What is home?

Analysis and opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

Tiwi, Albay was terribly hit by Typhoon Rolly. My folks onmy father’s side are from that town. But noticing I don’t know anyone still in that town made me even sadder. The old folks we once visited there in the times we were in the province are dead now. My grandfather already moved out of Tiwi to Daraga at some point. It is closer to the provincial capital Legaspi and just along the new railway line to Manila built in the 1930s. My grandparents had a house in Legaspi City, but none of their children lives there anymore. Most relatives I know are in Metro Manila or even abroad nowadays.



That is the story of many a middle class family from the Philippines.  I contrast that with many places in the German countryside where people are relatively well-off and stay put. Yes, this was not fully true of East Germany for a while but I know someone who is back after 15+ years in West Germany.Used to be the internet connection was lousy in a lot of places there but now his town, worthy of a Grimm Brothers movie, seems to be OK as he mostly works from home. If he does have to travel which isn’t the case now with Covid, there are major airports and train stations not too far away.

Well, Germany has about the same land area as the Philippines but is a compact land mass, not an archipelago stretched from North to South at a distance more or less like Hamburg to Rome. Plus it isn’t ravaged as much by storms and earthquakes that indeed make a lot of work Sisyphus-like. Transport by rivers and seas as well as simple housing from natural materials, easily rebuilt, were the ways of the old Philippines and made sense in the old context. And global warming hadn’t set in yet. Plus there were estimated only about half a million people on the archipelago five centuries ago.



By the time the USA came there were about ten million, sometime after WW2 it was twenty million, just a generation later it was around forty million and now it is 100 million plus 10 million abroad. Possibly an Amorsolo-like idyll of nearly everyone living by small farming was possible in the 1950s.Most Filipinos lived in bahay kubos around 1910, I have read, the affluent in their ancestral homes which are somewhat colonial but have been described as similar to Malay longhouses space-wise. Modern life is something most Filipinos wanted, for sure, but did it go too fast to still feel like home?

Strong family ties definitely make up for a lot of this. Though the family ties of many a migrant and OFW family have been strained in the past decades. Some children of Filipina nurses in Germany who came in around 1970 or so only joined their parents by the late 1970s or early 1980s. I know one who told me she was nine when her mother first returned – and she didn’t recognize her. Cheaper flights and Internet communication have alleviated matters a bit, but one can quickly lose touch of how other family members are actually living unless one visits more often. Face to face still matters.



Our human brains can manage only about 150 personal relationships – possibly this was the size of typical Neolithic communities. The capability to cooperate in larger groups than chimps is a human strength. Possibly the balangay of the old Philippines, more or less clan units, were similar in size.  Everything above the basic community is held together by unwritten rules of culture and morals, expressed in language. Larger organized groups can be held together by shared narratives, beliefs and hierarchies. For lost people, “Radio Gaga” may be what makes them believe they are still loved.

Thus, it is no wonder that many OFWs fell for social media propaganda of the Duterte regime, or that many Germans in the very disoriented and insecure period after WW1 fell for Nazi radio propaganda. Fast changes are not what we are built for. The first modern humans originated in Africa and first walked until they were all over the world, some used boats, but the point is that change was very gradual. Psychologists say it takes 66-254 days for new habits to form. What goes deeper is the culture we learn in younger days. There the adjustment is not as fast. Migrants know how this is.



Marco Polo had a long time to adjust on his trek to the East and a long time to adjust going back. Sonny who crossed the great expanse of the Pacific for weeks via Guam and Hawaii until finally arriving in San Francisco by ship back in 1969 had time to mentally prepare for a new world but still was very much surprised at “black and white giants of longshoremen” in San Francisco. A train trip in the 1990s I once took showed me how German dialects melted into one another, in the time when announcements were not yet digitalized like today, and the station personnel were usually locals.

Discounted air travel until Covid came led to hordes of young people going for weekends in major European cities to mainly party, and some with the endurance of youth did not even stay in hostels but partied throughout. Major tourist spots in Europe like Venice feared cut-rate cruise ships whose passengers came in quickly and left, not immersing themselves in the ambiance of the place first – and spending more money in the process to benefit the local economy – as classical tourists. Even my trip to Sicily in 2018 did by bus in over a week what Goethe took 3 months to complete back in 1787.



After a visit to aunts in Malilipot, Albay in 1982, Manila friends laughed when I returned as I had not noticed that the Falklands War had broken out. By contrast, nearly everybody I know knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001. For me it was when I was at an IT customer in Würzburg, Germany, and we all noticed that the Internet was suddenly slow. Just a few calls to relatives by some and we roughly knew the events. CNN in the hotel in the evening was full of moving pictures of what happened. “The Global Village”.

But is it really that much of a village? Yes and No. In Africa, people come back to warn the youth not to be too easily lured to take the refugee trek to Europe just because of Facebook shares of friends. Based on Facebook shares of friends from the Philippines, I first thought I knew what was happening there and then noticed after a while how distorted that view was. Chapter 62 of the Count of Monte Cristo has the anti-hero of the novel bribing a telegraph operator to ruin his enemy’s investments – the fake news of those days. Today floods of fake news and clickbait try to manipulate our minds.



Obviously a certain picture of the world is also part of what give us the orientation that makes us feel at home. Those who read the New York Times or Washington Post in the USA, or the Süddeutsche Zeitung (my favorite) or Frankfurter Allgemeine in Germany get a reasonably good big picture of what they need to know. In the Philippines the best one gets is Rappler, which is reasonably good but more at the level ofCNN where Maria Ressa once worked – no offense intended, but that is not the same level as the New York Times, so many Filipinos are on Twitter as well which is time-consuming.

The world is simply too huge and complex, nobody can know all local contexts. Bankers in Germany often read the NeueZürcher Zeitung, I heard. German MPs have staffers put together daily press briefings based on their priorities to keep informed.  German political parties have foundations which amount to being think tanks while the USA has a number of private think tanks. Managing how the world affects our homes is a job national leaders have to fulfill, and I suspect Filipino leaders are often not sufficiently informed to do so. There is more reassurance for most in advanced countries.



It might not be the best news that less rains due to global warming means that the groundwater in Bavaria is depleting every year, but reading that even in better tabloids does give the security that some people are doing their job and looking ahead. Once I wondered why the Isar River in Munich was swollen, in spite of there being no rain or snowmelt. Someone told me they let water out of the Sylvenstein Dam upriver before predicted major rains to have allowance. Seems some in Luzon have not heard of that basic idea – and just open dams when they are close to bursting, worsening floods.

Inspite of the second wave of Covid now, I still have more faith in the German government managing things properly and especially being honest about the situation than the Philippine government.  So many matters have given a picture of a leadership over there that does not protect “home” very well.



Many people choose to leave what is sentimentally their home for places where the well-known Maslow hierarchy of needs is better met. They say rats leave sinking ships but what if the captain and even the officers are so often irresponsible, and those calling for mutiny seem untrustworthy as well? Who will stay in the more difficult parts of a country if there are no opportunities there? Postwar Germany put “equivalent living conditions” as an implied goal in its 1949 Constitution, possibly to avoid the disruptions of the Weimar period which included extreme urban migration and crime.

Thus, those who hold out in places called home in the Philippines are all the more to be respected, as caring for home means not just taking care of the nation in the abstract.After World War 2, toxic nationalism was replaced by pride of place in Germany. Every country consists of regions, places, communities, groups and families – and a nation that just relies on the “resilience” of these might as well not be a nation, just like back in 1521. With a mixture of sadness and hope, I hereby conclude my series of nine articles that started with “The National Village” and include a joint article with Karl.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 6 November 2020​


205 Responses to “What is home?”
  1. Karl Garcia says:

    I am bot even an OFW or an emigrant but I have only been to the hometown of my grandparents not more than five times.

    But being a Military brat I have lived in Ft Boni and Camp Aguinaldo and occassionally visited our quarters in Ft San Felipe in Cavite City.

    Home is where the heart is.

    On dam management they changed the protocols last 2011.


    • As a UP Campus brat my entire childhood was on Campus. First time I ventured out by myself on bike was when I was nine. UP Balara of course was still UP but I just biked out to Old Balara, crossed Katipunan, and was nearly hit by a tricycle. The driver shouted “tanga!”.

      Being used to the relatively peaceful campus I wasn’t expecting all of that. Anyhow from High School onwards I took public transport to Pisay, walked up Agham Road, occasional escapades to Cubao and one big one to Makati with a friend where I came home really late.

      Leaving the Philippines in the old days meant you were cut off from most news – letters took two weeks to and from the country and sometimes didn’t even arrive, phone calls cost a fortune, no CNN even yet. First major news in 1983: Ninoy killed, in 1986: Marcos ousted.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        La pang trapik non.

        • Compared to UP Campus matrapik na ang Katipunan sa Balara. Pero hindi pa ganyang kaingay tulad ng ngayon sa loob ng UP. OK I heard Commonwealth Avenue already.

        • sonny says:

          School commute Cubao to Mendiola. If you didn’t catch a 6am JD/MD/Yujuico bus you will be late for 7:25am class. bumper-to-bumper traffic started at the bridge before Pureza. All the schools were in the heart of downtown Manila. All the businesses were there, too. All the markets (Quinta, Central, Divisoria) were all there. Entertainment were all there. Grace Park was a foreign land; Makati was pastulan ng kalabaw. Araneta was the same. Tutuban train station was bringing in promdi’s during the schoolyear, bringing out “bakasyonistas” to the provinces in the summer. This was idyllic city life. Sundays meant a trip the Marikina market for freshly butchered beef and the getting the papait bcoz no one else cooks them except Ilocano households. Also made sure there were ‘bancas’ to cross the Marikina river if the bridge was out.

    • Re dam management protocols.. they released water from Ipo dam not before Rolly but DURING Rolly, the concept I saw in Munich was release BEFORE the rains come to have space, we live in the age of weather reports after all.


      Same nonsense IMO again today – again why wait until the typhoon comes and then warn low-lying areas there might be floods?

      Again, better let some water out in advance, the river rises a little but when the rains come the dam takes time to reach capacity.. or is this another example of not wanting to learn from experience, not having any hindsight or foresight at all?

      • I mean, for me it is like common sense at least since I heard how they do it over here.

        There was over a week’s time between Rolly and Ulysses, there are weather reports, so why did they not let SOME water out of Ipo dam, for instance, on Sunday to Tuesday?

        • kasambahay says:

          agree with you, they ought to release water sooner than wait and see. kasi, when the storm hit, everyone will be too busy running for cover, dodging fallen power lines and flying debris, taking shelter sa evacuation centers and counting heads, making sure all are there. sit and wait out the storm nalang sila, most are nervous wrecks and worried sick.

          sometimes, methink, dam managers cannot read the weather, how unpredictable and treacherous high precipitation can be. that when it pours it creates mega deluge and underlying villages are washed away. waiting for last minute to perfectly time the release of water is foolish to me. dam engineers should know they cannot reason with fast surging water level, that it will not wait for them to pull the lever, or wait for them to finish lunch before thundering down the mountains.

          utterly silly of dam mangers too, to leave or delegate to residents already holed up in evac centers the job that dam management should be doing, the job of watching the water level. those in evac centers cannot really see the rising water only when it hit them.

          of course, dam and co have lookouts that monitor water level in adjacent sityos and villages and give constant reports to dam engineers. kaso, there are times when communication breaks down, naputol ang linya at nawalan ng signal. at ang lookout mismo ang silang nasalanta, nataranta and run for dear life. reports be damned.

          dam management should already have contingency plan for things like this, right?

          kung ako ang local governor, I’ll sue dam management for their negligence and incompetence. flood was foreseeable.

      • Karl Garcia says:


      • Karl Garcia says:

        Mahirap magpabakwit. Stay put ang mga residente, alam daw nila ang ginagawa nila.

        • kasambahay says:

          the trick there is to tell residente that those in evac centers will get priority relief goods. those hindi lumikas will not be prioritised. dyahi naman if unpaid volunteers risk their lives and limbs and even deaths just so the stubborn residentes can be provided with relief goods.

          and if stubborn residentes want relief goods, they would just have to swim through raging flood waters and risk being eaten by piranhas, patings, sawas and crocodiles just to reach loading center where relief goods are kept under watchful guards. no looters allowed. at kung mapagkamalan silang looters dahil wala silang ID, they’ll be thrown back into raging flood waters, get nila?

          LGUs ought to have similar contingency mechanism put in place, and known to all, so lahat sila know what to do and what not to do, at upang magkaruon ng informed decision those stubborn residentes na ayaw lumikas.

          stay put and you get no relief goods delivered to you.

          • Lennie dela Rosa says:

            sometimes they refuse to evacuate because looters come and carry away anything worth selling or using. usually women and children are evacuated while the men stay for security.

            • Ahh, yes. The realities on the ground.

              • kasambahay says:

                it could well be a guise, men staying behind to keep their own properties safe as well as to keep flood looters away. I hear detectives talking in pawnshops during raids, that if trackers were put these on men, how many of them will be found straying away from home and go on looting spree? these men knew who in the neighborhood have properties worth stealing, and could well be part of a secret racket that deal and sell stolen properties.

                that barangay captains have inkling of this sort of secret activities kuno, and since captains have already so much on their plate, could do little and blamed the flood for everything instead.

                sadly, not all respectable looking men do the right thing.

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    Radio Gaga reference…some one still loves you.

    • Tulfo is of course RADIO GAGO. Someone will protect you isumbong mo lang sa kanya.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Oo nga. Pwede din ke Bong Go.

        • kasambahay says:

          oh, I love, love, love sumbong! and will sumbong not to tulfo but to the god of cyberspace. hear me out and hear me well!

          about bong marcos current election protest and vice presidential recount, marcos wants associate justice leonen to recuse, mayhap because leonen will be dissenting. meaning, marcos wants supreme court to be lopsidedly favorable to him? that justices apparently sympathetic to his cause be the ones to answer his petition and make the ruling?

          and if justices of the supreme court have any ounce of integrity left, they ought to recuse themselves dahil malapit sila mga marcoses, being previous cronies and allies, and their judgement will be clouded in favor of marcos.

          aside from leonen, there are two? three? justices that really ought to recuse.

          dyahi naman kung si leonen lang ang pinapa-recuse, the rest stay put.

  3. arlene says:

    Oh, I bet that the German government is lot, lot better than what we have now in the Philippines. The boat is sinking here which is really sad.

    • It isn’t just the government, I think it is the general will to take care of a “collective home”. NOT to throw garbage just everywhere, for instance. Keep the rivers, lakes and oceans clean. Make sure that not TOO MANY are left behind while a few have a luxury life.

      There is also simple decency, something that was obviously rejected by a majority of Filipinos back in 2016. Once my jacket fell of its hanger in the CENTER OF MUNICH because I was carrying it carelessly over my shoulder coming from the dry cleaner. T

      Somebody ran after me and gave it to me. By contrast, once some UP colleagues simply drove past my mother somewhere in QC (1970s pa iyon) when her car had broken down – and it wasn’t that they didn’t notice, some days later they told her “ah we saw you had a car breakdown”. Don’t you at least stop and ask if someone you know needs help? So it is not really surprising that so many don’t care about people being tokhanged, “addict lang naman”.

      Or now Albay is as badly hit as Tacloban in 2013, who cares, no Romualdez complaining? Someone on FB said this article seems very clinical, like an AI written article, but sometimes I just try to distance myself from pain and anger by stepping back and being more objective. The point is, how can a place be a home if people care so little for those outside their group? VP Leni is doing a lot for Bicol, and others, but does the admin care for “opposition country”?

      By huge contrast, Joe Biden in a recent speech said there are no red or blue states for him, only the United States. Oh yes, whatever has happened to Marawi, is it being rebuilt now?

      • arlene says:

        May ugali talaga ang Pilipino na kung di apektak

      • arlene says:

        Sorry, what I mean is may ugali talaga ang Pilipino kung hindi apektado, they just don’t care. Kanya-kanya.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Just look at Gordon.
          Unpresidentiable lang pag Red Cross na tinira.

        • My point is, noong 1521 puwede pa iyan. Kanya-kanyang bayan, may sapat na lupa pa para magtanim dahil 1/2 million lang ang tao, wala pang mining, subdivisions etc., wala pang plastic waste. Kahit 1950 kaya pa siguro ng bawat lugar pakainin ang mga naandoon. Kahit sa UP Balara noong early 1970s may mga baboy at manok pa ang mga bagong salta galing Bisayas. E ngayon hindi na oobra iyan lahat pero wala pa iyong organisasyon at attitude ng cooperation. Kaya nagkakagulo ngayon. Noon kung may bagyo magtago lang ang mga tao sa medyo itaas tapos balik sila pagkatapos, ilang araw lang siguro nandiyan na ulit ang mga bahay kubo, back to normal. Ngayon mas matindi ang mga bagyo dahil sa global warming, tapos it costs more money to rebuild mobile phone towers, electricity etc.

          • kasambahay says:

            about marawi, ang narinig ko ay ganito: mahirap ma-rebuild yan kasi ang karamihan ng mga elders at ang pamilya nila, hundreds of them, ay tumanggap ng ‘gift’ kay inday sara as sort of consoling them from the loss of their great city at pumunta sa mecca, nag-pilgrimage. halos yearly yata ang pilgrimage nila and ought to stop them from being sad and depressed.

            lahat na gastos nila from airfares to accommodation ay sagot yata ni inday sara. kaso, the money was taken pala from marawi’s rebuilding fund and may not have been from inday sara’s own pocket. so, ito, halos ubos na kuno yang fund. the spirit is willing to rebuild, but the money is not.

            will marawi be ever rebuilt, rebuild? had the elders and families known then the money be taken from rebuilding fund, would they still go to mecca year end and year out?

            we care a lot, that’s why we talk a lot, ask questions a lot and some of those questions are downright libelous and cannot be answered without threats to human life.

            we are not blind, just careful and wary. and our eyes maybe blind but our hearts are certainly not. and just because we dont burn buildings, bomb churches, go on shooting spree and decapitate people – does not mean we dont care.

            in our own way, we care. a lot. deeply.

            • kasambahay says:

              where I come from, mahirap mag-kanyakanya. we know everybody, who gets married, who died, who is sick, who is swapang, who has won the lotto, etc.

              kung may bagyo o sakuna, we share what little food we have and help neighbors rebuild their houses, look after their children while the adults look for food. we sing and pray and wash clothes, clean up debris, bury the dead, tend the hurt and wounded. we listen for more news too and sometimes, harass, beg and threaten our local officials and anyone within earshot just to have our electricity and water up and running again.

              para sa amin, it’s not really kanya-kanya, though sometimes, we have to respect people’s privacy and keep away but we’re ready to help once they ask for help.

  4. Karl Garcia says:

    You mean last for 2020, right?

    • Definitely. The nine articles are an ensemble. Of course for some of the stuff I have written in the beginning my understanding has gone a bit further thanks to a lot of comments and additional insights, but as LCPL_X said with the Bible translations as an example our understanding of things evolves continuously – “we live, we learn” as you have said – and it should be that way for people, groups and societies. Yesterday I found a number of exchanges on Twitter on how to reach (or in some cases the frustrating impossibility to reach) other Filipinos with regards to the 2022 elections and the journey ahead very strong.

      There are a number of things we can do to give things a push, and otherwise we have to let go a little at times, as we cannot truly influence a lot, there are many things that take their own course. I think the rest has been said already, maybe it has to be said again but later.

  5. Sonny’s classic voyage: https://joeam.com/2018/05/16/the-new-visayas-playground-of-the-pacific/#comment-251568

    The momentous year, towards the unknown
    BY SEA
    Up ‘til then, my life of 25 years and the physical world were totally contained within the confines of Luzon (Manila, the Ilocos region, southern Tagalog provinces, Benguet Province). Then it happened. The US Embassy mailed me my 2nd preference immigrant visa and I had only a few weeks to get my travel belongings together. Just like that, I resigned my teaching position, packed my clothes and collected the padalas & bilins, the total weight limit aboard ship was 350 pounds. Next I found myself at a North Harbor pier saying goodbye to everything and everybody Philippine; after the ticker tape send-off it was all aboard on SS President Wilson (steerage); destination – San Francisco, USA.
    *April thru May, 1969, in transit somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. 19 days of sailing at 20 knots in a northeasterly direction.
    Short of being an astronaut or a mariner, crossing the Pacific on an ocean liner must be the best way to truly know the meaning of the word immense. The voyage started from the pier just within sight of Manila Hotel. The ship threaded its way along the western waters of Southern Luzon. After exiting San Bernardino Strait just south of Sorsogon, the color of the ocean changes to dark blue, almost black! I didn’t realize at the time that we were sailing atop the second deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippine Deep (more than seven miles deep)! And to behold the heavens lit up by multitudes of stars at night was literally a heavenly sight! Because of this voyage, I said nothing will top this experience and I thought this would last me a lifetime. (So it was until 41 years later when I took my second boat ride to Alaska through a segment of the Northwest Passage.)
    After 14 days and nights at sea, with stops at Guam in the Marianas and Wake Island, the first 30 minutes walking on the Honolulu pier felt like the ground under my feet was rocking. This must be what they meant by the expression “landlubbers’ legs.” With some travel mates, we toured Oahu listening to an Ilocano radio station! I was able to visit my college friend at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii. The final leg was a 5-day sailing to the US mainland.
    The approach to the California coastline was a misty-veiled sight with the crispy, cold morning air accented by a flock of seagulls flying alongside our ship and escorted by a pod of dolphins keeping pace portside, along the water below. At the distance was a bright, orange colored, toy-sized structure seemingly connected to strings of dollhouses lined up and stacked on the hillsides of the Bay Area. My first view of that glorious-looking structure known as the Golden Gate Bridge was its underbelly. I have never seen such a marvelous-looking man-made structure in my life. We seemed to glide as our ship slipped into San Francisco Bay surrounded on either side by high mountain sides of Marin county. As if this was not enough, later in the day we drove through the Oakland Bay Bridge … huge, huge, huge were the only words in my mind! (considering that the longest and biggest bridge I’ve seen in my life was the one at Urdaneta, Pangasinan). My mouth was agape as I watched black and white giants (compared to my puny 120 pound frame) of longshoremen unload our cargo from ship to wharf. All said and done, I logged some 8,000 nautical miles between Luneta and Wharf 49, San Francisco, CA.
    Thus I entered the US and claimed that “select membership” among Filipinos, literally: “FOBs (fresh off the boat).” I also had my B.S. (Bagong Salta) status.
    My first sight of a California Sunkist navel orange was one the size of our suha; also tasted my first US-grown strawberry (the size of a large Philippine tomato). Size is what I consider my particular experience of culture shock.

    BY AIR
    My first sensation of “high speed” was at 100 kph, riding our brand-new ’67 VW Beetle on the brand new North Diversion Road. My second speed trip was aboard a Western Airlines plane lifting from San Francisco International, cruising 35,000 feet above the ground at 550 mph in the direction of Minneapolis-St Paul, a distance of some 2,000 miles, the distance from Aparri to Davao and back. As we climbed above the Bay Area, the cloud banks and formations were such spectacular displays of Nature. This awesome visual play of Mother Nature up in the clouds will be repeated in all varieties of shapes during my other take-offs and landings in later years. And then on that fresh Spring day in May, our airplane’s landing approach to the lake-peppered (10,000 of them) land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha, Minnesota was an intriguing sight as one sees the many lakes of the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul like so many little puddles. This Nordic land was to be my American home for the next five years.

    • Great travelogue, reminded me of Rizal’s visit here, sonny!

      • sonny says:

        At that time (1969), there was no push-out factor except the economic prescience of my father & tenuous worry of my mother & sister already in their lonely apartment in the Twin Cities; no pull-in factor except a little sense of adventure beckoning to something unknown but not quite fraught with danger. Yet as things turned out, I would have been part of the OFW exodus as the dark clouds of 1972 were ominously forming just around the corner.

  6. Ireneo, great ending to the series. Thanks for writing these. So my question is more on identity and home. I know your grandma’s German so in fact you are German by blood. But i’ve always wondered (especially with France and Muslim terrorism recently), if there is still a concept of German-ness, just like French or Dane, etc.

    And this goes back to my general fascination between Europe and America, even Australia when me and Bill Oz argued demographics, ie. 60% Whites in the US to 90% Whites in Australia. So over there as you’ve already described there is a wave of non-Germans, ME or Africa, legal immigration to refugees.

    I sense that this liberal stuff in Europe was designed for a certain amount of homogeneity, if and when that homogeneity is tipped , Germany will enforce its German-ness, same with France same with Denmark, etc. Over here American-ness is precisely wider in scope, that I don’t see America doing so.

    Filipino-ness on the other hand I think is almost similar to America, ie. Filipe = Filipino; Amerigo = American , in that identity is arbitrary almost. So Joe is Filipino, because that identity is so fluid/abstract because it ‘s essentially two dudes names, king and map maker.

    So my point there are countries with strict identity, while there are ones without. My question, then isn’t for you per se, having German blood, but are other Filipinos there (or Europe in general) feel that they are home there, or is there more of a sense of we’re just visiting (or making our way to America). Thus,

    as karl stated, home is where the heart is; or my favourite home is where i lay my head. This is more of a culture type question, so hard to pin down really sorry— but its in line with my interest in the Hajnal like before also. thanks!

    • My mother is German so yes, Germany is also my home but the place I grew up was the Philippines so Germany felt strange for while but isn’t anymore. Philippines like I mentioned was a sentimental kind of home but it felt stranger and stranger after a while – somehow I have caught up, but it isn’t a home that takes care of itself and its own too well which is sad. Families and groups take care of themselves, are “resilient” but is that really the best way?

      Identities in Europe:

      1) Germany used to be very strict about its identity. Two decades ago naturalization was opened for kids who had grown up here. The reality is that migrants kids who grow up with “original Germans” are treated no differently and speak German. The German system is also one where the separation of church and state is not as strict as in France. Major religions play a consultative role in policymaking, for instance. All under the democratic roof of course. Acceptance for migrants usually takes some generations of being here – it was like that for the Poles in the Ruhr coal and steel area, it was like that for Italians in many a place here, and recently a mixed German-Turkish author asked in a book reading I attended whether the Turks are the “New Italians”. In Munich probably the Greeks are there, Turks on their way. Somewhat like the Irish and Italians in the USA took a certain time to become mainstream Americans – there are natural processes of absorption of new groups into society.

      2) France idealistically made everyone French after the Revolution. Their idea was that Republican values would make everybody French and laicism would minimize religious influence. The reality was often that in addition to the strong class system (even though meritocracy minimizes it somewhat) migrants from outside Europe weren’t that integrated into French daily life, were officially French but often not treated as French – while Germany kept its policy more in line with evolving social reality. Could be French denial wasn’t good.

      3) Americanness is a different matter, like Lincoln said “our fathers brought forth a new nation” – people on a new continent leaving their respective pasts behind while in Europe the past is all around us. Americanness is also easy because unlike in Europe where you have many neighbors to differentiate yourself from, what do you have? Canadians up North, yes, and Mexicans who speak a completely different language. Probably the acceptance of a Latino as American (they insist Americans are Estadounidenses and that America is an entire continent, not just the USA) is the English language at least. AOC is clearly American.

      4) Filipinoness is work in progress as many different threads are part of the complex fabric. That is why I am curious about Gideon Lasco’s “The Philippines is not a Small Country” as it seems to describe the process of becoming. America had its process of becoming from different migrant groups. The Philippines has its process of becoming from different but related ethnic groups. European nations had their processes of becoming and are indeed today somewhat stumped by migration, but remember that Munich to Damascus is a shorter distance than Route 66 from Chicago to LA. Australia is even more isolated than the USA is.

      5) Hajnal – the more conservative countries east and south of the Hajnal line are more ethnic and tribal – and also religious. Deeply Catholic Poland’s conflict on abortion, for instance.

      6) Within Germany, Bavaria is the most conservative state – but Turkish-Germans from other parts of Germany do often say that Turkish-Bavarians mostly speak German excellently. Thinking TOO liberally and thinking that people will just automatically be the same IS an error in my book, that is where I am conservative not liberal. There is a certain minimum set of values and the capability to communicate with the rest that is essential to keeping society together, otherwise liberalism fails. Aside from that people can stay in their own groups if they want. Liberalitas Bavariae is BTW do what you want as long as you stay in limits and respect the rules everybody else respects. It has integrated new groups over a long time.

      As for refugees, we shall see, things are developing. Iranian former refugees who fled the Shah are pretty much among the professionals here in Germany nowadays, lots of doctors and more. Syrians mostly might go that way too. Of course the sheer number of people that came in recent years means that there is a lunatic fringe, a minority but they are trouble. Hoping that society and government manage to deal with that. Remember that Damascus to Munich is nearer than Chicago to LA via Route 66. Australia is even more isolated than USA. Lots of Africans have come to Europe recently, and because of the proximity to Europe the EU has no choice but to help Africa so they don’t all have to come over which wouldn’t work. Similarly the USA will not be able to seal off the rest of the continent that speaks Spanish. Regional cooperation between nations is the future in my opinion. People will have to be able to mostly stay in their home areas. That is a major challenge for present and future politics.

      • Thanks, Ireneo, a very good break down of European identity.

      • About the Turkish-German founders of BionTech, the startup behind the Covid vaccine (to be produced in partnership with Pfizer) that is soon going to go for approval:


        ..In a country where a debate about the willingness of German citizens with Turkish roots to integrate into public life has never been far from the headlines for the last decade, the story of BioNTech’s founders is also salient.

        Türeci and Sahin are children of Turkish Gastarbeiter or “guest workers” who came to Germany in the late 1960s. Sahin was born in southern Turkey but moved to Cologne when he was four. Türeci, the company’s chief medical officer, was born in Lower Saxony.

        The couple, who hold German citizenship and have a teenage daughter, met at Saarland University in Homburg and have been married since 2002. In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Türeci said she and her husband started their wedding day in lab coats and resumed their research after a brief dash to the registry office..

  7. i7sharp says:


    There seem to be about seventeen (17) articles from “The National Village” to “Home.”
    Am I mistaken?

    In any case, can you please provide the titles or dates of publications of the nine (9) in your series?


    • I will be preparing a tab page similar to Will’s ‘Villanueva Interviews’ later today. It will index the nine articles.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Many Thanks Joe!

          • Happy to organize the wonderful work. Thanks for doing it!

            • Welcome and thanks as well Joe, and to all who have commented in the various articles – sonny, LCPL_X, kasambahay, Will, Cha, Micha, i7sharp and many others, also to MLQ3 on Twitter (@mlq3) for various impulses especially the important note that filipino modernity is important (and for sharing/retweeting the modernity article), definitely to Prof. Michael Charleston (Xiao) Chua for his patience (I have been badgering him with a lot of questions on FB Chat and got a lot of answers, impulses and food for thought) plus Joel Rudinas with whom I have also chatted a lot on FB and sent a lot of drafts too (also the others like Gian, Cha, Prof. Vicente Rafael etc. who have seen some drafts via FB chat and given feedback), last but not least the Bavarian in Ireland Chris Albert and the Euro retiree Pablonasid who have commented a lot especially in the innovation article. Interestingly this has been a small marathon of exactly two months, first article was on Sept. 9, this last article in Nov. 9.

              Of course there is a lot of previous background that went into all of this – Karl correctly noted that my old blog was summarized in “The National Village” (most of it) and of course the old blog had numerous conversations with many of those from this blog which led to the current set of insights, including Edgar Lores of course. Once I have gotten hold of and read “The Philippines is Not a Small Country” by Dr. Gideon Lasco (physician, hiker, mountain climber and anthropologist with a Ph.D. from Holland, the closest thing to a modern Rizal) I want to take a fresh look at all of this. But for now let us continue with expanding common insights.

  8. By Ding Velasco on Facebook 9 hours ago:

    Globe signal just returned here in Tiwi, and still intermittent.

    I missed all your good wishes after it became known that Tiwi, Albay was the 2nd landfall. It came at 7:12 am last Sunday at destructive windspeeds of 260 to 305 kph; and the only good thing was that it moved at 27 to 30 kph so the onslaught was short-lived.

    And l also missed the instant fun of seeing Trump vanguished “by Sleepy Joe” as he calls Biden.

    Our signal here is still off and on but the first news l got upon opening my smartphone was a message from a weatherman friend that the incoming typhoon “Ulysses” is tracking on the same track that Supertyphoon Rolly took … and this may mean we will be hit again by Wednesday.
    Bad tidings don’t come in twos anymore under Duterte, they come in threes.

  9. Kasambahay, excellent summary of how the original banwa/bayan/ili works:

    where I come from, mahirap mag-kanyakanya. we know everybody, who gets married, who died, who is sick, who is swapang, who has won the lotto, etc.

    kung may bagyo o sakuna, we share what little food we have and help neighbors rebuild their houses, look after their children while the adults look for food. we sing and pray and wash clothes, clean up debris, bury the dead, tend the hurt and wounded. we listen for more news too and sometimes, harass, beg and threaten our local officials and anyone within earshot just to have our electricity and water up and running again.

    para sa amin, it’s not really kanya-kanya, though sometimes, we have to respect people’s privacy and keep away but we’re ready to help once they ask for help.

    Makes sense as that is how even the UP Balara migrants from Visayas lived and helped each other, though we were UP Area I, our connection was via our Ilokana labandera and our Visayan gardener who had a lot of friends “in the valley” (my German grandmother called UP Balara that way as it was literally downhill from UP Area I) and there is this story (which of course really happened) that I posted in “Towards FILIPINO Modernity”:

    ..in UP Balara.. people mostly from the Visayas like them formed personal and familistic networks, including the friendship of our gardener with our labandera (laundrywoman) who was the aunt of my nanny. Manang as well all called her was the one who rushed down to the gardener’s place in UP Balara, a small concrete house with wooden add-ons for newcomers from his family, to ask him for help when our parent’s room burned while they were watching the movies. He organized his people from the valley which UP Balara was and is to put out the fire with pails. “Feudalism” (old Filipino up-down relations) – Manang’s loyalty to our family as she even had rushed to the master bedroom to save my sleeping baby brother; community spirit with Pat the gardener and part-time electrician rushing his folks and friends to save our house from burning down; and finally the sorry state of Philippine institutions as the UP Fire Brigade came hours later when everything was taken care of..

    Joe also says this:

    When communities come under duress, Filipinos are at their best, working to help, generous to a fault. It makes me realize how the umbrella of need warps everything, and by the time it gets to congress, it becomes greed. Get rid of it and the nation will thrive.

    Of course there is the contrast to the UP colleagues who didn’t help my mother which I mentioned upstairs, but these are middle class people, and who knows if there was some crab mentality (towards a blonde foreign woman, who knows?) or whatever (UP is full of intrigues) involved:

    ..once some UP colleagues simply drove past my mother somewhere in QC (1970s pa iyon) when her car had broken down – and it wasn’t that they didn’t notice, some days later they told her “ah we saw you had a car breakdown”. Don’t you at least stop and ask if someone you know needs help?

    The middle class is a mixed bag, I guess, and even among rich and poor you can’t generalize.

    There is the idea of kapwa of fellow man and usually it is FAMILIES and SMALL GROUPS that help one another. Exceptions like VP Leni, Angel Locsin and Gang Badoy who are all NOW helping in Bicol prove the rule. Otherwise the rest of the nation hardly cares about Bicol at this point. My point is that the rest of the nation also DID NOT AND DOES NOT not care too much about Marawi. Of course we feel differently about those not so close to us, but doesn’t decency compel us to help?

    There is of course the total indecency of tokhang being ignored even by the poor themselves – families cry for their dead but that’s all, while many in the middle and upper classes find it OK.

    • Of course one cannot expect those who are struggling in their own villages to think too much of the other places.. and as for the middle class it often struggles a lot too, Metro Manila life is a battlefield.. but it is still the most shocking that there is little coverage of typhoon Rolly. Could it be that the media, which often repeat bullshit statements of politicians just verbatim, doesn’t go for issues too independently without politicians. Mainly ABS-CBN reports on Rolly.

      As for groups in solidarity, for the middle class it isn’t necessarily neighbors – it is more spread out, and in UP you had to know who had a quarrel with whom, that always changes.

      But it is true that there is often a lot of spontaneous generosity in the Philippines, as Nash Daily has confirmed: https://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/fb-celebrity-nas-daily-affirms-love-for-the-philippines/ so the picture is very mixed just like everywhere else, hard to conclude.

      • kasambahay says:

        there is always a rush to conclude, maybe for sake of brevity and convenience kaso, and is often the case, many conclusions are still ongoing but culled early. just so papers can be presented and acknowledgement and plaudits given.

        what we people on the fringes hated about empowerment is what comes after, the void and the ugly reality. those that empowers us have moved on, maybe to find another group of poor people to empower yet again. their job done and left us with nary a glance just when we needed them the most, floundering and with no back up, faced with unfamiliar terrain full of hostilities and uncertain future. we have turned our backs and made enemies of our previous hosts, the ones deemed tyrannical and greedy and responsible for stymieing our growth and slowed our progress.

        empowered thus, we proclaimed ourselves free and independent to do what, exactly? those that promised us rosy future have vanished, our previous hosts no longer want us, and yet our needs are urgent and dire and we have to have jobs, to eat to live and find shelter. and so, with nothing to fall back on, back to our previous tyranical hosts we go, back to the previous life we know only too well, begging forgiveness and charity, much humbled this time by empowerment that fall short.

        dont empower people if you are not prepared to lend a hand and do more.

        and if we thumped our noses at empowerment, you know why.

        • Unless I am missing something, I think that the approach of VP Leni’s “Kaya Natin” Initiative is first and foremost creating livelihoods and in sustaining them, so that approach is better. Communities need to be able to make a living to be truly free. Political stuff can come later.

    • pablonasid says:

      Communities come together? I challenge this and it is depressing. What I learned from Yolanda: Sure, the immediate neighbors did help immediately after the destruction and still weeks later. But the community? Come-on, the Barangay Captain diverted help to his own cupboard and only his immediate family profiteered from foreign help. The mayor did it on a different level and I think that only the Governor was honestly trying to help. The government diverted foreign aid on a huge scale and when finally organizations like the Red Cross came in, I estimated that >75% of the aid was wasted/diverted. So, communities did not come together, like Irineo said, the drove past the accident and went on with their life. This was bad, but the worst thing is that people like me will never give help in case of disasters anymore. Only when the disaster is next door and I can help directly, I will do that. No way, I will fill the coffers of the authorities. So, after Yolanda, I was lucky to find some students who were blown out of their Tacloban university and we could relocate them to our town and support their last year. But communities showed poor behaviour. That made me sad, furious and ashamed.
      No Sir, the communities do not come together in Philippines. People come together. And then, they did amazing things.

      • Thanks Pablo – like I said it seems to be only families and SMALL GROUPS, though kasambahay implies that in her area entire communities come together, at least neighborhoods like you said. “When communities come under duress” is a quote from Joe’s tweet. Joe also directly experienced Yolanda so possibly his experience was different than yours – I guess it really depends on where you are and who you are around as well.

        Like I also mentioned in UP it was not the entire community, it depended exactly on who your friends were (at the moment, depending on faculty politics at times, long-time friends were rare) and the story of the UP colleagues just driving past my mother (and later saying hey we saw you had a car breakdown) is a sad example. Your Yolanda examples as well.

        • I quote myself again also: “Of course we feel differently about those not so close to us, but doesn’t decency compel us to help?

          There is of course the total indecency of tokhang being ignored even by the poor themselves – families cry for their dead but that’s all, while many in the middle and upper classes find it OK.”

          And even if there might be communities (the smallest neighborhoods are also communities, the question is does it extend up to the barangay or even the city, seems that in Naga Jesse Robredo was able to build that to some extent, Iloilo also looks like a working place to me) but at REGIONAL or NATIONAL level there is certainly not the kind of cohesion that Bavaria for instance demonstrated postwar with Ramadama or in 1992 when the old airport was closed and everything was moved to the new one in a night (the entire region pulled together then, I wasn’t there yet but that is what I read) and definitely NOT the kind of quiet and efficient cohesion Japan had when Fukushima happened, based on news reports.

          • I also must admit that I DON’T YET fully understand the big picture of what happened during Yolanda as there are so many different accounts, but it does look like it was a huge mess.

            Unlike the better media in advanced countries which try to reconstruct the big picture, Philippine media only gives you bits and pieces, and different hearings by Senate etc. are too politicized to be committed to the truth – my impression – so it is a frustrating jumble. Not even Mamasapano which I got into more fully I have understood until now. Dengvaxia which I looked at more closely (and where I had a lot of international comparisons) I get better, Covid I have a very clear idea of the present mess, but it takes a lot of effort to understand.

            Looking at worst German rail accident ever back in 1998, for instance, even the Wikipedia entry is precise and gives a coherent big (and pro) picture lacking for nearly ANY major Philippine event: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschede_derailment

            As the train passed over the first of two points, the embedded tyre slammed against the guide rail of the points, pulling it from the railway ties. This guide rail also penetrated the floor of the car, becoming embedded in the vehicle and lifting the bogie off the rails. At 10:59 local time (08:59 UTC), one of the now-derailed wheels struck the points lever of the second switch, changing its setting. The rear axles of car number 3 were switched onto a parallel track, and the entire car was thereby thrown into the piers supporting a 300-tonne (300-long-ton; 330-short-ton) roadway overpass, destroying them.

            Car number 4, likewise derailed by the violent deviation of car number 3 and still travelling at 200 kilometres per hour (125 mph), passed intact under the bridge and rolled onto the embankment immediately behind it, striking several trees before coming to a stop. Two Deutsche Bahn railway workers who had been working near the bridge were killed instantly when the derailed car crushed them. The breaking of the car couplings caused the automatic emergency brakes to engage and the mostly undamaged first three cars came to a stop.

            • kasambahay says:

              yolanda was badly politicized and many that promised donations did not really give. it was shameful and tedious at best having to chase donation not forthcoming.

              the govt under President Noy tried to do its best for the people; kaso, the subsequent govt has very questionable practices and let loose disinformation about yolanda.

              • kasambahay says:

                anyhow, it’s abhorrent of people to say that yolanda fund was diverted to someone’s pocket kuno and yet did nothing to stop it.

              • Yes, the fake news that Mar Roxas used the Yolanda fund for campaigning was disgusting.

                But I can indeed imagine leakages at local levels, like the story Pablonasid told about the barangay captain preferring his family.

                And I wonder how many people dare go against that locally, considering that they may become victims of violence and nobody will help them, depending on the community.

              • kasambahay says:

                the local leakages you mention, I’m starting to approach it with open mind po. hard not to, ganito kasi, the money may be salted away and already found hiding sa pockets ng barangay captain, pero, the money always find its way albeit inadvertently, round in the community.

                captain kasi and family have to spend money to eat fine food and that means local fresh produce, local kosinero’t kosinera paid to do thier cooking, laundry to be washed, gardeners to be paid, their drivers driving their multiples suvs have to be paid too, not really money down the drain yan, right? these workers have families and they benefited too, got themselves fed and their children got to go to school, their tuition paid and local teachers employed. as well, these children would need local transport to and from school, jeepney drivers would get their cut.

                captains may have other business too and hire locals workers, accountants to do the books, cleaners to clean the premise, customer service officers, etc. there is jobs for locals.

                businesses are landscaped, there are paved roads that cater to heavy duty delivery trucks, and lined with trees and there ares power lines too. all these needs maintenance, hence local workers again benefiting and local economy gets boosted and supported.

                I can understand po if locals wont complain too much about missing yolanda money for they can easy inveigle their way and find jobs.

                as for becoming victims of violence, cambio! cambio! cambio! we locals are quite good in making cambios that we sometimes confused politicians as well as ourselves, haha.

                I’m joking po.

            • pablonasid says:

              Irineo, in February 1953, there was the worst flood ever in The Netherlands. About a quarter of The Netherlands was flooded and 8 years after the war, the emergency systems were not working properly yet. A disaster which still is very much part of the Dutch DNA. It was decided that this shoud never, ever happen again, so the Dutch started building those huge dikes and innovative locks & weirs. Ofcourse, immediately following such a disaster, the people tried to help where possible. It became a huge, countrywide effort and it looked as if everybody pulled together and it was a country-wide effort without precedent.
              However, in 1993 (40!!!! years after the incident), the journalist Kees Slager wrote the book “De Ramp”. As a journalist, he did the things journalists are supposed to be good at, he went to hundreds of people and got their stories on tape&paper. The compilation was revealing. There indeed had been hero’s. But, there had been many, many a..holes who stole (diverted) money for their own benefit. The book became an eye-opener for the population and it has been used in many examples of how (not) to manage disasters and how to hold people accountable. I think an invaluable tool to educate people on what to expect. I certainly used it as one of the tools on how to set up part of emergency control systems in my previous work. Because planning is preventing avoidable problems.

              So, after Yolanda, I tried to stimulate some students and lecturers of the UP to start working on a book like that. It certainly would take a lot of time, a lot of dedication and an enormous amount of political awareness to get all the facts together. But it would be worth it. Nobody was willing to take the bait.
              Maybe it has to wait another 30 years before the facts can be retrieved and presented. But in a country which is champion in murdering journalists, either individually or in bulk (e.g. the Maguindanao massacre), I fully understand the reluctance to investigate the happenings after Yolanda and I suppose you will have to wait for another 30 years to get “the big picture”.

              kasambahay, to say that “it’s abhorrent of people to say that yolanda fund was diverted to someone’s pocket kuno and yet did nothing to stop it”, is a bit shortsighted in my opinion. The issues come floating to the surface gradually. Do you think that a Brgy.Capt is advertising the actual distribution of the funds or how somebody diverted a generator to his house or how big NGO’s wasted huge amounts of money??? Those are issues which often are not identified in the immediate aftermath or can not be changed anyway. But if we identify the issues and have to lower our heads in shame, maybe we can also ask if this is the way we want to be, how we want to live.

              Just a suggestion for a project for a journalist who can afford to disappear abroad the moment he hands in his manuscript for print.

              • sonny says:

                I was caught by Ondoy visiting Manila and my Ilocos home province. At the time two typhoon systems came in dual concert. We thought Ondoy would go then after a lull to catch our collective breaths the next typhoon can come. But Ondoy took its time exiting and in came the next typhoon: so we had an overstaying typhoon and another one dumping its water load on its initial surge. My hometown was totally inundated. The volume of water dumped was supertorrential. I noticed then that the water submerging our town was being fed by two river systems coming from the Cordilleras, coming by way of two rivers outside the jurisdiction of our town. I thought then this would be an example where some supergov’t agency with a load of hydrologists and civil engineers and government officials woul survey and assess, ie. analyze, sort out the dynamic of the confluence of two typhoons and submit and store the findings for appropriate actions of prevention/intervention, relief, redesign of infrastructure to achieve optimized recovery from the disaster.
                I would be surprised if the National Weather service does not have a pretty good approximation of the number and profile of typhoons past. For as sure as the tropical sun shines there are a good number of typhoons that will hit in a given year.

              • kasambahay says:

                pablonasid, out of curiousity, did you ask the guys at UP why they did not take your offer of writing a book on yolanda?

              • pablonasid says:

                That is where the Northern European and Asian cultures clash and no real answer drifts to the surface. In my opinion, safety concerns are the main factor.

  10. Karl Garcia says:

    True that it is often everyman for himself self interest, clan interest, community interest over national interest, but
    I still say that there is still bayanihan spirit.Our problem is consistency.

    • kasambahay says:

      our bayanihan is always there when it is needed kaso many of us have been broken in mind, body and spirit: traumatized many times over. and there are instances when the only thing we can contribute is tears. pagud na talaga at pigang-piga na.

      • That is exactly what I feel looking at the people from my father’s and grandfather’s birthplace Tiwi, Albay now after the storm, even if our family left the town when my grandfather became a judge in Daraga, Albay and no one I know from before lives there, those who could left and the old folks I saw (very often old grand-uncles sitting in a chair all the time because they had a stroke, very common I guess as Bicol food is rich not healthy) are certainly all dead now – they are tired and somehow broken – the videos I posted show.

        Quoting from memory but 2000 houses are GONE in Tiwi, especially those at the seaside hit by the storm surge when the eye passed the town, 12000 houses broken. I also have seen some stuff about the IPs (Aetas) in some barangays that have it extremely hard.

        • kasambahay says:

          those badly affected by storm surge, therapists dont recommend counseling at this stage dahil it will only tend to make victims re-live their trauma, thus traumatizing them more. at saka, victims may exaggerate reaction just to make it worth the while of therapist. the money paid to therapists is better off used to buy supplies like food, medicine and trapal.

          it’s normal to have nightmares po after such traumatic event, to cry and lament for their loss and what they’ve been through. it’s when victims have no reaction, no emotion, and no response to stimuli that we have to be concerned.

          • It might have been instinct that my father (born in Tiwi) chose some of the highest ground in UP when he had a choice of professorial home. We never were flooded there.

            During Yoleng late 1970 which hit Manila, the roof of our neighbor (National Artist and coloratura soprano Jovita Fuentes, I grew up hearing her singing all the time) suddenly flew off. That was a vicious year-end typhoon at it went STRAIGHT throught Manila.

            That was my only memory of that typhoon except the vicious winds – I was 5 1/2 years. What my mother told me was that my grandfather (Atty. Irineo Salazar, born and raised in Tiwi) went out to have a look when the eye of the storm passed over Manila – around 15-30 minutes of no wind. Of course being from a typhoon-hit place he knew the routine. From what I know the old house in Tiwi was not at the coast but on a hill near where the abaca plantations used to be. Don’t know as they had already moved after the war.

  11. Karl Garcia says:

    That is why we are discussing our history and culture to learn who we are, where whe have been and where we will be the how is the problem.

  12. Karl Garcia says:

    As Tina Turner aptly put it:

    And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
    Living under the fear ’til nothing else remains
    We don’t need another hero
    We don’t need to know the way home
    All we want is life beyond the Thunderdome
    Looking for something
    We can rely on
    There’s got to be something better out there
    Love and compassion
    Their day is coming (coming)
    All else are castles built in the air

    • kasambahay says:

      Tina Turner was once a battered wife at binugbug ng husto ng dating asawang si Ike Turner. Tina hang on to Ike and suffered all until her children finished high school, then she broke free. many thought nothing more of Tina, that she’d fall into oblivion. how wrong they were! Tina become bigger than Ike, more famous the world over, her concerts packed full and she became music icon.

      same with Cher, when she split with Sony Bono, Cher did not become has been and instead reached stratospheric heights, her records are constant best sellers often number one sa charts and like Tina Turner, Cher is celebrated and recognized world wide.

      similarly, Nicole Kidman become more stellar after her husband Tom Cruise dumped her. Nicole become a determined actress, often winning acting awards and quite now in demand in film work in both cinemas and television.

      they dont need another hero, coz they’re their own heroes and can very well find their own way home.

      • Yes, a quiet streak of steel underpins their successes, three of my favorite entertainers for being of themselves, not canned in anyone’s mold. Nice tribute.

      • Thanks kasambahay. This gives me a deeper understanding of your situation especially in connection with this part of your comment above:

        what we people on the fringes hated about empowerment is what comes after, the void and the ugly reality. those that empowers us have moved on, maybe to find another group of poor people to empower yet again. their job done and left us with nary a glance just when we needed them the most, floundering and with no back up, faced with unfamiliar terrain full of hostilities and uncertain future. we have turned our backs and made enemies of our previous hosts, the ones deemed tyrannical and greedy and responsible for stymieing our growth and slowed our progress.

        empowered thus, we proclaimed ourselves free and independent to do what, exactly? those that promised us rosy future have vanished, our previous hosts no longer want us, and yet our needs are urgent and dire and we have to have jobs, to eat to live and find shelter. and so, with nothing to fall back on, back to our previous tyranical hosts we go, back to the previous life we know only too well, begging forgiveness and charity, much humbled this time by empowerment that fall short.

        dont empower people if you are not prepared to lend a hand and do more.

        and if we thumped our noses at empowerment, you know why.

        This I think is why the old school reformist approaches failed and the tsinelas approach of VP Leni is working – she is not delivering aid that seems to come from above, but I think she approaches the people “auf Augenhöhe” they say in German – at eye level, not looking down. I remember how the Sumilao farmers she once helped wholeheartedly endorsed her during the 2016 election, one could feel it was from the heart. Also how she faced Capt. Insigne of the Gem-Ver – anyone who does not see the difference to how tense the fishermen were with Sec. Cusi must be blinded by political bias. Capt. Insigne is not the type to be afraid, pero hindi rin siya naiilang kay VP Leni tulad doon kina Sec. Cusi.

        • kasambahay says:

          thanks, Irineo, pic posted says a thousand words. Leni is doing well, she is almost like Ramon Magsaysay.

          • kasambahay says:

            pahabol lang po, the god of cyberspace sabi, if Leni plans to run for president sa 2022, she ought to borrow Ramon Magsaysay’s old election jingle that goes “mabu-mabu-mabuhay . . . out of copyright na yata yang jingle and god of cyberspace added na Ramon old man (I dont know him!) will be more than pleased kuno. you, listening, Leni? Atty Makalintal, Chel Diokno, you guys okay with that?

            I would have kept quiet, pero itong god of cyberspace ay sinigawan ako!

            kaya ito, I throw the god’s word to the wind. where it land, bahala na, I’ve done my part, anything to get out of this weird dream.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Ty did not know that.

  13. Reposting my quoted tweet of Katarina Stuart Santiago’s tweet:

    she wrote:

    Mining, quarrying, logging, reclamation projects, is really what has brought us here. The plunder of our resources is directly related to these outcomes that recklessly endanger us all.

    I quoted/answered:

    Also overbuilding even into the natural floodplains of rivers. It is better to have areas you can let flood and where you have trees etc. to absorb the water. Also walling in creeks upstreams which hastens the flow downstream, covering up esteros which used to absorb water also..

    I add here: the Dutch have polders and there are polders they intentionally let flood when there are storms to save the rest. Munich has two big parks which all in all are larger than Central Park but beside the river with hardly any buildings, basically the English garden just north of the town, downstream, and what is around it – and the Flaucher island and environs just south of the city, upstream, the favorite barbecue and sunbathing place of many a Munich inhabitant in summer. During spring (snowmelt) and autumn (storms) the area around the Flaucher is pretty often flooded, the town puts up red tape similar to “police lines” at access points but the small creeks around the Flaucher and the trees absorb a lot of the water, protecting the town. About 150 years of flood control measures mean that the major flood of the late 19th century when the most important bridge of Munich had the river almost reaching the top – like the Marikina bridge now – hasn’t happened again I think. The 1950s measure of building a dam upstream and using it to control water flow also helped for sure – releasing water some days before the rains come. I only saw a pretty dramatic flood once in front of the Prater island, roaring waters due to trees stuck on one side of the river.

    A lot of countries also have water authorities that will take care of one body of water – I think there is one taking care of Munich’s Isar river from the Sylvenstein dam all the way to Landau where the Isar goes into the Danube. Makes sense as the Isar (means torrential river in the old Celtic tongue they used to speak here) crosses several counties and cities and two government districts (Upper and Lower Bavaria) so there has to be an authority that takes care of everything around it. North east of Munich even has huge water reservoirs to catch extra water – and to make sure there is enough water in dry months. The Dutch have had water authorities since the Middle Ages, first run by nobles and later democratized. They even levelled death penalties at times for those who dirtied the water (the living resource for farms and drinking!) or caused damage to all-important dykes.

    Sure, Germany has had it share of awful floods – the Elbe floods of 2002 were catastrophic, if I remember correctly caused by dykes in East Germany badly maintained in the Communist era. Merkel helping out in rubber boots is one memory I have of then – she became Chancellor in 2005. There were also the quite deadly1960s floods in Hamburg where one local official named Helmut Schmidt was a man of action – he became Chancellor in the 1970s after Willy Brandt. His crisis management capabilities were put to the test by Mogadishu rescue, i7sharp will certainly remember this just like he remembers the Tenerife accident. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufthansa_Flight_181

  14. Ireneo, I’m not really much of a computer guy. But since all this COVID19 closure, i’m seeing a lot of PC building and community building as well with it. So, being curious i’ve been reading up on it. And i think there’s something here that is relevant to your ‘What is HOME?’ blog.

    Micro Center is like the Mecca here (located in Tustin , CA) for all this stuff. People building PCs for gaming, for live streaming, editing and sharing, etc. etc. There is suppose to be shortages now due to this phenomena like Power Supply Units are hard to come by now, where CPUs/GPUs are a plenty.

    How certain arkane items become limited I’ve always been intrigued by, so PSUs being difficult to procure these days, is kinda like Tupperware (plastic containers) or glass canning jars in general basically being sold out til next year. More people doing stuff at home.

    I’m looking at Amazon specifically expanding on this, PC gaming surge.

    And the shift from electric vehicles from gas powered ones with gears requiring tough metals, now aluminum is sufficient which means we’ll probably have carbide for PC cases now and Titanium diningware aplenty. The world is upside down, LOL!

    But my question specific to your expertise, is can Filipinos leverage all this, like can they make glass containers; and though I understand CPUs/GPUs you’ll need clean labs to make these, but how about these Power Supply Units? And what else can the Philippines make and sell from there?

    COVID19 equals focusing in the home. What can be leveraged from Ireneo’s computer background, and if you can fruits and veggies (and jams) even better too. But more on electronics and tech available to DIY small scale production in the Philippines.

    • A lot of shortages are due to bitcoin mining

    • Karl Garcia says:

      All must have a battery recycling scheme.
      It would be a nightmare.


      • Karl Garcia says:

        Without landfill mining all the remaining lithium, cobalt, and whatelse will be mined till they run out.
        This is on top of a recycling program.

      • karl, as far as who gets to recycle whose crap, have you read or listened to reviews of this book. Because its all part of that thread of thought.


        Andrew Schwartz: Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winning author and global energy expert joins us today because he has a new book out, The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations. It’s a terrific book, it’s one of his epic studies of the energy landscape, and today on the Reopening we want to ask him questions about what that landscape means for the future of our geopolitical economy as it relates to energy, as it relates to great power. So, Daniel, I wanted to open by asking you, you know, and at its heart, The New Map, your book, is about power, both in the sense of power as fuel to move cars, and tractor trailers, and ocean-going ships, and planes, to run factories and light up cities, but also power in the sense of political power. In the sense that nations wield power to drive their economies forward and great competition. Can you tell us what’s your thesis in writing this book? What did you find out?

        Daniel Yergin: Well, certainly, writing a book like this is really a process of learning and discovery. And it is a new map. And it’s a new map of energy and geopolitics together and how they interact. It’s about a change of position in the United States, very dramatically different from it was a decade ago in terms of energy. But it’s also about the conflicts in the world. It’s about the growing rift between the United States and China. We can say it’s about the Shale Revolution, but it’s also about the solar revolution, the energy transition. So, all of that adds up to this new map, and really trying to guide the readers and to make sense of it and know where we’re going.

        Andrew Schwartz: When you look at this new map, what were the players that stand out? Obviously you have the United States, you have Russia and China, but how do they interrelate to each other in your book?

        Daniel Yergin: In terms of oil, traditionally, people thought about OPEC versus non-OPEC, you know, in the global oil market. But now we think about it, at least I think about it in the book in terms of the big three. The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. And the U.S. is the biggest of the big three because it’s the world’s largest oil producer today, which would not have been imagined a decade ago. And that really does change the balance. It means that you can have an attack by Iranian drones on a Saudi major oil processing facility and it ends up when you look back on it, two or three weeks later, it’s a blip. So, it’s changed the security calculus, this growth of U.S. production. In terms of Russia and China, you know, I wrote my first book many years ago on the origins of the Cold War, and I never expected to be writing a book about the emergence of new Cold Wars, and yet that’s what we have with China, and that’s what we have with Russia. And as I was writing the book, it was just becoming more and more apparent that that’s the direction the world is going in.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Let the manufacturers do it.
          If no manufacturer then the one who needs them most.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          The arctic ice is to be cleared without even waiting for the ice to melt on its own, this is so that China can reach Scandinavia in record time.

          That will make thermafrost to disapoear faster methinks releasing green house gases making all climate change control effirts a waste of time.

          I suggest to study that ice making subs and refreeze the arctic and they can lesce enough space for the sea lanes they are planning on.

          Sucking atmospheric CO2 and burrying them back to the ground must have science and technology to it.

          Global warming is here.

          • karl,

            Mines closing makes sense. Especially with Musk/Bezos and China looking into mining the asteroid belt— tech is already there, rockets, scale up on drilling/scooping, return trip is easier with Moon base, etc.

            Oil, coal and natural gas should be out, in California Gov. Newsom announced by 2030 no more internal CE vehicles in state, China will scale up EV.

            So looks like we have to decide as a planet, go with nuclear (Gates, etc.) or go with geothermal, or do both. Solar and wind, looks like only certain areas can optimize like Denmark. But most countries can do Iceland’s geothermal.

            And nuclear only option China is willing to take that risk.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              This is where Chins must spend (mining asteroids) and not ice-breakers.


              • “PLA-watchers who track and study China’s military space programs, as well as the PLASSF, should pay close attention to the activities of the Space Engineering University. SEU is not only an academic institution through which the PLA trains its future space warfighters; it also functions, by design, as a center of space innovation and a hub of research and development for the PLASSF. More importantly, evidence gathered for this article suggests that SEU likely serves as a premier testing ground among PLA academic institutions for the concepts of military-civil fusion.The mechanisms through which SEU engages and mobilizes civilian space resources will likely serve as a model for other institutions.”


                Just watched the Resilience docking tonight, can’t help but think the Chinese are already somewhere on the Moon , karl.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                China is a very destructive nation, they have flattened hills and mountains not only in their backyard but also ours and we did nothing, they quaaried, rocks, sand poached wild life in land and sea, what else?
                They pollute their skies, destroy coral reefs, reclaim the waters for artificisl islands that will sink, and they plan yo break the Arctic ice.

            • It was Spain that caused deforestation there; then the US (plus others) mining land and sea there. it’s the Kardashev scale, karl. Humans have not even begun to scratch the surface. think bigger.

              Geothermal is the cleanest of them all, per Iceland. low risk; high reward. We are still Type 0. Watch the Magicians, the cost/benefit process involved in magic can be applied to science as well. Thor said it was the same thing (in Thor: the Dark World).

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Spain is no longer as extractive as before.

                China is still quarrying the Philippines until it is flat.

                Sure destruction is a shared responsibility

                You can not magically reconstruct what have been destroyed.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                The original guardians of the galaxy cojmc book series , set in the Thirty first Cent, theorized we will become a third level civilization until the Badoons destroyed us.

              • karl,

                Re-forestation should be the priority there. Mining is hard to counter act, but people can plant trees anytime.

                it may not be magical, but nature has a way of regrowing, period. That the black locust tree, best sustainable hardwood. China too has an appetite for hardwood.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                It involved lots of gene editing for us to occupy all the planets in the solar system.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Sure some corporate peeps plants trees and mangroves but the watersheds must be the places that needs reforesting.

                Unfoetunatel mining and quarrying needs to destroy the trees surrounding their area of extraction.

                The greening program failed.


              • “Here’s another “massive failure,” on a different but no less consequential front, and likewise backed by telling numbers: According to the Commission on Audit, the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) missed a whopping 88.17 percent of its target within the covered years of 2011-2019.

                The NGP, the government’s biggest reforestation project, was launched in 2011 during the Aquino administration to jump-start the country’s recovery of forestlands. By then, the Philippines had already lost 60 percent of its total forest cover, with approximately only 6.84 million hectares of the 16.90 million hectares in 1934 remaining.

                The Forest Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had previously said the country loses about 47,000 hectares a year due to deforestation.

                The culprits?

                Illegal logging, slash-and-burn farming and mining.


                Except for mining really,

                illegal logging & slash/burn are more an over-population problem. So either focus only on population control, or plant trees that grow quick and are useful like that black locust tree.

                I didn’t see what trees they ‘re planting re NGP , but I’m sure there are fast growing trees over there that are also useful. I’m curious now what trees led to the massive failure? I’m assuming original growth trees, when it’s probably better to look into quick and useful trees, not original (hell, not even endemic).

                unless you guys go with a national park as solution, but you’ll need park rangers for that who undoubtedly will just be corrupted. thus focus on tree types.

                Or just focus on de-population, as solution to re-forestation. The trees should be viewed as more valuable, karl.

              • Interesting discussion. Thanks.

              • pablonasid says:

                Please reconsider the fast growing trees. When we got our place, all trees had been used as firewood and building materials and nobody had considered replanting. Not good, even a silly engineer as me can see that, so I decided to divert part of the construction budget and plant trees. So, we went to the DENR for advice and they gave us mahogany seeds. Fast growing indeed, but also nothing else grows under the mahogany and now, 30 years later, i have the problem on how to slowly replace the mahogany without causing massive erosion. The advice SHOULD have been to use indigenous trees with as big a variety as possible and plant fruit trees in between. I had a silly discussion with the DENR about my pride, some Ipil trees which will be big when I am already 2 centuries under the grass. The argument from the DENR was that they grow too slow to become profitable. Sure, but if we don’t plant them now, there will be not a single Ipil left in 10 years because I got the seeds from a huge, old tree valued at P800.000. How long will that tree survive at that value? Guys, plant indigenous trees only for the reforestation project. For our (grand)children’s sake. And it will be profitable just maybe a very long term project.

              • China had a reforestration program, I think it was successful, but they end up monoculturing, just one species.

                So focus on trees. Hell, grass too, bamboo I’m sure are perfect. mix it up. But don’t try to recreate the old forest, make a new one.

                Joe, what are local tree planting initiatives in Biliran? what species of trees are they using. I’m googling tree types, but i’m seeing hardwoods instead, like their plan is to re-grow the same lost forest.

                Click to access Carbon-Farming-with-Timber-Bamboo.pdf

              • I’ve not seen any replanting and I don’t know if there are programs or not.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Plus Tree farming is now a practice, that may be both good and bad.

              • Agreed, pablo.

                Mahogany is a new world (the Americas) tree specie.

                Although a lot can be said about endemic , original trees, there should be black locust type trees (almost weed like) that may not be original but versatile in reforestation.

                Also agree on variety, that’s what got China s reforestation efforts in a bind.

                Bamboo looks promising. But I’d add threat to human life for killing a tree(s). If EJK curbed shabu use over there, I’m sure something similar will work for illegal logging. But unlike shabu, kill the logging magnates first (no doubt they will also be your shabu kings, they tend to diversify, lol ! 😉 ).

                The US is a big consumer of illegally logged lumber.

                We have human rights here, so no go. Cannot reach 1st world. No tree rights. Irony. Ironwood. Xanthostemon verdugonianus…

                Then also follow IKEA’s model, I think they pretty much use pine (farmed), bamboo and cork. All else are engineered wood.

                Rattan furniture too. IKEA and Love Sac are great companies, doing opposite of illegal logging.

        • thanks, karl!

          These Badoons sure look like they mean business. If we in the 31st century become level Type II or III, and it turns out there are higher Types (like Philippines vs. China), or the Badoon vs. The Guardians of the Galaxy, then is the fight really possible, it’s like saying me vs. ants on my table.

          w/ out equal the Badoon would just exercise Might=Right, no? or say Galactus, who eats worlds for breakfast.

    • Covid has hit global supply chains pretty hard. Just after the lockdown in Southern China there was a shortage of refrigerators (!) here in Germany. Now there is a shortage of printers (!) as many people are buying due to home office and supply isn’t catching up.

      Production of masks was reinitiated here in Bavaria as masks from China were slow in coming. Slovakia I think revived some Communist-era machine tools factories and even built new ones because certain parts that came from China were suddenly short as well.

      VP Leni got Filipino textile firms to make PPEs way cheaper than what came from abroad. As most business is the talent of connecting what people need and who can produce it, similar ingenuity has to be applied to what is in short supply abroad and can easily be produced in the Philippines with available capabilities. I am wondering how many BPO people are jobless now over there and could be tapped to create new computer games – that would be an application of STEAM that Karl has mentioned – comics + geek talent.

      • thanks, gian. I didn’t know bitcoin was still a thing, I thought those two facebook twins the Dingledork twins screwed it up for everyone.

        Karl, you’re right, with batteries EV cars will pose another set problems, but I think compared to combustion engine cars, hard metals will be less used, how to repurpose. Aluminum will be up more than ever with China dumping their EV cars here (thanks in advance, Biden!). rare earth metals still an issue but so long as its valuable (unlike hard metals now apparently) people will repurpose on their own. Value is key here.

        Ireneo, so true about gaming and comics two related fielsd. one can argued the two more than anything took Claude Shannon’s information theory and just ran with it. Comics the Philippines has a local tradition of, art too.

        But games i don’t think not too much. i’m sure like DOTA and LOL, even Among Us, they can copy/paste, but to actually make something original Flipino or even SE Asian themed, i think would be of value. Leverage the whole Indian ocean/Pacific ocean location, and stories.

        I just saw:

        1). “Dear Mr. Watterson” (documentary ), here’s a good quote–

        RICHARD WEST: How do you explain the popularity of Calvin and Hobbes?

        BILL WATTERSON: Really, I don’t understand it, since I never set out to make Calvin and Hobbes a popular strip. I just draw it for myself. I guess I have a gift for expressing pedestrian tastes. In a way, it’s kind of depressing.

        WEST: Isn’t it ironic that in a profession that’s become so formulaic you have created the most successful comic strip of the ’80s by not trying to fulfill a formula?

        WATTERSON: But in a way, I’ve ended up with the old tried and true. It’s a strip about a family — a familiar, universal setting that’s easy to identify with. I’m trying to put a unique twist on it, but it’s well-covered ground. The trend nowadays in comics seems to be to zero in on a narrow, specific audience, like divorced parents, baby boomers, and so on. I guess the idea is to attract a devoted special interest group to the comic page who will scream if the strip is ever dropped. That way, the strip stands a better chance of survival than a strip that aims wide but doesn’t hit deep. Generally, I don’t like these trend-of- the-month strips because they’re usually the product of some market analysis rather than the product of any honest artistic sensibility on the part of the cartoonist. Still, with any strip, it’s not the subject that’s important: it’s what you do with it. A family strip can be hackneyed drivel just as easily as any other kind of strip.

        2). And I’m binge watching “the Magicians” now, but based on a novel series:

        Sci-fi is basically Fantasy but with “science” instead of magic. Dune series I think captured the two genres perfectly. Filipinos can add. Hell, even the Marines now are doing this, Google “Destination Unknown” vol. 1 (and now vol. 2). And their purchase of VSB4 this summer will gamify said stories. But they have not consolidated, and operationalized, the military just isn’t seeing the value in all this, sadly. World building stories is what’s needed. For example , “Dark Winter” is viral now, but think about it that was just a week long exercise of just the principals, no ground-level thinking introduced.

        World building is key to all this.


        But my point here is that, there is a huge absence of stories from that region. And especially with the US/China stuff going on. More thinkers/strategists, and people in general, will be interested in stories from that area, tell it using comics and gaming, Ireneo is correct that is the trend now, so jump on it.

        • The Filipino comic Trese is coming soon on Netflix:


          Netflix has shared a first look at the animated adaptation of Trese, the award-winning graphic novel by Filipino writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo.

          Trese is an award-winning komik series that follows detective Alexandra Trese, who takes on a criminal underworld in a fictional Manila where mythical creatures live in hiding amid humans.

          https://trese.fandom.com/wiki/Trese_Wiki – the story is TOTALLY rooted in both Metro Manila (sub)culture and Filipino dark mythology of aswangs and all. It even has a God of War who is like a wild datu of old, and the fiery Santelmo whom Alexandra Trese summons via her magical smartphone by dialing the date of a 19th century Binondo fire (she is somewhat Chinay in appearance and all) whom she uses when she wants to burn stuff.

          I read an interview with the maker of Trese, Budjette Tan, recently, and he said he and his partner didn’t strive to make anything great, they just did what they liked to do on the side and it became something really big.

      • This comic series looks interesting, I hope it’ll be featured in Netflix here too.

        In still studying the KJV translation, I’ve stumbled in the love vs. charity considerations (relevant to home, IMHO):

        kharis = grace (or gift from gods, or DNA luck of the draw) , charity/grace etymological roots. caritas is the Latin of said Greek roots (sonny, can you correct?).

        This too was interesting.


        “Love is the concluding message of Oedipus at Colonus; love has the greatest kratos, power, of all.

        Since at least the time of Homer, three Greek words were used relating to love: eros, agape, and philia. Eros is the word associated with sexual desire. Agape refers to brotherly love, charity, and the love for a beloved son or man. Philia extends this love for kin out into the world of friends, dear ones, those to whom one is loving and kindly. Homer frequently used the word to express feelings about one’s own body, as he does in expressing Achilleus’ love for the strength of his own arm or for his own heart.

        Eros is not a part of Oedipus at Colonus, but agape and philia are. When the daughters of Oedipus are returned to him by Theseus, he exclaims at line 1110: “I have what is dearest to me in the world.” Shortly thereafter, thunder and lightning herald his imminent departure from life; suffering and time have taught him philia, love for his own heart, and agape, to receive lovingly those who love him; he can now leave in shantih, the Sanskrit word for “the peace which passeth understanding.”

        In a final message to his children and the world, Oedipus reveals his transcendent knowledge: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: love.” And the word for love Sophocles uses in this speech is not eros or agape, but one of the forms of philia (1611-19).

        • sonny says:

          LC, on the subject of the term “love,” the Septuagint (viz. 70 rabbis) uses only 4 of the Greek terms for love.

          Greek Antiquity: 8 (philia, agape, eros, ludus, mania, storge, pragma, philautia) as enumerated above.
          Septuagint-4 (eros, storge, philia, agape);

          Here’s a secular take on the Septuagint-4 that comes closest to Judaeo-Christian meanings of love:


          • Reminded me of this scene from the Magicians, sonny. A good show. I hope Netflix buys it and continues the series.

            Love (love, love, love, love).
            Insanity laughs, under pressure we’re cracking.

            Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
            Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
            Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love,
            Give love, give love, give love, give love, give love.
            ‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
            And love dares you to care for the people on the
            Edge of the night, and love dares you to
            Change our way of caring about ourselves.
            This is our last dance.
            This is ourselves. This is ourselves.

  15. National bayanihan is gearing up now under https://twitter.com/hashtag/CagayanNeedsHelp?src=hashtag_click&f=live – lots of initiatives to organize rescue and find those to be rescued.

    Notable within the Philippine state: VP Leni and the Philippine Coast Guard.

    • Trigger warning: people in Tuguegarao screaming for help in the night.

      It is pitch dark and hard to locate them, boats can’t make it to many a place anymore so it is a few helicopters and most don’t have searchlights.

      What is very bad is that upstream locales were flooded yesterday and the Magat dam opened 7 sluices yesterday – from FB comments seems it was unavoidable as Quinta, Rolly etc. continuously brought rain and Ulysses even more so all precautions failed.


      Still it is a big question – as per comments water from Magat dam takes 7 hours to reach Tuguegarao, and even if there are dozens of tributaries seems no one in charge added up the effect to the big city – why no preemptive action was taken to avoid such a catastrophe.

    • kasambahay says:

      ayaw mabasa, ayaw ng putik, duterte keep his distance, advised by presidential guards it’s not safe for him to be on the ground kuno. maybe, its the guards who dont want to get wet, their well pressed clothes mabasa, and duly advised the president to keep away. advise noted kaagad and followed. panunuorin na lang daw ni duterte ang mga nabahaan via modern technology, so far from the kalbaryo ng mga nabahaan, ayaw yata maabala.

      being there on the ground kasi, duterte would have to listen to cries for help, to give moral support, to pacify the panic stricken and hungry people, the homeless and those na namatayan ng mga mahal sa buhay.

      so, accompanied by snobbish presidential guards, duterte will be viewing the devastation on board a helicopter, the cries of those below muted by his earmuffs. entrusting lgus to do most of the ground work, themselves also flood victims and would need help as well.

      and not surprising, bong go, keep away as well.

      • kasambahay says:

        by the way, the presidential helicopter can well be used to rescue people stranded on rooftops and taken to safety.

  16. Karl Garcia says:

    You do not need a village full of outliers or else there will all be mainstream talent.


    • Karl Garcia says:

      In the era of open source who cares if it is copy pasted so long as it is not owned by just one.

      why reinvent the wheel? Because everybody wants to be an inventor.

  17. https://www.facebook.com/teridon/posts/10225007159788819 – by Terry Ridon on FB:

    ———-START OF QUOTE——

    “We reviewed PAGASA’s daily dam reports over the period of two and a half weeks, from 27 Oct to 14 Nov, during which Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo and Ulysses entered Luzon island.
    Some observations:

    a. Ipo opened its gates (4) only on 12 Nov, during and after Ulysses pummeled Luzon island.

    b. Angat opened its gates (2) only on 12 Nov.

    c. From 1 Nov, Magat typically opened zero, one or two gates (width between 0.5 meters to 4 meters), with only two gates open on the morning of 12 Nov, the day Ulysses made landfall.

    d. On 13 Nov, Magat opened seven gates, with a width of 24 meters.

    e. Magat did not make sufficient water drawdown 2-3 days prior to Ulysses, as mandated by its protocol. Its gates were not even open 3-4 days prior landfall.

    f. Caliraya Dam issued a Notice of Dam Discharge to local governments only on 12 November, 2am.

    Tell us again, Mr. President: how is this not criminal incompetence?”

    ———-END OF QUOTE——

    https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1360683/robredo-cites-ndrrmcs-lack-of-urgency-for-response-to-ulysses-hit-cayagan/ – in any case, even if the dams were opened late, there was STILL enough time to sound the alarm and tell people to evacuate, like in the European 2002 flood. Yes, there are the practical aspects like fear of looting – in Albay it usually was farmers fearing their livestock would be stolen or killed if they left it – but there should be plans to deal with that. Oh well, I guess Filipinos wouldn’t trust the PNP guarding the houses they leave with not looting them, so there..

    Finally there is this quote by author Ninotchka Rosca about resilience, a word she hates a lot, which somehow is similar to kasambahay’s “all we have left at times are tears”:

    “No, we are not resilient. We break, when the world is just too much, and in the process of breaking, are transformed into something difficult to understand…To say that Filipinos are resilient is an assurance for those who have imposed upon them – much and repeatedly.”

    • On the possible reasons why the memo to LGUs did not work, based on power dynamics in Philippine provinces. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1327608521014210561.html

      —-START OF QUOTE—-

      Like many others I couldn’t stop asking why what happened in Cagayan Valley happened. I noticed an interesting detail in this memo going around that supposedly signals advance warning to the LGUs of a possible dam release.

      CAVEATS follow, but with that, Thread:

      Warning: the ff is my idle speculation based on my stock knowledge of govt disaster response. My analysis is certainly not 100% correct, but may be a loose thread worth tugging at.

      The detail that sets me off in the NIA memo is: the guy writing this is a mere division manager.

      What does that mean? He’s a low-mid level bureaucrat, several steps below the mayor/governor in formal rank. In actual clout, a universe apart. Especially in the province, LGU executives are different from you and me. Hari o tatay yung turing. The power dynamic here is relevant.

      Look how he ends the memo – he doesn’t even have the authority to spell out what the LGUs should do with this information. He can’t even tell them they should be making ready to evacuate!

      He doesn’t even reference drills or protocols for this situation because he likely hasn’t been included in them, if they happened at all. The elected officials maybe have no idea who he is. It’s not like he controls any of their budget so they have no reason to know.

      So this mid-level guy writes, but CC’s everyone – a sign that this letter is really CYA more than anything. Maybe it was received by the local DRRM office. But what if the DRRM office is full of yes-men who can’t bring the mayor bad news (you would think, no…)

      Remember, elected officials walk above the ground in the province. Who’s going to be the guy to bring the bad news? To tell the mayor or governor to suddenly cancel all their weekend plans, to move thousands of families out? To cut mayor’s vacation in Manila short?

      What happened in Cagayan Valley happened, because it was always going to happen – in the middle of a system that cannot process bad news seriously, quickly and efficiently, and where clout trumps expertise.

      Of course, what could have been done? Think…

      Who should be getting this information as well? Who controls NIA and ultimately manages the dams? Whose call will definitely get picked up by the LGUs? Who can outright command them through the DILG?


      For the dam operator, it’s a classic trolley problem. Either you open the dam gates and flood the valley, or you *don’t* open the gates, risking a dam breach, which floods the valley anyway but much, much worse. Guy probably had no choice.

      But someone could have done something.

      It’s cold comfort that the executive branch made noises about holding accountable the mayor who was partying in Manila while his city choked under mud. But the fact that they sounded like they *didn’t even know he was there* showed that someone else wasn’t at their station.

      —END OF QUOTE—

      • We are in agreement here Irineo. That is why my first question when facing this is what was the legal basis for the dam. As it is primarily for irrigation it is covered by NIA. As constantly state the piecemeal approach of administration of complex interconnected systems require advanced preparation and wholistic training. After Yolanda, everyone in the Philippines was introduced to the Storm Surge. After Ondoy Metro Manila was introduced to rain levels. The moving forward question is how do we update our plans here? How do we approve coordination? Systems that depend not on people but in readings work better in our country where people in government jobs are not allowed by COA and CSC and the Ombudsman to ouido things. Well, most of the time. The dolomite spectacle smacks of haphazard implementation, but that is because of its political nature.

        • “Czars” are so very often appointed because coordination and cooperation rarely work in the Philippines where no “datu” will let another “datu” or just a “timawa” ask him for something, but for something as essential as water, would a water authority that overrides all LGUs and governors in a certain valley or body of water (Cagayan Valley, Bicol River valley, Manila Bay and Laguna including Marikina river) be the solution. The head would have to be someone who reports directly to the President and gets infos from all agencies – most probably via IT means and with a modern incident management system like in IT.

          The Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt had to be the God-King over the Nile Delta and the waters above to coordinate the precious resource of water along the Nile – see his hats:

          Popoy once mentioned that setting up a Bicol River Water Authority FAILED long ago. As for disaster matters, there is the NDRMMC which is a council, which like a task force can pass the buck in emergeny situations. So there is no easy solution here, but a position similar to that of an “Incident Manager” in many IT organizations could be an approach – someone who has to have the moxie and some clout to alert the “datus” and “rajas” of ilaya and ilawod, of upstream and downstream that danger is coming and make them act.

          But definitely I think matters regarding managing nature need to be closer to the reality and not at national level where CYA is what can happen. This is not federalism of course, but a layer that is accountable for immediate effects and can override local political boundaries.

          Just food for thought. Of course political will is needed to make whatever solution possible, but the experiences of the past and climate/environmental challenges make it imperative. Such positions should know where quarries are, where mines can pollute fields, how the tree cover is, how catch basins and flood plains are – this is very interdisciplinary so they will have to be authorized to ask agencies for info (PAG-ASA, NIA etc.) and help (Coast Guard, Navy, PNP and more) while coordinating with national bodies like NDRMMC. My 2 cents.

          • pablonasid says:

            We already experienced that you cannot trust people to take difficult decissions, that’s why we made it automatic. A logical solution, it prevents endless discussions in difficult circumstances. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maeslantkering

            • https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/11/13/2056674/noah-isnt-gone-heres-what-we-lost-when-project-ended – Project NOAH was on the right track but it was defunded:

              The country lost the ability to provide “hazard specific, area focused and time bound warnings” during disaster events, University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay, Project NOAH executive director, said.

              “That’s our biggest contribution because we were supplying information that government was able to use in near real-time because somebody was minding the store. I’m not saying nobody was minding the store but it takes a lot of work and people to generate that information,” Lagmay said.

              • kasambahay says:

                my understanding is that both project noah and mdrmmc have been defunded, the money have gone to anti-insurgency.

              • kasambahay says:

                IT geeks can certainly work out the total volume of rainfall in megaliters that constitute flood, the true data provided by weather bureau. then IT geeks average that, and add the exact total volume of water released by dam, and come to conclusion that dam water contributed greatly to the height and volume of the devastation of the flood.

                as well, using all available data, the geeks created graphic animation to show the spread of the flood carnage, its height and how far reaching it was. the affected residents through their lawyers use the data and presented the animation at court.

                and surprisingly, in the residents vs dam management court case, the residents won.

                I think, it was in australia, locality of grafton.

              • pablonasid says:

                The technology is available in Philippines. A lot of money has been spend to make Lidar surveys (necesary to create reliable models of the terrain) and with the digital maps, flooding models can (and in some cases ARE) being made. And there it stops. DRRM then should make their procedures and mayors should get trained to manage that. That ofcourse never happens and it is left to low level DRRM people to ‘train’, but those people are powerless.
                As long as people in charge are not held accountable, disasters will continue to surprise. Don’t complain AFTER a foreseeable disaster if you did not hold your politicians accountable. If you build your house in a floodland or right next to the sea, why cry after the flood? It sounds harsh, but if people don’t learn to take the initiative, Darwin’s law will happen. There are very, very good laws and regulations, but if everybody ignores them, serious accidents will happen. And the elected politicians are responsible for implementation. With the emphasis on “elected” which means you, my wife, my neighbours and everybody else is responsible for these foreseeable disasters.

              • Pablo, in Germany they would say it is 5 minutes before midnight when it comes to the natural disaster situation in the Philippines. When it comes to the hierarchy of responsibility, those who should be the thought and opinion leaders are IMO doing too little to educate EVERYBODY about the big picture. Gina Lopez was one of the few who understood fully what was going on, that for instance it is downright stupid and dangerous to have a quarry in the Marikina river watershed. Those who allowed subdivisions to be built along the floodplains of the Marikina river are also lacking foresight. The destruction of forest cover – around 50% happened due to logging in the Marcos era – contributes to flooding also.

                Aside from prevention the reaction to foreseeable catastrophes is still too weak. Clearly fishermen will live near the sea, these are often the poorest of the poor, but if a major storm surge is about to come they should at least be evacuated. Tuguegarao was also foreseeable as Ilagan City in Isabela, 156 km upstream, was flooded the day before, and all over the mountains there was water coming down. It took cries for help on Twitter and the quick reaction of VP Leni in the night from Feb. 13/14, calling on AFP and Coast Guard for assistance, to keep the very worst from happening.

                Re Yolanda I have uncovered this Harvard Kenney school study which I think does very well show the organisational weaknesses of the different levels of Philippine government that lead to catastrophes getting worse – my summary of important points follows:

                Click to access Dy_and_Stephens.pdf

                Some issues identified:
                – absence of clear protocols for the entry and exit of national government intervention
                – untapped technical assistance and resources from the national government
                – inactive and ineffective local disaster management councils and offices
                – underutilized provincial government level
                – local government faced a learning curve in dealing with international organizations

                Recommendations given:
                – clarifying protocols for the entry and exit of national government intervention
                – accessing technical assistance and resources from national government
                – strengthening local disaster management councils and offices
                – shaping a clearer role for the provincial government level
                – promoting the latest Philippine DRMM strategies
                – examining appropriate levels for the cluster approach

                It also identified strong clashes between national (concentrated on sovereignty and own procedures) and international, and largely untapped civil society engagement. Also the lessons learned and applied during Hagupit/Ruby, Dec. 6, 2014 were duly noted.

                BTW my personal observation in Albay is that due to frequent Mayon eruptions the provincial government already has a very strong routine in dealing with evacuations and all, coordinating the LGUs pretty well. This time with Rolly it seems it was simply too much for the province to handle very well alone, more help from national would have been useful. BTW there is a posting by Ding Velasco of Tiwi stating that mayors and governors have to all talk to Bong Go (!? – aaargh!) before going to DBM, the usual crap once more

              • sonny says:

                *National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management (NDRRM) is under the Dept of National Defense and is nationally designated coordinator of all DRRM efforts.
                *DENR PROVIDES for the long term dissemination of DRRM basic education through its objectives of ACCESS, QUALITY and GOVERNANCE.

              • kasambahay says:

                know what I think, sonny? there is so much data being fed continuously and in near real time, and the problem is did these men at the agencies you mentioned above, actually understand what the data is about? their importance? their implications? or did they veiw these data as just set of mindless figures like so many set of mindless figures they have seen before, not precisely anti-insurgency hence not urgent, maybe best filed and then maybe glanced at again tomorrow, next week, next month, or when their whims allow them the time to do so?

                most of these men are favored military appointees of the president, their discipline and credo the president readily vouched.

                then the flood struck, dam spilled water, and residents died. took 3-4 days before military mobilised, methink.

          • pablonasid says:

            Anyway, if we look at the data available in the various departments and the scenarios already developed, we better get used to regular and huge floods, something we still do not want to face seriously.

            • https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/regions/764103/cagayan-residents-want-to-sue-magat-dam-for-yearly-floods-governor/story/

              [Cagayan Governor] Mamba said his province reaps no benefit from the Magat Dam since irrigation water from the dam all flow through Isabela and not Cagayan.

              Mamba blamed the dam’s deteriorating watershed for the deluge that ravaged Cagayan and nearby provinces. The governor said a watershed in good condition would allow the dam to release water gradually.

              This is the classic upstream/downstream conflict – like Egypt vs. Ethiopia over a recent dam project upstream in Ethiopia.

              You can regulate that like with a Pharaoh (central authority, like the old Metro Manila Commission under Marcos), have a collective authority (like the Dutch water boards, or ehem like the MMDA which involves all LGUs but often is chaotic) or a “priestly” or “recommending” authority like the Inca ruler or PAG-ASA – the latter will hardly work as there are also upstream factors which must be controlled/managed. Something like the NDRMMC is also a recipe for chaos, while letters from a “small” office are ignored. Finally something will have to be figured out, as this kind of stuff will be or is the new normal.

              • The general irresponsibility of many a local official doesn’t help either – see how the Tuguegarao Mayor left to celebrate in Batangas.

              • kasambahay says:

                honestly po, Irineo, If I was vice mayor of tugegaraw, (the spelling, binaha, e) I would step in and take charge, organize evacuation, ensure there is food and water for displaced residents, etc.

                tugegaraw should not go down with the capriciousness of its mayor. likewise, the rest of the elected council ought to show their mettle and act independent of their absentee mayor; there is standing order that compels them to.

                it’s sad when those entrusted to keep cool heads during sakunas are acting like headless chickens.

              • kasambahay says:

                ay, manyanitas galore, haha. duterte was on virtual summit and cannot be bothered by typhoons and floodings. but I saw the raised eyebrows of summit delegates who would have gladly excused duterte had he cut short his attendance and tend to the needs of his panic stricken people. there will be more summits before his term ends, what’s one missed summit?

                similarly, local govt officials also indulged with their own version of manyanitas and was missing in action when typhoon struck. ginaya ang tatay and gone awol as well. the cat was away and the mouse partied.

                no need for duterte to be at ground zero kuno, sabi ni roque, dahil local govt officials will take up slack. did they indeed!

                I think, by local govt, roque meant leni robredo, she always takes up the slack of the man always awol, not doj chief guevarra, lorenzana or dilg’s anyo.

                about time really for roque to thank leni for being vigilant and ready to help. instead of roque talking to no one in particular.

                leni gives good example for local govt to emulate, the role model they ought to follow. that if standing order is vague and confused, local govt dont have to be vague and confused as well. that they can take control and define what vague and confused standing order is about. seize the day! make it their own. else blame the flood, haha.

  18. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1327599618075443202.html – On the flooding in Marikina valley, subdivisions built in natural flood plains and quarrying sites upstream.


    Please allow me to get this off my chest: When you look at Google Maps, Kasiglahan Village is located on a flood plain, at the corner of Marikina River and another river in Montalban.

    And you wonder why there was so much mud and debris after the housing area was inundated by flood and the answer is because it directly lies below the largest quarrying site in Montalban.

    The quarrying site itself has a land area equivalent to the entire low-cost housing projects downstream. Heard that in the last 10 years, the quarrying site expanded.

    Worst, the mountain just above the quarrying site has been stripped off of trees. Mt. Balagbag looks imposing from a distance but when you check Google Street View, the summit looks like this:

    Seeing the bigger picture, the Marikina River flooding will never go away. Instead, it will get worse with climate change. And the people still living in villages like Provident or Kasiglahan will never know peace. What you claimed from nature, nature will take back.


    Irineo again: knowing what nature’s limits are (we are technologically advanced but will NEVER be gods, which is a good thing in my book) is important for a stable form of modernity.

    Again, I ain’t no tree-hugger, but I do believe we have to remember not to abuse the common HOME of all humanity, the planet Earth. We may very well be forced into LCPL_X’s “Salvation by Austerity” if we don’t listen to the messages of South American “buen vivir” or African “ecoUbuntu”. Indigenous people knew that we depend on the world while conquering peoples (of all colors) went for the illusion that we can fully control the world – we can’t, so we have to balance our approach.

    • As Marvin Gaye once sang (yes, this was from the time Joe was a hippie and Rachel Carson wrote “Silent Spring”, but we should at least try to be aware of our limits, all of us)

      Oh, mercy mercy me
      Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
      No, no
      Where did all the blue sky go?
      Poison is the wind that blows
      From the north, east, south, and east
      Oh, mercy mercy me
      Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
      No, no
      Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
      Fish full of mercury
      Oh, mercy mercy me
      Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
      No, no
      Radiation in the ground and in the sky
      Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
      Oh, mercy mercy me
      Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
      What about this overcrowded land?
      How much more abuse from man can you stand?
      My sweet Lord
      My sweet Lord
      My sweet Lord

      • https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Emw30TuUYAAfViX?format=jpg&name=360×360

        Malilipot, Albay is the village of some my aunts and cousins I visited in 1982 – and I still have contact to some of the cousins. The hills are crumbling down due to soil erosion.

        Someone from Baguio on Twitter mentioned that the crops in the Cagayan Valley are destroyed by floods. The biggest river valley in the Philippines is a major agri place.

        Something I was told yesterday on the phone by someone from Cagayan province: her brother’s crops are all gone – though their village is by the sea, his fields are close to the Cagayan river, of course as big rivers always have been a source of irrigation water.

    • https://www.facebook.com/voltaire.l.acosta/posts/10225034968041859 – what the late Gina Lopez once posted on the Marikina watershed and upstream quarries.

    • “We may very well be forced into LCPL_X’s “Salvation by Austerity” if we don’t listen to the messages of South American “buen vivir” or African “ecoUbuntu”.”

      Ireneo, IMHO Filipinos usually have a backwards value system (in general).

      Take those two youtube videos for example, most Filipinos see the old lady tattooist and tend to think (opposite of progress); The Disney Filipino lola cartoon is just Disney pulling at heart strings whilst selling Made in China stuff to you, but Filipinos cry and get sentimental as per Wil’s articles;

      so how about replacing Disney lola w/ Kalinga tattooist lola and see how that Disney commercial would be change, just as thought experiment. So much superior now right?

      My point, and my experience have been just with Badjaos in their elements, is that Aetas, Kalinga tattoist (banging stick on skin), and Filipinos still living in very old wooden shacks in the mountains, w/ not much but adorned their homes with orchids and other flowers.

      That’s it, that’s austerity, Ireneo. I don’t mean to noble-ize savage here (I’m sure your dad would not have fallen for that same trap), just that there are people over there culturally content with less already, just shift Filipino values to make those old school (original) values , of value again. Less.



      • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rights_of_Nature_in_Ecuador_-_Sumak_Kawsay

        Buen Vivir (“good living”) emerged as a response to the traditional strategies for development and their negative environmental, social, or economic effects. Sumak kawsay, meaning a full life and signifies living in harmony with other people and nature. Buen Vivir has gained new popularity, spreading throughout parts of South America and evolving as a multicultural concept. The constitution outlines Buen Vivir as a set of rights, one of which is the rights of nature.[9] In line with the assertion of these rights, Buen Vivir changes the relationship between nature and humans to a more bio-pluralistic view, eliminating the separation between nature and society.[9][10]

        In Andean communities in Latin America development is expressed through the notion of sumak kawsay, the Quechua word for ‘buen vivir’, has been proposed as an alternative conception of development and has been incorporated into the constitutions of Ecuador. It connotes a harmonious collective development that conceives of the individual within the context of the social and cultural communities and his or her natural environment.[11] Rooted in the indigenous belief system of the Quechua, the concept incorporates western critiques of dominant development models to offer an alternative paradigm based on harmony between human beings including the natural environment.

        Juxtapose that with Bonifacio’s kaginhawaan (well-being) and kasambahay’s “simple living” which I think is a healthy counterweight to typical Filipino consumerism..

        ..which has in the extreme led to the environmental destruction of today. But I guess the Kaliwa dam will be built as the creature comforts of rich Metro Manilans including washing their SUVs and sprinkling their lawns in summer are “more important” than a few Dumagat

  19. https://philippines.licas.news/2020/11/15/cagayan-and-the-rivers-of-blood/

    ..The final tally remains uncertain as it is assumed some residents have lost connection or battery. However, according to the Cagayan PIO, the number of affected individuals is almost 85,000. More than 37,000 have been rescued. All municipalities in the province had been inundated. As for casualties, the region records eight in Cagayan. The main causes of death have been drowning and electrocution.”

    Even as Cagayan whirled from one tragedy after the next, the Philippine Star’s Victor Martin reported on Facebook that “at least 10 bodies buried in a landslide had been recovered by search and retrieval crews on Friday in Barangay Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya.” The reporter added that two large-scale mining companies operated there, “and the one where the landslide happened is a mining-affected community.”

    While it’s easy to blame climate change for the catastrophe we’ve seen in Cagayan, there is also the question of why those responsible for Magat Dam released that much water without evacuating the people.

    Magat Dam is one of Asia’s largest dams where each gate can open at four meters and spew 5,073 cubic meters per second of water. It began operations in 1983.

    We cannot now—or ever—list down this recent tragedy in Cagayan as another one of Nature’s tantrums. There’s a human hand which tainted the region’s rivers with blood, and it’s up to us to find out who it is.

    Or better yet, who they are..

    • https://verafiles.org/articles/time-hold-duterte-accountable-now

      ..Under an aging geriatric capable only of false piety, some say Duterte must be given space. For after all, there is the fabled Filipino resilience, romanticized as it were as the Filipino “poor man’s badge of honor.” The Filipino thinker Joel Pablo Salud tells us this is a bullet we mustn’t bite: The state cannot grab the people’s resilience as an excuse to dodge its mandate, “oftentimes ignored if only to satisfy its taste for corruption.” Resilience begins with the president who sets governance into action to empower its citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerable. Resilience credited only to citizen response is effectively removing accountability from the national and local governments. Disaster Risk management is collaborative, complimentary. Duterte is not capable of that. We use that same resilience to hold him accountable NOW.

      A president who views disasters by peering only from his Gulfstream jet window, then poses for the obligatory selfie with man-servant Bong Go is an abject failure at 21st century disaster governance. He has to go sooner than later. Children caught on video screaming for help in Linao, Tuguegarao and who died before rescuers reached them tell us why. Let’s not wait for the death tolls to rage. All lives matter. They don’t from the Gulfstream jet..

    • kasambahay says:

      rivers of blood, I will use as precedence the people in queensland, australia, as they once faced a david and goliath battle, taking on some powerful dam management board during the 2011 megaflood there. the queensland residents, their agony made worse by the dam’s releasing of water just when flood water started to rise, were told there was no point for them to take to court the powerful dam management board for it was act of god that there was flood. at kasalanan daw nila for building houses down stream, to which the angry residents answered kasalanan din daw ng dam management board to build dam upstream when they knew full well there were people living downstream!

      the residents fought on and refused to budge. court battle lasted years and in 2019 yata, court ruled in the favor of the residents, found the dam management board negligent in their duty of care, and and awarded residents I think, 130millions? as compensation for their loss.

      it was not that much money considering the lawyers took 60%, the residents have to pay tax on the remaining money. but what count is that they won, their pain was acknowledged, and they can move on.

  20. Kasambahay, re some people in government not knowing how to interpret the numbers properly, probably there is something lacking in the educational system similar to how I experienced Geography classes in Germany in Grade 11-13 (but the classes below have similar courses).

    That of course is from a newer version of the standard geography textbook, to illustrate climate change in Germany, storms, floods etc. since the 1990s (I recall some of these events well) but that is the way the maps in that textbook look – also the ones about land use, agriculture, industry, urban planning etc. – and classes are not memorization, it is look at the map, tell us what you see, and everybody is encouraged to pitch in. Exams are essay type with a map not in the textbook, you have to make an interpretation on the spot, write it down and give reasons for your interpretation.

    The result – citizens who are highly competent when it comes to all kinds of political discussions regarding such matters. This is another map showing different kinds of agricultural possibilities in the Black Forest. Contrast that to how in the Philippines we once had to what kinds of food products different countries in Asia had, with zero context. Some of just joked that Sri Lanka produced langka, probably realizing the futility of what we were being taught, not really learning how to independently analyze things. Plus the quality and accessibility of data over here is very high.

    • kasambahay says:

      Irineo, I’m reminded of the pisa (program for international students assessment?) where our high school students some of them were thought geniuses, scored low to lowest; apples dont fall far from the tree.

      kaso, our current batch of top govt officials have study leaves that allow them to travel overseas (pre-covid) to study courses relevant to their jobs. I think, they’re allowed 3 study leaves a year. somehow, those courses taken must have rubbed on them, hard to sit for weeks on a course and learn nothing! surely, they cannot all be dumb like me!

      previously, the president admitted that his men failed to interpret data/intel and the consequences were dire as in marawi. and senate’s committee on appts made it worse, approving candidates whose best qualifications are ability to indulge the boss and laugh at his sick jokes.

      and just before the flood, when reports came thick and fast, that must have triggered sense of urgency. and since officials have gotten away with failing to interpret data before, surely they can get away with similar failure yet again!

      and no, they cannot go on rescue mission at night dahil too risky kuno and wala silang search lights. their gargantuan budget did not allow them to buy search lights!

      and thanks for the german maps, I have poor sense of direction and cannot read maps, but others here do.

      • Yes, PISA – there was a shock that went through Germany when among developed countries, Germany scored pretty low around 20 years ago – but Germany stepped up and has improved somewhat after the shock of not being No. 1 anymore like in the 19th century.

        The Philippines I think was excellent in the 1950s but slid back, according to Manolo Quezon especially after the first batch of highly motivated Commonwealth-era teachers who had started in the 1930s retired in the 1970s and a lot of other reasons including Marcos.

        Re politicians on overseas courses, there are certainly those who learn a lot, but there are also many just make junkets. Others may not really apply what they have learned abroad. Stuff learned is quickly forgotten if not applied within a certain period of time, I have seen.

        There are also the usual power-hungry types in politics here in Germany and in the USA, but I guess it is a critical press and citizenry that keep them in check, they have to deliver. .

        Re maps some UP people visiting Europe also had difficulty with maps and said maps are a colonial view of the world. In a way they are right as maps were developed by traders and missionaries like the Arabs or by conquerors and missionaries like the Iberians. They are a top-down view of the world while with many Pinoys it is easier to explain directions based on known landmarks. And stories abound of Pinoys especially newcomers getting totally lost in Europe inspite of maps, signs and everything. Of course maps are a powerful tool to understanding the big picture, understanding a little bit places you have not been to.

        Of course the older, intuitive way of understanding the world has its advantages also, taking a train, driving, biking or walking, seeing how people live in a place. There is the story of a Native American chief who travelled to Washington and refused to talk to the President, telling him my body is already here, but my soul has not yet arrived. So even with data it is important to have people who actually know the rivers and mountains, who see erosion. Living so near a river here in Munich – often walking or biking along it, sometimes just sitting beside it watching it flow especially in summer, once even rafting down it, once seeing a major surge of water crash into trees blocked the river because a storm had taken them – all this has given more depth to the abstract stuff I once learned, a sense of water’s power – especially the raft trip in a two-man Canadian with an experienced guide who called the river “my creek” and whom I followed to the letter, as I felt how powerful the current was in the Isar, which in language of the original inhabitants means “torrential flow”, a river coming down from the mountains with enormous kinetic energy. I don’t even dare imagine how dangerous the river was before the dam upstream was built to control its flow and make the Bavarian capital safer. Filipino politicians should try that – or survival training in Norway.

        • Once one nears Munich, the river is divided into a canal and the river itself – the canal is used to control the river flow and has late 19th-century / early 20th-century small hydroelectric plants and an elaborate network of sluices – if the canal gets too full water is let out into the river. The river – and later the canals – were used to transport logs from the highlands for a long time. Nowadays there are summer rafting trips (which I never took part in, I preferred the somewhat more strenous trip which left me very tired after a day of paddling) on log rafts which are taken apart when they reach Munich and taken up again to be reassembled, as logging nowadays is highly regulated and limited, if it is still done at all.

          • The Sylvenstein dam which I mentioned in the article was built in 1959. One village was demolished starting 1954 and rebuilt on higher ground, inspite of protests of 100 villagers.

            It became very necessary as the river often had too little water in summer and winter, especially after Austria diverted an important source of water in its direction. The 1918 Walchensee power plant project also diverted water from the upper Isar into Lake Walchen, making it flow out elsewhere.

            But even then the Isar often had too much water in spring when the snow melts and in autumn when storms come, so releasing water before major rains was part of the plan to keep floods from getting truly bad – even if other middle-sized rivers like the Loisach flow into the Isar after the Sylvenstein dam which is clearly pretty high up in the mountains.

            • ireneo,

              Do you have a link for the maps above? I’m curious about Frankfurt/Maine area, is it pretty common to take a river boat (like the Mississippi here) up north, to Denmark correct?

              • This is a map of major cargo routes in Europe – like I mentioned river boats are more of a leisure thing nowadays, not seriously used for passenger traffic anymore. Rhine-Main-Danube have a canal connecting them so you can go all the way to Romania from the Netherlands with cargo if needed. Hamburg is along the Elbe and that river has the Moldava which flows through Prague as a tributary, lots of cargo there as well again since the East-West divide is obsolete.There is archaeological evidence of Stone Age trade along the Danube which passes through Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade etc. BTW just found a picture of the ship used in the 12-day “Viking River Rhine Cruise” from Amsterdam to Basel – certainly pleasant but by train it is less than 8 hours trip so it is clearly leisure.

            • ooooops… Netherlands.

              • Yep, Netherlands.. if you are looking for those specific maps google Westermann Diercke Weltatlas – that is the classic geography textbook for German pupils.

                The main shipping artery going all the way from Switzerland to Netherlands via Germany and France also is the Rhine of course. The Main river is a tributary passing the Frankfurt (Furt means ford in German, it is allegedly where the Franks, Charlemagne’s folks, once forded the Main river with their horses). The Neckar passes through Stuttgart where they make Mercs and Porsches, the twin cities of Ludwigshafen (BASF chemicals) and Mannheim are where the Neckar meets the Rhine. Cologne is ancient Colonia Agrippina, Roman settlement and fort – the other side of the Rhine was “barbarian”, Germanic land. Not shown is Duisburg which was quite important due to the Ruhr river – the old German coal and steel industry, the rust belt here which has recovered into high-tech a bit by now.


                The Rhine is also where the WW2 classic movie “A Bridge Too Far” plays. And there is a long canal from the Ruhr area all the way to Berlin, the Mittellandkanal (midcountry canal) which also passes via Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. Lots of transport by barge on the Rhine on one the tributaries, though on the Rhine it only goes up to Basel where there are major chemical companies as well. The Rhine was really dirty in the 1970s but it has improved now. The big lake at the bottom is Lake Constance where you are only allowed to sail if you have a littoral sailing license, as the wind and currents are almost like coastal areas. That is a seriously big lake, though it is nothing compared to what sonny is familiar with in Chicago. Lots of cargo gets unloaded in Rotterdam unto river barges that go all the way down..

                Nice vineyard hills between Mainz and Koblenz – the train ride between those two cities is a must if one is in the area. Don’t take the speed train that zips from Frankfurt to Cologne in just an hour though, it passes through the mountains over bridges and tunnels at 300 km/h, unlike the old route which takes a leisurely two hours via the vineyard and castle landscape of the romantic Rhine. The castles have a story too – they used to be customs stations, and in the time of the old German robber barons they were basically extortion points, if one was unlucky one could even get kidnapped. There are also nice passenger ships that ply the pleasant areas along the Rhine, though they carry tourists not commuters as they are slow.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        This pandemic exposed further the digital divide and the gap bet the tax payer funded public education and private education.

        Average scores – even if you have 1000 genius level students but the rest are ill equipped then you will have a low score. (Stating the obvious again)

        So we have lousy disaster management.
        Public Health, Public Education amongst others discussed thoroughly in this blog thread.

        If Duterte reads this, let him rant all he wants.

        • pablonasid says:

          Yes, correct on the average. But life is not governed by averages. It are the exceptions who shine through. And also in public schools, I have seen amazing kids who were determined to make something out of their lives. And sometimes help their country. But then they get submerged in the corrupt structure. While most of these kids showed a determination to become a success, they did not “have the tools” to tell their superiors to stuff it. Invariably, the are disappointed and either leave the country or submit to social pressure to conform. Somehow, “The Squad” is not possible in Phil. AOC would not get a platform and would meet a .45. Gina had a few generations of wealth of prevent her early demise but she still failed to get sufficient traction and Leni might get support to challenge the system, however, both women were born in “wealth” and therefore not part of this argument.
          Summary: public schooling DOES deliver some great people and potential leaders, but they don’t make it to the top in Philippines. But they often got way up the ladder in other countries, most often in business and engineering, they tend to stay away from politics in my experience.

          • Karl Garcia says:


          • Pablo, in general you are right. Small correction: VP Leni is from the middle class, daughter of a judge, stayed in the dormitory when she studied at UP so not rich, but it seems Jesse had money, and it was her in-laws who lent her money to pay the fee for the recount of 3 provinces by the PET, 8 million pesos I think.Just that shows how hard it is for those with less money to be in politics, unlike Germany where a Lutheran pastor’s daughter without wealth (Merkel) can be Chancellor as political parties shoulder candidacies. Even then one could privately spend 15 thousand Euro as a candidate here, but hey that is tax-deductible and many cars cost more. The slog of rising up in a party, usually from youth wings to local and regional orgs is there and replaces being in a family like in the Philippines.

            There are of course the poor in the Philippines who get very rich like Manny Villar and move into politics but they are far worse than the old wealth who are more enlightened.

            Impunity is a factor also. AOC would probably have had no choice but to join the Filipino Left which is a dubious, dogmatic organisation and of course impunity targets them also. The Filipino Left also tends to use the poor while its city college grads are in party lists.

        • sonny says:

          It always refers back to policy, viz sender-receiver. citizens of school-age are ENTITLED to public goods financed by public funds, entitled to the services of transfer agents of such public goods, e.g. quality education; uncorrupted public funds can cover food & classroom needs. As you point out, Neph, “… the digital divide and the gap bet the tax payer funded public education and private education.” To ameliorate this divide is best served by a strong sense of justice at each step of executive delivery, from president to teacher and ALL points in between! (“Ay, put***-ina”)

  21. Karl Garcia says:

    Everything in PH is complicated you can not even file a class action with ease.


    If we demand accountability sue them and in twenty years the case will not yet be finished.
    Imelda is still out.


    • Karl Garcia says:

      Filing a case against government agencies is a losing cause.


      Republic of the Philippines


      G.R. No. 167919 February 14, 2007

      PLARIDEL M. ABAYA, COMMODORE PLARIDEL C. GARCIA (retired) and PMA ’59 FOUNDATION, INC., rep. by its President, COMMODORE CARLOS L. AGUSTIN (retired), Petitioners,
      HON. SECRETARY HERMOGENES E. EBDANE, JR., in his capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS and HIGHWAYS, HON. SECRETARY EMILIA T. BONCODIN, in her capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET and MANAGEMENT, HON. SECRETARY CESAR V. PURISIMA, in his capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, HON. TREASURER NORMA L. LASALA, in her capacity as Treasurer of the Bureau of Treasury, and CHINA ROAD and BRIDGE CORPORATION, Respondents.

      • kasambahay says:

        too late, KarlG. I have already thrown the seed and the wind has taken it away. whether seed falls on barren ground and die, or on fertile soil and germinate . . . I have done my part.

        cagayan cannot just be defaulting on crying as response to act not from god. the sons and daughters of cagayan will now decide their own fate: to sue or not to sue, to take the road less taken, or wither and die.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Yes no one is taking away your contribution to the sowing of the seeds.
          We may whine about the system, but if do not notice, we will be in this insane circle forever and ever.

          • kasambahay says:

            I’m a drunk po, have no credibility to speak of and suntory is my best friend. and in my village, I’m the local idiot.

            I think, I’m starting to see a kindred idiot nagkakalat sa senate, haha. nagtanong po si kindred, who is really in charge during calamities!

            hoy, kindred, the buck stops with him who is in charge, the highest elected official of the land, the be all and end all of us all. and if kindred doesn’t know who I mean, kindred is bigger idiot than me. sad, sad, sad.

            mister be all and end all must be feeling insulted too, in charge siya at hindi nakikala kaagad ng kapwa dabawenyo, haha.

            he who is in charge ay laging may photo bomber na kasabit. at kung buhay lang sana ngayon ang tatay ni kindred, kindred would have been hit on the head with a rolled newspaper. to put sense into him.

            spox have already said, mister be all and end all is in charge at kahit missing in action si mister, modern technology enables him to view all, using maybe virtual goggles and dont forget the helicopter.

            the 1st few days, mister end all and be all did not do a thing, kaya those below him did not do a thing as well, gaya-gaya.

            it’s only after the onerous sigaw ng netizens asking in charge’s whereabouts that in charge ay napilitang magpakita in person. sabit na naman ang photo bomber.

            who is really in charge during calamities? it’s not only during calamities that mister be all and end all is in charge, he still has 2 more crazy years to go.

  22. LCPL_X, this is still my favorite river in Europe though I havent been there for long – the Tejo river in Lisbon which is really wide. Ocean liners can go all the way in but as Lisbon is no longer as important as in the old days, parts of the old port area were made into the Expo in 1998. The white bridge shown there is even larger than the red bridge as the Tejo becomes a huge internal lagoon after Lisbon. The old town is amazing as Lisbon was one of the few places in Europe not touched by bombs in WW2. Though a major earthquake in the 18th century left nearly nothing medieval.

  23. Karl Garcia says:

    On Irineo’s home province.


    Bicol’s triumph in adversity

    The Province of Albay has shown the way in anticipating and preparing for impending calamities. The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) is an institutional innovation capable of anticipatory instead of reactive response. The culture of preparedness is also mature in neighboring provinces and cities. Bicolanos aim for “zero casualty” in facing up to impending disasters.

  24. https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/372536/in-new-book-gideon-lasco-ponders-big-questions-of-nationhood/

    ..In “Country,” Lasco deconstructs the Philippines to show how it “is as vast as it is beautiful.” In “Nation,” he talks about how the Philippines is “a young country” and how Filipinos need more empathy to deal with life. “Culture” talks about the social constructs that make up our unique worldview.

    In “People,” he explores the spectrum of marginalized individuals who make up the population. “Technology” and “Modernity,” wired together, essentially comment on how both have changed Filipino society for good or ill. And the final chapter, “World,” literally discusses our place in the world, how the country is not apart but a part of the larger community.

    Lasco’s writing is polished and impressive but “The Philippines Is Not a Small Country” is no rah-rah jingoist volume. It is a reflection of a flawed and complex people, how we became that way, and that, pointed in the right direction, the country has much to look forward to.

    It’s good that he knows how to do it in such an accessible fashion. Lasco cuts up the narrative into interesting, often funny but also insightful bite-sized pieces. Take the sections where he discusses “Bawal Umihi Dito,” our obsession with height, Instagramming food, why nobody tells bedtime stories anymore.

    In the final chapter, he has a beautiful essay that ends: “We begin to overcome the feeling of smallness that sets back our geopolitical imagination. What our past should give us is not an enmity for those who oppressed us but an empathy for those who experienced oppression. What our past should give us is neither a feeling of victimization nor entitlement but a dignity of a people that has suffered much—but has overcome more.”..

    ..“The Philippines Is Not a Small Country” is an intelligent, accessible and actually funny book about what it means to be Filipino—even though it’s a complicated answer. Gideon Lasco makes it easy for you—but you still have to answer the question, as he did in the introduction: “I was especially mindful of young Filipinos, many of whom are unsure as to what the future brings, uncertain as to what to make of their national identity, and unclear as to how to critically engage with our nation’s problems. Ultimately, my earnest wish is that these essays will convey the fact that, indeed, the Philippines is not a small country, and despite the many challenges we face, our nation and its promise are larger than many of us imagine them to be.”..

    • Micha says:

      If this is more or less an accurate overview of the book, I am not inclined to buy it. This line, for example, sticks out : “…and that, pointed in the right direction, the country has much to look forward to.” Who is going to do the pointing? How do we know it is the “right direction”? We’ve already seen a bunch in the last 35 years who did exactly that and look where that has landed us.

      There is a fine line between optimism and wishful thinking.

      “What our past should give us is not an enmity for those who oppressed us but an empathy for those who experienced oppression. What our past should give us is neither a feeling of victimization nor entitlement but a dignity of a people that has suffered much—but has overcome more.”..

      Spoken like a true masochist. This reminded me of Manglapuz’s advice to Pinay workers abroad facing the prospect of being raped by their employers.

      American founders, in contrast, did not just bent over and forgave the oppression of the English monarch.

      And what exactly have we, as a people, overcome?

      • I have read many Gideon Lasco articles and I don’t find him a Polyanna or a victim type.

        In fact that he has hiked and climbed mountains all over the Philippines, SEA and Latin America I think gives him a good view of a lot of things.

        Plus he is an MD and an Anthropology PhD (degree from the Netherlands, THE epicentre of SEA research in Europe, my mother told me all the ilaya and ilawod stuff my father writes about was what they found when they were in Leiden for one year, Dutch archives) so he has a good background on a lot of things. Your questions, Micha, are valid, but as I can’t buy the book (AUP has no credit card option) I have asked my mother who has AUP connections (she published a book there, based on her PhD on Philippine languages) to give it to me for Christmas. Maybe what Lasco is trying to say is more like my old PiE article about “Rising from Victimhood”, or Joe’s looking at what can be, not at what was. Abangan. Once I have actually read the book I will write a review I think.

        • Micha says:

          Well, I don’t know about you but Lasco seems to be referencing our oppressors in the past tense which makes his analysis of our current predicament both incomplete and naïve.

          Maybe it hasn’t occurred to him that our Republic actually has enemies and oppressors to deal with in the present; and that unless and until we confront and defeat these oppressive forces first, all these overflowing of exuberance for can-doism (including yours) isn’t going to move things an inch for the better.

          *Clue : I’m not talking about that idiot from Davao.

    • Micha says:

      Lasco’s small thinking lends irony to the book title.

  25. https://opinion.inquirer.net/135903/lets-talk-resilience

    ..Talking about resilience and being proud of it are not exactly bad. In a way, I am in awe at how, time and again, we get back on our feet and even find ways to smile in the darkest of times. We go through so much, but for some reason, our spirit as Filipinos never seems to run out.

    But the time has come to change the narrative and include accountability from our leaders whenever we talk about the resilience of the people. We are Filipinos, and yes we are resilient, but we also deserve long-term plans so we don’t go through foreseeable problems again and again. We should invest in people who are experts in disaster mitigation and preparedness, and equip them with the right tools. We should provide more capital for science, research, and technology. We have countless gifted and talented Filipinos, but we don’t give them enough resources to serve their countrymen. Most of all, we need to rehabilitate and conserve our environment before it becomes too late, even for our resilience..

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