Manila’s urban sketchers

There was a time when I used to visit out- of- the loop towns in search of potential domestic tourist destinations. Many were dense with cultural and heritage capital, a wealth of apocrypha, historical minutiae written off as mere footnotes. Curiously, the local government rep assigned to guide me would apologetically say that there was … Read more

Marx & Engels versus Batman & Robin

Eminent Filipino historian, Dr. Floro Quibuyen, shared two Chat GPT stories about Marx and Batman. The first one was from a blogger who prompted,” write a story of Marx and Batman”. ChatGPT made Marx and Batman fight and the latter won. With titanic imagination, Dr. Quibuyen asked Chat GPT for a story about Marx and … Read more

An encounter with ChatGPT

During a Mother’s Day dinner, I told my son and daughter-in-law that their only child had asked me to write my memoirs.   My son immediately accessed ChatGPT to ask for a Gemma Cruz memoir. At warp speed, Chat GPT  presented a table of contents ( with errors): I. Introduction–early life and family background; education and … Read more

Write your memoirs, she said.

Last Sunday, I had lunch with my youngest granddaughter, Uma Leona, who will turn 19 at the end of the year and will probably be taller than I am by then. As we crossed the street to her home, she said that for history homework, she had to paint 3 scenes from El Filibusterismo. I … Read more

Are public school houses furnaces?

A week ago, students “hothoused” in some public schools fainted and were rushed to medical centers. DepEd spokesman Mr. Michael Poa announced that when the heat is unbearable, school authorities can cancel in-person classes and revert to Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs). The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) declared that we should never have abandoned the … Read more

Secretary Albert del Rosario, the indomitable

By July, it will be seven years since the Philippines took the world by surprise by winning its case against People’s China at the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague. Our team of diplomats and lawyers was headed by Mr. Albert F. del Rosario, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary during the term of the late President … Read more

Mexico and the Philippines, 70th anniversary

More accurately, it has been 6 centuries, but if you start counting from 1953 when the Philippine Legation opened in Mexico City, it is indeed a 70-year relationship, a Platinum anniversary The legation was elevated to an embassy on 25 July 1961, and in 1964, Mexico and the Philippines celebrated a “Friendship Year ” highlighted … Read more

Church apologizes, better late than never

Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, astronomer and polymath declared that the Earth revolves around an immovable Sun and not the other way around.In the 15th century, that was definitely heretical because it contradicted what was written in the Holy Scriptures. Poor Galileo was almost burnt alive by the Holy Inquisition. After 359 years, on 29 October … Read more

MAPHILINDO, looking back

Malaya, Philippines, Indonesia–MAPHILINDO– was formed in Manila by virtue of an eponymous declaration signed in 1963 by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of the Federation of Malaya, Pres. Diosdado Macapagal of the Republic of the Philippines and Pres. Sukarno of the Republic of Indonesia. MAPHILINDO was not a political whim, it had worthy precursors– the … Read more

When the USA sneezes….

When the USA sneezes, the world catches a bad cold, tectonic plates shift figuratively and tsunamis hurl destructive forces on faraway shores. That is because the United States of America has been the insurmountable world power since Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt met in Yalta in February 1945 when the Second World … Read more