Getting the Philippines to What it Can Be

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar and Karl Garcia

Karl said our country has had many mistakes, if every mistake is considered wisdom, we are now a wise nation, but we are none the wiser. He also mentions that the Hindus, Buddhists and the Arabs influenced Southeast Asia before the Europeans. If Spain and Portugal decided to stay put, the Philippines whatever we would have been called might be part Buddhists and part Muslim. What we are now is fait accompli, to quote sonny. The Indians and Arabs also influenced Europe as we know from numerals. I add that Alejandro Roces once wrote:

  • 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.

People influence each other through contact. In fact conquest can change both the conquered and the conqueror. Gaul eventually became France through Roman conquest that changed the language and Frankish rule giving its name. England of the Germanic Angles and Saxons was changed by the Norman conquest of 1066. The Roman Empire eventually made Christianity its official religion, based on someone it had once crucified. One of the most popular melodies at the Oktoberfest is “Country Road”, a song many from Baguio also like. Nothing stays “pure”.



We also know that the Arabs not only preserved but also enhanced Greek knowledge, inventing algebra. History is about people competing and cooperating, progress is due to imitation and improvement. Nobody can claim to have invented everything by themselves, not even China. They did invent writing independently first as pictures, then ideograms, with the Japanese inventing Katakana as a syllabic script. Some Native American civilizations also had writing that they invented independently. But I believe the Middle East, Mediterranean and Europe were a place where the most progress happened not because they are smarter than everybody else, but because of constant contact and conflict, imitation and improvement fueled by geography.

In a previous article, I mentioned that the Philippines went from being on the edge to others slowly coming, then suddenly, with an acceleration in the past 2 centuries and recent decades. The biggest changes to lifestyle and accessible information may have come since the 1970s. And as we know, Filipinos have been spreading out into the world most strongly since OFWs were officially sent out from 1975 onwards. Movies like Barcelona, Hello Love Goodbye and Meet me at St. Gallen all show how the international experience is now part of being Filipino.



Karl mentions our maritime culture and that the Spanish saw organized communities called barangay derived from balangayor sail boat, and coastal towns that interacted with the outside world, and yes, international trade before the galleons.

What I add based on what Xiao Chua wrote is that the balangayswere clan units while the bayan were the actual towns, possibly based on bahayan as a collection of bahay, houses. What I also mentioned is that the Philippines in 1571 were an “aborted incipient civilization”.



Author Ninotchka Rosca calls the Philippines “The Land of Constant Beginnings”, and there are enough examples to show how true that is – and I think enough indications of many wanting it:

  • Nick Joaquin in “The American Interlude” writes that US colonization aborted a budding nation. I add that Aguinaldo may already have killed the idealism of both Bonifacio and Rizal before that. And that many Filipinos WANTED to be under American protection.
  • Teodoro Agoncillo in “History of the Filipino people” says Japan aborted the progress made in Quezon’s Commonwealth. I also think that Quezon tried to continue where the Republic had left off. But also there were many Filipinos who worked with Japan.
  • The postwar republic was seen as the “Old Society” by Marcos who wanted “ New Society”. It seems most indeed supported Marcos until the economy tanked in 1982.
  • The new beginning of 1986 is now basically being questioned by the present administration. I would add that sending out OFWs was never revised after Marcos.
  • There are a lot of Filipinos who want a system change, a revolution or a reset.

Karl mentioned some examples of how we do not have patience and because of the lack of patience everything is half-baked or half-cooked and we have to just eat it:

  • There are comments that we have a pattern of alternatingly electing a good leader followed by a very bad one. It is no longer a perception it is a fact.
  • Project Noah was not even half cooked when it was moved to UP, our satellite program has not even completed its mission and we already declare mission accomplished.

Joe America implied some years ago that our sense of victimhood is due to over-perfectionism.

  • 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.

Could this be the reason why we keep aborting beginnings as we always expect too much? Should we try to break the big rock into smaller rocks first to avoid being Sisyphus all the time?Filipinos as individuals adjust very well, why do some see changes as an issue for the nation?

I myself thought a Tipping Point, and end of the Sisyphus predicament, was near in early 2015. Though I did see my error in late 2015, many did not, and we have the Duterte admin now. We often fail to see real progress and see only the negatives, and then we give up and start again.



Karl mentioned that we pat ourselves on the back if we perceive to one up the other and we call that as being wais or street smart. This is diskarte as the late Edgar Lores described it. It can also be called resilience which has shortcomings as Joe recently twittered:

  • The difference between resilience and competence is that one looks into the past and says “oh, shit” while the other looks into the future and says “Let’s do this!” The jerks that killed ABS-CBN could not look forward. VP Robredo is skilled at looking forward.

We try to be perfect but often when we fail to be, we revert to doing things in a messy way. Karl says that until now we are masters of disasters – disasters of our own doing. I ask could that be because we are not only impatient but also too perfectionistic? Karl has found a lot of planning roadmaps that are top-quality and posted them in comments. Somehow they are never used. Probably VP Leni’s talent is in finding pragmatic but still systematic solutions to pressing issues. Some say she lacks vision, but we don’t know that yet. Paolo Coelho said “dreams mean work”. What I could add is that the road to Rome is long. It can literally be walked from Bavaria; people from here have done it. Really or figuratively, it involves both small steps and the right direction.



Karl has mentioned a lot of white elephant projects and how we hide the poor when international summits come. I have seen that during UNCTAD V in Marcos times, whitewashed walls. The modern way of doing it is a bit different but I have called this the clean/dirty kitchen syndrome.



If we can’t be truly perfect, we try to LOOK perfect at least. I ask myself where that came from and it could be because at the very least, the Spanish colonialists portrayed themselves as God’s emissaries. Some American colonialists were arrogant too, but some were self-critical. One American educator in the early 1900s wrote that the collision of a people “naturally proud and arrogant” (Americans) and a people “naturally proud and sensitive” had caused Filipinos to have unrealistic expectations. Well, Spaniards can be proud, arrogant and sensitive. Now what?

Having said all that, I would not dwell too much on the past, which is a “done deal” as Joe would say or a “fait accompli” as sonny would say: time to pass the microphone but not the buck to Karl Garcia who will tell us more about the messy Philippine present and ways to what can be.



We have skewered priorities do not let me count the ways. Instead of taking the bull by the horn im terms of poverty; To reduce poverty, literally we kill the poor all in the name of the drug war.

Money, still and always will be an issue just look at our HOR, never mind putting the budget in stangle hold so long as the chairmanship will be in our control. No pork? Then call it by any other name. The IRAs are used as collateral by LGUs to loan sharks, by golly! DPWH budget can be appropriated to a small city so long as nobody notices. Is it really the lack of funds or messes up priorities.

Ondoy made us dig in to past shelved projects like the Paranaque spillway, the Pacific spillway, and the Laguna Bay dike highway now it is in the backburner again because of so-called lack of funds?

We already have many programs to decongest Manila but not now, look what happened to the balik probinsya implemented during a pandemic.

The local government code seems a good idea at the time it was conceptualized, it made the line agency more useless than it is.Devolution also meant dilution, dilution of powers, functions and most of all service.

Another thing the Local Government Code failed to harness to its full potential is the barangay system. The barangay is still a political unit of every LGU – rich villages have subdivisions and the not so rich or the Alabang gilid types are the sitios.

Our present landed elite where the lucky ones favored by the Spanish friars. You heard of land claims as far as the eyes can see. Not to be outdone after the Spaniards left, more land grabbing happened. Now all these landed elite became part of the political dynasties somehow.

They say there is no genuine land reform and land use law because of the land owners in power then and now. No freedom of information because the law makers who sometimes are law breakers have a lot to hide. If they have nothing to hide, you can only take a look at the bicameral conference committee reporton the budget if there is a petition in the Supreme Court and you get to read about them.

Example Abaya vs Ebdane, which was when former Cong Abaya together with his PMA class sued the government because some irregularities they want to correct.

It is the contention of the petitioners that RA 9184 is applicable to both local – and foreign-funded procurement contracts. They cite the following excerpt of the deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 2248 and House Bill No. 4809

  • REP. ABAYA. Mr. Chairman, can we just propose additional amendments? Can we go back to Section 4, Mr. Chairman?
  • THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ANGARA). Section? Section ano, Del, 4? Definition – definition of terms.
  • REP. ABAYA. Sa House bill, it is sa scope and application.
  • REP. ABAYA. It should read as follows: “This Act shall apply to the procurement of goods, supplies and materials, infrastructure projects and consulting services regardless of funding source whether local or foreign by the government.”
  • THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ANGARA). Okay, accepted. We accept. The Senate accepts it.
  • THE CHAIRMAN (SEN ANGARA). Just take note of that ano. Medyo nga problematic ‘yan eh. Now, just for the record Del, can you repeat again the justification for including foreign funded contracts within the scope para malinaw because the World Bank daw might raise some objection to it.
  • REP. ABAYA. Well, Mr. Chairman, we should include foreign funded projects kasi these are the big projects. To give an example, if you allow bids above government estimate, let’s say take the case of 500 million project, included in that 500 million is the 20 percent profit. If you allow them to bid above government estimate, they will add another say 28 percent of (sic) 30 percent, 30 percent of 500 million is another 150 million. Ito, this is a rich source of graft money, aregluhan na lang, 150 million, five contractors will gather, “O eto 20 million, 20 million, 20 million.” So, it is rigged. ‘Yun angpractice na nangyayari. If we eliminate that, if we have a ceiling then, it will not be very tempting kasi walangextra money na pwedeng ibigay sa ibang contractor. So this promote (sic) collusion among bidders, of course, with the cooperation of irresponsible officials of some agencies. So we should have a ceiling to include foreign funded projects.

Irineo says there are so many aspects of the Philippine present at all levels but it is even harder to fully get the big picture of the present than to get a useful big picture of history. What now?



(Aug. 18, 2020) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) sailors wave as Republic of the Philippines Navy ship BRP Jose Rizal (FF 150) sails by in the Pacific Ocean during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. (JMSDF courtesy photo)


We must first decide if we will always have to rise after we fall or find ways to be like a bamboo that bends with the wind and stand firm afterwards.

With all the displays of waste of money like white elephant projects, crazy unstudied projects, we ask quo vadis? We do not need roadmaps which are literally hidden in a drawer somewhere, but we cannot make everybody happy like what is happening in the House of Representatives.

Decision making is having to put your foot down and does not always have to always agree to disagree; that makes you always open to decisions out of compromise because you give in to pressure.

Irineo says that there are different pictures of how modernity should be, and also with regards to the kind of innovation needed, more bottom-up like in Africa or more top-down like other Asians.

Irineo also says well-being could be a goal, including ecological balance and community.



Have more transparency and accountability and it should start with our

Shall we do away with the smallest unit of government or find ways to make it more useful? Of course, before getting rid of a system make sure that it has no use unlike the pattern of every admin implementing a half-baked program and the people whogot a taste of it would want to spit it out instead of savoring it, what have we got: A succession of good and bad leaders,depending on the eye of the beholder. Irineo adds: good, bad and ugly leaders for sure.

I have blogged about community development before. Joe has also written about the barangay system. We have 42,000 barangays, 1 barangay for 2,500 Filipinos. The force of the barangay can be harnessed to the fullest if we want to. Read more on the barangay system here.

Timing is paramount, and no shortcuts.

Even if the details may bore people, as they say: The Devil is in the Details.

Irineo (not the Devil) adds that major goalposts might be needed, first fixing major priorities like poverty, health and education – like Cuba did but not with Communist methods of course. Behind that and then first priority when these three priorities are fixed could be building proper agriculture, industryand innovation. Possibly projects in the area of disaster preparedness could be a national priority too, just like water control was for the Dutch. Big flagship projects later on.

Irineo 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 effective among urban poor in Cebu and in Naga respectively. Karl wrote about Institutionalizing People Power in a previous article. Living examples of it in Naga and Cebu might indicate that more community-based approaches rooted in Filipino culture may work better than individualistic Western models. We shall see.



There are just some ideas and aspects we have looked at, for further discussion here at The Society of Honor.

P.S. The National Village was the start of this series of articles and gave a first big picture.


185 Responses to “Getting the Philippines to What it Can Be”
  1. – what can the Philippines learn from Florence of old?

    ..the worst form of ignorance, Plato tells us, is conceit of one’s own wisdom, which takes the most extreme forms in the very powerful and rich. Any man who thinks “he can play the leader to others” without laws to guide him, Plato’s main speaker says, “has been deserted by God.” Though “many people think he cuts a fine figure,” before long he “brings himself, his home, and his state to rack and ruin.”

    This was also Chancellor Scala’s sotto voce message to Lorenzo de’ Medici. Scala may have played a part in debasing Florence’s laws in the past, but now he hoped that his dialogue might move Florence’s tyrant-in-the-making to reverse course. Without laws, he has Bernardo Machiavelli say, “cities and states” are “nothing but bands of robbers” where the cunning and violent harass the rest. Good laws are our mightiest arms. By setting bounds to self-love, they help win us friendships, which in turn help bring victories to our troops and triumphs at home. And as Plato said, if anyone should claim to be an expert whose political knowledge is superior to the laws, “such a person must be called a tyrant.”..

    Further on..

    ..Florentines had a talent for sprouting factions, and in the first flush of freedom they went straight for the throat: suspected Medici henchmen versus the exiled family’s enemies, defenders of popular government versus patricians who preferred oligarchy, friends of the city’s military commander versus those who called him a turncoat. Leaders of all these factions had few qualms about rejecting due process to save friends and hurt foes. Several high-profile men were executed on trumped-up charges without a fair trial, or with no trial at all. The most damaging case involved a forced confession from a Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, who had urged his followers to capture the republic’s laws for God and legislate an ascetic morality. Savonarola’s death by fire in Florence’s lovely central piazza ended his crusade. But the prosecutors’ methods made Florentines lose faith in the claim that the republic’s laws were transparent, unselfish, and dispassionate.

    Niccolò Machiavelli lived through these political tempests. As the city’s second chancellor and secretary to the Ten of War, the body in charge of Florence’s defense, he watched the republic collapse and the Medici return in a coup after only eighteen years. Yet he never stopped insisting that without the rule of law, human life was far worse than that of beasts. All states, Machiavelli says in his Discourses on Livy, whether monarchies or republics, “have need of being regulated by law. For a prince who can do whatever he wants is crazy, while a people who can do whatever it wants is not wise.”..


    ..Machiavelli, unlike direct democrats and populists, says that republics need kinglike laws to check the onset of democracy’s signature disease: civil divisions that turn to extreme partisanship. Democracy purports to give equal voice to people with clashing interests and values, thereby protecting citizens’ freedom to think differently from the majority or the ideology of a one-party state. But these clashes need to be kept in bounds or they destroy the polity. Good laws form this essential restraint, setting limits to what can be done within shared public space. When party rivalries stay within these limits—here Machiavelli challenges the common opinion that all conflicts are bad for civic union—they help keep democracies robust. They become toxic when fear or intensified conflict makes partisans forget that they have to coexist with rivals—when they turn a blind eye to corruption in their own ranks and cheer or shrug when their leaders beat civility to a pulp in the hope of crushing opponents.

    Florence’s anti-Medici republic died young because its conflict-regulating laws were not strong enough. But what kinds of laws keep healthy tumults from becoming poisonous? Those that guarantee equal opportunity to take part in government and hold public posts regardless of party, wealth, or connections. Machiavelli had nothing but contempt for established elites who claimed they were more qualified to govern republics than non-elite citizens. Likewise, his notion of republican justice forbade persecuting individuals just because they were upper-class. If the more “popular” party in a republic refused to share authority with worthy men from backgrounds it branded as elite, these men would have reasonable cause to complain and destabilize the republic. Punishment or reward based on group affiliation rather than individual deeds and qualities undermines the rule of law. When that happens, the republic’s ruin is only a matter of time..

    And this:

    ..Partisan excess and tyrannical ambitions are not the only things that rob laws of their power. Grotesque inequalities of wealth and access to public goods do this as well.

    Classical champions of the rule of law grasped this nettle more boldly than most people do today. They saw that even perfect laws need to be planted in healthy soil or they will go to rot. Plato saw disparities of wealth as one of the deepest threats to the integrity of law. Legislators, he said, need to be like good doctors who help citizens take a holistic view of their civic body and maintain its healthy balance..


    ..Unsurprisingly, people from society’s insecure middle and lower ranks are often keenest to get an advantage by whatever means possible. Machiavelli relates an episode from Florence’s history when middling citizens who hoped to increase their “honor” elbowed poorer workers out of the guild system that had long protected their economic and political rights. The upshot was a civil war that shattered trust between different classes for centuries and helped the super-rich Medici rise to unseemly power. Machiavelli uses the episode to draw a lesson for future generations: when competition is weakly regulated, the resulting inequalities put a terrible strain on democracy’s promise of equality under the law. He has strong sympathies for the underclass rebels, saying they had been cheated of the justice that the republic owes to everyone. But the right cure for injustice isn’t violent revolution; it’s better laws. For Machiavelli, as for Plato—though the latter was far more egalitarian—economic regulation and redistributive mechanisms were part and parcel of the rule of law..

    • – fluidity is part of the mix in the Philippines as well, in contrast to Western polities, as this thread by MLQ3 points out: Lapulapu was ready to submit to the King of Spain just not to Humabon: historian

      This reminds me of what an archaeologist told me about how to understand prehispanic polities or chiefdoms. We have to understand it not in a strictly territorial sense but from the perspective of toll. Yes, toll. The chiefs held sway over groups of people and claimed exclusive authority to exact toll from commerce/trade/travel through their area of authority, perhaps their portion of a river or a land area with high traffic. In dealing with Westerners different attitudes collided: chiefs “ceding” land actually ceded tolls and influence, but not clearly demarcated titles to land in the Western sense, which is why chiefs could do it not only seemingly so easily, but repeatedly. This was beyond the comprehension of Westerners (to be precise: not in their interest to recognize this of course). Since no coordinates for land a chief might grandly sweep hands at horizon and say from this tree to that tree is yours: meaning whatever goes through it you can exact toll from; but this is different from Western property concept (colliding for example with rights of villagers). Which helps us see how attitudes to power/office have remained unchanged however dressed up in Western clothing: how toll extraction is like Rent-seeking as Western scholars have come to define it; but how Western norms of law and institutions crumple in face of trad. behavior. With that in mind mapping things out as far as who was where and when (and Lapulapu/Humabon disagreements) make sense: fighting over toll (and “tong”), chiefs situating settlements at natural choke points for toll extraction over trade/travel. This is missing link in understanding 20th century political evolution. American proconsuls who came from/maintained ole style patronage control at home flourished in Ph: consider Tafts and century of their prominence in Ohio politics up to 2000s. PH local leaders like Chinese response to periodic waves of invasion: they endured as overlords went native. In many ways American scholars retain last vestige of imperialist propaganda in somehow thinking American proconsuls were “honest” in contrast to natives. Anyway if you return to Mojares’ observations on Humabon/Lapulapu dynamics and how Magellan blundered into it like a psychopath, it shows why Magellan failed but someone like Legazpi would succeed in the manner Filipino presidents succeed or fail when grappling with local chiefs. It also explains that in collisions with modernity, the traditional practitioners of power/leadership often succeed (Aguinaldo v Bonifacio who represented modernity esp. after we see through Jim Richardson who debunked Ileto); you could have hybrids of trad & modern, the Commonwealth leaned to modernity with a nod to traditionalism but the New Society was the opposite: the traditional nodding to modernity; today’s era is the periphery finally supplanting the metropolis.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      “Machiavelli has long been called a teacher of evil. But the author of “The Prince” never urged evil for evil’s sake. The proper aim of a leader is to maintain his state (and, not incidentally, his job). Politics is an arena where following virtue often leads to the ruin of a state, whereas pursuing what appears to be vice results in security and well-being. In short, there are never easy choices, and prudence consists of knowing how to recognize the qualities of the hard decisions you face and choosing the less bad as what is the most good.%


        “Discourses on Livy comprises a dedication letter and three books with 142 numbered chapters. The first two books (but not the third) are introduced by unnumbered prefaces. A good deal has been made of the coincidence that Livy’s history also contained 142 books in addition to its introduction and other numerological curiosities that turn up in Machiavelli’s writings. Machiavelli says that the first book will discuss things that happened inside of Rome as the result of public counsel (I 1.6), the second, decisions made by the Roman people pertaining to the increase of its empire (II Pr.3), and the third, how the actions of particular men made Rome great (III 1.6).

        Dedicatory letter
        Machiavelli dedicates the Discourses to two friends, Zanobi Buondelmonti and Cosimo Rucellai, both of whom appear in Machiavelli’s Art of War. Rucellai had died in 1519, but this did not lead Machiavelli to find a new dedicatee, as he had with The Prince. Machiavelli justifies dedicating the Discourses to his two friends because they deserve to be princes, even if they lack principalities, and he criticizes the custom (which he had adopted in The Prince) of dedicating works to men who are princes but do not deserve to be.

        Ireneo, though Humabon and Lapu-Lapu would’ve been fans of “the Prince”; and Magellan, of probably the monarchy which brought him to Mactan, Cebu. I think everyone regardless of what product of governance habituated to, would certainly appreciate the treatment of Magellan’s men upon returning back to Humabon’s camp, they were given a couple of hours to vacate, Humabon gave Magellan’s expedition the proverbial boot to the curb! LOL! I can just picture the surviving men , just sad and distraught on their long voyage back home.

        I like to imagine Enrique of Malacca, staying after Magellan’s expedition sailed away, just waving Bye , Bye a-holes, so sad for my master he was dumb as turd, but atleast I get to stay in my Lost Eden once more.

        I think the moral of the Magellan story is of his interpreter, that good things come to those who wait. I imagine him waving good bye to the ships which brought him there, with two topless beautiful women by his side. And the sun sets— well it would be on the different side of the island, but you guys get the imagery.

        • – just to illustrate the possible difference between a Filipino form of direct democracy and the Western idea..

          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.

          That would be a bit like the old form of social contract between groups of people and chiefs in the Philippines based on their well-being. It may sound opportunistic to Westerners AND to the Westernized including me, but it is just a different way of seeing and doing things.

          Balangays (basically clan groupings) shifted allegiance when they didn’t get what they wanted from their chiefs (just like today you have ABS-CBN, Angkas etc. – different interest groups looking after their own stuff, making their own deal with the national chief – or not), chiefs shifted allegiance when they didn’t get what they want from their paramount chiefs (or from Spain, the USA, Japan or the President in terms of pork barrel) – the other question is of course whether this is efficient in a modern setting. But old habits die hard on islands.

          • And the lesson learned by the Spanish when Legazpi came to Manila was to deal with the Filipino chiefs on their own terms. Instead of being foolish like Magellan who thought that Humabon was a kind of King, they made a deal with all the chiefs who wanted to:

            1) Chiefs became “cabezas de barangay”. The difference to the old system was that their position was hereditary and the idea of control territorial, not over groups of people.

            2) Groups of cabezas elected a “gobernadorcillo” – mayor – among themselves. This was a smart concession to the fluidity of the old Filipino way. Smart from the Spanish POV – let them make that deal among themselves. Everything higher than mayor stayed Spanish.

            3) If a cabeza died without heirs, the group of cabezas coopted a new member. See 2)

            This principalia class evolved into the entitled of today. Instead of the old tribal way of Raiding, Trading and Feasting (and where chiefs could rise up by popular approval in some cases) it became more of still fighting it out in different ways (economically and “legally” in more “civilized” areas, as warlords on the periphery) but also currying favor with whoever has the pork – be it the Spanish, the USA, the Japanese, or the President. Manolo Quezon correctly said that the periphery took over in 2016. The Western coating has been shed.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Enrique went back to Spain.


            He did stay in Cebu.

            Enrique accompanied Magellan on all his voyages, including the voyage that circumnavigated the world between 1519 and 1521. On 1 May he left in Cebu, with the presumed intention to return to his home island,[9] and there is nothing more said of Enrique in any document.

            If he succeeded in returning to his home, he would have been the first person to circumnavigate the world and return to his starting point.[10][11][12] According to Maximilianus Transylvanus and Antonio Pigafetta documents, Elcano and his sailors were the first to circumnavigate the globe. Enrique is only documented to have traveled with Magellan from Malacca to Cebu in two segments—from Malacca to Portugal in 1511 and from Spain to Cebu in 1519–1521. The distance between Cebu and Malacca is 2500 km (approximately 20 degrees of longitude), which is left to complete the circumnavigation. It is not known if he ever had a chance to complete it.

            Xiao Chua assumes Enrique was NOT from the Philippines, as he mostly spoke with the chiefs (who in those times spoke Malay) but not directly with the people by all accounts (the people did not speak Malay, the Bahasa which was presumably the lingua franca for all trade in the Malay triangle) but it could be he adapted easily. Magellan was part of the Portuguese siege of Malacca in 1511, where he took home Enrique. In any case Enrique was back in his home region. I think only 19 men came back to Spain, including Elcano.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Ok. Stand corrected.

              • No prob. BTW LCPL_X’s point about fluidity being an advantage is only partly right.

                It IS an advantage for groups and individuals. It is very much a characteristic of “tribal” cultures. Vercingetorix was able to lead a “federation” (a loose alliance) of Gallic tribes against Caesar but we know they lost against the more tightly organized troops of Caesar. Arminius also led a loose alliance of Germanic tribes and defeated Caesar’s legions in foggy and muddy territory they were more familiar with (today’s East Westphalia and Lower Saxony regions of Germany) but Arminius was chased out by the other groups when he attempted to be a kind of King – it took centuries until Germanic tribes adapted principles of Roman organization – both military and hierarchic – and you had Visigoths (the last Western Roman Emperor and finally the Franks (Merovingians first, then their stewards, the Carolingians) controlling what LATER became France, Benelux, Switzerland, Germany and Northern Italy, finally allying with the Pope to give legitimacy to the “Holy Roman Empire”.

                The colonized Filipino elite formed by the principalia and later some ilustrados eventually switched allegiance from Spain to the USA after some tried to form an own Republic which quickly failed, got a good deal with the precursor of the HOR, the Philippine Assembly from 1907/8 onwards, then the Senate from 1916, Quezon formed the Commonwealth, then there was the Japanese period (Quezon had advised those around him not to resist Japan too much – bending like the bamboo was about survival) and then the postwar Republic.

                The issue until today IS – do the Representatives of the people really represent them or just themselves? This was always a bit of tension – is the social contract really working in Pinas?

                Seems it often has worked locally. Cavite fully supported Aguinaldo. Ilocanos supported Marcos. Davao supports Digong. National is iffy until today. People Power twice questioned the fulfillment of the social contract INTERNALLY. Then there is the social contract, the assumed patronage relationship towards the major ally. Most Filipinos did go with the shift to the USA from Spain as even Bonifacio had seen the Spaniards as dealbreakers, though some always favored Japan especially Ricarte. Nowadays the fluid ways of rearranging the social contract don’t seem to work anymore, neither internally nor externally. Quo Vadis?

              • No, Ireneo, fluidity is the key– same-same with that Jeffersonian principle of the Tree of Liberty. There has to be renewal, otherwise rigidity leads to calcification. Thus,


                That concept is in the military (ie., just following orders will not do), and in the Constitution, old Ben Franklin said we have a Republican, madam, if we can keep it. Well, keeping it requires essentially that blog post of Cebu’s “clientlism” you shared, which is transaction meaning,

                I’ll let you lead, but as soon as you’re not doing your part, we find another guy (or gal) to lead.

              • LCPL_X, you’re right. The difference in the Cebu example being it is “We’ll let you lead” and not “I’ll let you lead”. There is even an aspect of liquid democracy there.

              • I really don’t know why Lapu-Lapu is the first Filipino hero , when its always been Enrique. He has to be Bisayan or otherwise, he’d have begged to be on those ships going back to Spain– or at least hitch a ride to another island.

                Or make him the symbol of OFWs. But he should hold national prominence IMHO, be taught in school. A bunch of fan fiction written about him.

            • karl,

              I like to think that Enrique was the first OFW, and upon return to the Philippines, bought a house and lot , put up a tall fence with broken glass cemented on top, hired a lot of help, and started speaking Spanish to everyone. Probably adopted stray dogs too. LOL!

      • What surprised even me reading the source I posted above is that Macchiavelli is a strict proponent of rule of law. He would certainly frown at what Solicitor General Calida is doing.

        He would probably also say that Trump has no power to order the US Supreme Court to stop counting votes, and that the Supreme Court has no authority to do that either – which is of course from what I gather so far legally correct.

        What is disconcerting at least for Westerners is the lack of legal certainty in the Philippines. Of course the logic of Bong Go re ABS/CBN that “they pissed of the President” is logical for many for whom power justifies everything. Well good luck with finding investors that way.

        The legal system needs to permit those subject to the law to regulate their conduct with certainty and to protect those subject to the law from arbitrary use of state power. Legal certainty represents a requirement that decisions be made according to legal rules, i.e. be lawful. The concept of legal certainty may be strongly linked to that of individual autonomy in national jurisprudence. The degree to which the concept of legal certainty is incorporated into law varies depending on national jurisprudence. However, legal certainty frequently serves as the central principle for the development of legal methods by which law is made, interpreted and applied.[1]

        Legal certainty is an established legal concept both in the civil law legal systems and common law legal systems. In the civil law tradition, legal certainty is defined in terms of maximum predictability of officials’ behaviour. In the common law tradition, legal certainty is often explained in terms of citizens’ ability to organise their affairs in such a way that does not break the law. In both legal traditions, legal certainty is regarded as grounding value for the legality of legislative and administrative measures taken by public authorities.

    • ..All states, Machiavelli says in his Discourses on Livy, whether monarchies or republics, “have need of being regulated by law. For a prince who can do whatever he wants is crazy, while a people who can do whatever it wants is not wise.”..

      ..Democracy purports to give equal voice to people with clashing interests and values, thereby protecting citizens’ freedom to think differently from the majority or the ideology of a one-party state. But these clashes need to be kept in bounds or they destroy the polity. Good laws form this essential restraint, setting limits to what can be done within shared public space. When party rivalries stay within these limits—here Machiavelli challenges the common opinion that all conflicts are bad for civic union—they help keep democracies robust..

      A US Supreme Court justice on Friday, November 6, denied a request by Pennsylvania’s Republicans to immediately halt the counting of ballots arriving after Election Day – referring the challenge to the full court to consider on Saturday.

      Agree with LCPL_X that a certain degree of conflict is needed for democracy to move forward – but there is a need for referees to keep the game fair. The question is also is one playing European soccer (very rough and physical but the referee has absolute authority), American basketball (athletic but fair) or Filipino street basketball (“hoy hoy hoy charging iyan” – “hindi!” – “gago!” – “travelling oh!” – “saan ba naging travelling iyan?”) where the rules and interpretations tend to be a bit fluid. In Filipino community basketball tournaments I saw that it helps if there is a referee respected by both teams, as each team will assume bias. It can also quickly come to actual fistfighting between teams where mediation gets very hard. That not even official basketball tournaments are free of this is seen every once in a while.

      • kasambahay says:

        cheer up po, Irineo, our budding athletes and other of our established athletes are not that bad. we are passionate about our sports and it shows talaga. what’s a few bugbugan and name calling in the heat and spirit of the game? I played hockey and got my arm broken. I broke their arms, or tried to. and got them between the legs, haha. bloody thing is well padded.

        losing soccer players in south america and in europe got killed for not bringing home the trophy. sometimes, stadiums are burned with fans inside. soccer hooligans.

        samantala tayo, our aggressive manifestation ay often outside, vocal tayo, complaints a dozen. give as much as we receive; then shake hands, see you later, alligator.

        sa russia at china, there is massive doping of athletes, things that pinoys dont normally do.

        • Yes, you are right in that sense – especially in Eastern Europe the warlike aspect is still very strong and in Western Europe it is just under the surface. Remember the war in Kosovo I mentioned which ignited ethnic nationalism among a very clannish people?

          Almost two decades after the war in 1999, there were these two Kosovar migrant players for the Swiss national team who showed the Serbian soccer team the “double eagle” sign for the Albanian flag (Kosovars are Albanians) – Serb-Kosovo matches often end in fights.

          Of course the very regulated ways of Western Europe have their reasons in history – because before the fights about all kinds of matters were REALLY bloody. While yes, the Filipino way is often weder-weder but fights are just as often moro-moro, not full-scale at least among the elites. There is a bit of a cockfight and then things are settled – Duterte is an exception as he often goes all the way which is not what most are used to, and that is why so many are afraid of him. Ruthlessness combined with fluidity is really scary I think.

          • kasambahay says:

            methink, filipinos are more afraid of what his armed personnel can do to them, the old man is just prop, under his guise everything is made possible. and if old man drops dead of heart attack, simbako lang, people will probly run for their own dear life at pababayan siya.

            old man thinks the rich dont steal, to me it’s like saying doctors dont die of cancer. old man’s dwph appointee, an embattled uber rich young man is proving to be just a pretty face. so rich hence cannot be thief, sitting tight and pretty while dwph uber big budget bleeds dry and got siphoned off. projects not done. accepting top pay for doing a job with so scant output, young man must really be thieving.

            approving projects that never get finished is thieving, releasing money to smooth talking developers of dubious projects is even more thieving. rich young man rubbing shoulders with thieves, that makes him thief too. his presence gives thieves credence, his approval of their dubious projects emboldens them to present more dubious projects. and they all thrive under his watch!

            and because rich young man is obviously verging on hopeless, newer and better task force is going to be created just so young man’s work will be easier, fluid.

            another task force to be allocated budget.

  2. i7sharp says:

    Perhaps TSoH (The Society of Honor)
    ought to take a look at
    “The God Culture”

    A lot of amazing info in it … depending on how one looks at it.
    But, a major error lurks in their teaching, IMO.


  3. Micha says:

    This is a confused article with too much redundancy. For example, in the concluding part, the author(s) suggest fixing the problem of poverty, health, and education first and only then try to do something about the sorry state of our agriculture and (manufacturing) industry.

    Well, duh!? If we’re able to fix poverty, health, and education we would have already, as they would say, arrived.

    And why the caveat about Cuba’s communism? How exactly are we going to fix poverty, health, and education?

    • We are asking questions – and don’t even pretend to have all the answers.

      Maybe you could help us find some, being an expert of sorts.

      What would your first priorities and steps be?

      • Original passage:

        “major goalposts might be needed, first fixing major priorities like poverty, health and education – like Cuba did but not with Communist methods of course. Behind that and then first priority when these three priorities are fixed could be building proper agriculture, industry and innovation”

        to me behind that and then later first priority.. means 4th-6th priority, not after chronologically. Supporting the major priorities.

        Not Communist.. is a preference. Maybe we are just trying to avoid Gen. Parlade. 😀

        And the penultimate sentence says this is all for further discussion. Be our guest..

  4. Karl Garcia says:

    Another jackass move of Cayetano. He does kot want the Budget Bicam to be open to the public


  5. Joel Jr Rudinas says:

    I have honestly never understood the morbid obsession of Filipinos to be focused on resilience. We tend to be talking a lot about how the Filipino is resilient in a storm without doing something to alleviate the suffering, but every other country in the world learns its lessons whereas at the very best, the Philippines is slow to learning them.

    • A simple Filipino says, I will cross the bridge when I get there. If there is none because a typhoon destroyed it I will wade, if I cannot wade I will look for a banca.

      A Filipino trapo says, I will build a bridge but I will ask for heavy kickbacks.

      A Filipino corrupt contractor says, as i have already paid so much for kickbacks, I will mix sand with the cement to earn more and have repeat business after the next typhoon.

      PNoy and Mar said: let us use PPP and get it done.

      Some Filipinos said: but PPP is making oligarchs rich! (thinking: how about my uncle the corrupt bridge contractor, he might ask me to pay my utang if he doesn’t earn money)

      Dutz: I will have a bridge demolished and rebuilt even better!


      Filipino karaoke singer:

  6. Karl Garcia says:

    The Philippines had a gliimpse of Christianity hundreds of years before Magellan.

    “Early Christian presence in the Malay archipelago and the Philippine Islands may be traced to Arab Christian traders from the Arabian Peninsula. They had trade contacts with early Malayan Rajahs and Datos that had ruled these various Islands. Early Arabians had heard the gospel from Peter the Apostle at Jerusalem (Acts 2:11), as well as evangelized by Paul’s ministry in Arabia (Galatians 1:17) and also by the evangelistic ministry of St Thomas. Later, these Arab traders along with Persian Nestorians, stopped by the Philippines on their way to Southern China for trade purposes. However, no solid efforts were made to evangelize the native population. With the spread of Islam in Arabia, much of the Christian heritage of Arabia had ended and the Arab travelers focused more on spreading Islam to Mindanao,[6] through which they transmitted the knowledge of Jesus as a prophet to the Moro people..”

    • Karl Garcia says:

      The Earliest Christian Communities in Southeast and Northeast Asia: An Outline of the Evidence Available in Seven Countries before A.D. 1500

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      Download PDF
      The Earliest Christian Communities in Southeast and Northeast Asia: An Outline of the Evidence Available in Seven Countries before A.D. 1500
      John C. EnglandFirst Published April 1, 1991 Research Article
      Article Information PDF download for The Earliest Christian Communities in Southeast and Northeast Asia: An Outline of the Evidence Available in Seven Countries before A.D. 1500

      The history of Eastern Christianity in central, south, and east Asia prior to A.D. 1500 is rich and extensive, yet has been largely ignored. Material evidence now available from southeast and northeast Asia shows that Christian communities were present in seven countries for different periods between the sixth and fifteenth centuries.

      Often termed “Nestorian,” or “Jacobite,” these communities have left a diversity of remains—epigraphical, architectural, sculptural, documentary—which testify to their presence, as far northeast as Japan and southeast as far as Indonesia. The glimpses of Christian churches in medieval Asia afforded by the evidence from these and other regions of Asia offer alternatives to Westernized patterns of mission, and question many assumptions concerning the history and character of Christian presence in the region.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Oops sorry for the messy copy pasting.

        • No problem, but in any case it didn’t happen, finally. The traces of Christianity among Arabs – many Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis as well as Egyptian Copts – and even the Ethiopians show that Christianity came quite far. The rest doesn’t quite jibe as there is no real evidence of Arab traders having gone beyond Malacca and Indonesia – just like there were probably no or very few Hindus in the Philippines. Hindu naming influences were just diffusion from other SEA countries. Remember what I wrote about sailing times to Manila – it was all too far away. 2500 km from Malacca to Cebu while Munich to Ankara is 2300+ kilometers. Could be there were early Christian communities in Indonesia, like the sagepub source says, or in Japan (via Nestorians) as it also says. The Wiki source I consider doubtful as the citation points to a textbook and what is the source that textbook refers to? I do get your point that Christianity didn’t have to come from Spain. Fait accompli, does it matter today?

          • Don’t have to wait for the Nestorians, guys, Jesus himself sent Thomas to India:

            “As per the book, Jesus (who was supposed to have been crucified, died, resurrected & ascended to heaven) actually tricks a reluctant Thomas to go to India for spreading the Gospel. He “Sells” Thomas as a carpenter to Abbanes, a Merchant who was sent by King Gondaphares of India for trading.”


            “Now the Lord seeing him walking in the market-place at noon said unto him: Wouldest thou buy a carpenter? And he said to him: Yea. And the Lord said to him: I have a slave that is a carpenter and I desire to sell him. And so saying he showed him Thomas afar off, and agreed with him for three litrae of silver unstamped, and wrote a deed of sale, saying: I, Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, acknowledge that I have sold my slave, Judas by name, unto thee Abbanes, a merchant of Gundaphorus, king of the Indians. And when the deed was finished, the Saviour took Judas Thomas and led him away to Abbanes the merchant, and when Abbanes saw him he said unto him: Is this thy master? And the apostle said: Yea, he is my Lord. And he said: I have bought thee of him. And thy apostle held his peace.”

              • With Columbus, the article seems to allege:

                Christopher Columbus had hoped to sail to Asia and had prepared to communicate at its great courts in one of the major languages of Eurasian commerce. So when Columbus’s interpreter, a Spanish Jew, spoke to the Taíno of Hispaniola, he did so in Arabic. Not just the language of Islam, but the religion itself likely arrived in America in 1492, more than 20 years before Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door, igniting the Protestant reformation.

                Moors – African and Arab Muslims – had conquered much of the Iberian peninsula in 711, establishing a Muslim culture that lasted nearly eight centuries. By early 1492, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella completed the Reconquista, defeating the last of the Muslim kingdoms, Granada. By the end of the century, the Inquisition, which had begun a century earlier, had coerced between 300,000 and 800,000 Muslims (and probably at least 70,000 Jews) to convert to Christianity. Spanish Catholics often suspected these Moriscos or conversos of practising Islam (or Judaism) in secret, and the Inquisition pursued and persecuted them. Some, almost certainly, sailed in Columbus’s crew, carrying Islam in their hearts and minds.

                Eight centuries of Muslim rule left a deep cultural legacy on Spain, one evident in clear and sometimes surprising ways during the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the chronicler of Hernán Cortés’s conquest of Meso-America, admired the costumes of native women dancers by writing ‘muy bien vestidas a su manera y que parecían moriscas’, or ‘very well-dressed in their own way, and seemed like Moorish women’. The Spanish routinely used ‘mezquita’ (Spanish for mosque) to refer to Native American religious sites. Travelling through Anahuac (today’s Texas and Mexico), Cortés reported that he saw more than 400 mosques.

                Islam served as a kind of blueprint or algorithm for the Spanish in the New World. As they encountered people and things new to them, they turned to Islam to try to understand what they were seeing, what was happening. Even the name ‘California’ might have some Arabic lineage. The Spanish gave the name, in 1535, taking it from The Deeds of Esplandian (1510), a romance novel popular with the conquistadores. The novel features a rich island – California – ruled by black Amazonians and their queen Calafia. The Deeds of Esplandian had been published in Seville, a city that had for centuries been part of the Umayyad caliphate (caliph, Calafia, California).

                Across the Western hemisphere, whenever they arrived at new lands or encountered native peoples, Spanish conquistadores read the requerimiento, a stylised legal pronouncement. In essence, it announced a new state of society: offering Native Americans the chance to convert to Christianity and submit to Spanish rule, or else bear responsibility for all the ‘deaths and losses’ that would follow. A formal and public announcement of the intent to conquer, including an offer to the faithless of a chance to submit and become believers, is the first formal requirement of jihad. Following centuries of war with the Muslims, the Spanish had adopted this practice, Christianised it, called it the requerimiento, and took it to America. Iberian Christians might have thought Islam wrong, or even diabolical, but they also knew it well. If they thought it strange, it must be counted a very familiar strange.

            • Alternate History sounds like alternative facts to me. OK Wikipedia is not always reliable but this sounds like it makes sense:


              The Church of the East (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ‎ ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā), also called the Persian Church[5][6] or Nestorian Church,[note 1] was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite based in Upper Mesopotamia. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The schism of 1552 gave rise to rival patriarchates, sometimes two, sometimes three. Since the latter half of the 20th century, three churches claim the heritage of the Church of the East.

              The Church of the East organized itself in 410 as the national church of the Sasanian Empire through the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. In 424 it declared itself independent of the church structure of the Roman Empire. The Church of the East was headed by the Patriarch of the East seated in Seleucia-Ctesiphon, continuing a line that, according to its tradition, stretched back to the Apostolic Age. According to its tradition, the Church of the East was established by Thomas the Apostle in the first century. Its liturgical rite was the East Syrian rite that employs the Divine Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari.

              The Church of the East, which was part of the Great Church, shared communion with those in the Roman Empire until the Council of Ephesus condemned Nestorius in 431. Supporters of Nestorius took refuge in the Sasanian Persia, where the Church refused to condemn Nestorius and became accused of Nestorianism, a heresy attributed to Nestorius. It was therefore called the Nestorian Church by all the other eastern churches, both the Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian, and by the Western Church. Politically the Persian and Roman empires were at war with each other, which forced the Church of the East to distance itself from the churches within Roman territory.[7][8][9] More recently, the “Nestorian” appellation has been called “a lamentable misnomer”[10][11] and theologically incorrect by scholars.[12] The Church of the East itself started to call itself Nestorian, it anathematized the Council of Ephesus and in its liturgy Nestorius was mentioned as a saint.[13][14]

              Continuing as a dhimmi community after the Muslim conquest of Persia (633–654), the Church of the East played a major role in the history of Christianity in Asia. Between the 9th and 14th centuries it represented the world’s largest Christian denomination in terms of geographical extent. It established dioceses and communities stretching from the Mediterranean Sea and today’s Iraq and Iran, to India (the Saint Thomas Christians), the Mongol kingdoms in Central Asia, and China during the Tang dynasty (7th to 9th centuries). In the 13th and 14th centuries the church experienced a final period of expansion under the Mongol Empire, where influential Church of the East clergy sat in the Mongol court.

              Even before the Church of the East underwent a rapid decline in its field of expansion in central Asia in the 14th century, it had already lost ground in its home territory. “The magnitude of the decline is indicated by the shrinking list of cities in the region [Persia] with resident Church of the East bishops. In the year 1000, 68 cities were on that list. By 1238, there were 24, and, after Timur Leng, there were only 7”.[15] In the aftermath of the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire, the rising Chinese and Islamic Mongol leaderships pushed out and nearly eradicated the Church of the East and its followers. Thereafter, Church of the East dioceses remained largely confined to Upper Mesopotamia and to the Saint Thomas Christians in the Malabar coast (modern-day Kerala, India).

              Divisions occurred within the church itself, but by 1830 two unified patriarchates and distinct churches remained: the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See). The Ancient Church of the East split from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1968. In 2017, the Chaldean Catholic Church had approximately 628,405 members,[1

              6] the Assyrian Church of the East 323,300,[17] while the Ancient Church of the East had 100,000.

              Of course it is not IMPOSSIBLE that there were Nestorian Mongols who went to Luzon, but it sounds IMPROBABLE to me. And as long as there is no real evidence, only speculation, no serious historian will include it in his narrative.

              There is of course the legend of Prester John which was common in Medieval Europe and probably was a popularized version of what travellers told about Nestorians.


              Prester John (Latin: Presbyter Johannes) was a legendary Christian patriarch, presbyter (elder), and king. Stories popular in Europe in the twelfth through seventeenth centuries told of a Christian (Nestorian) patriarch and king who was said to rule over a Christian nation lost amid the pagans and Muslims in the Orient, the lands in which the patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided.[1] The accounts are varied collections of medieval popular fantasy, depicting Prester John as a descendant of the Three Magi, ruling a kingdom full of riches, marvels, and strange creatures.

              At first, Prester John was imagined to reside in India; tales of the Nestorian Christians’ evangelistic success there and of Thomas the Apostle’s subcontinental travels as documented in works like the Acts of Thomas probably provided the first seeds of the legend. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers came to believe that they had found him in Ethiopia.

              There are indications that Marco Polo went to Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka when he was at the court of Kublai Khan, but that would make more sense as the contact with the Philippines was very limited then.


                Many of the details in Polo’s accounts have been verified. For example, when visiting Zhenjiang in Jiangsu, China, Marco Polo noted that a large number of Christian churches had been built there. His claim is confirmed by a Chinese text of the 14th century explaining how a Sogdian named Mar-Sargis from Samarkand founded six Nestorian Christian churches there in addition to one in Hangzhou during the second half of the 13th century.[57] Nestorian Christianity had existed in China since the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD) when a Persian monk named Alopen came to the capital Chang’an in 653 to proselytize, as described in a dual Chinese and Syriac language inscription from Chang’an (modern Xi’an) dated to the year 781.[58]

                OK, Jiangzou is a coastal area but very much north of Taiwan. Hangzhou is also almost coastal but similar area. More on Alopen:


                Alopen’s name is known only from the Chinese of the Nestorian Stele. This may be a transliteration of the Semitic “Abraham”[2] or aloho punoya, “the conversion of God.”[3] According to the Stele, Alopen and his fellow missionaries came to China from Daqin (or Ta Tsin – the Byzantine Empire) in the ninth year of Emperor Taizong (Tai Tsung; 635), bringing sacred books and images.[4] He would have come to China via the Silk Road. The Nestorian mission benefited from Taizong’s policy of religious tolerance, which reversed measures his father Gaozu had taken against Buddhism and other foreign religions and influences.[1]

                According to the Stele, Taizong welcomed Alopen and arranged for the translation of the holy writings he had brought with him at the Imperial Library. Upon studying them, Taizong, a great scholar and patron, found them most acceptable and arranged for their dissemination. Indeed, four documents from the early period of Christianity in China date to around Alopen’s time.[1] Three years later, in 638, Taizong issued an official declaration protecting the Nestorian church. He erected China’s first Christian church and recognized twenty-one priests, likely all Persians, to administer it. Under Taizong’s son and successor Gaozong, who continued this policy of toleration, Alopen’s status expanded even further, and he was appointed bishop over the many churches built by the emperor.[5]

                After Alopen’s time, the Church of the East was prominent in China for the remainder of the Tang Dynasty’s power. Different emperors treated it differently, with some showing it the tolerance it received in the early decades, and some openly persecuting it. Nestorianism disappeared with the fall of the Tang Dynasty in the early 10th century. It did not return for three centuries, when it was reintroduced by the Mongols.[1] The story of Alopen became prominent again in the 17th century, when the Nestorian Stele was rediscovered and the Chinese were surprised to find that the “new” religion being preached by the missionaries, had actually been in existence in China more than 10 centuries earlier.

    • from one of the Amazon reviews:

      “This book is a thorough treatment of the subject, well written and referenced as per usual for James White.

      Every relevant issue is covered, from how the New Testament manuscripts were copied and passed down through the centuries, to the problems arising from this process (i.e. copying mistakes), to the formulation of the Textus Receptus, to the various ‘KJV Only’ positions around today. Key players who propound KJV Onlyism (Riplinger, Ruckman, Waite, etc) are incisively critiqued and shown to come up short.

      Bear in mind this is not a book against the KJV – it is against KJV Onlyism.

      Nonetheless, this book educated me as to the shortcomings of the KJV, both in terms of translation and textual basis (the Textus Receptus). White doesn’t use inflammatory arguments, though – he lets facts speak for themselves, often reproducing the underlying Greek words and letting the reader him/herself see the discrepancies.

      A useful feature of the book is the tables which White uses to layout comparisons between the KJV and more modern versions (particularly the NIV and NASB). The book is also well-indexed and easy to use to look up particular verses which relate to this controversial topic.”


      So should Filipinos read the KJV only? Nope. I personally think, KJV ONLYism is of Satan.

      i7sharp, have you yourself read the preface to the KJV Bible? Your committee of creativity say it themselves that KJV isn’t the end all, they left it open to better translations in the future. Read here:

      • i7sharp says:


        A short response, as I am busy with other stuff right now:

        This is James White on “ado.”

        My shortcut for it?: i7-ado1 (I think you get the idea)

      • i7sharp says:

        by the way,

        “… they left it open to better translations in the future”

        Lance, please name three of these “better translations.”
        Start with James White’s choice/s, if possible.


      • i7sharp, how could KJV be the best, if they found other Bibles (and fragments) especially in the 1800s, which means KJV wasn’t privy to them. Think about that… here,

        As for other translations, I’m not gonna introduce Christian translations based on new Bibles found, but simply Jewish translations from the Hebrew to English, cut to the chase, Hebrew to English… Sefaria:

        • i7sharp says:


          Let us stay with James White for one or two moments … of revelation.

          1. Name at least one bible he believes is better or more accurate than the KJV.
          2. Name at least one error he believes lurks in the KJV but is corrected in the bible of his choice.

          Have you had a chance to check WHAT it is that “shall not be forgiven”?

          • i7sharp, I’ve only just discovered James White this morning via Google, I don’t know what bible he prefers, nor do I care, I’m posting the Bible I currently prefer, that’s Sefaria, because Jews seem to like it.

            I’ve offered II Kings 13 as a starting point, if you don’t like II Kings 13 then offer another verse, but I prefer the Old Testament because of my preferance for Sefaria (based on Hebrew).

            I’ve stated that Sefaria is better. But again my point here is that this is a matter of preference, you like KJV, I like Sefaria. You will counter that the KJV is direct from God, so proceed, and make thy pointe. 😉

            Lastly, there are no such thing as unicorns, i7sharp.

            • i7sharp says:

              “… there are no such thing as unicorns …”

              Lance, you could have, at least, tried googling for something like … “errors unicorns King James …”

              Try this result:


              In summary, the UNICORN is NOT a mythical creature. The UNICORN from the earliest times has meant ONE-HORNED and has ALWAYS referred to the Rhinoceros. [End of Teno’s comments]

              Those who criticize the KJB’s unicorns try to muster a group of “scholars” who give their opinion as to what this animal was. But listen carefully to their words. Henry Morris – “The Hebrew word translated unicorn is believed by most Hebrew scholars to refer to the huge and fierce aurochs, or wild ox now extinct.”

              W. L. Alexander (Pulpit Commentary) “the reem is supposed to be the aurochs, an animal of the bovine species, allied to the buffalo, now extinct.”

              Charles Spurgeon wrote “The unicorn may have been some gigantic ox or buffalo now unknown and perhaps extinct.”

              William Houghon “WE THINK THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT (how is that for certainty !) that some species of wild ox is intended.”

              Eastons’ Bible dictionary says: “The exact reference of the word is doubtful. Some have supposed it to be the buffalo, others the white antelope called by the Arabs rim. Most probably, however, the word denotes Bos Primigenius, which is now extinct.”

              All of this is pure speculation. The fact is the modern bible translators do not know what this animal was, and many of them say that whatever it might have been, it is now extinct.

              Wild oxen still exist, and they can be tamed and domesticated. In fact some bibles like The Wellbeloved Scriptures 1862, The Revised English Bible 1877, Darby 1890, Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized bible and the Spanish of 1960 translate this word as “BUFFALO”

              while the Douay Rheims of 1610 read “unicorn” (Deut. 33:17) but the revised Douay-Rheims of 1821 and 1950 have “rhinoceros” (Deut. 33:17) but “unicorn” in some of the other verses.

              The 1950 Douay Version has “rhinoceros” in Numbers, Deuteronomy and Job, but “unicorn” in Psalm 22:21; 29:6; 92:10 and Isaiah 34:7.

              Young’s ‘literal’ translation shows that he simply did not know what the animal in question referred to, so he merely transliterated the Hebrew word, and did not translate it at all. His version consistently reads “the rheem” except in Psalm 22:21 where Young translated it – “Save me from the mouth of a lion: — And — from the horns of THE HIGH PLACES Thou hast answered me!”, while the Ferrar Fenton translation done in 1910 had “bulls”.

              Let’s see now…unicorns, buffaloes, rhinoceros, rheem, the high places and bulls. Yep, all pretty much the same things, right? 😉

              Whenever you hear the phrase “All scholars agree” you should know right away that the guy has no idea what he is talking about.


              • i7sharp says:

                How about this one, Lance?

                The King James Bible translators used “unicorns,” (plural with an “s”) in this Deuteronomy passage where a marginal note appears. It reveals that in the Hebrew text, the word is actually a singular word, “unicorn.” However, while the word being translated “unicorn” is singular, the word being translated “horns” is a plural possessive. It’s saying that these plural horns are possessed by the singular unicorn, which would mean that in the Latin, it’s not actually an unicornis, but a rinocerotis. In the English, it’s not actually a unicorn (one animal with one horn), but a rhinoceros (one animal—Joseph, with two horns—two sons.)

                Back in Genesis 48:19, Jacob prophesied that Ephraim (the younger) would be greater than Manasseh (the elder, the first-born.) He said that Manasseh “shall be great,” but that Ephraim “shall be greater.” He said that Manasseh “shall become a people,” but that Ephraim “shall become a multitude of nations.” That is exactly what happened, and the prophecy was fulfilled, exactly as the Bible predicted, exactly as the picture the rinocerotis, transliterated as unicorn, visualized.

              • i7sharp,

                The Ancient Greeks, the Latin speaking Romans and the Hebrew Jews did know what a was , they knew what it looked like.

                Unicorns on the other hand was and is something mythical and magical, and more of an Eastern thing than Western.

                I understand the Chinese now are hunting rhinos because they thing its magical— that’s more a Chinese think, i dunno about that.

                The question is why the KJV used it as opposed to “rhinoceros”.

                I suspect it is the same reason as Erhman’s 2 mistakes below, they are essentially translation mistakes, thus we have:

                1. Son of God

                2. Virgin

                3. unicorns

                There we have trinity, i7sharp.

              • p.s.

                And this is also for sonny as trivia, in the Vulgate since St. Jerome realized that the plural horns found in Dt 33:17 could obviously not be referring to a one-horned rhinoceros thus did not use *unicornis* or *monoceros* , but rather *cornua rhinocerotis*!

              • i7sharp says:

                Lance (LCpl_X) wrote:
                I suspect it is the same reason as Erhman’s 2 mistakes below, they are essentially translation mistakes, thus we have:

                1. Son of God

                2. Virgin

                3. unicorns

                There we have trinity …

                Regarding “trinity” … and the Precision of the KJV …
                let me share this (which I came upon a few minutes ago only):

                “The Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit?”


                Advantages of the KJV precision

                About four years ago, I began to abandon the NASB (which I had used for 25 years) and adopted the KJV. One of the biggest reasons I did this is because I noted a precision in the KJV that simply isn’t available in any other translation. This is an example of that precision. Not all pneuma is the same, and a direct translation may not, in this case, be the most accurate translation.

                I am going to “retrain my tongue” to use the term “Holy Ghost” when referring to the third Person of the Trinity, and using the word “spirit” when referring to the “spirit of the Lord.” It is not the first time I have had to work hard to retrain the tongue to rid myself of modern, evangelical pablum (or outright error). You may not choose to follow me in your own references to the third Person of the Trinity, and I won’t be offended. But as for me, I will use the term Holy Ghost.

                And, once again, I will rejoice that the Bible is inexhaustible in its treasures!

                In James Wood’s article in the New Yorker, “Creating God,” he wrote “Holy Spirit” three times. That is mainly (IMO) the reason he got … (for want of a better word) “lost.”
                More on this later, in due time.

      • So, let’s go w/ Daniel and Isaiah, i7sharp. Sefaria translates Daniel verse as He answered, “But I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the fire and the fourth looks like a divine being And in Isaiah as young woman.

        No Son of God ; No Virgin.

        • i7sharp says:


          Are you talking about this “Sefaria”?


          Sefaria was originally founded in 2011, by Joshua Foer, and Brett Lockspeiser, a former product manager at Google. The site’s first beta was released in 2012. The company was formally incorporated in 2013, with funding from the Natan Fund, Jonathan and Tamar Koschitzky, and the Jim Joseph Foundation. By 2015, twelve apps used Sefaria’s API and database. Also in 2015, Sefaria reached a deal to use Urim Publications’ translations of the Tanakh and commentaries.[6] Sefaria’s website received a major redesign in 2016, alongside the release of new apps for smartphones running iOS and Android, and a complete English translation of Rashi’s commentary on the Torah. By this point, over a dozen people were part of the website’s staff. Sefaria reached a major milestone in 2017, with the release of the William Davidson Talmud.[7] In 2019, Lockspeiser was listed among Forward Magazine’s 50 under 50 for this advancement in Torah technology.[8]


        • i7sharp,

          You said there were no mistakes in the KJV; I said there’s a bunch. For the purpose of discussion I’ve found 3 for you , here:

          1. Daniel 3:25 in KJV “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” In Sefaria it’s:
          He answered, “But I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the fire and the fourth looks like a divine being.”

          -The Hebrew is precise, your beloved KJV chose “Son of God”, why? Because, Jesus.

          2. Isaiah 7:14 in KJV “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” In Sefaria , it’s: “Assuredly, my Lord will give you a sign of His own accord! Look, the young woman is with child and about to give birth to a son. Let her name him Immanuel.”

          -Again the Hebrew is precise, but your infallible KJV decided to go with “Virgin”, again why? Because of the Virgin Mary.

          3. Deuteronomy 33:17 in KJV “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” And in Sefaria, its: “Like a firstling bull in his majesty, He has horns like the horns of the wild-ox; With them he gores the peoples, The ends of the earth one and all. These are the myriads of Ephraim, Those are the thousands of Manasseh.”

          -St. Jerome in the Vulgate didn’t use unicorn, he wrote “cornua rhinocerotis”, but your direct from God KJV they chose “unicorn”, Why? Because in the 1600s people had a very specific idea of what a unicorn was, Google unicorn throne of Denmark and Queen Elizabeth I ‘s unicorn horn chalice to drink from, prevents poison i guess. Here:

          Do you see now how imprecise the KJV is? It is not the perfection you’re touting it to be, i7sharp! Oh, and I like Sefaria because Jews who know their own language Hebrew like the Sefaria website.


          the KJV’s

          1. Son of God is wrong.

          2. Virgin is wrong.

          3. unicorns is wrong.

          (joe, Ireneo, and karl, et al. my apologies for delving quite so much into unicorns, but the less Filipinos believe in unicorns, I believe the Philippines will be better for it. LOL! )

          • i7sharp says:

            “Jews who know their own language Hebrew …”

            Try naming a few of these Jews, Lance.
            Where can one find the Sefaria Bible, if there is one?

            Meanwhile, …
            At least sixty men were directly involved in the translation of the King James Bible (hereinafter KJB). Most were Translators, while a few were project overseers, revisers and editors. Some served in several roles. Who were these men? What were their backgrounds? What did they share? In what ways were they different? They were a diverse group. While some were born in large cities and towns, most were from small villages scattered throughout England. Several were the children of university graduates, most were not. They were sons of mariners, farmers, school teachers, cordwainers (leather merchants), fletchers (makers of bows and arrows), ministers, brewers, tailors, and aristocrats. All were members of the Church of England, but their religious views ran the gamut. Some were ardent Puritans, others staunch defenders of the religious establishment. Some believed in pre-destination and limited salvation as taught by John Calvin, while others believed in self-determination and universal access to heaven as taught by Jacobus Arminius.

            All of the Translators were university graduates. Oxford and Cambridge claimed nearly equal numbers of Translators as alumni. All of the Translators except one were ordained Church of England priests. While several of the Translators had traveled to the Continent, only one had ventured to the New World. Most of the Translators were married men (38 of 60) with families. Most of the Translators spent a significant portion of their career associated with their colleges and universities as fellows, involved in teaching and administration. As fellows, they were not allowed to marry. As a result many delayed marriage until they had established themselves in church office away from the university. When the translation commenced in 1604-1605, the majority of the Translators, 22, were in their forties, 16 men were in their thirties, 15 in their fifties, 3 in their sixties and 3 in their twenties.


            btw, what is the “track record” of the Sefaria?

          • i7sharp says:

            “1. Daniel 3:25 in KJV “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” In Sefaria it’s:
            He answered, “But I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the fire and the fourth looks like a divine being.”

            -The Hebrew is precise, your beloved KJV chose “Son of God”, why? Because, Jesus.”

            “Because, Jesus”?
            Praytell, what you mean, Lance.
            You know how you can know Jesus?
            He said, “Search the scriptures … they are they which testify of me.”
            Do you even know where the scriptures are?

            btw, …
            For your consideration, to name just one:

        • i7sharp, if you don’t like Sefaria then we go with another Hebrew translation simple, this is from :

          No matter, how you cut it, no matter which Hebrew, your KJV will still be wrong, i7sharp. because they chose wrong translations for their KJV. That’s 2 Hebrew translations I’ve offered now. I can find a 3rd, but please let’s not belabor the point that KJV is not the best, just not the best. it’s good to hear, but translation wise not the best. My point all along.

          • p.s.– the key Hebrew you want to see in Daniel 3:25 is this (that’s not it in Daniel 3:25, thus wrong in KJV, i7sharp).

          • i7sharp says:


            You seem to choose ones that seem to you the “best” here and there … not best from START to FINISH.

            Let me ask you about the Chabad the same questions I have asked you about the Sefaria.

            To make it easier for you:
            Quote the Chabad (or whatever bible you have in it) where refutes or outdoes the accuracy, beauty, precision, … of the KJV.

            You might want to peruse this:

            “How the King James Bible changed the world”

            Even thinkers not sympathetic to the Bible’s message still praise its language. Famous skeptic H. L. Mencken found in the King James “a mine of lordly and incomparable poetry, at once the most stirring and the most touching ever heard of.” Another remarkable testimonial to the influence of the KJV comes from New Atheist thinker Richard Dawkins, who normally has nothing good to say about any aspect of religion. On the King James, however, he becomes lyrical, so much so that he prays, apologetically, “Forgive me, spirit of science!” But as he asks, how on earth can anyone who cares about language be so ignorant and insensitive as not to appreciate the magnificent tones of the KJV? He continues, again freely quoting King James-isms, “If my words fall on stony ground — if you pass me by as a voice crying in the wilderness — be sure your sin will find you out. Between us there is a great gulf fixed and you are a thorn in my flesh. We have come to the parting of the ways. I fear it is a sign of the times.” And those are the words of a declared mortal enemy of the Bible!

            No serious study of literature in English can neglect the impact of the 1611 Bible, and that is equally true for any century from the 17th through the 20th. All the great canonical authors are immersed in that Bible, even (or especially) those who reject its fundamental religious message. To put it ironically, the Bible they reject is the 1611 version, which created the literary air we breathe. The King James language informs and inspires American literature, from Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne through Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. It has its special power in African American tradition, from Frederick Douglass through Alice Walker.


            • i7sharp, I just gave you 3 verses which I placed side by side with the KJV and pointed out how KJV is not the best translation (wrong, in fact).

              1. Son of God, because the Hebrew for God (yup the same word in Genesis is not used, thus rightly the Jews know not to translate it as Son of God)

              2. Virgin, because the Jews have words for virgin and young girl, and young girl is what has been used, and virgin wasn’t used.

              3. unicorns, because Jews understood as cattle.

              • At issue here is this word: אֱלָהִֽין in the end of said above verse of Daniel 3:25.

                Here it is again in Daniel 2:11, which your beloved KJV has translated into:

                “And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

                same-same w/ my beloved Sefaria apparently,

                And that i7sharp is BINGO! unless you have more… 😉

    • These, I found interesting, the same graph really:

      Notice the KJV isn’t privy to the stuff discovered after 17th century, because it was in early 1600s. But before the 1600s, they had Queen Elizabeth’s version, is there a QEV-Onlyism? Wouldn’t KJV-Onlyism be just as arbitrary? hmmmmmmmmmmm…

  7. i7sharp says:

    Let us talk history.

    History … “selfsame day”

    11/11/1620 – 11/11/2020
    400 years on the self same day

    What happened on 11/11/1620
    It is said that the Bible arrived in the hands of a carpenter onboard the Mayflower on that selfsame day.

    “selfsame day” occurs in the Bible (the King James Version) 11 times.
    The last occurrence is in Ezekiel 40:1
    “In the five and twentieth year of our captivity,
    in the beginning of the year,
    in the tenth day of the month,
    in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten,
    in the selfsame day
    the hand of the LORD was upon me,
    and brought me thither.”

    One of the results I found just now (literally about thirty minutes ago) by googling
    “four hundred 400 years selfsame day”
    was this one that I think I have not read before. The author of the blog also does not ring a bell.
    I am not saying I agree with the author.

    In any case, what I am saying, is that by 11/11/2020
    we will have had 400 years of history on the selfsame day.
    How can this relate to the Philippines and to what it can be?
    I do not know … yet.
    Neither do I know why Irineo says
    Norman Mailer wrote “Only the Dead know Brooklyn.”
    Did Mailer do that, Irineo?

    • i7sharp says:

      Of course, I will try to relate this posting to what I posted earlier today (about the 400 years, 11/11/2020, etc.).

      I posted this on my Facebook page only a few minutes ago,

      less than an hour after I had received my printed copy of the New Yorker.

      I did not expect to see the article, “Creating God.”

      The online edition titles the article as
      “Does Knowing God Just Take Practice?”


      • What a coincidence, i7sharp! James Wood happens to be one of my favourite actors, next to Keanu Reeves (one can argue they both are very similar, cut from the same cloth really).

        But I didn’t know he writes books, much less books on God. I think he’s my favourite actor of all time now– actor and writer. Thanks for sharing this! So interesting.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          That is James Woods.
          I loved his role in Once upin a time in America and Against all odds.

        • i7sharp says:


          The James Woods that regularly writes in New Yorker is a different person.

          His latest piece is very disturbing, IMO.

          On the other hand, I had liked VERY MUCH his piece on the KJV,

          I quoted him at TSoH many years ago.

        • sonny says:

          James Wood is the British writer for The New Yorker. James Woods is the actor. Watch those ‘s’ -es. (The actor is no IQ slouch, either)

          • i7sharp says:

            To be sure, we are talking about …
            Getting the Philippines to What it Can Be

            I submit that the book that arrived on board the Mayflower in the hands of a carpenter named John Alden on 11/11/1620
            got the new land (that became the U.S. of A.) to what it could be …
            arguably the most prosperous nation in history of the world.

            Could it end (at least figuratively) its course on its 400th anniversary on 11/11/2020?
            If so, for what reason? Is there an “overarching” sin she committed?
            Something that could not be forgiven?

            And, would the Philippines pick up the baton, so to speak, by learning from that sin?
            Will the same book get the Philippines to what it can be?
            Why not? If she can pinpoint what, mainly, America – if not the world – made a mistake on.

            Perhaps it was no coincidence that James Wood’s (not James Woods’ ) article
            appeared on the 11/09/2020 issue of the New Yorker.
            Perhaps God wanted to use it as an example?

            In the print edition of the May 26, 2003, issue of the same magazine,
            James Wood sang praises of the same book (the King James Bible):
            A Great Music
            Committees and creativity in the making of the King James Bible.
            Was James Wood, since then, been influenced – as America apparently was – by modern bibles or translations?
            Who knows.

            The phrase “shall not be forgiven” is found exactly only three times in the KJB.
            I searched for the phrase “Holy Spirit” in James Wood’s “Creating God” and found exactly three occurrences.
            “… open your soul to the Holy Spirit”

            “Who was this God, this Jesus, this Holy Spirit?”

            “… a claim about the objective reality of the Holy Spirit and God’s supernatural presence.”

            (In the same article I searched for “ghost” and found “ghostbusters.”)

            Okay … what’s da point?

            Who knows if Joe can stand this.
            If you don’t see my follow up later today … you will probably see it on my Facebook page.
            I decided to close it here to give the reader a chance to chew on it and, I hope, to respond to it.

            • sonny says:

              Never been a Facebook follower.

            • sonny says:

              Nor a THE NEW YORKER reader.

            • 4. “How many times does the word “unicorn” show in the KJV?”

              and Why?

              • i7sharp says:

                “unicorn” – six times
                Numbers 23:22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
                Numbers 24:8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
                Job 39:9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?
                Job 39:10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
                Psalms 29:6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
                Psalms 92:10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

                “unicorns” – three times
                Deuteronomy 33:17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
                Psalms 22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
                Isaiah 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

                and Why not?

          • Hahahahahaha… my bad!!! Wood vs. Woods.

            KJV is full of mistakes, it reads like Shakespeare but it’s taken from bad source, Vulgate that missed the original Greek, and lots of artistic license– prone to that period.

            You wanna read the Old Testament read the Jewish English translations. Here for example:

            KJV was popular in America because that was the current printing at that time; I dunno if there ever was a King George bible, but the current translations of Christian old and new testament is better. Ass as it or him?

  8. Yes, the article is somewhat confused as the topic is confusing. In my early articles especially those in my old blog some years ago – or my highly confused comments when I came into TSOH over 5 years ago – it was often Edgar who sorted things out via enumeration like he only can.

    With some distance to the original thoughts of the article, I shall attempt to enumerate, may my effort be worthy of Edgar, who is sorely missed:

    I. First question: are we any wiser from our mistakes?

    I.1. There is the realization that the past is a done deal, a fait accompli
    I.1.a. Others influenced us before the Europeans did
    I.1.b. Others influenced the Europeans as well
    I.1.c. If the Europeans hadn’t come we would be very different

    I.2. Ninotchka Rosca’s “Land of Constant Beginnings” statement
    I.2.a. We tend to idealize the good old days – for everyone they are different
    I.2.b. We lack the patience to follow through so stuff is half-baked or half-cooked
    I.2.c. It seems we are often too perfectionistic so we abort stuff, or go back to messing around

    II. Some issues of today were mentioned:

    II.1. budgeting and sources of corruption
    II.2. Local government and the barangay
    II.3. Lopsided concentration of wealth and power

    III. Some possible ways out were mentioned:

    III.1. Increase transparency and accountability
    III.2. Community development (barangay, LGUs)
    III.3. Better follow-through on implementing roadmaps
    III.4. Better focus on priorities especially when budgeting
    III.5. Thinkers may have to focus on what is desired:
    III.5.a. What kind of modernity and innovation?
    III.5.b. What kind of well-being and community?
    III.5.c. What kind of collective decision-making?

    Hope this helps avoid the two traps Ninotchka Rosca likes to mention; saudade, the Portuguese term for “nostalgia for a past that never was”, and Sehnsucht, the German term (in some contexts) of hoping for a future that will never be. Joe’s “WHAT CAN BE” is what is rarely still defined, and we know from corporate trainings, possibly, or from sports coaching, maybe, that visualizing a goal is the best way to reach it, as the Whitney Houston song “One Moment In Time” so vividly expresses. That is probably the best way out of the past-centric stuff as well as the blame games of today. And also the longing question “Quo Vadis” that I asked in the first article on my old blog. Instead of just scratching our heads like I did in that article, why not look at what is possible? But in a realistic way. Nonetheless, hitching one’s wagon to a star may be the best way to overcome present defeatism.

    • Ireneo,

      before 2016, people here didn’t have opinions about Iraq, or Afghanistan, or China, or anything really, most were just content. In a stupor really. 2020, pretty much where ever you go, you can have an interesting conversation about geopolitics and domestic policies. What changed?

      Now Trump and Biden are literally neck and neck.

      So that same thread i’ve been pulling re calcification, etc. its about a whole mass, critical mass really, of people just waking up from their stupor and actually going out and reading up and having opinions on things, and being passionate about said opinions.

      Over here it took Trump talking about things passionately, that got people to respond in kind, pro or con, doesn’t really matter, if they agree or disagree w/ him, just that they responded in kind,

      w/ passion.

      Over here, it’s every 2 years, people can express those opinions in elections. I think there it’s every 6 years only (are there in between elections)? and you have politicians that actually sprout up from the masses, not just political families or the rich.

      AOC for one. But other than TSOH are there other places one can get opinions in the Philippines? not Wowowillie stuff, but educated discussions?

      • Sorry, got to Wiki Philippine election cycles and it seems every 3 years is it.

        The buzz word here now is election fraud, I don’t generally buy it because its county by county; but I do think counties that contain big cities, like Detroit; or Philly; Hotlanta, Phoenix, Vegas , etc. should be looked into closely.

        Otherwise I do think that this election was all in all legit, I’m really surprise Biden fired up voters in Phoenix and Vegas area. Good for him. Wisconsin I think is a good count. Still very dubious of Michigan going for Biden; Pennsylvania ‘s count too is somewhat, but that’s only because that’s been Dem country for so long.

        I hope, SCOTUS delves in here. They should go thru with fine tooth comb as to not piss off Trump supporters, but I think Biden has won, by a smidge, tiny smidge. blacks and Hispanics voted for Trump at record numbers, Asians too. that’s a kick in the nuts for the Dems.

        I’m just happy Micha‘s not moving to the Swiss alps now.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Many pundits or even netizens or even you would bef to differ. Obama activated the sicial media discussions before elections and of course he was not the first one

        • No, karl, 2020 election was different, like 120 years difference!

          • Karl Garcia says:

            The senate majority will be the Republicans, so much for smooth policy making.
            They thought that the Covid issues will make the Republicans lose some Senate seats.
            Over here, there are memes that China would welcome a Biden presidency and named a city after him called the ForBiden city.
            And there are made Bidem name Chinese sounding like Jo bi deng or something like that.

            • Biden has and will always be for China, karl. That ‘s the reason Bernie and Trump supporters never liked him.

              • References or basis for claim? Make it short and sweet and ‘expert’, not a sales job. Thanks.


                “They also know that Joe Biden’s campaign has not denied that the May 2017 meeting described by Bobulinski took place. How much there is to the rest of Bobulinski’s story is a question best answered by impartial federal authorities. It is entirely reasonable to want them to investigate, especially if they were willing to go to such lengths to investigate actions related to a second-tier competitor like Russia in 2016. Why would they do anything less when the son of a presidential nominee is working with companies tied to such masterly manipulators as the Chinese Communist Party?

                Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Trust the American people. Don’t try to frighten, lie to or bully them. They can handle the truth. And they deserve to hear it.

                Win or lose, the business dealings of Joe Biden’s family with China need to be investigated — but most especially if he wins.”

                Joe, it all goes back to nationalist vs. globalist worldviews, now the Dems since the 90s fought for globalist (arguably post WWII America is globalist, ie. gotta police the world, so WWII doesn’t happen again was the thinking), we’ve shipped jobs to China, China is rich because of US.

                Russia may have troll farms, but its China with the cash.

                Now if you agree that the Dems (the GOP too) are globalist, then you’re half way there. Bernie and Trump are nationalist, focus is on US.

                Ergo, Biden is pro-China. Because, to be anti-China, one has to be nationalist (America first). But that NBC News article points to my deeper suspicions. chemp brought this up awhile back by the way, not my original commentary, chemp suggested a book, i read it, and there it is an article on NBC News, on election day.

                Whether you’re pro or against, investigation is called for. Agree?

              • It all sounds so ohhh my conspiratorial, as if Joltin’ Joe would place family interests ahead of national interests. Not quite the authoritative case I was looking for. Sure, investigate it and put all the facts on the table. But rather than set this up as a partisan issue based in a wide-cast net of suspicion, those ‘judgmental facts’ that poison constructive debate, how about we wait to see what he says and does.

              • I tend to think President Biden will listen to his generals on a China military policy. Here’s what one of them said recently.


                As for trade, I think he will not take kindly to China’s game-playing and theft, and will deploy a comprehensive opposition.

                As for conflicts like Scarborough shoal, he’ll need to show action, not words. This is likely the area that will define him. I’m 50/50 on confidence that the US will get to being tough.

              • Joe, so long as you agree that it deserves an investigation, then we are in agreement. 😉

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Senate count is to be continued.


              Georgua will have a runoff in January.

  9. Karl Garcia says:

    I tried to insert my past articles of MMT in the drafts, but decided na wag na lang. Lets say am confused.

    MMT might give us unli deficit spending if there is a big government and we will be uber protectionist and isolationist.
    With MMT in place we would have a universal healthcare, free tuition for all, and maybe that would end poverty or maybe not.
    The world is still confused by MMT.

    Here is one article about it by Ben Kritz who tried to demistify it.

    The Manila Times Online | Home logo
    The dangerous appeal of MMT
    Ben Kritz
    February 10, 2019

    MODERN Monetary Theory, or MMT, is the academic argument created to justify the “progressive” ideology of big government and massive public spending. It is a buzzword that is appearing with increasing frequency in the news, and might even start to pop up here as the wrangling over the national budget drags on and the midterm elections approach.

    Thus, a brief explanation is probably helpful. Explaining MMT in a simple way is actually exceedingly difficult, as it is like most other economic theories a post hoc application of science to largely sentiment-driven behavior. Despite being called “modern,” MMT is not really a new idea, but rather a modified form of chartalism, which has been around since the early 1900s. Its current popularity is due to the work of Stephanie Kelton, an economics professor at Stony Brook University in the US, who has served as an economic adviser to left-wing senator Bernie Sanders and other progressive politicians.

    Chartalism — since I’ve introduced another theoretical term in spite of my best efforts not to — is a theory of money that states money is a creation of the government to control economic activity. Its opposite is “metallism” (the term coined by the same German economist that thought up the term chartalism), which states that money is a medium of exchange naturally resulting from the barter system.

    In the real world, modern monetary systems have characteristics explained by both theories, which is part of the reason why MMT is (probably) ultimately an economic dead-end. Cynicism aside, there are aspects of MMT that are not completely unreasonable, which, apart from its being the latest economic fad, is a good reason to have a basic understanding of what it means.

    The key to MMT is government’s creation of money in the literal sense. Because the government can print money, MMT states, it cannot technically ever be considered in debt, if those debts are denominated in the currency it controls. Therefore, the only constraints on government spending are political intentions — the government does not spend money just because it doesn’t want to — or inflation caused by full employment, which is explained below.

    In order to explain how the “if the government needs more money it can just make more” idea works, MMT separates the economy into two basic parts, a government side and a public side. In this model, a deficit on one side represents an asset on the other, and taxes are not used to fund government expenditures, but rather to simply balance its books. Instead, it funds expenditures in excess of its revenues by simply creating new money, which usually takes the form of government bonds.

    To illustrate, here’s a simple example. Suppose that in a year, the government collects P2 trillion in revenues, but spends P3 trillion, half of it for ordinary expenses, and half of it for productive things such as new roads, education and so on. The government now has a deficit of P1 trillion, and in order to cover it and pay for those excess expenditures, it creates new money by issuing bonds. It’s only “debt” in our crude, simple-minded, conventional way of thinking about economics because it’s money that will be created (from the government’s point of view) at some future time; to the public side of the equation, it represents new assets.

    At the end of the year, the government needs to balance the books. It has transferred P1 trillion in assets (future money) to the public side in exchange for funds (present money) to complete its expenditures, but since that money has been spent, it still has an accounting deficit of P1 trillion. Therefore, it levies P1 trillion in taxes on the public side. However, since extracting a huge amount of additional taxes is unpalatable to most people (even the most tax-happy progressives), it can resort to the alternative of raising the amount banks are required to keep in reserve deposits at the central bank. This transfers assets back to the control of the government and brings it account back to a neutral state.

    In the meantime, the combination of what the government has spent on value-adding investments — those new roads and schools and other tangible things — and the public side investments financed from its issuance of P1 trillion of “new money” have increased assets on the public side; the economy has grown. Thus, it can take a bit more in taxes at the start of the next year for new expenditures, because the public side has grown richer. And the government has to take more in taxes, because each peso is worth relatively less than it was before due to the inflation caused by the previous year’s issuance of new money.

    As long as that is the only cause of inflation, however, it can be controlled by mopping up the excess money with non-value adding expenditures — social support programs such as cash dole-outs, free health care and so on. In order for the government to be able to do that, a certain part of the population has to remain unproductive, that is, unemployed and not creating new wealth. If there is full employment, then inflation becomes driven by demand (everyone has money that they want to spend) and outraces government’s ability to control it.

    Therefore, the ideal balance according to MMT is an unemployment rate that is just slightly higher than the prevailing inflation rate. That way, government can continuously increase spending (and increase deficits) to keep the entire system in equilibrium.

    That, in a simplistic nutshell, is how MMT — a simplistic economic theory — is supposed to work. So long as the government doesn’t incur any debts in any currency other than its own, and so long as it doesn’t allow everyone to become employed, deficits are irrelevant and the government can spend as freely as it likes. As Professor Kelton herself explained it, “Deficits are self-financing.” Therefore, in order for there to be economic growth, deficits should actually constantly increase.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      I will quote my draft:
      “Spain spent much if its history Gold and Silver mining, after they ask the natives to search for them, they tell them they are mine, then that is what became the mining industry, just kidding of course.
      Notwithstanding all that gold and silver, the Hasburgs still owed the world banking system a whopping gazillion dollars, the Hasburgs was so powerful, they can even name the next Pope.
      The Hasburgs thought the world how to default on sovereign debt and get a way with it. Maybe that is where the proponents of Modern Monetary theory got their idea that deficits are good so long as you are monetary sovereign because money makes the world go round indeed.”

    • Micha says:


      Ben Kritz is another confused bubblehead.

      He doesn’t seem to deny that the government can create money by fiat. His only issue (like others who get soaked with MMT derangement syndrome) is, as usual, inflation.

      • Ahahaha! Bubblehead! I had a falling out with Kritz at the start of the Aquino term. Wish I’da thought of that term. Perfect!

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Confused bubblehead

      • I wonder w/ all these past MMT naysayers, what they are saying now, post COVID19. Especially with this 2nd wave this winter! MMT has to happen. How are all these stay at home heroes gonna git paid!

        The way I see it, Micha‘s still the big winner here. re MMT.

        • Micha says:


          Fiat money had been with us since 1971. It’s not like MMT has to happen now – we already have this monetary system for close to 50 years. See those exponential and cumulative growth in debt and deficits which our friend chempo predicted will get the U.S. on its knees once it reached a certain threshold back in 2015? How’s that prediction turned out?

          In fact, the only way Merika can avoid collapse is to ramp up deficit spending.

          And Uncle Joe better get those $3 trillion stimulus first thing in January or he’ll get shellacked in the midterms like brother Barrack.

          • Micha, have you seen Clint Eastwoods “Flags of our Fathers”, where they return to NYC, and their Treasury bonds guy tells them that they need to sell these bonds and that they’re job was more serious than the boys back in the Pacific (this was when Ira Hayes was whining about wanting to go back to his unit).

            Treasury guy says something like, We’ve been printing money out of thin air! I just saw that movie again on TNT or AMC i think, and I thought about MMT!!! i bet ya Clint Eastwood didn’t even git that reference! LOL!

  10. Karl Garcia says:

    Kritz keeps on mentioning progressives .

    Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform.[1] Based on the idea of progress in which advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition, progressivism became highly significant during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, out of the belief that Europe was demonstrating that societies could progress in civility from uncivilized conditions to civilization through strengthening the basis of empirical knowledge as the foundation of society.[2] Figures of the Enlightenment believed that progress had universal application to all societies and that these ideas would spread across the world from Europe.[2]

    The contemporary common political conception of progressivism emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late-19th century. Progressives take the view that progress is being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor; minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with monopolistic corporations; and the intense and often violent conflict between capitalists and workers, arguing that measures were needed to address these problems.[3]

    The meanings of progressivism have varied over time and from different perspectives. Early-20th century progressivism was tied to eugenics and the temperance movement, both of which were promoted in the name of public health and as initiatives toward that goal.[4][5][6][7][8] Contemporary progressives promote public policies that they believe will lead to positive social change. In the 21st century, a movement that identifies as progressive is “a social or political movement that aims to represent the interests of ordinary people through political change and the support of government actions”.[9]

  11. Micha says:


    So this is analysis cum brainstorming cum policy proposal peppered with tales and anecdotes from here and there and everywhere?

    I’m reminded of an ad (can’t remember the product) with a tagline, “wala ka ng hahanapin pa”.

    As I understand it, the policy proposal part of this is a top down measure that will require a receptive and/or sympathetic ear from a political power holder. That element is absent now, though you would most likely retort this is for a Leni Robredo administration.

    Poverty, access to health care, and education are problems confined in scope for maybe two thirds of the population, right?

    For the remaining third, who also happen to influence both the narrative, the privileged existence, and the levers of political power, those are not existential concerns.

    My point here is, it’s not spectacularly difficult to find solution for the problem of poverty, healthcare, and education (which converge and interlink) if we, collectively, commit ourselves to it. The harder part is the willingness of those who hold the levers of political power to implement those solutions.

    • @Micha:

      I’m reminded of an ad (can’t remember the product) with a tagline, “wala ka ng hahanapin pa”. Malay mo usapang lasing lang kaya medyo magulo?

      As I understand it, the policy proposal part of this is a top down measure that will require a receptive and/or sympathetic ear from a political power holder. That element is absent now, though you would most likely retort this is for a Leni Robredo administration.

      She is in my book the best bet from within the present system. With the following caveats:

      1. She is presently working AROUND the system via her Kaya Natin initiative, using a lot of donations from corporations and middle class. If she were President, she would contend with:

      1a. An HOR that waffles around endlessly without a sense of priorities, mostly, save their own i.e. pork and spoon

      1b. A government that, mildly said, takes at least 5 signatures and 8 people to screw on a lightbulb, usually – the better agencies prove the rule. It is usually mired by play-safe-bureacratism centered on procedures, senyorito bosings and passive rank-and-file at best. There are academic studies about how these are postcolonial attitudes which I think are true. At worst you have cliques engaged in “crookery” (c) MRP like allegedly in Customs and PNP. Or groups trying to protect their turf like the Midas Marquez clique in the Supreme Court, Midases where everything they touch turns into shit not gold, mildly speaking.

      Poverty, access to health care, and education are problems confined in scope for maybe two thirds of the population, right?

      For the remaining third, who also happen to influence both the narrative, the privileged existence, and the levers of political power, those are not existential concerns.

      2. No they aren’t. We can see how major parts of the ABC classes are behind Duterte. Those who are looking for a broader, more collective view are a minority and this minority is further split between different factions. Long-term the issues will affect all but only few care.

      2a. Tokhang is merely a symptomatic approach – kiling the symptoms of poverty, meaning those who are driven to total desperation, the weakest (drug users) and second weakest (drug dealers) in the food chain.

      2b. Giving major oligopolies to new players is just a variation of the redistribution Marcos did from oligarchs to cronies. It is about people want not change, but their turn.

      My point here is, it’s not spectacularly difficult to find solution for the problem of poverty, healthcare, and education (which converge and interlink) if we, collectively, commit ourselves to it. The harder part is the willingness of those who hold the levers of political power to implement those solutions.

      3. PNoy (and Joe) are/were of the opinion that it takes three Presidential terms – basically one generation reaching maturity at 18 – to solve the issue of poverty.

      3a. There is the “walang mahirap kung walang korap” motto of “Daang Matuwid”. Might be that was a little bit too naive.

      3b. Kiko Pangilinan has a quite smart proposal on how to reform the legal and penal system, another of the rotten parts of the present house of governance besides HOR and gov’t.

      –>MY OPINION: those in SEA who are now ahead of the Philippines weren’t just a few decades ago. They are where they are because they decided to leave no one behind or at least not too many.

      –>KARL’S OPINION: Yes, the Devil is in the Details. It isn’t spectacularly difficult but it isn’t that easy either, one might think. The theoretical “option” of revolution makes me ask, will those who run things afterwards go the same way as Harry Roque, Jojo Binay and Gary Olivar? How deep does corruption or at least myopic self-dealing run in the culture?

      —>KARL’S FURTHER CAVEAT: the Local Government Code seems to have made things even messier. I add that barangays are often run by “Lords of Poverty” with their thugs. Difficult local conditions of impunity and extreme poverty make bottom-up hard to implement. Exceptions like Naga, Cebu and Iloilo prove the rule. Unless there are other aspects that we have overlooked in our “drunken” conversation. So we know WHAT to do but not yet HOW.

  12. sonny says:

    “… I add that barangays are often run by “Lords of Poverty” with their thugs. Difficult local conditions of impunity and extreme poverty make bottom-up hard to implement. ”

    This is so true with 3 contiguous municipalities I am familiar with. I’m wondering whether governance might work better with a federation of region-states. Hmmm …

    • I’m familiar with this in Tarlac and specifically Tarlac state university, sonny.

      The David family there is the above (from what was told to me) , but at the same time the same family granted that big tract of land to the state.

      So kinda like set up a school in Tennessee.

      I’m sure “Lords of Poverty” are on a spectrum, where some families just take, but I gotta feeling because wealth necessitates building things, think of pharoahs, etc. by default they provide for public good.

      Now to quantify and account for each landed families and the amount of public good contributed.

      • sonny says:

        I’m sure “Lords of Poverty” are on a spectrum, … some families just take, … wealth necessitates building things, … think of pharoahs, etc. … they provide for public good.

        In song,

        from Ecclesiastes To everything turn, turn, turn …

        Now to quantify and account for each landed families and the amount of public good contributed.

        from my erstwhile rocker, the Mick
        Paint it black

  13. I posted this in a Pisay FB Group:

    • hunker down time. Less than 2 years before 2022 elections.

      01. Identify places where a Vico or Jesse can win.
      02. Find the Vico/Jesse of that place.
      03. Start citizen education. Ingat lang at baka ma redtag.
      04. Create a Coalition of LGUs with good governance.

      As LGU funding is primarily, IRA, Pork, Aid.

      Find friends from Ausaid, USAID, ADB, etc. Make these places the islands of progress.

      Rinse repeat hanggang magka critical mass of properly run LGUs.

      • I forgot find sexy solvable problems and get funding from organizations like the Belinda and Bill Gates Foundation

        • The good thing about the Gates, unlike most NGOs especially religious ones, is that they actually force locals to take ownership, and not just be on the receiving end of things all the time. Not just give fish, but teaching how to fish kinda deal.

          • Hey Joe. Your son could do one transformative sexy not so hard project in your province. It would look great in his Harvard application. It would also be a great maybe/maybe not farewell gift. You never know where life is gonna take you. He just has to find a similar project being done jn Africa/South America or even Cambodia/Bangladesh/Bhutan/Thailand/Myanmar.

        • Thanks Gian. There is some hope for bottom-up after all.

          The ideal is of course top-down and bottom-up working in sync plus a broad middle class that is not merely consumeristic like most in the Philippines, but very civic-minded.

            • How did you do this video, gian? Looks so professionally done! Good job!

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Nice! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👍👍👍

            • Micha says:


              Rodrigo is an LGU guy. He’s got most of barangay captains, mayors, and governors covered. You think Team Leni will be able to outsmart him in that game?

              • In this game the one who thinks and acts long term will eventually have their time. I think I made a mistake in playing the 2022 angle. Developing the Philippines in 30 years would have been a better peg.

              • Jesse Robredo, Vico Sotto, and Stacey Abrams inspired the video.

              • sonny says:

                “You have to build the infrastructure to organize and motivate your base, and you have to persuade people,” said Jason Carter, a Democrat who was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014. “Stacey built that infrastructure.”

                These are solid principles to build a progressive agenda to live by. They are corollary to: “change is never alone; one must also create the readiness”

              • i7sharp says:

                Quoting Sonny’s post:
                “You have to build the infrastructure to organize and motivate your base, and you have to persuade people,” said Jason Carter, a Democrat who was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014. “Stacey built that infrastructure.”

                These are solid principles to build a progressive agenda to live by. They are corollary to: “change is never alone; one must also create the readiness”

                Please read the above and respond to this:
                Stacey Abrams can be a good example of people who can get the Philippines to what it can be?

                I am asking because I am curious.

              • i7sharp says:

                btw, Sonny, who said this (“aphorism”)?:

                “change is never alone; one must also create the readiness”

              • sonny says:

                “… create the readiness”

                This quote is from my wife. She has an M.Educ in Organization, also a Psychiatry nurse.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Does Isko still have a chance not to be a trapo?
        I like Vico because he did not emilate the bad side of Tito.
        Tito was an acting Mayor once, he did some good.

        • Vico at local level and (partly) Nancy Binay at national level could be indicators that there is a changing mentality among the leaders, with the caveat that many considered Cayetano and Grace Poe as hopefuls once. Like you implied there is a bit of urong-sulong in Filipino politics, but then again the history of Florentine politics I posted above is instructive – they also had jumps and starts, tyranny followed by chaotic democracy then tyranny again – with rule of law a struggle because of factionalism. Of course the conflicts of Florence led to writers like Scala and Macchiavelli defining a certain standard, just like Plato defined a certain standard for Greek republics – or Jefferson based on Locke defined the standard for the USA. Jacinto, Mabini and Quezon tried to defined standards for Filipino governance but after that what happened, did anything stick? Because if a polity has a certain compass, it can go astray for a while but the compass if taken seriously lets it find its way back again like what is hopefully happening to the USA now. And of course there is a learning process.

          • Of course if we look at Manolo Quezon’s analysis that:

            1) Bonifacio was modern but was defeated by traditional Aguinaldo

            2) The Commonwealth was modern with a nod to tradition

            3) Martial Law was traditional with a nod to modern

            and finally 2016 was the periphery taking over the center.

            Then there is no learning process it is mostly going backward, “hopefuls” as exceptions?

        • kasambahay says:

          Karl G’s question, does Isko still has chance not to be trapo? yes, of course! is my answer, though Isko has to make that choice himself. if he has the guts. Isko knows what to do, even though at the moment, his ducks are not seem to be lining up.

          problem with Isko is he seems to be going down with his mistakes, instead of rising above his mistakes and taking responsibility. and not to let dolomite wash him white, so white he is losing color, haha. his nanay just died, so maybe Isko needs a bit of space.

          as good son, Isko knows his nanay will be much happier if he get his city in order, his office less complicated, his days not filled with making promises he cannot keep. kaso as good politician, Isko must know how to make deals and compromises without getting burned. but if he does get burned, to bear it well. he will have battle scars but wiser.

          and as expected, Isko will be tainted by bad deals once in a while, who doesn’t? so long as he can wiggle himself out of tight situations, make compromises vs compromises, that black is not always black but can be white, he’ll do and he’ll get there.

          it would serve Isko well not to readily believe what people are telling him but to check now and then, the accuracy of what he is hearing. and to do it with finesse so as not to alienate himself and the people who trust him.

          it’s all about politics.

  14. (Tonyo Cruz is from the left but his analysis is still correct)

    Trump is defeated. Is it possible in and for the Philippines?

    YES. But we need to do more than “wishing” that it does.

    (from a Twitter thread)

    In 2018, many aspirants started running, offering different platforms. The primaries offered Americans the chance to choose the nominee, and to debate about the platforms.

    People organized, knocked on doors, phoned, donated.

    Q: How are we going to choose candidates?

    Same is true in all races. Primaries determined the candidates. Organizing was involved at the grassroots.

    Q. Are we ready to do the same? Are we gonna allow candidates to choose voters? Or voters should choose candidates? Are we uniting under one party or one coalition?

    Candidates at all levels offered platforms to voters — whether national or local. They engaged in debate with other candidates.

    Q: How do we promote platform-based campaigns? Would we demand or require debates?

    Coalitions. Candidates were backed by coalitions that came together around their platform. All sorts of coalitions that attract various groups, demographics, persuasions, and those who left the ranks of opponents.

    Q: Are you ready to unite with others in coalitions?

    In many races, voters themselves donated or entire-funded the campaigns of candidates. They were up against Big Money, but gazillions of small donations helped power the candidates.

    Q: Would our candidates rely on Big Money too? Or would they rely on our donations?

    Organizing. Both the Biden and Trump campaigns relied on organizing down to the street level. They and their organizers studied the electorate, went to them, discussed with them, won them over, mobilized them. Millions of volunteers.

    Q: Would you volunteer to the campaign?

    Media. America has a lot of local and national news outlets that could provide adequate and fair coverage of the elections. There’s a strong tradition of independent, critical reportage and commentary.

    Q: What’s the plan FOR media in PH? What’s the plan OF media in PH?

    Yes, the defeat of Trump should inspire us. But that inspiration should also give us the opportunity to closely examine the wide gap between US and Philippine politics. There are certain realities in the Philippines that pre-determine our choices: Guns, goons and gold.

    Right now, the regime is strong, united, disciplined, determined, ready and already preparing. It has a deep bench of candidates. It has the control and support of traditional politicians, political dynasties and the moneyed elite.

    Handa na ang kalaban. What are we gonna do?

    We must face those realities, friends. Because in so doing, we would perhaps arrive at a common conclusion that we have to be stronger, more united, more disciplined, more determined, more ready and prepare more. We must rely on our people, organize, develop leaders, crowdfund.
    2022 presents us an opportunity for New Politics: new ways of choosing candidates, new ways of uniting our people around issues, new candidates, new platforms for campaigns, new organizations and parties, new coalitions, new ways to fund campaigns.

    Yes, campaigning for voter registration is important. Even this needs organization. And what better way to inspire new voters than to show they would be part of New Politics: volunteer, campaigns, contribute, new candidates and platforms carrying their issues. Victory.

    It is not enough to criticize or wish trapos to disappear.

    We should have candidates to compete with them:

    12 senators

    247 congressmen

    61 partylist reps

    81 governors/vice governors, 780 board members

    1,634 mayors/vice mayors, 13,546 councilors

    Ganyan karaming kandidato ang kailangan, friends. Maliban pa sa presidente at bise presidente.

    Organization is important for such a complex process. Thus, there are political parties and coalitions.

    Our work is not easy, but not impossible. We just have to see what we face ahead lucidly and honestly.

    Otherwise, wishful thinking na lang and aasa tayo sa isa na namang superhero na magliligtas sa atin, backed by turncoats from the trapo class we all scorn.

    One good start siguro is to expand our democratic vision.

    What issues are important to you and millions of others? What concerns could cut across the current divisions?

    Another is to ask: Are the voters the enemy? Who’s the real enemy?

    We should also start to be more concerned with our kababayans in the provinces. Their choices: a rigodon from rival trapos and dynasties who have guns, goons and gold.

    How do we help them out? How do we destroy the power of evil trapos in the provinces?

    The enemy thinks we couldn’t do it, and would do everything to perpetuate itself.

    We must outwit, out-organize, and surpass the enemy by offering our people a brand new way of doing politics. History as our reference. Future at stake.

    We must and we can.

    • – Pres. Duterte’s niece who lives in New York (for those who don’t know, very anti) says this:

      Organize, organize, organize. Overcome differences and work together. Solidarity. Factions will not get you what you want.

      Let the 2019 elections serve as a reminder.

    • i7sharp says:

      (Tonyo Cruz is from the left but his analysis is still correct)

      Trump is defeated. Is it possible in and for the Philippines?

      YES. But we need to do more than “wishing” that it does.

      (from a Twitter thread)

      In 2018, many aspirants started running, offering different platforms. The primaries offered Americans the chance to choose the nominee, and to debate about the platforms.

      1. Which portions of the post were written by Irineo himself?
      – How can the reader tell?

      2. Where is the link to Tonyo Cruz’s piece?
      – Any reason it was not provided?


    • I agree but this go big or go home does not jive well with how organizations work in the Philippines. I agree with this. I just think that it is not feasible with all of the coordination issues. Whoever does this need to think in terms of each campaign as a cell.

      • You are right, more on the bee fleet or banca than the big ship approach would work.

        BTW this were the seats in the 1933 Reichstag – the far right (brown) are the Nazis, black are the Conservative groups, light blue the Bavarians, yellow are mostly the Centrist party (which became, together with rests of the old conservative groups what is today Merkel’s party, though some conservatives left to join some rightists and become the AfD), red are the Social Democrats (also important after the war) and dark red are the Communists. Philippines would have the same issues of yellow, Akbayan red and leftist red not mixing. What did in German democracy then was the conservatives voting with the Nazis who were not even a clear majority, just a plurality in the beginning – they didn’t take them seriously.

  15. caliphman says:

    The American people have spoken and they said “You’re FIRED, Trump!”. Sic semper tyrannis..etc tu Duterte?? His fate too rests in the hands and will of the Filipino people.

  16. BTW re parliamentary procedures, I just discovered that the German Constitution has clear deadlines for certain parts of the procedure in creating laws and the mediation committee (like bicam) – seeing how long it takes to pass laws in the Philippines I doubt that such exists there:

    Article 76

    (1) Bills may be introduced in the Bundestag by the Federal Government, by the Bundesrat or from the floor of the Bundestag.

    (2) Federal Government bills shall first be submitted to the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat shall be entitled to comment on such bills within six weeks. If for important reasons, especially with respect to the scope of the bill, the Bundesrat demands an extension, the period shall be increased to nine weeks. If in exceptional circumstances the Federal Government, on submitting a bill to the Bundesrat, declares it to be particularly urgent, it may submit the bill to the Bundestag after three weeks or, if the Bundesrat has demanded an extension pursuant to the third sentence of this paragraph, after six weeks, even if it has not yet received the Bundesrat’s comments; upon receiving such comments, it shall transmit them to the Bundestag without delay. In the case of bills to amend this Basic Law or to transfer sovereign powers pursuant to Article 23 or 24, the comment period shall be nine weeks; the fourth sentence of this paragraph shall not apply.

    (3) Bundesrat bills shall be submitted to the Bundestag by the Federal Government within six weeks. In submitting them the Federal Government shall state its own views. If for important reasons, especially with respect to the scope of the bill, the Federal Government demands an extension, the period shall be increased to nine weeks. If in exceptional circumstances the Bundesrat declares a bill to be particularly urgent, the period shall be three weeks or, if the Federal Government has demanded an extension pursuant to the third sentence of this paragraph, six weeks. In the case of bills to amend this Basic Law or to transfer sovereign powers pursuant to Article 23 or 24, the comment period shall be nine weeks; the fourth sentence of this paragraph shall not apply. The Bundestag shall consider and vote on bills within a reasonable time.

    Article 77
    [Legislative procedure – Mediation Committee]

    (1) Federal laws shall be adopted by the Bundestag. After their adoption the President of the Bundestag shall forward them to the Bundesrat without delay.

    (2) Within three weeks after receiving an adopted bill, the Bundesrat may demand that a committee for joint consideration of bills, composed of Members of the Bundestag and of the Bundesrat, be convened. The composition and proceedings of this committee shall be regulated by rules of procedure adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. The members of the Bundesrat on this committee shall not be bound by instructions. When the consent of the Bundesrat is required for a bill to become law, the Bundestag and the Federal Government may likewise demand that such a committee be convened. Should the committee propose any amendment to the adopted bill, the Bundestag shall vote on it a second time.

    (2a) Insofar as its consent is required for a bill to become law, the Bundesrat, if no request has been made pursuant to the first sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article or if the mediation proceeding has been completed without a proposal to amend the bill, shall vote on the bill within a reasonable time.

    (3) Insofar as its consent is not required for a bill to become law, the Bundesrat, once proceedings under paragraph (2) of this Article are completed, may within two weeks object to a bill adopted by the Bundestag. The time for objection shall begin, in the case described in the last sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article, upon receipt of the bill as re-adopted by the Bundestag, and in all other cases upon receipt of a communication from the chairman of the committee provided for in paragraph (2) of this Article to the effect that the committee’s proceedings have been concluded.

    (4) If the objection is adopted by the majority of the votes of the Bundesrat, it may be rejected by a decision of the majority of the Members of the Bundestag. If the Bundesrat adopted the objection by a majority of at least two thirds of its votes, its rejection by the Bundestag shall require a two-thirds majority, including at least a majority of the Members of the Bundestag.

    Bundestag = lower house that sits in the Reichstag. Bundesrat = upper house representing states.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Something our dear legislators have to consider.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        The deadlines in particular.
        I know they submit a lot bills in the first day of Congress they alm fall in line then after not even 50 percent of the filed bills gets passed into law.

      • I remember reading somewhere about Otto Von Bismark’s handling of a budget impasse. I believe those dates were a direct consequence.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          That is one reason for bills getting delayed, they take too much time and emotion on the budget.

          • Bismarck’s message to the Prussian Landtag (State Parliament) in 1866 re the Indemnity Law shows that such emotions can run high anywhere: (and also that a) Bismarck was quite dictatorial, he was not called the “Iron Chancellor” for nothing and b) the Prussian mindset was extremely warrior-like, it was exactly what Joe has called the “goose-stepping” mentality as it was the Prussians who invented the goose-step, still used in Russia, China and Vietnam as Communist Lenin was an admirer of many things German and introduced it)

            The more sincerely the Royal Government wishes for peace, the more its members feel the obligation to abstain from any kind of retrospective criticism, be it in the form of defense or attacks. Over the past four years, we have frequently advocated our respective viewpoints on both sides, sometimes with more bitterness than goodwill, and in these four years, no one has succeeded in convincing the other. Each protagonist believed he was correct in acting the way he did. In external affairs, too, it would be difficult for a peace agreement to materialize if one demanded that it be preceded by the one side acknowledging: “I now accept the fact that I have acted wrongly.” We wish for this peace, but not because we are unable to fight; on the contrary, the tide is more in our favor today than it was years ago. We do not wish for peace to evade possible prosecution under a future law on [ministerial] responsibility; I don’t believe we’ll be charged – but if it does come to that, I don’t believe we’ll be convicted. Be that as it may, our ministry has been accused of many things, but fearfulness has never been one of them.

        • Thanks – didn’t know about that till now. Just googled and found a DW article on it, I am translating the two relevant paras:

          With the Reich Constitution 1871 and the first German Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the Parliament of the new state had to have submitted all planned income and expenses before the beginning of the new fiscal year, confer on them and pass the budget as law. But the interactions between the Reich and Prussia [Irineo’s comment: Prussia was the largest state, disproportionately large and powerful, controlling not only Berlin but also the industrial and coal mining hearlands of Silesia and the Ruhr as well as the agricultural powerhouse of Silesia, and the plantations of Prussian noblemen like Bismarck himself] as well as the composition of the Reichstag often gave Chancellor Bismarck opportunities to bypass the parliament in the tug of war about the budget.

          The Weimar Constitution removed the last gaps and gave the right of budget completely to the Reichstag. The Reichhaushaltsordnung [Imperial Budget Rules] of 1922 remained the guideline for German budgeting until 1970. The parliament alone could decide on the budget which had to be passed as a law yearly before the start of a fiscal year.

          The article continues with how the Nazis took away control of budget from the parliament, and how in 1970 the rules were changed, allowing new debts to be made limited by how much investment was made [Irineo’s comment: makes sense, as debts for investment are of course an investment, while debts for consumption are wasted money, though of course MMT might say otherwise]. It also mentions that 1977 brought further advancements like cost-benefit analyses and more accountability for those who spent the money, as well as rules for spending excess leftover funds [Irineo’s comment: I am thinking of PDAF now] as well as moving excess leftover funds to next year’s budget.

          Gian, you might have read about this maybe:

          Since his appointment as Prussia’s Minister President in 1862, Bismarck had been at loggerheads with liberals in the Prussian state parliament [Landtag] over the military budget and the reform of the Prussian army. Because the liberals did not succeed with their political demands, they refused to accept the state budget. Bismarck’s response was to invoke the “gap theory,” which postulated that the lack of an approved budget could not prevent state affairs from continuing, taxes from being collected, and state funds from being disbursed as usual.

          Even before Prussia’s victory over Austria at the Battle of Königgrätz on July 3, 1866, Prussian liberals had begun looking for ways to work with Bismarck, and the setback they experienced in Prussian elections on the very day of the battle only accelerated their willingness to consider compromise. In August 1866, Bismarck introduced the Indemnity Bill to the Prussian Landtag. It retroactively legalized the state budgets from 1862 to 1866. On September 3, 1866, the Landtag accepted the bill. The first text reproduced below is an excerpt from a speech Bismarck delivered two days before the bill was passed. In it, he extends a double peace-offering: conciliatory words to his former opponents in parliament and the prospect of a peace with Austria that would consolidate Prussia’s hegemony in northern Germany..

          Bavaria fought on the side of Austria in 1866 BTW, but the more agricultural South had little of a chance, really against the industrialized North, much like in the USA. Before the Reich in 1871 there was the North German Confederation which did not include what are now the two Southern German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. When Bavaria became part of the Reich in 1871 it retained its own army with own uniforms. Bavaria gave itself a postwar Constitution in 1946 before the German Federal Constitution was ratified in 1949, but that is another story.

          • Will be reading the Philippine constitution later when the kids are asleep. GMA used a re-enacted budget to centralize power and make congress inutile. I’ll be searching for the gaps that allowed a re enacted budget for i think 3 years. The centralisation of power wasn’t GMA’s singular goal. I believe she also tried to practice responsible fiscal policy and it is easier without congressional insertions.

  17. i7sharp says:

    As quoted from Ireneo’s post:
    … what can the Philippines learn from Florence of old?

    I bring this up lest others think I have lost track
    because of “skirmishes” with LCpl_X.

    Better, IMO, with all due respect, is the question
    What can the Philippines learn from America (of old … of now) which NOW seems to be, if not already, on … the brink?

    Would Irineo, for one, agree?

    • Not “skirmishes” this is all out war, i7sharp, if you fail to defend the KJV you fail to defend God Himself! 😉

      • i7sharp says:

        all out war?
        defend God Himself??????


        Does the Sefaria or the Chabad bibles have this verse?:
        1 Corinthians 8:2

        “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing,
        he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

        In any case, …
        Name the Jews you keep referring to as knowing their language.

        Can any of them hold a candle to, say, …
        1. John Bois?
        Rev. John Bois occupied a number of pastoral assignments in the Church of England as well as at Cambridge University. He was reputed to be able to read the Bible in Hebrew when he was five years old.

        2. Edward Lively?:
        Edward distinguished himself at Cambridge as a scholar and teacher. By the time he was thirty he was named regius professor of Hebrew at the university and was one of the world’s eminent scholars in his field. He was also skilled in other languages, both ancient and modern.

        3. Lawrence Chaderton?
        Dr. Lawrence Chaderton was described as a “staunch Puritan,” godly, learned, and full of moderation. He also had a reputation of being a “pious Protestant,” who after being converted from Catholicism turned his back on Rome. He was familiar in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and was “thoroughly skilled in them.”

        4. Richard Brett
        Dr. Richard Brett was rector of Quainton in Buckinghamshire. He was revered for his piety. He also was skilled in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and Ethiopian.

        5. Hadrian Saravia?
        Dr. Hadrian Saravia, though Belgian by birth, later came to England. During his long ministry, he was (1) a pastor in Flanders and Holland, (2) a missionary to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, and (3) an evangelist. He was also appointed prebendary of Gloucester, Canter-bury, and Westminster. [29] He was said to be educated in all kinds of literature and in several languages, particularly in Hebrew …

        The KJV translators were more than fifty in number, if you should know.

        • i7sharp,

          You know that there’s no New Testament for the Jews, right? And there’s a long tradition of Jewish exegesis, that predates the folks that you’ve just listed? You don’t want Sefaria, or Chabad, that’s fine. Pick a Hebrew Bible and we can go from there, but as you can see we already have 3 verses up for discussion, so discuss…

          the Son of God; Virgin; and unicorns. But do so above, don’t contaminate karl and Ireneo’s blog any further.

          • i7sharp has been put into moderation as a ‘spammer’ who has contributed nothing to the topic of the posts. Irineo has a new blog coming out tomorrow and it deserves a fresh start and topical commentary.

    • i7sharp, sorry that I had you put on Joe’s “barangay list” but as Joe respects human rights it is not tokhang just moderation. I have been quite tolerant (I was pretty often off topic and rambling especially 5 years ago but I learned to discipline my writing by writing a lot and culling out the irrelevant, I know there is the urge to “make kuwento” and veer off but let us all try to keep it in limits) but this has gotten out of hand, and yes I have the final article in my present series coming out tomorrow, the shortest of all.. as you know Joe will release comments from moderation if they happen to be on-topic and relevant – in fact you had exactly TWO on-topic comments, one about the Tonyo Cruz post and one in this comment:

      Better, IMO, with all due respect, is the question
      What can the Philippines learn from America (of old … of now) which NOW seems to be, if not already, on … the brink?

      Would Irineo, for one, agree?

      My answer will be at the bottom of this comment.

      LCPL_X, I know how discussions with you can be fun. I would be scared of doing a weekend pub crawl with you in Munich after Covid though as I feel we might both end up in the police precinct and have to wait for arraignment until a judge is on duty on Monday. 😀

      Joe, thanks for putting i7sharp on moderation. I have never requested this before but this time it did go too far. I have also seen how a number of others are getting quite annoyed.

      My answer to i7sharp re his topical comment:

      Yes, the Tonyo Cruz comment is a comparison of US and Philippine situations – and Gian very quickly emphasized how it is not really applicable to the Philippine situation.

      Comparisons are as risky as translations, as no two languages and no two peoples are the same. My father is ABSOLUTELY against comparisons and BY NOW totally against translating ANYTHING PHILIPPINE-RELATED from Filipino to any other tongue, though Xiao Chua does explain things in English and that has helped me get the message. My father’s approach is similar to Mohammed not allowing any translation of the Koran.

      Traduttore, tradittore (the translator is always also a traitor) the Italians say. Bayan is not 100% the same as pueblo or village, the structure is different, one has to explain first. I use the term “chief” for a datu but a datu’s role is slightly different from that of a chief among the Germanic tribes or Celts of old Europe, or even a Native American or African chief. Though one can explain how a Filipino chief of old “lead, but did not rule”, as Mila Aguilar said.

      Back to comparisons. The Florentine Republic of old with its pronounced social classes and its factionalism and political families is somehow more like the Philippines of today than the USA – even if the Philippines on paper has a similar system. Though I added the comment of Manolo Quezon about the non-territorial (and more toll- and rent-seeking) aspect of old Filipino chiefs which he postulates has survived until today. Just like no translation is 100% accurate, ever, no comparison is 100% the same. I try to find relevant comparisons to the Indonesians, those closest to Filipinos even in body language – it is at least like comparing cousins, not twins. Due to kasambahay’s comment about sports answering mine, I have also seen the major difference between the clannish Kosovars (and most Southeastern Europeans whom sonny has noted are also “tribal” like Filipino ethnic groups) in that their warpath is more thorough, while Filipino groups often avoid all-out conflict and some conflicts are more sorties and skirmishes. Though of course there are also long-running feuds like those the Albanians have, Maranao rido comes to mind though I am sure the rules differ – also I recall feuds among Ilocano politicians like the one that killed Floro Crisologo in 1971. Comparisons might be a useful tool but one must always keep in mind the differences also. Just like adaptation of lessons from elsewhere needs to consider local conditions as well.

      I recall a comment of my father when NAIA1 – the new terminal built in the 1980s, the first with real “fingers” leading to airplanes, before it was walk over the tarmac and use stairs – was built. He said that it must have been designed by a foreign engineer who disregarded that Filipinos take their entire family to the airport. As I know you used to work at the airport, this example might be interesting to you. Hope for relevant and clear answers in the future.


      • I have rambled a bit as well, but the main point of comparing Florentine and Philippine politics is the insight of De la Scala and Macchiavelli that RULE OF LAW is important in keeping clannish and factional aspects of a culture in check.

        The USA is much further in this, as it never was that familistic from the outset (Hatfield-McCoy feuds nonwithstanding, or the Italian-American “Goodfellas” subculture of old, or the Irish-American Kennedy clan) so we had the Supreme Court DENYING Trump’s petition to stop the counting in Pennsylvania – imagine the same thing in the Philippines where there is a culture of both strong in-group loyalty as well as subservience to whoever is the present giver of pork. So yes we can learn from all but be very aware.

        BTW a very strong police state in Communist-era Albania kept or blood vengeance between clans near zero, much like Mussolini kept a lid on the Mafia during his rule – but both Gjakmarrja and the Mafia resurfaced after the big chiefs were gone, just like ethnic tensions came back almost immediately after Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia died. There are also lessons to be learned there – in my view it is that repression is never a permanent solution. Societies have to evolve towards more common purpose and that cannot be just enforced. Turkey did better as it inculcated (and lived!) Atatürks Republic values very deeply, though the example of Erdogan shows that even that only partly held. But still, there are judges who don’t just obey Erdogan like most Filipino judges obey Duterte nowadays.

        • The long read I posted above also says this:

          ..the worst form of ignorance, Plato tells us, is conceit of one’s own wisdom, which takes the most extreme forms in the very powerful and rich. Any man who thinks “he can play the leader to others” without laws to guide him, Plato’s main speaker says, “has been deserted by God.” Though “many people think he cuts a fine figure,” before long he “brings himself, his home, and his state to rack and ruin.”

          This was also Chancellor Scala’s sotto voce message to Lorenzo de’ Medici. Scala may have played a part in debasing Florence’s laws in the past, but now he hoped that his dialogue might move Florence’s tyrant-in-the-making to reverse course. Without laws, he has Bernardo Machiavelli say, “cities and states” are “nothing but bands of robbers” where the cunning and violent harass the rest. Good laws are our mightiest arms. By setting bounds to self-love, they help win us friendships, which in turn help bring victories to our troops and triumphs at home. And as Plato said, if anyone should claim to be an expert whose political knowledge is superior to the laws, “such a person must be called a tyrant.”..

          Mary Grace P. Gonzales often says “the Philippines is a nation of laws not of men” but today it is a nation of “macho” men and conceited rich and powerful who think they can sit in judgement or even kill by snap judgement and are “bringing themselves, their homes and their state to rack and ruin” like Florentine Chancellor della Scala has his friend Bernardo Macchiavelli, also a politician and father of the more famous Niccolo, say in Conversations – which unlike the Conversations between Karl and me in the article are NOT “confused”. 🙂

          That is history lesson Florence can teach the Philippines, in my most humble opinion.

          Now who will be the Platos and the della Scalas of the Philippines? I cannot be that as I am abroad and have been away for long. Where are the thought and opinion leaders THERE?

      • i7sharp says:


        Maraming, maraming salamat.
        Thank you very much for your … gentle and enlightening … response.

        Comparisons might be a useful tool but one must always keep in mind the differences also. Just like adaptation of lessons from elsewhere needs to consider local conditions as well.

        Yes. I cannot agree more.

        I recall a comment of my father when NAIA1 – the new terminal built in the 1980s, the first with real “fingers” leading to airplanes, before it was walk over the tarmac and use stairs – was built. He said that it must have been designed by a foreign engineer who disregarded that Filipinos take their entire family to the airport. As I know you used to work at the airport, this example might be interesting to you. Hope for relevant and clear answers in the future.

        Yes, Irineo, thank you.
        Yes, the example is INDEED interesting to me.
        It made me recall three “episodes” of my time at the airport.

        My first job at the airport was at the control tower – as an air traffic controller.
        From the tower cab, I could clearly see below me almost the entirety of the “observation deck” from where people waved good-bye to their loved ones on the ramp walking toward their designated airplanes.
        I met Senator Benigno Aquino at that tower cab.
        When his private aircraft, a Beechcraft Baron, had landing gears problem, he came up there for closer observation of his plane as it made a couple of low passes.
        It landed safely; Vic Palpalatoc was the pilot.

        That old terminal (then called MIA – Manila International Airport) was burned to the ground on the wee hours of January 22, 1972.
        I was one of the last occupants of that terminal having been forced by the fire (which seem to have started on the mezzanine floor)
        to go to the rooftops and eventually escape through the telescopic ladder of one of the firetrucks.
        I was working with Qantas Airways when that happened.

        NAIA(1) was opened sometime between 10Aug81 and 04Sep81 when I was in Seeheim,
        as a Lufthansa employee, for a training course at the then Lufthansa Schulungszentrum.

        Speaking of “fingers,” Senator Aquino was gunned down at the “finger” (Bay #8, if I recall right) that was closest to and most visible from the Lufthansa airport office.
        I was on vacation in California when that very tragic incident happened.

        Those were my “pre-Bible” days.
        It would be many years later before I would know the Bible.
        What the Philippines could be was farthest from my mind.

        In closing this particular response, let me say I realize that I annoy some people – not on purpose, of course.
        Actually, I know I annoy even other KJVOs – those who rely on the King James Version ONLY.
        It is because they cannot … countenance … the recent observations I have shared with them?
        They feel guilty about it?

        Or, they think that I do much ado about nothing?

        Of course, I think I am into something very important.
        At the same time, I know I must realize I could be wrong.
        Even, very, very wrong!

        • Air traffic controller is a HARD job, very demanding on concentration. I recall the horrible 2002 Überlingen mid-air collision caused by undermanned shifts in the Zürich control tower, an air traffic controller tired beyond belief making an error in judgement, and automated collision control systems on a DHL and a Russian aircraft failing so both collided – a class of Asian Russian school kids was killed and aircraft+body parts were strewn over Überlingen.

          Peter Nielsen, the air traffic controller, got PTSD and quit, only to be killed at his doorstep over a year later by the Ossetian (Central Asian Russian) father of one of the kids who died. These are the kinds of events where one asks “where was God”? I have no answer myself.

          Only one air traffic controller, Peter Nielsen of ACC Zurich, was controlling the airspace through which the aircraft were flying.[10] The other controller on duty was resting in another room for the night. This was against Skyguide’s regulations but had been a common practice for years and was known and tolerated by management.[10] Maintenance work was being carried out on the main radar image processing system, which meant that the controllers were forced to use a fallback system.[5]:35–42[BFU 10]

          The ground-based optical collision warning system, which would have alerted the controller to the pending collision approximately 2​1⁄2 minutes before it happened,[5]:88[BFU 11] had been switched off for maintenance.[10] Nielsen was unaware of this.[5]:89 There still was an aural STCA warning system, which released a warning addressed to workstation RE SUED at 23:35:00 (32 seconds before the collision). This warning was not heard by anyone present at that time, although no error in this system could be found in a subsequent technical audit — however, whether or not this audible warning is functional is not something which is technically logged. Even if Nielsen had heard this warning, at that time finding a useful resolution order by the air traffic controller was impossible.[5]:89

          • i7sharp says:

            Thanks, Irineo.

            In anticipation of your next article,
            I would like to share this,
            Tenerife airport disaster
            and relate it to the importance of “precision” to getting the Philippines to what it can be.

            When the Philippines’ international code was RP I liked thinking of it as
            “Republic of Precision.”
            Now that the international code has changed to PH I like to think of it as
            “Precision’s Home.”

            Precision can prevent various disasters,

  18. i7sharp, LCPL_X, please stop the Bible discussion NOW.

    BTW the original Old Testament was in Jewish so obviously a direct translation is more accurate than an indirect one from the Latin. But the discussion is a bit out of hand already.

    • Roger that! But let me tie it up to the blog. So i guess this KJV debate is about being open to the new, as opposed to being calcified in the 1600s, and believing something is final, when you have the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and 2000s still open to new discoveries, be it exegesis or whatever. I guess related too to our talk on friction and fluidity vs. stagnation. I guess re your fairness comment, Ireneo, what edgar use to do with our debates, point for point is in order. He is missed.

      • Thanks for the understanding and yes, Edgar knew how to reframe discussions excellently. Let’s try to keep the discussion on the coming article which is about HOME in the many meanings of the word focused, as I sort of feel a lot more are going to join that discussion.

        Too long and too many side discussions could have the effect of confusing newcomers and occasional readers, and I think that the idea of home ties up a lot of loose ends and is the missing link between nation and family that is needed, the emotional glue that can motivate. The tenor of the coming article is a bit conservative for sure, but it also I hope has the love element that Will has always emphasized, or at least well-being+community.

        • i7sharp says:

          “Let’s try to keep the discussion on the coming article which is about HOME in the many meanings of the word focused, as I sort of feel a lot more are going to join that discussion.”

          I hope to see again the excellent input of the many people – too many for me to mention right now – that I used to see here.

    • sonny says:

      BTW, the Bible during Our Lord’s time and that he used was the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Tanakh, by 70 Jewish scholars sometime 200 BC). The canon of the Jewish Bible was only determined in 100 AD.

      • sonny, thanks! the Nash papyrus is supposedly the oldest Hebrew, either that or the Hebrew bible they found in Dead Sea scrolls collection.

        Dated as youve said 200 BC. In researching the above debate, I found interesting that some Jewish rabbis actually thought the book of Daniel should’ve been under the Nevi’im books (that’s the Na, in TaNaKh), because he envisioned visions other prophets could not. Instead the book of Daniel is relegated to Kh (Ketuvim books, writings, the book of Esther is found here too).

        But also in my recent research, I found this John Mill and Richard Simon stuff really interesting. John Mill’s apparatus uncovered a little too much variations in the Bible, which got other Protestants nervous, because the Catholics would have ammunition to say, “See you guys need some Apostolic traditions, its not enough to just rely in the Bible!”;

        For the Catholics, it was Simon who wanted to expose the shaky ground of these variations precisely to jab the Protestants of their lack of Apostolic tradition. So not the 1600s, but the 1700s when the flood gates of textual criticism opened, and it was basically the Protestants and the Catholics trying to undermine each other. really Ironic.

        • sonny says:

          The same scrutiny (textual criticism) is now being done, publicly, by both scholars & non-scholars on the Qur’an. Followed some youtube uploads about this. Dare not start this ‘coz lots of heat is generated like spontaneous combustion.

          • Yeah, me and chemp had a pretty good debate about that too, sonny (i think in his Gott article comments).

            The only Bible I actually ever own is the KJV given to me for free by the Mormons (printed by them too). Can’t beat Free. Lately, i’ve been comparing Bibles, and i’ve whittled it down to these three, looking closely at Cambridge’s NRSV. which includes a more eclectic mix of text apparently.

            I had no idea there’s so many different Bibles out there, sonny.

  19. Karl Garcia says:

    Permission to post Joe.

    Irineo asked me to post my fb posts and notes here for future reference.


    Both posts point to our perrenial problem of Budgeting, AFP Modernization, Pension time bomb etc.

  20. Karl Garcia says:

    Monsod explains why GSIs pensioners get more.
    They contribute to their respective pension body more.

    Do not contribute to the SSS.

  21. Karl Garcia says:

    Monsod exolains here that GSIS pendioners get more than SSS pensioners because they contribute more.

    These institutions are not covered by GSIs they get their pensions from the Budget

  22. – by Nuelle Duterte, a good description of what the Philippines has become now and what it shouldn’t be anymore:

    ..Of course, it must be said that not everyone in Davao is a fan. There are actually a good number of people who don’t like him, who don’t agree with him, and who don’t tolerate him. Some were, and are still, vocal. But the majority was, and still is, not. If I had to pick our greatest sin as a community, I’d have to say it was our silence and our tolerance of the atrocities he and his men committed as soon as he was elected. For some, it was fear that made them keep their own counsel. For others, like me, it was the desire to go unnoticed. I had other plans and goals to keep me busy, and I didn’t want to take the time and put in the effort to make any kind of noise about something I thought I couldn’t change anyway. Selfish? Absolutely. We’re all selfish, in our own ways. I would never begrudge anyone the choice to prioritize themselves, their lives, and their peace of mind. It’s how we have to survive sometimes, in this often harsh world.

    But looking at what’s happening now, and what’s been happening for the past three years, I’m struck by the gravity of the consequences of my choice, and the choice made by others who thought like I did. Thousands upon thousands of dead bodies. A culture of impunity among the people tasked to serve and protect. Shameless and open corruption (see: the Teo-Tulfo debacle, the Calida security company government contracts, the PCIJ report on Bong Go’s family business, the PCIJ report on the rise in the Duterte family wealth, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera). The willingness of the government to hand over resources to China for a fee. The outrageous rise of disinformation from government communication agencies. The persecution of political rivals and enemies. The attack on a free press and free speech. The subversion of democratic institutions. And the government itself perverting the law.

    We as a people, as a community, dear Davao, have failed. We knew what he was, who he was, and what he was capable of, whether we acknowledge it out loud or not. We were not blind. We knew. And yet, whether it was by campaigning and voting for him, or whether it was by keeping silent about what we knew, we unleashed him onto the rest of the country. We justified it by saying our city improved and became safer, by saying that our economy flourished, and by saying that his no-nonsense, shortcut methods were effective. We justified it by saying it was too risky to speak up, by saying we didn’t want to get involved anymore because it was just too much of a hassle, and by saying all politicians are the same anyway so what difference would it really make if he won. And yes, all of these justifications have kernels of truth in them.

    But we cannot deny, no matter how much we plug our ears or close our eyes, that what we did and didn’t do led to so much death and tragedy for so many, regardless of whether they deserved it or not (they didn’t). We cannot deny that his rise to power led to the proliferation of corrupt officials back in business (see: Marcos, Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, and many more). We cannot deny that our seas and our lands are being given away in exchange for quick cash and profit, with little regard to sustainability and the long term effects of debt. We cannot deny that violence and violent rhetoric is on the rise among the citizens, and respect for others is at an all time low. We cannot deny that lies and disinformation are spreading like wildfire, some of which are even being instigated by the president himself (see: those poorly conceived matrices). These things are happening, and avoiding ‘biased’ mainstream media stories because they don’t fit our personal convictions and narratives won’t change that.

    Because of what we did and what we didn’t do, the phrase ‘Davao template’ can no longer just be about Rodrigo’s crusade against crime and drugs, which isn’t even the success story many would like to believe, given the statistics. The ‘Davao template’ is actually the example we, as a community, have set for others. The enthusiastic supporters teach the world that benefiting from the patronage of someone like Rodrigo is tantamount to unswerving loyalty — whether the gain came from a booming business whose permit was fast-tracked with kickbacks, the guarantee of personal safety from kidnapping because any kidnappers would be automatically killed, the aesthetic and practical improvement of roads leading to private properties, the provision of free medications to those who can little afford them, the cleaned up streets at the expense of the riffraff we didn’t want to see running around because we considered them a blight to society, and the special treatment we received just because we were closely associated with him. While the cowed silence of the rest sends the message that submission and apathy are the easiest and safest ways to survive a tyrannical and oppressive environment intact. Not exactly the best template to brag about, and definitely not an ideal one for the country to follow, is it?..

  23. – Karl’s father on war budget:

    ..Before the raging new war talk, the national budget 2002 in general and the DND/AFP budget in particular, was called a “war budget”. It was slightly exaggerated to be a “fatwa” (learned opinion). DND/AFP has too many wars but no “war budget.”

    Beyond the numbers game, a budget is the best formulation of a strategy, said then US Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, now Vice President. According to our Defense Secretary in 1998, “We are in this mess because we have had no strategic thinking” (Cavalier 3rd Qtr.). It is surreal, but true. The said “war budget” is not even a “war mess.” The subsistence allowance of the AFP is P10 per meal, not enough for a can of soda..

  24. – this analysis by Manolo Quezon of American generational cycles and its adaptation to Filipino generations is worth reading in full IMO.

  25. – by Gideon Lasco:

    ..Today, however, we seem to have lost our maritime consciousness. We see this in the fact that many Filipinos don’t even know how to swim. Emergency physician Ted Esguerra, also onboard, laments that eight Filipinos drown every day and many of these deaths could have been avoided with basic swimming skills.

    We also see this in the neglect of our waterways. William Henry Scott wrote that in pre-Hispanic Philippines, “communities were connected, not separated, by water.” Today, even as we struggle with land transport issues, waterways are neglected, even treated as dumps for both domestic and industrial waste. Related to this is our lack of concern for our nautical borders — the same attitude that led President Duterte to dismiss Sandy Cay as a mere ‘sandbar’.

    I suspect that this disregard of our maritime culture also seeps into our everyday choices—from the sports we play to the food we eat. Unlike the Japanese who have elevated sushi to haute cuisine, many Filipinos still consider seafood inferior to meat. When I was on Babuyan Claro island, our Ibatan hosts apologized for the food they were about to serve, before showing up with huge lobsters.

    All these considered, our land-oriented world view — partly a legacy of the continental-minded Spaniards and Americans — has led to diminished appreciation of our country and our place in the world.

    Of course, our maritime culture lives on among our seafarers — known as the world’s best — as well as in coastal communities like that on Babuyan Claro, where the people have 10 different words for sea conditions, such as ‘abkas’ for breaking waves and ‘lomanlana’ for smooth waters, which fortunately greeted us through much of the 11-hour boat ride from Claveria via Calayan Island..

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  1. […] conclude my series of nine articles that started with “The National Village” and include a joint article with […]

  2. […] We may have People Power fatigue and if we keep ousting a leader it only leads to chaos and anarchy so why not Institutionalize People Power? Some say a Citizen’s assembly is a joke, but with patience, we could make anything work, and then we can be the best we can be. […]

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