Philippines

Reel Justice: Filipino Action Movies in a Time of Killing

This year saw the premiere of Itumba ang mga Adik (Kill the Addicts) in the Philippines. Shot in streets across the country, from narrow alleys to cramped rooms, the controversial film stars vigilantes, (suspected) drug users and dealers, crime syndicates, and innocent civilians. It has been a bloody tale of crime and punishment. There is a dark sense of deja vu about this spate of killings, for [...]

REVIEW— Basagan ng Trip: Complaints About Philippine Culture and Politics

Basagan ng Trip makes theorizing and “discourse” chic. In the Preface, Lisandro E. Claudio notes that “Walang basagan ng trip” mirrors an “anti-critic tradition in Philippine arts” (p. ix). Through this lens, the Filipino psyche encourages creation and discourages criticism as this ruins the vibe of the imaginative process that produces something new. [...]

The Real Crisis of Philippine Democracy

The Philippines is one of the poster boys for democracy’s disintegration in Southeast Asia. Current President Noynoy Aquino’s successive blunders, from pork barrel scandals to the Mamasapano incident, are the latest episodes in the story of a decaying political system. Competition for power remains confined among the elites and political dynasties at the expense of the marginalized poor. [...]

The Death of Gay Malate: One-Time Gay Capital of the Philippines

The Malate district of Metropolitan Manila was the gay capital of the city, indeed of the entire archipelagic Philippines, from the 1970s until the early part of this century. However, a quick walk along the now quiet streets is all one needs to confirm the fact that gay Malate is dead. Several interlocking factors have brought about the demise of Malate as a gay space and this paper is a modest [...]

REVIEW: Ang Makina ni Mang Turing

Guillermo, Ramon. 2013. Ang Makina ni Mang Turing [Mr. Turing’s Machine]Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. The narrator of scholar-activist Ramon Guillermo’s rousing first novel Ang Makina ni Mang Turing is a nineteenth-century “ilustrado” (enlightened, educated), a young man from the Philippines, then a colony of Spain. Having recently completed his licentiate in law in [...]

REVIEW: English Only, Please (2014)

English Only, Please (2014)Directed by Dan Villegas. Script by Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas Bashing the featured films in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 1 has become a tradition as time-honored as the event itself. Most of the films, if not all, are often dismissed either as shoddy filmmaking or as shallow entertainment. Against such opinions, I want to show how one featured film in [...]

Educational Komiks: Shifting Perspectives

Komiks has been with part of Philippine culture for quite some time. Ambeth Ocampo and Dennis Villegas would  offer Jose Rizal as one of the earliest to illustrate komiks (Villegas, 2011 and Ocampo, 1990). Yet harking back further, John A. Lent would peg Filipinos fascination with illustrated funnies to an earlier time, when magazines published cartoons during the Spanish Occupation period [...]

From Fiesta to Festival: Tourism and Cultural Politics in the Philippines

This paper looks into the evolution of the San Isidro Fiesta/Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon Province, its transformation from a local religious celebration to a popular tourist attraction. The occasion has been held in May since the early Spanish period as thanksgiving (pahiyas in local terms) for a bountiful harvest to San Isidro Labrador (the Catholic Church’s patron saint of farmers), [...]

The Decline of a Presidency?

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino had a good run since his election in 2010; he has been one of the most consistently popular presidents since the country’s redemocratization in 1986, but his popularity hit the buffers in 2013. Seemingly struggling with PR missteps and crumbling political capital, Aquino seems to lack the charisma or ‘popular touch’ to deflect mounting criticism. As the public sentiment gradually turns it gives rise to the question: “What kind of disillusionment will set in when the touted messiah of Philippine politics fails to save?” [...]

REVIEW: Lungsod iskwater. Evolution of Informality as a Pattern in Philippine Cities

Alcazaren, Paulo, Luis Ferrer, and Benvenuto Icamina. 2011.Lungsod iskwater: The Evolution of Informality  as  a  Dominant  Pattern  in  Philippine Cities.Pasig City: Anvil. Lungsod iskwater (Squatter City) is a book that seems to be full of self-contradictions. Its readers are likely to be confounded by the apparent incongruities in and between its form and content. However, far from [...]

REVIEW: Zombadings 1. Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington

 Zombadings 1 :Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington [Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings] Directed by Jade Castro (2011)  Zombadings (or Patayin sa Shokot si Remington) is a spoof on comics culture. It is also a fairy tale romance set in the town of Lucban. Essentially it is a coming of age comedy about a little boy, Remington (he begins very young indeed) yelling out loud whenever he notices [...]

REVIEW: Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata [Amapola in 65 Chapters]

 Lee, Ricky. 2011. Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata[Amapola in 65 Chapters]Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Writers Studio Foundation, Inc. 364+ pp.   Amapola, the protagonist of distinguished playwright and screenwriter Ricky Lee’s novel, is a female impersonator who discovers that s/he is also a manananggal, the fabled viscera-sucker of Philippine myth and lore.  With her pliant tongue, [...]

In Search of Aswang: A Ghost Story, Monster and Sorcerer in Philippine Society

        Introduction: A Piece of Painting       When I visited Fukuoka several years ago, I wandered off to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which I had been interested in for some time. Among their rich collection of paintings and art works from different Asian countries, I was transfixed by a painting titled “Progress through Education” by a Filipino painter Carlos V. Francisco. [...]

Beyond Orientalism? Another Look at Orientalism in Indonesian and Philippine Studies

 Orientalism…is not just a complicated reworking of theories about imperialism or of ‘culture bias’: Said … uses the production of the ‘knowledge’ called ‘Orientalism’ to raise questions about the production of any knowledge, and the meaning of any interpretation in any scholarly discipline. Birch (1983, 12)  Edward Said’s Orientalism was a watershed in the development of area [...]

Literature and Contemporary Philippine Politics

      In December 1958, almost 57 years ago, about a hundred of the leading writers of the Philippines went up to the resort city of Baguio in the northern highlands to attend a conference sponsored by the Philippine Center of International PEN. They mostly met among themselves – the event was, after all, billed as the National Writers Conference – but they were also visited and spoken [...]

Ethnicity and Kinship in Filipino Centennial Novels

Aurelio S. Agcaoili. Dangadang. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2003.B.S. Medina, Jr. Huling Himagsik. Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1998.Jun Cruz Reyes. Etsa-Puwera. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press & Philippine Centennial Commission, 2000. The most recent event to bring little earthquakes to Filipino writing in the vernacular was the Philippine [...]

Elections Are Like Water

         Elections are like water, missed only in its absence For the overwhelming majority of Filipinos who have no recollection of life before martial law, elections are like water – a requisite for political life, as essential for the body politic as water is for the human body. For the older generation, too, elections are like water – but as they view the arid desert that is our [...]

Paul Hutchcroft on The Philippines

Thank you very much. It’s a real pleasure to be here today to join this comparative discussion of political leadership throughout the region and I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about the Philippines. My talk today is based to a considerable extent on a paper co-authored with Joel Rocamora, executive director of the Institute for Popular Democracy in the Philippines. Our paper is [...]

An Assessment of the Philippine Economy

This report discusses the cyclical and unsustainable pattern of Philippine economic growth, the factors precipitating the economy’s cyclical downswings, the contribution of the various sectors and implicit growth strategy, the effect on employment by gender, and the state of the country’s natural resources and environment. It argues that the cyclical pattern of growth and movement in income are related not only to the pattern of spending at the macro level, the nature of electoral politics, and developments at the sectoral and regional level. They are also affected by the unsustainability of the implicit growth strategy prior to the 1980s, limitations of the current liberalization strategy, and the state of the country’s natural resources and environment. [...]

An Assessment of the Philippine Economy (October 2013 —Abstract)

This report discusses the cyclical and unsustainable pattern of Philippine economic growth, the factors precipitating the economy’s cyclical downswings, the contribution of the various sectors and implicit growth strategy, the effect on employment by gender, and the state of the country’s natural resources and environment. It argues that the cyclical pattern of growth and movement in income are related not only to the pattern of spending at the macro level, the nature of electoral politics, and developments at the sectoral and regional level. They are also affected by the unsustainability of the implicit growth strategy prior to the 1980s, limitations of the current liberalization strategy, and the state of the country’s natural resources and environment. [...]

Overseas Filipino Workers, Labor Circulation in Southeast Asia, and the (Mis)management of Overseas Migration Programs

          In recent years overseas contract work has become the Philippines’ prime export commodity. In the year following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittances amounted to US$7 billion. (DER-BSP, Table 11. OFW Remittances By Country and By Type of Worker.) OFW remittance is such a vital source of revenue that since the mid-1980s the government has [...]

The “Bombay 5-6”: Last Resource Informal Financiers for Philippine Micro-Enterprises

As a developing country, the Philippines has a large informal sector comprised of micro-enterprises. Many of these are severely resource-constrained small vendors operating in public markets, whose survival in business relies heavily on access to financing. This usually comes from the informal sector sector as well in the form of informal financiers called “5-6.” Two types of 5-6 financiers [...]

Book Review— The Philippine Economy: Development, Policies, and Challenges

The Philippine Economy: Development, Policies, and ChallengesArsenio Balisacan and Hal Hill, editorsQuezon City / Ateneo University Press / 2003 This edited volume represents the latest important update to the study of problems of Philippine economic development. Written with depth by highly respected authors, the book is a comprehensive review of the various aspects of the Philippine economy. [...]

Exposition, Critique and New Directions for Pantayong Pananaw

         The Filipino language has two forms for the English word “we/us”: “tayo” and “kami.” In Bahasa Indonesia, the same distinction holds for the pair “kita” and “kami” (Johns 1997). “Tayo,” which is described as the inclusive form of “we,” refers to a collectivity composed of both the speakers and the listeners in a communication context. “Kami,” which [...]

To Suffer Thy Comrades

To Suffer Thy Comrades: How the Revolution Decimated its OwnRobert Francis GarciaQuezon City / Anvil Press / 2001 Editor’s Note: To Suffer Thy Comrades describes in detail Bobby Garcia’s life as a New People’s Army guerrilla based in Southern Tagalog, particularly his experience – together with many others – of interrogation and torture during the anti-infiltration purges of the 1980s. [...]

Review— Armando J. Malay: A Guardian of Memory (The Life and Times of a Filipino Journalist and Activist)

Armando J. Malay: A Guardian of Memory(The Life and Times of a Filipino Journalist and Activist)Marites N. Sison and Yvonne T. ChuaPasig City / Anvil Publishing / 2002 This biography of a most distinguished Filipino journalist, political commentator, amateur philatelist, and human rights activist is based on the diary Armando Malay kept assiduously for over fifty years. The diary begins in the [...]

The Stink that Won’t Go Away

President Arroyo has inherited not only a garbage mess but a controversial garbage contract as well There is no question that Metro Manila needs an urgent solution to its stinking problem. But government seems to be having a lot of difficulty finding one. For years, administrations have been trying to find an acceptable way of disposing of over 6,000 tons of garbage collected daily from Metro [...]
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