Missing the Three Kings

Coming from an undilutedly Catholic family, I have never lost my taste for celebrating Three Kings day, a religious feast that used to be regarded with gravitas. Anticipating the arrival of the Three Wise Men was an irrefragable element of the Christmas season. “You have to believe in them, or you’ll never see them, “ … Read more

Another endangered relic (2)

A few years ago, during a heritage tour to the Far Eastern University (proudly a UNESCO-awarded campus), we were taken to the basketball court which was not at ground level, but on the 5th floor. From that vantage point, I caught sight of the fabled Old Bilibid, now an endangered relic, no thanks to the … Read more

Aguinaldo did it!

In the 1935 elections of the Commonwealth, Emilio Aguinaldo ran for president against Manuel L. Quezon, a young lieutenant during the Philippine-American War and the First Philippine Republic. As a campaign strategy, Quezon astutely resurrected the specters of Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna. He went around brandishing a sack of human bones purportedly Bonifacio’s and … Read more

Afraid of history? (2)

In January 1900, five years before Felipe Calderon began writing his Memorias de la revolucion filipina,AmericanSenator Alfred J. Beveridge addressed the US Congress and raved about the Philippines: “No land in America surpasses in  fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and coconuts, hemp and tobacco, and many products grow in … Read more

Afraid of History? (1)

A few years ago, I found a copy of Felipe Calderon’s Mis memorias sobre la revolucion filipina, published in 1907. He was an eminent lawyer from Santa Ana, Manila, who drafted the Malolos Constitution of the First Philippine Republic, our government on-the-run that General Antonio Luna so valiantly defended.  The book piqued my curiosity because … Read more

Dear Monica

I hope I am wrong but we might have our own Malvinas, at the rate China is occupying the Bajo de Masinloc and other bits of Philippine territory. Let us put that aside for another letter. It seems that Filipinos cannot stop talking about Lolo Kiko, Pope Francis I, and with renewed vigor at that … Read more

September massacre

THOSE who love Manila, ex-Pearl of the Orient, and appreciate the uniqueness of its urban fabric and personality will never forget the September, 2014, massacres. In the space of 30 days, we Filipinos lost the Army & Navy Club, the Admiral Apartments, and the vista corridor of the Rizal Park. What unspeakable scandalous, criminal destruction … Read more

Dear Mayor Erap

Let me take you down memory lane, to that first Independence Day celebration of your presidency. That traditional civic parade held at the Luneta was dazzling, as it was reminiscent of the one that took place during the Centennial celebrations. However, the mood sort of changed as the contingent of the Philippine Sports Commission came … Read more

Bastion of machos

Every year, on the 9th of January, able-bodied Manileños converge with fanatical resolve at the Quiapo church, in Plaza Miranda, to expiate their sins during a frenzied procession in honor of the Black Nazarene. The icon is ancient enough, as large and burdensome as life itself, judging from the groans and howls of the devotees … Read more

Inauguration of the Mangima Veterans Hall

DOT Speech 5 Inauguration of the Mangima Veterans Hall Speech of Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta Department of Tourism Manolo Fortich Municipality, Bukidnon 19 June 2000   Maayong adlaw sa inyong tanan! Today is the birthday of Jose Rizal, which I usually celebrate in Calamba, Laguna with my relatives,   but I am happy to celebrate it … Read more