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Sunday, June 29, 2008

When "No Fear" Meets "Danger"

When "No Fear" meets "Danger" in a brawl, the latter does not stand a chance.

Take that from "No Fear" poster (29-year old) boy Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao who beautifully outclassed "Dangerous" David Diaz in yesterday's gory duel over the WBC Lightweight crown making our "Pac Man" the first Asian to win four world titles in four weight divisions -- Flyweight, Junior Featherweight, Super Featherweight, and Lightweight. [see Kevin Iole's blow-by-blow account here]

This TKO win of our "National Fist" all the more justifies the plan to make him the first Filipino athlete to appear on a postage stamp. This WBC Champ Emeritus continues to serve as a beacon of inspiration to every Filipino and his light will doubtless persist long after he had hung up his gloves. When one learns that a brief lull in the war between government and Communist or Islamic forces transpires when Manny fights, that even criminals in General Santos City take a day off from their nefarious deeds as Manny takes on a foe, that politicians of various hues forget for a moment all their bickerings as Manny hoists the flag in the boxing arena, that victims of calamity brush off for a moment their tears to cheer on as Manny slugs it out in the ring -- one wonders how many more Manny Pacquiaos should our country produce so that we will continually be at peace with our neighbors, really work together for the country's good, and keep on keepin' on despite the odds we face.


We must give David Diaz a standing ovation as well for his lion-heartedness in the ring, magnanimity in defeat, and his unassuming personality. He is one of the few boxers I know who has not allowed his belt to sink into and eat up his brain. Salud!


Don't forget the other winners in this bout -- Bob Arum, Chavit Singson, Revicon, Alaxan, Ginebra San Miguel, Matador Brandy, Smart, etc. etc. :)

For every power punch Pacquiao unleashes, the sales of advertisers spring up. Talagang ganyan ang buhay hehe...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hudson Taylor

25 June 1865. This date marks the establishment of the "China Inland Mission" by Hudson Taylor. Along with the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci who preceded him for over two centuries, this Protestant missionary serves as a paragon of a contextualized missionary venture. Both preachers lived the culture of their target community in an effort to effectively communicate a Western-bred theology to an Eastern audience.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So Hayskuuul!!!

So hayskuuul !!!

This is the newest expression I learned from the freshies in one of my Communication 1 classes. And it seemed to have delighted some of them that an oldie like me (actually, only about 15 years separate me from my students) could catch on pretty quick by mimicking their expression twice or thrice in our 90-minute class, especially when I asked them to exchange papers during their SVA diagnostic test.

My students' transition from high school to college somehow parallels my career transition from tutoring high school-level English learners at a Korean school to university teaching once again. I originally intended to teach a year more in the ESL school of my boss-friend Sin Hung Ju, but this rare opportunity to advance my professional development by teaching at a constituent university of the country's premiere educational institution is just too rare and great a challenge to wave off. UP Baguio for me offers an ideal environment for personal growth, intellectual exercise, academic training, and community service.

Hopefully, my teaching competence won't be rated as "so hayskul." :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

"A Bargain"

Two men planned to distil wine together. One of them said, 'You provide the rice and I'll supply the water.' The other man said, 'If all the rice comes from me, how should we divide the distilled wine?' The first man: 'There will definitely be no cheating. When the wine is ready I only want the water back. The rest goes to you.' 32

- Ding Cong. Wit and Humor from Ancient China: 100 Cartoons by Ding Cong. Bilingual Edition. Translated by Ma Mingtong. Beijing: New World Press, 2000.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Political Undertones of the Syrian Underwear

Feminist writer Elizabeth Shlala Leo wrote,

Patriarchy is an inherently unbalanced and unstable organizational system in which overriding social norms postulate that men are superior to women. Therefore, men hold overt power over women through the process of social construction as evident in the depiction of sexuality, the assignment of gender roles, and the social hierarchy that exists in every facet of social relations. (2005, 131)

What Leo says about patriarchy can be partly illustrated in Lydia Wilson’s article (2007) on the many-splendored Syrian lingerie. At first, it may seem to be just a human interest report on an Arabic fashion flavor but, upon further analysis, it actually depicts some facets of one site of political contestation – that of female sexuality as constructed within or by a phallocratic regime.

In this political regime, women are fetishized; they are providers of sexual pleasures to the undisputed penetrator “who becomes the sole sexual active” (Dialmy 2006, 18 f.). As objects of sexual pleasure, they are thus expected to have a stock of 30 different wedding night lingeries some of which are perhaps “festooned with blinking lights, or play soundbites from Egyptian pop songs or standards such as ‘Old MacDonald had a Farm’” or designed for a lambada dance their refusal of which would be a sufficient ground for their husbands to divorce them (Wilson 2007; Halasa 2006, 27).

Islam supposedly enjoins the mutual maximum enjoyment of sexual pleasure between couples (Bullough 2003, 94), but this belief is hard to reconcile with the prevailing notion among many Arab males that women are to be sexually passive, as expressed in the proverb, “She moves, she is divorced,” which means “that if the wife were to move during intercourse, she would be divorced, because her movement would indicate the presence of desire and pleasure, something that does not become a respectable wife” (Dialmy 2006, 21). This tenet forms part of a social control which, in the words of Pepper Schwartz and Virginia Rutter, “turns pleasure into a scarce resource and endows leaders who regulate the pleasures of others with power” (2001, 463). And this power is not only confined to this earthly plane, for even in Paradise the wide-eyed houris will be there to fulfill the carnal desires of the worthy mujahideen (Sura 56:22).

It is one thing to say, however, that the Islamic woman is sexually passive and quite another to assume that the Islamic woman is a passive participant in this construction of sexuality. For as can be surmised from the working together of conservative Syrian families to produce the racy lingeries, women themselves are conscious participants, active players in this fetishization (Leo 2005, 134). This is part of a societal tradition that ensures the perpetuation of patriarchy.

Patriarchy continues to reign partly (or largely?) because Islamic apologetes have taken great pains to explain away through various media forms the socio-political conditions evidencing a regime of phallocracy in most Muslim countries. The confinement of wives to the domestic space, for example, is justified by the argument that this condition is actually a way of freeing them from “double taxation” (i.e., being made to juggle between housework or child-rearing and office work) which women in the West have suffered (Abul ‘Ala 1960, 165). That Islam is egalitarian is also argued based on the “revolutionary” Qur’anic teaching of men and women as having been created “from the same soul...which gives women full humanity with men” (Leo 2005, 132). The Islamic male’s privilege of having multiple sexual partners is predicated upon the “natural” constitution of things which dictates that it is “unnatural” for women “to be married to more than one man at a time” (Borek 1999, 4), or the potentially destructive male sexual urge which needs “fragmentation... so that man does not become a dependent sexual passive to anyone” (Dialmy 2005, 19), or upon issues of paternity (Borek, 1999, 4). Finally, veiling is seen as “a tool for resistance to the globalization of dress and of individual, liberal sexual values it symbolizes” (Dialmy 2005, 17).

There have been pied voices of dissent from Arab women, however. Pied, for these voices issue from various camps that either work within the all-encompassing framework of Islam, outside of it, or both (Treacher 2003). At any rate, all these voices chorus the demand for women empowerment in Arab societies. They sing against the non-egalitarian provisions in the Qur’an itself, like the command for men to beat their wives– “lightly,” that is, add Muslim scholars Al Hilali & Khan (1993, 127) – for disobedience (Sura 4:34). They also cry out against the documented sexual abuses committed by men against women and against highly gender-insensitive cross-regional Islamic laws like one which allows the exoneration of a rapist when he marries his victim (WINN 1999, 46). The advocacy for women empowerment has made some headway in Syria which signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2003, and where there is an increasing female presence in government and governance as exemplified by the rise of Dr. Najah Al-Attar to the position of “2nd Vice President for Cultural Affairs” in 2006 (CRTD.A, 2006; UNDP-POGAR 2007).

Nevertheless, all these advances made in the name of feminism are still to effect a massive shakeup in the male-dominated Arab world. As Amal Treacher well observed, “It has to be acknowledged that the Middle East remains a seat of contested but powerfully felt patriarchy” (2003, 67).

A word of caution must be made though regarding the danger of essentializing the Arab world especially in the area of moral conservatism. For as AbuKhalil argued, such conservatism may actually be the legacy of Western theology, particularly (puritanical) Protestantism (1997, 1). He also warns against the Orientalizing tendency of Western critics in their painting of Islam as constituting “a closed, inflexible doctrine, or that all world Muslims form some monolithic bloc” (ibid., 3). Indeed, in this era of globalization and postmodernity diversity of thought and practice has infiltrated even the most secure fortresses of religio-political systems. There is danger too in ascribing a distinctive Arabic mode of fetishizing women when in fact such mode may commonly be found in the discourses on sexuality in the West.

But if there is one thing certain that can be gleaned from Lydia Wilson’s article, it is the fact that a hoarse phallocentric political tune chimes in with the soundbytes embedded in Syrian lingeries.



Schwartz, Pepper and Virginia Rutter. 2001. “The Gender of Sexuality.” Margaret L. Andersen & Patricia Hill Collins, eds.. Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Abul ‘Ala-Maududi, Sayyid. 1960. Towards Understanding Islam. Riyadh, SA: The Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance at Al-Badiah-Communities Section.

Al-Hilâlî, Taqî-ud Dîn & Khan, Muhammad Muhsin, trans. 1993. Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an in the English Language. Riyadh, SA: Maktaba Dar-Us-Salam.


AbuKhalil, Asad. 1997. “Gender Boundaries and Sexual Categories in the Arab World. Feminist Issues, 15 (Spring): 1-14.

Treacher, Amal. 2003. “Reading the Other: Women, Feminism, and Islam.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4(January):59-71.

Bullough, Vern L. 2003. Review of Sexuality in Islam by Abdelwahab Bouhdiba. Sexuality and Culture. 7 (Winter): 93-95.

Dialmy, Abdessamad. 2005. “Sexuality in Contemporary Arab Society.” Social Analysis. 49 (Summer):16-33.

Leo, Elizabeth Shlala. 2005. “Islamic Female Sexuality and Gender in Modern Feminist Interpretation.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. 16 (April): 129-140.


Halasa, Malou. 2006. “What Lies Beneath.” New Statesman. (05 June).

Wilson, Lydia. 2007. “Undercover in Damascus.” Time (29 January).

Women’s International Network News. 1999. “Syria: Abuse of Women Sanctioned by Tradition and Government.” WINN (Summer).


UNDP-POGAR Gender and Citizenship Initiative. 2007. “Syria: Women in Public Life.” Accessed, 20 March 2008.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"The Rights of Children"

Children have basic inalienable rights – to be fed, clothed, sheltered, and protected. But along with these physical rights, they have the right to be nurtured emotionally, to have their feelings respected, and to be treated in ways that allow them to develop a sense of self-worth.

Children also have the right to be guided by appropriate parental limits on their behavior, to make mistakes, and to be disciplined without being physically or emotionally abused.

Finally, children have a right to be children. They have a right to spend their early years being playful, spontaneous, and irresponsible.

Naturally, as children grow older, loving parents will nourish their maturity by giving them certain responsibilities and household duties, but never at the expense of childhood.

- Dr. Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), 50.

"Love Without End, Amen"

Listening to this song and some other related country hits like "Daddy's Little Girl" (Alabama) was my daily habit when I was a short-term OFW a few years back. Even now, "Love Without End, Amen" continues to touch my sensibility as a father. It doesn't fail to make me wonder how many times I had brought my dad to tears with my childish antics and my misguided teenager's zeal, just as it also continues to remind me that in dealing with my own kids I should not forget how it was to be a child.

"Love Without End, Amen"

(sung by George Strait)

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye.
Fightin' was against the rules and it didn't matter why.
When dad got home I told that story just like I'd rehearsed.
And then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waited for the worst.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

When I became a father in the spring of '81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father's son.
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end,
I took my daddy's secret and I passed it on to him.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."


Inspiring, Provocative Videos

Amidst the disappointments and confusions we encounter each day, we need something to inspire us by, to make us more discerning in dealing with existential issues, to make us "keep on keepin' on." Here's one resource you can draw strength and wisdom from: I suggest you start with W. Mitchell's video (click here) and hear him perfectly and powerfully challenge his viewers/hearers to realize that tragedies in a person's life can be transformative and can have a happy ending. With his life story, MItchell reminds us about what matters most in life's vicissitudes: "It's not what happens to you, but it is what you do about it!" You can download his new e-book, Inspiration, Challenge, Motivation, and Change here. A zillion thanks to Anthony for the link!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bak 2 Skul

Contemporary Literary Theories and Critical Approaches (MLL 210). The title of this grad school course is daunting enough, but not as intimidating as our main text, the two-inch thick (if my not-so-reliable eyesight served me right) Literary Theory: An Anthology by Julie & Michael Ryan Rivkin, perched on our professor's table. This text and the "auxiliary readings" are the arcane and semi-arcane works we are expected to pore over in the next few months. Which means, at least to me, letting go of my daily habit of attempting (and failing) at contemplation ala Rodin's Le Penseur, and cutting down on my tutorial workload and blogging time. Otherwise, I'd end up in class as an all-dressed up Le Penseur capable only of cranking up a convoluted answer to the "wrong" question. Or worse, I'd get another INC on my OTR ;> .

Power Thoughts/Expressions from my Quotable Professor:

On class participation: "If the teacher is fated with an inert mass, he will end up being catatonic."

On absences: "When you intend to be absent from class, do not text me to say you'll be with me in spirit."

On the necessity of reading primary texts: "Secondary sources are like ukay-ukay (2nd hand clothes) -- accessible but not the real thing."

On internet research: "Sift through all the stuff that litter the realm."

Two challenges: Increasing literary repertoire & being cross-disciplinary

On Wellek & Warren's Theory of Literature: "dense but illuminating"

Watchword: "PROBLEMATIZE!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mr. Suleman Bello of Burkina Faso

Another scam in my mail from someone whose name tolls a boing-boing to 419 spotters :)



Dear Friend,

I am Mr. Suleman Bello,from Burkina Faso in west Africa.I got your e-mail contacts from computerised datas after my extensive search via the website for a God-fearing and trust-worthy person to bestow this transaction which is the only hope of our survival into his or her hands.When i got your address,I prayed and meditated fervently over it and i commited it into the hands of God that you should be the rightful person to help us out before I made up my decision to contact you.

I am The Manager of Auditing Department of Our Bank, Ouagadougou Burkina Faso.In my department we discovered an abandoned usd$15M( fifteen Million United States Dollars). In an account that belongs to this our foreign customer who died along with his wife and and children in the plane crash.Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as the next of kin or relation to the deceased, as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him in the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.It is therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this business proposals to you and release the money to you as next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it because I don't want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.

The banking law and guidelines here stipulates that if such money remains unclaimed after five years, the money will be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund.The request of foreigner in this transaction is necessary because our late customer was a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner,I agree that 30% of this money will be for you as foreigner partner in respect to the provision of a foreign account.10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me , after which I shall visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated.Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as I have arranged,you will furnished me with a good receiving account details where the money will be transfered,

(a) Full name, country, address and photo (passport/driving license)
(b) Your private telephone and fax numbers —for confidentiality and easy communication.

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or e-mail a text of the application which you shall retype and fax to our foreign remittance manager,for easy execution of the transaction.

I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is 100% hitch-free on both side. As all required arrangement have been made for the transfer and more so all the documents backing this claim will be supplied to you after you might have applied.Please I would like you you keep this transaction confidential and as a top secret as you may wish to know that I am a senior Bank official.

Trusting to hear from you immediately.

Yours Sincerely,

"Origins of the Hukbalahap"

You don't have to be an activist or a communist to appreciate the efforts put into the making of this documentary. Although far from being perfect, it provides us a good backgrounder on one aspect of the social unrest that has plagued the country from the colonial era to the contemporary or post-colonial period. As we celebrate the 110th anniversary of Aguinaldo's Declaration of Independence, we also remember the peasants' continuing fight for freedom from injustice and poverty. I join the hope of many that in the years to come more and more rural folks will gain that freedom -- minus the violence that had bloodied the earlier sections of the rugged road towards genuine land reform.

Related post: "Luis Taruc Surrenders"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Philippine Independence

12 June 1898. Emilio Aguinaldo declares Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite. The United States and Spain, however, refused to recognize Aguinaldo's proclamation and proceeded to strike a deal that came to be known as the 1898 Treaty of Paris in which Spain formally and totally relinquished imperial control over the Philippines to the US for USD 20-M.

Recommended Reading: Turot, Henri. Emilio Aguinaldo: First Filipino President, 1898-1901. Trans. Pacifico A. Castro. Manila: Foreign Service Institute, 1981. Reprint, Manila: Solar Publishing Corporation, 1990. Online articles: Evolution of the Philippine Flag ; The Act of Declaration of Philippine Independence

Matago-tago nan ili tako!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Studying Diversity

...studying diversity is not simply a matter of learning about other people's cultures, values, and ways of being; it involves discovering how race, class, and gender -- along with factors like age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion -- frame people's lives. The point is not just that people are diverse... but that race, class, and gender are fundamental axes of society and, as such, are critical to understanding people's lives, institutional systems, contemporary social issues, and the possibilities for social change.

- from the Introduction to Margaret L. Andersen & Patricial Hill Collins' Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, 4th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001), p. 3.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Igorot! (II)

Published in Baguio Calligraphy (Manila: Anvil Publishing, 2009)

Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day

Wŏménde Zhōngguó péngyou... hé píng!

Note: This song is entitled, "Amani." It was composed by Wong Ka Kui during his group's visit to Tanzania. I don't speak either Swahili or Cantonese, but I do know the message of this song -- it's an appeal for peace and goodwill for the sake of the children who bear the brunt of a battle-scarred earth. Amani is Swahili for "peace" and the words nakupenda, nakupenda wewe, tunataka wewe mean "I love you, I love you, you, we want you, you."

Related Post: Guanghui Suiyue

Recommended ESL Sites

Here are two more fine e-resources for ESL teachers and students:;  Make sure that you include the copyright notice when you print out the practice tests. :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008



Gawked at in St. Louis,

Hailed in Bataan.

Begged at Botanical Garden,

Feasted in Congress.

Scarred in Batong Buhay and Lepanto,

Soothed in Banaue and Sagada.

Hoped for autonomy,

Fought over titles.

Voiced out my ideology,

Splintered by its mortars.

Prided in my ancestry,

Haunted by its ghost.

- smsaboy, 0508

Related Post: Igorot II

Wisdom From Africa (II): Maturity and Survival

Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching. (Nwakibie) 22

Our fathers said you can tell a ripe corn by its look. 23

A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches. (Obierika) 66

When a mother-cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth. 70-71

- Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart . New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Eating Grass

Text message from Junley Lazaga, Ilokano poet from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and instructor at UP Baguio:

Pasyente: Doc, ipaikkatko man ti bagis ko ta pasukatak iti bagis ti kalding.

[Patient: Doctor, I'd like to have my intestines replaced with a goat's.]

Doc:Apay ngay?


Pasyente: Nangina ngamin ti bagas, manganak laengen iti ruot...

[Rice has become unaffordable, so I'll just have to eat grass...]


Those with eye problems should eat grass, once suggested DILG-Kalinga Asst. Provincial Director (APD) Julio Barcellano to some LGOO trainees (44th Batch) of DILG-CAR. "Apay ngay?" we asked. "Apay, addan aya nakitayo nga nakaantiokos a nuang?" he replied. [Why, have you ever seen a bespectacled carabao?"]


Here's my response to Junley who I know will forgive me for this sorry attempt at Iluko poetry:

Ay, tiempon iti panagkirang,

Magitaraanen ti bakrang.

Tay bagas a ginatang,

Di pay maramananen ni tiyan.

"Mangantan iti ruot," kinuna

Ni mannaniw a Lazaga.

"Mangparutak ngarud," kunak koma,

"Ta isu't pangmal'manta."

Ngem unay ket nga saemnan,

Dagiti ruot iti arubayan

Uray pay iti kataltalonan

Inaraben tay kuttong a nuang.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Francesca and Igorots (II)

The bonfire of inanities stoked by careless comments (maybe similar to this one :> ) continues to rage in Francesca's blog. Several comments are worth interrogating, but this anonymous post made the strongest jab at my yoyok (armpit, in the Banao language):

And if we say the word 'IGOROT' be honest lang poh what comes first to YOUR MIND? Honestly for me if I hear the word Igorot I picture out a man with bahag (dont know what is the english of bahag) curly hair with his indian pana in short I imagine an Igorot in ancient time who are still offense ha. And maybe this was Ms.Francesca talking about the Igorot- in ancient times....

Hay, in ancient times... in the olden times... long, long ago... of bygone eras... (grin, Laura Hayden ;> ) Igorots seem to have been frozen in this tinted frame of history -- at least in the minds of some kababayan. No surprise here, for just as Muslims in the country have long been unjustly framed by many of their countrymen within the expression, "A good Muslim is a dead Muslim," so have Igorots been long stereotyped as spear or ax-wielding, tree-dwelling, long-tailed darklings bereft of the blessings of even the oldest model of Petromax lamp. For after all, y (from) + golot (mountain) = mountain people. And what else can you find in the mountains but the wild or the Philistine?

Poor Igorots! They're just like mummies ossified in a cave amid the swirling fluidity of modernity. Oh, if they could only step out of that cave and see the grandeur that is Paris and the glory that is Reno! If they could only step out of that forest and realize how much more musical the bustle of the city is compared to the cacophony of their gibberish and of the animal sounds in their primitive niche! If they could only cast aside their Indian pana (bow and arrow) and instead arm themselves with the full armor of Almighty Science!

Let's pray for these ignorant Igorots. Let's pray that the Gospel of modernity will finally brighten their oh-so-dark world so that they, too, can bask in the limelight of fame and fortune!


Ok, so much for the sarcasm. Now, to another facet of the issue.

Last Sunday, we had a family outing at Mines View Park which I had not seen for years despite my being a Baguio boy for nearly two decades now. I saw "Doglas" the gentle St. Bernard giant being dogged (mobbed, actually) by curious, photo-loving tourists.

And, of course, I also saw those familiar ib-a ay ikholot (fellow Igorots) fully dressed in their colorful native garbs obviously pleased with their brisk photo-ops business with their visitors. Nothing wrong there, perhaps, for these kailyan are simply earning their keep and may actually be promoting our culture. I only wished though that the tourists were offered a more educational activity or program (like a short but accurate and informative slideshow/video on the history of the Igorots) if only to ensure that they don't just get a superficial impression of our indigenous culture. In that way, we can help disabuse our fellows of the mental picture of an Igorot being reduced to just wearing bahag (g-string) and wielding "Indian pana."


While the issue is still hot, let me share the following article with our readers. Some may think that since this was published on 08 January 2000 in the "Youngblood" section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, it's already a little cold and better left in the freezer only to be taken out in December. But I'll post it anyhow with small changes and with many thanks to the Youngblood editor(s) for teaching me then one of my greatest lessons in essay writing: well-chosen or well-worded, shorter titles are more catchy than long ones (I originally entitled this piece, "More Than a Few Hundred Centavos").


“Meri Krismas,” the emaciated fellow grunted as he flashed an ID bearing the seal of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). He had lost his home when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and he had no family to turn to for help, he said.

After glancing at the ID and seeing the pitiful look on the man’s face, my friend handed him a P10 bill.

That was sometime ago. I thought that if I were alone with that man at the time, I wouldn’t have minded digging out P5 from my pocket and giving it to him even if that was all the money I had that day.

But watching two kids doing a jig while banging their little gongs to the amusement of two lovers a few days later, I vowed never to give them even one centavo. I remembered that a few Decembers ago right in the same park, a group of old people did the same thing before my mom, and all they got from her was an angry reprimand for using a rusty pan in place of the usual bronze gong used in some social activities among indigenous peoples in the Cordillera region.

But why must our blood rise over such things? Certainly it is not because we want to spoil their fun; it is just that we feel there’s no fun in seeing something wrong. It is not because we choose to be cold when everybody’s heart is warm; it is just that we think charity must not encourage a bad practice. It is not that we despise the Igorots, for we are full-blooded Igorots ourselves, and we are mighty proud to be so.

You see, the tadjók or tadék is our native dance. It was never meant to be used as an aid for begging. It is, as we say in Kalinga, paniyaw (taboo) to do so.

Yes, it is meant for entertainment, but not of the kind that was exhibited in the 1904 St. Louis Exposition when people who looked at ethnic culture with jaundiced eyes came to gawk at and make fun of the “wild man’s way of life.” It is not meant to reinforce a twisted view of our culture, but to encourage other people to understand and appreciate a culture different from theirs. It is never meant to put our people in a bad light because it is an art form that projects beauty.

That is why I do not feel the thrill of youngsters at Burnham Park watching my fellow highlanders prance to the uncertain beat of plates. I feel insulted when lowlanders point at them and spit out the word “Igorot” with some amusement.

I don’t feel happy when I see Igorot kids begging, with a symbol of my culture hanging from their hands. I feel pity for them because their parents did not teach them to value their heritage. I pity them because they will grow up thinking that the gangsa (gong) is only meant to be beaten in exchange of a few centavos! Perhaps, they will never know that in the gong they have a legacy to cherish and protect. For what is there to protect and cherish if there’s nothing to value? What is there to value in ignorance?

Oh, you should have seen the innocence on the faces of those kids. It could have made the proudest Igorot weep.

“Come on, there’s no reason to fuss over such a trivial thing!” a friend once told me. Ah, yes, they laugh at tears that never had dust in the eye (my apologies to Shakespeare).

Like it or not, whatever impression these fellow Igorots make on others would be to the “outsider” reflective of the whole Igorot people. Is it any wonder that many lowlanders think that begging with a gong is all that it takes to be an Igorot? Or that an Igorot is simply a camera-loving old man wearing a colorful native garb with a scary headdress? (I even have friends who once wondered whether I was a genuine Igorot because they had not seen me in a leather jacket, tattered jeans and cowboy boots!)

This reminds me of a Manileña who was taking a Dangwa bus to somewhere in the Cordillera. While waiting for the junk to roar off, she stood by her seat and told her male companion, “Gusto kong makakita ng Igorot” [I want to see an Igorot]. To bad for her, my sister who was just a few seats away overheard her remark. My sister told her: “Hindi mo ba alam na halos lahat ng mga nakikita mong tao sa loob ng bus ay mga Igorot?” [Don’t you know that almost all folks seated in this bus are Igorots?]

I didn’t know what happened after that, but I can imagine the rest of the “native” passengers nodding their heads and muttering, “Now she knows.”

But I think that lady should not be blamed for her ignorance or prejudice. Perhaps, back in Manila she had heard friends who visited Baguio describe those curiously dressed people posing for a fee at the Botanical Garden or Mines View Park. Perhaps she had even seen pictures of these “cute” highlanders. And she must have thought how wonderful it would be to have her pictures taken with the unschooled fellows. And to think it would cost her only a few pesos! I wonder if this is one reason some lowlanders have a very wrong notion about us?

Oh, we can always declare that we can match their superiority complex. Or that we can always say with much enthusiasm that we feel superior to them since “we are a people who daily touch the earth and sky,” or “we have never been conquered by the Spaniards.” But I guess such claims are not going to add enlightenment to some darkened perceptions so long as we allow our own people to think and act like their culture were worth only a few hundred centavos.

Related posts: Francesca & Igorots, Those Isolated Tribes

Elizalde "Discovers" the Tasaday

07 June 1971. Manuel Elizalde, Jr., head of the now defunct Office of the Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (PANAMIN), foists what some scholars dubbed as "the greatest anthropological hoax since piltdown man" by initiating the "first contact" with a supposedly isolated indigenous tribe of 26 individuals dwelling in the mountain fastnesses of Mindanao. For photos and detailed historical notes, see the following articles/sites:

Thomas Headland, "The Tasaday 'Cave' People"

♦ BBC's "The Tasaday Hoax"

Regina Hatcher, "The Tasaday Hoax?"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hendricks' "7 Laws of the Teacher"

It's the beginning of another school year for most schools/universities in the Philippines, and we teachers are again reminded of Dr. Hendricks' 7 Laws:

The Law of the Teacher: If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow.

The Law of Education: The way people learn determines how you teach.

The Law of Activity: Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement.

The Law of Communication: To truly impart information requires the building of bridges.

The Law of the Heart: Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.

The Law of Encouragement: Teaching tends to be most effective when the learner is properly motivated.

The Law of Readiness: The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared.

Source: Hendricks, Howard G. The 7 Laws of the Teacher: Applied Principles of Learning. Atlanta, GA: WTBM, Inc., 1987.


SEC Registration # CN 2009 31845


  A community of ethnically rooted, culturally relevant, socially engaged, and globally competitive young Kalinga professionals.


 Provide a venue for intellectual discussions, career advancement, social activities, and community service primarily geared towards addressing pressing issues or concerns of the Kalinga.

Create a network of diasporic young Kalinga professionals aimed at highlighting the positive contributions of Kalingas to their respective workplaces and neighborhoods.


Knowledge is the basis of action. It is meant to be probed and shared, not deified and hoarded. It must be used to promote individual and collective welfare.
 Accountability is our watchword in our transactions. We shall manage our resources responsibly and shall not exploit group trust for personal profit.
 Leadership is a collegial affair. We adhere to a flat organizational structure. We seek to be proactive and to empower our members regardless of gender or social status.
 Indigeneity is at the core of our identity. We strive to remain grounded in our indigenous roots even within the jungles of an urban space. We exist to help preserve and enrich Kalinga indigenous knowledge, systems and practices.
 Non-partisanship is our policy in our programs and projects. We exist not to advance an exclusivist political or religious ideology. We shall actively take part in community affairs, but shall not be beholden to any politician, preacher or pundit.
 Goodwill is what we offer to the community at large. We value reconciliation over revenge, cooperation over competition. We declare that everywhere is a matagoan zone – a sphere of life, peace, justice, and freedom.
 Ambition drives our movement. We are agents of change and development in society. We will keep the balance between self-­respect and vainglory, idealism and realism.

Guanghui Suiyue (Beyond): Tribute to Nelson Mandela

I'm a big fan of Nelson Mandela whose country celebrated its independence day yesterday. I have admired him for his nerve of steel tempered in the furnace of a strife-torn land, as well as for his even-handed treatment of the issue on apartheid/racial segregation. Just as the world will not forget Gandhi's Satyagraha ("truth-power"), it will always remember Mandela's Ubunti ("fraternity"). More about Mandela @ mandela foundation &

Wong Ka Kui, one of my favorite Asian singers, had paid tribute to this "Mahatma Gandhi of South Africa" with a poignant song entitled, Guanghui Suiyue ("Glorious Days"/"Days of Glory" - click here for the text). This iconic lead vocalist of the Hong Kong band Beyond died at 32 in a freak accident in Japan. In this song, he soulfully tells of Mandela's struggles in his bid to help set his people free from the claws of prejudice and hatred.