Jan 15

#PapalVisitPH: Jittery Aquino gov’t vs. joyful public

The BS Aquino administration is in many ways botching the single-biggest chance to tell the world that “its more fun in the Philippines.

The last time a pope visited the Philippines was exactly 20 years ago. It didn’t matter that the President was a Protestant. It didn’t matter that we still didn’t have much to show, except for the vibrant and zealous faith of the Filipino. What mattered most was that that the Leader of the Catholic Church and Head of State of Vatican City was coming, and that he was holding the World Youth Day here in the country. Continue reading →

Nov 14

REVOLUTIONARY & LEGENDARY: Kabataang Makabayan and the power of choice

Before 1964, young Filipinos were told and taught that there were no other choices except to study, graduate, get a job, work hard and hope for success. The young workers were told to be happy with the pittance they receive. The young farmers were told to feel lucky the landlords allowed them to till the land and to get loans at usurious rates. Young Filipinas were told they were “pambahay” and “pangkama” only. Before 1964, young Filipinos were told and taught they have no role in society and made to forget the young heroes who helped forge a new nation a century before. Continue reading →

Nov 14

Take 5 as BlogWatch turns 5

Conventional wisdom today would say that an assembly of bloggers is like cats and dogs put together in one tiny space. We are said to be too feisty and too self-centered to cooperate among ourselves. We value our personal freedoms so much that we cannot be trusted to work together in a common cause.

Such conventional wisdom has been disproven each day and week for the past 5 years and the living reminder of fruitful and important collaboration among bloggers is the continuing project called BlogWatch, which officially turns five today, Nov. 24. Continue reading →

Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: The new normal after Yolanda

As international NGOs and funding agencies rush to provide more and more temporary and “transitional” shelters across Samar, Leyte and the regional hub Tacloban City, the people are living a life that could be considered as “the new normal”.

Only about a week prior to the first anniversary of Yolanda’s epic devastation, President Aquino approved the rehabilitation plan for typhoon-stricken areas. That’s the first thing about everything in “the new normal” — the people have to patiently wait for the terribly slow pace of official rehabilitation efforts and would have to live longer in tents and in “transitional” shelters of various types. Continue reading →

Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: ‘Build Back Better’

Day One of the Plan International Philippines (Plan) media tour brought us to Barangays 62 and 62-A in Tacloban City.

By a stroke of luck, both barangays did not sustain casualties even if a storm surge of several meters high submerged the two villages, forcing residents to cling to dear life on rooftops and go to higher ground. A number of residents  whose houses were damaged either totally or partially received aid from Plan and its partner institutions. Continue reading →