***What matters

While in San Francisco, USA, enroute to Mexico City, I met up with some Filipino expat friends who told me that there is an incapacitatingly low number of consumer products made in the USA by workers who are American citizens. A survey run by a television station showed that in a typical suburban home in … Read more

Rizal’s letters

One wonders how Jose Rizal found time to write hundreds of letters, all purposeful and exquisitely written in elegant script, with barely any mistakes. Paper, ink, and writing instruments were not cheap in those days and money from home came in spurts, depending on world market prices of sugar and the avarice of friar landlords. … Read more

“Rapido y furioso”

Here I am in Mexico City where “ Fast and Furious” (“ Rapido y Furioso”) is not just the title of a recent thriller, but the name of an arms delivery scheme. It has sparked wild conjectures about the purpose of the scheme and the source of these weapons of war. Two thousand pieces of … Read more

Doing What Rizal Did

Instead of cliched oratorical and essay contests about Jose Rizal, we should celebrate his 150th birthday by resolving to do what he did during his lifetime.  Rizal never had an idle moment. He wrote letters, delightful travel notes, sketched landscapes, published political essays, practiced ophthalmology,  translated Han Christien Anderson for his nephews, wrote two seditious … Read more

A Rizal Catechism

As Grade 4  students in Maryknoll College, we were each given a booklet called Catechism which was a summary of the basic precepts of the Roman Catholic faith in Q&A format. We had to learn everything by heart,  there were daily quizzes and occasional oral competitions that were supposed to show how much, or how … Read more

Letter about the Nazarene

A message from Montreal, Canada made me take a deep breath as it was already the second sent by Rev. Orlan Racacho. I had acknowledged the first and thanked him for taking time out to read my piece, “ Nazarene’s Dark Side”. Whenever I venture into the realm of religion and receive an encouraging reply … Read more

Nazarene’s dark side

Every 9th of January, Manila celebrates the Feast of the Black Nazarene which is also known as Traslacion because in 1787, the life-size statue of a dark Jesus Christ, in genuflection and carrying his cross, was transferred from the Recoletos church in Intramuros to the Quiapo minor basilica. The statue was supposed to have come … Read more

Domingo Franco, patriot

He was executed in Bagumbayan with twelve others on 11 January 1897, their noble batch is often mistaken for the 13 Martyrs of Cavite who met their death also in Bagumbayan in 1872, earlier by two decades and a hofalf. Like many of the patriotic Filipino youth of the 19th century, he answered the call … 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