March 2018
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Sounding the Trumpets

.A Wall Within A WallJoshua 6:20when the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. There are still many walls today in the Philippines, not the walls of Intramuros which have become irrelevant, even if before natives had to leave by dusk.

  • The walls of poverty. People are still kept from reaching their full potential by lack of opportunity. Human resources are still under-utilized (link).
  • The walls of ignorance. While many remain very ignorant, some still use knowledge as form of ritual intimidation instead of enlightenment (link).
  • The walls of exclusion. People are still kept from participating, but they are slowly learning to help themselves instead of just waiting for saviours (link).

The K-12 program has many detractors. Yet it is a major change from the old rote-based learning. That was probably started in Spanish times when Queen Isabel introduced public schooling in 1863. The American Thomasites may have meant well, but who knows how much they had to rely on local teachers with a less enlightened mindset in the far-flung Philippine archipelago. K-12 Plus (link) with German help, German factories like Stihl (link) and Dual Training programs like Grohe in Tondo (link) are creating jobs for more skilled and finally more confident workers.

I remember how some educated Filipinos from the “top schools” living in Germany were annoyed by the confidence of working-class Filipino families who had found jobs and a better life here. Backward thinking is not just a preserve of the oligarchy, but lives in many parts among the entrenched.

  • Those afraid of others coming up are probably not truly competitive (link). Many of us from the “good schools” were just small fish in the big pond that is Europe. We had to work harder.
  • Crabbing from above AND below are both symptoms of a zero-sum mentality (link). Some “elite” might prefer to be like planters in the Deep South before, privileged but backward (link).

Being “Up North”, I have been able to see the pretentiousness of some “elite” people (link) – even if now the Filipinos that come are way more global than before, which I think is a good thing. Achieving true modernity takes some time (link).  Now I agree with Joe America that the Philippines is on its way up (link), but I truly hope that these trends will become durable in the future.

Some have already sounded the trumpet (link) and the walls (link) may well be getting some cracks. Will there someday be a true civitas (link)? Will the walls someday be just like Intramuros?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 28. February 2016

46 comments to Sounding the Trumpets


    Ateneans commenting in Filipino very eloquently as a reaction to GRP show that my father’s goal of “Pagbalik sa Bayan” (return to the nation) of certain elites is something happening NOW. Nothing wrong with elites if they are not “Spaniards behind walls” anymore but Filipinos just like the Atenean Rizal – just like the French elite is republican in spirit not royalist.

    • The quality of the Filipino used BTW is impeccable… clear without compromising intellectual precision… one example:

      Medyo na-irita ako sa post, so here goes

      At dahil baka matawag akong “elitista” ng nagsulat nito, isinulat ko ang aking mga pananaw sa tagalog

      Pasensya na, pero mas sanay ako sa tagalog na pananalita at hindi sa sulat, baka may mali ako sa grammar

      Pero ito, sinbukan kong sagutin ang bawat talata ng post.

      “It’s nothing short of a memetic explosion. Get Real Post articles that dissected and, in the process, eviscerated the ill-conceived conceptual foundation of a statement released by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) faculty, denouncing Martial Law “historical revisionism” and baldly accusing Philippine senator and vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos of “brutality” have strongly-resonated amongst the Philippines’ young voters.

      Many observers have noted that this strong challenging of the edicts of this hallowed elite Catholic institution of learning is long-overdue. The ADMU has long stood tall as a bastion of progressive thought — or so its officers and student body would like to believe. Though the Ateneo community boasts a long track record of activism, most notedly their participation in the uprisings that led to the 1986 “people power revolution”, the possibility that this stance and the thinking that underpin its interpretation of history may now beobsolete. At the heart of this obsolescence is the idea that “the Martial Law years” — a catch-all phrase that is used to describe the period over which former President Ferdinand Marcos ruled — is a singular cause of the failure of the Philippines to progress.”

      Unang-una sa lahat, maari bang sabihin mo sa amin kung sinu-sino ang mga “observers” na ito? Ito bang statement na ito ay nanggaling sa isang empirical na pag-uusisa o binuhay lamang ng isang kakaibang nibel ng imahinasyon? Nakakaaliw na ang una at ikalawang talata ay nagbibigay ng mga malalaking salita (“dissected” at “eviscerated”) na aakalakin mong kritikal at comprehensibong nagiba ng mga artikulong pinost sa GRP ang pahayag ng mga Ateneo. Nakaka-aliw na ang paggibang nangyari ay walang reference sa mga scholarly na gawa at mga libro. Sa isang post na tumatawag sa isang “intelligent” debate, nakakalungkot na ang buong post ay tungkol lamang sa pag-atake sa persona ng mga Atenista, at hindi sa ideya nila.

      Pangalawa, ang mga mamamayanan nating maka-kalayaan at maka-demokrasya na nakaranas ng Martial Law at nakipaglaban upang tapusin ito ay naniniwala na hindi lamang dahil sa Martial Law ang mga problema ng Pilipinas. Kung nagbabasa ka ng mga posts ng mga kababayan nating ito (na kasama ang mga Atenista), marami ang nagsasabi na hindi lamang ang Martial Law ang problema. Marami tayong kailangang gawing trabaho pagkatapos ng rebolusyon, pero hindi ito nangangahulugang maganda ang Martial Law.

      “Part of the frustration and, now, defensiveness of the once glorious champions of Yellow-branded “freedom” can be traced back to the core of the euphoria that permeated Philippine society in the 1980s — the misguided thinking that the Philippines, after the collapse of “the Marcos regime”, held infinite promise of progress and a triumph of justice presumably fuelled by the “freedom” it had “won” and the “democracy” its champion, then President Cory Aquino had “restored”.Unfortunately, history, as it unfolded, did not necessarily empathise with this “hope” Filipinos harboured in the midst of that euphoria. The 30 years that followed the 1986 “revolution” had proven that the so-called “lack of freedom and justice” that these activists insisted characterised the Marcos years was not the real cause of the Philippines’ inability to join the ranks of its prosperous neighbours in the region. Whilst Filipinos soaked up the freedom that was available in excess since 1986 to churn out brain-killing entertainment, elect morons into public office, and seal the Yellow brand of the Aquinos as the de facto franchise holder of this “freedom” and “democracy” that marked those three decades, the nation sunk deeper into degeneracy.”

      Katulad ng sinabi ko sa itaas, mali ang pag-aakala na dahil maraming mali na nangyari matapos ang EDSA ay tama at maganda ang Batas Militar. Parang sinabi mo na Tumigil ako kumain nang masasamang pagkain, pero bakit mataba pa rin ako? Siguro tama lamang na kumain ulit ako ng masasamang pagkain. Isang malaking lohikal na pagkakamali ang ganyang pag-iisip.

      “The problem, however, is that this nationwide groupthink persisted in Philippine society like a deadly cancer. It prevented even the finest Filipino minds from stepping out of the din of chatter emanating from the clique once known as the Philippine “intelligentsia” to regard the situation from an outsider’s perspective. The Ateneo de Manila University counts itself as one of the stalwarts of this groupthink, but it had long ago become sloppy in its approach thanks to a lack of a will to challenge its own belief systems and allowing itself to become cocooned in a paradigm well past its use-by date.”

      Nakakatawa na sinasabi mo na may groupthink na nangyayari. Pero nung huli kong kita, mas maingay ang mga Marcos fanatics sa social media kesa sa mga maka-kalayaang mamamayan. Nakakaaliw din na sinasabi mong tila-bagang pinipigilan namin magsalita ang mga matalinong Marcos fanatics. Pero tingin ko walang nagsasalita na matatalinong Marcos fanatics hindi dahil may pumipigil sa kanila, pero wala lang talagang Marcos fanatics na kayang makipagdebate laban sa katotohanan.

      Nakakatawa rin na tila bumabalik ka nanaman sa pag-atake sa Ateneo imbis na atakihin ang nilalaman ng “groupthink” na ito. Ano nga ba yung mga “belief-systems” na sinasabi mo? Parang di ko ata alam na may ganoong pangkalahatang bagay sa pag-iisip ng mga Atenista. Pakisabi naman please

      “Evidence of a yawning gap between theory and intent and actual practice is in the attitude Ateneans have taken towards the brilliant and groundbreaking articles Get Real Post had, in recent days, put out there to challenge the Ateneo faculty statement against Senator Marcos’s alleged “historical revisionism” efforts. Some faculty members engaging the authors of these articles in social media have downright refused to read the articles themselves claiming that doing so will “contribute undeserved traffic” to Get Real Post. Some have retreated into that zone of comfort where Atenistas have long been legendary — grammar Nazism. Indeed, many Ateneo scholars have long tales of woe to tell surrounding the ostracism they receive from paying Ateneo students who make a sport of nitpicking on and making fun of their grammar gaffes and inability to deliver a natural Arrrneeoouww accent that, we are told, is a mark of a “true Atenean”.”

      Unang-una sa lahat, pwede bang paki-post ditto ang mga pagkakataon na may mga faculty member o mga Atenista na nakipag-taktakan sa inyo sa social media nang hindi “tama” sa inyong paningin? May mga litrato ba o kahit links para makita naming kung tama nga ba ang inyong mga akusasyon? Ikalawa, kitang-kita sa huling pangungusap na sobrang kulang ang iyong pagkakaintindi ng mga Atenista. Marahil namumuhay ka lamang sa isang stereotype na ang mga Atenista ay mga Ingliserong di marunong makipagsalamuha sa kapwa nila Pilipino. Oo, maraming Atenistang mayaman at hindi marunong mag-Tagalog, pero mas marami akong kilalang Atenista na nabuhay sa hirap, mga galing sa pampublikong paaralan, at walang pakialam kung may accent ka o wala. Sa totoo lamang, marami akong kilalang Atenista (kasama na ako) na pangit mag-Ingles. Kung ang buong punto ng iyong post ay para sabihin na elitist kami, pwes, medyo kulang ka ata sa pagsisiyasat.

      “Therein that refusal to engage intelligently with people who beg to differ lies the downfall of the Ateneo. Singing about coming “down from the hill” will certainly not ameliorate a strong tradition of institutionalised elitism that closes the impressionable minds of the kids of the country’s top taipans and politicians that pay mega bucks to have their kids educated by the Jesuits in the hills of Loyola Heights.”

      Sa dinami-daming libro, publikasyon, mga posts, mga pormal na debate at pahayag simula pa nung panahon ni kopong-kopong, nagtataka ako bakit mo nasabing hindi kami nakikipag-taktakan sa isang matalino at sibiladong paraan. Gumawa nang isang matapang na pahayag ang mga guro ng Ateneo dahil nakita naming hindi sapat ang ganitong paraan ng paghahayag ng paniniwala at katotohanan. Sa totoo ngalang, ang hindi nakikipag-dialogo ng tama ay ang mga Marcos fanatics. Lantarang pag-sisinungaling at pagpapalaganap ng mga kabulaanan ukol sa rehimeng Marcos ang nangingibabaw sa diskurso ng Marcos fanatics. Kung talagang naniniwala ka sa isang “intelligent” na pakikisalamuha, marahil siguro ay hindi puro pagtawag ng “elitista” ang nakikita ko ngayon sa post mo. Pero bakit pagkatapos ng ilang talata ay yoon lang ang napansin ko? At medyo kulang pa ata sa ebidensya ang pag-akusa mo ng elitista?
      Kitang-kita iyon sa parang pangkalahatang pahayag mo na elitist kaming lahat. Tulad ng nasabi ko sayo, mas maraming Atenista ang nakikisalamuha sa ating mga kababayan na naghihirap. Mula sa mga mag-aaral na nag-aalaga ng mga batang mahihirap na may kanser, mga nagtuturo sa pampublikong paaralan, sa mga nagtuturo sa mga ulila kung paano magmahal sa musika, sa mga kumakalinga sa mga kababayan nating nasa kulungan, sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo, at marami pang iba. Bukod pa doon, malaking porsyento ng mga mag-aaral ang nagtutuloy sa mga ganitong marangal na gawain kahit pagkatapos mag-aral. Muli, kitang-kita na nangingibabaw sa iyong post ay stereotype at hindi “intelligent” engagement.

      “Perhaps this episode (and there will be many more to come) should be regarded by the Ateneo community as a call to action. Rather than shrink away from the matter of the perceptions (fair or unfair) of elitism they cop from the broader Philippine public, Ateneans should be that “man for others” they fancy themselves to be and confront with courage these perceptions with an open mind and a measure of that self-reflection they supposedly learned in their classrooms.”

      Ano ba ang ginagawa namin? Hindi ba kinokonpronta naming ang isang isyu nang may katapangan? Kahit alam naming na maraming Marcos fanatics ang hindi magugustuhan ito? At sino ba ang mga nagsasabing elitist kami? Hindi ba’t mga tao na walang kaalaman ukol sa Ateneo? Tingin ko nagkakamali ka kung malaking bagay sa amin iyon, dahil ang masasabi ko, mas malaking bagay para sa amin ang lantarang pagsisinungaling na nangyayari sa lipunan.

      At bilang pagtatapos, ang masasabi ko lang ay isang malaking katatawanan ang post na ito. Nakita ko na ang punto mo lamang talaga ay sabihin na “elitist kayo” at hindi “mali ang sinabi niyo dahil 1… 2… or 3…” Para kang nakipagdebate at tinawag mo lamang na pangit ang kaaway mo, at hindi ka nakapagdulot ng kahit anong progreso sa pakikipagtalastasan.

      May tawag ata doon

      Ad hominem

      Ay sandali, masyado ata elitista yung linyang yoon. Ito nalang

      “Atakihin mo yung sinabi, hindi yung nagsasabi”

      Sa siyam na talata mo, hindi mo ata nasunod iyon ni isang beses


    And beyond that, how does PHL leapfrog to the 21st century? Do we want to stop to make “pa-pogi” – and step up to reality? Juan de la Cruz must be thankful for the traffic – we’re growing the economy?

    “In a world where imperfection seems to be everywhere, the humble and the honest have a huge head start in spiritual matters and can readily find God in their most ordinary of lives. ‘To the poor in spirit the kingdom of heaven already belongs’ (Matthew 5:3), Jesus says in his emphatic opening line of the Sermon on the Mount.” [Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 15th Feb 2016].

    That’s the spirituality dimension of development. And the pragmatic? The writer spent the last few months in Sofia, Bucharest, New York and Singapore, among others, doing business reviews with his Eastern European friends. And these economic hubs would confirm what he has observed over decades: nowhere in the world would perfection rule. Ergo: we can compete against the best in the world! But not if we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome?

    It is about cultivating talent not validating talent. It is the distinction between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.
    Do we Pinoys want to figure that out so we don’t find ourselves like a fish out of water in the 21st century?

    “Mindset first came to my attention a few years ago in a fascinating invention session on education . . . Dweck’s research had a big impact on our thinking that day. [Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006), by the Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck] And in the years since . . . helped my foundation colleagues and me understand more about the attitudes and habits that allow some students to persevere in school despite big challenges.” [What you believe affects what you achieve, Bill Gates,, 7th Dec 2015]

    “Our genes influence our intelligence and talents, but these qualities are not fixed at birth. If you mistakenly believe that your capabilities derive from DNA and destiny, rather than practice and perseverance, then you operate with what Dweck calls a ‘fixed mindset’ rather than a ‘growth mindset.’ Our parents and teachers exert a big influence on which mindset we adopt—and that mindset, in turn, has a profound impact on how we learn and which paths we take in life.

    “In experiment after experiment, Dweck has shown that the fixed mindset is a huge psychological roadblock—regardless of whether you feel you were blessed with talent or not. If you have the fixed mindset and believe you were blessed with raw talent, you tend to spend a lot of time trying to validate your ‘gift’ rather than cultivating it. To protect your self-identity as someone who’s super smart or gifted, you often steer clear of tough challenges that might jeopardize that identity . . . ‘From the point of view of the fixed mindset, effort is only for people with deficiencies…. If you’re considered a genius, a talent, or a natural—then you have a lot to lose. Effort can reduce you.’“

    And could that be why we are where we are as a people – an economy or a nation? We would enter the real world from wherever and take along our résumé – and then assert our rank and its privileges? The evidence? Creativity, innovation and competitiveness are not synonymous to PH – and would explain why tyranny fills the void and defines us?


    Does our “kuro-kuro” culture, our version of freedom and democracy, produce a surplus of analysis – worse, analysis-paralysis – while we starve for leadership? And why “crab-mentality” has consigned us to the doldrums?

    From the standpoint of the private sector, Asean integration can be won by leadership and competitive products, not analysis-paralysis! And that would not be a bad guide for the public sector.

    “Keep it simple, stupid!” That was one of the first lessons this writer’s Eastern European friends had to learn as they went through EU accession. KISS is a fundamental given which they realized as they got deeper competing in the EU and beyond. And it applies to global companies too…

    Experience is not a bad word. Ignatian spirituality and discernment values the human experience. If man is made in the image and likeness of the Creator, he can be a source of wisdom. Unfortunately, in the case of PH, we have no track record in development – in moving up from Third-World to First-World. And have fallen into the trap of analysis-paralysis?

    And we forget biology? Do we still confuse creation and evolution even after Francis averred that they aren’t incompatible? The world is flat? What we see isn’t necessarily what we get. And why we Pinoys need to figure out what survival of the fittest means?

    Sadly, in a hierarchical system and structure, where the elite class rules, we like to be frozen in time? To preserve and protect – and perpetuate – our rank and its privileges? And tyranny? The evidence? Imelda, Imee and, of course, Bongbong! Recall that Bill Gates embraced the distinction between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset…

    Clearly, erecting the building blocks of an economy and moving forward as a people and nation is not a cakewalk. And we Pinoys must always be conscious of “crab mentality?” It’s human nature, as the Americans are finding out in their own election process.

    • sonny

      Social Action activities at the Ateneo are pursued in campus (undergraduate extracurricular activity) under the oversight of the Student Catholic Action and the Ateneo Catechetical Instruction League. This was during my time. Nowadays, since K-12 probably overlaps with the Freshman college year of the old curriculum, there is now Tulong Dunong. My guess only, I’ve had no in-campus contact since my college graduation. Incidentally Walden Bello & Manny Pangilinan were members of the Student Catholic Action at the time.

  • sonny

    Nephew, Irineo, I’m glad you think it not presumptuous to introduce St Benedict to you both.

    San Beda is named after Venerable Bede, the great English Benedictine saint and chronicler. The school is attached to the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat located at Mendiola. It would be a privilege to ‘show and tell’ the abbey and the school to both of you with me as guide. If circumstances allow the opportunity The short of this is that I will request a special tour of the abbey and school and hopefully bring you to a past time and place where true peace and prayer are the daily pursuits of the day. Karl, a taste of what Irineo describes as the family haven in Germany is available right there at San Beda college chapel. I suggest attendance at the 11 AM Sunday Mass, bring the family with. Irineo, so much of what you describe in your Benedictine encounter ring true with my own experience.

    Karl, 3 years separate Buddy Gomez and myself when we were both at San Beda. (RHiro seems to be younger than me. I dunno if he attended SBC).

    I’m linking a commentary to the prologue of St Benedict’s Rule. I stumbled on it accidentally. It’s not so long compared to the usual texts you both so easily handle. Taste and see what you can make of it. I am constantly impressed with the insights both of you extract from the political tracts and conversations here and at Joe’s blog. Both of you tackle the reading materials so fairly and with so little prejudice. Similarly, St Benedict is well known for his equanimity and moderation. Because of this there are quite a few secular writers who model their business and corporate approaches to management on the Benedictine Rule, let alone the spiritual writers who have done the same thing regarding spiritual life. Let me know how you like it (or not). 🙂

    • karlgarcia

      When I was young I read a comic book about Scholastilca and Benedict.I think SBC was one of those I took College entrance exams,and I remember visiting a friend there sometime ago.

      • sonny

        Yes, nephew, Scholastica and Benedict were twins and both are canonized saints. SBC’s Commerce/Accountancy was coming on strong around your time; Arts & Sciences has not been the same since Prof R. Enriquez (our Philosophy mentor) retired. During our time, LaSalle, UP, Mapua, UE, UST were the professional schools of choice.

    • The two-hour walk around the volcanic lake near the abbey was the most significant aspect of the experience – the visit to the Church often only short, but something about the place was always calming. The lake is nearly circular, being a crater lake, and the woods around it completely hide the surroundings, making it a refuge.

      Finding out is is Benedictine is no small wonder for me – I did not particularly look at the history of the place then. I was impressed by the mosaic of Christ inside the Romanesque Church, almost Byzantine in style – Catholic and Orthodox churches were already separate about a millenium ago but had not yet drifted so far apart in style.

      Konrad Adenauer, German postwar chancellor, liked the place. I can only imagine how it helped him find the right way through many challenges: the reconciliation with France (De Gaulle), getting the POWs in Russia back home (1955, one can only imagine the many scenes – men coming home after 10 years to see the wives and the children they had left again possibly even some to see their wives remarried having assumed they were dead), rejecting the Stalin overture to reunify Germany at the price of neutrality aka Finlandization instead joining both EC and NATO and rearming in 1955 with many of the returned veterans as officers, reintegrating former mid-level Nazis into democracy, stabilizing his new Christian Democratic party – and most importantly bringing humility back into the culture of German leadership even against ridicule.

      • sonny

        Benedictines have a long history of accomplishment in Liturgy, Music and Art. (Also alcoholic concoction 🙂 ) But their brightest accomplishment was all-around education of nobles and serfs of the manor. Cluny and the great monasteries of the French countryside especially were the testimonies to this tradition. England, Germany, Italy and Spain had their share of this Benedictine paradigm.

        My favorite in this Benedictine tradition is their manner of propagation. It seems, to the mind of St Benedict who was very scriptural in his Rule, the number 12 (the Jewish numeral for good and complete administration/enterprise) figured prominently: 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel). When the membership of a monastic house approximated 12 – 15 members, it signaled the time for expansion into creating another monastery. This number seemed to be the optimal membership to practice the spirituality of ‘Ora et Labora.’ The center of ORA was the celebration of Daily Mass and daily praying of the DIVINE OFFICE (the canonical hours of Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Matins, Lauds and Compline). LABORA consisted of Study and manual work in whatever could appropriately bring daily food to the community of monks. This daily program was carried out in literally clockwork manner. This was the routine that can and did contextualize the energy of the community and was in turn modeled to the secular world.

        • One could basically say that the Benedictines managed to tame the Dark Ages and the “political dynasties” of Europe after the fall of Rome. One of the soothing qualities of Maria Laach is the vegetation – one the left bank of the Rhine it is similar to that in France and Belgium, meaning pleasant, not as intimidating as that of the Teutoburg Forest or as archaically majestic as that of Bavaria. Over here the climate is more robust, a far cry from the warm climate of the Rhineland.

  • karlgarcia

    Uncle Sonny,you met Buddy Gomez in San Beda,then it is very possible that you bumped into RHiro.

    • karlgarcia

      I would not have been intersted to google RHIro, if not for his intellectual kilometric posts,not unlike PIE of old,I accidentally saw that link about his high school reunion.

    • sonny

      A very good deduction, nephew. Yes, RHiro’s timeline in SBC shows an overlap with mine. I was on my way out when they were in high school and I remember a few of the members of their class. Their reunion paralleled our reunion, i.e. reuniting for the first time after 40 yrs. Just a footnote: you are my son’s age; Irineo is only 5 some years younger then my youngest sib/brother. 🙂

  • – Teodoro Locsin




    April 9, 1949—BECAUSE of a flood of such telegrams, and letters and petitions from Catholics all over the Philippines, Nacionalista and Liberal members of the House of Representatives decided in caucus last week, not only to vote against the proposed “liberalization” of the present Divorce Act, but to abolish absolute divorce.

    Henceforth, only legal separation would be authorized, on the ground of adultery on the part of the wife, concubinage on the part of the husband. Re-marriage would be impossible. That is, if the bill sponsored by Congressman Lorenzo Sumulong of Rizal is passed, as it is expected to be passed, by the House, and if the Senate should act favorably on the measure and the President does not veto it.

  • – Nick Joaquin

    July 1970–THE boys in the back room will have been there a year come August and they’re moving towards their first anniversary amid distressing rumors that the first shall be the last.

    The back room is the Malacañang Press Office and the boys supposedly besieged there are Kit and Larry—or, to give them their official titles, Press Secretary Francisco Tatad and Assistant Press Secretary Lorenzo Cruz. From their back room come the Palace bulletins on what’s happening in the front room, for their job is to report on the President, as well as hand out the chronicles on the Palace gathered for the front page. Their other job is to act as liaison between the press and the President.

  • – from inside the walls of UP… a lot of support for their Brod Binay.

  • BTW one of my examples of “knowledge used as ritual intimidation” is RHiro.

  • karlgarcia

    Come to think of it you are right,leaving because if Binay and Duterte is vey reactionary. You can not just keep on saying dahil sa bobotante o dinaya ang manok mo.What if it is really a majority decision? Rather than sulk,better do something,like being more vigilant,and whatever,not just to be frozen like it is the end of the world.

    • No it is not reactionary, but in general countries where certain people leave tend to lose. Iran after Khomeini lost a large part of its middle class just like Syria today. Who am I to judge those who leave – I also left. Of course it is not the end of the world, but those who are there could be like the frog that gets slowly cooked. Those who are called bobotante are those “outside the walls” – of opportunity, education and/or participation – removing the invisible walls is VERY difficult I agree.

      This is where protecting K-12 I think is very important – those that finish it will be very alert. Rizal wrote that colonialism reduced Filipinos to a race without a mind and without a heart, disgusted with itself – I see the young on the FB page of this blog they are the exact opposite of that and what GRP and Antipinoy always mention. For the rest I have no real answer – I think Roxas tried to go outside the walls but had a huge surprise there, Leni has more practice in being “extra muros” than him.

      • Come to think of it, the “intra muros” and “extra muros” mental model is very very useful to see clearer which is the purpose of any mental model:

        Ro-Ro want to do more for the people “extra muros”… maybe to break down the walls later when people are ready, I don’t know..

        Poe I think is the generation that no longer has the walls inside its head… but I think underestimates how real they are for many others.

        Binay, Duterte, Santiago all are promising stuff to people outside the walls, but want to set up shop inside the walls as soon as they are elected I think.

        Many millenials might be wondering what the hell things are all about, because the world they grew up in is the world they know… I know them too little to judge.

      • karlgarcia

        Sorry,I misread this comment.

        You left because you were forced to leave,you were in danger.
        I even encouraged Gian to leave if leaving could help his family.
        But if Binay or Duterte wins,us who stay here,must make the most out of it.

        • Actually you won’t have much of a choice except to make the most out of it. One suggestion: constitutional amendment to allow only candidates below 70 years old.

          All three Presidential candidates 70 and above: Binay, Duterte, Santiago – are a risk because they might die or be incapacitated before their term ends.

  • I am also wondering about some parallels between the late 19th century and today. An economic boom, opening to the world and new ideas. But Rizal already warned his own people not to be too impatient and want everything without being ready for it, while at the same time (Philippines, A Century Hence) warning the Spanish liberal reformers to speed up the reforms effects because “Sancho Panza” (The Philippines) might rebel against his doctor. What is happening now may go in any direction, unfortunately.

    What does dismay me at times is that the Philippines seems caught in an endless loop. Lack of understanding the lessons of history, the weaknesses of the culture and how to circumvent them while utilizing the strengths is probably one reason for this. There is a book about Bikol during the abaca boom BTW: Progress without Prosperity. 🙁

    • karlgarcia

      The last line reminded me of this article: Westernization without prosperity

      • Yes it is all true… but what Joe says about the glass being half-full is also true. Well if it were beer I would wait for the foam to settle and then go to the tap to fill the glass. This is what the blog is about – find out the best ways get it fuller. If you apply that to politics there are only two who really will make the glass fuller, one might just drink it empty the other might break the glass, yet another use it as a judge’s gavel or hit people’s heads with it.

        The history part is about demystifing certain things. The old discussion about who is a better hero Rizal or Bonifacio is fortunately finished within historical circles, because Aguinaldo has turned out to be the major villain of history. But James Fallow simply cites the urban legend that the Philippine landowners date back to Spanish times (which is more true for Latin America) or GRP which mentions the collaboration of Roxas and Aquino without mentioning that Mariano Marcos also was one even though at a much smaller scale. But Joe has well summarized what it took me around three articles to say: the Philippines tends to be reactionary – things that are entrenched are nearly impossible to change, and the perfection madness I think is just a rationalization, people find fault in new things even just 1% to keep the old ways.

  • karlgarcia

    This article presents some of the key arguments and findings of the author’s forthcoming book, Democracy, Inequality and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines Compared (Cambridge University Press). It explores how inequality increases corruption via electoral clientelism, bureaucratic patronage, and elite capture of policy process through a comparative historical analysis of South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines that shared similar conditions at the time of independence. It finds that success and failure of land reform, which was little affected by corruption but largely determined by exogenous factors such as external communist threats and U.S. pressures for reform, produced different levels of inequality, which in turn influenced subsequent levels of corruption through capture and clientelism. In the Philippines, failed land reform maintained high inequality and domination of the landed elite in both politics and economy, which led to persistent political clientelism, increasing patronage in bureaucracy, and policy capture by the powerful elite. In contrast, successful land reform in South Korea and Taiwan dissolved the landed class and produced egalitarian socioeconomic structure, which helped to maintain state autonomy, contain clientelism, promote meritocratic bureaucracy, and develop programmatic politics over time.


      MacArthur’s endorsement of Manuel Roxas in 1945 made possible his election as the Liberal party candidate for president of the new republic in 1946 instead of the nationalist party candidate Osmena who had gone into exile in 1942. The election of Roxas meant the recapture of power by all the rich, conservative groups who had ruled the Philippines as collaborators under the Japanese. ( Revere page 84). So the Philippines is still living with the consequences of that endorsement…

      MacArthur went on to become the effective ‘dictator ‘ in Japan after the signing of the peace treaty of September 1945. And here he did something quite different. He was determined that the Japanese land owning elite that had lead Japan into war would lose power & influence.Therefore their lands were compulsorily acquired at low price.And these lands were then redistributed to the peasants who had farmed them for generations. In this way MacArthur created an influential conservative but pro-american small farmer class in the heart of Japan.

      This goes to the core of the conflict between LP and the loyalists. It got started as the conflict between NP and LP, with the NP saying the LP were sellouts – (Bell Trade Act c/o Roxas’ grandfather with sugar quotas, amended by NP government to become Laurel-Langley in 1955 but substantially the same). 1974 Laurel-Langley expired, but then you had Marcos and Enrile doing their business in Samar, not American miners.

      NP like the name says are usually right-of-center, and were those who wanted independence quickly under Osmeña, while the Progresistas under Pardo de Tavera (Raissa Robles is descended from him) wanted gradual independence. I found out that there were even more radical Ricartistas, who were more like Dutertistas today, according to some books they were popular among “barkadahan” – street gangs early 20th century. From all I have read about Quezon so far, he was a skilled political player (MLQ3 blog shows he was, books about Ricartistas as well he basically beat them to it in terms of rhetoric, defusing their appeal and getting the Jones Law passed so he basically could be Senate President) and overtook the real founder of the NP. Marcos of course damaged the NP and even used it as a fake opposition. Why I am trying to see more on this? Because many “political prejudices” in the Philippines are based on stuff old people or social circles tell. I still don’t know if Roxas I was a sellout and a sakada exploiter like many say. The other possibility is that he found a way to get the Philippine economy going, and was doing modern agribusiness but both Communists and Nacionalistas made him look like the villain. Marcos for sure perverted the original Nacionalista Party which produced Quezon and Magsaysay. And Marcos’ background from Ilocos, where tobacco lords had the power, is also interesting.

      Tobacco and sugar – cash crops the Cubans also have, Spanish colonial agribusiness. The Cubans of course sent the sugar and tobacco barons off to Miami. Capitalism is not an issue, rent-seeking is. Cuba is now opening up again after consolidating a society and culture that was also damaged. But revolutions are disruptive and you never know if the result is sucessful in the end – I think in Russia it was not, you have similar structures as during the time of the Czars just with other people.

  • karlgarcia

    If by human resources being underutilized means underemployment,like nurses,lawyers,engineers becoming call center agents or something to that effect.
    The job-mismatch may start from the courses offered in universities.
    When Computer Science was the in thing. You had STI and AMA mushrooming like lechon manok stalls.
    When they say that nursing is in demand in the states and in the UK,because of aging population,it is the turn of the nursing schools.Needless to say,we have too many lawyers.

    Today you see in Filipino TV,the enterprising madeskarteng rumaraket just to make ends meet.

    So how do we solve this job mismatch?

    On another note,we have Micha who seems to be enjoying her employed life in the States,but mention the word oligarchs and his or her blood boils.
    Micha is mad of big business controlling our lives.

    Sure contractualization sucks,sure there is inequality,but sometimes we must learn to deal with it.

    • is actually very smart if you even look at the strands that are not technical-vocational:

      – Accountancy, business, and and management strand
      – Humanities and social sciences strand
      – Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand
      – General academic strand

      People from the ABM strand are qualified enough to work for practically ANY office job even call centers once they finish – even more than most so-called commerce grads because the K-12 curriculum is better. What is the use of fancy college diplomas if the work is not there and the curriculum not geared to the jobs that are available?

      What I think is missing is the follow-up from CHED: specialized polytechnic (real polytechnic or technical universities not PUP) universities for the STEM graduates. Create real world class engineers and scientists, not that Filipino engineers and scientists are not good but I suspect most real development is AFTER they study.

      The resistance from UP is huge. Now I don’t go as far as MRP, but major parts of UP – just like major parts of the military – are “inside the walls”. For many it is a path to privilege and entitlement without much real work – those that take the mission of being there seriously do it on their own initiative, while many others don’t.

      As for Micha, he or she is genuinely naive. Most major industrial nations were started by oligarchs – later they just sold stocks to be able to retire which is what Silicon Valley people regularly do, and so you have JoeAms who own stocks. Even Karl Marx saw stockholdership as a way of spreading ownership of means of production to a broader mass of people. Then of course you have the major banks who in Germany and Japan have huge holdings in industrial corporations – they are the “oligarchs”.

      Just like the large political parties over here are the “dynasties”, the main difference being you can join if you get in by a certain age and stick to that path. Generally speaking Christian Democrats will be closer to industrial corporations, Social Democrats closer to trade unions, Free Democrats (Liberals) closest to the really rich people, but things do cross over and mix at times. But of course this is a highly developed country, conditions are very different over here.

      Looking at the Philippines, SME initiatives are quite promising. I think in tourist spots or where people have money to spend, restaurants, resorts, small stores etc. have a chance. That malls are so successful in the Philippines is simply a market created by failed urban development. Pedestrian zones in European cities ARE the malls because the streets are well-tended. There are malls also but in suburbs or at the edge of cities not inside. Road and public transport access is always part of plans.

      Of course a contractual job is better than nothing. A BPO job with an engineering diploma is better than having to leave for abroad or make diskarte. An industrial job with Stihl, Grohe or a Japanese firm is better than just getting by in the slum areas. Getting 4Ps and sending your children to school at least paves the way for a better future for the children. LGUs getting BUB is better to really develop them than relying on loansharks. You have to start somewhere and then work upwards.

      This own comment is what led to me writing this article as a follow-up: – it annoyed me that certain people (UP I think) wrote that “In Germany and Scandinavia such a model, while far from perfect”… come on, before you criticize the model here, be at least halfway near it. Could it be that certain groups are like Joe wrote today simply “reactionary”, meaning they are afraid that change will erode their entrenched status?

      • Now if more people leave in case Binay or Duterte or Bongbong win, then the Philippines itself will probably tend to become even more reactionary.

        What I wonder is if some from GRP will put their money where there mouth is and go back in case Bongbong wins. Which is why I give no endorsements at all.

      • sonny

        Irineo, Karl this running commentary on our Filipino soul living in this Filipino environment and community seeking a full life moves me more than before. I pray that we could talk more at length about these before I go (datan na ‘ko talaga). 🙂 I wish I could show and tell about St Benedict and his “Rule” who lived in the 6th century and whose civilizing influence on western Europe is still alive and well in many communities worldwide today. This conversation on ‘intra’ and ‘extra’ muros gives me the itch to be “Tusitala.” (a teller of tales) Seriously.

        • Manong I am very interested in St. Benedict. I must say those who quote the Bible like Pacquiao does did make my relationship to the Church somewhat conflicted. Just like I would not have known about De Lima’s New Penal Code, and Roxas’ PNP reform without the Hanns-Seidel Foundation website – and now positivelyfilipino has surprised me with the possibilities for direct democracy in the 1987 Constitution which some hard-headed misquoters made me think was a pile of nonsense… 🙂

          The juice of civilization (Christianity, justice, democracy) which has dried up in many coconuts could still be revitalized – including maybe even the old essence of datuship as responsibility which probably was just perverted by the principalia system and trapoism – but for that we must take a look at our Malay neighbors… for sure like in every healthy society the balance of subsidiarity, solidarity and humanity (thanks again!) is less damaged in Malaysia and Indonesia – or even Bangsamoro?


            St Benedict’s model for the monastic life was the family, with the abbot as father and all the monks as brothers. Priesthood was not initially an important part of Benedictine monasticism – monks used the services of their local priest. Because of this, almost all the Rule is applicable to communities of women under the authority of an abbess.

            St Benedict’s Rule organises the monastic day into regular periods of communal and private prayer, sleep, spiritual reading, and manual labour – ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus, “that in all [things] God may be glorified” (cf. Rule ch. 57.9). In later centuries, intellectual work and teaching took the place of farming, crafts, or other forms of manual labour for many – if not most – Benedictines.

            Traditionally, the daily life of the Benedictine revolved around the eight canonical hours. The monastic timetable or Horarium would begin at midnight with the service, or “office”, of Matins (today also called the Office of Readings), followed by the morning office of Lauds at 3am. Before the advent of wax candles in the 14th century, this office was said in the dark or with minimal lighting; and monks were expected to memorise everything. These services could be very long, sometimes lasting till dawn, but usually consisted of a chant, three antiphons, three psalms, and three lessons, along with celebrations of any local saints’ days. Afterwards the monks would retire for a few hours of sleep and then rise at 6am to wash and attend the office of Prime. They then gathered in Chapter to receive instructions for the day and to attend to any judicial business. Then came private Mass or spiritual reading or work until 9am when the office of Terce was said, and then High Mass. At noon came the office of Sext and the midday meal. After a brief period of communal recreation, the monk could retire to rest until the office of None at 3pm. This was followed by farming and housekeeping work until after twilight, the evening prayer of Vespers at 6pm, then the night prayer of Compline at 9pm, and off to blessed bed before beginning the cycle again. In modern times, this timetable is often changed to accommodate any apostolate outside the monastic enclosure (e.g. the running of a school or parish).

            – I would say it is a mixture of Salvation through Austerity as well as Level 5 Leadership plus self-discipline through work… just a first impression.

          • The simple rythms of work and sleep I have found out myself are important – especially as a freelancer and most especially since I have been working from home, the new trend, I have seen they are significant for productivity both in work and in thinking. Normal employment is Benedictine in spirit as it forces rythm upon you..

            Come to think of it, Manilans might be the way they are now because of chronic sleep deprivation among many… I know how that can upset one’s balance.

   is BTW a Benedictine cloister I have found out… our family’s secret weekend getaway from the bustle and stress of the difficult years in Bonn where we struggled to keep afloat.. I found the spiritual strength emanating from that cloister ENORMOUS… it is in a volcanic crater, somehow it must have been a kind of sanctuary in troubled times a place were the mind and spirit could just flow and the body could find exercise and fresh air.. possibly for many Manilans just a weekend somewhere in the still green and peaceful parts of the countryside could do wonders… especially with smartphones OFF… I have found breaks from being online very healthy… recently I have been fasting on certain days and hardly posting… fasting clears both body and mind… there are reasons for old rituals that we are only beginning to understand now… who knows I might just camp on a hill one weekend when it gets warmer or bike again. 🙂

          • karlgarcia

            Show and tell?

            There is youtube.Just hire an actor and upload it.
            Or wear a mask.

          • sonny

            Irineo, I sure regret not travelling to Germany when I was younger. Now, ’tis your appreciative mind’s eye must suffice. Thank you. 🙂

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