me, please. We are in the same boat. The ship of state has enough holes as it is.

    A generation ago as a plebe at PMA, my nascent “military mind” wondered about the name of my country I was being hazed to kill and die for. At the beast barracks the only thing of beauty were the Baguio pines. But the ‘pines’ in TP is pronounced “pins.” As the editor of the plebe issue of The Corps, I asked where the name had originated. But it was a nuisance paternity suit. As Shakespeare also said, “I could not care a pin.”

    But would The Bard translate Felipenas to Philippines? Perhaps from Filipinos. There was a “banana republic” called Isla de Pinos (Isles of the pines). Otherwise, pines came from penas (torment and anguish), which is consistent with pins, a self-fulfilling national prick. “His name is Nabal (fool) and he acts the fool.” (I Samuel 25:25)

    At least the name was not from Charles V who commissioned the Magellan expedition and is said to have abdicated because of the delays of subsequent expeditions to establish Spanish control over the world. In Middle English “Charlie” is the colloquial term for fool. But the language has also fillip, perhaps from Philip II of the Spanish Armada as in to flip a fly (pitikin parang langaw). In American English slang, Flips means Filipinos.

    If pines came from nos of Filipinos we may not be pining as we do. At the Escorial, there is the statue of an Infanta (young princess) affectionately called Filipina because of her cute pug nose. Imagine Filipina I as the answer to England’s Elizabeth instead of the “inept Philips” (Paul Kennedy)! At the Escorial Philip II built, bureaucracy was such that resignations remained unaddressed for a lifetime. Now we know why in the Philippines it is“morir antes dimitir.”

    Yet the Philip of our national name was deemed to bestride the narrow world like a colossus. It was an empire whose throne was abdicated to him even before TP, the latest possession, acquired his name. The most powerful monarch of his era was vilified by posterity because of rumors in Europe that he murdered his heir-apparent Carlos, six months after the victims’ nocturnal arrest and confinement. The great German playwright Schiller turned his story into a verse drama called Don Carlos. Verdi based his monumental opera on Schiller’s play. Our heroes of Bagumbayan, Biak na bato, Kawit, and Malolos, who studied in Europe must have missed this.

    So it came to pass that we are the only country named after a Philip, demented or not, or any king for that matter. Philip of Macedon was remembered only by a city called Philippi and his son, Alexander the Great, had only Alexandria. Philippi is now known by another name and Alexandria is just another city in Egypt. The Greek politicians do not deliver philippics anymore while ours could not seem to outgrow “philippinics”.

    The Constitution fundamentalized the anomaly by granting the power to Congress to change our national name, quite tentative so it appears. Could it be that our national reputation could change by a change in our national name? Could it be that a sea change might occur only after a tempest of a name change? But an imaginary conversation between father Carlos V, and son, Felipe II, could have happened. The son offered to name the Philippines after his father. Carlos answered, “Felipe, no!” Filipino is not in the name of the father, indeed!

  6. Two maps of Philippine languages:

    BTW I find it easier (as a speaker of Manila Tagalog aka Filipino) to understand Bikol or Bisaya than Pampangan which is a separate group and Ilocano I never got beyond a few words.

    But yes, Tagalog, Bikol and the Bisayan languages are considered “Central Philippine Languages” and I feel the differences are as small as those between German and Dutch/Flemish – while possibly the difference to Pampangan and Ilocano is like the distance German to English – dunno. Bahasa Melayu does have some basic words that are the same as Filipino but it seemed quite far to me, just like I understand a few words of Swedish that are common to German but the rest isn’t quite comprehensible.

  7. pablonasid says:

    I am (almost) shedded some tears when I realized that in your mind, you still need to “choose” between 2 countries. or “go to jail as a draft dodger”. I hope I have ingrained in my kids that they are very lucky to have a dual nationality (in their heart and some even dual passports). It is a gift to be able to see different cultures and I hope they are now open minded enough and be able to avoid having to choose. Maria Reza “too Americanized” to be a Filipina? Rabiya Mateo no good because she’s only partial Filipina? Irineo staying away from Philippines because he does not feel welcome?
    Is this the Trump definition of “real Americans”??? Both Philippines and the US have successfully marginalized their original people and almost ALL people now are descendants of immigrants, and we better celebrate this as it will enrich the culture. So, Maria has a very hard time now and maybe Irineo does not always feel comfortable in Philippines, but those new immigrants are badly needed to compensate for those who like to isolate the Philippines for their own profit. You said that unity may have to be forged by working together while tolerating differences. I challenge that and would like to state that we need to celebrate the differences. And luckily, most ‘normal’ Filipino’s are open enough to listen to Irineo and Maria and Rabiya and all those who have seen that life is more than isolation. So many Filipino’s got open minds, they need the Irineo’s of this world to give it a push and we might not have the courage of Maria Reza, and our daily discussions (open, honest and with dignity) in our local communities won’t change the world, but I hope it provides feeding ground for thoughts. After all, Philippines still is a democracy and if people realize what is going on, they might elect enlightened leaders.
    And we can still enjoy these beautiful people (and have to ignore the a..holes because they won’t change anyway).

    • I am (almost) shedded some tears Thanks for NOT shedding tears. I have accepted certain things but not resigned to them over the years, otherwise I wouldn’t write now.

      I have ingrained in my kids that they are very lucky to have a dual nationality (in their heart and some even dual passports). My German grandmother told me that my knowing both cultures would be a great thing for me when I grew up. She was ahead of her time in many things, especially in accepting a Filipino boyfriend for her daughter in the late 1950s – even today there are German families who will try to move heaven and hell if their children are with “Yugos” or Turks, even more with those outside Europe, blacks and Muslims as no-gos.

      Both Philippines and the US have successfully marginalized their original people Yes. In Bicol where my father comes from some people will not even eat food prepared by Aetas. Lumads in Mindanao have a rough time to say the least. Igorots went to war against Marcos when Chief Macli-ing Dulag was killed for opposing the Chico Dam, Marcos sent up helicopters with Jungle Fighters to fight the CPLA, later he made a peace pact (bodong) with some tribal groups. Moros endured massacres during Marcos’ time, even if he bribed some of their leaders with ambassadorial positions and more.Bicol was full of people from near the capital when the abaca boom came up – Mayor Templado of Tiwi in the 1870s was a Pampangan, my great-grandfather Hilario was from Batangas. Mindanao was full of Visayans after WW2. Filipinos have not been kind to each other so very often, though sometimes intermarriage between newcomers and locals (like in my father’s village) mildened things after a while at times.

      You said that unity may have to be forged by working together while tolerating differences. I challenge that and would like to state that we need to celebrate the differences.

      Tolerance is actually the minimum. Germany’s greatest writer together with Schiller, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, said in his “East-Western Divan”, his great work on different cultures, that “Acceptance is key – to merely tolerate is to insult”, and his most famous statement “the country that does not protect the stranger shall go under” is from that book too. Unfortunately his own people did NOT heed his advice – and Germany went under in artillery fire and bombs in 1945.

      luckily, most ‘normal’ Filipino’s are open enough to listen to Irineo and Maria and Rabiya Yep, the humanity of normal, usually non-elite Filipinos is great. Little chauvinism, like the Filipinos of old that welcomed Magellan and his men with typical Visayan hospitality. It was the leaders that had their agenda, like Humabon making Magellan fight Lapu-Lapu who of course resisted. It is still some of the leaders that have their own agenda today.

      • Re Bicol: I read somewhere that many of the original peasants of Albay (our province) were displaced and became bandits because of the abaca boom of the late 1870s. Well, my folks may have partly been landgrabbers as well in the 1870s to early 20th century, but things came full circle when my grandfather (who personally did NOT deserve it of course) lost most of his land due to the geothermal plant in the 1970s and 1980s and many of our folks became dirt-poor, so I guess the lesson from such things is that Filipinos should realize their zero-sum games don’t really pay off in the end, they hurt the people as a whole. Of course that is all an extension of the dog-eat-dog struggle for survival over there, with a few (some of them old wealth whose folks were also “pirates” or “bushwhackers” but that should not be held against them, especially NOT by the upstarts who only want their turn) realizing things can’t go on that way, the nation matters. But Ninotchka Rosca who wrote “Tales of a Bitter Country” is right, there is a lot of rancor there.

        • I don’t agree with this “diversity is strength” bs; or this “melting pot” stuff, I welcome different points of view and why i agree the Freedom of speech /expression is the most valuable aspect of what America is, Freedom to be armed too is the flip of that same coin.

          That Volairean principle:
          “I wholly disapprove of what you have to say; but will defend to the death your right to say it”. That’s America.

          But at the end, the best policy is decided upon and we get behind it; there’s no ‘agree to disagree’, one is either right and the other is wrong, if policy is to be enacted.

          Again, you have to study the friction that has produced America. That grind is what produces smooth surfaces (thru agreement or defeat) which give way to some semblance of harmony, which in the end is temporary which means the grinding is constant. That’s what you’re seeing now, with Trump as the valve that releases this tension,

          w/out him we’d have civil wars again, hell there still might be time for that too, but my point here is that

          this friction and grinding has to be present. And with Filipinos busy watching Wowowillie (et al) I just don’t see it, A-B Filipinos will still think of their pets as more humans than those fellow humans they come across in the streets selling sampaguita necklaces at 2am.

          • Yeah but how do you manage that process of sorting out in the Philippine setting which is a face and power (c) Joeam, zero-sum (c) Irineo, win or lose game with a lot of vengeance as a result?

            Doing what you have in USA to the Philippines sounds like shaking nitroglycerine to me.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Then that is the problem, if you do not believe in agreeing to disagree, then how do you end arguments, by holding a grudge for the rest of your life?

            • You’re missing the point, karl. For example, the most recent Justice appointment here, making it 7 Catholics (1 is Episcopalian but raise Catholic, so lumped with the 7) and 2 Jews. When the SCOTUS decides, there is no agree to disagree crap, a decision is made and the rest of the country has to abide, such are the ramifications of true arguments. I ‘m no God fanatic, but I don’t agree with this let’s all go to Vegas and have lots of sex, and let the taxpayer pay for my abortion. So eventually sterilization will be enforced also. There’s no time for holding grudges, karl, in real arguments, someone wins someone loses. Sure lesser arguments are just fun. 😉

              Ireneo, I’m thinking the example of Philip Island in Australia might be relevant, at some point the A-B folks will have to give way, so too the C-D-E with A-B will have to give way to nature, like my Moana post maybe that’ll give ’em commonality,

  8. Full-quoting my father’s last article in English (after that he went his way, which is to clarify things among Filipinos first and in the national language only) as it explains to very many things, also how Filipino and Western interactions often end in severe misunderstanding:

    Maybe Is No

    (By: Zeus Salazar)

    In the Philippines, yes is yes, maybe is no and no is rarely heard. A Filipino a yes or no question. Whether trial (Are you coming to my party?) or serious (Can I borrow money?), one is likely to get a yes, if the idea sits well with him. If it doesn’t, he won’t say no, he’ll say maybe. His response, irresolute as it may seem to non-Filipinos, doesn’t necessarily reflect an inability to make decisions. Rather, it shows a well-mastered tact of protecting the other person from hurt. He says maybe though he means no to soften the force of a direct negative and thus immediately assuage the other person’s feelings.

    A description of Filipino society may be culled from what anthropologists call a high-context culture, one in which the modes of behavior are not explicitly stated but are instead inferred in many different ways, such as tone of voice, body language and the idiosyncrasies of the linguafranca. (By contrast, the low context behavior of Western societies is seen as abrasive, uncouth and impersonal.) In a high context culture, interpersonal communication operates both on personal feelings as well as upon the anticipated reaction of the other person.

    This explains the Filipino’s sharp intuitive sense or what he calls pakiramdam. It is a skill, learned from birth, which enables him to grasp nuances, much like a trained musical ear distinguishes secondary and tertiary themes in a dense symphony.

    Pakiramdam, the level on which Filipinos carry on day-to-day relationships is the externalization of an inner sensitivity called damdam. Damdam is made up of sentiments that collectively form the Filipino’s sense of self. Thus hurting the feelings of a Filipino is the same as hurting his self-esteem. It is tantamount to destroying the person himself. And when he loses face, he rises in defense of his life.

    Philippine history is replete with examples of how far Filipinos would go to salvage wounded pride. Many of these occurred during the Spanish period, the archipelago’s first contact with the West, an encounter between a people secure in their island-world and a people who were the product of the brutal age of colonization. Poles apart, their twains never met because they failed to read each other.

    Although forced labor was an underlying cause of an 85-year revolution led by Bohol Island chieftain Francisco Dagohoy, it was the refusal of a Jesuit priest to give his brother a Christian burial (the insult and loss of face) that triggered it. Apolinario de la Cruz, a lay associate, was refused admission into the religious order because he was an indio. He rebeled against the Spanish priests and founded a religious order exclusively for natives.

    In more recent times, the Filipinos’ need to regain their pride led to the EDSA Revolution of 1986. Their parliament in the streets removed the Marcos regime and restored the nation’s democratic processes. How did Filipinos develop their own brand of sensitivity and how does it perpetuate itself in modern society? Certain aspects of Filipino history and culture offer some clues.

    Then, as now, Filipinos tend to move in small social circles. Their groupings began with riverine settlements called barangay populated by families belonging to the same clan. In the barangay society everyone knew each other by name and by personal history, followed the same traditions, fought common enemies.

    Through the years, the barangay became a village, the village became a town, the town became a city and so on. But the quality of interpersonal relationships barely changed. Today, even in a megapolis like Metro Manila, Filipinos mingle in close, almost incestuous societal units.

    It is not unusual in Filipino society for one’s best friend to be a sibling or a first cousin. When moving outside the family unit, the school or profession becomes the next societal grouping. These bonding groups are close enough to be considered surrogate families. As with any close group, whether it be the family, the community or an entire nation, shared behavior patterns form.

    Everybody knows the basic tenets of behavior. In the Philippines, as in most of Asia, these tenets are based on respect, another outward manifestation of pakiramdam. Only in the Philippines would one find a young executive addressing the company messenger, a much older man, in the third person plural and using the respectful term po.

    Language has trained Filipinos to distinguish between intentionality and non-intentionality. For example, the word suntok, which in English has the neutral meaning to hit, changes color when infixed or prefixed: sinuntok means was hit intentionally, nasuntok means was hit unintentionally. Because directness is considered impolite, Filipinos use indirect speech to convey a need or desire. If a guest so much as talks about the heat, the host’s rejoinder must be cold drink.

    Filipinos also have their own body language which, oftentimes, they alone can read. They can detect an insincere smile, which’they call ngiting aso, the smile of a dog; a dour disposition (mukhang biernes Santo, or a face for Good Friday); honesty (maaliwalas ang mukha,or a clean, fresh face.)

    If in the West a declaration of decisiveness is I mean what I say and I say what I mean, in the Philippines it is watch what I do and you will know what I mean.Through a highly developed sense of person, the Filipino has extended communication from a me/you model to a me/ you/us model, internalizing the person he is trying to reach. It is communication which heeds the Filipino saying, Kapwa ko, kapatid ko.My fellowman is my brother, therefore, the person in him is the same person in me.?

    Though I don’t agree with all the conclusions, the analysis is of course sound. I do see how hypersensitivity can lead to My Way Killings or foreigners hacked or shot to death due to a misinterpretation of what the foreigner meant, projected personally. “Watch what I do and you will know what I meant” is OK in a context everybody knows, but even in an all-Filipino setting contexts will vary – or why does Dutz need so many speakers to interpret what he said? The small social circles that used to work in the mega-village Metro Manila even in the time I lived there and in the national village Philippines no longer work in a Philippines where people have experienced different settings – sometimes even families of OFWs and migrants drift apart because they have no way of communicating their different contexts to each other. And I do see how different worlds collided when the Philippines was thrust from the Edge to the Middle of Things – Visayans who had raided Taiwan came into contact with the West which basically started when the upstart Greeks invaded Troy and a whole chain of events lead to colonialism while the Philippines had its conflicts but not the total kind of conquest not the Greeks, but their Roman successors started – think of how Carthage was not only destroyed, but salt was strewn so nothing would grow on its soil anymore. Fluid hierarchies collided with fixed hierarchies, small warrior groups with a vast military machine. People with an intuitive, immediate view of the world collided with those who had a a lot of science.

    Worlds collide even more today – a UP professor who wrote about his daughter who worked in BPO came home crying because an American customer had called her a “b-tch” is one example.

    Filipinos venturing out into the world, 10 million or more now, are another. I think some of the “lostness” of many Filipinos today is also due to their having to deal with a highly impersonal and complex world, even if they are just a few generations away from the more personal world of the old Philippines, as I have cited in “Towards Filipino Modernity” – our labandera straight from a place with very simple life and her time certainly no electricity, UP Balara migrants from the Visayas still raising pigs and chickens like in their old province. No wonder those worst off take drugs and even many of those who are more educated or better off are CONFUSED as hell. It is a difficult process.

    • Ireneo, I just saw “Soul of America” by (and about) Jon Meachum , on HBO. In it, Meachum stresses that we need to revisit 1930s America to really understand what’s going on now. Interestingly, my favourite book by a Marine is “War is a Racket” (1935) by Gen. Smedley Butler. Worth watching and relevant to your piece on Identity:

      It’s the red I was referring to, in Joe’s piece about yellow. USMC colours is red/yellow (gold).

    • Just some more comments on some aspects:

      Everybody knows the basic tenets of behavior. In the Philippines, as in most of Asia, these tenets are based on respect, another outward manifestation of pakiramdam. Hell yeah, how much respect have so many Filipinos NOT had for Leila de Lima recently?

      Also, “everybody knows” is probably no longer that true these days. One could also use it to justify stuff like “ABS/CBN had it coming to them, they disrespected the President”. Like Pablo said, most Filipinos don’t snap judge how foreigners behave and put their interpretation into it based on just their own narrow context. Otherwise the country would be a cagey place, being there a balancing act for everyone who DIDN’T grow up with certain implied rules and being constantly having a sense of being watched and at most grinned at – it is mostly NOT like that.

      Filipinos also have their own body language which, oftentimes, they alone can read. – not necessarily true – in fact, there are studies that show certain aspects of body language and facial expression are pretty much common for the entire human race.

      It is communication which heeds the Filipino saying, Kapwa ko, kapatid ko.My fellowman is my brother, therefore, the person in him is the same person in me.? if that were true, there would not be such passivity in the face of tokhang.

      I experienced simple decency in Munich one day when someone ran after me with my suit jacket which I had just picked up from dry cleaning – it had fallen from a hanger. Maybe people here are NOT as super close to one another as the small social groups of the Philippines, but they can be more decent to strangers than many small groups in the Philippines are to “others”. Because those outside the domain of “kapwa” often don’t count at all in the Philippines.

      • Ireneo, I see alot of similarities between SE Asian and Arab culture, and it doesn’t necessarily stem from Islam. But just the indirectness of it all. It’s like youre always playing a game, and why things don’t get done.

        We have something similar in the Marine Corps its called the art of skating, basically when in garrison you are doing busy work, just to do busy work. Getting out of it is an art because you gotta make it look like you’re being diligent (thus never looking bad), while at the same time not actually wasting your time (thus looking selfish).

        your Dad’s article (and agree w/ your disagreements of his views) also reminded me of this Vatican article:

        “Two sexes ‘sin in different ways’

        Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently.

        A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride, while for men, the urge for food was only surpassed by the urge for sex. LOL! i didn’t even know they’re taking survey’s in there.

  9. Karl Garcia says:

    “With their national origins in Spanish and US imperialism, and in the subsequent wake of intense waves of cultural colonisation, educated Filipinos are often at a loss about what their roots are. In order to bring much needed clarity to the ongoing debate about what it means to be Filipino, this essay will relate the past to the present by tracing the evolution of, and the continuities in, the essence of Filipino social organisation and worldview, drawing frequent comparisons with Indonesian and Thai data. The core approach taken – wherein these issues are examined through the lens of culture – is complemented with (i) reflections on common Southeast Asian principles of social construction and (ii) with the pinpointing of the systemic divides that prevent Filipinos from identifying with the collective whole and from growing into a nation of committed citizens. The paper is of relevance both to scholarly researchers and to others with practical interests in the region, as it will enable them to better know the people that they are or will be dealing with.”
    I will try to dissect it later.

    • I removed a couple of the long pastings. I think we need to temper the use of others’ language as our content in favor of extracting the key points, then discussing their relevance.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Sorry Joe.
        I should have stopped with the abstract.

        • Good morning Karl.. in any case, I was able to read what you posted as it came as mails.

          The article is an excellent comprehensive analysis of the lack of common purpose.

          1. The usual stuff we already know: principalia and commercial elites formed in Spanish times

          2. The short period of the ilustrados, first ideas of nationalism among the kids of the elite

          –> this is what is called “nacíon”.

          3. The capture of power by Aguinaldo and how America co-opted the local elites

          –> the birth of the trapos or what Joe calls “the entitled”

          4. The remaking of the nation in America’s image, with education in English

          –> those with English (politicians and professionals) had an advantage

          5. Lack of a true political ideology like Indonesia’s Pancasila / Bhinneka Tunggal Ika

          –> instead a lot of empty rituals – I recall how flag ceremonies were boring rote to us

          6. The most civic period was the 1960s, probably, before modern media entered the stage

          –> what compounded destruction of civics was the middle class leaving for the USA etc.

          7. It also mentions that the system of education does not teach the big picture of things

          –> there is neither a big picture of the Philippines, nor of its place with its neighbors

          8. Filipinos therefore retreat into the family space – the world of politics is “outside” of that

          –> the public, outside world is where rules are usually not followed, nobody really cares


          Those are at least the main thoughts that I extracted while reading, all very relevant.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Many thanks.

          • The gist of the analysis corresponds to what I analyzed in “The National Village” – I am quite happy to see at least ONE professional analysis correspond to my amateur analysis, with a more comprehensive view of course than mine, as the pros look into that stuff full-fime:


            – I would add that the nacíon and bayan are the late 19th/20th century picture of things, and I believe the cultural divide is still there but fading, while the power structures created remain

            – the article also says that though Southeast Asia in general IS a place where the public sphere is controlled by “Men of Prowess” (politicians etc.) and the private sphere is private, in Thailand (didn’t know about that until know) and Indonesia (unity in diversity) there are public ideologies, philosophies of state – Edgar did try to unearth Quezon’s ideas of good citizenship which were based on those of Mabini, but those “Commandments” of Citizenship seem to be lost today.

            – Joe just mentioned that the likes of Angel Locsin might have the potential to formulate direction, something I heartily agree with – she has the heart to do it.

            – If one looks at Commandments as avoiding the Golden Calf, then some of the commandments of public behavior might go like this:

            a) Thou Shalt Not Steal from the Public (Daang Matuwid)

            b) Thou Shalt Not Kill Thy Citizens (the opposite of tokhang)

            c) Thou Shalt Not Red-Tag Thy Citizens (do not be Parlade)

            d) Thou Shalt Not Jail Thy Citizens without reason (see Leila de Lima)

            e) Thou Shalt Not Destroy and Grab Businesses (like ABS-CBN etc.)

            Or course there should be DOs and not just DONT’S. The ideas of kapatiran and kaginhawaan can be transmuted into something like this, I guess:

            1) The well-being of the people is the first goal of the state – leaving no man behind

            2) As fellow citizens, all Filipinos are to be treated according to and follow the same rules

            3) All people in the Philippines have the same human rights which shall always be respected

            The country would need a Plato, a philosopher to define The Republic.

            I have read in some places that the Greek politicians of old were just as self-dealing as Filipino politicians now – or politicians in any place that lacks an ethic or lost it. Philosophers defined one.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              You are a pro.

              • sonny says:

                Indeed. Take a bow too, Neph!


                Thanks both! My mother who always is a great teacher and academic – her book about research by Europeans on Philippine languages in 500 years is based on her U.P. Ph.D. – told me my recent articles are now JOURNALISTIC, but not yet ACADEMIC quality. Which means I am a bit of a self-taught (of course growing up in an environment where the stuff I write about now was part of many a dinner table discussion helps, also growing up with thousands of books now mostly at the La Salle University library my father donated it to after UP made him leave his professorial house and move to a condo near Katipunan where he still meets his students, the discussions here and my blogging for five years have sharpened my research and writing) popular social and natural sciences writer. Thanks Joe as well for mentioning 5 years ago that behind all of the chaotic stuff I posted then, the other side was that I “think good” – this gave me the courage to seek knowledge, and these articles as well as coaching Karl is what Oprah Winfrey calls “paying it forward”. I also feel like paying forward to the Philippines as I have been able to “escape” the misery and confusion and am living a relatively good life now. Thanks sonny as well for suggesting, once to write the full history of the Philippines. That project has brought up interesting angles and insights for me – echoed in some articles Karl has recently found. Thanks too Karl for being industrious as a beaver in finding additional stuff that enriches our perspectives. May we all “live long and prosper” in finding confidence through knowledge.


                A recent blog by Pinoy in Europe gave me the opportunity to sit back and reflect for a change, rather than engage in the dialogue. PiE’s point was that it is time for Filipinos to set aside the notion of being victims, which is a powerless role, and aspire to take control of their lives, which is a powerful role.

                The discussion thread evolved to the eternal debate between faith and non-faith, but the exchange was conducted respectfully, so anybody could likely find a place to hang his hat and agree with one view or another.

                The question left to linger is exactly HOW the Philippines can emerge from victimhood..

                ..Given the unanswered question and the circularity of original victimhood, we each develop our own framework of understandings and beliefs that guides us through life. We study, we learn, we build on that framework, but we cannot ever discover the entire truth. We cannot ever grasp all knowledge..

                ..Confidence is the emotional satisfaction that builds up when we have made a lot more good decisions than bad. It is in part a self-fulfilling drive to be better, the opposite of neediness, because when a person feels confident, he makes decisions that need to be made, rather than waffling. And it gives a person the strength to accept that a bad decision is not a personal failing, it is a bad decision. Something to learn from.

                That’s why it is best to encourage kids as they grow, to give guidance and praise more than criticism. With a bed of confidence, a child is less needy. The child is more open to knowledge that is not filtered through neediness.

                I believe that too many Filipino kids are raised in a family circumstance and schooled in a disciplinary manner that builds hardness rather than confidence. The child receives orders and criticism. Not praise. Praise is found, not in what each child accomplishes, himself, every day, but in his ability to beat someone else. To be first honor.

                Which for 97% of the kids, leads to defending why not being first honor is okay..

                ..I’d guess that, for way too many kids, an emotional shield grows from dealing with so many demands and instructions and criticisms. The only way to remain whole is to steel oneself, to argue, to whine, to make excuses. To lie. To insult. To win.

                At any cost. Preferably a cost paid by someone else..

                ..And what a vast, needy dedication to ignorance our view of the Philippines becomes. We see conflict and complaint, villains and more villains, failure rather than success.

                We fail to see the positives, or push them aside. We fail to see Manila congestion as a good sign of economic health, fail to notice that the shacks along the riverbanks are going away, or that Manila is no longer as flood prone, or that readiness for disasters is a national success story, or that the Philippines is demonstrating a mature, law-based solution to Moro rebellion and Chinese incursions. That there is a real middle class developing, high-rise homes reaching for the sky, an emerging base of good values and fair dealing. That the nation is leading Asia in growth and rising on every global index published, for ease of doing business, competitiveness, freedom, transparency and reduction of corruption. That democracy here is vibrant and working. That the nation is financially sound, collecting taxes better, putting money to better use . . .

                Becoming whole.

                The orphan of Asia is growing up.

                Will she fall back on what she knows, of bitterness and blame? Or will she strive for the knowledge and confidence that will propel the nation to a healthy wholeness, and leadership in Asia?

                The latest inspiration from Joe to me has been to look less at WHAT WAS, and more at WHAT IS and WHAT CAN BE. Thus there is less looking back and more looking at now in the present article.

                LCPL_X has shared here a video on national souls that has two important reminders:

                1) Avoid nostalgia – things weren’t better before, only different

                2) Avoid narcissism – don’t imagine you are the only victim (as a person or as a nation)

                (smart things may even come from Trump supporters and Marines at times, hehe 😀 )

                Filipino nationalism is often nostalgic glorification of past and narcissistic to the point of self-pity.

                But as Karl has noted, “we are kicking ourselves in the butt. As Sonny said, it is a fait accompli”.

                “History is a done deal” Joe has said. Or course the USA is a nation built by people who left their pasts behind to build the present and future. Who forswore all allegiances to Kings and more..

                Countries that have more of a past to deal with (the USA also has its stuff to deal with, but that isn’t the topic here though) have to deal with the past to understand the present and find a way into the future. My next article will be about how our remembering the past is often about the present and future more than really about the past. The article after that shall be ONLY about the present and WHAT CAN BE. Abangan, as they say in Filipino media. 🙂

              • – especially for LCPL_X, Karl, sonny and Joe but not only – Zimbardo’s idea of time mindsets:

                Most researchers believe our time perspective is largely learned in childhood. Culture also has an influence on our time perspective. Individualistic, “me-focused” societies tend to be future-focused, while more “we-focused” societies — ones that encourage social engagement — invest more in the past. Affluence also has an effect: Poorer communities tend to live more in the present. But we can all change our time perspective, Zimbardo says.

                Zimbardo wrote in one of his books how for instance a lot of Arab societies are extremely past-focused with little optimism about the future. One result could be suicide bombers. As LCPL_X has noted some similarities between Arab and SEA socieites, the key to success and not desperation in the Philippines would be to shift the mindset from past-oriented ONLY to more optimistic future-oriented like Joe is doing RIGHT NOW. Though the past-orientedness is more of an issue for Philippine “elites” while Filipino “masses” are more merely present-oriented (mostly hand-to-mouth even while the middle-class is at least aspiring for their own families) – but all three groups lack an optimistic future-bound mindset for the nation – except for Will who believes. Damn, Will, without your confidence, do you know how often I would have given up. If we want encouragement from the past, let us remember Edgar always. We don’t have to put up a statue – Xiao BTW told me my hunch that hero statues are a form of anito is correct in his view. Memory of the good those who have left us have done is a way of keeping confidence. Robert the Bruce kept the handkerchief of William Wallace for a reason in the Braveheart movie. Joe quotes Lincoln for a good reason. But I will istap now, I am already revealing my next article, folks.

              • sonny says:

                Zimbardo’s assessments make good sense. I think he, knowingly or not, was channeling the thoughts of Plato: one sees good deeds in the concrete, mirroring goodness in the abstract. Hence the Platonic world, timeless. 🙂

            • Ireneo: “LCPL_X has shared here a video on national souls that has two important reminders:

              1) Avoid nostalgia – things weren’t better before, only different

              2) Avoid narcissism – don’t imagine you are the only victim (as a person or as a nation)

              (smart things may even come from Trump supporters and Marines at times, hehe )”

              Just to clarify… I’m what people call here a one issue voter. Simply put: stop stupid wars period. I’m more Micha’s stripe than anything really— except I have no qualms voting for Trump to retaliate against Trapo Dems. Whether Trump or Biden wins this Tues. doesn’t really phase me much the way most Americans are stressed. Like I said I view Trump as a safety valve (no wars; i’m good). If Trump wins then my girl AOC is guaranteed 2024; if Biden wins the Dems will carve out AOC and ensure Kamala who I’m sure will bring in Gavin Newsom (meaning more of the same, more stupid wars for oil or human rights, whatever the justifications… thats their pattern).

              “As LCPL_X has noted some similarities between Arab and SEA socieites, the key to success and not desperation in the Philippines would be to shift the mindset from past-oriented ONLY to more optimistic future-oriented like Joe is doing RIGHT NOW.”

              My hint about Moana is hey maybe something can be salvaged from the past that is relevant to future endeavors.

              But relevant to Joe and basically American democracy in play is that people really believe that they as individuals can change things. I ‘m kinda skeptical about this, yet still I vote and participate in pushing for candidates and issues where I can. I don’t drive around a truck with a big Trump flag but I do defend Trump’s achievement in not going to stupid wars abroad (that in and of itself is a big deal already for an American prez).

              I’m researching Aurora province right now per karl’s posting below, and it seems there are families that actually run that side of Luzon who are entrenched and am now wondering if Ayalas can truly deliver given this, plus typhoons. See over here, especially the West, we don’t like family names for the sake of family names. That’s another thing I think as far as American politics compared to 3rd world politics— too much weight on family names and power hold on lands.

            • sonny says:

              “See over here, especially the West, we don’t like family names for the sake of family names. That’s another thing I think as far as American politics compared to 3rd world politics— too much weight on family names and power hold on lands.”

              LC, this difference is more apparent than real. The English (similar to the Philippines in human geography) were able create royalty/names inspite of the country’s limited size. They created estates to back their peerage on backs of serfs on native land and colonies via their thalassocratic adventures overseas. Net physical effect was the abundance necessary for trade and physical growth. This was continued in the American version of the push for conquest over the American continent and mimicked by the American robber barons via technology and auto colonization in their push for national autonomy. To my mind, the human dynamic is the same.

  10. Karl Garcia says:

    Click to access EPB_pobre_natl%20identity.pdf

    A Nation Strongly Built, A Nation Secure
    A nation strongly built is a nation secure. To be strong it must have unity. And to have unity it must have, among others, a national identity. Hence, the quest for national identity is an imperative to building a strong national community.
    A group or community distinguishes itself or is distinguished by its difference from others because the persons making that particular group or community share things in common. Their shared common- ality may well be history or experience, language, culture, tradition, ethnic compo- sition, or religion. Whatever it may be, their shared commonality is what gives form and substance to their identifiable uniqueness as a nation – in a word, their national identity.
    Challenges in Forging a Filipino National Identity
    It appears we Filipinos have yet to have an identity. We do not seem to possess the kind of national pride and confidence that others have. Perhaps the explanation lies in the negative effect caused by conditions and realities that have yet to be recognized and made over.
    First. Lack of unity. There are the long- festering local communist rebellion and Muslim separatist movement. Regional autonomy is insistently demanded and federalism could well be the feature of what is intended as a parliamentary form of government. Note also the country’s demographic condition. There are 37 major ethnic groups and hundreds of sub-groups. That by itself means diversity, but it could
    also imply divisiveness of the population inasmuch as some dominant groups oppose adoption of a common national language or even agitate for independence.
    Second. Lack of unifying symbols. One such symbol is a common language. We need to have one which we can speak and write, and by which we can connect “our inner selves to the realities of community life.” Another symbol worth considering is a native national name. “Philippines” or “Filipinas” should be replaced for it symbol- izes nothing but the country’s colonial experience and it can hardly help in the making of our identity. Just about the only meaningful symbol is the flag. But even so, it has not escaped criticism from some quar- ters which claim it is not reflective enough of all the major contributors to our coun- try’s historic struggle for freedom.
    Third. The archipelagic nature of the coun- try. The Philippines is geographically bro- ken up into as many as 7,100 islands. But no matter, the handicap of fragmentation is no longer that difficult to overcome, what with the great advances in the fields of informa- tion, transportation and communication. But do you think that being separated from one another by the sea is really a hard and incontrovertible fact? Is that not merely a perception? For it can also be argued that the sea does not separate them but, rather, it does unite them.
    Fourth. Colonial policies. Filipinos, it is said, were made to live for more than three centuries in the convent and half a century in Hollywood. How was this possible? Western ideals and virtues were instilled even as Filipino shortcomings and inferior- ity were rubbed in. Filipinos were made to ignore their pre-colonial accomplishments in the various aspects of culture, arts and ves. They were built in the true bayanihan or balikatan spirit by a people who knew how to
    sciences. They were told of their backward- ness” so that they would accept the latter’s superiority. The end result of all this colonial tutelage and indoctrination is a Filipino people who have turned out to be the “most occidental of the orientals and the most oriental of the occidentals.”
    The effects of the policy of divide and rule have been so profound and lasting. One such effect is the non-integration of the Muslim segment of the population into the mainstream of Philippine body politic and its strong desire to separate from the Republic. A corollary policy was the cooptation of a number of Fili- pinos into the colonial government service.
    As a matter of practical necessity Spanish colo- nial authorities enlisted the services of native chieftains and lesser leaders in the conduct of local government affairs. As a consequence those minions of the colonizer acquired such degree of power, wealth and education that they eventually became the ilustrados and/or principales – the socio-economic elite or upper class. Those coopted would serve well the ob- jectives of imperialism. In return, the elites were greatly benefited by their cooptation.
    Politically, the electoral system had the effect
    of ensuring the elite’s virtual monopoly of the political leadership of the country. Moreover, their monopoly would open the door of oppor- tunity for the creation of their political dynas- ties. Now most of the country’s wealth are in their hands. Data obtained some years ago which could not have changed materially by the lapse of so brief a time show these revealing figures:
    1. The top 5.5% of all landowning families owns 44% of all the cultivable lands;
    2. 15% of the richest families accounts for 52.5% of all the national income; and,
    3. Only 60 to 100 political clans control all the elective positions at the national level.
    The outcome of colonial policies was to make the Filipino elites the rich and the mighty, the dominant and ruling class, while the large majority, the masses, are the poor and domi- nated class. This is how the structure of Phil- ippine society came to be what it is today.

    The Trident Approach to Building a National Identity
    How does this state or condition of Philippine society bear on the quest for national identity? The answer is well put in Pablo S Trillana III’s “Foreword” to Building the National Commu- nity: Problems and Prospects and other His- torical Essays written by Oscar L Evangelista. Trillana tells what Evangelista thinks of that state or condition. Which is that:
    “after all our struggles to become a nation, the true spirit of nationhood continues to elude us. Our perception of “nation” remains divided. There is the “nation” of the elite and the “nation” of the masses. We have yet to reconcile these two perceptions into a single, national aspiration. This is, so to speak, the canker in the rose.”
    The nation envisioned by the elite and the nation the masses aspire for no doubt reflect the fundamental class interest of the one and of the other. Reconciling them, therefore, could prove to be extremely difficult, considering that they are diametrically opposed to each other. But it is not impossible, though it entails political will and long, determined and un- wavering effort.
    That effort could proceed through an over- lapping and mutually reinforcing trident approach.
    1. Study of the Past.
    Filipinos need to know and internalize their past. The past is actually a record of experi- ences. We should learn lessons from it so that we can better understand and cope with pre- sent-day problems, issues and events. Knowing the past, too, is knowing, among others, what our ancestors did accomplish so remarkably.
    An example are the rice terraces in the moun- tain provinces of Northern Luzon built thou- sands of years ago. They are an engineering feat, designed by nameless architects with only their native and practical talent and keen aesthetic sense to go by. They can compare and contrast with the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Walls of China, the Ziggurat of Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq), etc. But while countless human lives had to be sacrificed to build those monu- mental structures, the rice terraces on the con- trary needed no such destruction to human lives. They were built in the true bayanihan or balikatan spirit by a people who knew how to work together so that they could overcome the problem of survival under an inhospitable, niggardly physical environment.
    In citing the rice terraces as a standing proof
    of the relatively high degree of civilization the ancient Filipinos had attained by then, we should be aroused with a feeling of greatness, pride and confidence in our people’s ability to make remarkable accomplishments; a feeling that bonds us together, at least psychologically because it is one which we all share in com- mon. This is the feeling that generates the form and substance of our national identity.
    2. Use of the National Language.
    With the existence in Philippine society of so many major and minor ethnic groups having tongues of their own, language is dividing more than unifying us. As such, a common national language is imperative if our country is to be strengthened of its solidarity and distinctness.
    In the Philippines, the adoption and use of a national language has been quite a contentious issue, since the onset of the Commonwealth in the mid-1930’s. Attempts to resolve the prob- lem nearly always resulted in emotional dis- cussions, consultations, debates, etc. In fact,
    in the Constitutional Conventions that drafted respectively the 1935, 1972, and 1987 Philippine Constitutions, the issue evoked so much pas- sion on the part of the delegates that more often than not meetings called to hammer it out easily turned into acrimonious argumenta- tions and confusion.
    Ultimately, however, the oppositors came to terms through gradual modification of perti- nent provisions of the three fundamental laws of the land and, eventually by Constitutional mandate, Filipino has been adopted as the national language. It should be used, among other purposes, to unify the Filipinos and bring about their identity. But regional reticence lingers and has yet to fully atrophy its ugly head. Hopefully its full adoption by the entire country would materialize as time marches on and as the Filipinos from north to south, from east to west, take it upon themselves to speak- ing and writing in Filipino.
    3. Enhancement of Nationalism.
    The eminent Filipino historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo quotes a definition of nationalism: “devotion to or advocacy of national unity and independence.” Then he asserts that it is the “most important prerequisite to the formation of national consciousness, indeed the sine qua non to the development of national identi- ties.” It thus serves to bind individuals or groups to “common values, attitudes, pur- poses, and ways of action.”
    In the Philippines, nationalism has become a movement (connected and long-continued series of acts) to “define and advance the national interest.” Its aim is “the fullest reali- zation by ethnic Filipinos of the political and economic independence, as well as the discov- ery and assertion of their national and Asian identity in a competitive world.” Curiously enough, it emerged both as a product of and
    a reaction to Western imperialism.
    Note that until 1892, nationalism was essen- tially a peaceful movement. But in that year, the masses led by Andres Bonifacio founded the Katipunan. Militant with separatist aims, it initiated an armed struggle that culminated in the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Independ- ence was declared and the Philippine Republic was inaugurated. However, after the Philip- pine-American War in 1907, American colonial rule may be said to have been firmly estab- lished. Nationalism now shifted from armed
    to parliamentary struggle as the Filipinos were allowed greater participation in the con- duct of colonial government affairs with the inauguration of the Philippine Assembly.
    Parliamentary struggle led to an inde- pendence law which was enacted with a ten-year transition period. To provide for the transition, a Commonwealth government was established. But mid- way towards the end of the transition Japan invaded the Philippines. By this time nationalism had come into its own. This is why war or no war the Filipinos did not want to compromise. Finally on 4 July 1946, Filipinos recov- ered their independence.
    With Philippine independence, nation-
    alism may have reached its defining moment. But since then it has seemingly lost much of its ardor, a spent force, too weak and desultory to attain fully its primary aim. This despite the fact that the Constitution declares as a State policy the inculcation of patriotism and na- tionalism in the youths in recognition of their vital role in nation building. It also directs the State to “give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism. . . .”

  11. Karl Garcia says:

    “Our Philippine identity
    Alejandro R. Roces
    “The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future, too. We all tried to lie out of that but life won’t let us.” — Eugene O’Neill

    Filipinos are undergoing an identity crisis. Every cultural trait is being subjected to the question: “Is it Filipino?” We are still looking for an answer. The answer to “What is Filipino?” lies in the prejudicial question, “What is culture?” It is culture that makes a Filipino a Filipino and not a Malaysian or Indonesian.

    Culture has been defined as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” To be human is to belong to a culture. Four elements present in all cultures are: technology, institutions, language and arts. These can change in only two ways: by invention or by borrowing. Things invented are part of the indigenous culture of the society which brought them forth; things adopted, or adapted, became part of our indigenous cultures; Spanish and English, part of our national culture.

    The “real Filipino” had been defined as a “decolonized Filipino.” We take exception to this on two grounds. First, it totally disregards the positive aspects of colonialism. It is true that the Spaniards failed to integrate themselves with the natives. As a matter of fact, they couldn’t even identify with the Philippine-born Spaniards or with the Spanish mestizos. But Spain had more advanced techniques and a much higher degree of civilization than this archipelago. In the process of colonization, they did diffuse their culture and created a new synthesis and a new unity that was richer and more varied than what existed in the islands before.

    Second, to decolonize means to bring to a pre-colonial status. To reduce nationalism to colonialism spelled backwards is to emulate the Mediterranean sailors who guarded themselves against the fatal sirenical songs by singing them in reverse. To decolonize the national language would mean the purging of thousands of Spanish words that have been assimilated into Filipino and the abandonment of the Roman alphabet for the syllabic script. If there is anything more reactionary than going back to colonialism, it is going back to pre-colonialism. Prehistoric Philippines was not a Garden of Eden from which our forefathers were expelled because they ate of the tree of colonialism. In every stage of his formation, the Filipino was himself plus his circumstances. He lives in his culture as his culture lived in him. What is needed is redirection. The future is alterable, the past is not. The objective should not be a decolonized Filipino, but a supra-colonial Filipino.

    Progress is not a natural law. The wheel was 46 centuries old when Spain introduced it in the Philippines. What one generation gains may be lost by the succeeding ones. Aside from the fact that culture is acquired, shared, transmitted and gratifying to human needs, culture gravitates towards integration. It was Spanish acculturation that homogenized Philippine society. After the initial resistance to Spanish conquest (the Spanish Army in 1590 was composed of 400 men) and the inertia that blocked urbanization had been overcome, the Filipinos were very receptive to Christian acculturation. Some people ridicule the mass baptisms during the initial period of Christianization, but France, England and other major Christian nations were converted in much the same way. There were uprisings against forced labor, feudalistic monopoly, friar abuses, but not against the technological, institutional, linguistic and artistic benefits of Christian civilization.

    By the last decade of the 19th century, the descendants of the diverse barangays could already think of themselves as one people with a growing sense of unity and nationhood. They became the first Asians to declare their independence from colonial rule. The Revolution, indeed, signaled the birth of a nation. The placenta was Spain’s. With the American occupation, the mother got buried along with the afterbirth. The Tagalogs have a saying: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” It is their folk way of saying that nations without a past have no future.”

  12. Karl Garcia says:

    “History, sense and identity
    May 16, 2020
    MANY Filipinos who were born overseas seem to be either ashamed of or clueless about Filipino culture. But once in their lives, when they feel incomplete, they feel a desire that makes them want to know more. When one seems to have forgotten, a yearning for a connection is felt.

    The children of the Filipino diaspora may hear bad things about the Philippines; sometimes even described in their favorite Netflix series — the weak justice system, the poverty and the corruption. Many people are lazy beggars and find every foreigner a milking opportunity. But in their obligatory visits with their families, they see a resemblance to them in each local they meet and feel a sense of magic seeing how similar we truly are.

    How does it happen?

    Apparently, that’s how culture works. You may not be aware of it, but because one or both parents were raised in the Philippines, or grandparents have lived in the Philippines, through socialization and child-rearing, one is passed a sense or a consciousness. The historian Fernand Braudel essayed an idea that one should look at history in the “longue durée,” which means not just as a series of particular events but of mentalities that connect these events. Mentalities can be concepts that are passed on by a people from one generation to another, even if they are not totally conscious of it.

    The people of Poland have a strong sense of “nation.” Poles are deeply connected by their language, culture and their strong Catholic faith. But why do Filipinos seem to not easily connect with each other? Because certain events actually separated us all from one another.

    Despite the fact that we were an archipelago, the maritime culture and language of the Austronesians connected us. The waters did not separate us but actually made it easier for people to navigate and trade with each other. It was our colonial experience that alienated us from each other, from the divide and rule policy of the Spaniards to the imposition of English in the public schools by the Americans.

    But also, the miseducation of Filipinos made us look at history in the perspective of the colonizers who wrote it. It not only made us feel bad about ourselves by telling us of their superiority, but by making it appear that every good thing about our culture came from them — our faith, our system of government, our salvation as a people from “barbarism.” This made many Filipinos look at distant shores for the source of “kaginhawahan,” or the good life, rather than stand up and rely on our own. This gave us a sense of the “smallness” of our own identity. Not realizing what economists are really saying: we are not a very small country with not a very small economy.

    For the longest time, Filipinos of the diaspora were almost totally separated from their motherland, but technological advances like The Filipino Channel and eventually, social media, expanded the national discourse to include the overseas Filipino workers and the Filipino migrants. Their involvement in Filipino politics was felt in the 2016 elections and continues to be felt. As I wrote in a journal article 10 years ago, cyberspace has expanded the reach of the Filipino nation and it can be used to unite us more. Yet we have also seen that now, despite being more nationalistic, we are actually as divided as ever. Just look at Facebook.

    But if you see history in the continuing consciousness of pakikipagkapwa — seeing the self in the other, kapatiran with your fellow Filipinos, kabayanihan and bayanihan in times of need, you will see how it was manifested through different times in our struggle for freedom, in disasters and in this time of coronavirus. You will also see it in your fellow Filipino. Sure, there are bad apples in every nation, and we should recognize our mistakes and not essentialize our bad national habits, but Filipinos should also see and tell the world of our best sales pitch as Nas Daily vlogger Nuseir Yassin put it — “There’s more love in the Philippines.” But you can only be a good salesman if you know your product. You can only love someone if you make an effort to know the person.

    If you want to love the Philippines, you have to make an effort to know her history — the “saysay” (meaning sense) of our kasaysayan.

    Our awareness of our kasaysayan will also make us realize that although we root ourselves in our common Austronesian heritage, we do not deny that colonization also enriched whoever we are, for good and bad. Our faults and virtues are a blending of the East and the West. It is what makes us Filipinos now.

    Never try to find the pure Filipino, none exists. You are as Filipino as our history made us to be. Inheritor of a great legacy.”

  13. Karl Garcia says:

    I would like to ask what our problem is.
    Most of our neighbors were colonized and became independent only post WW2.
    Maybe only Thailand have been independent the longest.
    Indonesia maybe predominantly Muslim, but the Christian minority came from the Dutch
    There food also has Dutch taste.
    The aforementioned Thailand may not have been conquered, but the Buddhist monks made an impact in Indochina enough to last long enough in Thailand.
    If the Europeans stayed put we would have been Buddhist and Muslims.
    To borrow from Uncle Sonny, it is Fait Accompli.
    We are kicking ourselves in the butt, our Maritime past was the glue that kept us together.

    • The Philippines lacks a charismatic leader with good values. The existing ones seem to have charisma of being bad boys, and it doesn’t work out. I’d like to see Angel Locsin get angry and start preaching political good sense. Or someone like her. Get a good speech writer and start pulling the masses in a proper direction.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        As long as that leader wants to lead and forget all about power while doing it.

        • There are two definitions of politics:

          1) power politics, also called pulitika by Filipinos

          2) politics as the affairs of the political unit or polity.

          Chancellor Helmut Kohl of course famously defined the power he wanted before he came into his position as “Power in the sense of being able to shape things”. 1) to be able to shape 2).

          That Filipinos still see politics as pulitika and not necessarily for the politeia (and even if it is often fails) is proven by these passages from the long long read you posted above:

          ..the Filipino people are anaesthetised against genuine nationalism and identification with the state, against the ideals of active citizenship and contrary to the spirit of hope for the rule of law. They have by these means come to know that politics is too much talk and of little substance. So why bother to speculate about the desirable state of affairs?..

          ..where would a vigorous Filipino civil society hail from? In the 1980s and 1990s, with the efflorescence of all sorts of cause-oriented groups and NGOs, people were easily led to believe in the vitality of civic consciousness. At the same time, the very proliferation of such groups demonstrated their basic flaw – often joked about as “two Filipinos equal two NGOs”. To get people to stick to a cause or a programme, even when it is one that is clearly to their advantage, is almost impossible as long as they remain oriented towards leading personalities and perennial interpersonal rivalries keep them from aligning behind common causes.

          • ..The outer world is there; we need it to earn money, to make a career, to pay taxes and for a thousand other things besides. However, it does not inspire the feeling of belonging, of citizenship, of responsibility; in brief, it is not “ours”. Public space is where politicians broadcast their faces and names; it is where they claim merit for projects funded with tax revenue that they graciously put at the disposition of the voting populace..

            ..The interesting twin concerns of “giving in” and “caring for oneself” encapsulate in essence an old adage that the Javanese and Thai also go by, with the important difference that the orders of the republican and royal realms command the tangible prestigious public space that in the Philippines is missing. In the Philippines, it is advisable to tolerate erratic behaviour, as obstructing this expectation is a main cause of hot-headedness and long-lasting resentment. As a result, with “Filipino tolerance” standing in the way of order and civility, public space easily becomes a realm of anarchy..

            ..the institution of the state has never been held in great esteem by the population as large. Colonial in its origins, the state’s contempt for and exploitation of the local populace could never lend it much legitimacy. If anything, the state was something to stay away from or to take advantage of. Accordingly, its local representatives, the principalía, developed a political culture of artfulness and deceit in the course of learning to balance the demands of a powerful overlord with their own interests (Corpuz 1989: xii–xiii). When they were finally put to the task of organising the state on their own, they duly inscribed the foundational ideas of “people’s sovereignty”, “justice”, “the separation of powers”, “popular representation” and (high-quality) “education” into the charter. However, since most or all of these concepts are no better than the figments of a foreign imagination, they were never actually taken seriously..

    • Or like Alejandro Roces writes above:

      If there is anything more reactionary than going back to colonialism, it is going back to pre-colonialism. Prehistoric Philippines was not a Garden of Eden from which our forefathers were expelled because they ate of the tree of colonialism. In every stage of his formation, the Filipino was himself plus his circumstances. He lives in his culture as his culture lived in him. What is needed is redirection. The future is alterable, the past is not. The objective should not be a decolonized Filipino, but a supra-colonial Filipino.

      • sonny says:

        What I see, (current globalized reality):

        1) 1st generation expatriate + bilingual/bicultural family + 1st degree ethnic attenuation

        2) native Filipino family + attenuated colonial family

    • That’s an interesting development. China’s militia is fishing vessels that undertake military missions (ramming, intimidating) whereas the Philippine fleet will be military vessels that engage in fishing. At issue is whether the US will join the fray if a PH militia vessel is attacked by a Chinese ‘civilian’ vessel.

      • The current US Navy strategy of just cruising thru back and forth is kinda old now, Joe, I think if they stopped and actually fished w/ the Filipino Navy and other Navies that would be interesting, and just have BBQ’s on deck, just a bunch of Navy ships having BBQ’s in the South China Seas! that would be a sight.

        It could also be a ruse, China telling Filipinos to focus on South China Seas, slight of hand while they take the Philippine Sea.

        Here’s a good article on basing troops to counter China’s expansion:

        “As foreign area officers recognize, just the act of investigating foreign culture and language prepares a Marine to deal with those challenges more than if they never studied at all. Unit specialization, however, could also afford the opportunity to establish foreign military relationships in accordance with strategy. Although those partner relationships must change to match today’s political landscape, it is the act of habituating to partner operations that matters more than the specifics. Also, if the Service requires it, then a security cooperation command should be constructed not in one place but under each MEF in order to support deploying units with the necessary talent to execute LOCE and EABO just as other battalions send detachments out with the MAGTF. “


      “Until a few days ago, I was convinced that the expeditionary advanced base operations EABO concept was one of the dumbest ideas to come down the pike in a long time. This developing concept envisions the Marine Corps seizing and establishing a persistent presence on key maritime terrain (islands and chokepoints). By emplacing long range weapons systems within these bases, marines would create an anti-access envelope, within which enemy ships and aircraft would find it difficult and hopefully impossible to operate. As far as I was concerned, this concept, known in military circles by its acronym, “EABO,” was another of those ideas that “briefed well” but whose folly would only be exposed in war. Then I read Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger’s new planning guidance. I was only half-way finished when I felt the first pangs of doubt intruding into my certitude.

      I spent much of the next day pondering how I could have gotten the operational and strategic utility of EABO so wrong.

      Before explaining what changed my mind, allow me to offer the two main reasons I initially hated the concept. Ever since the 1980s, the Marine Corps has rightfully espoused maneuver warfare as the core of all of its warfighting concepts. Well, scattering battalions across thousands of miles of ocean appeared, on its face, to be the antithesis of maneuver. Once placed, it would take a herculean effort to reconsolidate all the separated pieces of a Marine expeditionary force into a formation with sufficient fire and maneuver capacity to win a stand-up fight with a peer-state military. In my original understanding of the concept, EABO seemed to make a hash of Marine Corps claims to be a maneuver-based force. In short, by adopting EABO as its foundational warfighting, the Marine Corps was apparently turning its units into sitting ducks.

      Second, as a military historian, EABO sounded awfully familiar. Didn’t Japan try this in the Pacific Theater during World War II? Japan too scattered small forces throughout its so-called co-prosperity sphere, hoping that stubborn defenses by each of the isolated units would wear down an American offensive and force the United States to sue for peace. It did not work out that way. Instead, the Marine Corps tore through the Japanese bastions in a remarkably short period of time during the Central Pacific Campaign. I could not begin to fathom why the Marine Corps was espousing a concept that they themselves had demonstrated was faulty and massively vulnerable.

      What I Got Wrong

      Let me share a passage from the commandant’s latest planning guidance:

      While the answer to the question – “What does the Navy provide the Marine Corps?” is readily identifiable – operational and strategic mobility, and assured access; the same cannot be said for the follow-on question, “What does the Marine Corps provide the Navy and the Joint Force?” Traditionally, the answer has been power projection forces from the sea, and/or forces for sustained operations ashore in support of a traditional naval campaign. We should ask ourselves – what do the Fleet Commanders want from the Marine Corps, and what does the Navy need from the Marine Corps?

      This was an epiphany.

      The Pacific is over 60 million square miles, a third larger than the Atlantic Ocean, and 16 times the size of the United States. It should have been obvious to me that operational and strategic mobility throughout this vast expanse can only be accomplished by naval forces. Land mobility is of little value in a theater where all maneuver is held hostage to the Navy’s ability to control the sea lanes, and where land maneuver space is always at a premium. To grasp the vital core of EABO I had to expand my conception of maneuver to encompass the entire joint force over the enormous expanses of the Indo-Pacific theater.”

  14. ERRATUM – but Joe please don’t correct, we can find out who is reading and who is a Filipino 100-percenter (I have a verbal rubber truncheon ready, not to hurt them but to open their minds a bit) – I was on a bit of a walk on the grounds of the 1705 revolution today and this Twitter thread ensued:

    Alram was the peasant leader of the “upper country” or Oberländer (highland) peasants.

    Kidler was an innkeeper in Munich itself, on a street now frequented by American etc. tourists

    (but both were executed, I think I want to fact check drawn and quartered but I recall reading that)

    Plinganser was not a notary public but an abbey chancellor, meaning also a bit of an elite

    (it is true that he was “only” jailed and pardoned, but this is often in history, worldwide) – for context:

    The Bavarian uprising of 1705–06 (German: Bayerische Volkserhebung, which may be translated “Bavarain people’s, popular or national uprising”) was a revolt against the occupation of the Electorate of Bavaria by the forces of the Austrian Habsburgs during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–14). It lasted from early November 1705 to 18 January 1706, approximately 75 days. Henric L. Wuermeling speaks of this as “the first revolution of modern history.”

    By the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria had developed a plan for the Wittelsbachs to supplant the Habsburgs as Holy Roman Emperors. Allying himself with the French against the Habsburgs, his plans were frustrated by the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Following his defeat, he evacuated his court to the Netherlands and left Bavaria to the victorious Austrians. While Bavaria was occupied by troops of Emperor Joseph I, the Bavarian people rose up against the Imperial occupation.

    So “now I know” (NOW YOU KNOW!, a Filipino 100%er would say) why the Bavarian Elector/Duke was not there.. in any case my conclusions are NOT wrong, some facts I stand corrected.

    As Persian carpet makers say who put at least one flaw, “only Allah is perfect”. 🙂

    Interesting tie-up – the Holy Roman Emperor of that time, Joseph I of Habsburg, was a direct descendant of Carlos Cinco – but not of his son Felipe, NO! (c) Commodore Plaridel Garcia. Just like Rudolf I of Habsburg who died in 1291 (a direct ancestor of Carlos Cinco) was the ruler the Swiss wanted to get rid of then – they just declared their first Federal Charter then, didn’t really declare themselves independent but used the death of Rudolf to create a fait accompli that would like to real independence much later. Habsburgs were a truly long-reigning political dynasty – the last one of them to be in politics was Otto (von) Habsburg, European Parliament MP based in Bavaria. The 1705 rebellion was BTW tied up with the War of Spanish succesion, whose end result was the Habsburgs losing the (still very rich) Spanish throne to the French Bourbons (not whisky).

    • Further fact checks:

      Somehow Aberle survived – he led the peasants but was a local official, who knows how but he lived until 1730. Interesting that none of the leaders of the revolution was truly a peasant, though innkeepers like Kidler even today in Bavaria are street-smart, between “elites” and “people”..

      Kidler (innkeeper), Aberle (officer), Clanze (officer) and Senser (ironware merchant, Munich city council member and member of the citizen’s defence force) were executed on January 29, 1706 in what is now the Marienplatz in Munich – where Japanese tourists take lots of photos. They were beheaded and quartered – this is a historical “poster”, don’t know when it was done – but yeah this is just an example (for me also) how hard real historical research can be.

      Clearly one further conclusion is that while the “commoners” are usually the most victimized (and “elites” are treated less brutally, often – while those in the middle like officers, innkeepers, merchants can meet the same fate) it is usually the middle class and elites that are capable of organizing – just like Bonifacio was middle class and Aguinaldo was local elite. And that often the more privileged (like the city folk of Munich who betrayed the revolution, partly) and top dogs will look to where their bread is buttered, often. Fascinating topic somehow, the sociology of uprisings. Something a real academic specialist could easily write a Ph.D. about, I am sure.

      • More on the 1705-1706 revolution (which even had a “Parliament”):

        A “list of the ringleaders of the peasant uprising” included 15 names or descriptions.

        “The Butcher of Höchenwarth, called Khurtz” today: the village of Hohenwart at Emmerting, Altötting district.
        “The host’s son Engelsperg also from the Market town of Düssling” today: Engelsberg, Traunstein, and Tüßling, Altötting district.
        “Würth from Schilting”, presumably: Shield in Thurn 84,367 Zeilarn, Rottal-Inn district
        “Würth from Hürsching”, presumably: Hirschhorn, now part of Wurmannsquick, Rottal-Inn district
        “Würth from Imb”, IBM village Eggelsberg, district of Braunau am Inn in Austria
        “The so-called old Hofpaur of Wuehrlach” today: near Braunau am Inn in Austria
        “The court Kriessbach Naglstetter in Braunau,” today: Kriebach in Hochburg-Ach, district of Braunau, Austria
        “(Ingleichen) of rottpaartete Schwaiger, court Braunau”, also: Hochburg-Ach, district of Braunau, Austria
        Schiennkhhueber to Mitterndorf Court Braunau “, today: Mitterndorf in Hochburg-Ach, district of Braunau, Austria
        “The stronghold of Neuhauser Court Braunau”, today: stronghold in Hochburg-Ach, district of Braunau, Austria
        “The so-called Maindlsperger dess Ambt Eggelsperg” today: Eggelsberg, district of Braunau, Austria
        “The Plündtgannser gewester Congress Secretary in Braunau”, actually: Georg Sebastian Plinganser of Postmünster, Rottal-Inn district
        “The main rebel Meindl sambt of the Würth Schweigsroidt”, actually: Johann Georg Meindl from Weng im Innkreis, district of Braunau, Austria.
        “The geweste Comissari Fux”, actually: Giles Matthias Fuchs
        “Hoffmann”, actually: Johann Hoffmann, born in Pleystein, Upper Palatinate, but at the beginning of the Bavarian uprising, settled in Tann, Rottal-Inn district.
        A figure said to having taken part on the side of the Oberland insurgents was a certain Balhtasar Mayr or Balthasar Riesenberger, Smith of Kochel, a popular, legendary folk hero in southern Bavaria ever since. However, his existence – not to speak of any participation – could never be proved. He, so it seems, may have been invented to soothe the pain over the losses and the defeat

        Except for a butcher (in meat-eating Bavaria, they can be wealthy too) seems all “elites” – even the “main rebel” Meindl who has a street named after him is an innkeeper’s son who had studied philosophy and it seems had started to study law. What is also a topic for a Ph.D. dissertation would be how revolutions are remembered – the Smith of Kochel is a legendary figure, I think he was invented in 1830 when the famous mural was done on the rebuilt church on the site of the massacre, Volkshelden or popular heros were the stuff of German 19th century Romanticism and the depiction of the blacksmith is almost Wagnerian, a white-haired tall but still powerful old man – a blacksmith is of course strong – making his last stand against horsemen. Wilhelm Tell is of course also a Romantic hero. Rizal, inspired by German Romanticism, translated Schiller’s Tell into Tagalog. BTW in elementary school some wondered how Tell could drown in a creek. “Now I know” how could and treacherously fast mountain creeks (even creeks in Munich) can be. if you are not a strong swimmer you can freeze up quickly. I wore neoprene rowing on the Isar once.

  15. LCPL_X, the common challenge to face is here now – and there will be more of it’s Yolanda-kind in the future due to global warming. The Philippines mostly did badly in 2013 with Yolanda, preferring to laugh at Mar Roxas and blame yellow. This the time the shit is about to hit the fan, i.e. Manila. Yoleng hit Manila when I was a kid, I recall how everything flew through the air including our neighbor’s roof at U.P. Area I – she was none other than soprano and national artist Jovita Fuentes, whose singing lessons are part of my childhood memories as my bedroom was toward her place. What I also saw live was how their roof flew off and her maids ran out in panic. I also recall the eye of the storm for like 15-30 minutes, and then the wind in the other direction. It was a Signal No. 3 storm, Signal No. 4 didn’t even EXIST in those days – Rolly/Goni is now a No. 4. – bad enough. What I also recall is how the ever-resilient UP Balara residents went out to pick up scraps after the typhoon was over, and rebuild the parts of their places that had gone with the wind. God help us.

    In just a day’s time, Super Typhoon Goni transformed from an ordinary Pacific cyclone into the year’s most intense storm on the planet. The typhoon is on a beeline for the Philippines, where it is expected to roar ashore Sunday.

    Goni’s explosive intensification occurred over the warm waters in the western Pacific Ocean. Its peak winds catapulted from just shy of 100 mph to nearly 180 mph between Thursday and Friday night local time.

    Once its peak winds surpassed 150 mph, it qualified as a “super typhoon,” which is equivalent to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic. But it grew even more intense, comparable to a strong Category 5.

    Its leap in strength occurred over waters about 2 to 3 degrees (1 to 1.5 Celsius) warmer than normal. Such rapid intensification is made more likely by human-caused climate change, which has raised ocean temperatures globally.

    The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor described Goni as “a compact but very powerful system.” On weather satellite, it displayed a sharply defined eye and near-perfect symmetry, characteristic of the most intense tropical cyclones..

  16. Karl Garcia says:


    “2In the note “The American Interlude”, Nick Joaquin comments on the cultural calamity occasioned by the American intrusion of 1898. Subsequent to the encounter with American imperial ambitions, the history of Philippines becoming was cut off, with the result that Filipino identity, budding civilization and national self-confidence were effectively aborted; simply said, the Filipinos were denied the glory of being the first Asian nation to defeat a Western power (Joaquin 2004; Mulder 2016a). In its stead, the nation languished in the limbo of self-doubt and self-denigration that plagues it until this very day and that, in its turn, evoked the “nationalist” myth-making and a-historical legerdemain that saturates schoolbooks and public opinion.

    3In Authentic Though not Exotic. Essays on Filipino Identity, Fernando Zialcita presents us with incisive investigations and apt comparisons that convincingly expose “nationalist” prejudice and historical manipulation (Zialcita 2005; Mulder 2016b). Such exposing, however, is not popular, which reveals a basic answer to Joaquin’s “Why are we as a people so disinclined to face up to challenges?”. Small children, and with them many adults, prefer fairy tales. Novelists and movie-makers would be out of business if confronting reality were the preference, and so people are comfortable with lullabies that keep them pleasantly asleep. They prefer to indulge in fantasies about the sinaunang or original Filipino who predates all contact with the world outside and who, as an enduring moron, roams on in the present without offering any hold on the process of Philippine becoming.

    4Probably, the challenge of History is a cup too big to swallow in a culture that, according to Joaquin, is distinguished by its “Heritage of Smallness”. Filipinos identify with community, relatives, family and friends. In this person-centered area, Filipino civilization is authentic and alive; the world beyond is vague, not reassuring, even as people, willy-nilly, need it. This is complemented by the deficiency of an exemplary center of leading ideas, such as an ideology of nationhood, a doctrine of state, or a credible narrative of becoming that would mold Filipinos into an imagined community. In other words, in the absence of an overarching Great Tradition, the little tradition of the life-world defines identity.

    5Everyday existence, from the communal down to the familial, is trusted; the big world outside, borderless and un-survey-able, spells what Habermas called die neue Unübersichtlichkeit (1985) or the “new obscurity” characteristic of contemporary existence; it inspires uncertainty, anxiety and moral vacuity. In Part 1, this condition will be illustrated by a diagnosis of “our times” that impels the world-wide revival of religion and individual-centered religious identity.”

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Our maritime culture and history proves we haf contact with the outside world.

      • It was there, remember the Visayans who raided Taiwan I mentioned in one article.

        There are also those from Sulu (and Manila) who once visited the Chinese mainland.

        Raiding,Trading and Feasting mentions Chinese jewelry in richer places and Thai/Vietnamese jewelry (cheaper then) in poorer parts – the author analyzed the wealth of places based on that.

        There was the Laguna Copperplate which shows that there was Indianized (not directly Hindu) influence via what is now Indonesia and Malaysia which had more direct influence.

        There is the “tara” of Agusan which could be a sign that there was a bit of real Hindu influence in Mindanao – might make sense because it is closer to Malaysia/Indonesia – or possibly it was just an imported artifact with little meaning, we don’t know, the picture of course always grows.

        But always remember what I found out about average sailing times as an index – it took pretty long, over a week, to sail from Manila to Brunei, same for Manila to Saigon but that was without any stop, unlike the Manila-Brunei route which had Palawan as a stopover for food and water.

        The other places in the Pacific were further so one wonders how they carried enough supplies, but they are now proven to have an obesity gene so they were able to store food well by nature:

        Maybe more use of genetic testing could provide more insights on actual population movements – within the Malay triangle and within the Pacific.

        • Don’t forget Madagascar, that the biggest feat of all IMHO:

          • Karl Garcia says:


            Austronesian genetic signature in East African Madagascar

            “The dispersal of the Austronesian language family from Southeast Asia represents the last major diaspora leading to the peopling of Oceania to the East and the Indian Ocean to the West. Several theories have been proposed to explain the current locations, and the linguistic and cultural diversity of Austronesian populations. However, the existing data do not support unequivocally any given migrational scenario. In the current study, the genetic profile of 15 autosomal STR loci is reported for the first time for two populations from opposite poles of the Austronesian range, Madagascar at the West and Tonga to the East. These collections are also compared to geographically targeted reference populations of Austronesian descent in order to investigate their current relationships and potential source population(s) within Southeast Asia. Our results indicate that while Madagascar derives 66.3% of its genetic makeup from Africa, a clear connection between the East African island and Southeast Asia can be discerned. The data suggest that although geographic location has influenced the phylogenetic relationships between Austronesian populations, a genetic connection that binds them beyond geographical divides is apparent.”

            • Wow! thanks, karl. this is all very interesting. So the Borneo connection might not have been, and the dispersal is actually straight from Taiwan! here’s the last paragraph:

              “The dichotomy in the data attained from previous Y-chromosome and mtDNA reports does not allow a clear panorama as to the origin(s) and migrational patterns of the Austronesian expansion. In the present study, we employ a battery of STR hypervariable genetic markers to discern the representative autosomal diversity (instead of the maternally and paternally restricted lineages) and phylogenetic relationships of Austronesian-speaking groups from Madagascar as well as Tonga and Samoa in Polynesia with geographically targeted reference populations from Southeast Asia and Africa. The data indicate that the Malgache gene pool derives 66.3% of its genetic makeup from the African mainland while still retaining some of its Southeast Asian roots (33.7%). Similarly, while the Samoan and Tongan collections possess differing degrees of Melanesian influence (24.2 and 35.4%, respectively) they still exhibit a considerable contribution from insular Southeast Asia (75.8 and 64.6%, respectively). Furthermore, according to admixture proportions, the Taiwanese aborigines have contributed genetically to the collections of Samoa, Tonga, and Madagascar whereas the Indonesian groups from Bali and Java have not. These results may be indicative of an expansion route which may have originated in Formosa, dispersed southward by way of the Philippines and Malaysia, and then bifurcated into eastward (toward Micronesia/Polynesia in the Pacific) and westward (eventually reaching Madagascar by way of the Indian Ocean) trajectories. Altogether, the data support the contention that Austronesian populations share genetic components that bind them together beyond the effects of genetic drift resulting from serial bottleneck episodes as limited number of individuals migrated large geographic distances across vast oceanic expanses.”

              Linguistics was the basis of the Borneo claim, but that just probably means Taiwan to Borneo to Madagascar, just passing thru.

              • sonny says:

                This is the western wing of the Out-of-Taiwan movement of the great Austronesian migration.

                “… By 5,000 BC an especially potent and versatile culture combining fishing and gardening had developed on the south coast of China. As well as growing their food on land, these maritime gardeners were accomplished at fishing the waters in the Straits of Taiwan from boats with hooks and nets. Between 4,000 and 3,000 BC, these fishermen-farmers crossed the 150 km of the Straits and settled on Taiwan.

                It is important to note that the fishermen-farmers who crossed the straits to Taiwan were not the Sino-Tibetan speaking Han Chinese who today make up the great majority of the Chinese population. Linguistic evidence from Taiwan suggests that they spoke an Austronesian language closely related to the Tai-Kadai language family that is the dominant language group today in Laos, Thailand and the north and east of Burma.

                On Taiwan, the Austronesian speaking fishermen-farmers honed their sea-faring skills. They soon embarked on one of the most astonishing and extensive colonizations in human history known as the Austronesian expansion. By about 2,500 BC, one group, and just one group of Austronesian speakers from Taiwan had ventured to northern Luzon in the Philippines and settled there. The archaeological record from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon shows that they brought with them the same set of stone tools and pottery they had in Taiwan. The descendants of this group spread their language and culture through the Indo-Malayan archipelago as far west as Madagascar off the east coast of Africa and as far east as Hawaii and Easter Island in the central Pacific Ocean. …”

        • Miranda says:

          Lol. They say they find obesity genes from people who just so happens to be obese, not find them because those genes actually give obesity. Testing is useful for finding out the ancestry of people to find out their movement at least.

    • sonny says:

      Karl, thanks for sharing this find.

      The points he/she brings are certainly not new territory. The essay in my opinion is a broad brush on many aspects of Philippine society and the Filipino character and circumstance. It appears to cherry-pick observations and opinions and somewhat brings out his mirror of the Philippines.

      • Yep, I like Mulder’s 27-pager comparing the Philippines in the SEA context (with Thailand and with Java/Indonesia) better, though even there his biases (anti-US, anti-“elite”, anti-nationalists) shine through. There is always a danger of going one-track when one is analyzing matters. That is why I try to follow the Latin adage “audiatur et altera pars” always, and take EVERY point of view with a grain of salt, giving allowance to where a person is coming from. We should always remember that the truth is so multifaceted we can only approximate seeing the big picture.

        What I have found out by now is that it is EVEN HARDER to approximate the big picture the closer we get to it, meaning the present is the hardest to understand. As the title of Norman Mailer’s novel “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn” suggests, some things only the dead fully know.

        History one CAN get a good enough picture after a while, even if that is hard enough. But it really depends one whether one is studying the past for its own sake or to understand the present and to find a way into a possible better future. Re civic society in the Philippines, this is an example why Mulder in his article further upstairs (the one with SEA) is not fully correct that civic society in the Philippines has failed. What is interesting is that the form of civic society analyzed by “Why Nations Failed” is not “Western”-bourgeouis like Mulder analyzed, but “native”-community-based:

        In our field work in Cebu, we met with local organizations of poor urban people who actually endorsed different candidates. Before local elections they invite the different candidates to come and address them, and then they grade them according to different criteria. Once they have picked the one they think is the best, they work for this person’s election. This situation does not lead to a different type of clientelism simply targeted at the organized groups, but a different sort of politics. As one lady said to us:

        if you sell your vote, you don’t get any services.

        So vote buying is out, services and public goods are in.

        When we asked where all this organization came from, we were told it was a direct legacy of the People’s Power Movement which had overthrown Marcos. People had organized to fight for the end of martial law and the dictatorships and after the return to democracy they had stayed organized and used this to try and get the new democratic institutions to deliver.

        The situation in Naga is similar there though spearheaded by a reformist mayor Jesse Robredo, who tragically died in an air crash last year. But just as in Cebu, when you dig into the Naga case you see the power of organization. This has been done by Maria Teresa Melgar in an unpublished 2010 PhD Dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (“Constructing Local Democracy in Post-Authoritarian Settings: A Comparison between Porto Alegre, Brazil and Naga, the Philippines”). Just as in Cebu, the transition away from clientelistic politics in Naga has been spearheaded by intense social organization which has striven to stop clientelistic political practices and demand services and public goods.

        What is unclear however is why the legacy of People’s Power was so strong in these two places but not elsewhere. It is also not clear if CCT on its own can create organization independently or in conjunction with CDD.

        Karl, this is interesting re civic society. This jibes with my impression that VP Leni’s instinctive “bayanihan” approach is more successful than the approach Filipino liberals before her used, mobilizing the small communities that the Philippines IS composed of into a greater whole.

        • i7sharp says:

          What I have found out by now is that it is EVEN HARDER to approximate the big picture the closer we get to it, meaning the present is the hardest to understand. As the title of Norman Mailer’s novel “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn” suggests, some things only the dead fully know.

          June 15, 1935 Issue
          Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
          By Thomas Wolfe

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Re: Civil Society, they can be a force against impunity.

          “What obstacles do human rights defenders (HRDs) face in doing their work? Are certain categories of activists specifically targeted?

          HRDs face constant and increasing threats and direct attacks, including extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and other horrible violations of human rights. HRDs work to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. Unfortunately, being an HRD in a country like the Philippines means putting oneself in the line of fire, as the same rights violations that HRDs rise up against are committed against them. The most frequent targets are grassroots activists, farmers, workers, indigenous peoples and members of people’s and mass organisations. The prevailing impunity for crimes committed against them perpetuates non-accountability for human rights abuses.

          In the course of the government’s sham drug war, its counterinsurgency programme and the continuity of martial law in Mindanao region, extrajudicial killings committed or incited by state forces have been on the rise. From 2001 to December 2018, Karapatan documented the killing of 760 HRDs, most of them rural and indigenous HRDs, along with trade union leaders and members. Under the Duterte administration, at least one HRD is killed every week. Karapatan has lost 47 of our human rights workers, who were killed in the course of their work to document and investigate rights violations.”

          To read more about it just click on the link.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Instead of kicking ourselves in the arse or bums, we should pat our napes softly.


            “Democratization in the Philippines is often considered the textbook example of a democratic transition that was brought about by civil society activism. In February 1986, popular demonstrations commonly referred to as People Power were followed by the crumbling of the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos.[1] Starting from the late 1980s, civil society representatives, including NGO leaders, leftist activists, and public intellectuals, have occupied influential positions in successive democratic governments, which has allowed them to contribute to the formulation of reformist laws and policies.[2] A closer look reveals, however, that Philippine civil society actors have been able to exert this level of political influence only because they have forged alliances with powerful, and sometimes highly controversial, political elites, including traditional political families, established political dynasties with access to land and economic wealth, populists, and even the military. “

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Instead of blaming neolibs, Walsen Bello explained that it was the best model at the time (triumph by default)and the alternatives presented were just mere rhetoric.


              But is it time to replace neolib with what?


              • Neo-lib seems to me to be a name used by the frustrated to blame people who try to change things for the better, but fail to achieve the perfection sought by the frustrated. It is intellectual name-calling. There is no better way, other than to stop the useless name-calling and focus on the specific issues.

              • Karl Garcia says:


              • kasambahay says:

                I dont know if this is neolib-ing, my ears just got tingling kasi. what’s with god resting on the 7th day? even will ( who I dont know very much) has not said as much now that a pretend god is keen on resting so far from storm/s, rested and not seen while the country was 2x super storm damaged and brought further down on already weakened knees.

                loose lips at the senate compared palace storm rester to god! so deserving of rest kuno.

                kaso, the biblical god rested only after viewing his creation; saw it all good, and rested only after his job was well and truly done. whereas the palace storm rester rested without viewing that all is good, his job so far from done, leaving mostly to inter-agencies to manage all.

                ‘what’s your problem!’ aba, cranky siya after self imposed rest lasting several days! duly flown via helicopter and viewing albeit unwillingly storm damaged localities, flattened houses, unrecognizable roads, starve inhabitants so lacking food and water. did not have a good rest yata, damn storms demanded his presence in its wake.

                and while he was resting, inter-agencies yata were resting as well! reporters beat them to the scene. the very expensive all terrain super vehicles of the govt have to be woken; move, you critters!

                but no worries, all is well in our country kuno, loose lips and cohort assured.

              • There is an interesting aspect in the Bello article, that the other SEA countries were NOT as neoliberal as the Philippines was, meaning the state was more involved in industry:

                It is worthwhile to note how the rise of our neighboring economies was interpreted by neoliberals in the Philippines since this shows the ideological and mystifying character of neoliberalism. In the view of the neoliberals, the key to the success of our neighbors was the hegemony of the market. As Jesus Estanislao put it, “Government take very good care of macroeconomic balances, takes care of a number of activities like, for example, infrastructure building, and leaves everything else to the private sector. And that is exactly what Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand have done, and that is what the Philippines is doing, and we are beginning to do it.”[2]

                The reality, however, was that while it is true that in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, the state may have played a less aggressive role than in Korea and Taiwan, an activist state posture—manifested in industrial policy, protectionism, mercantilism, and intrusive regulation—was central in the drive to industrialize. For instance, Thailand began to register the 8 to 10 per cent growth rats that dazzled the world, when it was moving to a “second stage of import substitution”—the use of trade policy ti create the space for the emergence of an intermediate goods sector—during the second half of the 1980’s.[3]

                In the case of Malaysia, while it is true that some privatization and deregulation favoring private interests took place in the late 1980’s, it would be a mistake to overestimate the impact of these policies. The state oil company, Petronas, was consistently rated one of East Asia’s best-run firms, and one of the most innovative and successful enterprises in the whole East Asian region was a state-directed joint venture between a state-owned firm and a foreign automobile corporation, Mitsubishi, which produced the so-called Malaysian car, the Proton Saga.. The Saga, which came to control two thirds of the domestic market and turned a profit for its producers, exemplified all the sins of industrial policy that neoclassical economists such as Estanislao had warned against: discriminatory tax treatment of competitors, strategic industrial targeting or a systematic plan to manipulate market incentives to create a local car industry, and forced local sourcing of components to encourage the growth of local supplier industries.[4]

                In Indonesia, the state remained throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s the key actor in the economy, with state enterprises contributing about 30 per cent of total GDP and close to 40 per cent of non-agricultural GDP. Capital expenditures as a percentage of the government budget came to 47 per cent in Indonesia, while Thailand hiked the figure from 23 to 33 per cent. In contrast, in the Philippines, Aquino’s technocrats pushed down capital expenditures as a proportion of the national budget from 26 to 16 per cent. Since government is the biggest investor in any economy, this radical reduction of capital outlays as our neighbors maintained or increased theirs could not but have an impact in economic performance. While the Philippines languished with 1-2 per cent annual growth for most of the Aquino period, our neighbors enjoyed 6 to 10 per cent growth rates.

                In sum, our neoliberal technocrats were dazzled to the point of envy by our neighbors’ performance, but they did not correctly identify the reason for this. They claimed it was the market when in reality it was the state. While some liberalization was going on in our neighbors’ economies, it was selective liberalization pursued in the context of strategic protectionism driven by the state, the objective of which was to deepen the industrial structure. This conclusion was readily available at the empirical level, but the paradigm that our technocrats had settled on screened out these data, to put it in Kuhnian terms.

              • More details on neolib in Ramos’ time, giving details to what were just buzzwords so far to me:

                In any event, the neoliberal revolution had achieved a critical mass by the time Ramos came to power, and its hegemony was consolidated during his administration. “It’s the dominant sector,” one player put it. “It’s the president, it’s his chief economic advisers, both formal and informal; the House of Representatives; the Senate—the mainstream. The mainstream is pushing for liberalization.”[7] That player would herself become president in 2001.

                The centerpiece of the neoliberal program during this period was tariff liberalization: Executive Order 264 committed the Philippines to bringing down tariffs on all but a few sensitive products to 1 to 5 per cent by 2004. The model for Cielito Habito, the secretary of the National Economic Development Authority who was the brains behind this enterprise, was the radical neoliberal tariff reforms conducted in Chile under the dictator August Pinochet, which had brought tariffs to 11 per cent or under. If the Chileans could manage to bring down their tariffs to 11 per cent, surely the Philippines could bring them to five per cent or below! In their eagerness to catch up with our neighbors, what our Filipino technocrats saw was only Chile’s not unimpressive growth rate, not the deindustrialization and enormous social crises induced by its free-market policies.

                In addition to radical tariff liberalization, the foreign investment regime was liberalized, banking rules were loosened to allow more foreign banks to set up operations in the country, and the capital account was almost fully liberalized to attract speculative investors by making the peso fully convertible, allowing the full and immediate utilization of profits, and the full utilization of foreign currency accounts. Indeed, in the administration’s drive to catch up with its neighbors, attracting speculative investment by eliminating barriers to capital entry and exit became the cutting edge of the its globalization strategy.

                What happened later:

                The Asian financial crisis led, in the next few years, to a more critical reception of neoliberalism in some elite and middle class circles. It opened up the paradigm to critical challenges, and these challenges from civil society organizations became even stronger as the evidence of the negative impact of the neoliberal approach emerged. Owing to its compliance with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement in Agriculture, the Philippines was turned from a net food exporting country to a net food importing country from the mid-1990’s on. The liberalization of industry beginning with structural adjustment in the miod-eighties, resulted in the irreversible erosion of the country’s manufacturing base. The list of industrial casualties included paper products, textiles, ceramics, rubber products, furniture and fixtures, petrochemicals, beverage, wood, shoes, petroleum oils, clothing accessories, and leather goods. By the early years of this decade, the country’s textile industry had shrunk from 200 to less than 10 firms.[8]

                The verdict on over two decades of liberalization was perhaps most cogently delivered by then Finance Secretary Isidro Camacho, Jr., in 2003: “There’s an uneven implementation of trade liberalization, which was to our disadvantage.”[9] While consumers may have benefited from tariff cuts, he asserted, tariff reform “has killed so many local industries.”[10] In other countries, the loss of the local industrial base has often been countered by neoliberals by citing improvements in consumer welfare. This was not possible in the Philippines, where the poverty rate remained stuck at 32-35 per cent of the population.

                Some results:

                The doctrinaire neoliberal approach that was dominant under the Ramos administration has given way in recent years to a more pragmatic perspective as dissonant data can no longer be screened out. While the bias towards tariff reductions continues to dominate, there are now several cases of reversal. For instance, a government review committee constituted under Executive Order 241 raised tariffs on 627 of 1371 locally produced goods to provide relief to industries suffering from import competition.

              • sonny says:

                “… while he was resting, inter-agencies yata were resting as well! reporters beat them to the scene. the very expensive all terrain super vehicles of the govt have to be woken; move, you critters! ”

                This is interesting k’mbahay. Your observation, if I remember correctly, was the subject of the satire of JUAN TAMAD produced by Manuel Conde for LVN Pictures. A foto still for the movie showed Juan just waiting for the ripe guava fruit to fall onto his open mouth, instead of simply picking the fruit off the tree. Malalaglag din ‘yan, bakit mo papagurin ang sarili mo.

  17. i7sharp says:
    “By the afternoon of November 1, Rolly was seen over the coast waters of Mulanay in Quezon, …”

    Speaking of Mulanay, …

    Have you adjusted your morality lately?

  18. I just saw and was amazed to read that the 25th Amendment (now popularized by the Dems as a means to kick out Trump) was inspired by said movie,

    The film and novel influenced the drafters of the 25th Article Of Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which set forth conditions for removing the President of the United States. John D. Feerick, former dean of Fordham University School of Law, who assisted in drafting the amendment, told The Washington Post in 2018 that the film was a “live depiction” of the type of crisis that could arise “if a president ever faced questions about physical or mental inabilities but disagreed completely with the judgment,” which was not dealt with in the Constitution. Lawmakers and lawyers drafting the amendment wanted no such “Article 184 situation” as depicted in the film, in which the Vice President of the U.S. or others could topple the President by merely saying that the President was “disabled.”

  19. Karl Garcia says:

    A Collection of essays on Filipino identity: Authentic though not Exotic.

    • This is an important part from Page 4:

      ..Preoccupations with a national identity began with the birth of the nation-state during the 1789 French revolution. Previously, the state’s legitimacy derived from its association with a ruler endowed with semi-divine attributes.. but with the downfall of thrones, the state drew its legitimacy from “the will of the people”. But what was the “people”? The old term “nation” was redefined to designate a group separate from others because of its distinct language, history, traditions and mission. And though the French Revolutionists fought the Bourbons, they pursued with more vehemence the latter’s [one language policy].. and now deemed it important to endow the “people/nation” with a heroic past and the promise of a glorious future.

      During the same period, the German scholar Gottfried Herder claimed that each people (Volk) had a spirit (Geist) manifest above all in their unique language and literature, which needed to be studied and respected. He deemed it unnatural for Germans to slavishly emulate outsiders like the French; he deemed it more natural to develop institutions and learning that accorded with the Volksgeist. Herder’s ideas spread worldwide and inspired studies on popular culture in all its dimensions. They challenged other peoples to define their “national” characteristics..

      Page 5 continues:

      ..Herder’s notion of culture, which he referred to as the Volksgeist, nows seems too restrictive.. Herder envisioned a culture that was pure because it unflinchingly excluded the foreign. Members are supposed to experience “insensitivity, coldness, blindness” even “contempt and disgust” towards outsiders.. Rather than scrap the concept of national identity as useless, we could make it more complex and more supple.

      Preoccupations about a national identity have intensified among us, educated Filipinos, since independence in 1946..

      The author Fernando Nakpil Zialcita might be related to Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil BTW.

      • “To ignore our peasant and urban heritage, just because of the obvious Spanish influence, does violence to our identity” – he says on Page 9.

        He also mentions that the native artisans who built Filipino churches had a good sense of the “Golden Mean” – he says that some deride this legacy as “colonial imposition”. (Page 3)

        Page 2 mentions that the story of the barong as a “slave shirt” is an urban legend.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Looked it up… Carmen married Angel Nakpil who was the nephew of the second husband of Gregoria de Jesus, Julio Nakpil. The mother of Zialcita was the daughter of Julio.

      • sonny says:

        I think this ethnographic collection on the Filipino is a must read for the Filipino youth who are at the age-level of awakening both as a model for critiquing/correcting many “urban legends” about our identity profile. The K-12 setting is a good matrix for learning the materials of the essays. The discernment of bias is very appropriate and beneficial especially if the 12th grade is the highest level a student will pursue. Along this lines, the pedagogy for a solid education might be the use of Trivium-Quadrivium framework of Classical education.

  20. Karl Garcia says:

    What I overlooked in the past articles namely my Industrialization and Irineo’s innovation article are the school aquisitions of STI and SM/NU
    STI has bought the maritime school pioneer NAMEI and it will partner with an international company.
    Maybe we can have more Naval Architects in the future.

    NU too is in an expansion since the SM group aquired them, included in the aquisition was the Asia Pacific College which was meant to rival AMA university which happened to one up STI before in terms of IT education.(my view)

    We can only learn frim history to live for a better future through Education.

  21. – somewhat related:

    ..Ever since the conquest and colonization of the valley of Mexico by Hernán Cortés, Mexicans have had to cope with wave after wave of profound social and spiritual disruption – wars, rebellions, revolution, corruption, dictatorship and now the threat of becoming a narco-state. Mexican philosophers have had more than 500 years of uncertainty to reflect on, and they have important lessons to share.

    The word “zozobra” is an ordinary Spanish term for “anxiety” but with connotations that call to mind the wobbling of a ship about to capsize. The term emerged as a key concept among Mexican intellectuals in the early 20th century to describe the sense of having no stable ground and feeling out of place in the world.

    This feeling of zozobra is commonly experienced by people who visit or immigrate to a foreign country: the rhythms of life, the way people interact, everything just seems “off” – unfamiliar, disorienting and vaguely alienating.

    According to the philosopher Emilio Uranga (1921-1988), the telltale sign of zozobra is wobbling and toggling between perspectives, being unable to relax into a single framework to make sense of things. As Uranga describes it in his 1952 book “Analysis of Mexican Being”:

    “Zozobra refers to a mode of being that incessantly oscillates between two possibilities, between two affects, without knowing which one of those to depend on … indiscriminately dismissing one extreme in favor of the other. In this to and fro the soul suffers, it feels torn and wounded.”

    What makes zozobra so difficult to address is that its source is intangible. It is a soul-sickness not caused by any personal failing, nor by any of the particular events that we can point to.

    Instead, it comes from cracks in the frameworks of meaning that we rely on to make sense of our world – the shared understanding of what is real and who is trustworthy, what risks we face and how to meet them, what basic decency requires of us and what ideals our nation aspires to..

    ..In his 1949 essay, “Community, Greatness, and Misery in Mexican Life,” Portilla identifies four signs that indicate when the feedback loop between zozobra and social disintegration has reached critical levels.

    First, people in a disintegrating society become prone to self-doubt and reluctance to take action, despite how urgently action may be needed. Second, they become prone to cynicism and even corruption – not because they are immoral but because they genuinely do not experience a common good for which to sacrifice their personal interests. Third, they become prone to nostalgia, fantasizing about returning to a time when things made sense. In the case of America, this applies not only to those given to wearing MAGA caps; everyone can fall into this sense of longing for a previous age.

    And finally, people become prone to a sense of profound vulnerability that gives rise to apocalyptic thinking. Portilla puts it this way:

    “We live always simultaneously entrenched in a human world and in a natural world, and if the human world denies us its accommodations to any extent, the natural world emerges with a force equal to the level of insecurity that textures our human connections.”

    In other words, when a society is disintegrating, fires, floods and tornadoes seem like harbingers of apocalypse..

    ..Portilla suggests that national leaders can exacerbate or alleviate zozobra. When there is a coherent horizon of understanding at the national level – that is to say, when there is a shared sense of what is real and what matters – individuals have a stronger feeling of connection to the people around them and a sense that their society is in a better position to deal with the most pressing issues. With this solace, it is easier to return attention to one’s own small circle of influence..

    • sonny says:

      Very interesting syndrome, zozobra. An analog is the anxiety triggered when a statusquo is undesirable and the alternatives for a change are perceived to be inferior or limiting compared to the statusquo. Something similar to the Peter Principle when applied to the technological context. Contrast this to a sociology/philosophy of ancient times when the noise of technological progress or imperative had less value compared to a pursuit/search for the essence or source of transactions and relationships, viz Socrates & Plato. Maybe?

    • Karl Garcia says:

      From another source

      “As Uranga saw it, ungroundedness tends to seek its erasure, i.e., it tries to resolve itself into something else because, at bottom, accidentality involves some awareness of the looming threat of nothingness, of nonbeing. The melancholy life of the accident is lived in a condition he calls zozobra. Zozobra is a kind of oscillation between being and nonbeing, what we might think of as a state teetering between, on one side, the impulse to accept a problematic framework of meanings, norms, and values and, on the other side, the urge to abandon that framework in light of its inadequacy at providing answers the person experiences as ready, reliable, and unreflectively apt.

      The most common reaction to accidentality, Uranga claims, is something he calls subordination. Subordination is an appeal to someone else’s substantiality as a normative ground. Their package of norms, values, and meanings are treated as justifying one’s own being. This can happen directly and indirectly. The direct form involves an embrace of a proximal substantiality—oftentimes a dominant cultural framework. The immigrant who aspires not only to assimilate, but to assimilate in the most jingoist way possible, may be an example. The indirect form of subordination does not attempt to wear another’s substantiality as one’s own, but instead seeks approval by those who enjoy substantiality. One can aspire to be a ‘nice girl’ or ‘the bright, articulate, and clean’ minority. Whether direct or indirect, the net effect is the same: the typical response to accidentality reinscribes the normative inadequacy of one’s accidentality, doubling down on the subordination of oneself to another’s substance.”

    • Many thanks, Sonny and Karl – just some points:

      1) Someone I know who was in Mexico – and is a history buff like me – told me the issue why there is often a crisis with the status quo is that “human society evolves toward a local optimum”.

      1a) The Aztec civilization was a local optimum of course, but no match for Spanish invaders.
      1b) The incipient Filipino civilization did in Magellan but not Legazpi who played it by its rules.
      1c) The 19th century Hawaiian kingdom also was no match for the more organized USA

      The powers that came and conquered civilizations or incipient civilizations at a local optimum had evolved to a higher local optimum due to the forces of competition / imitation and geography.

      2) The conceptual frameworks developed for a local optimum are partly obsolete after conquest.

      2a) there is the total adoption of the foreign framework that Karl mentioned. Some of the Filipino ilustrados toward Spain or Filipino pensionados (1920s) toward the US.

      2b) the foreign framework may not describe native reality adequately either, while the old native framework no longer describes CHANGED native reality well

      3) Xiao Chua has said the Philippines today has “cultural schizophrenia”. It also is zozobra.

      • These Mexican stuff i think is premised with some ideal or utopia. The friction i’ve been hammering about is that there shouldn’t be such expectations, there’s only the chaos and acceptance of it and making the best of it,

        “The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.—You ask me if any thing transpires here on the subject of S. America? Not a word. I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only. But this country probably will join the extinguishers.—The want of facts worth communicating to you has occasioned me to give a little loose to dissertation. We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform. Present my respects to Mrs. Smith, and be assured of the sincere esteem of Dear Sir Your friend & servant,

        Th: Jefferson”

        • That idea of an utopia is all based on Herder’s idea of a Volksgeist or “people’s spirit”, the Romantic idea of a pristine state of people’s culture that conquest and contacts “destroys”. Obviously this is nonsense, but it became the leading idea that shaped 20th century nationalism.

          Rizal who was very much a 19th century Romantic called the pre-Hispanic Philippines “nuestro perdido Eden” – our lost Eden. The American idea of nation is very much forward-looking as the USA was founded by those who cut their ties to the countries their forefathers came from.

          Yes, you have mentioned avoiding nostalgia (“the good old days” never were THAT good) and narcissism (“why are we the only victims” because we aren’t, we now know the Mexicans also are, the Romanians were too I know, just other colonizers) when looking for a nation’s soul.

          The thing is, we all acquire certain ways of seeing things. If we are Inuit we see many kinds of snow because that is our world. Filipinos see palay, bigas, kanin as the different stages of rice. Tagalog love songs have many nuances to feelings. French know more colors than most of ust.

          Now if the way we expect the world to be (our mental model) differs too much from what it really is, there is a kind of cognitive dissonance. One way to not have that is to deal with stuff as it happens – the approach of Filipino OFWs to life. Don’t think too much like intellectuals do.

  22. Karl Garcia says:

    Identity crisis?
    What does it mean to be a Filipino?

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] also noted how civil society may have failed partly in the 1980s and 1990s according to Niels Mulder BUT according to “How Nations Fail” stayed […]

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