Lolo Scrooge

Who doesn’t know Ebenezer Scrooge? How I loathed that  frightfully insentient protagonist of Charles Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol. He was so miserly,  he must have been a loan shark, among other things; he would not even spend to heat up his gloomy office during winter. The cold within him froze his pointed nose, shriveled … Read more

At first sight

What did our ancestors  look like to them? That has always fascinated me.  After almost 500 years since the arrival of Magellan, , the only available records were  written by foreigners, Pigafetta, the eye witness , and Transylvanus who  interviewed survivors of Magellan’s  ill-fated voyage. The early missionaries wrote laborious records and a number of … Read more

Brace yourself for the quincentennial

The  quincentennnial of Magellan’s ill-fated voyage is two years away and already a national committee has been formed to plan all kinds of celebrations from inevitable re-enactments , international and local conferences where  eminent scholars may share the fruits of their knowledge with us ordinary mortals. Historian Dr. Resil Mojares (National Artist for Literature) will … Read more

PAL needs help

Philippine  Airlines (PAL), the country’s erstwhile flagship carrier, needs help very badly. Recent events have shown that PAL has well-trained pilots who have saved lives because they were not afraid of making  crucial decisions. Last week, the right engine of a  PAL Boeing 777 spewed flames soon after it took off from the Los Angeles … Read more

The second time around

Lest we forget, let me stitch together some  pivotal issues discussed at that “Economics Studies and Sustainable Tourism” conference held in Kuala Lumpur in the first week of October. This  academic exercise  was jointly sponsored by the University of Malaya and the CECON of the University of the Philippines.  One of the speakers was the … Read more

How to spend your Saturdays

On Saturday, 16 November,  go to the National Museum of Fine Arts, bring  your  family and friends to spend a delightful afternoon among our national cultural treasures. You will not regret it. In fact, a friend of mine, Dr. Paulina Baclig, recently sent me her testimony via PMS. She had casually asked me about museums … Read more

Looking back…

“That Political Bypass “ was the title of a brief article about my late and much-lamented father-in-law, J. Antonio Araneta. Writer Hernando J. Abaya was unexpectedly laudatory when he wrote the following piece about Papa (that was how we called him): “J. Antonio Araneta, a solid citizen, was drafted by Mr. Magsaysay to do a … Read more

What Quadricula reveals

There is a jaw-dropping painting in the Quadricula (HOCUSII) exhibition with a disquieting title — “Lashes in the name of God.” Go to Galleries 27 and 28 on the 4th floor  of the National Museum of Fine Arts to view this horrific pageant of religious  perversity where a hapless native woman is tied to the communion … Read more

Are Malays lazy?

During that conference about economics studies and sustainable tourism at the University of Malaya (1-4 October), I met Dr. Khadijah Khalid, a most interesting  lady professor attached to the Faculty of Economics and Administration of the university. She told me that economics is really a branch of philosophy  and I added that it is also … Read more

It’s urban planning…

The urban planner in the family, my daughter Fatimah, has always said that the only way to make tourism sustainable is to have good and proper urban planning at the national level, none of those pathetically piecemeal attempts will ever work.  She is of the opinion that governments and tourism stakeholders tend to concentrate on … Read more