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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Xmas in the john

Christmas is everywhere — even in the john.  Christmas is for everyone — even for "Igorot statues." This photo was taken inside the men's restroom (WC to you, wode zhongguode pengyou hehe) at the Maharlika Livelihood Center.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reading Baguio's Past: A Seminar

Lifted from the UP Baguio website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Young Kalinga Professionals Association" Update

Susunud un yKalinga,

We are pleased to announce that the Young Kalinga Professionals Association (YoungKaPA) is now being formally organized.

This Baguio-based group seeks to institute programs, projects and activities that will help sustain a more visible and positive collective presence of the Kalinga here and abroad. To this end, we shall partner with all individuals and groups who/that are passionate about promoting the finest qualities of the Kalinga culture.

Our final pre-SEC registration meeting is on 22 November 2009, 1.30 p.m., at the Lin-awa Center, C-203 Lopez Building, Session Rd., Baguio City. By yearend, we hope to finally register the Association with the SEC and launch it, along with our website, shortly thereafter.


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


1. To provide a venue for intellectual discussions, career advancement, social activities, and community service primarily geared towards addressing pressing issues of the Kalinga.

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

Core Values

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 while keeping the balance between self­–respect and vainglory, idealism and realism.

Note: KALINGA is used as an acronym to articulate the need to frame a counter-definition for identity reconstruction.  This is similar to a feminist strategy noted by Marina Warner in her essay, "Monstrous Mothers: Women Over the Top," in which "the metaphorical objects of derision and fear" are taken over and the "well–proven magic [of] uttering a curse in order to undo or claim its power, pronouncing a name in order to command its field of meaning" is summoned.*  Kalinga, an appellation which originally meant "enemy," is an ethnic identity that continues to be misunderstood and misrepresented.  It needs to be exorcised of its historical and cultural demons that have engendered a culture of mistrust, fear and inaction.  There is a gentler side of Kalinga many do not know... :)

* Marina Warner, Six Myths of Our Time: Little Angels, Little Monsters, Beautiful Beasts, and More (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), 15.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How did it all start?

Call it serendipity. A chance meeting and chit-chat at a wake among a few Kalinga young adults  each struggling to firmly re–connect to their ethnic heritage led to an exploratory huddle a few days later at the Lin-awa Center along lower Session Road to discuss the possibility of organizing a formal association of young Kalinga professionals in Baguio and Benguet.  The discussions during the first meeting of six individuals was a bit sketchy, but it heightened the need for instituting programs, projects and activities that would not only address the perceived needs of young Kalinga professionals but also open doors for them to serve the community.

The sketchy agreements took shape after three more meetings which were respectively held at the Lin-awa Center, the University of the Philippines Baguio, and the Cordillera Green Network, Inc. headquarters, with new faces and brilliant ideas being added each time.  Exciting siyempre, what with a collection of enthusiastic people from different professions – we got a  nutritionist, an agriculturist, an anthropologist, a lawyer, a police officer, professors/teachers, writers, researchers, wordsmiths, number crunchers... O-ha, bongga di ba? Of course, we expect the group to be more kulayful in the next few months with a lot more taking interest in what the Association stands for.

What do you mean by “Young Kalinga Professionals”?

Young. “Young” ka if you are not more than 45 years old.  This does not mean, of course, that a member of the Association gets “deactivated” when s/he turns 46; it only means that s/he serves the Association at a different level; sa madaling sabi, pag certified “vintage member” ka na, mas may value ka.

Kalinga. It doesn’t really matter whether you are born a Kalinga or consider yourself a Kalinga “by insertion” and accident. What matters is that you identify yourself with this ethnolinguistic group and  are passionate about the welfare of Kalinga cultural heritage. Basta, nu f na f (feel na feel) mo yKalinga ka, ‘yun na ‘yun.

Professionals. You are in if you are a graduate of a Vocational or Technical course and/or finished a college degree, employed or “in-between jobs.”

What about the KALPRA and other Kalinga Organizations?

We seek to work with the Kalinga Professionals and Residents Association (KALPRA), it being  the de facto umbrella organization of all Kalinga groups in Baguio and Benguet.  We seek to work with all other Kalinga organizations panglallakay man wenno pang-ubbing in and outside the region for some common purpose.

Just another electoral scheme?

Nope. Pramis, there is no connection between the formation of this Association and the coming national and local polls. The timing is mere coincidence. Please refer to “N” of our Core Values.

So, how do I become a member of the Association?

Simple lang kapatid. Text or write us, fill out the membership form (may online version na by December), pay the PhP 500.00 membership fee (one time lang ‘to) and the annual dues (to be pegged later), and support the Association in any way you can. Umaykan!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ANI 35 e–invite

Book price during launch, PhP 403.00;  regular price,  PhP 504.00

ANI 35 e nvite


"CCP launches 35th issue of Ani publication"

[Note:What follows is the official press release of the Literary Division of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on this year's issue of Ani.]

ani 35_cover

CCP launches 35th issue of Ani publication

11 November 2009, Pasay City – The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Literary Arts Division will launch Ani 35, The Pinoy as Asian issue, on November 26, 2009, 6:00 p.m., at the CCP Ramp with some of the featured authors reading from their works.

Ani 35 is devoted to writings by Filipinos on their interaction with other Asian peoples and cultures. This may be interpreted as a response to the call of Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist, on the need to reconnect with Southeast Asian literary tradition if we are to survive in this age of globalization,” Herminio S. Beltran, Jr., Literary Arts Division chief and editor of the publication, wrote in the Introduction. “We hope this will inspire the birthing of mechanisms and eventually practices in the Philippine literary/publishing world that will start off a more dynamic interaction among Filipino writers and their counterparts in the Asian continent,” Beltran continued.

Ani 35 features 54 authors who contributed for three sections: poetry; prose (essay and fiction) based on the The Pinoy as Asian theme and; Malayang Haraya for poetry and prose contributions outside the theme.

The 54 authors included in Ani 35 are Mark Angeles, Lilia F. Antonio, G. Mae Aquino, Genevieve L. Asenjo, Abdon M. Balde, Jr., Janet Tauro Batuigas, Gil Beltran, Herminio S. Beltran, Jr., Kristoffer Berse, Jaime Jesus Borlagdan, Raymond Calbay, Catherine Candano, Nonon V. Carandang, Christoffer Mitch Cerda, Joey Stephanie Chua, Kristian S. Cordero, Genaro R. Gojo Cruz, Carlomar Arcangel Daoana, Arvin Tiong Ello, Dennis Espada, Rogerick Fontanilla Fernandez, Reparado Galos III, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, Joscephine Gomez, Malou Jacob, Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin, Karla Javier, Phillip Kimpo, Jr., Ed Nelson R. Labao, Gexter Ocampo Lacambra, Erwin C. Lareza, Jeffrey A. Lubang, Glenn Sevilla Mas, Perry C. Mangilaya, Noahlyn Maranan, Francisco Arias Monteseña, Ruth V. Mostrales, Victor Emmanuel Nadera, Jose Velando Ogatis-I, Wilhelmina S. Orozco, H. Francisco V. Peñones, Jr., Scott Magkachi Sabóy, Judith Balares Salamat, Edgar Calabia Samar, Louie Jon A. Sanchez, Soliman Agulto Santos, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Rakki E. Sison-Buban, Jason Tabinas, Vincent Lester G. Tan, Dolores R. Taylan, Rosario Torres-Yu, Betty Uy-Regala, and Camilo M. Villanueva, Jr.

For issues of Ani, please contact the CCP Marketing Department at 551-7930 or 832-11-25 locals 1800 to 1808. For authors who want to contribute for the next issue of Ani, please contact the CCP Literary Arts Division at 832-11-25 locals 1706 and 1707, or email

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Proselyter's Zeal (2)

My wife and I were commenting on how well-maintained his Avanza taxi was.  He said his boss bought it early this year.  We could tell he  was a careful driver — no sudden lurches, no reckless swerves, no racing with other cars. And he was neat.

Just as we thought our conversation had ended, he handed out two calling cards bearing the name of his church with its weekly Bible study or worship schedules.  Then came his five–minute sermon which, judging from his smooth delivery of it, he must have shared countless times to his passengers and just about anyone he met.  He is from this so and so church, he says, and, as I remembered it, he preached in a mix of Tagalog and English which went  something like this:

This [his church] is not a religion, it is a relationship. I am a born-again [sic]. And as a born­–again Christian I am responsible for preaching the gospel.  The gospel is simply a three-point message: Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  We are saved by the gospel. How do we get saved by the gospel?  Well, three things ­­ actually — three keys to the Kingdom. The first key is repentance. This corresponds to the first part of the gospel message, the death of Jesus Christ. The second key is baptism in the name of Jesus, which corresponds to the second part of the gospel message, the burial of Jesus. And the third key is Gift of the Holy Spirit, which corresponds to the resurrection of Jesus.

Despite being interrupted several times by my wife's instructions for him to turn here and there, he plowed on with his soul–winning sermonette right to where we got off, confident perhaps that he could get a quick harvest out of the "Seed" he earnestly sought to sow in our fertile heart.

Frankly, the last thing we wanted after a whole day’s  work is to listen to a sermon at night in a taxi. But we had to be polite, so we just responded to his fervent speech with ah-huh, okay, hmm while wishing we'd get to our destination in a jiffy.

"You were once like that," my wife kidded after we got off his taxi and were out of earshot. I looked back and saw the taxi still not backing up. "Oh yes, and perhaps much more so,” I replied. "And he is probably pausing for a five–minute prayer beseeching God to touch our hearts so we could finally feel the need to be saved from our terrible, terrible sins — just like I used to do after giving out tracts in the streets and preaching in classrooms or to strangers in a bus."

Years ago as a new convert to a new religion (depending on which church doctrine one uses refers to, I was actually “saved”  four times — when I was christened a Catholic in preschool, when I prayed the sinner's prayer in Grade six, when I prayed another sinner's prayer in a more conservative Baptist church in college, and when I was baptized specifically "for the remission of sins" into the Stone–Campbell Church of Christ).  I had such a “fire in my bones” that every occasion became an opportunity for my "New  Christian" testimony, and everyone outside my church was a "prospect" for evangelism.  For after all, we had a unique message of salvation, we were the right church, and we better be busy before the Day of Judgment comes to damn people who did not get to hear our message. "...No one has the right to hear the gospel twice until everyone has had the opportunity to hear it at least once," we'd chant with Peter Barnes as we marched on under the Star–Spangled Banner of the Baptistic/Restorationist Cross.

In reality though, we were simply proselyting most of the time — converting people to our church, our particular theology, out pet doctrines, and not to the Jesus who would have nothing to do with our misguided zeal and sectarian bent.

Still, I can say my stay with fanatical Christian groups was not a waste at all. It was simply a leg of this lifetime journey towards maturity.  When we truly commit ourselves to political, social, and religious ideologies, we will have to go through the passage from Cloud 9 Idealism to Ground Zero Realism during which we initially, like the boy in James Joyce's Araby, "Gaz(e) up into the darkness [and see ourselves as creatures]  driven and derided by vanity... [with] eyes burn[ing] with anguish and anger."  It was also a time to witness how the message of the Cross can change a person for the better.

And, back to riding a taxi, I think I prefer being preached to by the driver than having to wildly scramble for a missing seatbelt and to choke to death in a taxi driven by one whose closest experience to being spiritually high is enveloping the car with his cigar smoke while racing along the city's narrow streets like a man possessed by legions of demons who, moments before,  had just driven thousands of pigs into the sea.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Baguio We Smell

baguio garbage 1

josie 1

josie 2

Baguio old–timers often pine for the pine–scented Baguio they used to know.   It is indeed sad that the Baguio we smell now is a mix of a whiff of pine scent and the lingering stink from mounds of uncollected garbage and the suffocating fart of jeepneys.

But along with all these depressing sights and smells is the often overlooked toil of our street sweepers like manang Josie of Salud Mitra barangay, shown in the photos above.  Manang Josie continues to make the piles of garbage near UBLES look “presentable” even though many residents do not take the time to fix the trash they dump in the area every night. Manang Josie has been in this thankless job for eight years now and says that it is only this year that she has had difficulty keeping streets in her area clean.

The familiar tinkling of bells sounding off from government dump trucks has not been heard in Salud Mitra for weeks now.  And the ticks of our city's garbage "bomb" are getting louder.  When it explodes, everyone will surely get  bowls  of stinking goo for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Scholarship Fund for "Little Kibungan" Victims Needed

28 elementary, high school, and college students from "Little Kibungan" may not be able to continue their studies this year.  They are among the hundreds of residents who lost their loved ones or homes and now live in tents after being temporarily housed at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) building in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.  Should you wish to help these kids , please get in touch with the President of Benguet State University, or the Chancellor of  UP Baguio through Professor Faye Abalos ( Kibungan Students

For background reports on the "Little Kibungan" disaster, see the following articles:

♥ "Little Kibungan Takes Comfort in Faith" by Maurice Malanes

♥ "A Benguet Story: Little Kibungan Landslide" by Kat Palasi

Thanks to Rotary International, several families displaced by the "Little Kibungan" landslide are temporarily housed in white "shelter boxes" set up at the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) headquarters in La Trinidad, Benguet.  Hopefully, these victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng will soon find permanent  resettlement areas where they can have access to suitable livelihood sources.

Little Kibungan victims 1 sms photo

Little Kibungan victims 2

Little Kibungan Victims @ NIA

Dominican-QM Landslide (Baguio City) 2

Almost four weeks after a landslide along the Dominican Hill–Quirino Magsaysay (QM) border ravaged three houses and killed four people, the disaster area looks like a junkyard with wreckage, household garbage, dozens of discarded tires, and at least three fallen pine trees strewn all over the place.

fallen pine at Dominican 6 sms photo

fallen pine at Dominican 4 sms photo

Fallen pine at Dominican 2 sms photo

fallen pine at Dominican 1 sms photo

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Snappy Salute to our Pilots!

Call them "Epoy," with a sneer.  Tell them they have the most laughable helicopters in the world (certainly not because our government cannot afford to buy the most sophisticated ones, but because funds meant for our armed forces' modernization plans have been misused for decades).

But the Filipino military pilots have become legendary for their flying skills especially as they snake along narrow valleys  and maneuver somewhere in the hinterlands whether during combat  operations or disaster relief missions.   Their  "A1" ingenuity in making the most out of their Vietnam War vintage UH–1H (Huey) helicopters is also laudable.

During the recent typhoon disasters, they have provided countless logistical support to chiefly civilian relief efforts.  In Benguet, the ever–proactive Governor Nestor Fongwan has been coordinating with the military on the delivery of sacks of rice and other goods needed by hundreds of typhoon victims in the province.

Below are photos of two of our military helicopters taken on 20 October 2009 at the Benguet State University (BSU) grounds.

BSU2 sms photo

BSU7 sms photo

BSU7 sms photo

BSU3 sms photo

BSU9 sms photo

BSU8 sms photo

BSU10 sms photo

BSU 1 sms photo

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tani Ato, Twin Peaks Landslide

Tano Ato, smsIf Tani Ato were a celebrity, his tragic story would have  merited a running news story in the national papers.  But he is not, so his grief will have to be immediately lost  in the nation’s  frenzy for the most explosive showbiz scandal and the next presidential polls.

If Tani Ato were a writer, he would have told of how he metaphorically wrote 30 at 73, when the recent typhoon conspired with tons of earth to bury six of his kins at Twin Peaks.  He would have graphically  described how his tears raged as he frantically dug up his dead, how he washed them clean, and how he buried them in a row of tombs close to his house. But he is not, and all he could do is tell the nosy in unadorned speech about how he lost  Ambrosio, 49 ; Oliver, 27; Patricia, 30;  Gloria, 27; Keithley, 4; and Jamaica, 9 (mos.).

If Tani Ato were a preacher, he would have waxed eloquent on theodicy and eschatology exhorting people that the disaster is simply the will of God, and all he must do is to have a deeper  faith in the inscrutable wisdom of Divine Providence and to be forewarned of Armageddon and be assured of Heaven. But he is not, and he is still probably wondering why he had to bury his own children and grandchildren and if in his remaining years on earth he will have to bury too his other surviving relatives, with none left to bury him.

He didn't have to lecture me about coping with tragedy.  I could see how, after being battered by a storm, he has striven to get on with his life: I could see it in the deep lines of his face, in the unpracticed way he pointed at the encased photos of his dead loved ones; I could hear it in his simple retelling of a nightmare that, from hereon, would haunt him during every heavy downpour at night.

He is just one of those hundreds of residents in Tuba, Benguet who will have to nurse a wound in the heart for the rest of their lives.  He is just one of those thousands of voiceless, faceless victims of calamities across the country whose harrowing struggles with the random changes in life must be shared with the rest of the world if only to make us more humble, sensitive, compassionate, generous,  just, thankful.

Twin Peaks 8 sms photo

Twin Peaks 9 sms photo


The road to Twin Peaks...

Twin Peaks 1

Twin Peaks 2, sms photo

Twin Peaks 3, sms photo

Twin Peaks 5 sms photo

Five years ago, I covered the inauguration of this new modular bridge in Tuba, Benguet for DILG–CAR's official publication, Gongs and Drums.  Everyone was jubilant then, for the bridge primarily meant easier transport of goods from the vegetable farms  to the market.  Now, the bridge was used by grief−stricken villagers to transport their muddy dead.

Abigail Daculan, also a former Local Government Operations Officer (LGOO)  and now our school nurse at UP Baguio, was back to her usual Community Organizing stance as she helped distribute relief goods  (thanks to the UP Baguio Community and Café by the Ruins) directly to the affected families.

Twin Peaks 4 sms photo

Twin Peaks 6 sms photo

Twin Peaks 13 sms photo

Twin Peaks 14 sms photo

Twin Peaks 15 sms photo

Twin Peaks 16 sms photo

Twin Peaks 18 sms photo

Twin Peaks 19 sms photo

Twin Peaks 20 sms photo

Twin Peaks 21 sms photo

Twin Peaks 22 sms photo

Twin Peaks 23 sms photo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PGMA Champions BCC Forest Park

[caption id="attachment_3299" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="This large "thank you" note and at least 10 other similar streamers now decorate the contested forest park beside the Baguio Convention Center (BCC). PGMA's order barring any plan to plant high-rise buildings in the area should finally make GSIS and SM redirect their joint business interests elsewhere. sms photo"]Forest Park[/caption]

Related Article: "Kids Thank PGMA for Saving Forest Park"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wiyo Susunod un Kalinga Young Pro's (Baguio and Benguet)!


Siasino? AMIN DAGITI YKALINGA NGA YOUNG PROFESSIONALS DITOY BAGUIO KEN BENGUET ["Young" ka no saan ka pay nga agtawen iti 46, ken "professional" ka basta naggraduarka iti Voc/Tech nga kurso wenno College degree, adda man trabahom wenno awan].


Kasano ngay diay KALPRA? Makitinnulong tayo a iti KALPRA, it being the de facto umbrella organization of all Kalinga groups in Baguio and Benguet. Mayat koma no mapabileg tay pay ti panagkakaduatayo babaen iti kastoy nga organisasyon. Adu ti mabalin tay  nga maaramidan karkaro ta kas kuna ni mam Lucia Ruiz ken Annielyn Pucking, adda nasurok nga 10,000 nga Kalinga young professionals ditoy Baguio ken Benguet.

Kaanu ngay ngarud ken sadinno? 5pm, 30 October 2009, Lin–awa Center for Culture and Arts, 203 Lopez Building, Session Road, Baguio City

Bernadette Balway, Froilan Calsiyao, Ma. Teresa Ganongan, Annielyn Pucking, and I initially met yesterday night (23 October '09)  at the Lin–awa Center to discuss the prospects of organizing a group as this.  The result of the discussion will be shared with those attending the 30 October meeting.

Umaykayo kakabsat! :)



lin awa 1I had never heard of Lin–awa until last week when I attended the wake of William Dannang at the Cathedral of the Resurrection where I met Mrs. Ruiz, Bernadette and Annielyn.  (It was then that they broached the idea of forming an organization for all young Kalinga professionals in Baguio and Benguet.) I discovered that we shared the same passion for the enrichment of Kalinga indigenous knowledge systems and practices, and that they have long been active in promoting Kalinga, or Igorot culture in general, here and abroad.  More importantly, I learned that  this NCCA–accredited institution has been conducting workshops  on Kalinga dances and instruments, aside from providing scholarship assistance to members of  its group of peformers and helping document of  indigenous knowledge.  For me, a teacher who needs to re–learn the intricacies of his culture and a father anxious about his children forgetting their indigenous roots in the concrete jungle of the city, finding Lin–awa is truly exhilarating.

Related article: "Three Cordi youth to join 'First Voices' in Canada"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Erap and the 2010 Polls

EXTRA! EXTRA! Erap to Run in 2010 Polls!!!



Erap: "This is the last performance of my life."

Great.  Politics is showbiz after all.  The next presidential election is his "last full show" where he, the beleaguered silver screen hero, gets to rise from the ashes of his incinerated foes thus immortalizing his iconic existence in the hearts of his adoring fans. [Background Music:   Charles Tindley's "(I) Shall Overcome"]


The point in Erap's Arthro ad: He could barely run.


Erap and most other presidentiables are experts at generalizations.  They hear the rah–rah–rah siz–bom–bah from their bailiwicks  (or their bootlicking minions), and think it's the whole nation cheering them on.


Some think Erap is the country's last best hope. Ay apo met, agpanunot tay met ah kakabsatNeh, buyaen tay kadi daytoy barbareng adda mapili tayo a natartaraki pay nga artista kas next President op da Shubisripablik hehe:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do as the Chinese Do

Dào shénme shān shàng, Chàng shénme gē. ("When you go climbing up their mountain, you've got to learn to sing their songs." – Bryan Todd's translation)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Learning Putonghua @ Hotel Supreme

40 Chinese and non–Chinese individuals took their first Mandarin/Putonghua (pinyin) lessons at Hotel Supreme on 17 October 2009  from 3:00 –5:00 pm. They are expected to continue their language classes over the next seven Saturdays.

Hosted by the Baguio Filipino–Cantonese Association (BFCA) under the leadership of Hotel Supreme manager Peter Ng, the free crash course is into its second batch of learners.  The first batch was offered only to Filipino–Chinese learners, and had 15 enrollees only four of whom eventually finished the course.  CPA–Lawyer Cristeta Leung and Linda Loma-ang are teaching the course.

The first session introduced Chinese numbers and personal pronouns using the inductive approach to language learning in which  the participants were first given a "feel" of the target language and allowed to figure out Mandarin grammar, phonetics and syntax minus the usual standard classroom lecture. To reinforce the learning points for the day, kiddie songs were taught to the learners toward the end of the session.

Session 1 Songs

1. Shige Xiao Pengyou ("10 Little Friends," round song sang to the tune of  "10 Little Indian Boys")

yīge, liăng ge, sānge péngyou

sìge, wŭge, lìuge péngyou

qīge, bāge, jiŭge péngyou

shíge xiăo péngyou

2. Wode Pengyou Zai Nali ("Where is My Friend?"; sang to the tune of  "Where is Thumbman?")

yī, èr, sān, sì, wŭ, liù qī...

wŏde péngyou zài nălĭ?

zài zhèlĭ!

zài nălĭ?

wŏde péngyou zài zhèlĭ!

Learn Putonghua online @ . Get helpful L2 learning tips from Bryan Todd @

Friday, October 16, 2009

UCCP's "Joseph the Dreamer" Musicale @ SLU

Two weeks ago, my wife and I took our two kids to watch the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)–Baguio's musicale, "Joseph the Dreamer" at the Saint Louis University (SLU) Center for Culture and the Arts (CCA).

It was a delightful treat with all its 17 songs rendered in an enthralling mix of pop, rap and praise — the serious and the comic,  the classical and the contemporary, the liturgical and the spontaneous.  Its creative appropriation of a foreign theme for a Pinoy audience connects with today's generation for whom a Charles Heston–era retelling of ancient Hebrew stories has become soporific.

All performers virtually form a cross section of the Baguio community — teens and elderlies, students and professionals, academics and business folk, private individuals and government officials.  This demonstrates how Christian ministry can effectively meld with social involvement or public service.

What is most impressive to me about this musicale is the willingness of two distinct Christian institutions — a CICM–run school and an Evangelical church — to work together in packaging a gift to our 100–year old city and its multiethnic denizens.

May we continue to see more interdenominational work among Christians in the city.

UCCP Joseph the Dreamer



The Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) began its work in the Philippines in 1908.  It recently produced a docu, "The CICM Legacy in the Philippines," a mini–version of which can be viewed @ cicmphil100.  Among the CICM priests who have helped enrich Igorot ethnography and Cordillera Studies in general  were Fr.  Francis Lambrecht and Fr. Francisco Billiet whose  works, Kalinga Ullalim and Ifugao Orthography, "immensely contributed to the growing repertoire of Cordillera folk songs"  (Saboy 1997, 7).

Meanwhile, the UCCP was established in 1948 as an "organic union" mainly of the following denominations: Presbyterian Church, the Philippine Methodist Church, the Evangelical United Brethren, the Congregational Church, and the Christian Church/Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ).  For a backgrounder on this nationalistic church, see "The United Church of Christ in the Philippines: Historical Locations, Theological Roots, and Spiritual Commitment" and "Unity in Diversity: The Birth of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines" respectively written by Mariano C. Apilado and Isagani V. Deslate (see Kwantes 2001, 335– 358;  2002,  28–56). Among their more prominent members today are  the likeable Juan Flavier, the venerable Jovito Salonga, and the indefatigable Fidel Ramos.



Joseph is such an  intriguing Biblical character that one Hexateuch (Genesis–Joshua) expert has this patriarch pictured as an icon of forgiveness in contrast with the image of a God who needed gradual "moral education" by his own creatures  (Segal 2007).  The very idea surely raises eyebrows especially among the more conservative wings of  Islam, Judaism and Christianity, but this scholar's work as a whole is an interesting read for those  who wish to have a peek into how different interpretive communities struggle with sacred texts.

Andrew Bard Schmookler probes into Segal's speculation @, and Rabbi Mier Kahane engages Segal in a debate the first part of which is shown below:

segalThe Joseph story is about love and jealousy, and crime and guilt, about loss and pain, and transformation and forgiveness.  In contrast to the Cain and Abel account, what is dramatically different in the Joseph story is that Joseph is both the long–suffering victim and the powerful figure who, remembering his own victimization, must decide whether to punish or forgive.

Joseph never seriously considers retribution. Rather, acting almost as a drama therapist, he leads them into a symbolically related journey that changes them. Theirs is not a total transformation, but as Judah's actions demonstrate, it is one of significance.  And in this depiction of the sinner and his capability of change, there is important validation of the place of forgiveness within the moral order, even when justice would have indicated punishment. (Segal 2007, 23)

Works Cited:

Kwantes, Anne C., ed. Chapters in Philippine Church History. Manila: OMF Literature Inc., 2001.

__________________ . Supplement to Chapters in Philippine Church History. Manila: OMF Literature Inc., 2002.

Saboy, Anatalia M. Indigenous Ethnic Songs of the Cordilleras. Manila: NCCA, 1997.

Segal, Jerome M. Joseph's Bones: Understanding the Struggle Between God and Mankind in the Bible. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Efrenia Fé A. Maclean: Insights from a Diasporic Ilokano's Success Story

macleanIlokana teacher and writer Monica Supnet Macansantos notes in her paper, “Crossing Geographic Boundaries: Transporting the Ilokano Homeland,” that for the diasporic Ilokano “moving away… is not an act of abandoning one’s home, one’s heritage, but… a way of adding to the community’s history, by grabbing, like the Ilokano epic hero Lam-ang, the chance to become heroic…”¹

This is true for Efrenia Fé A. Maclean, an Ilokana from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte who was at UP Baguio on 05 October 2009 to share insights from her successful teaching career abroad in a lecture on “Language, Culture, and Identity.”

She has made a name for herself in the U.S.A as a teacher and educator for over thirty years now. Three of the awards she recently received are the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, Fullbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program (Japan), and Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is also featured, along with two American teachers,  in The Learning Classroom: From Theory to Practice, a  documentary film cum multimedia instructional material jointly produced by  the Annenberg Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Starting out in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a highly effective kindergarten teacher in the early ‘70s, she went on to build a distinguished career being a curriculum developer for the bilingual/bicultural education program in Hawaii, gradeschool teacher in Michigan, National Science Foundation (NSF) fellow, Reading First facilitator with the Michigan Department of Education, and presently an associate member of the Washington-based  Teacher Advisory Council under the aegis of The National Academies.

Maclean’s professional track record bears imprints of her Ilokano identity. Her early exposure to a multiethnic society, for instance, enabled her to treat her Black, Hispanic  and White students fairly at a time when racial discrimination was rife in America.  And at a time when teaching “Culture” in America was tantamount to stereotyping other cultures, she offered a “horizontal” approach for studying culture – "there’s just one race, only different ways of life."  One way she instilled this concept in class was through a “family tree” project in which her students learned lessons on cultural commonality and diversity.  Of course, it was natural then for her to teach her students a traditional boardgame called sungka, the Philippine version of the African mancala or the Indonesian congklat.  Coming from a very “musical culture,” she also had the chance to introduce songs from the Philippines to first graders who at the time were not really expected nor taught in school to sing “with the right tune,” a skill which was supposed to be developed in higher grades.

Growing up in a rural school where students regularly and successfully competed with those in the urban centers also helped, for her first teaching assignment was in a rural school where most lived below the poverty line. Here, she had the chance to help boost the learning competence of students normally not expected to excel academically, thus proving that poor children could compete with their more privileged peers.

Her being kuripot (frugal) paid both material and non-material dividends too: discardable things became award-winning teaching materials that proved more durable and practical than the commercialized ones; recycled papers which a nearby factory deemed useless became valuable scrap books showcasing children’s creative works; neglected stacks of wood were turned into sturdy benches and desks through a parent-child-teacher cooperative project, which instilled pride and a sense of ownership among “Section 2"  gradeschoolers who did not get enough furniture as those in “Section 1” did. Owing to a sound training at the Philippine Normal College, she was averse to the idea of segregating “smart and not-so-smart students” into different classes, and did her best to provide avenues of learning to all regardless of the section they belonged.

“When one always buys things, when one always depends on others, he becomes lazy,” she would remind her pupils. Her class learned to be productive, economizing on the use of available resources and optimizing time. Guided by one who walked her talk, the children developed the habit of saving used or throw-away things for some projects and doing things without being told.  Here, she would inject the Ilocano concept of being manakem (sense of responsibility, precociousness; from nakem = roughly, “conscience”).

In these and other snapshots of her teaching career, Fé Maclean concretizes the fact that, as she put it, a Filipino’s “American experience… is a product of what he brings and the circumstances he encounters in the United States.  He uses language to participate in the immediate culture he finds himself in and chooses his own identity.”

No doubt, the identity she had as a top Philippine Normal College graduate about 40 years ago is far different from the “Filipino-American” that she is now.  But there is no doubt that  a diasporic Ilokano like her continues to extend abroad the reach of an identity commonly and chiefly characterized by frugality, self-reliance, resourcefulness, and productivity.

So she is home even when far from home. For America may be in her name, but Ilocos is always in her heart.


¹ Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, et al., eds., Sukimat: Proceedings of the 2007–2008 Nakem Conferences (Batac, Ilocos Norte: Nakem Philippines, 2009), 88.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dominican-QM Landslide (Baguio City)

A midnight landslide last Friday (09 Oct 09) crumpled three houses along the Dominican Hill-QM border in Baguio City, killing four  people  [not five as earlier posted, see comment] and displacing four families.

[caption id="attachment_3185" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="smsaboy photo"]QM Landslide[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3186" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="smsaboy photo"]Upper QM Landslide 1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3187" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="smsaboy photo"]Upper QM Disaster 2[/caption]