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 because the day after he left, your favorite newspaper’s banner headline screamed: “Don’t breed like rabbits!”

There is absolutely no way to mask or conceal or dissemble that poverty here is appalling as we are indeed behaving like rabbits.  I remember that while viewing heritage churches around Laguna de Bai, you could not help but wonder why there were multitudes of children in every town we visited. Your paisano was just as appalled and that is probably why he said that thing about rabbits (apologizing for the use of the term). He also said that having a lot of children does not make us better Catholics. That raised a lot of eyebrows, many jaws dropped, but all the Pope meant was that we must practice Responsible Parenthood.

Significantly, people were not turned off that he resorted to Spanish when he wanted to speak about reality; in fact, many of us who had obligatory units of Spanish in school were thrilled that we understood what he was saying. One of our archbishops had a rather oblique reaction, he said that Spanish should be taught in seminaries and while they are at it, seminarians should refute what Masons like Marcelo del Pilar, Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaenaand other 19th century Propagandists  wrote about “frailocracy”, Padres Damaso and Salvi ( friars in Rizal’s novels)

Cielo santo, Monica, after that convoluted fable of Rizal’s retraction, must all his contemporaries also be subjected to ignominy  beyond the grave?  I can almost hear the scratching of quills feverishly rewriting history. God forbid! Te mando un abrazo.