Archive for the ‘Philiipine culture’ Category

“Beyond the commerce of men”…. a social commentary

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My previous post is about the massive clearing operations currently going on in

the city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  Manila is just one of 16 cities of Metro-Manila.  Non-Filipinos  and  Filipinos from other parts of the country call the whole metropolis ” Manila”, but  residents of  Metro-Manila  specify where exactly they come from….  like Quezon City, Paranaque City, Makati City, etc.  On my previous post,  I said  I was born in Manila.  Actually, I was born in Paranaque City, just a taxi ride away from Manila, 25  minutes without traffic,  2 hours with traffic. lol

 

Map of Metro-Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

Now, about the title of this post….

 

The Philippines’ Supreme Court had come out with a milestone decision on  the use of roads, sidewalks, and open spaces ( parks ) located in private subdivisions.  Basically, it says these so-called private  roads, etc. should be opened to the public. However,  though public,  all roads , sidewalks and parks  are ” BEYOND THE COMMERCE OF MEN. ” In other words, no one can use these places other than what they are intended for.  The phrase ” beyond the commerce of men”  is the ground these massive clearing operations stand on…… demolish all encroachments and obstructions, kick out illegal vending on sidewalks and streets. ( Ah, no more street food, eh ? )

 

Below is a structure built on the sidewalk… clearly a violation  of  national building code, and can be demolished even without  the  Supreme Court’s mandate.  Note : demolition workers lack proper equipment… it’s mano-mano, meaning literally by hand and it’s quite dangerous.  The city does use payloaders and jackhammers in some areas. but not enough for the whole city.

 

 

 

 

 

Above photo shows city workers  removing  food carts off a sidewalk.

 

Below is road clearing. Note: vendors occupy the street, then same street partially cleared… ( not enough, in my opinion… but , it’s better than nothing.)

 

 

I highly doubt Manila would be completely cleared .  Anarchy in the streets has been so  tolerated for  decades it’s become part of  Manila culture . They say it  would take at least 2 generations to completely wipe this off the people’s psyche.  My parents remember a clean city, with wide avenues lined with century old trees, such as  Taft Avenue, Manila’s main thoroughfare.  Then the trees were taken out to make way for  a wider road, and later , ( 1984) ,ugly , elevated railroad tracks  were built over it.  ( Metro Rail ) They also remember  there was a loud  outcry over removal of century old trees, but , well, “progress.”  Then, old residents of Manila left to live in the suburbs and  posh subdivisions just outside of Manila, and were replaced by people from the countryside with less education,  no job prospects and  housing ……then they built shanties on public lands, and the rest is history. It came to a point where illegal settlers and shanty dwellers have even become defiant  and  caused trouble and violent protests  everytime  well-meaning officials would try to clean up the city.  Previous city mayors had practically given up,  until the new mayor, Francisco Moreno, was elected in July , 2019, and promised to clear up Manila.

 

I am not so sure about that. Sorry, Mayor Moreno.   A big chunk of the city  looks like shanty town , with old, dilapidated , greasy , built in dirt on buildings,  especially in places like Tondo, and Quaipo,  and patchy-patchy residential houses .  Unless he issues an order for building and home owners to rehabilitate (  aka repaint ) their properties, ( which is dictatorial and too heavy handed, in my opinion ) , no matter how clean the streets and sidewalks are,  Manila will forever remain an unsightly, sad city.  I’ve seen these places on YouTube…. they look like the photo below…

…. * shakes head *

 

 

Above is a common street scene in Tondo, Manila. They build structures without regard for safety. Look  how many floors there are, and they are made of rusty corrugated iron, old wood, etc.   The houses are so unsafe. I assume they don’t bother to get a building permit, and authorities don’t  bother to inspect.

 

Don’t get me wrong…. the rest of Manila is charming, beautiful, and historical.  In fact, the whole country , all 7,641 islands of it, is one huge tourist spot…….  Pristine islands with white sand and the bluest water  you won’t  see anywhere else in the world.

 

So, how does one solve a problem like Manila ?

 

People suggest  deal with it with a hand of steel, and it’s about time.

 

Legitimate Manilenos  are already sick and tired of  illegal settlers demanding relocation sites and free housing.  There are already hundreds of government relocation sites with free houses. Well, not exactly free… they pay a staggering   $ 4.00 a month.  I repeat….. FOUR DOLLARS.   (  other cities are already protesting they don’t want them there, and tax payers are also complaining that their taxes are spent building houses for these squatters, with no end in sight. )

 

But…to be fair…. call Manila what you like, but…….

 

Believe it or not,  residents of Manila have free health care (  free medicines, even free surgeries, free hospitalizations) free public universities,  and senior students in  public  high schools are given PhP 1,000 Cash every month, discounted transportation fares for students,  senior citizen discounts in everything including  movie passes,  plus PhP  500 cash a month….. single parents are also given Php 500 cash. .  It’s practically  a welfare state.  That’s why poor people from  other places flock to the city.  Hey, fellow Americans, does this sound familiar ?

 

Another thing… the Philippines has universal health care.

 

And,

 

By law, all workers receive a 13th month pay, ( besides their 12 months regular salaries) , and if the employees are lucky, they also get 100 % Christmas bonus from big companies and government  institutions.  In other words, 14 months salaries annually.

 

And ,  all companies with more than 50 employees , are unionized.  Truckers, drivers ….Yes, unions are strong in the Philippines.  This is the reason why foreign companies don’t invest in the Philippines. They hate unions and organized workers, right? Typical.   They go to Vietnam,  Indonesia, and countries where  forming  unions are not allowed. There are only a few countries in Asia ( or Australasia ) where unions are  present .. Australia, Philippines and New Zealand.  CBA or Collective Bargaining Agreement is a very important aspect of doing business in the Philippines.  No sweatshops allowed.  That’s why you won’t see cheap clothes and stuff  here in the US that are Made in the Philippines.

 

Oh, wait, where am I going?  My thoughts are going haywire.

 

I guess it’s time to stop now.

 

PS:

 

I saw food cart  vendors  in Italy ( or their  merchandise are spread on the ground, mostly  fake brands, ugly souvenirs, etc. ) and hassling tourists.  In England, too.  Hey, Brits, you see them , right ? Yep, been there, saw them myself.   Watch out, Italy and England.     I think it looks worse in India.  Warning !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Filipinos, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander ? Really .

 

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Last week , a Filipino co-worker asked me if I had ever encountered an official California document where Filipinos have to choose, identify and check  their  ethnicity off  the following list:  Asian,  Pacific Islander,  Filipino, Other. I said yes, I had, when I applied for a driver’s license, so Dennis, what’s wrong with it ? ” Look, Ren,  aren’t we Asian ? ” (  By the way, Dennis is half Italian-American, half Filipino but identifies himself as Filipino. He was also born in the Philippines. )

 

Anyway, I was confused.  I didn’t know what to make of it. I  did some research about this issue, and what I learned surprised me.  I do know about the Pacific Islander thing, but  it’s never been an issue to me. But, why are Filipinos in a separate group ?  Filipinos  are Asians.  To think otherwise is just so ignorant and stupid.  Just look at the map.

 

 

Here’s something that I found on YouTube.  Warning ! This video is highly inaccurate (  nevertheless , very  informative ) because the person on the video delves more on Chinese heritage rather than the more accurate   Indonesian -Malays who are actually the original settlers of the country.  Heck, we cannot even  tell a Malaysian, Indonesian, and Filipino  apart…  and yes, the Filipino language is very similar to Malaysian and Indonesian languages.  Ex: Thank you is Salamat in Filipino and Selamat in Indonesian.  ( Although about 40% of Filipino language is Spanish or has Spanish roots.  Filipinos even tell time in Spanish .) Filipino historians say Filipinos are of   Malay-Indo- Polynesian race.  It’s true there was an extensive trading with the Chinese, and I’m sure there were intermixing of  genes  at one point. That’s a given. Heck,  according to 23andMe ancestry, a part of my DNA belongs to Chinese Haplo-group.

 

 

 

Is it  because of Filipino culture and its shared heritage , history and culture with Mexico ?    Heck, both the  Philippines and Mexico even call their money Pesos.  In fact, at one point in Mexican and Philippine history,  the Philippines was considered a province of Mexico.  I was surprised  to learn that  the Filipino words for mother and father , Nanay  and Tatay , tiangue/ palengke ( markets )  and which I’m sure all Filipinos consider pure  unadulterated Filipino words,  are actually  Nathual in origin , an ancient Mexican language.

Anyway, I think I should write more about Filipino identity . There are more than 4 million Filipinos in the US, and this number does not even include half-Filipinos who  identify their ethnicity as Filipino, like my co-worker Dennis,  and Bruno Mars… or the wrestler Batista. Batista’s arm is tattoed with Philippine map, ha ha. That number is  more than the population of Koreans, Vietnamese, and Japanese combined .   Filipinos are not invisible here in the US,  neither here nor there. Not all Asians look like Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese, you know .  Look  at Indians…they  are Asians, too.

 

Okay, this is all for now from a pissed off Asian. Bye and peace.

 

 

Para ! Para ! Para !

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I was watching a subbed Argentinian thriller movie the other day…. then I heard the word Para.! Para ! The passengers in the car were shouting that word and I assumed they were telling the driver to stop. I was surprised because that word is  a  Philippine  word that  also means STOP .

They say there is actually no Filipino language. Filipinos  speak so many languages, 100 to 200 , depending on the classification being used. They are not ” dialects” .  It’s weird.  California is larger than the Philippines in terms of size, but the people living within that small area speak different languages . Drive about 100 miles from Manila to the province of Pampanga and you will hear people speaking an  entirely different language , I kid you not. Pampanga language is like Greek to me.

 

For example:

 

English   :   a) Where are you going ?

b)  I have no idea  !

Tagalog   :   a) Saan ka pupunta ?

b)  Ewan ko sa’yo !

Ilongo      :     a) Diin ka makadto ?

b) Ambot sa imo !

 

My mother provided the Ilongo translation.

 

In 1935,  the Philippine Constitution designated Tagalog, the language spoken in the capital city of Manila, as the ” official ” language of the country, together with English and Spanish, and it also stated that,   henceforth, ” Tagalog shall be taught in all schools, with requisite 24 units of Spanish in college,  and  English as the medium of instruction “. I am not surprised this  turned  Filipinos into a  Jack of all trades, master of none, to the point that Taglish   is now the accepted lingua franca in the country. Taglish is the use of Tagalog and English phrases or words in one sentence.

English : Let’s have lunch now. I’m so hungry.

Taglish :  Mag- lunch na tayo. I’m so hungry na.

Me    :      [  …….    ]

 

I watch Filipino language tutorials on You Tube  , then watch  other  videos to learn more, and I ‘m , like,  the heck .

 

I wonder……… if English is the medium of instruction from  elementary to college, is Grade 1 Math taught in English ?  Yes, and it blows my mind.  Just think……. Kindergarten and first graders are taught English grammar for the first time, and  Math 1 and History ( Civics  ), Science 1,  etc.   are simultaneously taught in English. How is that possible ?  I asked my parents about that, and they were as perplexed as I was. They did say that maybe , educators assume pre-schoolers  have a basic knowledge of the English language.  I remember when I was  in Kindergarten in the Philippines, we were taught Arithmetic this way……. 12 take away 6 is , what is the answer , class ?  Ma’m , ma’m , here, here ( Ren raises hand )…. Okay, Ren,  what is the answer ?  6 ! !   Very good !

 

The only subject that is taught in their native language  is ” Filipino Language .” All the rest , like Math, English Grammar , Reading, ( Run, Spotty, Run ,  I still remember the title ! ! )) Civics, and  Good Manners and Right Conduct , ( yes, they study  that over there ) are all taught in English.   Filipino kids have to do double time to learn stuff not in their own language, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.  This is the subject of a well- read  book by Renato Constantino titled The Miseducation of the Filipinos which I read a few years ago.   It has something to do with abandoning the native language and favoring a mishmashed one .

 

But,

 

I understand. It’s easier  to read and understand NO ENTRY, instead of BAWAL PUMASKO DITO.

 

Photo below is a gasoline station in the Philippines. Notices are in English.

 

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Photo below…. the sign says  Php 2,000 Minimum Payment for Bumping Barrier

 

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Oh, well. I guess I have to go back to  my You Tube Filipino language tutorials.

 

PS: Example of Grade 4 English Grammar test in the Philippines which my Dad still remembers.

Choose  the correct word or phrase ;

A)  It’s raining,  _______________   ?

a) aren’t they ?

b) isn’t it ?

c)  none of the above

My Dad answered , It’s raining, aren’t they X    Ha ha ha !

 

This is just an FYI  about  the country where I came from.

 

This is all for now .Bye and Peace !

 

Impeach !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Light-hearted From Me

 

Hi, hello, Renxkyoko Iglesias here

 

I was in the Philippines in 2014, with my cousin and  Mom, and stayed there for one month. So it was kind of strange that I did only 3 posts on my one – month vacation in the Philippines. I think I was side-tracked by politics………..

 

Well, never mind . Better late then never, right ?

 

So, okay, we had lunch at this restaurant that was  so popular for its jaw-dropping  tacky decorations.  It is located in the province of  Laguna, about a 2 – hour drive from Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

 

I was at a  loss for words as soon as I got off our vehicle and saw these humungous statues…. well, just look at the pictures and be amazed.  LOL !  By the way, don’t get me wrong….. my cousin and I loved,  loved, loved the place ! ! ! And please, have mercy on me… it took me 4 hours to finish this post.

The restaurant’s frontage

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The entrance

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LOL ! A calculator was actually provided by the waiter.

 

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Yours truly and my cousin in the pic

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Cozying up to former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. * Oooh , I love my tan *

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Having a tete -a – tete with President Obama and Michelle. * How’s it goin’, Mr. President .  *

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The sign on the wall says ,” For 25 pesos,  ( about US 50 cents ) you can throw a plate against the wall, but please  refrain from using vulgar words. ” Ha ha ha !

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Can you see the huge white statue of  Buddha in the distance ?

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Even Superman and Mickey Mouse weren”t spared.

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There’s some serenading going on here….. oh, and those are the hands of KingKong\ It’s a full statue. You can just imagine how big that is..

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” Native ” plates covered with banana leaves. And that’s a pitcher of so delicious and refreshing ice cold coconut juice….. unbeatable ! !

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Rice, roast chicken, grilled pork ribs, fish in miso soup

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That brown blob is laing ( lah- ing )…. it doesn’t look appetizing, but that’s one of my most favorite Filipino dish. It’s taro leaves and shrimp cooked  in coconut cream. I wish I could cook that here in the US, but taro leaves are not sold here.

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I wonder who did those huge statues , and how much it cost to build this restaurant.

 

It was jampacked with tourists when we were there.  It really pays to be different and unique. And the foods were delicious !

 

Okay, this is all for now. Thank you for reading . Bye !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 3 -day vacation in LA

 

Hi, Renxkyoko Iglesias here.

 

I had a fun and relaxing 3 – day vacation in Los Angeles with my cousin last week.  We were supposed to stay at my brother’s place in Long Beach, but he was out of town. Good thing we were able to get an Airbnb right in downtown LA. My sister lives a bit far away from LA, and she has work, so  bnb is the most convenient place to stay… it’s just a 2- mile walk or so to Hollywood Walk of Fame.  But here’s the thing….. I forgot my cellphone at home.  My cousin had her cell of course but she’s not much of a picture -taker. She did take a picture of  T-t-t-rump’s  star and my own hand giving it the middle finger, and though she posted it on Snapchat , she didn’t save the picture. Darn it. It was so amusing though  to see people lining up to stomp their feet on this guy’s star. (  The images below are not mine )

 

Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star Tagged With Swastika ...

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We also went to the Getty Museum, and for the first time, saw  real Monet and Van Gogh paintings. I was in awe.  I bought one Van Gogh print.  By the way, I saw the real Mona Lisa painting at Louvre in Paris, and was a bit ( just a teeny, weeny bit, okay ? ) surprised  the painting was small, like 2 ft x 2 ft.?? . I imagined it a bit larger than that.

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Sorry for the blurry pictures.

 

Back to LA……

 

We went hiking ( with my sister  who got a day off ) at Runyon Canyon, and managed to get to the top to see a clear view of the famous Hollywood sign and the whole city of LA.  And guess what, James Lebron walked past us , shirtless, and,  our eyes met, woohoo, and I thought I heard him say, Hi…… ,  my cousin said, ” nope,  it was the guy walking behind him”, and added,  ” Ren,  I see stars in your eyes. ”  Sadly, it was just Lebron that we saw. I  had hoped for more, like Zac Efron, shirtless.     Uhm,  never mind.  Lebron  was totally legit.

 

Here’s a random pic of yours truly at the Hollywood Walk of Fame , taken in 2012.

This is all for now.

Please check out my anime/manga blog @ http://2megaworthitwordpresscomblog.wordpress.com/

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something cute….9 year old kids singing

Hi, Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

 

Well, that rant on my previous post….. it was cathartic, so give me some slack, okay ?

 

To make up for that , here’s something cute. This is from a Philippine TV variety show ( I think it’s a  kids’ singing contest ) where three 9- year – old kids sing to Beyoncé’s song Listen. Even if you cannot understand the language, you can tell it’s an unrehearsed singing contest.

 

This is 3 minutes, 35 seconds of your precious time, folks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the ! ! No Way ! What did I just watch ? ?

 

Hi, Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

 

I got an email from a  friend who informed  me about this Filipino singer  who sang LIVE on this popular Philippine radio station WISH FM 107.5 BUS that has a YouTube Channel . This radio station is inside a bus and is always on the road, and features local artists , mostly amateurs…… so, anyways, I got to watch and listen to this guy named Marcelito Pomoy, who just blew my brains off.  I mean, what the heck ! ! !   He’s freakin’ insane !

 

You guys, seriously , you just have to  watch this. He sings The Prayer, a Celine Dion – Andrea Bocelli duet.

 

Spoiler Alert ! !  He sings a duet with himself ! ! !

 

 

 

I swear, Filipinos love for karaoke does wonders.  Or , maybe Filipinos’ musical talent  is genetic, ( the best in Asia, and that’s a fact…… I’m supposed to write about this on this post, but I want this one to be a special post  ) or ,  does it come from the rice they eat, 3 times a day ?

 

Without further ado, here’s Marcelito.  Please click  and prepare to be surprised.   Have fun ! ! !

 

And you really have to watch …. don’t click LIKE without watching.