Archive for the ‘Philippine Heritage’ 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.

 

 

Hello ! ! !

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Hello ! !

 

It’s been 3 months since my last post . I feel so guilty ….it feels like  I had betrayed you, guys. I can’t say I’ve been busy because I haven’t .. it’s just plain laziness, I think.  Or a burn-out. After all, I’ve been blogging for 8 years and 4 months. That is almost a 3rd of my life since birth, y’know?

 

While I’m gathering my thoughts , kindly watch and listen to my current favorite girl band from the Philippines, 4th IMPACT. This is quite a nice cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. (I’ve been following the Philippines’ entertainment idols, ha ha !  Ugh !) By the way, these girls are real siblings, sisters.

 

Enjoy ! ( Just 5 minutes of your life, folks)

 

 

Bye for now !  I’LL BE BACK ! PROMISE ! !

 

 

 

Christian Holy Week Practices and Traditions in the Philippines

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There is no Holy Week tradition here in the US,  but my own family does  observe a few Catholic practices here at home , such as meatless Fridays, and fasting and abstinence. (  small breakfast and dinner , no lunch ). At Dad’s workplace, employees can choose one paid personal special non- working holiday …. Dad chose Good Friday.

 

But in the Philippines , there is a rich Holy Week  tradition ( where about 85% are Roman Catholics )  that Filipinos practice with great devotion.

 

Holy Week  ( called Semana Santa in the Philippines ) starts on Palm Sunday, and continuous on until   Black  Saturday. It is  called Black Saturday  because on that day, the Lord  is………. dead.     Easter Sunday is when He rises from the dead…… no Easter Bunny celebration in the Philippines though, and no matter how hard commerce tries to inject  that into Philippine culture , no can do. .  They  simply cannot relate to bunnies and eggs.

 

 

 

Several decades ago, the entire Holy Week was officially non- working holiday ( no office work , no school ) but was reduced to just Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  To this day,  Philippine Airlines does not fly on Good Friday.  Never book a flight for Good Friday on PAL.

 

Metro – Manila has a reputation of having the most horrendous traffic in the whole world,  # 1, which is a bad thing.

but on Good Friday,

 

All radio stations are off- air, Tv networks that are on air   show  only religious movies,(  my parents say they’ve watched The Robe , Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Greatest Story Ever Told a million times ) some are off – air, too ( but then, there’s Netfix, which is not bound to observe traditions  ^_^ )  and on Good Friday,  Masses  ( Siete Palabras , or The Seven Last Words ) are shown on some TV networks.

 

Needless to say, no commerce. ( all stores and restaurants are closed )

 

 

But for some reason ,

 

 

And  religious processions all over the country.

 

 

Photo below is , uhm, Jesus in a coffin…… called Santo Entierro,  always  followed by  statue of  Mother Mary, called Mater Dolorosa ( Grieving Mother )

 

 

 

 

In some parts of the country, they hold this kind of procession.  (  reenactment of Christ’s  Via Crusis , or Way of the Cross)   <———  Moriones Festival on the island of Marinduque.

 

In some parts of the country, processions include self – flagellations (  as sacrifice, a vow, and penance ).   The images are a bit graphic, be forewarned ). Note: This is not condoned by the Catholic Church.

 

 

Real  Crucifixion where a man is physically nailed to the Cross.

 

 

 

 

Just an FYI from the country  where I came from, the Philippines.

 

Thanks for reading and PEACE .

 

Check out my manga/anime/ video games blogsite @  https://2megaworthitwordpresscomblog.wordpress.com/         I have a new entry, a review of  Netflix anime original , B: The Beginning. It’s a an excellent Japanese anime . Check it out on Netflix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippine culture, part 2

Renxyoko Iglesias here, hello ! !

 

Here are some random Philippine habits, quirks, bits and pieces of culture and tradition that a tourist, like my friend @Ste J, may or may not encounter in the Philippines.

But before that, here’s something nice to watch.

 

 

Did you watch it ?  Of course,  I have to admit  there’s poverty all over, especially in urban areas ,  but Filipinos are consistently on the list of the happiest people on earth, despite the natural disasters that come their way,  year in and year out.(  off the chart typhoons, their current  president, earthquakes, volcano eruptions ….. Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 was the biggest in the 20th century….. it caused the lowering of the earth’s temperature by at least 1 degree )  They say Filipinos eat disasters for breakfast, and no matter what happens, they just shrug them off. This is because of their ” Bahala na ”  attitude, which means, roughly, ” That’s the way it is, so live life to the fullest. ”  The exact translation is ” Whatever “, accompanied by shrugging of shoulders.  I’ve heard some Filipino friends say ” Bahala na si Batman. ” meaning, ” Whatever, Batman’s got my back. ”

 

In a crowd, Filipinos respond to ” Oy ! ! ”   ( Huh ? Who’s calling me ? )  Oy ! Comusta ! !  (  Hey, how are you ? ) However, Filipinos don’t say ” oy ” to older people.  That’s very disrespectful.

 

When Filipinos speak to older people, their language is interspersed with ” po  ”  or ” opo ” ( yes ).  It’s a sign of respect. However, the use of  po is nuanced.  Some people will not appreciate hearing ” po ” when, say,  a 25 year old person is speaking to a 30 year old woman . It’s like , ” Oh, noooooo !   She’s saying ” po” to me ! I’m getting olddddddd ! ! !”  Still…. it’s unimaginable for a Filipino to not say ” po ” to a …. okay, much older person. It’s okay, though,  for a 7- year old kid to say   ” po” to a 15 year old teenager ….. I think  ?

 

Filipinos are party animals…… and every Filipino household owns a karaoke. ( Videoke now ) We own a Magic Mic here at home, and my mother’s planning to update it to a videoke  soon. Yay ! ! I can now  sing my heart out . And yes,  Filipinos love fiestas!

 

Just like other Asians, Filipinos are big on honorifics.  I call my older sister ” Ate “,(pronounced Ah-teh,) meaning older sister, and my older brother,  Kuya (  pronounced Koo-yah, meaning , older brother ) .  Ate  Jennie,  Kuya Benjie, or just plain Ate and Kuya, unless one has other older siblings, then they have to add their names.

 

And this is where Filipinos differ from other Asians……… how they greet  each other.   Filipinos sometimes greet each other ( usually men ) by tossing their heads upwards. Oy, ‘  Pare,  comusta. ( ‘ Pare is short for Spanish word Compadre, meaning, pal/buddy), then a handshake, and a pat on the back.  Filipino women greet each other and relatives , male and female alike, with a hug and kiss on the cheek, sometimes, both cheeks. The term is beso- beso. Beso means kiss in Spanish, I think ?  Greetings are  boisterous. When we had a reunion in the Philippines, I think I hugged and kissed a hundred relatives and guests in one day. The kissing and hugging are repeated when they say  their goodbyes.    It is, indeed,  a touch culture. By the way, Filipinos greet their elders  by touching their elder’s hand to their foreheads, and saying, ” Mano po, Lola” ( grandma  or Lolo, grandpa) Mano means hand in Spanish.

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Filipino Customs and Traditions(

Got the image from the Internet. Whoever owns this, please don’t sue me. T.T

 

They call Restrooms/toilets in the Philippines, CR. ( Comfort Room )  ” Excuse me, Miss, where’s the CR ?”  @ Ste J, remember this. ^___^

 

This is all for now. Another one coming right up..

 

And check out my anime/manga site at http://2megaworthitwordpresscomblog.wordpress.com/