Victory of Humanity

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

Looking for Lapulapu, the fish, in a community pantry nowadays might make more sense than looking for Lapu-Lapu, the warrior hero, 500 years after his victory over Magellan. That isn’t as bad as it first sounds. After all, the motto of the Quincentennial is Victory and Humanity. Prof. Xiao Chua explains Humanity with the first encounter of Magellan and his men with Raja Kolambu and his men, who gave the starved explorers food. I did message Xiao that it wasn’t surprising that those Warays were Samaritans as they were indeed from Samar. So inspite of Christianity coming to the Philippines 500 years ago and all other indications of it having come earlier being unlikely, was one Filipino tribe already mentioned in the Bible? Enough of corniness! Corn is after all originally Mexican, not Filipino. Victory of course meant the defeat of Magellan by Lapu-Lapu on April 27, 1521. Just days later, Cortes was to begin the siege of Tenochtitlan, today’s Mexico City, laying an essential component for the later colonization of the Philippines. Like Legazpi in 1571, Cortes relied on a lot of native allies.


Well, nowadays certain Filipinos who think they are warriors do terrible things to their own people, like hitting them with bamboo sticks or even killing some who simply violated quarantine curfew. The archipelago of 1521 wasn’t hit by diseases brought from Europe, unlike the Aztecs who were reduced by smallpox, as it was in contact with the Eurasian continent, including its bacteria and viruses. Its warriors had real iron swords, unlike the Aztecs who only had wooden clubs with sharp hew stones. Additionally, it wasn’t as near to Europe by sailing ship as the Americas, which had a major influx of settlers and soldiers, being just three weeks away. So as I already outlined in Half a Millenium After Magellan, colonization happened with the participation of local chiefs and warriors. I have read that in late 17th-century Bicol there were only 50 Spaniards ruling over around 100 thousand local people.

In a recent FB conversation with Filipina author NinotchkaRosca who mentioned collaboration as a historical Filipino ill, I mentioned that and she responded that inspite of freedom having been gained as a nation, freedom had not been gained from the old habits of abuse of power. I had mentioned that power is ideally supposed to protect and serve the people, she responded that she preferred protect and care as protect and serve sounded strange to her, and my response was that Duterte’s motto of Tapang at Malasakit (Bravery and Concern) sounded much like protect and care, and that showed how much he had manipulated a need that many Filipinos deep within felt. Some days after that discussion, community pantries spread like a “good virus” across the Philippines, coincidentally.


Though a lot of women were involved in getting them started, I do not believe that Ninotchka Rosca called upon her foremothers to revive the ancestral spirits of the babaylan, the priestesses of the ancient Philippines. Ninotchka herself was heartily amused by an oracíon, a magical incantation sent to her, asking her to invoke it upon President Duterte. Besides, I would be as crazy as General Parlade comparing Patreng Non, the one who started the Maginhawa Community Pantry, with Satan. But I would be amused if I were called a Witcher from now on by those who refuse to believe me. I don’t care as long as Will Villanueva, as different from General Parlade as Father William of Baskerville in the movie Name of the Rose is from the Inquisitor Bernardo Gui, doesn’t see me as of the Devil. As we can see there is the compassionate and the bigoted version of Christianity in today’s Philippines.

Community pantries have been compared to socialism, some have said they are more anarchist, others say they like the miracle of the fish and loaves (did Jesus also multiply Lapulapu, I now ask) while they certainly also embody Will’s idea of love, and the relative order in most of them (more on one tragic exception later) is like the community spirit in Will’s article about a line for pandesal. It is the orderliness that Filipinos show towards the sacred, like when lining up for communion in church. Bonifacio would have said community pantries truly manifest kapatiran (brother-/sisterhood) with the goal of kaginhawaan (well-being) without which kalayaan(freedom) is ultimately useless. Well, Col. Manuel Sityar, the mestizo Guardia Civil officer who first red-tagged Bonifacio’s Katipunan, I mean pointed out its existence to Spain, was later to become Aguinaldo’s assistant chief of staff.


Probably the tragedy of the Katipunan, originally a slow burn, with a very small membership from 1892 to the beginning of 1896, is that its original idealism was quickly diluted by reality. Bonifacio I think was indeed mindful of Rizal’s warnings and tried to slowly build good values in his organization. Rizal in the Fili has Padre Florentino telling the failed revolutionary Simoun on his deathbed that Filipinos must earn their independence, must “suffer and work”, to which Simoun answers this:

“Suffer—work! Ah, it’s easy to say that, when you are not suffering, when the work is rewarded.  If your God demands such great sacrifices from man, man who can scarcely count upon the present and doubts the future, if you had seen what I have, the miserable, the wretched, suffering unspeakable tortures for crimes they have not committed, murdered to cover up the faults and incapacity of others, poor fathers of families torn from their homes to work to no purpose upon highways that are destroyed each day and seem only to serve for sinking families into want. Ah, to suffer, to work, is the will of God! Convince them that their murder is their salvation, that their work is the prosperity of the home! To suffer, to work! What God is that?” which has Padre Florentino answering:

“A very just God, Señor Simoun. A God who chastises our lack of faith, our vices, the little esteem in which we hold dignity and the civic virtues. We tolerate vice, we make ourselves its accomplices, at times we applaud it, and it is just, very just that we suffer the consequences, that our children suffer them. It is the God of liberty, Señor Simoun, who obliges us to love it, by making the yoke heavy for us—a God of mercy, of equity, who while He chastises us, betters us and only grants prosperity to him who has merited it through his efforts.  The school of suffering tempers, the arena of combat strengthens the soul.”


This isn’t an exclusively Catholic way of thinking. Everything that builds character is significant. Samurai practiced arts and poetry to balance their warrior training and not become merely thugs. Friday’s incident with Dr. Herbosa gloating about an old man dying in the line for Angel Locsin’s Community Pantry caused discussions on social media on about how it is important to school doctors in humanities. Knowledge is a form of power just like warrior arts, and all power requires maturity.

By contrast, Angel Locsin’s apology to the children of the man who died was a deep example of character from someone who has sincerely helped in nearly every catastrophe since Ondoy in 2009. There was an unforeseen “Wowowee effect” when she opened her pantry but I can’t imagine Willy Revillame apologizing to anyone in that way. In a country where accountability is seldom part of the mix but scapegoating often is, owning up to what happened even if one isn’t directly guilty is WOW.


It is probably no coincidence that humanity happened before victory, back in 1521. In the small communities of those days, the social contract was still intact. This is not to romanticize things. Filipinos fell for the promise of a national chief in 2016 and got the worst of both colonial and pre-colonial worlds – a man who controls the apparatus of a modern state including men with far more lethal weapons than in 1521, deciding for a nation as if it were his own chiefdom and rejecting the checks and balances that rein in the Leviathan, especially rejecting calls for moderation by women who certainly played an important role in balancing many a Filipino chief in the pre-colonial period. The National Village, as I have called it, has been formed by social media and has bypassed many an institution seen as not truly representative. Yet the same factors that amplified mourning for Ninoy and were a catalyst for EDSA Uno and Dos as well as community pantries all over also amplified hate against PNoy forMamasapano, and led to Duterte’s win in 2016. As Rizal’s Padre Florentino warned:

“..while we see our countrymen in private life ashamed within themselves.. yet in public life keep silence or even echo the words of him who abuses them in order to mock the abused; while we see them wrap themselves up in their egotism and with a forced smile praise the most iniquitous actions, begging with their eyes a portion of the booty.. Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it..”

The Filipino nation was first formed top-down. The bottom-up aspect of community must be there first I think in order to institutionalize people power and put true checks and balances over top-down command and control which is also needed to take care of larger tasks like national interests. VP Leni Robredo, Angel Locsin and Gang Badoy have for years walked the talk of suffer and work, which may be something those obsessed with warrior heroes belittle, but these women and others have laid an important foundation, as after all the Filipino word bayani means not only warrior but also has the connotation of bayanihan. With the positive virus of bayanihan spreading across the archipelago, with even police and soldiers contributing to community pantries, a true foundation for a nation of the people may yet be laid, allowing the Philippines to overcome the challenges it yet has to face. Unlike Will, I don’t pray but I do hope. With worried skepticism, as so many things that got to a good start fizzled out after a while in what Ninotchka Rosca has called The Land of Constant Beginnings.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

Munich, 24 April 2021

96 Responses to “Victory of Humanity”

    Maginhawa Street is familiar terrain to Manila’s university people, a long artery in a residential neighborhood adjacent to the University of the Philippines. It was the hangout for the millennials, the foodies, the radicals, and the woke – which has gone deserted since the start of the 14-month quarantine in the Philippine capital.

    One day in mid-April, a woman named Ana Patricia Non (above), in her 20s, a fine arts graduate, someone her friends described as ‘Miss Congeniality,’ decided to put a flimsy bamboo cart by the roadside with food that people could take for their needs. She also turned it into an outpost where people could leave their donations. Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan. Give what you can, take what you need. The line grew longer, the sight of which could either make your heart swell or make you cry.

    It was called a ‘Community Pantry,’ an idea so simple in its spirit of volunteerism – to help tide over hunger, to ease the burden of those who have lost their jobs, to feed the needy with healthy fruits and vegetables instead of tinned sardines that government had distributed – that the girl who had the heart to serve her neighbors, didn’t think it would snowball into a national issue. It has.

    A week into it, the police came, inquiring what this was all about, checking out the assembled lines with their sleek M-4 carbines. Before she knew it, Non became the object of red-tagging, branded a communist on the police website. By then she was in the news and announced that she had to stop for safety reasons. Too late: her gesture caught fire, and before the country knew it, community pantries were set up anywhere and everywhere, from obscure neighborhoods to village halls, not only in the city but also in other provinces.

    The phenomenon, unembellished as it was, spread with biblical allusions to the miracle of multiplying fish and loaves. The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict wasn’t happy about that, with its spokesman comparing Non to Satan who tempted Eve, meaning that the evil of communism was secretly behind her do-good action. “You know, that’s just one person, Ana Patricia isn’t it? Satan gave an apple to Eve, that’s how it started,” said Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr.

    A three-star general, no less, had raised such a nonsensical idea that underscored, however, the government’s threat against a growing informal movement; or, it may be the government itself that reacted to a threat of a new social order yet undefined. Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade. Jr. had just lost winning over people’s hearts and minds, so much so that even soldiers in uniform were seen dropping off sacks of food at the Maginhawa community pantry and police stations elsewhere, one in the province of Nueva Ecija, abundant in rice fields, set up similar pantries.

    From the plain symbol of a bamboo cart, a dual picture emerged in the current Covid-19 pandemic: it rekindled the old Filipino tradition called bayanihan, helping each other in nation-building, but the flipside of it revealed defiance on how the government has inadequately managed the health crisis going out of control.

    The Philippines now has had nearly a million Covid-19 infections, the second-highest total in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Overnight, there were 9,227 new cases. There are 16,264 dead across the country.

    “This is the question that explains why they’re so afraid of community pantries: If a community can do so much with so little, how can our government do so little with so much?” Filipino anthropologist Gideon Lasco tweeted.

    Some senators threatened to withdraw funds from the National Task Force’s PHP19 billion budget, supposedly meant for infrastructure projects in former communist-influenced areas, saying money should go to people’s welfare instead, enough of this foolishness. Many local mayors in the metropolis’s 16 satellite cities that includes Quezon City, the former capital where Maginhawa Street is located, have given the pantries a go-signal without permits.

    Aghast at the trend of the Lt. Gen. Parlade’s discourse, Senator Ralph Recto quipped: “The only thing red in the community pantries are the ripe tomatoes. Those who see red in the bayanihan projects should have their hearts examined. Community pantries need more food bags, not red tags, nor red tape.”

    The bigger question coming out of this is, how could government put down the very essence of kindness? How much further will it go in quarantines and lockdowns?
    American historian Joseph Scalice, who studied President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier alliance with the Philippine Communist Party before it soured, traced red-tagging to “anyone in oppositional perspective,” one that doesn’t conform to the current order of the so-called discipline imposed by the heavy-handedness of the president. Therefore, anyone against Duterte’s brand of thinking – punishment, extrajudicial killings, threats of impunity – would be called a communist, regardless of the danger that Non herself had feared.

    Virtually imprisoned in their homes since March last year, Filipinos have endured what has been called the world’s strictest lockdown. Late last month, cases surged and hospitals filled to capacity, forcing the government to put the capital and outlying provinces in the most severe level of a lockdown once again. In all this time there was hardly any contact tracing or mass testing. Vaccination, which began in March, is slow. Conditions that were forcing people to follow orders based on police or military control were undermining the value of health experts.

    This could be where people resisted a strong order in order to cope, to find means to survive because the government, as Lasco the anthropologist pointed out, did so little. Japanese ethnographer Wataru Kusaka said Filipinos eventually “created their own social order for everyday necessities because the state does not guarantee even the subsistence of the people.”

    Some say the community pantries were a crash course in anarchism. Kusaka attributed this to some kind of a “vernacular order” which, like the pantries, was an exercise in disobedience to show government where it has failed but that such display of support “nurtures people’s dignity and autonomy.”

    Kusaka had spent time living among informal settlers in a colony just off Maginhawa Street and it was there he saw how streets became a “public space” in a deeper sense, not merely for their function, and more than just having the accessibility of parks. The street, in short, was where life thrived for those who need to make a living.
    I lived in Maginhawa Street during my university years in the 1980s, the neighborhood so deserted it became, some years later, a noisy racetrack among pedicab drivers. It was intended to be a housing village for professors who taught in the university, my grandfather was one of them. In the past decade, traffic and parking were a nuisance when food parks sprouted here and there, livening up the street of restaurants, cafes, hole-in-the-wall eateries. There were second-hand bookstores, a cinema showing rare and independent films, some exhibits of social art. It was getting trendy and popular for the young crowd.

    At the start of the lockdown, I saw it return to its emptiness, everything shut down and quiet. There were vendors selling fruits and vegetables cheaper and fresher than those found at supermarkets, pushing their wooden carts up and down the street. It probably was not that unusual that Non had thought of the community pantry idea, but her effort shattered because of the fact that she went to the same University of the Philippines that early this year was labeled a breeding ground for communists by the defense department.
    The spontaneity of her goodwill and how it sparked hope in others across the country had been missing in the country for quite some time, a country that has been growing apart under President Duterte. Allegorically Non lit a candle in the murky darkness and wherever this will take the nation, I could say it started in a street whose name in Tagalog means relief, the easing into comfort. She had said it herself, that she owed no explanation: People were starving, they needed food.

    A story goes that one typically humid April afternoon, mere seconds after the women volunteers of a community pantry in Quezon City called it a day, an old mother dropped by with her small plastic bag.

    The volunteers were quick to say that the pantry is closed, and that she could visit again the morning next. The old mother, herself visibly poor and disadvantaged, smiled and handed over her plastic bag. It was a modest token of what she can contribute to the nationwide effort of community pantries to feed the poor.

    It was a tale repeatedly displayed all over the country—by the ice cream vendor, a chicharron seller, several farmers of vegetables, indigent fisherfolk, recently even a band of soldiers, and a handful of police officers—the poorest of the poor donating what they can to feed those most affected by government inaction in the time of pandemic.

    Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. lost no time associating the movement to satanism and communism. His reason? He could not believe that such a coordinated and harmonized effort at compassion and empathy is possible in a country that has always been known for its hospitality.

    In the Philippines, the cost of kindness is to be branded a terrorist.

    And as a terrorist, the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under Rodrigo Duterte sees sympathetic Filipinos as Public Enemy No. 1.
    By now, it is apparent that this government cares little, if at all, for who is being kind to whom. Their two-dimensional idea of the dystopia they have created sees everyone as either “for them” or “against them,” depending on who’s agenda one is promoting. Any act of kindness shown to Filipinos is not one of them.

    And since they’re not in the habit of prioritizing the public interest, as the drug war, the communist witch hunt, and the mishandling of the pandemic have long proven, anyone who’d be brave enough to convert kindness to actual food on the table to serve a long line of indigent communities is considered subversive.

    It is thus incumbent for every Filipino to condemn in no uncertain terms this political shenanigan by Parlade, and say “No!” to the infrastructure of power which seeks to dismantle and criminalize the bayanihan spirit.

    I, therefore, begin by saying “No!” to Duterte’s machinery of silence, to the Php19.1 billion anti-insurgency fund sourced from taxpayers which gives fangs and claws to the NTF-ELCAC. The call by senators to defund the task force, therefore, is an idea whose time has come. Sen. Joel Villanueva’s proposal to strip the task force of its funding should be the first step towards the group’s inevitable dissolution.

    Parlade et. al. should also be held accountable for the Php19 billion in funds earmarked for its intelligence operations. For what good would Php19 billion do to an organization whose idea of intelligence gathering is the drawing up of charges based on social media posts? Where was the money spent?

    Come to think of it, defunding the NTF-ELCAC is one thing, letting the organization carry on its warped ideology of abuse is another. I therefore say “No!” to Parlade’s leadership in the organization. He should be replaced immediately. Better yet, our lawmakers should rise to the occasion and dissolve the organization in its entirety, replacing it with a task force that would kickstart an effective pandemic response and developments projects in the poorest sections of the country.

    The funds would’ve done wonders for the pandemic response, whose mediocre handling has pushed the nation within an infection bubble of roughly 8,000 to 10,000 daily, to say nothing of the food insecurity which has struck 59 million Filipinos earlier this year based on United Nation’s study.

    Human Rights Watch Senior Philippines Researcher Carlos Conde said in this regard, that community pantries “have been an incredible demonstration of compassion of Filipinos at a time when, because of COVID and the Duterte administration’s perceived inadequate response to the pandemic, many poor families are suffering from lack of food and household resources.”

    I likewise say “No!” to the unscrupulous branding of community food banks as allegedly part of “terrorist recruitment,” and to government claims that these acts of kindness compete with their programs to alleviate hunger during the pandemic.

    What program is government talking about? To refresh their memory, community pantries sprung all over the country precisely to expose the gaping holes in government assistance. And this despite the latter’s accumulation of hundreds of billions in loans and donations supposedly allocated for the pandemic response.

    If kindness and charity compete with the State’s agenda, one wonders what government’s true agenda might be.

    I also say “No!” to supposed “Christians” decrying the community pantries as an example of faithlessness in God, citing Matthew 6:26-31, even reproaching people for “having little faith.” I’ve been made aware of churches—New Life in Kalibo, Throne of Grace Fellowship, and San Bartolome Parish Youth Ministry, among others—who chose rather to show the love of God through the example of feeding of the poor.

    Whoever disparages the act of feeding, I recommend you reread your Bibles:
    Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed (Proverbs 19:17). Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse (Proverbs 28:27). Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him (Proverbs 14:31).

    If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday (Isaiah 58:10). Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered (Proverbs 21:13). Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:7).

    But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17). And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).

    It was to his disciples that Jesus said, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys (Luke 12:33).
    It is to the believer’s shame that community pantries sprung through the efforts of the poor because us, Christians, have forgotten the power which proves our faith and our hopes—love.

    Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:40).

    Lastly, I say “No!” to the infrastructure of disinformation, the outright lies, the creation of imagined and largely unforgivable narratives out to vilify the culture of bayanihan. Hate is not and will never be the country’s dominant culture, nor is this a matter of opinion.

    These counterfeit narratives promote an “ideology of impotence,” as author Eduardo Galeano once called it, forcing society into embracing fatalistic tendencies, hopelessness, despair. It fosters amnesia, regulates universal truths as mere debatable topics of discussion, leaving no place to anchor our assurances and our confidence both in ourselves and others.

    Our sure defiance lies in acknowledging that Filipinos have never been anything but a warm and hospitable people, generous to a fault, often giving more than what is necessary. Such generosity, I believe, is the Filipino’s birthright, the one heritage that assures our survival.

    Lastly, I say “No!” to greed, to corruption big and small, to the selling of national patrimony, and a political entitlement that promotes miserliness. In the end, those guilty of these crimes must answer to the charges of betrayal of the Constitution.
    The world as we knew it is in the middle of an upheaval, forcing everyone to rethink their place in the scheme of things. I’m more than glad that Filipinos, in their efforts to stay alive, chose the way of empathy and compassion.

    It’s the only weapon powerful enough to crush fear. And to this I say a resounding “Yes!”


      On April 14, Ana Patricia Non set up a small bamboo cart on a pavement in a Quezon City village, stocking it with 800 pesos (US$16.50) worth of groceries, including vegetables, packs of rice and noodles, canned food, and bottles of water.

      The 26-year-old resident attached a handwritten cardboard sign that read “Maginhawa Community Pantry”, after the name of the street, and came with a guideline written in Tagalog: “Give according to your means, take according to your need.”

      On Facebook, she shared pictures of the cart and people helping themselves to the community pantry’s contents, and encouraged others to set up their own food banks. “You can do it, just don’t expect anything in return,” Non, a visual communications graduate from the University of the Philippines (UP), said in an interview with local media.

      Little did she know her idea would soon spread like wildfire. Within a day, another community pantry appeared a few kilometres away. Over the week, hundreds of similar food banks sprang up in Manila and throughout the Philippines, all of them sustained by community donations.

      Then trouble started brewing. Soon after Non set up her pantry, three policemen showed up armed with assault rifles. They demanded her personal details and asked which organisation she belonged to.

      A post appeared on the Quezon City police department’s Facebook page alleging that the food banks were being used to recruit soldiers for the communist New People’s Army.

      The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) claimed the pantries were being supported by the Communist Party of the Philippines.

      The task force, established and led by President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his vow to end the communist insurgency, has a reputation for “red-tagging” – the act of accusing people and organisations of being communist rebels.

      Although communism is not illegal in the Philippines, a new anti-terrorism law allows authorities to brand communists as terrorists. The task force does not use any legal procedures to identify alleged rebels and has accused Duterte’s critics and opponents of being terrorists.

      Many red-tagged people have wound up murdered or been shot dead by soldiers and the police.

      At the same time that Non was red-tagged, a local government undersecretary, a Duterte appointee, said community pantries would need permits because of the dangers posed by crowding and the non-observance of social distancing.

      Trolls started attacking the food banks as “recruitment hubs”, one sneering that it was a “stupid piece of opportunistic rhetoric”. An NTF official declared that there were “no hungry people in the Philippines”.

      Evidence of mass joblessness and hungry citizens is widespread in the Philippines, a nation of 108 million people that has spent much of the past year under one of the world’s strictest pandemic quarantine regimes.

      The repeated lockdowns confined most people to their homes, restricted movement and shut down economic activity.

      In January 2020, just before the pandemic hit, 2.44 million people were unemployed and 6.3 million people were either underemployed or with jobs but looking for additional work, according to data by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

      In February 2021, the number of jobless people nearly doubled from the previous year to 4.1 million, while those underemployed rose to 7.85 million Filipinos, the state agency said.

      Most of the jobs lost were in Metropolitan Manila – the heart of industry and commerce consisting of 16 cities, including Quezon City, where Non lives. The Philippine government, already struggling amid repeated delays to its nationwide vaccination programme, has fallen short in providing assistance to the jobless and hungry.

      Last year, Non had helped to raise funds to buy 155 sacks of rice for jobless drivers of public utility jeeps. After the recent extreme lockdown, she got the idea for the community pantry.

      But as the police kept visiting Non’s food bank, asking for her contact details and interrogating the volunteers, she said she felt her life was being threatened and closed the pantry temporarily.

      Yoly Villanueva Ong, an advocacy communications specialist who formerly ran an advertising agency, said Non was red-tagged because “she’s woke, she’s young and she’s from UP”, an institution known as a bastion of student activism.

      “That’s enough to arouse suspicion and paranoia,” she said.

      But as the police kept visiting Non’s food bank, asking for her contact details and interrogating the volunteers, she said she felt her life was being threatened and closed the pantry temporarily.

      Yoly Villanueva Ong, an advocacy communications specialist who formerly ran an advertising agency, said Non was red-tagged because “she’s woke, she’s young and she’s from UP”, an institution known as a bastion of student activism.

      “That’s enough to arouse suspicion and paranoia,” she said.

      Philippine national police chief General Debold Sinas lauded the food banks as “an expression of Bayanihan spirit”, a Filipino term that refers to community goodwill and support.

      Defence chief Delfin Lorenzana said no matter what Non’s political beliefs were, “if she is helping with her heart, we will support it (because) kindness is everyone’s colour”.

      The show of support encouraged Non to reopen the Maginhawa Community Pantry after a day.


      Originally open from 6am to 6pm daily, Non’s community pantry now stays open until midnight and has moved to a larger area on the same street to deal with the ever growing lines of people.

      Far from running out, the supplies have increased as donors continue to show up with food and basic commodities. Some come from the provinces, including fishermen who donate their catch and farmers who send baskets of their crops.

      In Manila, the spirit of sharing caught on with K-pop fans who set up their own stalls – some with signs saying “BTS Army” – to give away food and basic goods.

      In Makati, a man walked down a line giving each person a 100-peso note (US$2). In another city, an ice cream vendor began offering free ice cream. Soldiers appeared in Maginhawa – to give 20 sacks of vegetables. The German ambassador also visited Maginhawa to bring donations.

      Even in Timor Leste, the Philippine embassy helped set up stalls distributing food to locals.

      Ong said the idea travelled well because it was genuine and wholesome.
      “In a world that is often seen as cold, uncaring and even downright evil, the simple gesture of compassion reverberated across the country,” she said. “There’s a nostalgia for goodness.”

      Lisa Ito, an instructor at the UP College of Fine Arts where Non graduated, called the pantry “a vaccine or booster shot we really need at this time, which inspired a lot of us by putting trust back into the hands of the people”.

      She said that while there had been some support from local governments, a year of lockdowns had left many Filipinos feeling they had to fend for themselves.

      At the community pantries, although people could in theory take all the food they wanted, those who went and waited in line for hours picked out only enough for themselves and their families.

      “It trusted people to give selflessly without reward, it trusted people to receive without hoarding,” Ito said.

      Meanwhile, officers from Duterte’s anti-communist task force have not let up on their accusations.

      Its spokesman Lt General Antonio Parlade on Tuesday compared Non to the devil. “Satan gave an apple to Eve, it all started from there,” he said.

      The task force also pointed out that Non had called for Duterte’s ousting on her personal Facebook page.

      Non, in an interview with ABS-CBN network, said her personal beliefs were separate from the community pantry.

      But the president himself apparently did not seem to mind the community initiative.
      Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said on Thursday: “As far as the community pantry is concerned, the position of the president is clear … let a thousand community pantries bloom.”

      Ong, the advocacy communications specialist, however predicted that the harassment from the task force would continue, although they would eventually “back off” once the initiative garnered even wider support.

      “I believe community pantries will expand and branch off into various expressions of caring for the less fortunate and showing up this impotent government,” she said.

    • kasambahay says:

      I think, it was sometimes before the last supper when the lord spoke to peter, peter do you love me?

      peter: yes, my lord.

      the lord: feed my sheep.

      thus the lord build his church upon the rock.

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    • Karl Garcia says:

      nuff said

    • kasambahay says:

      the poor is desperate for food, politicians for power, and parlade is desperate for communists here, there and everywhere. that’s what his 19billion budget is about.

      there isn’t enough communists but community pantry organizers will do for parlade! tag one, tag all, his sidekick under sec badoy has same comorbidity tagging. 19billions make their world go round. 19billions to subdue, dismantle and dispersed the ragtag communists.

      urgently wanted hence: communists apply therein, no qualifications needed, else parlade lost his job, lol!

  3. Karl Garcia says:

    From Randy David.

    So much has been written about the Maginhawa Community Pantry, an austere project whose charisma has, within one week, inspired countless replications all over the country. One more brief note about it may not shed further light on its magic. But it may, hopefully, resolve some of the vague uneasiness we feel during this pandemic.

    The virtue that the community pantry clearly exemplifies is generosity. This is different from love. We don’t call the attention that a parent selflessly showers upon her child the act of a generous person. True generosity arises from reason, not from instinct or feeling. This is cogently summed up in the cardboard note Ana Patricia Non posted on her pantry: “Give what you can, take what you need.”

    Its precondition is the freedom to act according to one’s will — in the words of the French philosopher André Comte-Sponville [“A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues”]: “To do unto our neighbor as we would unto our loved ones, and unto strangers as we would unto ourselves.” This maxim, he hastens to add, “prescribes not feelings or emotions, which are not transferable, but actions, which are.”

    It is worth stressing that generosity is not an instinct, but an act of will. Indeed, it often clashes with the instinct of personal survival or self-preservation. In a time of fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability—such as we find ourselves in—our default response is to take control of whatever we can to ensure our and our loved ones’ survival.

    Thus, at the first sign of scarcity, many rush to the supermarkets, emptying shelves of toilet paper, noodles, and canned goods. Later, in quiet shame, some may pause in horror to survey the stockpile they have accumulated, prompting them to share part of these with relatives, close friends, and the ordinary people who make their middle-class lives bearable.

    But, that is not the generosity we encounter in the community pantry, whose rationality lies precisely in its purported anonymity and selflessness. The Maginhawa pantry appears to work well where earlier initiatives have not because it has served primarily as a simple vehicle for faceless giving and discreet receiving of the most basic necessities. As such, it offers no space for the self-promotion and obligatory acknowledgments that usually accompany the mass distribution of emergency assistance.

    Strangely enough, there are those who disagree with these simple acts of generosity on the ground that feeding the citizenry in times of crisis is properly the duty of government. Accordingly, they prefer to exert public pressure upon those in power to shame them into assuming their responsibilities.

    There is logic in this, certainly. But, this is what distinguishes the pursuit of justice from the practice of generosity. The act of giving is entirely up to us. It is an expression of our freedom. No one obliges us; it is purely an act of will. It proceeds from reason, not from guilt, nor even from pity.

    When it comes to people we love, we don’t hesitate to give, Sponville writes. But “generosity invites us to give in the absence of love to the very people we do not love, and to give them more the more they need it, or the better equipped we are to help them.”

    Is this sustainable? I think what may pose a threat to the continuity of the community pantry is not the alleged communist link that the paranoid witch-hunters of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict have tried to pin on the Maginhawa Street initiative. Rather, its sustainability may depend in large measure on the desire and willingness of the public to give for as long as they think there is an urgent need to give.

    Two things may test the tenacity of this community-driven generosity.

    First, the behavior of those who give to and run the pantries. On one hand, the media attention that has been generated around the concept has undoubtedly sparked a movement to replicate it elsewhere. But, the same media interest could, on the other, incite its politicization by offering a convenient platform from which all kinds of ambitions could be projected. This is bound to discourage earnest donors and attract only the cynical. I have always believed that the community pantry’s gift draws its grace from the anonymity of the giver.

    Second, the behavior of those who receive. There is an ethic of giving and an ethic of taking, whose enforcement is purely voluntary. Both ethics are embedded in a culture of respect for the Other. The giver must expect nothing in return. The receiver must wait for his or her turn, and take only what he or she needs. The gift humanizes the giver as well as the receiver.

    Over the years, Filipinos have learned to fall in line and wait for their turn. But, events like the jostling and line-cutting that marred the distribution of goods at one community pantry the other day tell us that we are not yet quite there. In traditional society, courtesy was all it took to maintain order. People gave way to the elderly almost by instinct. In the transition to modernity, however, old norms lose their grip on people while the new ones have yet to take root. The discipline of the queue remains a challenge for many of our people.

    True generosity does not surrender to anger or contempt or indifference when some individuals, out of a misplaced sense of urgency, defy the unspoken norms of courtesy and decency. This virtue has many names, says Sponville, but, above all, when “accompanied by gentleness, it is called kindness.”

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  4. Micha says:

    Commune. Communal. Community. Communist.

    Same root word. Same fundamental concept of organizing societies.

    What is strange is that while The Dork from Davao is courting favor and prostituting himself before Chairman Xi, the titular head of Chinese Communist Party, he is also waging aggressive campaign against Maoist rebels on domestic front.

    Does he ever wonder why he got ditched by Mr. Xi?

    • LCPL_X says:

      That’s a dangerous play of words, Micha. If you insert Charles Manson’s family as commune, communal, community, communist. It just doesn’t work. Same with the USSR and Mao, though Xi’s China is more like America.

      What yours is mine, what’s mine is ours– meaning theirs. Is great when talking about pantries, not so great when dealing with other people’s property, ie. the state’s power of imminent domain.

      Although I’m an AOC and Bernie fan, I’m only because I know there’ll be vigorous opposition of them from the right which means the closest we’ll ever gonna get is socialized this or that, not full blown communism. Consolidation of power.

      Xi’s (and China’s communist party) don’t care about Maoist rebels in the Philippines, he already know s such path can never produce a Choe Zhao, Xi doesn’t respect DU30 because he has done nothing deserving of respect, its a power vs. power issue, not about communes and community.

      Xi could care less about Filipino Maoists, Micha.

      As to the larger blog subject, pantries are like neighborhood libraries, quaint and symbolic, also expressions of community (not communism by the way). So stuff like it should be encouraged, but when expressions of compassion and community are perverted like the homeless problem here, where the homeless are now living in city parks and sidewalks, then it becomes a problem.

      My point , the gov’t (the state) should still be held liable for inaction. for relying too much on individuals’ good will, where elected officials feel they can opt to not do anything instead (because people are doing it for them).

  5. Karl Garcia says:

    The attacks against community pantries are disgracefully absurd. The reasons that impel these attacks must surely be shamefully ludicrous. I will venture to guess the preposterous reasons why the government is afraid of community pantries, and why it has unleashed its attack dogs to try to scare away their organizers:

    1. Parlade and Badoy are communist recruiters in reality, their mission being to make more people get angry at the government and to make them join the revolution to overthrow it, so that our country can finally become a communist state.

    2. The spread of community pantries will hasten the return of Jesus Christ, the original instigator of this movement who performed the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes. His comeback will mean judgment for those who called Him a “stupid God,” including their followers. 3. If community pantries continue to multiply, there will be no need for government relief goods. This will spell the extinction of “wink! wink!” deals in billions of government purchases.

    4. Parlade and Badoy get their salaries based on the number of trolls who “like” or “share” their media statements. The crazier their utterances are, the more troll followers they get, which then translates into a bonanza of bonuses.

    5. The government has discovered that vegetables distributed in community pantries contain genetically modified organisms developed by communist rebels. When consumed by the masses, they become communist zombies mouthing “Makibaka! Huwag matakot!”

    6. If the masses end up being well-fed because of community pantries, there will no longer be hungry voters in next year’s elections. This will jeopardize the dependable system of competitive vote-buying that has ensured fair, honest, and peaceful elections in our country since time immemorial.

    7. Government propagandists erroneously read “community pantry” as “community panty.” They think it’s a movement promoting orgies, thus violating good morals and right conduct.

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    • LCPL_X says:

      The food pantry system here , karl, partners with grocery stores and restaurants, as well as donations, but tends to stir clear of homemade stuff due to law suits, so packaged stuff is preferred.

      Though civic groups and churches have cook outs and fairs where one can receive homemade stuff. But not conducive to COVID rules.

      But food pantry here is organized by county and cities. Its an organized affair, not some neighborhood thing. When COVID hit, a bunch of volunteers (via civic groups and churches) and the national guard sometimes manned the drive thru give aways.

      At one point, I saw a bunch of MCT oil from the Philippines being given out as part of these packaged food stuff give-aways, and I’ve become very reliant on it since, add it to my coffee every morning, karl. Please look into MCT oil, might be the answer to alot of problems in the Philippines. Like that movie, LIMITLESS.

      I’ve not watched NOMADLAND yet, but have seen and recommend THE LEISURE SEEKER with Helen Merren and Donald Sutherland. which is similar i think.

      “community panty”, LOL!

      • LCPL_X says:

        I gotta feeling that groceries, maybe Target, Walmart, Costco, etc. off loaded these MCT oil (Nature’s way, is the brand), and the pantry folks didn’t know exactly what they were, thought they were olive oil, vegetable oil, just stuck ’em with care packages.

        I Googled, and they’re like 20 bucks a box , so I made sure to stock up on them. So yes, you find some interesting stuff in food pantries– one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Same with Goodwill, donation centers, karl. If there’s some way

        for local gov’ts to recycle used, unwanted items. Everyone benefits. Less trash too.

  6. kasambahay says:

    karlG, narinig ko po at ayon kay covid recoveree roque, duterte kuno dont mind community pantries blooming all over.

    it’s just that both parlade and badoy are overstepping their marks, and duterte is not calling them out. silence speaks louder than words and duterte is complicit.

    apparently, with that big a crowd, social distancing is hard to impose and lines are only getting longer and longer. and if all occupants in a household take to lining and avail themselves of more than their fair share of goodies, that will only make the line longer still.

    maybe it’s time for pantry organisers to review their brainchild, their baby has grown overwhelmingly bigger than them.

    • kasambahay says:

      stupid, parlade said of the senate when threatened of being defunded. given the mandate and senate taketh away. drilon, gordon, pangilinan, de lima, binay et al are vocal vs parlade, senate president soto? I have yet to hear him squeak. marcos, poe, bato, pakyaw, go and the rest are hiding behind their face masks? lol!

      senate is stupid, could not foresee duterte’s appointee parlade finding communists out in the open, not holed up in mountains and planning terrorism.

      ay, mag-ingat silang mga senador, baka parlade will point the finger at them and call them communists too.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        There are stupid people in the senate like Paquiao(uncredentialed stupid)and Bato(credentialed stupid), and Imee(just stupid), but Parlade won’t tell that to their faces.

        • kasambahay says:

          ah, the rock has spoken: bato, against defunding ntf-elcac. apparently, of its 19billion fund, 16.4billion will be used to fund development projects of the 800barangays supposedly already cleared of insurgents.

          who are these baranggays and where are they located? are their names so hard to pronounce that bato cannot enumerate them? if the 800 are to recieve the combined 16.4billions shouldn’t they all come forward, put their hands up, stake their claims and be accountable? but if they are to remain faceless, nameless and anonymous as well, I can think of ulterior motive.

          bato presumes the 800 could well go back to insurgency if 16.4billion is not forthcoming, that sounds like blackmail to me. and yet there is no guarantee the 800 will not go back to insurgency once the fund is in their hands, their dev projects up and running, if ever. kaya, seguro, best for them to remain anonymous, lol!

          ntf-elcac, national task force to end local communist armed conflict; lacking in conflict, parlade created one in pantry organisers. I can understand asking questions, that sometimes you dont get the right answer, but red tagging?

    • Patreng Non is decentralizing Maginhawa Community pantry and donating to other pantries nearby so the lines don’t get too long.

      People taking too much hardly will happen as these are perishable goods.

      • kasambahay says:

        fresh eggs will last for around 2weeks in room temp po, vegies can be grilled over fire, salted and stored in glass container to ferment like kim chi and sawerkraut. good food for big families with extended and growing children. beans and mungo can be sprouted and sauteed with bagoong.

        koreans sabi, can make kimchi nearly out of all vegies, they stored well and last long.

        • Well, maybe a few “smart” families will stock eggs for two weeks and then?

          Either come back every two weeks or so, unless they open a carinderia.

          Anyhow smaller scale of pantries is better, social control still might work.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I think you have to be smart to hoard. Smart here meaning thinking 2 weeks or more. I’m not equating smart here as wisdom. Again if you look at hunter/gatherer societies, hoarding is the least of priorities, mainly no refrigeration, but socially its not cool to do so, not the social mores.

              I remember walking around Cebu with a local girlfriend (read bargirl) where I passed a bunch of local street kids asking for money, and I just walked past them, thinking I ‘m gonna spent my last 100 peso on this and that, finally a little girl walked up, and my gf (that day) finally had it and the 500 pesos I had ready for a taxi and handed it to the girl.

              So, LCPL_X = smart; bargirl/gf = wisdom, I do agree that the poor will have a better sense to share, than us “smart” folk, who like to plan ahead and stuff. so yeah, that proposition of poor knowing how to share , I would totally agree with. And no one’s ever called me wise.

              I noticed drug addicts to this too, both rich and poor, shared suffering I suppose. The Time Perspective Theory of how humans behave is closest IMHO to answering the whys here. But I could be wrong too. East Asians are better at this, mainly because their sense of time is Buddhist in general if not cultural, meaning they get to repeat.

              One’s 2 weeks, is another’s blink of an eye. Either way who wants to eat a 2 week old egg left out at room temp, just share it already. The time element here is the most important, not empathy, I don’t think.

              • LCPL_X says:

                p.s. — Also part of this Time Perspective Theory is that folks living near the equator tend to be less future oriented, where as East Asians, Canadian, Scandanavians, becuz they have to plan for the future every year, will be planners.

                Subtract geography in that equation, and formal education with all its class times and schedules will create future planners; whereas less education, you’ll be more present oriented. Thus will find it harder to hoard.

  7. Karl Garcia says:

    Good model from Carlos Jugo


    Five hundred years ago on this day, a Portuguese nobleman who sailed under the Spanish flag and commanded five ships for a commercial voyage in what is history’s most extraordinary white knuckle sea voyage was killed in Mactan after being entangled in local politics.

    But the death of Ferdinand Magellan was an avoidable outcome after he dipped his toes in what US historian Laurence Bergreen called an “unnecessary war.”

    Days before the fateful Battle of Mactan, Lapulapu told Magellan he was ready to submit to the King of Spain but not to Humabon, historian and National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares said in an online lecture on April 26.

    The Battle of Mactan, which the country commemorates its 500th year today, broke out because Magellan stepped into an ongoing feud between Humabon and Lapulapu over control of the Mactan Channel, Mojares said. 

    Visayan society at the time of the Spaniards’ arrival in Cebu consisted of chiefdoms, which are unlike the monarchies in Europe. Chiefdoms consisted of communities led by a chief that are then linked with other chiefdoms. It was characterized by shifting alliances.
    Magellan radically disrupted local politics when he named Humabon his surrogate and the local sovereign to whom other chiefs must submit.

    Mojares, quoting other accounts of the expeditions, said Juan Sebastian Elcano described Lapulapu as unwilling to submit to Humabon, “one whom he had been commanding for so long a time,” (After Magellan’s death, it was Elcano who took command of the ship Victoria in the return trip to Spain.)

    Filipino historian Danilo Madrid Gerona said in his book “Ferdinand Magellan: The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines” that “Magellan’s coming to Cebu gave Humabon the opportunity to finally decide the issue between him and Lapulapu.”

    Gerona said that the bond between Magellan and Humabon was strengthened with a sandugo or blood pact, an alliance that was further sealed with Humabon’s baptism.

    “Magellan’s sympathy with Humabon dovetailed not only with the consequence of a formalized treaty of blood brotherhood but also of colonial interests in reducing to submission, it not eliminate, Lapulapu who stood on the way of their shared commercial and political opportunities,” Gerona wrote.

    But why was Magellan, who was tasked to lead a commercial mission to find a Western route to the Spice Islands, interfering in Cebu? Mojares said that even before the armada left Spain, there was a secret agreement between the King of Spain Charles V and Magellan that whatever lands the latter would discover and claim for Spain would be given to him to oversee as reward. Other accounts indicated that Magellan’s package of incentives also included a monopoly on the newly discovered route, a portion of the profits, and conferment of a Spanish noble title.

    That questionable foray in Cebu was also in the mind of many of Magellan’s men, and Mojares said that was the reason why many of his professional soldiers did not join the April 27 attack on Mactan. He said the soldiers could not understand why they were staying long in Cebu when it was supposed to be just a provisioning stop on their way to the Spice Islands.

    Magellan, instead, fought with a motley crew of stewards and cabin boys.

    Gerona said that aside from flaunting their military superiority, Magellan’s motivation for waging war may have also been driven by religious purposes or what is called Buen Guerra, or righteous war.

    But more than a fight that the Spaniards lost, the Battle of Mactan was an encounter that Lapulapu and Mactan warriors won through superior tactics, Mojares said.

    The encounter was unusual for a pre-Hispanic Visayan society because it was a “large-scale frontal pitched battle,” said Mojares. The typical warfare in early Visayan societies was raiding or pangayaw, which was staged from the sea and “carried out for slave and booty or to exact revenge, weaken a rival, attract allies, and expand one’s sphere of influence.”

    The typical response of a settlement being attacked by a superior force was “flight rather than confrontation.” Mojares said lives were more valuable than land, which was abundant, and possessions, which were portable.

    “Houses of light materials could easily be rebuilt after the raiders withdraw,” he said.

    That was, in fact, what the Mactan residents did when the Spaniards raided the settlement of Bulaia, the present-day Barangay Buaya, days before the fateful Battle of Mactan. They fled as the Spaniards burned down their houses.

    But in the April 27 attack, Lapulapu and his men may have found themselves out of options. Diplomacy was no longer an avenue since Magellan had already chosen Humabon. It was also hard to flee Mactan because it was an island.

    The Mactan warriors fought in a skirmishing style that Mojares said was perfectly described by the original name of the Battle of Mactan festivities “Bahug-Bahug sa Mactan,” which uses the Cebuano word for melee or free-for-all.

    The Mactan warriors outfought the Spaniards with superior tactics and because they adapted to the conditions of battle better than Magellan and his men did.

    “One wonders whether Lapulapu would have resisted if Magellan had chosen him as an ally instead of Humabon,” Mojares said.

    But where was Lapulapu? What was he doing during the battle?
    “Owing to his advanced age, Lapulapu was probably directing his men from a safer location, which explains why all the accounts providing brief details on the battle were silent about his role,” Gerona said.

    By looking at events 500 years ago through the lens of alliance building, one would understand why Humabon and his subjects were quick to convert to Christianity, Mojares said. They saw it as winning a new and powerful ally.

    The Euro-centric accounts of the battle do not give credit to Lapulapu and his men. Mojares cited biographer Stefan Zweig who wrote about how “Magellan was slain in a petty skirmish with a horde of naked islanders.” In his book on Magellan, Zweig said the explorer “was felled by a ludicrous human insect named Silapulapu.”

    The recognition of Lapulapu only came after the Spanish rule ended. His first statue in Mactan was only put up in 1933 in what was then the town of Opon. 

    That statue is part of local folklore because it depicted Lapulapu carrying a bow and arrow facing the old municipal hall. Three mayors died in office, one after the other shortly after it was put up and people blamed the Lapulapu statue. When Mayor Mariano Dimataga assumed as Opon chief executive in 1938, he had the bow and arrow taken away and replaced with a staff and bolo. Dimataga remained Opon mayor for the next 30 years, serving as the first city mayor when the town became Lapu-Lapu City in 1961. 

    • LCPL_X says:

      (Lapu Lapu statue with staff)


      I had to Google map all this. Becuz I don’t remember a staff at all when I saw visited the Lapu-Lapu statue nor a municipal hall nearby.

      A couple of girls took me to the Lapu-Lapu monument, which was also across the Magellan monument. Not so much for the monument but for the barbecue spot near by, which was Shoot to Kill, some sort of acronym in Bisayan about barbecue (i forget).

      And they were right, some good eating there.

      Also from the restaurant you can see the mangrove and rocky terrain described. but on reading the above article, and now discovering the statue in that article as being in Opon, via Google maps, and not at all where I was, it does seem like the current location of mangrove/out croppings across the island, seems out of the way. Which is north of the island of Mactan.

      Why not have the battle taken place in the southern part of Mactan, only descriptors it seems are mangrove and outcroppings.

      So how do they know that that location is exactly where they fought?

      The town of Opon, if you Google map, Opon Plaza, its a Rizal statue there now. But that location is directly across from Cebu, which kinda makes sense. I’m Google’ing how that site (in the northern part of Mactan island) was chosen but there’s really no solid evidence as to why that site in particular is remembered… maybe oral history?

      Interesting nonetheless, thanks for the article!

      (Shoot to kill BBQ place and Opon Plaza)

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Patawa si Bong Go, taga Sulu daw si Lapu-Lapu.

        • LCPL_X says:

          Funny, that’s what I found out researching this stuff this morning, karl!

          No one really knows where Mactan island is. Pigafetta just names it thus, and describes that there’s two datus that represent said island, one (Lapu-Lapu) doesn’t wanna go with the program. Never offers its location.

          So it turns out, Camotes island also has oral tradition that states the Battle of Mactan happened there; Joe’s Biliran island also has tradition that Lapu Lapu is from there.

          As to who Lapu-Lapu is, though Pigafetta never explains really in his journals, it is also said that he is Tausug, well Tausug is closely related to Bisayan, but that Lapu-Lapu is Tausug from Sulu. I guess based on Tausugs oral tradition.

          Basically, no one really knows where Mactan island is, Mactan island was named after Pigafetta’s Mactan island. So no one really knows where the Battle of Mactan occured, only that there was a 2nd datu on said island who was in cahoots with datu Humabon, and they were against Lapu-Lapu.

          this is very interesting stuff, IMHO.

          Bong Go could be right, if there’s no proof either way. That place near Shoot-To-Kill could very well be also. But absence of proof, tradition gives way to law, like Teddy Locsin keeps on saying, and Mactan is it. But Lapu-Lapu can be from anywhere.

          I’d love for Joe to press Biliran as the actual site of the Battle of Mactan, or at the very least that Lapu-Lapu hails from there. All you need are mangrove trees with rocky outcroppings, that’ll fit Pigafetta’s description, karl.

          • I tend to follow Occam’s razor, i.e. the simplest possible explanation.

            Historian Daniel Gerona from Naga, who went to Spain to check the archival sources like the debriefing of the 18 survivors, does assume it is Mactan.

            The explanation for the rivalry he puts forth is control of the income arising from the trade passing between Cebu and Mactan. A turf war about tolls. MLQ3 did a Twitter thread on that which I have found quite convincing.

            BTW no more mention of Mactan by Legazpi who went to Cebu in 1565. Nobody from Sulu came either. But some Muslims from Manila did, as well as a Portuguese ship that tried to convince Legazpi to leave, as Cebu was on their side of the 1528 Zaragoza treaty.

            Iberian chronists etc. are always super clear BTW about who is Muslim and who is not.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I agree as well, as far as Mactan island today is Mactan island of Pigafetta, Ireneo.

              Joe’s link on Lapu-Lapu having another territory, for hunting and leisure, via oral history is also interesting because that’s what Native indians here did, they’d go to the mountains for summer, then come down for winter, they had like a circular migration route, which gave the lands some breathing room.

              Bong Go’s Lapu-Lapu from Sulu is another interesting oral history, one i’d never heard of until now. It’s valid as oral history goes, put needs further investigating.

              But I keep thinking that Shoot to Kill BBQ spot was arbitrary, the Spanish named that place as it , but your guess is as good as mine. So the eastern side of current Mactan island is also as valid.

              I’ve never dived there, but I know of others who have and they describe Mactan island as a mushroom shaped island, there’s a point from shore where its essentially a long cliff underwater. So that’s probably related to how trade converged there.

              it’s a perfect place to tax people passing thru. here’s a good 3D map I found, notice the eastern part of Mactan island’s underwater terrain:

        • kasambahay says:

          pinsan yata ni mocha si bong go, lol! mocha did not know where mt mayon is, now bong go if off his tangent: lapu-lapu from sulu? maybe bong go means lapu-lapu the fish caught in sulu.

          similarly roque na may tama ng covid compared duterte to lapu-lapu. poor duterte, kahit sinu-sinu na kumpara, walang kasing panindigan and cannot stand on his own, kaya gabay ng gabay kahit kanino. chinese, tausug, pati isda pinatulan, lol!

          ay, ayon kay parlade, may mga istupido riyan sa senado, bong go can be counted as one.

          maybe, the governor of cebu, gwen garcia, will say bong go is thief, trying to steal cebu’s lapu-lapu. kulang kasi ng big man ang sulu, kaya nagnakaw, hear nyo po, mr sakur tan?

      • LCPL_X says:

        We immediately weighed anchor and, discharging many mortars into the houses, drew in nearer to the shore; while discharging [our pieces], we saw João Serrão in his shirt bound and wounded, crying to us not to fire any more, for the natives would kill him.

        We asked him whether all the others and the interpreter were dead.

        He said that they were all dead except the interpreter. He begged us earnestly to ransom him with some of the merchandise; but João Carvalho, his boon companion, [and others] would not allow the boat to go ashore, so that they might remain masters of the ships. But João Serrão, still weeping, asked us not to set sail so quickly, for they would kill him, and he swore to God that on Judgment Day he would demand the soul of João Carvalho, his comrade.

        We immediately departed; I do not know whether he died or survived.

        I still think the celebration should revolve around the events of May 1, Ireneo. Maybe like the Jewish festival of lights (the Bible books on Macabees), celebrate the 4 days all.

        But that whole departing at midnight, then arriving 3 hours before dawn, then attacking at day break. Magellan dying sometime during the morning of. That 3 hours of transit can also suggest Olango island, if not farther.

  9. Karl Garcia says:

    For sure Duterte will just bow down and later Roque,Lorenzana and Locsin will say different stuff.

    • He is talking about nations that will be ‘blacklisted’ or ‘graylisted’ by the US and EU if they are not tough on terrorism. It is an economic restraint as the following article reports, re Pakistan. Basically he is talking about unlikely happenings to give the SC some basis for leaving the ATL in place.

      • LCPL_X says:

        From what I understand the anti-money laundering laws there, that banks have to follow to a tee, are so strict there that moving money around in dollar accounts is already a big hassle.

        These laws were partly from post- 9/11, and the US partnering with foreign banks and gov’ts. Do as i say, not as i do, typa deal cuz its still pretty easy to stand up paper corporations here, especially in Delaware.

        I suspect this isn’t really about Terrorism, thanks to crypto currency, more about economics and finance, which I’m sure Micha’s MMT can easy rectify.

        • The discussion in which the subject arose pertained to the Anti-Terrorism Law.

          • LCPL_X says:

            “The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF), also known by its French name, Groupe d’action financière (GAFI), is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.[2] In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.”


            yeah, understood , Joe, which circles back to terrorism financing, then to money laundering. Which seems to me terrorism is just a small part of, but the bigger issue thus all the leper and black and gray lists, fears is ultimately about monetary sovereignty.

            FWIW, I know nothing about this Calida dude, only that this FATF stuff is suspect, knowing all I know about MMT and Micha’s postings now.

            • Calida is the slimeball Solicitor General who ousted the Chief Justice on a non-Constitutional Quo-Warranto procedure and tried to have Senator Trillanes tried because government lost the papers proving he was granted amnesty. Horrid human being.

            • In this case, Calida is trying to seat scare-stories to get the SC to reject the three-dozen cases filed against the ATL. It has nothing to do with financing. He also red-tagged a former senator (Colmenares) during his testimony, a stunt that I hope backfires.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Ah, thanks, Joe. Looks like Filipino style lawfare in action. Happens here too, but that’s judges step in to give voice to reason, sonny’s definition of “lamangan” seems appropriate. Calida’s isn’t to blame really I think, he’s being a lawyer which means arguing from his side (Us vs. Them), the lack of refiree’ing is the big issue.


                A federal judge overseeing a sweeping lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles ordered the city and county to find shelter for all unhoused residents of Skid Row within 180 days.

                In a fiery 110-page order, Judge David O Carter on Tuesday condemned Los Angeles officials’ inability to address the rise in homelessness in the region.

                “All of the rhetoric, promises, plans, and budgeting cannot obscure the shameful reality of this crisis – that year after year, there are more homeless Angelenos, and year after year, more homeless Angelenos die on the streets,” Carter wrote in granting a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs last week.

                Carter ordered the city and county to find shelter for all women and children on Skid Row within 90 days, and every homeless person in the downtown area must have a place to stay by mid-October.


                That essentially justifies a round-up of sorts, Joe. But the judge had no choice, inaction (masked as compassion on public officials side), then folks who cannot use public parks and city sidewalks any more. There’s lawyers and there’s judges issueing orders in the end.

                Judges get paid the big bucks for making the big decisions.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I just realized the issue isn’t really judges, its the process of appointing them, for example Trump got to appoint 3.

              Now the Dems want to expand the count thus diluting the judgements. Appointing more.

              Calida isn’t the problem, he is just doing his President’s bidding which is part of his job, Joe. Whether he does is with gusto or rather tepid resign is up to him, I suppose. But its his job.

              But how Justices are chosen over there, over here the Catholic educated judges by far out weigh the Jewish ones who tend to be liberal leaning; we’ve not seen products from evangelical law schools yet, like Liberty and Regent, but I’m sure they are coming.

              Over there, and I’ve been Googling, there doesn’t seem to be any analysis or discussions as to the justices leanings and or past judgements, no sense of liberal vs. conservative readings of the law. No patterns to go by.

              It seems like Filipinos just wanna know if some ones a top notcher in the bar exams. Over here, you Google SCOTUS or Justices, you get graphs galore, with all sorts of prognostications.

              Why is one’s placing in the bar exams one has taken in the 70s important??? Fix that, first maybe.

              Remember Goldberger in the Skokie case, Joe. That’s what lawyers do, he too was widely hated. and there’s tradition of that here in the US, fighting for unpopular perspectives and beliefs. a decade or so later, its like oh that’s what he was doing…

              • If the President says “Get Sereno off the Court” or “Put Trillanes in jail” and the minister of justice figures out a way to get it done by violating the Constitution (Sereno) or defying all sense (Trillanes), and can do it because the President has broken down democratic checks and balances and holds great political sway, both are at fault, just as the gang leader, bag man, and driver all go to jail in a jewelry store heist. Calida is a slimeball because he comes up with this stuff.

              • LCPL_X says:

                I get that you think he’s a bad guy, Joe. But my point here is that how did DU30 get to appoint justices en masse? The SC is flawed.

                Over here, once justices are in place its understood that they are staying put, unless they leave strategically to offer their seat to another justice with similar thought and pattern.

                Maybe a blog on how justices were so undermined by DU30 that someone like Calida can come up with these stuff. A compare and contrast with the SC here.

                Otherwise the Philippine SC is just another cabinet appointment.

              • It was known in 2016 that retirements would give the next president total sway on the SC, so the packing is not a surprise. From Marcos burial to ATL, the Court has given the President what he wants. Ethics is not really a driver of deeds in the Philippines, as it is for justice in the US. The Court as a cabinet appointment . . . nice way to put it.

              • That bar exam top notcher stuff is like the obsession with who was valedictorian or salutatorian in high school (in the 1950s in the still good public high schools that WAS the passport to an automatic UP scholarship though) as well as who was summa, magna and cum laude graduating college.

                Germany does look at grades too – without straight A marks in the state exams for jurists no career as a judge, but that is indeed on quality and not like Olympic competitions. For the Federal Constitutional Court other criteria matter like one’s track record as a judge.

                Have to look into that but as appeals are separate from constitutional matters over here (there is a Federal Court for that) having been in one of those courts might matter.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Seems to me the only difference compared to here, Joe, is the seat for life here vs. mandatory retirement at 70 years old over there. RBG shoulda stepped down while Obama was president, knowing herself all her ailments. At least she coulda controlled who Obama appointed. Missed opportunity.

                But researching this SC Philippines stuff, I don’t think most justices who stepped down were at 70 years of age. So could it be that they were in a way pro-DU30? Otherwise like RBG during Trump, those Philippine justices could’ve held out at least until 2022, or for as long as possible– to give DU30 a hard time.

                As for DU30’s appointments, that dude from Cebu (DU30’s family hailing from there) seems a personal appointment by the president himself. The rest of his appointments seem in line for being appointed. They may be objective, but like you say Ethics is not priority there.

                So I was Google’ing around SC Philippines and Ethics and came upon this case

                EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR. v. ATTY. LEO J. PALMA , basically Mr. Cojuangco hired Mr. Palma as his lawyer, Palma became close to the family and began travelling with them. So close that Mr. Palma was allowed to tutor and travel with their then 22 yr old daughter “Lisa”. One thing led to another, Palma and Lisa ran off to marry in HK.

                Well it turns out Palma was married already with 3 kids and a wife.

                Cojuangco being a big name no doubt connections in the Philippines made sure that Palma was disbarred. He was first only hand slapped by the Philippine bar w/ just 1 year suspension , but when the case was pushed up to the SC Philippines by Cojuanco, Palma got a beating.

                Joe, SCOTUS doesn’t hear cases like the above over here. I’m pretty sure state bar associations handle stuff like this. This is so petty.

                But the Supreme Court Philippines ruling on this is interesting and maybe useful against Calida , Joe. here,

                “The interdict upon lawyers, as inscribed in Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, is that they “shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.” This is founded on the lawyers’ primordial duty to society as spelled out in Canon 1 which states:

                “CANON 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.”

                It is not by coincidence that the drafters of our Code of Professional Responsibility ranked the above responsibility first in the enumeration. They knew then that more than anybody else, it is the lawyers — the disciples of law — who are most obliged to venerate the law. As stated in Ex Parte Wall:

                “Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the laws. He is their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override the laws, to trample them underfoot and to ignore the very bonds of society, argues recreancy to his position and office and sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements of the body politic.

                Corollarily, the above responsibility is enshrined in the Attorney’s Oath which every lawyer in the country has to take before he is allowed to practice.

                In sum, respondent committed grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer. The penalty of one (1) year suspension recommended by the IBP is not commensurate to the gravity of his offense. The bulk of jurisprudence supports the imposition of the extreme penalty of disbarment.

                WHEREFORE, respondent Leo J. Palma is found GUILTY of grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer, and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law.”

              • I think the law is not so consistently applied here. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines should handle ethical violations and is basically inert. So I think anyone pursuing complaint against Calida would be taking a huge risk.

              • kasambahay says:

                joeam, many did try vs calida who has found favor with duterte. seemingly, calida owned a burgeoning security firm, his wife now acted as chairman on his behalf. calida’s security firm has won lucrative govt contracts worth millions; calida’s security personnel having access to confidential info, in control of cctvs and anything else that goes in those agencies could well be reported back to calida.

                many citizens believed calida has vested interest and when there was move to have calida investigated, the investigation died in infancy. friends of the father gather together and plot together.

              • Thanks for the information.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Thanks Joe.

    • kasambahay says:

      karG, thanks to both calida and duterte, our country is already treated like a leper that intentional investors shy away. ejk in our country is legendary and law and order barely exist: the killing of journalists, unsolved murder of lawyers and judges, farmers wanting to avail of land reform given summary execution, killing of suspects on narco list, red tagging of celebs, etc. e.i, all points to the sins of the father, the one called tatay. he does look like a leper too, no amount of jogging can gloss over.


    As the national government’s disaster of a pandemic response plods on, we find relief in a few bright lights.

    The past week we found it in the person of Colonel Mike Logico. It began with the tired troll narrative on the West Philippine Sea (WPS): “If matapang kayo, sige sumugod tayo dun.” This one was pushed by Robin Padilla, previously convicted for illegal possession of firearms (see Robin Padilla @ Robinhood Padilla v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121917), and in the early ’90s gained fame as the “bad boy” of Philippine cinema.

    Padilla challenged those who were critical of the President’s submissive attitude to China’s incursions: “Kung talagang matapang kayo, sumama kayo sa akin…tapatan natin yung militia nung mga Chinese.” The dare jives with the kind of defense Padilla used in his criminal case – that he was a “confidential agent” – when caught by police in Pampanga after trying to flee when he hit a person with his car. (The ensuing search of his vehicle yielded several firearms, hence the charge). Here was the “bad boy” again assuming a cloak of authority to lead people – that is, if they were as brave as him. 

    As it turned out, someone accepted by commenting, “Call.” Perhaps irked by this “Mike Logico,” Padilla replied, “Mike Logico, let’s go!” Colonel Logico’s response was withering: “1. Get a haircut; 2. Apply for MNSA [masters in national security administration]. I will be your instructor; 3. Apply for CGSC [Command and General Staff College]. I will be your instructor again; 4. If you make it past step 3, you will have the minimum competence to become an RCDG [regional community defense group] Commander. That will put you in a better position to challenge anyone.” 

    It seems that “Mike Logico” was actually Colonel Logico, who holds a masters in national security from the National Defense College of the Philippines, an MPM from Ateneo, and a degree from the Philippine Military Academy. He served as the battalion commander of the 66th Infantry Battalion based in New Bataan, Compostela Valley in Mindanao.

    While Padilla may have the edge in posing and camera testing, Logico was the personification of “battle-tested.” Realizing he was dealing with the genuine article, Padilla quickly posted a profuse apology. Within hours, the exchange became viral. Within an hour of opening a Twitter account, Col. Logico already had more than 1,000 followers. (He now has around 8,000 in just one week.)

    It seems there is much more to the “Barefoot Colonel” (his monicker). In 2014, after troops under his command accidentally shot two civilians in Compostela Valley, a newspaper reported that the tribal leaders, pursuant to their custom, demanded the lives of the erring soldiers as recompense. According to the report, Logico respectfully refused and offered his own life to the tribe instead. In a post by journalist Gail Ilagan, who witnessed the event, she described the scene thus: “LTC Michael Logico, this big, powerful man wearing a uniform of authority, quietly crossed the room and knelt before the kagawad. Whatever he said wasn’t picked up by the microphone, but Artoro willingly went into the soldier’s powerful arms and cried: “’Salamat, colonel, sa imong pagkilala sa among kasakit.’”

    Interviewed after, Logico explained, “I felt that, as the commander, I was the only one capable of fixing the damage. Before I knew what I was doing, I stood up, walked over to Arturo (the tribal leader and a Dagansan relative), knelt in front of him, and begged for his forgiveness.” A leader of an overwhelmingly superior armed force kneeling and asking for forgiveness. How refreshing in a context where a police chief defends mañanitas, and a general red-tags anything that moves and calls senators “stupid.”

    There is more. In a previous post, the colonel shared how a lecturer once asked what must be done to succeed in the WPS. His response: we must first purge defeatism.

    Sinister disease

    Defeatism? I looked it up, and it means, “the acceptance of defeat without struggle, often with negative connotations.” Sounds familiar? Largely because we’ve been hearing it for the past 5 years. Inutil ako.” “Matatalo tayo.” So, whether he intended to or not, Colonel Logico’s simple response captures the President’s greatest sin – injecting the virus of defeatism into our national consciousness, including the military. 

    Defeatism is a sinister disease, and the President is the primary carrier. To enter any arena embracing the belief that one will lose makes it a certainty. And while leaders should consider the negatives, they should not publicly wallow in “helplessness.”

    The country’s foremost maritime law expert, Dr. Jay Batongbacal, shared an article about how China employs three “warfares” through the “coordinated use of public opinion, psychological, and legal warfare methods to stifle criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and spread positive views of China.” The article says China also uses the three to influence foreign governments “in ways favorable to China.”

    One reads “coordinated use of public opinion” and one thinks of troll farms. But psychological warfare? China must be celebrating that the president himself publicly preaches the Gospel of Defeatism each time he tells the nation, “Wala tayong magagawa.” He threatens Filipinos with “patayin,” but says he is “inutil” when faced with the Chinese incursion. No wonder Justice Carpio describes the president as China’s greatest resource. There is nothing more damaging to a nation’s psyche than a defeatist leader.

    Which reminds me of a call this week from a retired government official who shared his exasperation with the way the president frames our country as a nation of cowards. “The Filipino soldier was never a coward,” the official insists. He asked me to look into the Battle of Yultong. Yultong? It seems it was part of the Korean War, where 900 Filipino soldiers were tasked to defend against a force of 2,000-5,000 Chinese.

    One account (Denise Emille Duque’s) narrates: “The battle ended with over 500 dead Chinese soldiers lying on the battlefield, and two of them were captured. On the other hand, the 10th BCT lost only 12 people, with 38 wounded and 6 missing. It was a victory for the ‘Fighting Filipinos.’” A monument was erected to commemorate the battle in Yeoncheon, South Korea. Perhaps our K-pop “army” should put this monument in their next itinerary, as a way to help the WPS effort. 

    900 Filipinos defeated 5,000 Chinese. From the way the president talks, it’s as if this was not part of our soldiers’ DNA. After 5 years of hearing him wallow, it was invigorating to learn about the Battle of Yultong. To discover that we have faced the Chinese before and won against overwhelming odds is a much-needed vaccine against the president’s mantra of helplessness. “Give me 10,000 Filipinos and I will conquer the world,” is a quote attributed to Gen. Douglas MacArthur. It is befuddling how a foreign commander can choose to inspire our troops while the present one infects them with fears of defeat.  

    Purging defeatism is a crucial first step. Because there is truth to the saying that a battle is won before the first shot is fired. And capitulation is not a strategy, it is a cop out. We must heed Col. Logico’s example; we need to set attitudes right. The Philippines is not helpless, and its soldiers are not cowards. Theirs is a proud history of which the Battle of Yultong is just one example.

    As citizens, we can fight the virus of defeatism by reading up on historical examples, starting with the Battle of Mactan (whose history and hero, the President’s omnipresent shadow just mangled in front of Cebuanos). We must also appreciate that the military’s stance today is not wholly by choice. By constitutional design, they are limited by the chain of command and who wields it. We should not mistake the defeatism exhibited at the top as the general sentiment of our troops. These are trying times for them as well.

    My father would always talk fondly of his commander, Admiral Ramos (not related to FVR). I gather he’d follow the admiral straight to hell. I think my father and his fellows would do the same for Colonel Logico. I believe there are several like him still.

    In one viral photo, Logico refused to join the “fist salute.” Now that’s courage worthy of Gen. MacArthur’s praise. –

    John Molo is a commercial law litigator who enjoys reading and learning about the Constitution and its intersection with politics. He teaches Constitutional Law at UP Law-BGC, where he also chairs the Political Law Cluster of the faculty. He is the president of the Harvard Law School Association of the Philippines, and a past chairman of the IBP Law Journal. He led the team that sued the Aquino administration and invalidated the PDAF.

    • LCPL_X says:

      Why does one need Gen. MacArthur’s praise, that part I think connects perfectly to MLQIII’s article below. Stand up, yes, but be wise about it.

    • kasambahay says:

      mike logico is right, robin padilla ought to get a haircut else the enemy will drag robin padilla by the hair and scalp him.

      • kasambahay says:

        there comes a time when a general has to retreat and surrender. alexander the great once retreated, gave himself time off. mourned and buried his dead and mulled over his shortcomings, plotted more and reorganized his army, then strengthened his defences and went back into the foray, wiser and more determined.

        being defeatists should serve a purpose, it’s time for re-evaluation what work and does not. a superior army always has a weakness, an achilles heel. it’s up to the defeatist to find out where that weakness is.

        duterte said he will not go to war with china, he did not no say we cannot go to war with china or I forbid you all to go to war with china. he was speaking for himself, I think, that’s the loophole, the lack of plebiscite.

  11. – by MLQ3

    Every president, officially, at least, has some sort of idea about Philippine history in his or her head. For his part, the President’s fixation is on Lapulapu, which was demonstrated early on by his instituting the Order of Lapulapu and by the bending of everyone to his will, as far as the quincentennial of the Victory at Mactan, which took place yesterday, was concerned. We can assume that when the Shadow President, Bong Go, made a speech at the Mactan Shrine, it was at least, in tune with, if not an actual articulation of, the President’s opinions. A Cebuano journalist, Max Limpag, pointed out: “On a historic day, at a historic site, Sen. Bong Go shares wrong information about Lapulapu, that he was a Tausug sent to check presence of foreigners and was met by the forces of Magellan and thus the Battle of Mactan happened.”

    This is nowhere as bad as the social media account of Jolo Revilla which saluted the bravery of one of the first national heroes who gave his life for our freedom… no other than Ferdinand Magellan! It took a while, but the salute was finally edited on Facebook to refer to Lapulapu who didn’t have to do any dying to be heroic. But seriously, folks, the harsh reality of life seems to have made yesterday’s commemoration muted, at best, and disregarded, in the main. But a case can be made, I think, for the quincentennial neatly bookmarking 500 years of Western influence on our leadership that has now come to an end.

    This idea isn’t a unique one, and owes much to a provocative essay by Razib Khan in the online journal UnHerd, titled “Why the West lost India’s culture wars.” In looking at trends in Indian culture and politics, specifically the fading of the Westernized older generation of Indian leaders from the independence era, Khan both identified and described, what that generation was, and how it became extinct. Anyone reading it will immediately sense a feeling of familiarity to our own Western-oriented generations, the ones that were oriented toward Spain and Europe and those who were often educated in, or at least according to the principles of, the United States. In India’s (and Pakistan’s) case(s), their highly Westernized — indeed, culturally quite Anglophile — leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, led their peoples to independence and belonged to elites who sought the creation of nation-states but who were comfortable with the West, indeed, integrated “among the English-speaking peoples” in ways fundamentally alien to the people they governed.

    But in the intervening generations, the old bonds between these elites and the people they governed frayed, faded, and were ultimately rejected. Khan’s description of India’s current populist prime minister, Narendra Modi, “[he] sports a third class degree…,” and the dynamics of his rule, which “could withstand being shunned by Western governments…” will strike a chord along with Khan’s identification of how Modi does “not rely on the West in the way their predecessors did.” The political class of old, which “were in the subcontinent, but not truly of it,” or the intelligentsia of India, which is “the face of elite India most prominent to the rest of the world, but this is not the only India” or “no longer the dominant India,” will also strike a chord with the Filipino reader. The Filipinos appalled and aghast with the present dispensation—who could not prevent its assumption of power, and even now, is probably secretly convinced what we have now will last longer than one presidency—though they may be divided ideologically all represent a profoundly Western orientation, whether expressed in terms of liberal democracy or national democracy, to use the favored euphemisms for both.

    Here a Filipino reader will deviate from the rest of Khan’s fascinating essay which looks at socialists and Hindu nationalists; we are still groping for the terms to describe what we have now, but it is, arguably, at the end of five centuries of defining ourselves according to the West, every bit an organic, because enduring, and identifiably so, world view of power, and interrelations. The end result is same-same: The end of looking to the West, and an embrace of what the intervening centuries never erased, and which has found fulfillment in the ballot box.

    • LCPL_X says:

      That was for sure heroic feats. I’d not known of this. Thanks for the read.

      “LTC Michael Logico, this big, powerful man wearing a uniform of authority, quietly crossed the room and knelt before the kagawad. Whatever he said wasn’t picked up by the microphone, but Artoro willingly went into the soldier’s powerful arms and cried: “’Salamat, colonel, sa imong pagkilala sa among kasakit.’”

      I’ve seen these big theatretical gestures too in dealing with tribes. But never in a quid pro quo scenario like the above, I’m imagining a US military officer do this, where in the actual tribal leaders take his/her offer seriously. So, no. That’s a solid no go. The closest was probably when Petraeus ordered his men to take a knee and turn their rifles to the ground, during a near riot I think that was in Karbala iraq, with Shi’as. And the mob calmed down.

      I like this Logico dude, but the problem with this article is it conflates tactics and ops and strategy with big diplomatic geo affairs issues.

      Sure when you take a risk, its 50/50, the tribal leaders coulda took Logico behind the back and killed him like a pig– but I’m sure (it wasn’t told where or what part of the Philippines Logico was, maybe he is in fact Lumad thus the understanding of symbols) Logico himself knew that that risk was calculated to his favour.

      And that’s what all this is, calculated risks.

      Logico’s right, defeatism isn’t the best in one’s leadership inventory, but knowing when to fold and when to take that risk is part of leadership. But theres a dangerous opposite to this defeatism, Ireneo , and its exactly what Magellan did, Pat Tillman was the same too, overly gung-ho, or too G.I. Joe, I don’t know what the English word would be for it, something

      akin to optimism but dangerous gets you and others killed. Uncalculated risk. I suppose.

      And that’s what Magellan did, not really knowing the terrain, nor it seems an exact count of the fighting men Lapu Lapu had at his disposal. Too much reliance on the grace of God.

      Balance is key here. One best exampled by Teddy Locsin I think. He knows his audience, knows his boss, knows the Chinese. Now i don’t know if Logico can operate similarly to Locsin, but i do know that the Philippines is lucky to have him, this is a great improvement from AFP officers getting piggy back carried on shore, or around really.


      All this Lapu-Lapu is Tausug from Sulu, absence of other evidence, Filipinos or Cebuanos, or even Yellows to mock Go/Du30, all this should be investigated. Not all history is written, if the oral tradition which generated said statements is solid, then that just adds more to what we know of Lapu-Lapu, correct? more info to go by, just like data, better understanding. For example, Pigafetta lists vocab words, has any Tausug scholar shared Tausug equivalents? This is very much like Arabic in Quran, where words were found to be from Syriac. Opening up to farther studies of this connection. Pigafetta lists the word billat (after that May 1 journal). What is Tausug for it officially? Because I’ve heard it refered to the same word (unofficially, as described to me).

      “The end result is same-same: The end of looking to the West, and an embrace of what the intervening centuries never erased, and which has found fulfillment in the ballot box.”

      • Re Magellan’s extreme risk-taking, such behavior was not uncommon among Iberian minor nobility, called hidalgos in Spain and fidalgos in Portugal. Magalhães who came from Tras-os-Montes, literally “behind the mountains”, was a perfect example of such a mindset. Some centuries later that mindset had become ridiculous as the colonial wars were over. The main difference between Magellan and Don Quixote was that the latter charged at windmills.

        Cortes’ expedition against the Aztecs was just as unauthorized as Magellan’s against Mactan, except that Cortes the lawyer knew how to convince the enemies of the Aztecs to fight with him, just like Legazpi enlisted the Visayans for the 15th siege of Maynila.

        One major factor that made Magellan lose BTW was attacking at dawn. Pigafetta clearly said that low tide meant the shore was out of the range of artillery. Something about the whole matter tells me a trap was set for Magellan.

        • kasambahay says:

          magellan was showing off: such superiority of his race, his weapons, his clothes, the omnipotence of his god, against the bloodlust of the filipinos? thus he succumbed.

          I would have loved to hear lapu-lapu’s pep talk prewar, what he said to his men and how he rallied them.

          seemingly, dawn is preferred time of attack when decisions have been made and all is quiet; the minds and beating hearts of the warriors focused on one thing.

          • kasambahay says:

            bong go got the wrong man, should have compared duterte to humabon. lapu-lapu went to war, duterte wouldnt. and now china has occupied a region the size of the mediterranean in the west phil sea.

  12. Karl Garcia says:

    Community pantry: The power of an idea

    The community pantry came at a time when people were feeling depressed because the pandemic did not seem to be disappearing and there were even government reports that said millions had lost their jobs and billions of pesos had been lost due to economic lockdowns.

    Then came a story, a ray of sunshine amidst the stories of gloom. A young woman, Ana Patricia Non, had set up a small stall on Maginhawa Street offering free food to anyone with one appeal – give what you can and take only what you need. It literally spread like wildfire, with so many following the example of that one story.

    There are of course controversies. Here is a letter from the De La Salle Brothers on their stand regarding the red tagging charge by some government agencies.

    “The De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines denounce the harassment and red-tagging of the PNP and NTF-ELCAC on community pantries. The seminal idea of a community pantry is profoundly connected to us both as Christians and Filipinos. The Biblical narrative of Jesus miraculously feeding the multitude with a boy’s offering of five loaves and two fish has been replicated more than a hundred times this past week in community pantries that have mushroomed every where.

    “Mula sa kagandahang-loob ni Patreeng Non, dumaloy ang ginhawa sa marami pang mga hapag ng bayan. The People Power Revolution of 1986 brought out the best in the Filipino, with hundreds of ordinary citizens showing their courage and conviction in a true spirit of bayanihan and kabayanihan to flush out the strongman.

    “Such selfless acts of patriotism by its citizens during the worst of times have defined the Filipino soul and are imbedded in our history.

    “Community pantries and other private-sector initiatives should be supported, applauded and replicated. The NTF-ELCAC budget of P19 billion should instead be used to feed the hungry during this time of the pandemic. The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act calls on everyone to facilitate distribution and minimize disruption of food and other essential goods. Government agencies should support and not hinder services to our people, especially during the pandemic.” – Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, De La Salle Brothers, Philippines

    * * *

  13. Only two officers are not doing the fist-bump in this picture.

    The white-haired one in front is Colonel Mike Logico.

    • kasambahay says:

      thanks for the pic, Irineo. mike logico and me have a thing in common. I also have not raised a fist, or take a knee, and that probly makes me a variant. the one time I took the knee and still do is when I’m in the presence of a much higher being: god almighty.

      fist bump not meeting another fist is not fist bump, but a half bump; half done and unreciprocated and in my opinion, a glass half full. a midget submarine lacking in size and proportion.

      for full fist bump, the people pictured above ought to connect their fists with that of another. connection is important.

  14. Micha says:

    Philippines headed towards India-like Covid crisis.

    Hit by one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in Asia, the Philippine government has responded with a mixture of despondence, incompetence and cruelty.

    Hospitals are near-capacity, the economy is in deep recession, vaccinations are rolling out at a snail’s pace and now there are growing suspicions that the authorities are manipulating pandemic-related data in order to conceal the true scale of their mismanagement.

    Meanwhile, government authorities have cracked down on community pantries offering food assistance to hundreds of thousands of impoverished and unemployed Filipinos who are bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic.

    Seeking to revive a battered economy, following an almost 10% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to relax ongoing lockdowns in the coming days.

    • LCPL_X says:

      “Unlike its manufacturing-driven neighbors, which have avoided deep recessions by maintaining strong exports, the Philippine economy is largely dependent on the domestic demand and services for generating growth and jobs.”

      That I think is the whole point, Micha.

      I can understand the economy vs. deaths argument, we had it here last year exactly. but had the Philippines been more diligent about standing up an economy that wasn’t always dependent on other stuff (OFWs, BPO, care-giving, cruise ship industry, prone to brain drain economy), this whole

      economy vs. deaths debate wouldn’t be so harsh.

      On top of that people there use the Supreme Court as their personal arbitration panel. For example the above, Cojuangco vs. Palma case, I’ve been researching that and most decisions are actually personal in nature just like that case.

      FWIW, look s like MMT is it, Biden’s set to increase taxes now to slow down inflation, Micha. Now all millionaires/billionares are all in in Bitcoin/Bitcoin cash. Funny.

      • Micha says:

        Yup, US economy had been turbocharged en route to a stunning 6% projected annual growth, thanks to Uncle Joe’s big spending. In contrast, Euro area dipped in the first quarter.

        2020 is the year that Reaganomics died. Governments can do a lot of good in a crisis if it has competent managers. This pandemic is the perfect storm to root out some important myths on the role and inherent powers of government.

        MMT provided the basis for why there had been less hair-splitting over our sovereign government’s debt and deficits at a time of ramped up federal spending.

        • LCPL_X says:

          Either the millionaires and billionaires here are going all in with Bitcoin/Bitcoin cash to get away from tax, or like chemp says assuming some US dollar collapse,

          from the perspective of MMT, moving to crypto drains the excess money in circulation thus puts the brakes on inflation.

          Its all about manufacturing limits and wants, shortages. Which I’m still finding really interesting vis a vis human behaviour, Micha.

          I can report that here in Socal less and less people are wearing masks, less assholery it seems too with folks policing each other regarding mask wearing, pro or con, like before. Then again more vaccinations too, I’m surprised a bunch of folks actually ended up deciding to take it.

          Hospitals are quiet here again, like dead calm. I think the next industry to go is the hospital industry, and telemedicine start ups are taking a lot of clients from them. Looks like brick and mortar hospitals are going down too, just like malls. but that’s another story… But

          I figured like me and chempo, they’d be scared of the newness of RNA technology, if Johnson and Johnson comes along I guess I’ll go with that. Not messing around with RNA stuff, not yet— but not lining up for it for hours either.

          So there’s a lesson there somewhere re manufacturing shortages to induce the last hold outs like me & chemp, to get vaccinated, ie. “We’re all giving out the rest of the vaccines to the 3rd world, might as well get yours now!!!”.

          • Micha says:

            1. Bitcoin is a passing fancy, too volatile in value, and there is nothing that backs it up. The US dollar, in contrast, is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. It will only collapse if the government collapses or at least reduced to a dysfunctional one similar to most poor, technologically backward countries.

            2. I don’t know if it’s sound advice to convert your extra dollars to crypto given the latter’s volatility. I’d rather buy a second house, invest in stocks, or open a Treasury account.

            3. Inflation is always driven by shortages in goods or commodities. As long as we have the ability and resources to produce or procure stuff for basic consumption, runaway inflation isn’t going to happen even if you have oodles of monies sloshing around.

            • LCPL_X says:

              1. Blockchain is what’s backing it up. Which in a way is also faith based, some notion of security, albeit digital in nature. Faith in tech vs. faith in people and their gov’ts.

              2. Bitcoin/crypto ETFs (exchange traded funds, something in between a mutual fund and actual stocks). Looks more like money market, but instead of currencies (backed by gov’ts) its crypto, backed by blockchain.

              3. Micha, I get that since Jekyll island they’ve comed up with a way to ensure some semblance of control (almost every 10 years like clockwork). But MMT (at least for me) dispells the arbitrary nature of the old system. Not bankers and rich, but politicians now set the agenda.

              They’ve manufactured shortages and plentitude, and said hey this is all part of the secret recipe. Which I still don’t get. In Bitcoin the shortage is real, in fact the basis of it all, that you can only mine so much, then that’s all the bitcoin there’ll ever be. Period.

              From what I understand, volatility now while mining is going on, then once its stops volatility stabilizes. I read it for fun, my money’s not in this.

              (But I do agree with you unless you’re just gambling, ETFs or doing money market-like transactions, which the ROIs are profitable, one should not exchange one’s whole worth with it, I agree with you here, Micha)

            • sonny says:

              Fascinating, Micha … I actually understand what you’re saying, i.e. the economics of “it” in lay terms, a teaching gift. Thanks.

  15. by Randy David

    At the virtual vaccine summit organized the other day by the country’s leading business groups, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told participants: “We are very confident that the country will be able to achieve herd containment within this year with the help of the private sector, with the inoculation of 50 to 70 million Filipinos.”

    Even with the lower figure of 50 million, the road ahead seems longer. It means administering 100 million jabs (at two doses per person) within a period of eight months—assuming, it goes without saying, the steady arrival of the promised vaccines. Subtracting the 1.8 million doses that have already been given leaves us with about 98 million to be dispensed in 245 days. That’s exactly 400,000 inoculations per day—an ambitious and unrealistic target, given the varying logistical requirements of the different vaccines and the fragmented character of the vaccine rollout itself.

    To cite just one source of complication: Half a million Filipinos have been given their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and are due to receive their second dose soon. These second doses are not yet in the country, and it is not part of the protocol (at this time) that a different COVID-19 vaccine may be given as second dose.

    But, who can blame Galvez for painting a bright scenario whose realization depends on factors that now lie beyond our control? As far as he is concerned, they have done everything possible under the circumstances. Still, as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.

    Those circumstances, in the language of risk theory, are called “contingencies.” The assumption is that things can happen differently from that expected. Refusing to be ruled by chance, modern societies attempt to manage these contingencies by reducing to a minimum the dangers and costs they pose. Decisions are made today to manage future outcomes—to avoid a loss or to gain an advantage, which may or may not materialize. Every decision (which, of course, includes the decision not to act) carries its own risk.

    An example may illustrate this. Some relatives and friends have asked me whether they should avail themselves of the current vaccines being offered to them, or to wait for the arrival of their preferred vaccines. I tell them that they alone can make this decision, even as I remind them of the Department of Health advice to take the first approved vaccine that is available. That is the public health perspective.

    The personal perspective may show things differently. Even after being assured of the comparable safety and efficacy of the available vaccines, people may continue to have reservations. For example, if two doses are required (except for the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine), they want to know what will happen if the second dose is delayed due to supply problems. For now, they will have to wait until a second dose of the same vaccine is available to be assured of some measure of protection. Is it better then to wait until the vaccine supply is more certain? But when will that be?

    Many people I know, including friends in the corporate sector who are in the queue for specific brands of vaccines that have been ordered through the tripartite agreement, are opting to get their jabs now with whatever vaccine is available, albeit with some reluctance. The management of risk is part of their everyday world.

    For the rest of us, the higher the reported numbers of daily infections and deaths go, the more unbearable the wait for the other vaccines seems to become. This panic mode plays right into China’s current dominance of the local vaccine scene.

    It is not where we would want to be given the current tension in the West Philippine Sea. Whether we like it or not, our dependence on China for the continuing supply of the Sinovac vaccine constrains the country’s negotiating position on the troubling issues affecting our relations with this powerful neighbor. As Mr. Duterte puts it: “May utang na loob tayo sa Tsina.”

    What is worth keeping in mind is that the situation in which we find ourselves may not be so much the product of a strategic risk calculation by the Duterte administration as it is the outcome of a risky hesitation by our decision-makers to make the hard decisions regarding vaccine procurement.

    President Duterte’s preference for the Chinese vaccines, whether for scientific or pragmatic reasons, was clear from the start. That this was not translated early enough into a willful decision to purchase a significant amount of the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines—as was the case for Indonesia, Chile, and Turkey—remains a puzzle.

    I suspect our vaccine experts weren’t sure the Chinese vaccine would be readily accepted by our people. And, worse, they probably thought that they could afford to postpone making a decision one way or the other (e.g., ordering any of the Western-made vaccines). Risk theory says that decisions can only be made in the context of the present. In November-December last year, when vaccine purchases could have been firmed up, new COVID-19 cases had significantly gone down from their July-August peak. Hence, there was no felt need to rush.

    By the time vaccine manufacturers were already being swamped with orders, I suppose we were still thanking our lucky stars for sparing us COVID-19’s most punishing lashes. The National Task Force Against COVID-19 clearly thought we had time. More crucially, our President probably believed, deep in his heart, that he could always count on China, “our friend,” to deliver the vaccines we need when we needed them.

    That’s how vassals think. That is not how modern leaders govern.

    • kasambahay says:

      a friend in need is a friend indeed. not communist china though, duterte’s friend indeed is awfully busy looking after its many many other closer friends that duterte’s philippines is but shelved and forgotten.

      we have to send protests after protests vs china’s occupation in west phil sea just to be heard and listened to. and all we get is half measures and pittance from china sending vaccines the amount comparable to great famine. yet our country’s international vaccine loans are going through the roof! billions of money now close to a trillion for scant vaccine, and all vaccine czar galvez can do is paint rosy picture.

      galvez’s vaccine fist bump is unfulfilled and hanging in the air. galvez once said, vaccines are being hoarded, in china?

      galvez is better off aggressively procuring vaccines not just from china but from all others too, not in giving excuses and painting rosy pictures. as vaccine czar, galvez is proving to be talk czar. the more he talks the less vaccines coming our way, and the farther we are from covid recovery.

      • sonny says:

        What seems to be playing out is a principle of “setting ducks in a row” that when ignorance is abundant we can conflate many concerns together to the point of absurdity in the conclusions that come about. In information systems analysis, being aware that the real world can only give snapshots at any given time, temporary paradigms must be subjected to reasonable, finite number of regressive tests as quickly as possible. (c. BLACK HAWK DOWN: A 30-minute well-planned operation gives a 24-hr lesson on what went wrong)

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