Saturday, 31 October 2015

Of Remembering their names And Continuing their unfinished tasks

Of Remembering their names
And Continuing their unfinished tasks

An All Saints Day message

Lo, There do I see my Father, and
Lo, there do I see my Mother, and
Lo, There do I see my Brothers and my Sisters and
Lo, There do I see my people back to the begining, and
Lo they do call to me, and
bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla,
Where the brave will live forever.

As time goes by, this person would say that the graves of these fallen righteous are still visited by those who reaffirmed in its oath. 

Just like the living who continuously carrying their crosses called "hardship" and "sacrifice", these fallen are those who have committed in their lifelong work in every field. They vent all of their lives in preserving, nurturing, respecting, giving new life to anything almost lost in pursuit of making a future enough to describe "better" if not "best" for a growing society.

However, their contributions are unlikely to be considered by the present order, knowing that it opposes the status quo those on high has greatly cherished and enjoyed it, regardless of stepping on everyone's right such as to be given what is needed be it a living wage, a land to till, a right to have a peaceful community, education, anything to fight for. In fact, ALCADEV's Emerito Samarca is one example of those who have committed in a lifelong work to uplift the Indigenous Folks whom he befriended and given enlightenment so as to make them capable of improving agriculture and to be literate when it comes to the rudiments of reading and writing. The system, however, didn't recognise it as such to the extent of killing him and his friends in front of the students and members of his adapted community.

No wonder why the Indigenous Folks and its lowlander friends can't get over in mourning what more of avenging their deaths as well as others whom had also shared the same sacrifice of both living and fighting. Yes, they all carried crosses and traveled the road less taken as most favoured the road likely to deal with their fantasies. The last time this person mingled with the folk at the University of the Philippines, Diliman has also recalled some of his messages such as a message made two years ago, and these folks may also felt the experiences as what this person sees of in his earlier post:

"And despite their promises peddled to those whom still carrying their crosses and traversing in the path called righteous, when will the peasant be given land? Workers their fair wage and good conditions? The unemployed with good employment? A nation that is ressurected from its ruins and degeneration? When? No one from the system can say a definite time to make things realize aside from telling all the paper decrees and claptrap that rather throws anyone to the grave of forgetfulness. The apathetic remains apathetic, thanks to the state of the art bullshit the system had given."

Well, the system remains as it was, age old bullshit trying to justify its actions as necessary. Apologetics may join in its series of justfications such as making its string of horrors lawful in everyone's eyes no matter how awful it is.

A poem for Samhain

A poem for Samhain

This person is tempted and suffered
Felt the pain the fear and taunt
His heart felt the tremors 
Both within and without
But with you whom I ought to call
To seek help if not ease me and all
Let the pain that bind be vanished thee
Or let anything set me free!

I may still felt what comes from the past
Difficult to move on yes, but hope should be the last
The sufferings ought to be forgotten
And mistakes ought to be forgiven
My ritual is simple but hope it gives power
To break free from the chains bind me as if forever
And walk safely to the path less taken 
But I know in that path lies the truly awaken

To the dead be remembered and never forgotten
For the works they greatly made and if sinned be forgiven
The ones who live be given warm embraces
And perhaps in spirit give them tender kisses
Inspire them in their struggles to realise their goals
As trying to break free in passing burning coals
And reach the future the old once forsee
Just, Peaceful, with faces enough to become glee.

To my love I know it is impossible to be we
But I hope you understand that these words come from me
That with all the works some finished for I am inspired because of you
Call it strange but what I said is enough to be true
Maybe in this ritual that I made this night
Cast a power enough to understand both of us and enlight
And with the help of friends, both here and gone
Bind us enough as our fate has been drawn

Happy Samhain!

Happy Samhain!

Enjoy Samhain, happy Celtic new year with justice for the Lumád folk. 

Despite celebrating a different holiday such as those from the west, Samhain, known as Halloween by many, is more than just a celebration of a renewed commitment to the struggle such as those of the Indigenous folks, but also a celebration of hope as these folks and its lowland friends are enjoying each other's company with warm embraces and a fusion of both folk and contemporary sounds.

In fact, according to Celtic legend, Cú Chulainn going into battle in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, which was said to have begun at Samhain. While yesterday, Bai Bibyaon Bigkay, well known amongst the Manobo Elders, spoke angst against the system for harassing their kin and occupying their land in the name of interest. These two beings, both legendary and real, shared the same goal and that is to struggle against the hordes of evil if not defending their folk and home.

There may be no bonfire as in the west, nor even the usual commercialised trick or treating, but the music of struggle has been played so much knowing that as in the past, the drums of war may have felt its adversaries fear especially that these folks are marching towards Liwasang Bonifacio. Last Tuesday they lit their candles at Palma hall to remember their fallen kin as well as reaffirming in their commitment, and yesterday they afforded to dance with the lowlanders with both having enjoyment. They even enjoyed free food such as Pizza, Fried Noodles, to those of Caldereta, Afritada, Barbecue, and Lugaw to satisfy their appetites and souls in preparing for the battle.
Perhaps those from the otherworld, particularly those of the fallen folks may also enjoy with these people, especially with their kin and its friends knowing that their struggle is just with all the hardships they have passed in hope of attaining justice.

Anyways, let the candles burn and prayers be prayed not to appease  fallen souls, but to guide the living towards their cherished aspiration. 

Trick the system, treat the people!

Friday, 30 October 2015

As the folk music played (and everybody danced)

As the folk music played 
(and everybody danced)

Notes on the final part of the Indigenous "Lumad" Folk stay-in 
at the University of the Philippines, Diliman

This person again returned to their camp as part of making this writeup, and besides seeing sympathysing students and faculty talking with the Indigenous Lumad Folks, of coloured dresses and native instruments being played for a practise, it seems that everything is well prepared especially for the Saturday's march at then Lawton plaza in Manila, commonly known today as Liwasang Bonifacio.

Quite Halloween party-like  or even "Woodstock" to some as people enjoyed seeing the folks-in-costumes, folk artworks, if not "Getting Chilled" on that commemorative event, but behind all these events is a cause people often question, such as the desire for justice, self-determination, respect especially in their communities threatened by entities whose exploitation is fueled by interest such as mining and cash crops. Worse, these entities are protected by those who swore to "protect" even including their own kin, but actually kills those who stand on its way, including those whose action consists of educating their fellow folk or taking over homes if not burning altogether leaving these folks in a state of fear and horror worse as any other system-sponsored terror. 

Quite nice though, especially in mingling and enjoying their company, of hearing their experiences, the desire for justice, to those of their music, dance, and a showcase of cultural stuff displayed in its "Museo Lumad"; and at late afternoon everyone's assembled to see the elders expressing thanks in the event, as well as the University that afforded to welcome them in open arms. One of the speakers is the well known Elder who, at her old age, still afforded to vent rage to those who made them displaced from their homes if not killed their kin and friends. "We are not rebels, We are living in peace in our homes! But we are prepared to fight if they still continue to harass against us!" is one of her words saidth in her statement. 

And after a series of speeches and thanksgiving from both University administrators and Folk Elders comes a series of dance and music, of both folk and contemporary or even a fusion of both; it encourages people to watch if not engage especially in a part wherein everybody's been called to join in the communal dance with the natives while others rather stood by and raised their cameras to video that entire event. The sound of struggle has filled the entire place as the native guitars, drums, and gongs are being played. Acoustic guitars are also being played as well and the people danced if not singing, chanting to the tune of justice for the folk and against the system known to exploit. 

This person initially covered a "video" of sorts, short enough to stop over as he joined in the dancing with the people, be it the Lumad folk or the city-bred dweller who afforded to join and fraternise with them, and perhaps everybody knows that these Indigenous folks felt the warm embrace of their lowland counterparts while the latter felt the sorrow and anger that resorted them to march and fight against the unjust system and its order.

Admittingly speaking, these Indigenous Folks are repeating their statement no matter what the system tries to counter it and mainstream media chose not to broadcast over. True enough that the common people may find not new into their words such as "justice", "killings", "exploitation", or any other word or phrase related to their horrible experience, but the more the exploiters repress their lives and communities and destroy their cherished nature then why stop their statements from repeating? This person may have heard the statement years ago but it still continues as different companies are having their itchy hands trying to grab a chunk of the Lumad homeland for their interests, so are the system's armed men and its paramilitary volunteers a legistator rebranded as  the folk's "defenders". 
But "No", what everyone hear is murderers and ransackers of communities these self-proclaimed "defenders" chose to deny, remain silent, or divert the issue to those who afforded to uplift and fight against the exploiters trying to grab in the name of development. Again, the system may deny or divert the issue, but the folk and the people knows that justice should be take place against those whom they know as unjust. 

That's all for now.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

For a cause people ought to understand: Notes after Manilakbayan

For a cause people ought to understand:
Notes after Manilakbayan

It took days, if not weeks or even months for most people to understand the situation, if not having sympathysing with the Indigenous folks from Mindanao, and these people are still marred by a series of fear and terror.

Ranging from solidarity gatherings to positive comments in social media sites, of statements in pamphlets to headlines in newspapers, the issue on these Indigenous Folks known as "Lumads" continues to be heard with reports that really stated these people's clamour for justice, and even the homilies from the church has resounded the same heartfelt demands as such. 

It may also deemed age-old as these folk's long-standing appearances, in a sense that exploiters has still continuing its assertion to take over communities these folks worked and lived, given its resource-rich hidden wonder like Copper if not trying to expand its cash crop interest such as those of oil palm, banana, or any other produce fit for export. And with various "carrot and stick" means, of pressing men to join paramilitary groups to having a semblance of "community development", the intention is clear for these exploiters and that is to take over the area described as "still virgin", no matter these folks continue to oppose their intention. 
These exploiters would even brand concerned institutions (like ALCADEV) as rebel coddlers if not entirely as rebels, they would kill or threaten those who stand in their way. Worse, justifying its intentions as necessary in case of Nancy Catamco with her "Indigenous Defence System" that is, referring to the paramilitary groups like Alamara, Bagani Force, amd various groups rallying under the system's call.

Quite sound strange to some people, particularly today's modern youth in thinking that these Indigenous folks are still yearning for enlightenment as well as living in their communities with dignity amidst existing laws and various forms of "help", but in having a system who supposed to encourage to enlighten and live with dignity is rather trying to block any of their attempts knowing that these folks, if enlightened, be able to stand up against their so-called "benefactors", such as the interests whom  trying to exploit their cherished resources as such. And with various incidents such as those of ALCADEV, MISFI Academy, and other schools and various institutions, really intensifies a really-existing repression and disenfranchisement towards these indigenous folks and its lowland sympathysers,whose intention of staying is to enlighten, uplift, bring hope to these folks in this ever changing world whilst rooted in its centuries old heritage like the cherished mountains still threatened by so-called "development."

Ironically, the system also afforded to babble some of the phrases the protesters do as they are trying to divert the issue into their behalf, such as "Justice" and "self-determination" as inscribed in the "Indigenous Peoples Rights Act", of describing the conflict as a mere internal matter between villages or clans, or even a call create a "zone of peace/ or respect" that actually failed to realise as interests continues to penetrate further the folk and its community; and also to think that these paramilitary men rallying behind the banner of that so-called "Indigenous Defence System" has orchestrated a series of murders on the system's behalf, will the statements from the latter be considered as such? 
Remember, by hook or by crook, the system has trying to create a scene wherein exploitation under the guise of "development" is deemed just, that the take over, if not destruction of schools and take over of communities as necessary to make easy access for the self-proclaimed developers of the society. The system may afforded to create illusory zones as in the past, but will they respect the decision of the indigenous folk to have their own schools be set up? To have their livelihood be respected as such? Theoretically Maybe given the provisions of the "Indigenous Peoples Rights Act", but actually existing NO as the vested interests within the system stubbornly assert its blood soiled claim using "development" as its pretext. 

Well, regardless of the actions the system stubbornly insist, of threats and various statements being said and done, the people are greatly understood why these indigenous folks are marching towards Manila and clamouring statements against the system's brand of "development", and why there those who are willing to join and fight back on the folk's behalf. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

"A poem for the marching mountainfolk"

"A poem for the marching mountainfolk"

Source: Kilab Multimedia

Let us rejoice to see the marchers coming
From south to north amidst foes encountering
The sound of justice comes with the beat resounding
Full of hope and joy, worth repeating

Tired of of injustice, tired being disenfranchised
From thugs and its attack dogs, murderers despised
The halls of learning closed not ravaged and its men killed and defiled
Being called enemies of the people, with insults in various styles

So are the mountains, commonly splattered with blood
Of innocents whose body lying in arable soil commonly trod
Just for a precious ore lying underneath dirt and sod
Ready to be taken altogether by those able to strike a rod

Their plight being debated in various halls
Often resorted to insults and a series of catcalls
Various alibis from the other side followed by washing hands and all
Denials and justifications, heckles from its paid hack trolls

The books may have been destroyed, and children faced fear
They yearned education and justice, from friend and peer
As they march south to north they hear peoples cheer
Dare to struggle, dare to win, have no fear!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Lack of good candidates? Lack of awareness? Desire for new politics? Or really existing apathetics?

Lack of good candidates? 
Lack of awareness? 
Desire for new politics? 
Or really existing apathetics?

Notes after an article on "Tomasinoweb" 
about students prefering to abstain in coming 2016 elections

It was days ago when this person read an article from "Tomasinoweb" about Students from the University of Santo Tomas preferring to abstain than voting for potential candidates such as those of President and Vice President.

In an article, it stated that Thomasians are more inclined to abstain rather than vote for any presidential candidate in the upcoming 2016 elections, a study finds.

"45% of the study’s respondents decided to abstain rather than choose Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (36 %), Sen. Grace Poe (10 %), resigned Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II (8 %), or Vice President Jejomar Binay (1 %) as their preferred presidential candidate.
The research also finds that 38% of the respondents would rather abstain than choose Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (19.0 %), Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (16 %), Sen. Francis Escudero (16.0 %), Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (8.0 %) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes (3.0 %) as their preferred vice presidential candidate."

Potential Anarchs isn't it? But the reason behind abstaining was "lack of green politics", according to Mr. Norman Garcia from the UST Research Center on Culture, Education, and Social Issues in the “Greening the 2016 Elections: Looking for Environmental Leaders” seminar, which was last Saturday, Oct. 17.

According to Garcia, he attributed the high percentage of abstain votes due to the candidate’s lack of presentation of their environmental platforms to the youth. He even told student leaders present at the event to create a "green party" to show the electoral candidates their clamor for more environmental focus.

Quite nice so to speak in regards to that article, and perhaps these students from UST may also be a part of those who chose to abstain from voting in every part of the country; and to use Garcia's basis, it may sound reasonable that the cause for abstaining was lack of environmental awareness, of mismanaged waste disposal to those of cutting down trees and unjust mining all for development, and some even believe that they abstain for most politicians lack transparency and that includes mismanagement, vote buying, and instances of harassments; but on the other hand (and likely to be considered as accurate), these people who chose to abstain in voting possible candidates are rather not having time to vote for these potential individuals regardless of their track records and platforms given their intentional apathy as individuals and total disregard for social issues in favour of individual fantasies. They may admire certain personalities though such as Mar Roxas, Miriam Defensor Santiago, or Leni Robredo, but these people prefer playing computer games in Mineski and drinking cocktails at Tomas Morato, or even following the trend of venting their broken-hearted feelings than having themselves immerse in a series of discourse with the latter likely to lead on debates and at worse, personal attacks.

That somehow benefits the system itself knowing that having a depoliticised, apathetic generation disregards social awareness as it favours their personal fantasies in life; maybe a "just" paying of taxes is enough for that generation to justify a semblance of "national concern", but in regards to social issues these people care little or none about it unless it disrupts their route going to work in case of misrepaired roads, mismanaged mass transport, and traffic flows; and some would even cry "privatisation", "deregulation" that as if a panacea for corruption and disregarding its possible negative effects. 
Sorry to say those words but these may be a part of what goes behind a person, a groupuscle, a clique who happened to be preferring to abstain and at the same time assail those who are voting personages that happened to be corrupted by the system itself knowing that there are no options if not benefiting from its pseudo-welfarism in case of Jejomar Binay and Joseph Estrada.

Anyways, that generation of apathetics, of those who tolerate having the polis, the agora be replaced by the shopping mall by the decadent social order, are those who made the nation sedated till its sleeps. And according to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, he said that: "Nations that sleep either disappear or wake up as slaves."

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

All is but inspired from "Star Wars"

All is but inspired from "Star Wars"

At first, this person finds these artworks made by Craig Davison from his official page

Mostly consists of kids enjoyed imitating characters from the well known movie of George Lucas, Davidson's artworks somehow reflect how a child's imagination inspired from a movie brought to the painter's attention- and end featuring kids imitating certain characters like Han Solo, Darth Vader, and even Chewbacca.

It may deem strange, but these children playing somehow showed a side wherein adults recall their childhood days imitating their favorite characters and playing "war" for a game, not just a tribute to a movie that made these children end imitating, playing as such. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sleepless: a poem after Lando

Sleepless: a poem after Lando

I can't sleep
Despite the whispers that entices me to close my eyes
And enter the world of dreams
But instead sketching anything he sees
And listening to the breeze
Coming from a storm passed yesterday

Outside are fallen leaves and even branches
Announcements calling schools for no classes
Even the supposed examination gone suspended
And news reports featuring swaying coconut trees and waves in beaches

And like the tragedies done years ago comes prayers
For less if none casualties
Same as their cherished properties
Trying not to break their happiness 
Knowing that soon comes Yuletime

But for others a respite from yesterday's heat 
As rains trying to fill the dams
Enough to prepare next year's threat
Of tremendous heat and sweaty feelings
Of hot asphalt and drying up till barren soils
Of everyone desperate for water to quench beaten souls

But despite all these it is a calamity 
Turning out to be an opportunity
From the ones trying to keep warm their seats
And continue their infamy
Expect few packs and pseudo charities
Especially from those desperately keeping their thrones
Knowing that next year these people are filling up boxes
With same old names written in those papers

And with these conclusions somehow made me sleepless
So are the others willing to make possible surges
Against the one who's thinking about next year 
With all the prepared "machinery".

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Seeing Jars

Seeing Jars

In an age where "Move On" is the usual term, it seems that there are those who does not turn away from the past such as these burial jars displayed in the former Department of Finance in Manila.

Unearthed by archaeologists decades ago from Palawan to Saranggani Province, these Burial Jars and coverings showed a culture that was widespread from Transcaucasus to the South East part of Asia, and it was characterised by burial of the dead in strongly flexed position on heir sides in medium to large clay jars and sometimes it also includes jewelry, weapons, even coins or animals killed as part of their journey to afterlife.

It may deemed new in the eyes of others, especially those who know that native funeral practises were those of in graves if not hanging in cliffs in case of the north. Corpses such as those of Apo Anno from the Cordilleras bear how native folks preserved their dead in form of drying and in a fetal position as encased in caskets and left in its cave graveyards, but recent Archaeologists had unearthed a different way of tending their dead such as placing it in jars and left in graves with some mementoes in it, yet as time goes by, being forgotten as part of their culture.

And since it is spanned through parts of Eurasia, Jar Burial culture was part of an era wherein people engaged in hunting, fishing, rootcrop growing, and handicraft making such as those of making pots from clay, if not mud abundant in their settled terrain. In case of the Philippines, caves like those in Tabon in Palawan may suggest that early Filipinos whom settled at those mountainous, or even ravenous terrain had created a culture prior to the wave of migration as earlier insisted by those of Otley Beyer. 

And in case of this Burial Jar found in Palawan (which became known as part of 1000 peso bill), which was made from clay and river sand, it also showed the richness of ancient Filipino culture that is, far from what commonly depicted on history books such as focused on sea trade and waves of migration according to Beyer, et al. Its art also showcases the talent that makes the Filipino also well known in the ancient world with its neighbours engaging trade with the natives.
As according to Wikipedia, faces of the figures and on the prow of the boat have eyes and mouth rendered in the same style as other artifacts of Southeast Asia of that period. Note the depiction of sea-waves on the lid. This style of decoration places this jar in the Sa Huỳnh culture pottery tradition that happened during the Iron Age. These are a people that had migrated through an East to West migration coming from the Borneo-Palawan area to Southern Vietnam. Hence, prior to Sa Huỳnh as what this person observed, these people soon to be Vietnamese were also part of an Austronesian community with a culture enough to consider as "advanced" in that period. And likely to be situated in a part that eventually be one of the isles of the Philippines and a part of Borneo.

It may seemed strange, knowing that these information has not been studied in mainstream Filipino history about jar burials, of a somewhat advanced culture, as well as people that also migrated from the Philippines to other parts of Southeast Asia and even the Pacific islands. Jar burials was made by a  people whose belief includes those of undergoing transformation of the deceased's spirit from the earthly to the spiritual world, as well as the belief in treating the dead as if it were alive and be given food, drink, and company; and also come to think of this: how come the culture stretched from Azeribaijan to Palawan? 

Anyways, people should not forget its well rooted heritage as they enter the museum and see the richness of one's own culture as a citizen. In this age where "Move On" has been a mantra for most, of disregarding the richness of it's country's past and its continuous struggle for the future, this writer would say that forgetting its well-respected heritage as a nation altogether as it favours its illusions may find themselves rootless. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015



Or how these people allegedly "coming from heaven" trying to use the elections
as if to create the Kingdom of heaven in their homeland

Alfredo Tindugan and Angelito Baluga
Candidates for President and Vice President

"The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism [emphasis added], especially the 'intrinsically perverse' political form of a secular messianism."

- Catechism of the Catholic Church,
 paragraph 676

It seems that certain people from all walks of life had proclaimed themselves "Mandates" from "Heaven" as they filed their Certificate of Candidacy at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) head office in Manila.

Driven by their messianic complex and perhaps be mistaken for Schizophrenics, these men such as Alfredo Tindugan and Angelito Baluga has afforded to file their certificates of candidacy both as "President" and "Vice President". And according to the two, the tandem vows to institute a “divine government” should they clinch the top two spots.

Expounding on their concept of “divine government,” Tindugan said that it is rooted on “righteous leadership”, that is somehow reminiscent of those from Mount Banahaw or New Israel somewhere in Mindanao.

Another Presidential aspirant, Romeo John "Lucifer" Ygonia
Meanwhile, another Presidential Aspirant, Romeo John Ygonia said that "he was sent by God to run for the position". “This world will never be saved without God,” he said.

Known for his monicker “Archangel Lucifer”, Ygonia may also shared the same intention as Tindugan despite using a name synonymous to the devil. And some people from social media sites mockingly "supported" him such as "Better than Binay" if not comparing him to groups like the Da'ish for his bearded appearance.

These two examples would make this writer say that Millenarianism continues to thrive in a era full of millennials whining about their so-called "feelings". And the core doctrine that somehow justifies their "cause" would be the idea of establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth, such as what Christian writers stated.
That in fact, according to a writeup entitled "The trumpet shall sound: a study of "cargo" cults in Melanesia", it stated that:

  "According to Collins, many if not most millenarian groups claim that the current society and its rulers are corrupt, unjust, or otherwise wrong. They therefore believe they will be destroyed soon by a powerful force. The harmful nature of the status quo is considered intractable without the anticipated dramatic change."

And according to history, groups like the Confradia de San Jose of Hermano Pule, the Guardias de Honor, the Dios Dios, Pulajanes, Colorum, and the Lapiang Malaya that even afforded to plot a conspiracy to overthrow former President Marcos with a bolo attack resulting to 33 dead and 47 wounded. However, the trend of Millenarianism also affected groups like the Katipunan, the Sakdalista, and even the Partido Socialista of Pedro Abad Santos. People may deemed it a half-crazed attempt, from the use of elections to the days people resort to the use of arms in pursuit of asserting their belief in a folkish kind of social justice given that these people are also coming from the oppressed masses particularly from the countryside. Terms like "New Jerusalem", "Second Coming of Christ", "Rizal Reincarnate", and other terms are being used in their statements, if not in their actual actions.

It may sound strange, but to think that these people babbling about "Divine Governance" or anything that is pseudo-religious in character has disregarded the secular roots of the Philippine state despite using "democratic means" such as filing candidacies as President or any other person of the state. Most of them even have little or no machinery, worse, making a fraud in case of 2010 candidacy of "Rizal Amang" of the Alpha Omega 9K Party, leading to his disqualification.

But on the lighter side, these self-proclaimed politicos are themselves adding colour especially when they enter the political arena with their messianic ambition as news reports featured these faces on the screen. Their words smacks of so-called holiness yet for sure can't deal with the realities such as what the common people endure and even resist. True that their calls can be a reaction to really existing nonsense, yet is their call really reflects those of the people? Or just urging the people to escape from reality in the name of their fantasy? Remember, even the Church rejected that perversion while media outlets called their actions circus, half-crazed, nonsensical; their words may reflect social realities but it may also not reflect the aspirations of the people, no matter how their terms has been trying to appeal with.


And by the way, admittingly speaking, Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas would have been considered as similar to those of Baluga and Tindugan if not being a part of the ruling class knowing that they have nothing to say besides the illusion of "Daang Matuwid" or Righteous Path. True it maybe that his governance brought a semblance of progress yet obviously a continuation of past administrations with Neoliberal tendencies prevailing. Of what are the platforms if in the end these people on high are submitted to the wishes of the market? In the end, Aquino's "Righteous" or "Straightforward Path" be similar to what messianics babbled about when they file their Certificate of Candidacy, be it those of "Divine Governance", "Sent from Heaven", anything that is pseudo-religious or pseudo-moralistic in character that is proven through history.

But the problem is this: Aquino's well known, while these messianics aren't.


Monday, 12 October 2015

TOHO: Age Old Goodness

TOHO: Age Old Goodness

It was few days ago when this person went to one of the most familiar old restaurants in Sta. Cruz district in Manila.

Founded in 1888 and considered as one of the oldest Restaurants in the Philippines, Toho, originally known as Antigua, is known for its old style Chinese cuisine people for generations indulge and talked about. And one of which is that Toho is still referred by the people by its original identity: Antigua.
Despite officially founded in 1888 by five Chinese immigrants with love for cooking (one of them was Tai Tang, the great grandfather of the current owners), its "alleged" roots were started in 1866 by Manuel “Po Kong” Bautista as according to the book "The Governor General’s Kitchen." Bautista named his restaurant "Antigua" because he was said to value things whose qualities have proven their worth over time (Antigua means Antique). As for its current name, the owners say that it is the English translation of the Hokkien word "just enough.” Historical personalities who have dined here include four Philippine presidents, actor Fernando Poe Sr, actress and singer Katy de la Cruz and Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson. But If Travel Time host Susan Calo Medina is to be believed, Jose Rizal had even ate here while he studying in Intramuros.
New Toho’s history, however, is not without challenges: that in 1984, the original Toho establishment was burned down after its neighbouring restaurant caught fire resulting to some old pictures burned save one which is featured in every food blog. The restaurant was eventually rebuilt along, hence the “new” in New Toho.

From its well-made Pork Asado to Lechon Macau (or as what they called, Lechon Kawali), it somehow made people to come and go despite its smallness and its old appearance different from typical Chinese restaurants of the present. The Asado is cooked fresh daily without any use of artificial coloring; and according to the owners, it is beautifully sweet, tender, and spicy with a subtle scent of smoked wood. The Asado is usually sold out in the afternoon.

However, this person served the food he ordered such as  Toho chicken and Yangzhou Fried Rice. Toho chicken is more of Fried Chicken that has been served with sauce reminiscent of pata tim, with Chinese Cabbage and chopped Carrots. Quite delicious though especially if it is served alongside Yangzhou fried rice which is commonly known as "Yang Chow". And by the way, even the small serving is plenty for two.

Admittingly speaking, this person somehow recalled his childhood as he entered the place, especially when he first entered Toho many years ago with his parents, eating Toho if not Fried Chicken and Yangzhou Fried Rice as well as Nido Soup, Pancit Canton, and Beef Brocoli that time. And it somehow took many years to rethink about entering Manila's oldest restaurants until he afforderd to enter and enjoy again the decades-old Chinese Cooking Toho Antigua has trying to make about.

New Toho Food Center
422-424 T. Pinpin Street, Binondo, Manila Philippines
(02) 241-4208, (02) 242-0294
Operating hours: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; closed on Sundays

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Of Shutting Down, Letting go, and Rage

Of shutting down, letting go, and rage

Notes after Leandro Locsin's Hotel Intercontinental Manila to be closed at Yearend, 
its eventual demise (same as Mandarin Oriental which was earlier closed), 
and opposition from conservationists and nostalgics

At first, this person wants to thank the owners of the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, its employees, and even people who had come and go, all for its years of outmost hospitality. 

For as news reports tackled about its soonest closure, it seems that the well known hotel that had brought development in the newly-developed Makati likely to end up in the wrecking ball, knowing that old edifices nowadays are to be abandoned and eventually demolished no matter how prominent it was through the years. As Ayala Land Inc. president Bobby Dy said that the property giant is looking to develop another mixed-use development at the InterCon area.

"In 2016, we're going to be looking at the InterCon area, that's a 2 hectare parcel, to have another mixed-use development. The cost would be around P15-billion," he said."

According to Paulo Alcazaren's article, A press was released in 1958 on the building which then dubbed as "Rizal InterContinental Hotel", and lists Rizal Development Corporation and Pan American Airways as developers of the hotel. However, the initial 1958 design of the hotel was not followed and shelved. Construction of the hotel would be completed ten years later in 1969, and was inaugurated as InterContinental Hotel Manila.

Makati Commercial Center (with Hotel Intercontinental as background), 1973
source: PinoyExchange
The edifice had witnessed every building that had come and go for years: Rizal Theatre, Sulo Restaurant, the old Rustans, Shoe Mart, Gillarmi and Monterey Apartments, anything that made Makati developed until became the Philippines's Financial District and eventually a First Class City in 1995. It had wittnessed important events, such as the Oakwood coup, the Peninsula siege, or even the rallies at Ayala wherein its windows, acting as eyes, had wittnessed the rolling of armoured cars if not people assembling in their protest site. 

And as the hotel is planned to cease operation by December 31, 2015 and paved way to its "redevelopment" according to a recent report, this person would say that it is really quite saddening. In seeing such familiar edifices this person would say that why need to let it go despite its recognisable beauty? True that development is good but how about side by side with heritage and identity? Call it strange but heritage is more than old houses, it also includes made by those whose idea of development has brought the district well known until today; and "just letting it go" comes criticism after it.
For sure everyone had heard news about Locsin's Mandarin Oriental being closed down few years ago and soon to meet its fate amidst criticism from most conservationists. Much more that Circuit at Makati is situated at the once grand old Sta. Ana Park (Manila Racing Club) whose art deco architecture was worthy of being preserved and readapted. Sad to say but Sta. Ana Park was lost for "development" the way its San Lazaro counterpart was demolished for Henry Sy's familiar commercialised edifice.

Anyways, being a person who use to go Makati would say "what the fuck" in seeing such changes without any recognition of the building (especially coming from a National Artist), or any other edifice's relevance. That in every picture and in every sightseeing, this person remembers Quad, the old Greenbelt, the old Philippine Savings Bank main building, Shell Maya, Rizal Theatre, and even Powerbooks Pasay Road where he used to visit and read various books. Sorry for being nostalgic though as other nostalgics do, especially those whose idea of heritage is beyond Spanish-style houses and Baroque Churches.
And to those who would say "move on" and "letting go" all for chrissakes, haven't they recalled that both Mandarin Oriental and Intercon are made by the National Artist Leandro Locsin? Nostalgics afforded to say that those times were those of making the Filipino "world class" that is much dignified than today's so-called "Pinoy Pride" that is 60% mockery and nonsense; and according to the Heritage Conservation Society, The 38-year-old Mandarin Oriental and 45-year-old InterCon are described as two of the finest works Leandro Locsin had created and are protected by Republic Act No. 10066. RA 10066 is the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, protecting structures older than 50 years old. The law also protects works of art by National Artists and gives the government-run National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) jurisdiction over their disposition.

And although the well-known Insular Life has been almost subject to demolition rumors only to be redescribed as "renovation", while on the other hand waiting Leandro Locsin's Mandarin Oriental to its unlikely fate (hope that HCS and NCCA continues to counter ALI as possible since the building remained intact for a time being), and today's Intercontinental sharing the possible same fate as Mandarin's, this person as well as others expressed hope that there are edifices which are worthy to be preserved, to be cherished, to part of today's fast forward growing society and be adapted in its redevelopment. Such as those which are truly relevant and brought really existing respect through the years.

That's all for now. 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Notes on the Posters of the Japanese occupation And its sponsored "Philippine Republic"

Notes on the Posters of the Japanese occupation
And its sponsored "Philippine Republic"

“Have no fear anymore! Fighting is now over! 

American forces who have been squeezing your land and your people with honey words and threatening swords for a long time have now entirely been driven away, by Protecting God of Asia, the Japanese forces. 

The only aim of the Imperial Japanese forces is to free the Filipinos from the oppression of the white men and establish a paradise for Filipinos on this beautiful land of Philippines.”

-Sebald, William J. "Dear Filipinos!" 
 World War II. 10 Nov. 2011. 
Web. 20 May 2012.  

At first, it seemed to be unusual to make a writeup that features anything that comes from the other side of the second world war, specifically those from those supported by the Japanese. This person may have tried its best to take some pictures of what was shown to the Filipinos that as if appearing their hated enemy as a friend, a redeemer, a liberator whose intention was to break the dominancy of both American and European power the Japanese described as maligning and oppressing Japan and its Asiatic kin.
But to its victims, it shows the contrary to Japan's assertions with all its actually existing impunities especially in countries Japan considered as enemy subjects, hence liable to be persecuted to the point of collective punishment. 

Mostly consists of posters, pamphlets, if not front covers of Japanese magazines made during the "Est Asia War", it seems that those rarely-shown works was trying to invoke a sense of new-found Filipinoness as "encouraged" by the Japanese in pursuit of a redeemed and renewed East Asia alongside Größdeutschland and Italy's revived Roman Empire. Quite interesting to see those featured works as expected, and also made this person think that how come mainstream historians rarely shown those "propaganda" especially those coming from the Filipinos themselves if not from the Japanese occupiers during the Japanese-sponsored "republic"?
Sounds traitorous though for Filipinos who are aware of the atrocities made by the Japanese during that tumultuous periods; of massacres, comfort women, looting, and bombings  coming from both friend and foe in Manila and other major urban enclaves of the archipelago.

But come to think of this: how come these posters were made in an impression that the Philippines was redeemed by the Japanese and was given "independence" that was controversial in character? Yes, it was controversial in a sense that so-called "independence" was sponsored by most people called as their enemy, worse, it failed to justify independence that makes itself existing in paper and certain ceremonies enough for people to consider the legitimacy of Philippine "independence". What more of its other terms such as "peace and order regained", "Moral Regeneration", and even "liberation"?

Remember, most Filipinos were loyal to the Commonwealth, to the Stars and Stripes, and its Materialism that made "Peace Time" really "Peaceful" in most Filipino's  yearning eyes.

Defending the Country at all costs

The "Bureau of the Constabulary" as shown by the Japanese war magazine "FRONT"

Trying to invoke the existence of independence, the Japanese occupiers, through its spnsored "republic" afforded to create a "Bureau of the Constabulary" to serve as the country's gendarmerie, if not an official armed force. In its creation, a handful of former members of the American-trained Philippine Constabulary were being indoctrinated, trained and worked in that outfit in exchange for their freedom. 
And in it includes Posters urging Filipinos to join that said outfit, maybe as an expression that the Philippines should be defended as an independent nation as well as volunteer in the struggle for East Asia. Some of which were those made by well known artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco, who featured much a sense of "new-found patriotism" such as men waving the flag of the republic if not guarding for peace and labour such as farmers harvesting their rice.

Poster made by Botong Francisco
depicting the Constabulary as "defenders of the Republic"
Another poster made by Botong Francisco
Most of the uniforms featured in the posters (as well as the front cover of "FRONT") were similar to those of the commonwealth-era Constabulary: from pith helmets, khaki coloured shirts and pants, even pockets for bullets. The difference was the adoption of the seal of the republic as featured in their helmets. 

However, the Constabulary was all but a showcase, and most members escaped and became guerrilla fighters, that somehow the Japanese didn't trusted as such.  Besides the constabulary, here were armed Filipinos loyal to the Japanese forces itself. Groups like the PALAAK "Bamboo Army", the Pambansang Pag-Asa ng Mga Anak ni Rizal (PAMPAR), the Japanese armed and trained "United Nippon", and the dreaded Makabayang Katipunan ng Pilipino (MAKAPILI) which was known for its collaboration and "rooting out" spies, including those of innocents unjustly killed by the enemy. 
In fact, coming from a court statement made during the Liberation, it stated that collaborators did afford "to arm with a 1903 Springfield rifle, caliber .30, undergo 10 days training, consisting of military drill, manual of arms, and a target practice," enough to consider having a paramilitary group supported by the enemy and be considered as legitimate "volunteers of the republic" than the "constabulary" that was supposed to be mandated by law.

An illusion of productivity 
amidst actual poverty

During the Japanese Occupation and its sponsored republic, means of production were controlled by the Japanese and be redescribed as a "planned economy" by the propaganda units. Rice, Corn, Cotton, Manila Hemp, to those of Minerals like Copper were produced to support the war effort instead of proving the demands of the populace. Cotton, for instance, were planted and harvested in once-sugarcane fields for it was used for making Nitrocellulose, an ingredient for explosives, besides those of cloth needed for the military such as uniforms and bandages.

And although it was true that "Production bears Prosperity", and "To Plant Rice means Survival", and other various phrases exhorted by propganda units, it did not alleviate the problem on food for the masses as the production itself were directly allocated to the enemy. Attempts to support the masses, such as the "Bigasang Bayan" (People's Granary) and the "Rice and Corn Administration" (RICOA) failed to resolve issues on malnutrition and its serious effects besides Japanese control of production and distribution (stressing the military over the civilian populace). Worse, outbreak of epidemics such as dysentery, malaria, and Tuberculosis were prevalent. Starvation was rampant that somehow equated the occupation to misery as compared to the American-sponsored "Commonwealth" with its facade of prosperity.

But besides agriculture, some pictures did encouraged industry. In fact, similar to the Germans and its occupation of vital industries in occupied Europe, the Japanese did occupied and transformed factories and farms to produce needed materials. As an example, the Japanese Imperial Forces occupied the Tanduay Distillery compound with the intention of converting it into an alcohol fuel factory, and it had applied Filipinos working for a worthless currency. 

Moral reform, the use of National Language,
and the desire for National Survival

Apart from meeting immediate ends, the occupation as well as the "republic" tried to make the vision for the "New Philippines" work through a series of moral regeneration programs. These programs somehow required reorganisation, be it those of abolishing useless offices and creating new ones more responsive to immediate needs as well as long term planning.

On the moral front, the "republic" reestablished the prewar code committee in order to create a civil code in which to strengthen Filipino civic and moral character. Ideally, the code may reflect the Christian and Hispanic, as well as Asiatic character of the independent nation especially those of emphasising the role of the family as the country's basic social unit, the role of the community, and other various ideals that sadly, were not being published.

But one of the legacies left during the "republic" was the ides of developing a nationalist-oriented and relevant education in pursuit of developing a Filipino character through the "National Education Board". Traditional values, establishing love for the flag and the language, as well as building schools intended to impart the wartime youths the desire for independence as well as forces that makes a nation capable to stand on its own, if not "making it great." The language of instruction, Tagalog, was highly recognised and used as the national language according to "Military Ordinance no.13" that concerns the use of the native tongue in public use which was enacted in 1942. In it, the occupation and its sponsored "republic" pushed programs to spread the use of the language to the extent of Filipinising titles, public ordinances, and names of offices at the beginning of 1943. Those who wrote in English soon trying to study and write stories and various forms of literature in Tagalog in which few were continued to write even after the war.

However, there were also attempts made by the Japanese to use the language of the occupiers also as its "official language." Similar to Spain and the United States in introducing their language and culture, the Japanese wanted to instill its culture, particularly through its language as the "Language of East Asia" as well as means to "open Filipinos" in Asiatic culture. 
With the same enthusiasm as the Tagalog language, pamphlets were distributed about basic Japanese, followed by magazines that has sections on basic study of the language. It was also made a basic course in both primary and secondary schools when it was reopened during the new regime.

Defending the "republic" and East Asia at all costs

As the Japanese continue to fight against the Americans, it even produced posters showing the "republic" as a belligerent force willing to fight against the invader. With posters "challenging the Americans" to those of a renewed conflict, it tries to show that the "republic" was supportive of the efforts made by the Japanese in defending "Newly-Liberated" East Asia against the Anglo-American, French, and Dutch invaders, as well as its domestic allies fighting as guerrillas. 

Some posters even provoke fear especially when American forces bombed vital installations such as in Manila. Others tend to assert Japan's goal of "building the New Philippines" from the ashes of Anglo-Saxon repression. 

In this poster featured above, the war against the Americans was also depicted by the occupiers as a renewed conflict. First was the Philippine-American war which was happened in 1899, and the 1944 which declared the Philippines under a state of emergency. However, Jose P. Laurel was reluctant to declare a state of war (and even not mobilising the Constabulary), thus, creating mistrust from the Japanese occupiers with the latter shifting support from the rabid collaborators like those of Makapili, PAMPAR, and PALAAK paramilitary groups.


The Japanese occupation bear much scars than illusions. Scars in a sense that people from all walks of life sought the actually existing repression made by the enemy, regardless of the latter's illusion of redeeming its fellow Asiatic kindred, specifically the Filipinos from its Anglo-Saxon occupiers, and to regain peace, order within a sphere what they called "Co-Prosperity". 

Through its so-called "republic", it was described as Japan's "gift" to the Filipino people knowing that the Filipinos had really desired for it yet denied from its Anglo-Saxon occupier. Complete with a constitution, certain laws and decrees, legislature through the National Assembly, and even a president through the person of Jose P. Laurel. Laure did tried his best to put things in order amidst chaos and instability, both from the occupiers, guerrillas, corrupt officials, and the common people themselves whose motives were those of survival. His administration did tried to insist moral reform and spritiual regeneration the way his predecessor, Manuel Quezon did.
And like Quezon, he used both Tagalog and English in his statements and speeches, that somehow trying to keep Filipinos together knowing that through unity, solidarity, cultivation of values justifies self-determination on the Filipino's behalf, no matter how it was described "puppet" by its detractors and be criticized for its negligences that brought death and suffering to most Filipinos during the occupation. "Peace Regained?" Maybe, for that peace wasn't based on justice as what the "republic" insist, but "Fear" as the occupier continues to remain in every place, field, or even a path likely for a Guerillero ambush.

Personally, it may deem strange to post what comes from the other side of the fence. But to think that those posters and pictures were rarely seen, why not let it show and see every scene that is much described as an illusion, delusion, propaganda, or even a fraud as it tries to downplay the actually existing repression that made most Filipinos really yearned for an Independence that was fought, rather than given from the occupier. Be it from the Anglo-Saxon, or a fellow Asiatic.

Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People, Asia Publishing Co. Ltd. 1998
Japanese Cultural Propaganda in the Philippines, Asian Studies, University of the Philippines