Tag Archive: philippines


Favorite Films From The 90’s

Hi everyone!

Apparently, it is my rundown of my favorite films of the 80’s that has garnered the most views in my blog. Thanks everyone for messaging and for commenting.

At some point, many are correct when they say that the 80’s (especially the first half) was indeed a landmark era for Philippine Cinema, both in quantity and quality. Ironically, the repression of the Marcos regime also ignited the blooming of a national cinema that discussed the pressing issues of the times. Veiled or outrightly exposed, the notable Filipino films of the 80’s truly depicted a turbulent era in Philippine history and reflected a much talked about social milieu for the movie audiences to see.

But soon enough, things started to nosedive.

The 1986 EDSA Revolution may have restored democratic rule in government but did very little in temrs of uplifting the social and economic conditions of many Filipinos. In the FIlipino film, the Aquino government accomplished ZERO when it comes to improving the quality and industrial conditions of a much-patronized artform. Hence, the golden age of the early 80’s would end sometime in 1986. It can be said that the unabated crass commercialism of Philippine Cinema and its stunted artistic growth would continue way into the decade that followed.

And that is the topic of this long overdue blog post.

The cinematic output of the 90’s would really pale in comparison to that of the preceding decade. For one, the 90’s saw the deaths of two very important pillars in Philippine Cinema—national artist Lino Brocka, who perished in a car accident in 1991, and fellow national artist Ishmael Bernal, who succumbed to a sudden heart attack in 1996. On the other hand, other luminous directors of the past decade such as Mike de Leon, Laurice Guillen, and Celso Ad Castillo, went on inactive status and only made films sporadically.

Another thing is the continued dominance of the Hollywood film when it comes to box office performance. We often see Filipino films unashamedly copying Hollywood plots, storylines, and for crying out loud—-even characters and whole titles for that matter! Producers also stuck woth tried and tested formula films that were sure to make money at the tills.

It is in this manner that most of the notable films appearing on this list have a few things in common. One, they are undoubtedly compromised works. Some films may ride on a popular genre (melodrama, action, love story, the youth film, sex film, etc.), while others capitalized on the so-called “star system” in order to recoup their capital. Few from the films on this list actually made money, but nevertheless, these films are fortunate because they were directed by gifted filmmakers who learned how to compromise between commercial appeal and artistic integrity. Save for the last film by Mike de Leon, none of the films from the 90’s that appear on this list is worthy to be called a “classic.” Nevertheless, they deserve mention because they are symbols of hope that a well made film could still be made amid a monolithic system of films made to dumb down the masses.

1. Andrea, Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina by Gil Portes (1990)- This brave film was a box office nightmare. Nora Aunor essays another powerful performance as a mother who leaves her son to her bestfriend to become a political rebel. It is very interesting how the home, politics, motherhood, citizen, friendship, family, and the dichotomy of classes all come to play in this engaging and intriguing social melodrama. Aunor essays another powerful and affecting performance but actress Gina Alajar is also excellent. Gil Portes’ direction though is upstaged by the gravity of Ricky Lee’s script which is truly reasonant and relevant for the times.

2. May Minamahal by Jose Javier Reyes (1993)- Heavily attached to the romantic comedy formula, May Minamahal is gifted with topnotch scriptwriting from writer-director Jose Javier Reyes. A rehash of the rich boy poor girl format, the film rises above mediocrity thanks to convincing characterization, taut editing, and controlled acting. This film, which earned millions at the tills, shows how disciplined Jose Javier Reyes is as a director in the sense that he ner goes overboard. Aga Muhlach, Aiko Melendez, and Ronaldo Valdez turn in memorable performances.

3. Sana Maulit Muli by Olivia Lamasan (1995)- This is probably the forerunner of the OFW films that followed years after this intelligent melodrama came out (1995). The film tells the struggles of two Filipino young professionals in California, who also happen to be lovers, played excellently by Lea Salonga and Aga Muhlach. Everything seems to work in this commercial film. Intelligent scripting, assured direction, affecting performances especially of its lead actors, above average cinematography, astute editing and scoring, and competent sound. Olivia Lamasan is a good director in the sense that she uses the romantic movie foil to communicate relevant issues to her audience. Her 2004 film Milan, is another testament to her insightful storytelling.

4. Bakit May Kahapon Pa by Joel Lamangan (1996) – Another brave film done in a Brocka-ish manner, Bakit May Kahapon Pa is another story of a political rebel, a daughter of a peasant who goes to the city to seek revenge against a greedy and corrupt military man and his entire family. The images in this film seem to come out straight from the headlines —massacres, farmers losing lands, rural violence, corruption in the military, and the seeming apathy of the urban rich to the plight of the masses. Aunor gives a rather heavy handed but convincing performance.

5. Madrasta by Olivia Lamasan (1996) – This is the film that made Sharon Cuneta an actress. It is truly amazing how Cuneta discards the acting conventions and predictable roles that had prevented her growth to a truly competent actress. This controlled melodrama is the story of a woman who had to balance her roles as stepmom, wife, and career woman. A feminist film directed by a female director, the film made a killing at the box office, with the gamble paying off for Cuneta, who made this film outside her mother studio.

6. Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa by Chito RoÑo (1998) – Another feminist and melodramatic film, the film tells the story of Lea Bustamante, a social worker and a mother of two kids from two different men. This entertaining but important film examines the role of women in Philippine society. Hence, roles are questioned, prejudices are junked, and men are placed in the periphery. This film benefits from a keenly observant script by Lualhati Bautista, the excellent acting of its actors especially Vilam Santos, Carlo Aquino, and Serena Dalrymple, and the competent direction of Chito Rono.

7. Bayaning Third World by Mike de Leon (1999) – This film is perhaps the “Film of the Decade.” A deconstructionist and post modern film, the film received little patronage from the moviegoing public due to its “arty” structure and the very intellectual handling of the material. An investigation on the heroism of Jose Rizal, Bayaning Third World is the director’s answer to a centennial Rizal film that was full of factual errors and shallow historical research. Shot in black and white, the film boldy violates many conventions in filmmaking – temporal and spatial limitations, characters talking directly to the audience, film genres discarded altogether, and black and white photography at the close of the twentieth century. This film is probably the best film to come out of Philippine Cinema since Lino Brocka’s “Orapronobis.”

Advertisements

Check it out guys…

RICHEST PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

  1. Laguna
  2. Pangasinan
  3. Bulacan
  4. Negros Occidental
  5. Cavite
  6. Nueva Ecija
  7. Palawan
  8. Cebu
  9. Batangas
  10. Quezon

 

POOREST PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

  1. Zamboange del Norte
  2. Maguindanao
  3. Masbate
  4. Surigao del Norte
  5. Agusan del Sur
  6. Surigao del Sur
  7. Misamis Occidental
  8. Mountain Province
  9. Biliran
  10. Lanao del Norte

 

MOST LIVABLE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

  1. Bulacan
  2. Bataan
  3. Cavite
  4. Rizal
  5. Batanes
  6. Laguna
  7. Ilocos Norte
  8. Batangas
  9. Pampanga
  10. Isabela

 

LEAST LIVABLE PROVINCES

 

  1. Sulu
  2. Tawi – Tawi
  3. Basilan
  4. Ifugao
  5. Maguindanao
  6. Lanao del Sur
  7. Agusan del Sur
  8. Western Samar
  9. Lanao del Norte
  10. Saranggani

 

 

Hi guys. I am currently importing the contents of my older,inactive blogs to my wordpress blog (for more efficiency I guess). I am now in the process of uploading my older movie reviews.’ Hope that some of you may find it useful. Thanks!

If last year’s festival boasted of quality films like Jeffrey Jeturian‘s Bridal Shower and Mark Meily’s Crying Ladies, this year’s festival, in terms of quality, is headed by Cesar Montano‘s intense drama entitled Panaghoy sa Suba or The Call of the River.

In spite of the controversies surrounding the selection process of the participating films in the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival, with most serious filmmakers and art scholars complaining about the utter commercialist path that the festival had taken in recent years, a couple or so films still turn out to be a cut above the rest of the films in participation.

If last year’s festival boasted of quality films like Jeffrey Jeturian‘s Bridal Shower and Mark Meily’s Crying Ladies, this year’s festival, in terms of quality, is headed by Cesar Montano‘s intense drama entitled Panaghoy sa Suba or The Call of the River.

Panaghoy, lovingly shot in Bohol province in the Visayas, is Montano’s personal tribute to the beauty and culture of the said province, especially that area surrounded by the Loboc River. Aside from boasting of the wonderful sights and people of Bohol, the film also aims to revive the long inactive Visayan film industry. Utilizing Cebuano as predominant dialogue, Panaghoy is also an important film because it gives many insights about the Filipino – his history, values, and traits both good and bad. It also has an ideology that champions love for one’s native land.

This period drama is set in the 1940’s. Cesar Montano, who is lead actor, producer, and director in the film, plays Duroy, a young man who earns as a boatman, servicing those people who need to cross from one end of the river to the next. He is the eldest son of a sickly mother played by Daria Ramirez and father to two of his siblings – Ibo and Bikay, as their father had already deserted the family. Duroy is in love with Iset, a native lass effortelssly acted out by Juliana Palermo. Iset is daughter to a greedy father and a materialistic aunt. Though harboring the same romantic sentiments for Duroy, Iset also entertains, upon the prodding of her aunt, American John Smith, the abusive owner of a Nipa business in the barrio. Smith, excessively jealous of any man who would even dare speak with Iset, fires Ibo from the Nipa factory, causing the latter to avenge the injustice done to him. Unfortunately, Ibo dies as a result of a violent confrontation with Smith.

Furthermore, the barrio’s status quo is demolished with the arrival of the Japanese, forcing John Smith to flee for his life. Upon the presence of the new invaders, the barrio’s men organize a guerilla movement and flee to the mountains. The leader of the Japanese invaders, played by Jacky Woo, commands his men not to resort to any form of violece unless needed. His and Iset’s path crosses when the latter’s father is detained in the garrison when fishing dynamites were found under his possession. The Japanese leader falls in love with Iset, much to the joy of Iset’s aunt, who swore to never give her niece away for a starving local. However, when Iset witnesses the execution of the town priest, she turns against her family and flees to the mountains to join the guerilla movement.

The film has to be commended for creating interesting and well rounded characters. Every character is humanized and molded to stand for something about the Filipino, both positive and otherwise.

First and foremost, the character of Duroy stands for the Filipino’s most resilient traits. He is ready to take up in arms to answer the call of the river (the Motherland). He is a hopeful visionary, at the same time a hopeless romantic. Nevertheless, he also harbors great pains from his past that renders him uncapable to give forgiveness. Like the Filipino, he is gentle and passive at one time but when provoked, ignites like a wild animal. Duroy, as a character and as a symbol of the Filipino, stands out most in two key scenes in the film. The first, set on a field on top of the mountains, is when he finally gives forgiveness to his father who deserted them, implying the need for the Filipino to forgive whatever painful past he has. However, on the other key scene, when Duroy beats but surprisingly spares the life of the American who murdered his brother, it is implied that in order for the Filipino to move on, he should forgive but never forget. Indeed, one should learn from his past so as to even begin to move forward.

Iset, though portrayed as a typical Filipina, is also rich in terms of characterization. She is beautiful and charming, causing the foreigner to assert his authority and to attempt to blind her with material things. This is paralleled with how the Motherland has fallen prey to foreign invaders and their blind promises to civilize the primitives and to humanize those who lived like animals.

Iset’s aunt, played by Caridad Sanchez, symbolizes the seemingly conscious manner of pimping and whoring the Filipino to foreigners because of blind materialism and a damaged vision. On the other hand, Iset’s father, tands for the Filipino‘s tendency to become greedy and selfish, exacting affliction to his countrymen and the Motherland in general.

Duroy’s mother, albeit dying early in the film, is also interesting for she manifests a certain degree of nostalgia to go back to how things were before. Here is seen an inner psychological desire to go back to one’s core, to one’s roots, to one’s original mold of perfection.

It is also interesting to see in this film how it characterizes the American as more oppressive and far more brutal than the Japanese. Clearly, the film implies a comparison between a kinder, more sincere, and therefore a more human Japanese character as against an abusive, greedy, conceited, and pretentious American.

> Also, the film also gives a comment on the problematic on the role of religion regarding nationalistic causes. Should the church stay and direct its attention solely on prayer and religious ritual or should it take a more utilitarian and revolutionary role?

In terms of performances, most actors play their parts with flying colors. In this film, Montano outdistances himself in his already accomplished performances in Bagong Buwan and Muro Ami. Palermo was nothing short of a revelation and Sanchez, Ramirez and actors Joel Torre and Ronnie Lazaro were all reliably good. Rebecca Lusterio as Duroy’s only sister gives a memorable performance. Suzette Ranillo, as a nun, gives a short but realistic performance.

The cinematorgraphy is impressive but sometimes obtrusive, the music and sound utilization are all in the right places, editing and production design are above average.

Cris Vertido’s screenplay is outstanding and Montano’s direction is reliably competent.

Nevertless, the film is not unscarred by some flaws. Of all the performances, Philip Anthony as the abusive American is mediocre. It is very obvious that some of his lines were memorized. Duroy’s mother’s faint scene is absurd and unnecesary, and some of the flashbacks require only voice overs instead of entirely showing the scenes again.

However, these flaws certainly drown in the innovative accomplishments of this film. It works as a powerful drama, a love story, a historical film, and even as a travelogue. It holds its candle well whichever way you may want to slice it. Most importantly, the movie justifies itself as the hopeful rebirth of the Visayan film.

All in all, Panaghoy, without question, is the best film of this year‘s festival and definitely, one of the most important movies of this lean film year.

————————————————————————————-

Panaghoy sa Suba/The Call of the River is now available in DVD/VCD format all over Metro Manila and other key cities in the Philippines (eve online!).

A Chart on Philippine Tourism 2008

Mabuhay!

Ever wondered where our foreign tourists come from? Here are the EXACT statistics for the months of January thru July 2008. Do you think the Americans are still on top? Read on…

1. South Korea – 380,619 tourists arrivals

2. USA – 366,662 tourist arrivals

3. Japan – 216,114 tourist arrivals

4. China – 102,653 tourist arrivals

5. Taiwan – 72,946 tourist arrivals

6. Hong Kong – 68,946 tourist arrivals

7. Australia – 67,436 tourist arrivals

8. Canada – 60,667 tourist arrivals

9. Singapore – 57,332 tourist arrivals

10. United Kingdom – 52,939 tourist arrivals

11. Malaysia – 39,515 tourist arrivals

12. Germany – 33,268 tourist arrivals

The Koreans feel like the Philippines is a second home to them. How about us Filipinos?Do we also appreciate our country as much as the Koreans do?

Hey everyone! How’s everyone doing?

Enough of the Brown Raise Movement for the moment. Let’s now take a peek at Philippine cinematic output of 2007. I am an avid movie fan and thank God for independent films and digital technology, Philippine Cinema is now coming out of its half-dead state. It’s a joy to finally see the quality outputs of younger and more daring filmmakers, who dare to challenge the formulaic tendencies of mainstream Philippine Cinema. It is just my fervent hope that these new auteurs, while already making their presence felt in numerous international film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, etc.), are accorded a wider patronage locally. It is still a sad reality that the Filipino audience in general still has an aversion for films with no prominent stars on the cast and they also tend to shun films that feature more innovative ways of storytelling aside from the usual linear method.

While these realities continue to limit the advances made by these new talented thespians, there is plenty of hope that Philippine Cinema will soon take its rightful place in world cinema. This, I firmly believe.

Below is my obviously subjective list of the most notable Filipino films of 2007. I know that we are already in the last 4 months of 2008 and this list is rather overdue. However, it still quite interesting to look at the landmark films of the paste year – a year wherein independent films completely outshone their mainstream counterparts.

The list will feature film synopses first. Detailed reviews of each film will be posted in my upcoming posts. Feel free to leave comments. Enjoy watching, er, reading!

1. Foster Child by Brillante Mendoza (screened at the Directors’ Fortnight of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival) –

Director Brillante Mendoza tells the affectionate tale of a poor family living in the Philippines that is hired by a local Foster Care Facility to provide temporary care and shelter for abandoned babies. Thelma and her husband Dado live in Manila with their two teenage sons Gerald and Yuri. Despite the fact that her family lives in abject poverty, Thelma receive a fair amount of fulfillment in life by serving as a surrogate mother to abandoned children who are awaiting adoption. A young three year-old named John-John is Thelma’s latest charge. Now, as the kind-hearted foster parent prepares to turn the child over to his adoptive American parents, every moment spent with the precious youngster becomes something to be cherished.

2. Tribu/Tribe by Jim Libiran (screened at the 2007 Pusan Film Festival)

The dangerous unlit streets and labyrinthine alleyways in the ghetto district of Tondo in Manila, serves as a claustrophobic backdrop to a random killing that triggers a wild and bloody gang war.
Through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, we are immersed into the normal, impoverished, tough life of Tondo. Through him, we encounter the juvenile yet murderous leaders and members of various gangsta tribes — adolescent thugs and petty criminals whose past time is sex, drugs and their eloquently poetic street rap, delivered in their own unique tongue-twisting machine gun-style.

3. Tirador/Slingshot by Brillante Mendoza (won at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival) –

A tribute to the real potential of digital cinema, Slingshot is a slum epic on steroids. It weaves stories left and right into a shocking tableau about life for the lowest of the low in the Philippine’s poorest and most crime-ridden districts.

National elections are coming up so in the usual attempt to appear “tough-on-crime”, The Big Boys have been sent in to crack down on the local squatters, thieves and miscreants who litter the film like broken bottles. And since no sweep is ever a clean sweep, the cops’ brutal shock-force tactics quickly ripple outwards with jagged repercussions. Starting from the film’s amazing night time raid and climaxing with a candle-lit vigil by those insulted by the empty words of the politicians, director Brillante Mendoza uses the camera’s apparent attention deficit disorder to maximum effect, investigating lives at every turn and blending their true fictions right onto the city streets of Manila for a rich and incredibly immersive feel.

4. Endo/End of Contract by Jade Francis Castro (screened at the Nantes Film Festival)

Graded “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB), Endo is the story of Leo (Jason Abalos), a temp worker who is used to the temporary. Typical of many young Filipinos, he hops from one contractual job to the next in order to earn a living for himself and his family. His relationships are similarly fleeting. When he meets the spirited dreamer Tanya (Ina Feleo), he is suddenly faced by the promise of a better future, but he doesn’t seem equipped to handle it.

5. Confessional by Jerold Tarog (won at the Osian Film Festival)

Lies + Lies = Truth.

Ryan Pastor knows this by heart. As a small time filmmaker, he knows
how sound and images can be manipulated to say anything. And he’s
tired of the lies—the lies at work, in his relationships, the lies one
must keep in society just to exist. On a whim, he decides to go to
Cebu to document the Sinulog festival. There he stumbles upon a truth
he didn’t ask for and is reluctant to touch. One of his subjects, a
former politician who may or may not be dying, decides to confess his
sins—all the crimes he committed while in office—before Ryan’s camera.

What follows is a story of revelations and bitter truths, of buried
secrets and sweet lies. CONFESSIONAL takes you to the heart of a
criminal…or an honest man.

6. Death In The Land of the Poets by Lav Diaz (won at the Venice Film Festival)

The main character of Kagadanan is a Filipino poet named Benjamin Agusan (played by Roeder Camañag). He is the hapless native who returns to his hometown Padang to witness the aftermath of a super typhoon. Director Lav Diaz shot Kagadanan in Padang, Legazpi City, where a village was buried by landslides caused by super typhoon Reming that hit the Bicol region on November 30, 2006.

For the past seven years, Benjamin had been living in an old town called Kaluga in Russia. With his grant and residency, he taught and conducted workshops in a university. The poet published two books of sadness and longing in the process.

In Russia, Benjamin was able to shoot video collages, fell in love with a Slavic beauty, buried a son, and almost went mad. He came back home to bury his loved ones–father, mother, sister and a lover. He came back to face Mount Mayon, the raging beauty and muse of his youth. He came home to confront the country that he so loved and hated, the Philippines. He came back to die in the land of his birth. He wanders around the obliterated village meeting old friends and lovers.

7. Tambolista/Drumbeat by Adolfo Alix Jr. (screened at the Jecheon Film Festival)

Ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything just to get it?
Tambolista focuses on one boy’s simple dream of owning his very own drum set. Set in the different slums of Manila, the film is taken from the point of view of 14-year-old Jason. A boy on the verge of manhood whose biggest passion is playing drums.

When his older brother Billy (Coco Martin) impregnates his girlfriend, the brothers and their streetsmart friend Pablo (Sid Lucero) try to come up with any means possible to get money to pay for the abortion. These three men show how the struggle to survive amidst their lives of poverty can also be a struggle for keeping their humanity in this intimate portrait of two brothers living in deprivation. The movie also shows how life is similar to the beat of drums, both having high and low points.

Where every beat counts…

8. Selda/ The Inmate by Paolo Villanuna and Ellen Ramos (competed at the 2008 Montreal Wolrd Film Festival)

Set in two contrasting enivronments that undeline the same premise of imprisonment, Selda tells the story of Rommel, a young man who accidentally kills a boy, resulting in his incarceration. Inside the jail, he befriends another inmate, Esteban, who becomes his rock and protector. Seven years later, Rommel is living in the province as a farmer together with Sita his wife. Esteban tracks down Rommel in hopes of renewing a brewing love affair. Rommel and Sita welcome Esteban into their lives, until their intimacy crosses borderlines and results in the undeniable scourge of self-discovery.

Selda is a return to classiscist forms and delivers a stylish, deliberately-paced treatise on love. At moments strange, Selda is a sublime and disquieting portrait of a young man whose search for happiness, innocence and true love is laden with guilt and doubt.

9. Katas ng Saudi/ Toil From Saudi by Jose Javier Reyes

An overseas worker (Jinggoy Estrada) comes home from Saudi and finds that coming home is harder than he thought it would be. He has to reconnect with his children who have all grown without him, and readapt to a lifestyle that includes his family.

10. Maling Akala/Wrong Assumption by Veronica Paraiso and Pablo Biglang Awa

The bittersweet love story of JP and Teta gives us a glimpse of how a gay man/straight woman relationship works… or doesn’t. JP is a fugitive on the run, after having accidentally killed his lover. On the bus, he sits next to Teta, who is 9 months pregnant. When Teta gives birth, JP accompanies mother and child home to their fishpond in Sasmuan, Pampanga. Teta impulsively introduces JP as the father of her child surprising both JP and her parents. When JP and Teta agree to play-act husband and wife, their queer, dysfunctional tale begins.


 

 

 

Here is another interesting article for The Brown Raise Movement. This was written by Leon Ma. Guererro – a hostorian and biographer. Hope you find this educational and at the same time, enlightening.

Rizal was the first Filipino. Before him were the natives of Suluan who rowed out to Magellan’s camp on “The Enchanted Island” of Humunu.

They happily gave Magellan coconuts, oranges, bananas, rice, a jar of palm wine, a fish and a cock, in exchange for mirrors, bells and red caps—a buffoon’s very apparel.

There was Humabon, the kinglet of Sulu, a short, fat tattooed man, who began by requiring Magellan to pay tribute (which not four days before a junk from Siam had done for the privilege of buying gold and slaves) and ended up by agreeing to give the Spanish sole trading rights, scared out his wits by a man dressed head to foot by an armor, lured by the assurance that if he was baptized he would never again be haunted by demons.

But there was Lapu-lapu, kinglet of Mactan, as bold and handsome and supple as the fish for which he was named, who thought himself, “as good man” as Humabon and would not pay tribute to the “Christian king.” 

There was also Suleyman, one of the two rajahs of Manila, required to surrender to Legazpi’s emissary, de Goiti, he replied that his men were far from being tattooed savages.
But the strategy of the conquest and the long Spanish dominion has been proved:
Humabon has set Magellan on Lapu-Lapu;
Bisayans from Panay would   help Legazpi take Maynilad;
Lakandula stood by while the chieftains of Hagonoy and Macabebe died fighting in Bangkusay channel;
Bisayans would fight Tagalogs;
Tagalos, Bikolanos, Pampangos, Ilokanos; one tribe against another, under Spanish command, for Spanish profit.
The Muslims of the Southern Islands would raid the Christian settlements up to the mouth of Manila Bay itself;
Bisayans under Spanish captains would march to Lake Lanao and Pampangos garrison Zamboanga;
the Muslims would fight for the Dutch against Christians fighting for the Spanish;
Lakandula fought for Salcedo against the Chinese;
his son Magat Salamat, plotted with the Japanese;
and Diego Silang offered his allegiance to the British.
His widow’s Tinggian lancers  were beaten by the Piddig archers.
Cebuanos put down Tamblot’s rebellion in Bohol and Bankaws in Leyte;
Lutaos surprised and defeated Sumuroy in Samar.

So it went throughout the centuries as one tribe after another took arms, against the missionary friars or for them, in protest against a wine tax or against forced labor on the Acapulco galleons in the name of the old gods or in the name of the new Spanish Constitution.
Malong proclaimed himself king of Pangasinan; Almazan king of the Ilocanos, and Apolinario de la Cruz, king of the Tagalogs.

No one proclaimed himself a Filipino.

Even at the time of our story del Pilar called his newspaper Diariong Tagalog and ended his denunciations of the monkish power with the patriotic cries of “Long live Spain! Long Live the Army! Down with the friars!” Rizal himself, writing to congratulate Lopez Jaena as later as 1889 exlaimed, “Sulung ang Bisaya at Tagalog!”  The eloquent Ilonggo, for his part informed Rizal with considerable satisfaction in 1891 that the Barcelona Republicans had offered him a choice of three constituencies in which they would support his candidacy to the Spanish Cortes. Indeed as we have seen, Rizal too had considered the same possibility; he did not aim so high as Pedro Alejandro Paterno who after the Pact of Biak na Bato claimed that he was acknowledged by the natives as the “Prince of Luzon” and wanted to be named also a Spanish duke, a grandee of Spain, and a senator.
Tagologs, Bisayans, Pampangos, Ilokanos, Bikolanos, were beginning to call themselves Filipinos, but they shared this name with any one of the Spanish, Chinese or mixed, blood born in the Philippines. “Philippines” was still largely a geographical expression and loyalty to the “Philippines” was the instinctive affection for the land of one’s birth, one’s “native land” rather than for a Nation.

It was Rizal as we have seen, who taught his countrymen that they could be something else, Filipinos who were members of a Filipino nation.

He was the first who sought to “unite the whole archipelago” and envisioned a “compact and homogenous” society of all the old tribal communities from Batanes to the Sulu Sea, based on common interests and “mutual protection” rather than on the Spanish friar’s theory of double allegiance to Spain as Catholic and the Church as Spanish…

Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, traditionally identified with the birth of Filipino nationalism, were but the precursors of this new community, the Filipino nation, and this should be obvious for the Philppine seculars.

They were priest from beginning to end, with purely priestly grievances and ambitions, and thus they moved by necessity in the wider reaches of the Universal Church. The intellectuals of that generation, who shared the fate of priests were equally untouched by the concept of the Filipino nation…
The Filipino nation was a narrower concept, more exclusive than the Universal Church and the Empire on which the sun had once upon a time never set; but for those who would call themselves by the new name of Filipinos, it was also a larger and more comprehensive community of all the tribes on all the islands of the archipelago, with duties and responsibilities that were more urgent and immediate.

But Rizal’s concept of a nation, as we should perhaps remind ourselves on occasion was moral, unselfish, responsible, based uncompromisingly on a general recognition of mutual rights and duties. “What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?”  He never confused national independence with individual and social freedom.
Rizal is also the first Filipino because he is first in the hearts of the Filipinos. Nations are known by the heroes they have. If the people have the government they deserve, they also have heroes made of their own images and likeness.

—————————————————————————-At the end of the day, we are not Ilocanos nor Visayans. We are not Muslims nor Christians. We are not Kapampangans nor Tagalogs. WE ARE FILIPINOS.

God bless 🙂

Let me share with you guys a very interesting article from F. Sionil Jose.

In the Fifties and Sixties [the Philippines] was the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Remember when Indonesia got its independence in 1949 it had only 114 university graduates compared with the hundreds of Ph.D.’s that were already in our universities. Why then were we left behind? The economic explanation is simple. We did not produce cheaper and better products.

But this physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit.

Why then are we poor? More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development. Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis.

This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone. But we did inherit from Spain a social system and elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses. Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one’s hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

We are poor because we are poor — this is not a tautology. The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating. We are poor because our people are lazy. I pass by a slum area every morning – dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. We do not save.

We are great show-offs. Look at our women, how overdressed, over-coiffed they are, and Imelda epitomizes that extravagance. Look at our men, their manicured nails, their personal jewelry, their diamond rings. Yabang – that is what we are, and all that money expended on status symbols, on yabang….

We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking.

And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don’t ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good.

I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power. WE ARE OUR OWN ENEMY. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.

Think about it, guys. Have a fruitful day!

Hey everyone! How’s eceryone doing?

Let me share with you a very interesting article from the late Barth Suretsky. In the light of the recent terribel showing of the Philippines in the 2008 and Beijing Olympics as well as all the things that have been happening around this country, this article is a strong voice of reason from an insider-outsider, so to speak. Feel free to leave your comments.

God bless!

Barth Suretsky was an American ex-pat who, after several visits in the Philippines since 1982 and immersing himself in the history and culture of the archipelago, decided to live permanently in the country in 1998 as he fell in love with the country. He died in 2001 and left a lamenting article about his thoughts on the root cause of the problems in our country.

I love this country, but not uncritically, and that is the purpose of this article.

The basic problem seems to me, after many years of observation, to be a national inferiority complex, a disturbing lack of pride in being Filipino.

Maybe it will sound simplistic, but…it is my unshakable belief that the fundamental thing wrong with this country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. A friend once remarked to me, laconically: “All Filipinos want to be something else. The poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino.” That statement would appear to be a rather simplistic one, and perhaps it is. However, I know one Filipino who refuses to enter a theater until the national anthem has stopped being played because he doesn’t want to honor his own country, and I know another one who thinks that history stopped dead in 1898 when the Spaniards departed! While it is certainly true that these represent extreme examples of national denial, the truth is not a pretty picture.

Filipinos tend to worship, almost slavishly, everything foreign. If it comes from Italy or France it has to be better than anything made here. If the idea is American or German it has to be superior to anything that Filipinos can think up for themselves. Foreigners are looked up to and idolized. Foreigners can go anywhere without question. In my own personal experience I remember attending recently an affair at a major museum here. I had forgotten to bring my invitation. But while Filipinos entering the museum were checked for invitations, I was simply waived through. This sort of thing happens so often here that it just accepted routine.

All of these things, the illogical respect given to foreigners simply because they are not Filipinos, the distrust and even disrespect shown to any homegrown merchandise, the neglect of anything Philippine, the rudeness of taxi drivers, the ill-manners shown by many Filipinos are all symptomatic of a lack of self-love, of respect for and love of the country in which they were born, and worst of all, a static mind-set in regard to finding ways to improve the situation. Most Filipinos, when confronted with evidence of governmental corruption, political chicanery, or gross exploitation on the part of the business community, simply shrug their shoulders, mutter “bahala na,” and let it go at that.

It is an oversimplification to say this, but it is not without a grain of truth to say that Filipinos feel downtrodden because they allow themselves to feel downtrodden. No pride.

However, the most shocking aspect of this lack of national pride, even identity, endemic in the average Filipino, is the appalling ignorance of the history of the archipelago since unified by Spain and named Filipinas. The remarkable stories concerning the Galleon de Manila, the courageous repulsion of Dutch and British invaders from the 16th through the 18th centuries, even the origins of the independence movement of the late 19th century, are hardly known by the average Filipino in any meaningful way. And thanks to fifty years of American brainwashing, it is few and far between the number of Filipinos who really know – or even care – about the duplicity employed by the Americans and Spaniards to sell out and make meaningless the very independent state that Aguinaldo declared on June 12, 1898. A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity. It is sad to say, but true, that the vast majority of Filipinos fall into this lamentable category. Without a sense of who you are how can you possibly take any pride in who you are?

These are not oversimplifications. On the contrary, these are the root problems of the Philippine inferiority complex referred to above. Until the Filipino takes pride in being Filipino these ills of the soul will never be cured. If what I have written here can help, even in the smallest way, to make the Filipino aware of just who he is, who he was, and who he can be, I will be one happy expat indeed!

In 1542 to 1877, the word “Filipino” referred to a Spaniard living in the Philippines—the rest of the natives were called, “Indios.”

In 1878, Jose Rizal, for the first time, used the word Filipino to refer to the native population in the country.

In 1998, a Greek dictionary defined the word “Filipina”, as a domestic helper.

Today, “Filipinos” is the brand name for a series of biscuit snacks made by Kraft Foods in Europe.

In Boracay, a white man was heard calling a waitress, “Hey monkey, come here!” and the poor Filipina dutifully approached.

Sad but true, the perception of a Filipino today is a striking contrast during the time of Rizal when Filipinos in Europe were referred to as “the glory of the universities”.

F.Sionil Jose’s article “Why We Are Poor” looks back in the 50s and 60s when the Philippines was still the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Today, we are alongside Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, in terms of economic and social standing.

THE PHILIPPINES TODAY:

• 880,000 Filipinos leave the country every year in pursuit of more gainful employment abroad. They’re laying pipelines in Siberia, mining diamonds in Angola and sailing ships in all the world’s oceans. They clean thousands of homes a day from Hong Kong to Dubai to London; Bahrain’s prime minister employs some 50 Filipinos in his own household (Philippines: Workers for the World, Newsweek, Oct.4, 2006)

• The Philippines is currently the world’s leading exporter of nurses, with 164,000 or 85% of the country’s trained nurses are working abroad, with doctors becoming nurses [1]

• About 200 hospitals have recently closed down across the country because of a lack of doctors and nurses with another 800 hospitals considered to be “partially closed” due to the lack of qualified health personnel[1]

• Last 2006, the National Career Assessment Examination showed that out of the 1.3 million examinees, only 3.7%, or 49,066 students, are fit to enter college.[2]

• The Philippines is No. 41 in Science and No. 42 in Mathematics among 45 countries.[3]

•  “One of the defining characteristics of the Philippine middle class,” says a senior Western economist in Manila, “is that they all want to get out.” (Philippines: Workers for the World, Newsweek, Oct.4, 2006)

THE BROWN RACE:

As Barth Suretsky, an American expat who lived and died in the Philippines lamented, the fundamental thing wrong with this country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. “All Filipinos want to be something else. The poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino.” No pride, no identity, no recollection of his glorious past that can project him in leading the future of his country. “A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity.”

Are the Filipino people such a weak race that we cannot find our place among the world’s nations?  (In the United States, Filipinos are described as “the invisible minority”)

Will the Filipino always be ashamed of his brown color, short height and snot-nose? 

Will the Filipino always look to a foreign country, a foreign husband, a foreign citizenship for hope and salvation?

 The words of Rizal, written in 1890, unfortunately, still reverberate…

“Alas!  The whole misfortune of the present Filipinos consists in that they have become only half-way brutes.  The Filipino is convinced that to get happiness it is necessary for him to lay aside his dignity as a rational creature, to attend mass, to believe what is told him…without aspiring anything…without protesting against any injustice…any insult… that is, not to have heart, brain, or spirit; a creature with arms and a purse of gold. . . there’s the ideal native!.” (The Indolence of the Filipinos by Jose Rizal, 1890)

RAISE THE BROWN RACE

The Brown Raise is a movement to CREATE A NEW PATH for the Filipino people—that his world need not always have to revolve around the shallowness of money, pleasure and survival, but that he is also capable of remarkable character, dignity, honor, visions for humanity and depths of nationhood.

The Brown Raise is a movement that seeks to unlock the secrets and strengths of a race and country which was once called, “the pearl of the orient seas”, and to discover and pursue the Philippines’ unique contribution to the hall of nations.

The 21st century Global Pinoy must have the spirit of the Brown Raise… the same spirit that Rizal, our national hero possessed from childhood.

“As a child I was educated among Spaniards; I was nourished on the great exemplars of the history of Spain, of Greece and Rome; afterwards in Spain my professors were all great thinkers, great patriots. Books, newspapers, [historical] examples, reason, all made me desire the good of my native land…I was so far from thinking that I was doing wrong that I have never wanted to accept the protection of another nation; twice I was offered German nationality, once the English, and I have never accepted.” – JOSE RIZAL

This is just so timely guys. For more info, please visit http://www.thebrownraise.org/ and help spread the word.

I love to travel! But before ever leaving the Philippines to see what the world has to offer, I’d like to be sure that I did not miss anything from the many beautiful places worth visiting in my native land. I’ve been to several destinations so far, yet I still have so many places to see. This year, I plan to visit at least two more destinations. If only I have the means, I’d leave Metro Manila on a weekly basis. Ha!

Here are a few pictures and notes of the great Philippine destinations that I had so far visited. In spite of the many obstacles and problems of this country, it is still a glaring fact that God truly blessed the Philippines.

1. Ilocos Norte – History, Beaches, and Nature Trails Combined. Must sees are Saud Beach, The Blue Lagoon, Paoay Church, Burgos Lighthouse, Kaibigan Falls, Malacanang of the North, Fort Ilocandia, and many more churches and natural sceneries. Superb province! (See first 18 pictures below)

2. Sagada, Mountain Province – This place is just so tranquil and majestic. The many fascinating views and walks that you can take from your hotel are nothing but a great feast for the eyes. Culture and nature combined – great cool weather too. Everything is just worth seeing – the rice terraces, the hanging coffins, the wondrous falls, the impressive church, everything!

3. Boracay – Need i say more? Boracay is JUST the BEST BEACH IN THE WORLD! Whitest sand, best nightlife, clearest waters,a tastiest food…what more can you ask for?

 

To be continued….