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Goodbye Manong Frankie

Manong Frankie (F Sionil Jose) passed away in his sleep yesterday. He was scheduled for surgery, but it appears he decided not to go through with it.  What a life he lived! I may not have known him too well, but having read him for so long, it feels as if I have known him […]

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On this Rizal Day, some thoughts

For Filipinos, Rizal is everywhere. As I was strolling near the Asian Civilizations Museum (Singapore) the other day, I was reminded of this. There’s a small Rizal memorial there, too, which reminds me of how abundant his statues are back home. Our obsession with Rizal has always seemed to me like an overcompensation. Often cited […]

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Japan

Catholic Influence on Japanese Tea Ceremony

The first time I learned that Catholic Mass has influenced the Japanese tea ceremony was when I came across an article on the Catholic news site Gloria TV. The whole idea that something so deeply Japanese would be influenced by a religion largely spread by Europeans in Asia surprised me. But it might end up […]

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Saka bumili ka ng Ligo

Throughout our childhood, how many times have we heard those orders from our parents? Several politically charged comments have been made about the Tung family who owns the Ligo brand in the Philippines after they sold it to the Po family, who owns Century Tuna.  Due to their apparent open criticism of the current Duterte […]

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Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos

The documentary Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos was an accidental discovery. My Facebook ads led me to it. Based on its release date (I watched it on Vimeo), it was launched last September. I did not hear about it anywhere. It’s one of those rare times when I appreciate social media ad algorithms, […]

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Negros

Some personal supernatural stories

I guess the best time to talk about the paranormal is around this time of year. Here are a couple of personal stories. According to Nanay (my mother), my lola (grandmother) is a faith healer. She used herbs, oils, and prayers in their little town in Negros Oriental. My Lola died relatively young. Nanay said […]

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Filipinos let the CIA do anything they want

When I was a child, my brother used to say Mormons are CIA agents. Our village’s gate is right next to an LDS church. I assumed he got these ideas from Tom Clancy. He loves military and espionage novels.  Then I read just the other day that due to Mormon’s language skills they’re scouted and […]

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What’s the deal with PAREX?

SMC CEO Mr. Ramon Ang and his team have outlined the plan for PAREX. The project is certainly ambitious and impressive. The 19.37-kilometre elevated highway will be built over the Pasig River. The plan proposes to reduce traffic congestion between Manila and its environs.  According to reports the “project would create a six-lane, elevated expressway […]

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Historia

Why Filipino, not Philippinean?

To the English-speaking world, Filipino is a truly distinctive word. It is a demonym of Spanish origin but has made its way into the English language. Why did we not end up being called Philippineans? or Philippinese? or Philippine Islanders? I remember a conversation with a Latin American colleague who noticed this. “We’re addressed as […]

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Iloilo

Baul ng Kayamanan

These days, when we hear the word baúl or kabán (sp. baúl) We are reminded of treasures (tag. kayamanan) buried deep, somewhere. Most people have never seen one in person let alone have used or owned one. Lucky for me, I have seen old houses with bulky trunks in them. Baúls then are everyday items […]

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Spanish Language in Philippines

30 years of Instituto Cervantes

I saw on Facebook that Instituto Cervantes is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I thought that they had been around longer. In the Philippines, when you hear the mention of Spain, people often have an impression that something is really old. Instituto Cervantes was established in 1991 in Madrid (in Alcalá de Henares, Cervantes’ birthplace). […]

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